Today was our first day of training on the water in Medemblik. It is a very cute small town in northern Holland. From the map it looks like the water we are sailing on connects to the North Sea, but it is in fact dammed off. The water is mostly fresh water because so much of it is water pumped off the fields! To get to the sailing centre you drive along the road which is on top of the dyke right along the water. The town itself is full of small canals that the houses back onto. Each family seems to have their own tiny motor boat and yesterday everyone had taken to the canal with a picnic to enjoy the sunny Sunday. There are sheep and cows and goats everywhere; the canals act as fences to keep them in pasture. There are also lots of ponies - Jen is determined to either ride one or bring one home!
We had a good 2 hour session today in confusing wind conditions. The wind was from the SW so blowing off shore and generated by a series of small black clouds. It averaged probably around 18 knots but was up to 25 and down to 12 very suddenly. The waves are very short and choppy and close together as the water is so shallow. We stuffed the bow into one in our first gybe of the day and discovered just how shallow it was when we capsized! A bit of mud on the top of the sail and Jen's mast head indicator was destroyed but otherwise no harm done. The boat is ready to go for the regatta. Our coach for the event (Dayne Sharp) arrives tomorrow morning. We will train with him tomorrow and then racing starts on Tuesday.
Now back to our Ikea bungalow (more on this later) in the bungalow park which features a petting zoo, bowling alley, mini golf, and swimming pool!