These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

21st - 24th July 2014. On to Terherne for Skutje racing, then boats galore to and from Langweer.

From Heerenveen we returned to Akkrum for shopping, where we were interviewed for the local paper, although we have not yet seen the article. We know that it was in though, as various boaters have told us! The mooring here on the island of Terherne was a little tricky, as there was not much room left for our bows. We are secure with a mud weight at the stern, which is sitting on the bottom.

The weather is almost too hot for comfort. Sally went for a swim, and was then joined by Shannon, who was glad of a lift back to The Puzzler.
Most of the Skutjes and their backup boats arrived on Monday night for Tuesday's race here at Terherne. The whole competition started last Saturday in Grou, and there are a total of ten races on different lakes throughout Friesland, before the final at Sneek on  1st August. These skutjes are up to 100 years old, and each boat represents a town in Friesland.
Everywhere in the lake there are boats at anchor, waiting for the race to start. There is a terrific atmosphere everywhere round Sneekermeer.

Our chairs on the roof give a good view over the island to the course on the main lake.

Fourteen skutjes are lined up at the start.

The skutje from Joure was in the lead for much of the race, but finished fifth.
There is plenty of wind today, and the skipper's skill is all important. The course is four circuits long, with variations in the route. Drachten eventually won today's race.

What a contrast the next morning, with few boats to be seen!

Having left our mooring, we sailed across yesterday's course on Sneekermeer.
Today's race is at Langweer, but we are moored just over a kilometre from the lake there, so can watch boats on their way back from the race. This trip boat has had a good day out.

The procession of all types of craft goes on and on. Hundreds of boats passed us today, going to and from the race.
As the skutjes do not have an engine, they have to be taken to each race by their backup boat, in this case it is a large barge. Tomorrow's race is at Elahuizen on Fluessen, another large Friesian lake.

Not all skutjes have such a large vessel with them.

The skutje from Woudsend is dwarfed by the crane barge, which is there at the races in case it is needed.

A nearby thunderstorm today was followed by another glorious sunset.

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