I left no stone unturned to find a new boat and browsed through many websites, forums and marketplaces all across Europe. Initially, I considered to buy a Blekinge Eka, but when I came across Iain Oughtred’s design of a Caledonia Yawl and its proponents across the globe (here is one example), I was hooked. By mere chance, I followed up a 2 year old advertisement of a modified Caledonia Yawl (rigged as gaff-sloop, so technically not a yawl anymore) to find out that the boat has been donated by the boat-builder’s widow to the KNRM, the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution. To my surprise, the boat was still for sale! I acquainted myself with the current Corona regulations and found out that it was still possible to cross the Dutch border, even without any bureaucratic hassle if the stay does not exceed 24 hours and if one is willing to self-quarantine for a couple of days afterwards. Not a big deal, as I am working from home-office anyway. So I did not hesitate to hitch up my trailer and to head westwards. The boat was shown to me by Michel de Jong – a KNRM-skipper – and my resolve to buy this fine boat did not take long. After a coffee, the contract was signed and the trailers moved to the quay. Michel has organised a crane, but not just any crane! The Dutch Coast Guard had one of their vessels moored at the quay and they thankfully agreed to lift my new boat onto my trailer: What an epic start!
After the boat was secured on the trailer and all the sails and equipment stowed away in the truck, I headed back and already regretted not having the opportunity to spend more time in Den Helder. On the way back, I drove past the Maritime Museum, a historic submarine, which stern jutted out impressively from a row of buildings, and several other historic ships moored in the canals and exhibited in drydocks. After driving about 1000 kilometres on one day, I finally arrived back home tired, yet extremely happy. After a hot shower and a midnight dinner (tarte flambée and a red burgundy) I dropped into a deep slumber. It was indeed so deep, that I cannot recall whether I took her sailing in my dreams.