Monday, 1 August 2016

Scheveningen

Megan left Calismarde this morning; but her crew has been reinforced by the arrival of William and Lucy. On Bonita I still have Dave, plus Martha on loan from Calismarde.

We left Amsterdam this morning with hopes of crossing to England. However when we got down the canal to Ijmuiden on the North Sea coast we found the wind was a moderate Westerly, so we reverted to plan B. We had a good sail due south with sunshine much of the way. The picture is of a dutch schooner, the Stortemelk which we passed heading north.
The Stortemelk

After about 20 miles we came to rest in Scheveningen harbour. This is really packed out in July and August; yachts are rafted up right across the harbour. We asked one of the locals what happens when someone on the inside wants to leave - he simply said 'it's chaos'. We shall see in the morning.

It seems that no one who isn't Dutch can pronounce 'Scheveningen' properly. The first syllable is produced far back in the throat. Apparently in the second world war the Dutch resistance fighters used to get people to say 'Scheveningen' as a test; only true Dutchmen could do this and so it would unmask imposters and foreign spies.

Battle of Scheveningen by Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten
By chance we are here on the anniversary of the Battle of Scheveningen on 31 July 1653, a
naval engagement off the coast. This was the last battle of the first Anglo-Dutch war and was won by the English. The Dutch and the English had a bit of a love-hate relationship in the 17th century. There were three wars in which the Dutch had some major victories, although the English were ultimately more successful. Yet on two occasions the Dutch promoted regime change in England. In 1660 they backed the return of Charles II who had been in exile in Holland; then in 1688 they supported the invasion which displaced the legitimate monarch, James II - in favour of Mary and her Dutch husband William.

As we go to bed with the boats firmly wedged in the harbour the wind remains in the West. Still, we are hopeful for tomorrow.