Wind, tide, rain, sun. Nothing could stop us now! Troy was safely back in Norway, while we prepared for the English Channel and Bay of Biscay. We were childless and fearless! Our ambitions: Netherland to Isle of Schilly in one leg. The wind rapports looked good. As always the wind was smack in our faces, but what else is new?
We started out from Amsterdam, early in the morning. The weather was beautiful! The wind picked up as the evening was approaching. At eleven o clock at night we had 40 knots of wind coming straight at us. The waves were huge! We looked at each other. “Can we really do this at night?” The tide was turning as well, and with the wind and waves we did 2 knots. I looked at the map and found a harbor. Zeebruge in Belgium. Its a heavily trafficked area outside of Zeebruge. The radar and AIS was working overtime. When its dark, it is so difficult to see what the ships around you is doing. You are blind! And with the boat going up and down huge waves, the radar had a hard time, and was giving us mixed signals. The waves made it difficult to maneuver. We aimed for an area just north of the traffic separation system (TSS). The plan was to stay out of the TSS until we could cross it, to get into the harbor.
Suddenly there was huge ships all around us. They did not stay inside the TSS. We tried to make sense of the whole chaos, but there was to many ships, going in al directions, everywhere! I have never been so scared in my life. I think we wore only meters from being run over. We turned Delfini around. I will take the sea every time, over huge tankers and navy ships. We stayed north of Zeebruge until daylight. For six hours we experienced the bashing of a lifetime! North sea bashing! I remember thinking: Mummy!!! Come and get me! Im scared, cold, wet and exhausted! The tide was against us, and no matter how hard we tried to hold our ground, we drifted backwards. Away from Zeebrugge. At noon the tide turned in our favor, but the wind and waves wore still ruthless. We did 2 knots, and we had drifted eight nautical miles in the wrong direction. It took us four hours to make it back. Finally, with a little help over the radio from Zeebrugge port control, we made it into the harbor. I was so tired, and so was Rudi. He is by the way the most robust person I know. He was at the helm for hours and hours.
After a shower and some food, we went straight to bed. Slept for eighteen hours. Im so thankful that Troy wasn’t onboard for this! Im thankful that we made it in one piece, and Im thankful that the boat is so solid in bad weather.