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The crew

original text in Dutch, 2007.07.07



For Kaat moving was always important. Sport is move: as volleyball player in provincial division thirty years ago, as student in Sciences of sport and physical education at the University of Ghent, and as teacher at the Koninklijke Athenea (Royal college & 6th Form college) in Bruges; still moving, by practicing windsurfing and sailing - on Vaurien dinghy - but also and always there as fascinated reader moving thus through multiple lives and worlds - at least a book a week as intellectual diet!

Moving is also ... travelling! Early July 1976, she's on the way with Eric heading for Turkish Kurdistan, for the Syrian border and for the Van lake. With a couple of friends, two cars and the dog Balthazar they cross in 52 days about 9.000 miles. From then travelling together became living together.





Before meeting Kaat, Eric was probably quite the opposite. Studies of Roman Philology - linguistic and literature, a lot of history and Latin -, first political and ( at first ) hesitating choices - as praeses of the association of "Romanic"students - facing political evolutions which were intensifying on the disturbing horizon ... When he meets Kaat he starts jogging, with fervour. So moving becomes - for him too - a necessity. After some years, teaching is felt as too narrow. As president of the local section of the teachers union his political-social interest finds a certain satisfaction. He only finds this completely in 1980 as representative and general coordinator of the Commission of the neutral municipal and provincial education providers ( CONO). But in Belgium, and particularly in the politically and philosophically segregated Flanders, important transformations are coming. Following an important political dissension, he decides to withdraw and returns to teaching at the Stedelijk Atheneum of Ghent ( Municipal college & 6th Form college ).

After a few sailing experiences with friends, owners of a sailboat, at the end of the seventies, Kaat and Eric had understood that owning a boat wasn't within their resources: this Ecume de Mer and later this Spirit 28 were both quite out of reach!

When about fifteen years later, they register their son for a sailing course on Optimist in Nieuwpoort, the idea to follow themselves a training course on Caravelle is very attractive: the Greek islands are surrounded with water! The adventure of sailing starts: during two years they sail on the pond "De Ster" in Sint-Niklaas (former Bloso-base), in Holland on the Veerse meer on BM, on the IJsselmeer on Sun Odyssee 42, they rent a boat in Greece, anchor in the Gulf of Volos, where, with a Zodiac dinghy and windsurfing boards, they spend all their long summer holidays - Dhiavlos Trikeri, Agia Kiriaki, Limin Vathoudi, Alatas, Milina, Petraki, Horto, and Zasteni ... In June 1994 they obtain both the Yachtman certificate.


In October of the same year they buy NEHALINNIA, the boat they want to bring in the Gulf of Volos!
( see Photo Album: Before )

But at first they will spend their holidays along the south coast of the U.K. and, in the Netherlands, in Zeeland ... And hundreds sailings off and nearby Nieuwpoort!

A few time later they sail the French waters: the Baie de Seine - Deauville, Dives, Ouistreham, Courseulles, and Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue.

The next years, they are heading for Cherbourg, the Race and Alderney, arriving in a thick fog, where during a bright interval they discover something like the charming fifties...

One year later they visit Guernsey, and North-Brittany, nice Lézardrieux and the river Trieux, l'Ile à Bois, charming Bréhat, the pearl, and Saint-Quai-Portieux too - they have been there already each time their son was following sailing courses by the Glénans, the famous French sailing school, in Paimpol or Concarneau.


Jersey and the nice walks along the cliff paths, the overnight anchorage at Sark- Dixcart Bay.

The next year, again, they are heading for the Alderney Race and its " overfalls, races and tide rips ", " 12 kn SOG and even more ... "; back to Guernsey: not without being a little bit proud - "Oh, kleine boot hoor, zo ver ; - Ja, leuk zeg; - Niks voor mij - Dutch people [ transl. "look, that small boat, so far!" - Yah, very nice" - "No, thanks, not for me"] But also, the friendly and encouraging look, non-deprived of a certain approval, of this rather reserved English sailor; the haughty indifference of a Frenchman too proud owner of a new - too big - sailing boat -, too proud also of his nice and charming but very young wife...

"Here we are ... back and again!".

This marvelous south coast. They will explore it in detail, Pointe de Corbière, Petit Bot, Fermains Bay.

Off Antifer, on the way back to Nieuwpoort, for a long time, a dolpfin is playing in the bow wave ...

But the Mediterranean Sea, the cicadas, the greek music, the blue sea, Horto and Zasteni ...

The desire becomes haunting, time is flying fast away, becoming older ...

Still one year? No, still three.

Still two.

"Still one year."

June 2007. After the elections, Flanders turns more to the right. "As convinced Flemish, but political, social and cultural progressive people, feel less and less well here!"


Their port of registry also changed. In thirteen years pontoons and catways were added. Boats became always bigger and imposed more and more "creative" solutions, regarding the space in the marina of the VVW sailing club. So it became also more and more a boat parking. And the style also had changed: the introduction of more commercial and strongly sponsored events modified the atmosphere. The social and economic evolutions had also influences. Appearing instead of being. Inevitable? On their pontoon comings and goings: friends left, looking for new horizons, free berths were taken by new owners of boats who are staying less and less on board: a short sailing off of Nieuwpoort, and then returning quickly home or at the apartment-second-home, is more and more the new way of sailing . Less " sailors life ". The stories about navigation or experiences during holiday trips by boat became rarer. The life on the pontoon became less interesting, less fascinating, less charming, more impersonal while - paradox of this evolution - the mentality became more "small village"!

Nothing more seems to retain them.

" We leave.now, without further delay. "

After thirteen years the voyage begins, on July 7th, 2007.

[ Translation of the original text of 2007 in Dutch ]

The Photo-Album ( or click on Fotoalbum) contains an overview of our sailings from 1995 to 2006.


in English Back to the general overview, click here.


Updated 14-nov-19
webmaster Q-Webbels