So we wanted to see Delft Jazz this weekend, plus Frank is throwing his USA BBQ this Saturday, thus…barging from Zaandam to Delft 72.8 KM with many bridges and some locks. The locks in Holland are nowhere near the ones on the Ohio River, or the French Frexeneit locks. The dutch ones are modest, 2- 4 inches sometimes 6-8 inches, don’t forget may times the canals in Holland are 5 – 8 feet above ground level. Just fun , sitting on the barge, and seeing only the roofs of house along the roads.
We set of at 10:00, checklist completed, mast lowered and off we went to Amsterdam, because the quicker route via Haarlem is not passable for recreational boats. The Haarlem lock being close to the big IJmuiden sealocks was bringing in too much salt water. remember, the driest summer in ages.
Did the Zaan then The North Sea Canal, then de oude hout haven and onto the first set of bridges on the Kostverloren Gracht, all went smooth until….the nieuwe meersluis. Last year that was a clusterfuck, and today was a upper CF. When we arrived the lock was opening and a swarm of little boats sped out, the other large boat in front of us was ready to go in, when……the lock closed…..a quick call on the VHF got us the answer ” I had to close it because I am changing shift, my colleague will open it up and have you on your way soon” so we waited . and waited and …the lock started filling from the other side…so we puttered around, wind blowing. Offcourse the little sloops and a few speedboats were jostling for position, even though there was no opening in sight. Got a few times close to them, especially when the only looked forward. Finally over an hour after we arrived the locked opened on our side. A few small boats were trying to get in first, and I did shouted loud to deb ” they have no clue that IF I loose control, we will be totally making them flat like a can of Sardines” . Which caused a chuckle with a few of the more controlled boaters. Once in the lock it took forever to be lowered the 1 inch if that. Most likely the new lock keeper was emptying the lock with a 5 gallon bucket.
But off we went onwards to Schiphol, the Ringvaart van de Haarlemmer meer polder.
Next bridge, Schiphol draaibrug, where we were told to wait 15 minutes, so we attached a line and turned of the engine. A small boat moored along side. The lights jumped to red-green, so I turned the key. Yet NO sound, besides the buzzer. No starter, no noise. Bloody Hell. Ok Deb jumped to my help, moving things away, so I could jump it no the belly of the beast and slay whatever horrors were not allowing us to leave. I decided to to a Mike Cockran solution and bypass the starter solenoid, while trying to do so , I saw a loose connection.
And voila, the beast sprung alive. I haled Schiphol Draaibrug again, apologized and quite quickly the bridge opened.
After de ringvaart we came to the westeinder plassen, a very nice typical polder scene. The canal with many small boats along the sides and houses lower than the canal. I found a mooring place in the Kager plassen and dialed them. The manager lady was very nice and reminded me that the Leimuiderbrug is closed for recreational boating from 16:00-18:00. it was 15:25 and 3 KM to go, so we should be OK. BUT for safety lets speed up a bit. Well J-K listened and started going faster and faster and got up to 15 KM/hr. after a bit I did hear a sputter but the engine picked up again, so I slowed a bit and kept going at around 12 km/hr. Then . ….silence…engine died……turning the key..NOTHING. Holy Moley . …I am barreling down a canal at 12 KM/hr and I have no engine…not much control. trying to steer as good as I could the barge slowed down, but because of the wind an no real good rudder action, the barge was barreling towards some sloops on the side of the canal. I dashed forward, and was able to lasso a mooring pole and let the barge kinda bang into it, stopping it. It did resulted into the ‘Remy Manoeuvre” invented by ( then only ) Ltcl R Michielsen of the Royal Dutch airforce. Where he decided to block the canal du Briare from potentially harmful airplane.
Together with Deb we tried to get the stern to shore, but no success. We waved a small sloop down and with their aide and pushed the stern in so I could secure a second mooring line.
So this was the second calamity today. Ok no sound nothing, so no voltage. Ok lets test first if we have 12V. Well the ONLY thing on the engine battery is the head. Well that worked. next step opening the engine panel. ..A rats nest of wires ….voltmeter out and lets see where we have voltage. Starting with the key switch, none of the contacts had 12V… GREAT another contact that cant stand the ‘good good good vibrations” ( Beach boys). lets follow the wires…..well it would be easier to explain some tax code to 2 year old Amelia !!!! So grab wire, cutters, tools and lets fabricate quickly a wire from the battery to the key switch. Deb was a perfect emergency assistant! Wire done, pressed on what looked like the main 12V ‘contact ‘ of the switch and yes …it was “alive” ( short circuit). But we arrived at 16:12 at the bridge, and moored at the restaurant the marina lady told us about . It was time to give Deb enough Wine to not worry. BUT ..lets call the bridge keeper on VHF to confirm he won’t open for us. The answer we got “Correct I won’t open for recreation boats, BUT you are in luck in about 15 minutes I am expecting a commercial, and you can get through after him”. We looked and Deb was really in need of some beer and food. But gave in to the fact that we could save and hour waiting. So we grabbed the beer from the fridge, chips and olives and sat down on the bow.
15 minutes later….NO commercial yet….mmm should I call the restaurant and see how quickly they can make bitterballen ? No so we kept sitting and then 10 minutes later the bridge opens. Rushed to the back and started the engine, and went through. A bit later we arrived at the mooring ‘keverhaven’ . a really nice peaceful nature mooring.
6.5 Engine Hours
36 Liters of Diesel