Many people wonder what's interesting to see at sea and if a sea voyage isn't too boring... Of course not. If that was the question one never would start the job! First of all you should pay much attention to the sails, weather, navigation and the sea. Secondly, you will see a lot of things. If sailing in a strong breeze, the surface of the sea is very well worth to look at. But there are many ships, birds and fishes, the weather is changing many times and sometimes very rapidly! I hope next pictures may explain much about it.

On the photos you see a supplier plodding through heavy swell.

Below: Another thing; the burning of chemicals at sea. 'Well, the sea is big enough" they say. Because of the public opinion and the action of Greenpeace, the burning has stopped. On the navigation map the area is shown, but that big that we don't like to sail around it. I never had seen something specials there, but now we saw a huge column of smoke. We were curious and continued our course, taking care to stay on the windward side of the chemical burner, Vulcanus-II
Supplier plodding in the swell
Supplier hiding itself behind the swell
Vulcanus-II Vulcanus-II
Clouds of poison...

Vishermen on the pull That's what I can do too! An oilrig in the 'Forties'
A fishing vessel "on the pull", but that I can do too! Fresh mackarel, however not smoked, but fried is good as well. This fishing vessel came from Zeebrugge in Belgium. Though he was fishing and thus had the right of the way, he just gave way to me so that I could continue my course. It was clear that he liked a chat and thus we talked for a while by VHF. This is not very much happening. However I experienced that sometimes even big oil tankers, far out in the Northsea, suddenly changed their course to pass behind me. When somewhat frightened, because finding myself suddenly in the path of that huge thing, the reply of the captain easily was; "Well Sir, just go ahead as you have the right of the way because you're a sailing boat!" And then you see 80.000 tons giving way to 3½ tons... But I never count in that way; too risky to my opinion!
On the third picture you'll see one of the many oil rigs in the Forties.
Goosewinged Strong breeze
At sea, when sailing downwind and at my own, I very seldom will use a spinnaker. Most times I will run under genoa-ll, avoiding too many times changing sail when the wind increases. Sailing downwind I will carry the genoa-II on a running pole and set the genoa-I on the opposite side. The hanks of that big genoa won't be attached to the forestay.
The light blue colour of the Northsea is real! Very surprising and friendly, though the wind had increased to 6 Bf. the effect was caused by a kind of plankton. In the night it was like TL-light shining from the bottom of the sea... That high in the north at 59°. This I never met again.

A porpoise shows its fin above the
water. Very difficult to picture, as
these animals always turn up at
places you didn't expect.
Skua, a very agressive bird!

In fine weather the Dogger bank
is that blue, but only there!    —>


Oilrig Survey vessel at his station Unexpected marks
Oil production Loading oil at the buoy
After several oil crises the Northsea has become a very interesting place to explore oil and gas. That this could be found there was wellknown, but the exploitation too expensive. As the prices increased tremendously, the exploitation of the Northsea became a fact. Everywhere you could meet survey vessels, towing cables of two miles long, ie about 4 km. There were continuous warnings all the time. Sometimes very amazing, sometimes frustrating! In that way I once heard a warning addressed to a Panamese vessel that ignored everything and just continued his course. The captain on the survey vessel became really angry and started to shoot flares to draw Panama's attention. Without any result! The survey vessel: "If you have vhf and if you're listening, why don't you reply? I'm shooting flares, please, keep out of my way!!" No results... Then a Dutch man-of-war - Hr. Ms. "Overijssel" offered him to pay a visit to that Panamese vessel, to order him to change course immediately. Another time, when sailing in the Forties, I heard a warning from a survey vessel, followed by its position. As this given position was close to that where I hoped I was (There were neither AP-navigators nor GPS...) I looked out of the yacht's windows, but there was nothing to see but the empty sea. To my surprise I then heard: "This message special is for the sailing yacht with brown sails, sailing at my starboard side." I don't have to tell you, that I jumped on the deck to look around; far away, on my port side, I saw a vessel. No treat to me and for me it was really impossible to be of any treat to him. So I replied to him telling my course and speed and he corrected that with figures behind the dot! He liked to speak to somebody and at the end he said: "Thank you Sir for your attention and a good watch!"

Piper - Alpha In memoriam - Piper Alpha
The weather was nice and calm and this oil rig was exactly straight ahead. All ships should pass at a minimum distance of 500 meters to these objects. However, I didn't think it to be of any danger to pass more closely. At least the danger couldn't be there for him and for me, well I could see what I'm doing, make pictures and continue my way. So, I neglected the warning buoys around the rig and made some pictures. Very soon, the survey vessel came and ordered me to leave that restricted area. So I replied that I wanted to make some nice pictures and that it was impossible for me to do any harm to that huge object.

Some time after my arrival at home, the oil rig exploded and set on fire; 180 workers died immediately after their living was blown into the sea.

UK 73
The vessel "UK 73" is still on its way, while the "224" is fishing already. At sea you will meet many fishermen. But watch out! If they are fishing, they also will sleep... Their ships are more solid than a little wooden yacht!
UK 224
Tired pigeon When sailing at sea, many times a bird will take a rest on board. Most times the animals are exhausted and that tired that they loose all their shyness and come and sit on the boat. Most important and only thing is to give them fresh water to drink and don't disturb them. Normally we don't have food for pigeons and he didn't like the slice of bread. Sometimes it happens that these birds are chased by a bird of prey such as a skua. Out of two bad things they choose the less harmful way; they try to find save shelter with men! The killer bird will stay away at a safe distance.
Danish lifeboat 'Martha Lerche' In the year 2001 we sailed to Thyborøn (Denmark). The weather was very changeable and in the night some thunder. No big showers and not too much wind, but at times rather windy. There was a big swell, higher than could be expected due to local wind conditions. Arriving in the vicinity of Thyborøn the wind increased to gale force 9. After consulting the harbour authorities the Danish lifeboat "Martha Lerche" went out to guide us in from the leading buoy, about 2½ NM before the entrance. There was a poor visibility due to the conditions at sea.
On the picture, the waves aren't that high. However I wanted a picture from the life boat and the buoy together. Just at that moment there was a piece of calm water. Besides that, we also arrived in more shallow water decreasing the height of the waves. As told before, visibility was very poor due to the air filled with flying sea water. At less than a half mile's distance from the harbour entrance we saw high in the sky, above the "mist" the tall chimneys of a factory, but still nothing of the shore! Entering a harbour on the lee shore like Thyborøn, is very risky in conditions with westerly winds of 6 bf and over. Many people warned me and also fishermen from Urk did. If in those conditions you make a wrong decision, well, then it has been your last decision for ever; the sea has no mercy! We were very happy and thankful for this kind assistance and payed a visit to their office ashore. There they had a recorder, recording also the wind speed. At the moment they were guiding us in there was a wind gust of 27 m/sec. This is 10 bf and very close to 11 bf. They told us that we were lucky as the wind was wsw and blowing with that force for about 4 hours only. If northwest and during a longer period, it should have been too bad to enter. Some hours later, they went out again. Now they guided a Swedish yacht with only one man on board.

Sunrise Sunset
But many times weather is calm and nice;   sunrise...                 and sunset!..


Dear visitor of this website, thank you for your patience and interest. I hope your life will go downwind like it goes on the picture!
Q.V.-2 spinnaker-sailing

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Last updated on December 10th 2003 by: