Weblog van Laura

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Josefien was released from the hospital and we all drove back together. Much rest and sleep were ahead for her, but quiet the opposite was awaiting us. Daniel and I had decided to help my dad for a while with building the masts for his boat. We've been here for nearly a month now. The aluminum pipes that were laying in the hall when we got here have slowly transformed into a mast. I have always loved to see these kind of things grow. Every time I am amazed at how much humans are capable of making just by going step by step, day by day. I loved to see dad's boat growing out of a pile of wood - and later the walls that made rooms, then the interior and now slowly the masts. It's a dream that is coming true - slowly but surely. And I feel very happy to have been and still be a part of it. It's been so much fun working with dad again for a longer time. Thinking about plans to make things work and dreaming about sailing this boat. We've had some small breaks from working, in which we went to Sliedrecht with dad's boat to tow back a heavy tug that had a broken engine. We started heading to Sliedrecht just after sunrise, but we never saw anything of the sun.. the clouds were creeping around us while I was standing on the bow peeking through the thick mist - trying to find the next buoy. The water was rustling quietly at the bow as the boat was gliding through the water. Without any radar or chart plotter it was a real challenge to find our way across the Grevelingen towards the locks. Once we were at the locks we decided it would be too dangerous to keep going in this thick mist without any good navigational equipment. So we called a friend who has a maritime navigation program on his tablet and asked if we could borrow it for a few days. That made live a bit easier. But we had lost a lot of time by going through the fog that slowly, so that we had to keep going full speed to get to Sliedrecht before dark. The "Havorn" doesn't have any navigation lights yet - they have to be mounted on the mast and in the rigging which is still in the making. So getting there before dark was a necessity. We were doing well for the rest of the day, steaming along at almost 10 knots, even overtaking some of the inland freighters that were steaming along the rivers. With only one more hour to go we were hopeful to make it, when a police boat pulled up along side suddenly and made signs that they want to come aboard. We had a little chat and they checked our papers. When we asked them for the reason for their visit, they said that we weren't in their system. Otherwise all was fine and we could keep going. That had slowed us down a lot and sunset had already started. We hit the gas again to make up for the delay and had still some hope left, but only 10minutes later that hope was challenged again - by the port control this time. We told them that the police had just been onboard, but since I didn't know the name of the police vessel they couldn't do anything with that information. Again we had to slow down and explain where we were going (without them coming aboard). In the end they decided to stay next to us to serve as navigational lights, because darkness was becoming an issue by that time. Half an hour later we finally got to Sliedrecht. After mooring the Havorn the port control left us in peace.

The next morning was clear, freezing - and early, as there was work to do. We had to tie the tug next to the Havorn - and what we thought would be an easy job to do, turned out more challenging as we found the ropes frozen. Stiff like steelwire. After one our of fighting we had the tug next to the Havorn and the journey began. The sun even accompanied us for most of the day on our homeward trip. Towing the tug went well and we also had some good laughs when going through the locks. The "Bruinvis" (the tug boat) always got called on the VHF before they tried calling the Havorn. Guess it's a strange picture to see a tug boat being towed. Although it was rather obvious that nobody was aboard the Bruinvis and it couldn't have towed us the way it was positioned on our beam - the ghost skipper of the Bruinvis got the first calls! :D Again we tried to push on hard to get home before dark and even managed to squeeze ourselves into a lock with some other freighters. Sadly for the freighter behind us it had to wait for the next turn. He wasn't to pleased with this, and made that clear on the VHF. "They should have gone through the smaller yacht locks" he said. I explained to the lock operator that we were to deep and also to wide for these locks and that there was no other way for us than to go through the commercial shipping locks - which kindled the next discussion… "How could a boat from 65ft possibly be 3.40m deep?" Nobody seemed to understand and they came to the conclusion that only 3000ton freighters would have such a depth. After listening to that whole discussion via the locks' VHF channel, I decided to tell them about sailboats… That sailboats need this depth, and that it was very well possible for a 65footer to be 3.40m deep. All we heard for the next 10minutes was complete silence. The freighter behind us had to wait and we could go through, which was really necessary because we were still racing the sun at 7,5 knots now. The tug boat and Havorn both got home safely!

A cold but very nice trip over the rivers and through the locks. I loved seeing Daniel's face every time he saw a bridge that opened in yet another fantastic manner. Some went sideways, some up, or rotated. And I started to realize that so many bridges and locks are very unusual outside of Holland.

The following morning was an early one yet again, no sailing anywhere this time though. We were on our way to the Dusseldorf boat show. I have been working with Minicat on a new boat. Early on in my trip I got a Minicat 310 onboard. This is an amazing small inflatable catamaran. This way I could fold it easily into two bags and store it on my boat for a crossing and do some sporty sailing when I was at anchor. Over the years of sailing with the 310 version I gave Minicat some feedback and we decided to make a Laura Dekker edition. It is based on their standard 420 edition. But it has many upgrades. The boat is also stronger - because it will have to stand the way of sailing that I like! …with lots of wind and rough conditions ;)

The first boat has been build and was standing on the Dusseldorf boat show. I was very exited to see it in real live of course. It looked great with the many colors in the sails, carbon rudder, boom and bowsprit. Even with my name embroidered into the trampoline. Fancy :) I have enjoyed the Minicat 310 a lot over the years and really can't wait to sail this bigger, faster and stronger edition!




So far Europe has been cold, wet, busy but also very nice. Well most of it anyway.. We spent New years eve at a rather unexpected place, namely in the hospital.. But lets start from the beginning.

We had spent an amazing christmas at Daniel's parents place in Germany, also together with my parents and my old dog Spot of course. It was amazing to be all together. Certainly worth leaving the New Zealand summer for the cold European winter… Just after Christmas we decided to go to Switzerland. Together with Daniel's brother Otto and Josefien who is a Dutch friend that I met traveling in New Zealand. Daniel's sister and some cousins are working in a ski area over there, and we thought it would be nice to spent New Years eve together with them in the mountains. The first two days were great! There wasn't so much snow though, so we just did some smaller hikes and spent time with friends and family. But of course we wanted some more action. So we packed some sleds on our backs and started hiking up a snowy mountain, with the plan to sled down again. The view got more amazing the further we got up and we even got some heavy snowfall once we reached the cable station. It was truly a winter wonderland. Heading down turned out more tricky than we had expected. It was not always easy to find the best paths and big patches of snow were very icy. Daniel and I were already a little ways ahead, going very slowly down an icy slope, when suddenly we see Josefien flying by. Her sled had gotten onto a big icy patch and there was no stopping it anymore. We yelled at her to get of the sled but before we knew what was happening the sled and Josefien started bouncing and flipping downhill. I was the first to reach her - she was laying on the cold snow, eyes wide open but no reaction. A lot of thoughts went through my head as I starred into her bright blue eyes. It was scary and we had to take action quick. Daniel and Otto were still trying to get down while I was speaking to Josefien trying to notice whether she could hear me. When I asked her to blink her eyes she did, but that was all! I got some more hope but the situation was bad. We were halfway a deserted mountain (the lifts weren't operating due to whatever, so there was nobody except us) and darkness was coming fast. We very carefully moved her off the ice onto the sled and gave her our jackets in the attempt of keeping her warm. She slowly came back to consciousness a bit as Daniel and Otto were trying to call the Emergency Department. There was blood coming from a wound on her head but it didn't look to bad. And except for a very strong headache she didn't have much pain. I was guessing that she had a concussion - and I was very glad she didn't start feeling ill or throwing up for now. Rescue was our only hope as it seemed. We couldn't get her down the mountain like this and besides that it would be dark before we could have managed.

While we waited for rescue, I sat next to Josefien hugging and talking to her in the attempt to keep her warm and awake. I was also shaking partly because of the icy cold going through my bones but also because of the shock of course. Finally the rescue helicopter came buzzing down with bright spotlights and picked Jo up and I also joined them - as a translator, mental support and... spectator of the landscape :) which I had to thank her for afterwards, because I have never been in such a machine and it was an interesting experience to see all these things plus the beautiful view of course. The nurses and doctors in the hospital were all very helpful and friendly. Luckily I was allowed to be with Josefien all the time so I could watch and comfort her - I even watched her head being stitched together again. So all in all it was a very educational Old Years Eve. We wished it would have been differently but were very happy that she was alright in the end and only had to stay in Hospital till the next day. We stayed in the Hospital for a few more hours, trying to celebrate the years' change a little. We decorated the hospitals' bed with some break lights and the hours went by as we talked and even laughed. Finally we had to let Josefien rest and drove back to town where we stayed, in hope of celebrating with the others and getting some rest ourselves... but that didn't happen.

The rest of New Years night and the 1st of January Daniel and Otto alternated in running to the toilet and trowing up. They were both laying in bed with a fever and I was trying to look after them and also had to go to see Josefien in the hospital again to pick her up later that day. It was a busy day! The chances were good that 2016 could only get better from then on..



On the 23-24th of January 2016 I can be found on the stand of Minicat on the Dusseldorf Boat show to present the Laura Dekker Minicat edition. 


After 2.5 half years in the water, it was time for Guppy to get a serious manicure done. We hauled her out and worked like crazy for weeks to make her look all beautiful again. The rudder had to go back to bare steel to be retreated and so did some spots on the keel. I finally closed up one of the un-used through-hull holes which was always a potential leak… We polished the topsides to change its color back to her beautiful own red. And after we had put on some new Anti foul and anodes it was time for a sail!

We had 2 great days of sailing on which we had an average of 7.5 knots! Well,.. okay, I have to admit that we had very good winds, but the clean and smooth hull did sure make a big difference. It was such a joy to be out on the water again, and I am especially glad we managed to take her out before heading of into the cold winter of Europe.. We will be in Europe with Family for a while. But at least Guppy can shine in all her beauty now.


I have been toiling with the idea of selling Guppy for a while now, I have fallen in love with the taiwanese style clippers - like the formosa 51 and hudson 50 yachts. And so,.. even though it still really hurts - I would have to sell Guppy. I won't just give her away to anybody though! After all she is my first love and baby and the best boat I could have wished for to do my circumnavigation on. If anybody is interested feel free to e-mail me at media@lauradekker.nl and I will give you some more info on her.

Another thing that has kept us busy is building a cabinet in our friends apartment. Over the winter they have been so kind to let us stay in their basement apartment which was warm and we didn't have to paddle in the rain and cold. They mentioned that they'd like to have a cabinet in the kitchen, so we thought we would just build one from scratch. Neither of us had done anything like this before and so there was a lot of thinking work involved, which was Daniels job. I stuck with glueing, staining, varnishing and… well, what I do best of course - supervising ;)

We landed in Germany about a week ago - back in the fridge - and certainly worth the freeze as we really enjoy seeing our families again!



For Picture's please go to the english blog.

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