Sailing area IJsselmeer
In contrast to modern marinas the often picturesque and charming villages and towns in which they are located, such as Makkum, Workum, Hindeloopen, Stavoren and Lemmer, are in both Friesland and North-Holland. You will see stunning mansions that have been lovingly restored and which are reminders of the heyday of fishing and trade. Similar places can also be found in the province of North Holland. Examples are Medemblik, Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Monnikendam. Another place very much worth visiting is the picturesque peninsula of Marken, from where you can sail to Volendam.
The IJsselmeer lake was created when the former Zuiderzee was closed off from the Waddenzee after the construction of the Ijsselmeer dyke [Afsluitdijk] between Den Oever in the province of North-Holland and Kornwerderzand in the province of Friesland. It is a stunning lake and, these days, the most popular sailing area in the Netherlands. On a beautiful summer's day the white sails of sailing boats can be seen everywhere. On the shores of the IJsselmeer there are numerous charming and busy marinas.
A mixture of nature’s and people’s work
On a day with somewhat less visibility, try standing on a dyke at IJsselmeer or Markermeer. At the horizon, the grey water dissolves into a low-hanging sky. There is nothing but water and space. This is the same view of the former Zuiderzee you would have seen three generations ago. A lot has changed since then. Wieringen island has been linked to Northern Holland with dykes and Wieringermeer has been drained. The Barrier Dam has been built, the North-East Polder was established, followed by Flevoland, while Markermeer narrowly escaped becoming farmland instead of water.
Whereas the former Zuiderzee was the sole domain of fishermen and skippers of sailing freighters, current IJsselmeer serves far more numerous common interests. The lake still constitutes a fishing ground for eel fishing and a waterway in a busy shipping lane. In addition, IJsselmeer is used as a source of potable water, for sand mining, for recreation, for tourism, and for the generation of wind energy.
Today’s IJsselmeer offers the water sports enthusiast a
multitude of sailing destinations and variation. The open
space invites extended cruises. IJsselmeer is rich in
natural beauty while serving as wildlife refuge to
different species of animals. Many bird species
visit the lake in the summer and in the winter for
food, brooding, or moulting. The surrounding
landscape is open and green. It is exactly the
combination of this space and the intimacy of
he typical harbours that make IJsselmeer an
ideal body of water for shorter or longer cruises.
Good to know:
The IJsselmeer is a large expanse of water. Although you can see at least one shore on a clear day, a harbour is always a long way away when things go wrong. The boat has to be properly equipped for such waters. Therefore, there must always be a reliable waterways map (map 1810) on board and at least a compass, a log, a watch and a plotter. Having GPS equipment on board makes navigation a whole lot easier. If visibility is poor you have to be able to find your way using maps. Properly dimensioned anchor equipment is essential. You have to be able shelter from rough weather. You should, of course, also have life jackets and distress rockets and there should also be a radio on board so that you can monitor the weather forecasts. A marine telephone is also advisable (you will need to obtain the necessary papers) because large areas of the IJsselmeer are not covered by the GSM network.
IJsselmeer is known for its short swells. That is not so dangerous by itself, but it must be taken into account. Motor yachts in particular experience a lot of hindrance from transversely incoming steep waves. If the vessel does not have the required stability, it will even risk capsizing. Safe sailing is a matter of assessing the conditions of a certain route in advance and to select a safe heading when you are being surprised by excessive swells.