Wild and Free

Mooring

The next blog is a bit about where we stay, so we might begin with a bit about mooring. For this blog, ‘mooring’ the noun. Later perhaps ‘mooring’ in the sense of a verb.

At this early stage, we’d probably recognise four classes of moorings. Marinas, municipal, free and wild.

Marinas

These are the best set up, neatest and tidiest with the most facilities. Consequently they are the most expensive. They are also generally designed to cater for ‘small’ boats of under 15 m, and they are generally full of them. On the basis of cost and accessibility, these are our least preferred option – although we used one the first night of this season’s cruising, in Zoutkamp.

Catharina in Dukra marina. Can you find her?

Catharina in Dukra marina. Can you find her? She is top left of centre – you can just pick out the green and gold flag on the forestay

Municipal

Generally run by the towns, these have fair to good fixtures and amenities. They may have power, water, rubbish disposal and more. Others may have just rubbish disposal. There may be lots or little space, and demand depends on season and time of day. In the Netherlands, these generally require payment, a little over a euro per metre of boat length, at the top end. So about AUD$30 per night. These were the moorings we used at Dokkum, Leeuwarden and Franeker.

Catharina at Leeuwarden town mooring

Catharina at Leeuwarden town mooring

Free and Marrekrite

All around the NL there are many moorings designed for short stays, low on amenities and facilities – no power or water, sometimes with a spot to put your rubbish. They may have a road or cycle path near, or be completely isolated. Generally you can only stay a maximum of three nights, although no one is checking. They are free, or in the case of the Marrekrite moorings, you buy a €20 ($30) flag, which lasts you all year and is good for all the locations throughout Friesland. This is our preferred type of mooring, and the main subject in the next blog.

Approaching a Marrekrite mooring. Space for us towards the left.

Approaching a Marrekrite mooring. Space for us towards the left.

Wild

It is possible, although not generally acceptable, to moor in places where there are no facilities. Uncommon in the Netherlands and Belgium, but more common in France. Our idea with Catharina was to have the spud poles, anchor and stakes so that we could use those to moor in spots where no other moorings were available.

The spud poles are two steel poles that are encased in a shaft and can be dropped through the bottom of the hull. They are about 3-4 m long and so if the depth of water under the hull is sufficiently shallow, we can drop these, and they pin us in position.

Stern spudpole at the left. About 3.5 m long.

Stern spudpole at the left. About 3.5 m long.

Bow spudpole, about 2 m long, and smaller than the stern one.

Bow spudpole, about 2 m long, and smaller than the stern one.

Anchors need no description, but apparently it is acceptable to drop anchor in the shallow lakes, and just drift about with the wind. Haven’t tried this yet.

We have two types of stakes, a sort of land anchor and some new spiral pins. We haven’t tried the latter yet. Both types are hammered in by a heavy mallet, and the lines attached to the pin, much like tents to tent pegs.

Spiral and anchor-type mooring pins. The spirals have yet to be tested.

Spiral and anchor-type mooring pins. The spirals have yet to be tested.

Okay, let’s see how we put some of these forms of mooring to use – in the next blog.