Sailing Garfield: crossing full of bad luck

Annabelle and her father Herman are planning to sail around the Caribbean next summer with Garfield, a Compromise 36. During the Toerzeilers Vertrekkersdag they already briefly introduced themselves. Herman will demonstrate in the coming months To sail report of the preparations for the trip, and then of course also of the trip itself.

Sailing the boat from Woudsend to Bremen during the Easter weekend: doesn’t sound like a grand and compelling crossing, does it? Without enough diesel, open gas stations and with border controls and against the wind and current, it unexpectedly turns into an adventurous trip. We left our home port of Woudsend in good spirits Garfield to our hometown of Bremen, to have her closer for the final preparations of our trip to the Caribbean.

Control of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee

After a stop in Makkum for the last check on the new rigging, we cast off early to sail through the lock at Kornwerderzand and then, with a push from the current in our back, via Harlingen to the tidal inlet between Terschelling and Vlieland. In the lock we get control for the first time in our lives by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. Of course we both forgot our passports, but with the help of our driver’s licenses and a good story they let us through. They thought it was a bit special: a Dutch father who wants to go to Bremen with his German daughter. Anyway, it says ‘Bremen’ on the back of the boat, so it must be correct…

Sailing Garfield

With one and a half knots over the North Sea

About three hours after we have passed through the tidal inlet, the wind turns from close to the wind to pure headwind and is also increasing. We hack and stomp against two meter high waves and decide in the night to save material and crew and walk into Borkum to wait for better weather there. After 23 hours of motoring at a speed of only 1.5 knots, we enter the harbor of Borkum just after sunrise. We are both pretty worn out, so we catch up on some hours of sleep first.

Waiting for diesel

During the unexpected stop in Borkum, our diesel tank is only half full. Looking for diesel, because the wind remains easterly and we will therefore have to motor the rest. Fortunately, there is a diesel pump in the port, where you can pay with your bank card. At least – if there is no notice that payment is currently only possible in cash, during office hours. It’s Friday so we walk to the office, where unfortunately no one is there. Then we realize that it is not only Friday, but even Good Friday, which is an official day off in Germany. So no diesel here!

Fortunately, Google shows a normal gas station near the island’s village. Call first to make sure it is open. No one picks up… So that will have to wait until tomorrow. This ruins our plan to leave early the next morning, because with only half a tank we don’t dare to tackle the second half. Given the tide, we can only leave on Saturday afternoon around two o’clock – if we do have diesel by then.

Sailing Garfield
Finally flow along!

Finally on the road again

Saturday morning at ten o’clock we take the bus to the village and get off near the gas station. Here we reach the next hurdle, because how is it possible: the pump only accepts cash and no debit card. Digitization has not yet really reached Borkum. We turn our purses inside out and have just enough cash to fill our two jerry cans with twenty liters each. Finally we can move on! The sun is shining, there is little wind and we sail along the still empty beach of Borkum. It is indeed nice weather, but it is not more than eight degrees.

We continue our journey under engine and after a quiet night we arrive at sunrise at the entrance of the Weser towards Bremerhaven. The current is against us here and at a certain moment the plotter shows only one knot over the ground. Our patience is seriously tested, but fortunately the countercurrent slowly but surely decreases and around noon it turns into the current. With a speed of more than seven knots we cover the last miles to Bremen.

Final preparations

Finally, after 225 miles of engines and one meager hour of sailing, we can moor at our new temporary home port in Bremen, where our Garfield within cycling distance of our house. Now we can start the final preparation phase before our departure. There is still a long list of, fortunately, only smaller projects. In addition, we have to turn our boat into our temporary home and we still have a lot of shopping to do and luggage to pack. The countdown is running. In exactly one month we will leave for our tour of the Caribbean!

Sailing Garfield

In the summer of 2023, Annabelle and Herman plan to leave for the Caribbean. Follow their preparations monthly on or check out their website.

Tags: Sailing Garfield Last modified: April 13, 2023

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