Saturday, 19 July 2014

Friday 18th July 2014 Oud-Zijlen to Jutphaas. 11.2kms 3 locks

Rodebrug. Utrecht
16.1°C Very hot and sunny with a little breeze. Set off 9.00 am winded and carried on along the Vecht into Utrecht. The line of houseboats started just around the next bend and ran most of the way into the city, up to and beyond the red light district (a long row of wooden houseboats with their backs to the river, picture windows on the other side where the “ladies” sit waiting for business) and beyond. Mast, flag and sunshade down and handlebar on the moped turned to get under the first liftbridge, Rodebrug (2.2m), then a high concrete road bridge
Trip boat leaving Weerdsluis Utrecht
with ample headroom. A Nun went past riding a bike, dressed in an all-white habit – she said hello as we passed. The next liftbridge was a modern one but also low, David Van Mollembrug, we got underneath with everything lowered. We had a short wait below Weerdsluis as it was full and boats were arriving to go down. After almost half an hour the lock started emptying. First out was a tripper, another refugee from Amsterdam, followed by a string of cruisers, a small replica tjalk and a Locaboat – a dozen boats in all. It is a huge lock,
Keeper winding capstan, manually operated Weerdsluis
dimensions say it is 82.5m long and 8.1m wide, I think the latter is the width of the big set of gates as the chamber must be getting on for 15m wide. Just us to go up at 10.30 am. Three lock keepers to work it as it is all manual except for the footbridge across the top end of the chamber. 10.50 am we left the top. It was beautifully quiet going through the city centre down below the basements of the houses and shops bordering the narrow channel. Most of the basements have been turned into shops, cafés and bars, most of which hadn’t opened yet. A few people were sitting out
Into the old city centre
having coffee and reading the paper. One small cruiser went past and a canoeist. A pedalo appeared in front of us, meandering nonchalantly along and oblivious to the boat that was catching them up. Mike gave a blip on our hooter, not wanting to disturb the peace – they didn’t hear it. I had an air klaxon with me on the front deck and gave them a double burst on that – they looked round and pedalled for the right bank, looking shocked! Sorry, but you didn’t really want us to shove you out of the way?? Out of the narrow confines of the city and into a big basin where there is a watery crossroads
Bridges on tight turns in the centre of Utrecht
with the alternative route around the city and the dead-end Singel Gracht where there are moorings. We carried straight on along the Vaartse Rijn heading out of the city. Access to the first liftbridge, Vondelbrug, was restricted by building works (a new railway bridge) and access to the press button to request the bridge opening was very awkward. Mike swung the bows across and I pressed the button, twice. Then I had a reply to say move up to the bridge as we got a red/green light. Not easy as we
A boat making a delivery to a city centre shop.
had to do an S-manoeuvre in a very restricted area with new building work covered with scaffolding on our right (where the button was) which meant sharp left to get round it and then sharp right to get through the lifted bridge. Well wriggled, sir! Just a short wait for the next bridge Oranjebrug, then an open motor boat overtook us as we arrived at Zuiderbrug as we waited for three cruisers to come through the open bridge from the other side, then the speedboat tied up! There were new signs everywhere saying no mooring except for permit holders and the banks were lined with small open boats and
Looking back at junc of Merwede kanal and Vaartse-Rijn
cruisers. A new very modern building had been completed next to the shell of a demolished factory, it had a very fancy new quay with chess pawn type bollards all along it. We saw no signs that said you could or could not moor there, so we guessed it was just for show. Mike dropped our mast to go under the new vertical liftbridge while it was closed but an armada of boats was milling on the far side, two came under the bridge deck but four had to wait so we did likewise and Mike put the mast back up. We went into the open chamber of the Nordersluis (where all the
New flats with decorative quay frontage
ew flatsNboats had just come from) and chatted with the keeper while we waited for a cruiser to arrive. We dropped down about a metre and then followed the cruiser across the busy ARK, a big boat went past in either direction then we went across with four bearing down fast from our right, all overtaking one another. It was very sploshy as we went into Zuidersluis where another open motor boat had just come down and one had gone in, we followed the cruiser in and bounced about until the keeper got the gates closed behind us. We were now on the northern
New vertical liftbridge. Merwede kanal
section of the Merwede Kanal. Rose about a metre then followed the cruiser to the first liftbridge, Blauwebrug, which was open and a load of boats came through heading for the lock. The bridge stayed up but we didn’t get a green light, so we didn’t continue, neither did the cruiser. After five minutes the bridge came down and the queue of road traffic crossing it was impressive. Five minutes later it lifted again and this time we got a green light. The next bridge, Rijnhuizerbrug, was an unusual double lifting deck, we followed the cruiser through it and it carried on. The mooring
View to our right as we crossed the Amsterdam-Rijn-Kanal
in Jutphaas that we’d decided to stay on for the weekend was more or less full – and there were lots of youths swimming from the quay, noisy. We motored on. Beyond the posh quay was a nice grassy bank where a couple of cruisers and a Locaboat were moored. Mike had spotted a three-day mooring before the last bridge and we were going to go back to it when I spied a man on the end cruiser so Mike asked if mooring was OK there (there was a no mooring sign at the end of the quay) and he said yes, if the quay was full then it
Moored at Jutphaas
was OK to moor here. There was a big solid baulk of horizontal timber fendering along the piled edge so Mike dropped ropes around that and we settled down for the weekend. It was 1.15 pm.

CLICK HERE To see what De Hinnik Wagen is all about.
Just after we tied up this beautiful wagon went past - see link.

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