Friday 21 September 2012

Barge Racing

Hindeloopen is an old Frisian fishing port on the Ijsselmeer, today the fishing has disappeared and the town has reinvented itself  as a centre for yachting and tourism.

We visited the day before a weekend racing event for traditional Dutch barges and had the opportunity to see many of the competitors arriving and getting ready for the event.

The IJsselmeer was created in 1932 when the inland sea, then called the Zuiderzee, was closed by a 32 km dam, the Afsluitdijk, creating what is now a massive and relatively shallow  freshwater lake some 1100 square kilometres in area.

With no tide to worry about it was possible to anchor very close to the shore for a spot of maintenance or lunch.

Some of the more competitive crews were taking the opportunity to practice, this barge was very active raising and lowering the sales several times while we were there, which must have been exhausting.

We did get to see the racing highlights later on the local Friesland television channel, it was very competitive with around 20 boats racing and some heated after race debate which we didn't understand but looked all very good natured.

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