We are not Cape Horners yet but we gained some nice experiences while visiting the city of Hoorn. This idyllic North-Holland town has been making the history since back in 1615. The Dutch merchant Jacob Le Maire persuaded his home town to commission two ships after hearing about the riches of the southern ocean. The bigger of those two ships called Eendracht was skippered by Willem Schout arrived at the southern tip of South America in 1616 and they named it according to their home town Hoorn to (Kaap Hoorn) Cape Horn.
When we were departing from Enkhuizen the weather forecast showed the winds up to 24 knots. After leaving the harbour the wind was already at 30 knots. After the lock to Markermeer the wind was continuously over 40 knots. Markermeer is rather small and shallow water area and even with these winds the waves were only about a metre high. They were however very steep and the disturbed water was making a lot of spray to the deck. We were going upwind and Suwena was cutting beautifully through the waves. This was the first time she was at an angle of 15 degrees without any sails.
Due to the heavy wind we decided to stay in a marina outside of Hoorn’s centre because Grashaven is bigger than the idyllic harbour at the town waterfront. The decision was right because we quickly found a good berth and Suwena was made fast into the pontoon. With these winds it is not fun to circle in the harbour basin looking for a place. Another option would have been to anchor in the outer harbour. The anchoring was possible both in Enkhuizen and here in Hoorn.
All day the welcome wind was howling in the rig with 40 knots. All the boats in the marina were dancing in the wind until it started to give up next morning.
On Friday morning we went to admire the clock tower. It was built in 1755 as a town’s defence tower. This was at time before the Afsluitdijk dike was built and both Hoorn like also Amsterdam were the harbour cities of the North Sea.
While having a Friday lunch in the barge restaurant we got a tip about the king’s visit to Hoorn. The brand new king Willem-Alexander was on a county round together with the queen Máxima and to our delight just today they were in Hoorn. The red carpet was laid on the streets waiting for the royal couple and the streets were full of the eager Dutch.
We were standing next to the fence waiting for the king’s and queen’s arrival. More and more people were arriving every minute and the atmosphere was growing by every moment. The security were walking several times by the fence of audience and checking that everything is in order. When the king and the queen arrived they immediately left the red carpet and stepped next to the fence greeting the citizens. I was excited because I also shook hands with him. I laughed to Andrus that “Now I cannot wash my hand because it got the royal touch.”
At the market of Hoorn the royal couple was presented by some music. The musicants were playing the trumpets at the second floor windows all around the square and it sounded great due to the echos and wind. After the royals had left the party kept going until the late evening. We listened to several bands, musicians and there was also a DJ in the evening.
Still at lunch time we were annoyed that we missed the steam train that leaves from Hoorn, but the day became very interesting in a totally different way.