Cruising Guide to the Netherlands
A pedigree yachting publication aimed at all cruising categories, but with “fixed mast” yachts in mind. It is the 5th edition and is continually evolving to refine the detail and reflect the changes tacking place in the geography of the Netherlands and development of its waterways..
It starts where the North Sea pilot [also in the Club Library] leaves off, with a minimal overlap, and has a wealth of information, as good as the publishers charts but with a far wider scope. Everything is explained rather than assumed, particularly the local variation in the emphasis and interpretation of information that skippers are likely to be offered. Fore example the author quite correctly points out that most UK sailors know their exact draught, but what about the “air draught”. To minimise risk each specific instance quoted for clearance height has the datum for the bridge, which could be anyone of many between HAT and LAT, including NAP, NR and KP. (Answers at the bottom of page…).
The structure of the book is straightforward in that it has 3 principal sections, General, The South and The North, plus an Appendix. Within the South and North Sections the structure has Approaches from seaward, followed by a number of Routes (12 for South and 9 for North,) with all the navigational, berthing and domestic information detailed sequentially from the start to finish. The concept is good, as it creates clarity from confusion, but a colleague who has used the previous edition and checked this one, points out that it takes some getting use to, and that the best way is to assume that you are walking the route and missing out the steps that are not vital.
“General” offers a brief history and information sources and is essential reading as it covers the formalities and regulations as well as keys to interpreting bridge and lock information displays. Typically it informs that it is a legal requirement to carry a copy of the ‘Inland Water Police Regulations’ contained in Wateralmanak 1 which regrettably is neither as up to date as Wateralmanak 2, or published in English.
The advice given by the author can be distilled down to, carry the rules, carry the (RYA) Safety Equipment, stick to the colregs, keep well to Starboard (unless you are told otherwise), have a good engine and only sail if you have plenty of room!
The South covers Zeeland and the Southern Delta (4 Routes) up to Rotterdam, the North Delta (3 Routes), South Holland up to Amsterdam (2 Routes), The Great Rivers (2 Routes) the Lek and the Waal, and a visit to the interior with a circular tour (Route12) from Dordrecht into the Biesbosch and back.
My cruising friend who has covered Route 2 and parts of Route 3 in a Warrior 40 and looked through this edition is fully supportive of the concept, with the reservation mentioned above, and despite the fact that he went aground just on the shore side of Buoy VM 78 KW1 (page41) with a draught of 1.6m. He also mention that there are often other mooring /berthing facilities, not mentioned in the text, and also said that one of the best Marinas that he visited was WF De Werf in GOES (page 47)
The North. The ‘Offshore Approaches’ section is important and covers the entrances and estuaries taking into account the TSS and Sand Banks, all of which are very carefully described, but one probably needs the latest chart to underpin the guidance. The Routes, 2 in Noord Holland, to and from Amsterdam to Den Helder, and 3 more Routes on the great inland Lake, The Ijsselmeer. The final 5 Routes are in Friesland, the Frisian Islands and the Waddenzee…. it brings back memories of The Riddle of the Sands). All of these difficult, tricky areas are handled with clarity and detailed description.
The final section, the Appendix is another valuable cache of information, from charts to Lifeboat stations, and includes a 3 way glossary in English, Dutch and German.
On the nit picking side there are few typing/style errors, mainly assembly problems (e.g. there is a set of important information on signage in no mans land between the Preface and the General Section) but these are trivial in comparison with this prodigious assembly of guidance, information, illustrations and comment. Overall it is probably the best source document for planning, executing and enjoying your cruise in the Netherlands. However it is not an easy, quick reference volume, so I would advise that you read it through, thoroughly, in conjunction with an appropriate chart, well before you go Dutch.
The answers to abbreviations ;- NAP Normal Amsterdams Peil (mean sea level); NR Normal Rivierstand (normal river level); KP Kanalpeil (canal water level)