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20200910

Dorestad Raid 2020

Appeared in Dinghy Cruising Journal 248

With so many dinghy cruising events cancelled it was a relief that the 2020 Dorestad Raid (9-13 sept) was held at all. Due to Covid-19 the format was different this time. The Dorestad committee had taken a fresh look at the logistics and arranged to use the sailing school of stalwart supporters Hannah and Leo Versloot as a base camp for day sailing trips into Friesland.

The comfortable accommodation and Hannahs cooking made social distancing and other restrictions more than bearable. We would normally have a UK contingent as well, but they cancelled because of Covid-19. Some of the UK raiders are now building smaller boats to sail singlehanded in the next Dorestad Raid. Sixteen boats arrived, ranging from a Twelve Foot Dinghy to Drascombe Coasters including cruising dinghies and raid boats. Covid-19 inspired a few personnel changes: Dirk sailed his Drascombe Coaster solo, sometimes crewed by Gerben-Jan.
Dirks regular sail buddy Joop sailed solo in 'Her Majesty Cornelia', a skiff with a rather quirky rig and a mind of its own. Her Majesty seemed to have the upper hand when sailing, but Joop was the boss when rowing. Joost squeezed his entire family into his Goat Island Skiff. And still they were very fast.
One of the newcomers was Cockie with her newly bought Poo Duck skiff.
Koos, the founding father of the Raid Extreme, was also new to the event. Koos brought his Artemis sailing canoe and was among the fastest boats with the famed Wuptem of Hans and Margreet and the Goat Island Skiff of Joost and his Goat Angels.

Wednesday 9 september

Most crews launched at the Heeg marina and rowed towards Leo and Hannah's island just outside the sailors paradise of Heeg. The island is home to a small harbour, the sailing school founded by Leo and Hannah and MS 'In Dubio', the travelling hotel for the Dorestad Raid in previous years. Some crews arrived under their own steam like Hans and Willem from nearby Sneek with their Herreshoff 12.5. Dirk Branbergen singlehandedly sailed his Drascombe over from Workum, enjoying the downwind ride across the Fluessen and the Heegermeer.

Thursday 10 September

No wind! Joost called a skippers briefing to discuss the map and route which he had sent using Whatsapp. The clear maps and directions helped to keep the briefing short. After the briefing we headed to the Heegermeer. Very slowly we made our way to the Grote Gaastmeer where we had lunch. After lunch the bigger boats returned to base because they would not fit under the bridges encountered during our afternoon expdition.
The smaller boats drifted into the Ringwiel and paddled through the backwaters back to the town of Heeg. Klarie and I enjoyed the trip through the backwaters. These were lined with reeds on both sides so you could only see what was immediately in front or behind you.
Each time we encountered another low bridge for the farmers we had to duck our heads to stay in one piece. We steered through the middle of the canal to avoid getting stuck. Finally we rowed into Heeg and then on to the island. At 17km it was a short but nice trip to start the new Raid.



Route for Thursday
Dirk and Gerben-Jan encountering another low bridge - Photo Sara