'De Franschman' sailing record prior to 20051997 - The first minor test trips, including a circumnavigation of Borkum.
1998 - Maidentrip. I wanted to start in the Colin Archer Memorial Race, a fully crewed race from Delfzijl, Holland to Larvik, Norway. At the very last minute I failed scruiteneering because it was considered that not enough handholds were placed around the cabin. No discussion, end of race. In the end we did start anyway.
It was a really tough start. There had been a westerly wind of 20 to 30 knots all week prior to the race, and to give spectators a chance the start was at 1900 hours. Any sailor who takes the effort of looking on the map what the entrance of the river Ems is like can imagine what happens if a one hundred boat fleet tries to beat to seaward in pitch dark, West 7 and large breaking waves either side of the buoyed channel. It is a miracle that only one boat ran aground and could be towed off. Halve the fleet didn't even try to get to seaward end sheltered in Borkum harbour. Ofcourse we were determined to show off and carried on.
Although I was bloody nervous the boat behaved brilliantly and at five in the morning we rounded the buoy north of Ameland, after which course could be set to Norway. Instead we called the race organisation, gave our position and went to Helgoland instead. A 130 mile dead run in 16.5 hours, highest speed 15.3 knots. The eventual winner in our class stayed in Borkum for two days. However, in Helgoland we spend two days welding the rudder frames back together. They were not yet up to those enormous speeds. If the scruiteneer (being about 5 foot 4) had made any comments about them...
With repairs finished, we sailed up the river Elbe to the Kieler Kanal where my crew left and I circumnavigated Denmark, sailing back home via the Limfjorden. Besides this longer trip, I sailed several minor races in Holland, including 154 miles in the Dutch 24 hour race.
1999 - Summer holiday to Scotland, Orkney, Shetland. Splendid, trouble free holiday. Besides this, we also did some minor races under ORC Club rating system.
2000 - Holiday trip to Iceland. Via Orkney and Faroer I visited the eastcoast of Iceland. Great! The way back lead past the Hebrids and the Irish Sea, thus sailing around the UK. I sailed some races this year too but due to my unfavorable ORC club rating never won much.
2001 - Holiday to Norway, via Orkney and Shetland in three weeks and a half in beautiful, sunny weather. This year I participated for the first time in the 200myls solo, and won the first price!
2002 - The plan for this year was to go south: Madeira. Unfortunately the weather didn't co-operate. Spent half a week in Dover waiting for less wind. Then, beating upwind all the way until close to Land's End. There, in the beautiful Helford River, waiting several days for better weather again. It was clear by that time that, however fast I would sail, I would never be back home in time. I decided to wait until next year to give it another try to reach Madeira. Immediately after this decision the weather changed into sunny, perfect sailing weather and it stayed this way until after my return home. However, I changed course to the Scillies and from there explored the French coast. On my way back home I encountered a nasty incident: on approaching the river Trieux through a side-arm, sailing full speed, I hit a rock that was not mentioned on the Stanford map. This caused serious damage to both the boat and myself. Floors and keelson were broken, all glasswork was shattered and, to illustrate the impact, even the V-snare of my motor came off!
rest of story not yet translated - please return soon to read the rest...