Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I have limited internet connection so I can not send any pictures at this time. However we want to stay in touch with the people who faithfully follow the blog, and let you know that we are doing great.

First of I should mention that "again I made a mistake when sending you our Dutch telephone number. I had mentioned that you need to dial two zeros in front of the the "out of country" number. This is incorrect and it should only be one zero. So 011 31 619974041. (From Canada I don't know the American out of country code) Many of you have figured this out, and we want to thank you for your calls with congratulations and good wishes. It is much appreciated.

We are in Zwartsluis at the moment, and I have installed the European battery charger. I did not trust myself to do the final hook up, and I will have a mechanic on board tomorrow who will help with that.

Last night we went for a bike ride through "Zwartewater Klooster. The area where my Mom and Dad started farming after they married. My grand parents on my Mother's side are buried there in very small old, old cemetery. We stopped and walked past there grave sites. It is very easy to get a spot to dock at almost every small village. You end up right in the middle of the village, and
unloading the bike is easy. Biking around the various places we dock will be a big part of our Holland tour. It is very nice to do so, and it gives us the much needed exercise. ( you know how good the Dutch pastries are!!!!!)

Friday, July 25, 2008


Some Holland pictures.

After arriving in Holland we spent a couple of days in IJmuiden and Amsterdam.

Then we went on to Volendam where we stayed for a week. Volendam is a typical old time fishing village, and a tourist haven. When walking on the street you hear many languages and not much Dutch. We had a great time having Le reve docked right in the middle of town. The Canadian flag attracted lots of attention, and had many people stop by to chat. We talked to at least four people from Canada, and lots who had been in Canada.
When my sister Grace and her grand daughter Gracie and My sister from Holland Riek and her husband Johan came to visit, we went for a tour through the "Zaam streek" there are several old time wind mils rebuilt and open for touring. today we will make our way to Enkhuizen an enter the IJselmaar. From there we will head towards Zwartsluis where we will get our European battery charger installed and hopefully get the radar repaired or replaced.
More to come later.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Phone number correction

I gave you the wrong phone number or rather the wrong code to get out of the country ( canada) you should dial 001131 and than the number without the 0 so 619974041

Bill and Joanne

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The crossing

The crossing.

Some statistics about the crossing:
Total days at sea 26
Total Hr at sea 612
Total Miles at sea 3885
The crossing from Atlantic Highlands NJ to IJmuiden Holland was done in three legs. 1/ from Atlantic Highlands NJ USA to Horta on the Isalnd of Faial the Azores.
2/ Horta to Plymouth England. And 3/ Plymouth to IJmuiden Holland.

Total distance first leg was 2150 nm
Total days at sea for this leg 16
Total hrs at sea for this leg 391
Total miles at sea 2250
I have added 100 nm to the trip as we had to move further south in order to avoid the worst of the weather system that we encountered. I did not lay a track for this part of the route, and I have no way of knowing the exact distance. Not only did we move further south than planned to miss the worst part of the weather we felt we would have a better ride with the waves coming right on the stern rather than starboard, or port quarter stern. As we got more used to the heavy seas we realized that the boat had no problem taking the seas from the quarter stern, and after a week or more we did not alter course to have the waves coming right at the stern. I don't know if we got used to getting beat up, or got braver!?!? I guess we established our sea legs by this time.
Average RPM 1300
Total Fuel for this leg 681gallons and includes running the gen set for for approx 25 hrs
Total distance 2250 nm
Total days at sea 16.5
Total Hrs at sea for this leg 391
Average speed 5.7 kts
Average m/g 3.37

>From Horta to Plymouth we could run somewhat faster as we had plenty of fuel for this portion of the trip and being that we took longer than expected on the first portion we averaged close to 1800 RPM
Total fuel for this portion of the route 524 gallon
Total distance for this leg was 1268 nm
Total days at sea for this leg 7.5
Total hrs at sea for this leg 178
Average speed 7.1 kts
Average m/g 2.42 after taking off running the gen. set for approx. 10 hrs

>From Plymouth to IJmuiden
Again we averaged 1750 RPM
Total fuel for this leg 110 gallon
Total distance for this leg was 367 nm
Total days at sea this leg 2.5
Total Hrs at sea for this leg 53
Average speed 6.9 kts
Average m/g 3.3

The total duration of the trip was a little longer than I had expected. I had calculated the time from Atlantic Highlands to Horta to be a few days less than two weeks. As it turned out it was a couple of days more than two weeks. I believe this is due to the weather we experienced. Usually in early June the part of the Atlantic we crossed ( south of 40 degrees lat.) is fairly calm with blue sunny skies. We saw only a few such days. Most days was cloudy foggy, and or rainy,all accompanied with a fair bit of wind. I had expected we would have some seas with substantial waves but certainly not as many days as we experienced.

We did see some traffic, however there were days that we did not see anything on the AIS screen. AIS (Automatic Identification System) would show us any ship within a range of approx. 15 nm, as well as all pertinent information about the ship such as course, speed, destination, closest point of approach, time to approach, and the name of the ship. All this is very important so as to avoid a possible collision. A collision on the high seas could really spoil a otherwise good day at sea!! Most of the traffic we would see on AIS, and could not see with the naked eye even though they sometime were within 4 to 5 nm away from us. On a clear day you should easily be able to see large ships as far away as 6 to 8 nm, perhaps further than that.

We kept watches at all times. Some boats, especially sailing vessels who are crossing single handed, or at best with a couple do not value watch keeping at all times. We did, and had a schedule drawn up of 8 periods in 24 hours. the schedule was as follows 0800 hr to 1200 hrs/1200 hrs to 1600 hrs/ 1600 hrs to 1900 hrs/ 1900 hrs to 2200 hrs/ 2200 hrs to 0100 hrs/ 0100 hrs to 0300 hrs/ 0300 hrs to 0500 hrs/ 0500 hrs to 0800hrs. The night watches were kept shorter as this is the most difficult.
As I mentioned the traffic was light to some days non existent. However this changed once we got closer to the English channel. The English channel is a bottle neck of ocean commerce to and from northern Europe. As well the North sea was very busy. In these areas one would have to keep very diligent watch, and make changes to our course in the appropriate time in order to avoid a collision. One time when I was on watch we were clearly on a collision course with a 945ft cargo ship. He was on my port side and according to the rules of the sea had to give way to me. However common sense in the boating world says that the bigger you are the more right of way you have, and you don't argue your right of way when the one approaching you is close to 1000 ft!! However in this case I could not turn to port to avoid him due to other traffic in the area,
so I called him on the radio and asked him first of all if he saw me, and second if he planned to cross in front of me, or behind me. He came back and said that he would alter course to starboard and pass me on the stern. It was quite interesting to see a 945 ft ship that was coming straight for me alter course and all of a sudden I saw his port beam lights, and he crossed my path on the stern by less than 1/4 of a mile.
One other container ship crossed in front of us ( there was no concern of a collision with this one) and he was absolutely enormous. I called him on the VHF, and asked him if he was the biggest container ship on the ocean. He said that there was actually one that was bigger than him by 60 ft. His dimensions were 1100 ft long 100000 ton, and he carried 8500 20 ft containers when fully loaded. It was enormous!!!
Other than having lots of traffic to look at in the English channel we also enjoyed the best weather of the entire trip. However that deteriorated as we got closer to the Dutch coast, and we entered IJmuiden with drizzle and fogy weather. Typical Dutch weather!!!!In spite of the mostly unfavorable weather during the crossing I could not have been more happy with the performance of the Kadey Krogan Clyde described it best when he said, and I quote " It is quite interesting to see these large swells towering above the stern of the boat. It seems just as the following seas are about to come into the cockpit, Le rêve with little effort lifts her big broad butt over the waves. She reminds me of the grace, lightness of foot and elegance of watching a self assured heavy set girl dance" end of quote. And I have to agree.
Next time I have good internet connection I will try and send some pictures.
Stay tuned!!
Bill and Joanne

Friday, July 18, 2008

Arrived in Holland

Well we are in HOLLAND!!!! It was quite a ride indeed. Made it to IJmuiden exactly on time (1200 hr ) on Tuesday July 15th It was nice to see the welcoming party on the pier ( Bij de sluisen van Ijmuiden!!!!) Joanne was accompanied by my sister,s Riek and her husband Johan and my sister Grace from Canada with one of her grand daughters (Gracy ) Also present was Luke (Johan's son and his in laws Art and Hilly from Brazil. So it was quite an international group. There is a Marina just inside the entrance, and we stayed there for the first night. Johan came with a special bottle of champagne to toast the successful event. Later that day Bern was taken to a hotel by Luke in preparation for him to fly home the next day. Eugene stayed on board and came with us to Amsterdam the next day. We stayed in a marine right across the water from the Amsterdam central station so it was quite handy for him to catch a train to Hamburg Germany to visit with his family for a few days before flying back to Canada. I think you already know that Clyde flew home from Plymouth England. Again I want to thank all the crew for there fantastic job in getting Le rêve across the Atlantic. It could not have been accomplished without you. Again a big THANK YOU to all!!!! Some days were better than others on the crossing, however more about that later.

We are now in Vollendam a quaint fishing village on the Ijselmeer (former zuider zee ). The weather is not very summer like but everyone talks about that it is going to be better next week. We hope so!!

Next I want to thank Brad for keeping the blog up to date, and letting everyone know of our progress. I have heard from many that they really enjoyed your writing style. Perhaps Brad, you have yet another hidden talent!?!?!!

Second I want to thank all the people who have left a comment on the blog with good wishes and "welcome to Holland" messages. We hope to meet those of you living on this side of the Atlantic sometime.

At the moment there are a few issues I have to attend to. One major one is to install a European battery charger so we can keep the house battery bank topped up when we are moored in some of the places we want to visit. All our systems on board are 12 volt, or in case of the appliances 110 v/ac 60 hertz and the local network is 220 v/ac So we will have to live off the house battery bank while in Europe. Joanne is pleasantly surprised that the boat is in such a clean state after having 5 guys live on board for 6 weeks!!! ( Thank you Clyde!!!!!!!!) She also very much likes the new addition to her galley ( Clyde you know what I am talking about!!!!!) Even so, I don't know if she will let me go for another 6 weeks !!!!

Now for some of the technical part that some of you have asked about.
What we did to the boat to get ready for this trip?
First thing that needed to be addressed was to get a "get home" engine installed. I did a lot of research as to what engine would be the best choice. Also I had to decide on a choice between installing a gear box on the main shaft, and have a hydraulic motor driven by either a larger generator, or a separate engine , verses installing a completely stand alone system with its own sail drive and prop. After talking to many people I decided to go for the later. Reason being that if I would have chosen the former, and had a problem with either the main shaft, shaft bearings, or main prop the gear box idea would not have gotten me home. So the decision was made to install a stand alone system. Now what engine and sail drive to get? As I wanted to install a hydraulic pump on the get home engine to run the stabilizers in case I needed to use the get home engine, I needed a engine that made around 2800 rpm. Most smaller engines get the horse power from relatively high rpm (34 to 3600 rpm) and I could not use them. The final decision was for the Nanni 60 hp diesel. It runs at 2800 rpm. Nanni makes the engine for the Kubota line of equipment, ( or the other way around) and having had several Kubota tractors I think they make an excellent product.
An other question was about the Boxes for extra storage, and where they were purchased.
Having been in the fabricating business for over 30 years I was able to make them myself. They are made from aluminum and painted after fabricating. The fabricating is the easy part, it's the painting that makes them look good, and I have to thank Ole Constable from Parry sound for this job. Besides the radar arch and tower I made two boxes that fit in the cockpit up against the stern of the boat. These hold a lot of stuff, and double as extra seating in the cockpit. Up on the flying bridge there is a large box that holds amongst other things our bikes ( we will need them here in Holland) It also doubles as a bench seat. Than there is a box made for an extra freezer and it is placed on the flying bridge starboard side beside the upper helm. The freezer is 12 v/dc and has extra insulation between it and the box, so it is very economical to run.
Further I installed buttons around the large windows in the saloon and had 1/2" lexon cut to fit over the windows, and are held fast with a 3/8" ss bolt screwed into the buttons. (sure needed them a couple of times when we got whacked good form heavy beam seas)
We also had a Spectra water maker installed. It can produce up to 400 gallon of fresh water in a 24 hr period.
The AIS (Automatic Identification System) that I had on the boat was only a receiving unit, and not a transmitting one (common for pleasure crafts). However I wanted the big boys to see me so they could at least try and avoid me rather than run over me. So it was changed for a send and receive unit.
As well we had a proper helm seat installed which was necessary especially for the night watches. At least it kept us in place when the odd time we happened to doze off!!!

Why not go via Bermuda as most people do. First of all most people doing this trip leave from some point in Florida, and Bermuda would be a natural choice. As we had the boat in NY for the winter it would have added approx. 450 mile to the trip had we gone to Bermuda first. >From Bermuda to the Azores is only 150 mile shorter than from New York City. After consulting our weather router the decision was made to leave from the more northern latitude.
Also we had questions as to our speed, and fuel burn. The two major legs of the trip are Sandy Hook Horta 2150 nm and Horta Plymouth England 1250 nm and than the last part to Holland is an additional 350 nm I will hold off on reporting any detail of fuel burn, and speed. I hope to have a more technical report on the entire trip at a later date.
Internet access has not been to good up to this point, however I will try to keep you informed of our where abouts on a weekly basis. We have purchased a European phone, so if you would like you can try and call us on it. The number is 0619974041 When dialing from outside of Europe you will have drop the 0 in front of the number and dial 0031 (from North America) and than the number without the 0

More pictures to come when we have better internet service

Bill AND Joanne aboard Le rêve.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy to have her man back

I had to post this picture that my Tante Riek sent me. Does she look happy to reunited with Dad again? I guess this blogging thing is a hard habit to break! Bye again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Almost there

Hi everyone. I have just about completed my job in that le Reve is due to arrive at the Holland port of Ijmuiden tomorrow July 15, 2008 at 12:00 local time. They are currently 6 hours ahead of us so that makes it 6:00 am our time. There is a link to a harbour camera posted in a comment to the previous entry, I have not tried it myself, but I'm sure it will work.

Dad phoned today, he figures he might as well use up the sat phone minutes as he won't need a sat phone now for some time as le Reve cruises in Europe for the next while. He said that the English Channel is very busy, he saw lots of ships and had a brief encounter with the coast guard too. It seems that while in the shipping lanes in the area he was motoring in you are suppose to cross the lanes at 90 deg. As the area seemed not so busy, and the captain not actually knowing that there was a regulation to that effect, le Reve proceeded to gently cross the shipping lane to arrive at their desired location. Once on that trajectory the Coast Guard radioed le Reve, identifying the ship by size and location and asked that they correct their path of travel to comply with crossing at right angles. At least he didn't get a speeding ticket!

So - the final installation of the crew members. Dad grew up in Holland the youngest of 5 kids and went to school there to get his welding credentials as it were. He immigrated to Canada to look for a job when he was 17 years old. He had two older sisters who were already in Canada, but he left his parents and his oldest brother and a sister that was next to him in birth order. He worked for a while at Guelph Sand and Gravel (I think that was the company name) welding and repairing heavy equipment. He managed to meet and marry a young lady who also came to Canada from Holland at youth group from Reformed Church in Drayton Ontario (where he still attends when he is actually home and not cruising around in le Reve!) and together they started a family and business in Arthur Ontario. The business of confinement equipment for farm animals grew and grew and grew, so did the family with first a son (that's me) then my sister came along followed by another son and lastly (but certainly not least) my dearest youngest sister. We all helped out in the family business at various stages and in various capacities but none of the kids felt led to run the business. Dad stayed with BSM agri for 30 plus years but recently sold the business to turn to full time retirement, when he's not building Canada Comfy Chairs, or helping his children move or build something or playing with his 8 (soon to be 9) grand kids. He has always liked working with metal - most recently building the aluminum arch you can see on the fly bridge in a previous picture. But has taken to working more with wood in recent past (building the mahogany bench you can see in the picture in this post) He has always been good with his hands and I'm sure he will continue to build things when not on the water with his lovely wife Joanne. It seems too brief a description for a fellow who has done so much - but I will let him fill in any details that he wants to fill out.

I should also mention that Clyde's position as head cook has been filled by Eugene. Dad said that Eugene is doing a great job, but there was something about the southern cooking that Clyde had a knack for that the crew really misses. It's too bad that Mike and Clyde couldn't make it to the final destination - but they both were able to experience the Atlantic Crossing and add that to their sailing resumes.

Thanks to all the SO for allowing their men to travel with Dad, he has told me many times that the trip was made by the people in the crew.

I will sign off now and allow Dad to resume the blogging as he feels the need.

May God Be With You and bless you in your travels

Harbour cam click here or here
or try this one or all three just to be sure!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On their way again

I Received a message from that le Reve has left from Plymouth and expects to arrive in Ijmuden Tuesday at 12:00 their time. I have updated "the Big Ride" accordingly. I haven't found a harbour cam like in Horta, but have not tried very hard as it will be 6:00 am our time and I will still be sleeping!

Dad said in the message that he sent that the weather has been the best that they have encountered on the trip so far. I know that Mom hopes that the weather stays clear as she is anxious to see her husband again after so long at sea!

I thought I would take this time to mention that Clyde had to head back home as well, leaving only three crew members for the final leg of the journey. There will be more traffic and more to see, so I don't think they will have any trouble keeping the helm manned.

I have done a piece about 3 of the crew members so far, leaving Eugene and Dad. I will save a bit on Dad till next update, but I can put in a bit about Eugene now.

Eugene is currently just about Dad's neighbour, living in Elmira, Ontario just a short drive from Dad's headquarters. He moved to Canada in 69 with his wife Elke, and two daughters Ines and Yvonne. Originally from Hamburg Germany, he has also been close to where Dad grew up in Holland.

He started sailing with the German merchant marine as a carrier, where he traveled on small and ocean going ships. But as life goes, things changed and Eugene followed a different carrier. Graphic arts in college led him to working for an American advertising agency in Hamburg promoting photo lab equipment in Germany, US and finally in Canada. After moving to Canada, they had a son, Tim and bought into a small three man printing business in St. Jacobs. Working hard and improving business to create the need to employ 20 people, allowed Eugene to sell his shares of the company to two of his co workers and retire in 2004. He and Elke enjoy summers on the lake and in the garden, and winters Eugene hits the slopes to keep in shape.

The pictures above show that Eugen is always happy, and was able to take the roll of diplomat of the crew with his winsome personality. Dad really enjoyed having him along on the trip, probably so that he had a fellow European/Canadian with him.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Leaving for Holland

Hi all - quick update. As le reve is still needing some stabilizer work, and Dad is going to see some sites in England, they are leaving early Monday for Holland, to arrive Tuesday some time
I have to post a bio about Eugene and Dad before that time - so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Up date

I received a location this morning from Dad - he is quite close to Plymoth and will be there by about 5 or 6 pm their time or noonish our time. Next stop Holland! Above are two pictures as le Reve entered Horta - the quarantine flag and the Portuguese flag needed to be raised as per regulations.
Happy Sailing

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quick update

I wanted to put the newest position post up - I will try to get another picture up later today. I have updated The Big Ride so you can check your bookmarked page for the latest postion of le Reve. Please post a reply to this blog if this isn't working for you...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Where's le Reve

Another image Dad sent while in Horta. This is of the coast - not where he landed but on another part of the island.
I have mentioned whene Dad is going to be in Plymoth, but I can't remember if I said that he would be in Ijmuiden next Tuesday weather permiting.
The Big Ride map has been updated - happy sailing

Monday, July 7, 2008

Calm Seas and good sailing

Hi all, I got a message from Dad tonight that said that althought the first day was very rough, the seas are calm now and that ETA in Plymoth is late Thursday pm. Holland should be another 5 days plus or minus depending on weather. I have updated The Big Ride - so you can check your bookmark to see where le Reve is.

The picture here is of the group in Horta. It is tradition for travelers to sign the wall. Eugene worked all day on a sign with white background and red lettering. If you are observant you will notice that the painted flag is in the reverse. As they stood back to observe the job on the nicely done lettering, someone by accident spilt the red paint over their work! They had to start over and finished with what you see in the picture.

Happy sailing


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Progressing well

Hi all - It seems that I have missed a day in updating The Big Ride Map - that has now been corrected so you will see le Reve's position as of today at 1:30 pm our time. Dad sent a message saying that the seas have calmed down nicely (they were too rough to leave, then they were still pretty rough the first day). They saw a pod of whales and some dolphins as well. A big ship had crossed their path yesterday and reported that the forcast for the next few days was very good. So they will be having good conditions for getting some pictures and spending some time on deck in the next little while.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Updated Maps and new pictures

I have received an update of Dad's position, and I thought I would take this opportunity to post a few pictures. Here is Dad with a customs agent in Horta - Dad seems to make friends where ever he goes.

The current position is here
(remember to zoom out to see relative position.)
The updated map can be viewed from here
(you can bookmark this link and then refer to it whenever, so I won't include a link in future posts)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Island of Faial - and updated departure

I received this from Dad earlier today and thought I would quote him - the pictures are of the Island he speaks about touring -

"Today we toured the Island of Faial. Faial is the Island that Horta is
situated on. It is an amazingly beautiful Island. The first thing that
strikes you when you travel its roads is that there are Hydrangea's
growing everywhere along the side of the road, as well as along most of
the fence line. Also it is quite evidence that the Island is of volcanic
origin. Some of the older homes are build entirely from the lava rock
that is found all over the island.

As far as our departure is concerned. We have everything ready to go,
did a test run, and all is running well. Problem is the Depression (low)
to the north of us is very intense with waves up to 30 ft. We all
decided we would rather be in port, than be out in that kind of weather.
It is looking good for later this week, and we might be going either
tomorrow, or Friday (hopefully tomorrow.) ""

He went on to say that due to the bad weather and time constraints Mike had to fly home - as mentioned in the previous entry.


Dearly Departed Mike Lankes

No - Mike is not dead! Just had to make his way back to the USA as his time limit for the trip was up. Dad called tonight to let me know that Mike had to leave, but that her really appreciated the help and expertise he added to the crew. I was telling a bit about the crew in alphabetical order, but since Captain Lankes (he has his U.S. coast guard master licence - with 100 ton near coastal, towing endorsement) had to return to the mainland, I thought this would be a good place to put his info. (Sorry Eugene, you'll have to wait a bit longer to be immortalized in this blog!)

Mike, an electronics engineer, will be going back to Ellie in Buffalo where he spends his summers. Former U.S. Merchant Marine serving aboard Bethlehem Steam Ship Company's Daniel J Morell before military service in the US Navy, Mike brought lots of boating experience to the crew aboard le Reve. His experience outfitting and refurbishing boats of all sizes certainly came in handy when the stabilizer and other mechanical failures occurred. And his back ground with the sea tech marine training was helpful in figuring out the radar issue they were having aboard le Reve.

If you're in Florida this winter and picking up a new yacht, Mike may be the man to deliver and train you how to operate your purchase, as that is how he is filling his time since selling his business a few years back. That is if he's not off on an adventure on a boat somewhere - with cruising experience on the Great Lakes and tributaries, western rivers, Thousand, Virgin and Bahamas islands and Mediterranean sea - he's just looking for new adventures. And now he can add an Atlantic crossing to the list that will probably keep growing!

Mike - thanks so much for sailing with Dad and keeping him safe. I know he appreciated the company and I felt good knowing he was in capable hands. Happy sailing!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

delay due to weather

Dad and the crew decided to wait out a bit of bad weather they were getting in Horta. The ship is in ship shape and they will depart as soon as the weather cooperates. Here are two picts that were sent to me, the first is a sunset at sea. The second is the last leg of the trip to Horta with the island visible in the distance.
I will let everyone know when le Reve leaves on the trip to England, and post a few more pictures at that time.