Dutch boats in Royal Quays lock Royal Quays Marina has long had a close relationship with visiting yachts from the Netherlands, being a popular and convenient port of call for yachts crossing the North Sea. We were pleased therefore, to welcome a flotilla of some 50 cruising yachts and over 150 sailors from the 'Dutch Offshore Sailing Association' (Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Kustzeilers - NVvK for short).
The club had chosen the north east coast of England for their annual rally, and a popular choice it proved be, with more than double the expected number of boats joining in. After setting sail from Ijmuiden the fleet made a stopover at Hartlepool, before racing from Hartlepool to Royal Quays, where they were entertained with a barbecue cooked by the marina's own staff, and local musicians.
It took a slick operation to lock in 50 large cruising yachts for the night and then reverse the whole process again the following morning, so that the boats could catch the tide to take them upstream to Newcastle Quayside for a berth at the City Marina. Here they were given a great Geordie welcome including two days of sightseeing to local attractions and a civic reception. Some of the group then sailed north to explore Edinburgh whilst others returned to Ijmuiden to complete a 540 mile North Sea triangle challenge.