At the invitation of the Dutch OGA, a group of 16 or so Gaffers sailed overnight on the Stena Line from Harwich after enjoying a convivial evening meal together at the Samuel Pepys, Old Harwich. Arriving in Hoek van Holland in time for breakfast, they travelled north to Den Helder by train for the EOC Traditional Boat Show.
The Boat Show at Den Helder is in its third year, and goes from strength to strength. The entry fee of just 9 Euros gave access not only to the Show but also the excellent museums in the old dockyard complex at Willemsoord including the Nationaal Redding Museum (Dutch lifeboat service) and Marine Museum which includes the chance to tour a nuclear submarine.
The quays were lined with historic ships, some always resident, forming part of the Museumhaven and others visiting for the Boat Show. Visiting gaffers stayed aboard the ‘Stortemelk’, described as ‘between a yacht and a tallship’, moored in the Museumhaven for the weekend and providing excellent hospitality.
After welcome drinks on Friday evening at the Dutch OGA stand, everyone was invited aboard Dutch gaffer Fred’s beautiful barge ‘Noralein’ for supper where he catered for around 40! The party included Dutch, East Coast, Solent and North West gaffers and a big ‘thankyou’ is extended to the organisers in the UK and Holland who made the weekend so enjoyable for everyone.
Report: Beverley Yates