Sailing Hatseflats
A 15ft Pram for Dinghy Cruising
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Hatseflats Design

Hatseflats Hull Build

Fitting Out Hatseflats

Building TooPhat

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20200727

Lauwersmeer

After three one-night camping trips we wanted to spend a couple of nights sleeping on board Hatseflats. We left Oostmahorn at 1300 hours. It was blowing S4-5 so we put in two reefs. We reached Stropersgat Eiland at 1400 hours and hung around for a bit. Then we decided to round the island and sail towards the Hoornse Gat which we reached at 1500 hours. From there we made our second approach to the Marrekrite island just NE of Stropersgat EIland. This time there were a lot of waves but the weather was still good. We moored at 1530 hours alongside the quay. After I had put the galley box on the grass, I put up the boom strut and fixed the sail bundle to the mast and the boom strut. I moved the sleeping gear and the tent from the storage under the aft deck to the front cockpit. Then I retrieved the floorboard and filler piece to create the sleeping platform over which I erected the tent. While Klarie was cooking dinner I was busy in the tent with the sleeping bags, mattresses etc. The WeatherPro app predicted W5 with Force 7-8 squalls in the morning. Since we were on the leeshore I wanted to cross the Lauwersmeer before it would get too rough. As a precaution I moved Hatseflats over to a quiet spot in the lee of a large motor yacht.

20200728

Despite the relative quiet behind the motor yacht we slept badly because it rained and the mast made a lot of noise. In the early morning the wind rose so we decided to break camp and make our crossing back to Oostmahorn. We left the island at 0900. I rowed until the Balstiengat. It was heavy going because the wind and waves were against us. Our plan was to row until we had passed the narrowest stretch in the channel to the Lauwersmeer. When the breaking waves made further progress impossible I dropped the anchor and hoisted the sail with three reefs.
The sail stood very badly but the triangle between the yard and the tack was quite flat so I decided to carry on. Short-tacking in the channel was exhausting. Hatseflats pointed very badly because we were underpowered in the breaking waves. We tacked about 40 times to cover less than 1nm. Sometimes we could not make the tack and had to gybe which was a bit hairy as well. We took over a lot of water and I badly bent the joystick but that was the least of our troubles.
When we reached the lake, we had much more sea room. The gusts were still powerful and we still took a lot of spray but the waves were easier to handle. We now made much better progress. To play it safe I quickly crossed the lake to the shelter of the windward shore. From there we made it back to Oostmahorn, where we arrived at 1030 hours. By then we had rowed for 30 minutes, tacked in the channel for 30 minutes and crossed to Oostmahorn in 30 minutes.

Lessons Learned

Positive:
  • It rained hard but there was less water in the bilges than we had expected
  • It is perfectly possible to set the sail well with 3 reefs if you properly sort the rigging beforehand
  • The anchor held quite well in the breaking waves and headwind
Room for improvement:
  • Remove racing burgee from mast, especially when it is windy.
  • Before you leave, ensure that all running rigging is set correctly. This is why I could not properly hoist the boom which made good upwind sailing impossible.
  • Rowing against waves in a F5 is nearly impossible.
  • The channel north of Stropersgat Eiland is very narrow and shallow which makes it hard for upwind sailing.
  • Short-tacking in the narrow channel was much harder than making the crossing to Oostmahorn.