On Friday morning the 17th the liberating phone call came in. “The boat is available, YES!!!!”. Screaming with joy it dawned on me, it’s going to happen. I had my good friends and surf buddies Lars Tattje and Sjoerd Saaman joining me on the trip to England as “wing commanders”. Tickets were booked for the evening ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich on Friday so we would drive from Harwich to Lowestoft at 07.00 Saturday morning, a trip of two hours.
In Lowestoft, we were able to use the facilities of the RNLI, the English counterpart of the KNRM. I had spoken to the skipper of station Lowestoft already and he was excited to help with this attempt. At 09.00, we arrived at the docks in Lowestoft and it blew 20-24 knots, wind force 5 to 6. The boat, the KNRM’s Koos van Messel was just coming in and we decided to rig four sets; of which three would be secured in the gunwale. Along with four boards, the necessary spare fins, masts and booms were put on board.
I would start with the 7.0 RS Racing EVO 6 and Tabou Manta 66 wide and 36 Z fin. We lashed the 6.4 – 7.8 and 8.6 with the boards the manta 59 – 71 and 81 wide. The wind would be veering 5 degrees during the crossing and decrease a few knots so we anticipated on switching to larger material if necessary.
I had a GT 31 GPS on both my arms where the bearing and distance and heading were displayed. Around my wrist I had a GPS where I could read the speed, average speed, distance and time.
On my back I wore a camel bag filled with three litres of energy drinks and with energy bars and gels in the side pockets so I could drink and eat during the crossing. A VHF and AIS Sart in case of emergencies were attached to my crash vest. Sjoerd joined in the Rescue boat and Lars had the long journey back to Holland, with the car and trailer, ahead of him.
Just outside the Lowestoft breakwaters I went in the water. A short stretch was sailed to make sure the equipment was rigged and tuned to perfection for the journey. The RNLI joined us for the practice run and to make some footage for the local news station.
Just after 11 a.m. local time we reset the clocks and told Lowestoft port control we were off; GO TO THE START, READY, GO!