After 2 days of the "Water Festival" at Enkhuizen, during which we had reasonable crowds coming aboard - helped by the good weather - we departed the harbour at about 2130 on Sunday 2nd June. Long hours of daylight now, so we had plenty of light for getting through the locks back into the Markemeer. With a fair breeze we got under fore and mainsail while still in the approach channel and topsails as soon as we got clear.Full and by on a port tack, wind E force 3, we stood SxE for Amsterdam. A lovely night, just about ideal sailing conditions with the ship slipping along at about 4 knots in the last of the twilight. I handed over the watch at midnight to our new 2nd Mate/bosun, Phil Rose-Taylor. Phil is a very experienced seaman, having sailed in numerous square riggers, including the replicas Nonsuch, Bounty and Golden Hinde. He is also an experienced sail maker, having made the suit of sails for Eye of the Winds Cape Horn passage, and should be a real asset to the ship. As seems to be often the case, we made too good a speed and were early for a daylight arrival at the Orangesluizen locks. I was going to anchor for a while but with only an hour or two to kill and plenty of sea room, I hove her to instead at 0230. The fore topsail had been handed, trying to reduce speed, and with the main squares backed she became a bit unmanageable, the stern rounding up into the wind as we picked up sternway. I had the main topsail handed and this did the trick, she sat nicely hove to under the courses. 0330 saw us underway again and at first light we handed sail and passed through the bridge and locks into the harbour at Amsterdam. With a fair breeze still and plenty of time to make our next commitment - 1000 at the Wilhelmina locks - we set just fore topsail and sailed slowly through the harbour, all hands having breakfast and watching the passing traffic. Entered the Zijkanaal at about 0920 and after negotiating a couple of bridges we were nicely on time at the locks. No one told me that these locks have a knuckle on them just to make manoeuvring interesting (nothing like a new challenge!) nor that there was a power boat already berthed just inside the entrance, blissfully unaware that he ran the risk of being crushed like an egg by 150 tonnes of oak. All went well though and we made it through, picking up some press and dignitaries while we were in the locks. A few more bridges after that and despite the slow speed we were still early and had to motor up and down the canal for a while, awaiting our official reception by the mayor. 1200 saw us alongside our berth - a specially laid pontoon with a dredged channel. Victor Moussault, the director of Zaanse Schans and his team had gone to a lot of effort to get us here and we could see why. What a position - berthed outside a fantastic old windmill - one of a few in a row here - still working and used to cut timber. A welcome by the mayor and other dignitaries, also some women in traditional dress and a brass band playing on the foreshore, most welcome was the shot of local gin offered to us all, just what I needed after being up all night. Since arriving at Zaanse Schans we have been opened up for group tours, with some great guides giving good information about the ship. Also playing in the building nearby is the video of out first voyage and the tour also includes the windmill. What a piece of machinery. All driven by the great four blades whirling overhead, the wooden mechanism drives winches and large blades that reduce oak logs to planks, some of which are to be used for the planking of the replica Seven Provinces being built in Lelystad. This mill is different from the others along the foreshore, used for grinding mustard, chalk and oilseed, by having the whole structure able to be rotated. On the others, only the top rotates for the blades, fitted with canvas sails like a ship, to catch the wind. The whole of the timber millis seated on timber rollers and the whole vast structure turned by a hand winch with ropes leading to bits. At night, the sails on the blades are even furled like a ship. Power from the wind firstly to build a ship then to sail a ship. Fantastic. The whole of Zaanse Schans is a typical residential area along the river Zaan, and was once the site of hundreds of windmills, making it one of the first industrial centres. The traditional green wooden houses are both residential and museum structures - the whole of the village is both a museum and living and working area. As well as the mills there is a clog maker, cheese farm, bakery museum, woodworkers, boatbuilders, pewter foundry, and various other museums, restaurants and shops. We even had a folk band come to play aboard last night - I put in my contribution with a quick tune or two on the mandolin. As ever though, the work goes on aboard - Phil and Bob working in the rig, Barney getting on with some timber work, Walter and Cian stripping down a pump that has decided not to work, Tina indefatigable in the shop and James assisting her and looking after the guides. Heidy has taken over the cooks role and has the big job of keeping us all fed. We farewelled Graeme yesterday - remembering that he has a family in Perth he flew home after a month of his usual tireless work, we look forward to seeing him back in a few weeks We are here now until the weekend when we shift a few miles further up the canal to Uitgeest.
Master - Duyfken