Amsterdam First Two Weeks

Click for larger image

During our first two weeks in Amsterdam, we enjoyed being back in familiar territory with the city already lit up for the winter. We revisited some of our favourite restaurants, found some new ones, and stocked up on supplies and parts from known vendors. We also completed a fair number of larger boat projects, including changing the wing engine PTO clutch, bolting the Freeman hatch in place, and replacing the hydraulic steering rod end.

Below are trip highlights from November 2nd through 18th, 2019 in Amsterdam. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

Click for larger image
Window Covers
We have mesh covers for our pilot house windows that we use for sun protection and privacy. We’d kept them in a covered bin in a bow locker and it looks like condensation built up on the inside and we had some mildew on the covers. We got most of it off with a power washer spray and scrubbed off anything more stubborn with a hand brush.
Click for larger image
Changing Clutch
Today we changed the hydraulic power take-off (PTO) clutch on our Lugger L844d wing engine. We documented the job in this video, where we show the problem with the PTO clutch and how to change it.
Click for larger image
Defrost Flow
The defrost vents above the dash for our diesel furnace weren’t producing enough heat. Here we’ve got the flybridge brow emptied so James can check for issues at the ducting inside that feeds the dash outlets. He found the furnace heating water going to the defrost heat-exchange units was cold, indicating there’s an air lock in this part of the circuit, or some other problem is preventing coolant flow.
Click for larger image
Furnace Manifold
After James found there was no hot water flow in the pilot house defrost heating circuit, he went down to the furnace in the aft port corner of the lazarette to check for flow on all cooling circuits at the furnace. He found that the yellow handle roughly in the center was in the open position, allowing hot water to partially bypass the heating circuits. The unusual thing is the system mostly still worked acceptably well. Even the defrost system still worked, it was just slower to heat.

It seems the pump moves enough volume that, even with a large bypass open, it still operates, but just less effectively. Looking back at our pictures over time, we can see that this valve was originally positioned correctly. But the weird thing is we haven’t been back in this area hard-to-access area for a couple of years. It must have been inadvertently bumped, and probably quite a long time ago.

Click for larger image
Spitfire enjoying a snooze on the tray above the engine. He’s always finding new places to hang out, and especially likes warm ones.
Click for larger image
Los Pilones
Delicious tacos and a pitcher of margaritas at another of our favourite Amsterdam restaurants, Los Pilones.
Click for larger image
Fender Lines
Building some extra fender lines from some bulk rope we have onboard.
Click for larger image
Canvas Snap
Over the years, a few of the snaps that secure our canvas to to the boat have broken. We recently bought a Snap Setter, snap fasteners, and snap studs and have been replacing broken snaps as we find them. One of the snaps for the engine air intake covers had broken, so we replaced that today. When we’re moored for a while where the weather is cold, we cover the engine room air intakes with custom canvas covers to keep the boat a little warmer.
Click for larger image
We took the bikes on the ferry across to Amsterdam Noord to do a little shopping.
Click for larger image
Rien de Wolf
At Rien de Wolf marine supply store in Amsterdam Noord.
Click for larger image
Jennifer couldn’t resists getting these pink coveralls at Rien de Wolf. The problem is, she doesn’t want to wear them for boat work in case they get dirty. :)
Click for larger image
Picking up some supplies at the hardware store ToolStation in Amsterdam Noord.
Click for larger image
Temporary Admission
Dutch customs came by today to inspect our paperwork and give us a new Temporary Admission document for Dirona. This establishes that we have VAT-free temporary admission of the vessel for 18 months since re-entering the EU Customs Zone from Heligoland. The paperwork isn’t necessary, but we prefer to have documentation of the boat’s VAT status to avoid potential hassles and delays in the future.
Click for larger image
Freeman Hatch
If you ever see a Freeman hatch without screws or mechanical fasters in the top flange, then it’s not mechanically attached to the boat. Adhesives are used to hold windshields in cars and even windows in boats, so can be excellent and can last well.

But we just couldn’t convince ourselves that we wanted to rely exclusively on adhesives in this case. If the hatch came off in a storm, the boat would likely be lost. If the wrong adhesive was used or it didn’t age well, we could have a problem. An earlier Nordhavn 47 had experienced a hatch detaching, so we decided to play it safe and bolt it in place.

Here James is marking where to drill holes for evenly-spaced bolts where each hole is through heavy structural material and will hold securely.

Click for larger image
Drilling bolt holes in the Freeman hatch to secure it mechanically. This is surprisingly easy, but hard to do without worrying about making a mistake in placement.
Click for larger image
Hatch Secure
The Freeman hatch now is securely held in by six bolts rather than adhesive. It’s not going anywhere.
Click for larger image
The view down Haarlemmerdijk, lit up for the winter, as we return from dinner at De Pizzabakkers.
Click for larger image
Accu Verkoop
At battery store Accu Verkoop to purchase two group U1 batteries for the tender. They only had one in stock and they’ll have both of them for us next week.
Click for larger image
We’d somehow not noticed Ibericus on Haarlemmerdijk before. It’s a branch of the Spanish cured pork retailer we saw last year in Rotterdam at Markthal, with its distinctive black hoofs, the Pata Negra.
Click for larger image
An excellent dinner at Stout on Haarlemmerdijk.
Click for larger image
Bubble Barrier
The recently-installed Bubble Barrier in Westerdok minimizes the amount of garbage that reaches the sea from Amsterdam canals, without impeding boat traffic or fish movement. Compressed air is fed through a punctured pipe lying diagonally on the bottom and the resulting bubbles push garbage to the side of the canal, where it collects in a floating platform. Its a remarkably simple design and from watching it, one that really seems to work. Brilliant!
Click for larger image
Parts or Machine Shop
On Dirona we have a Teleflex Capilano steering system. The steering cylinder is Capilano HC5378 and we need just the rod end for this cylinder. The rod end is a bit unusual in that it combines a 3/4-in ball hole with a 7/8-in 14 thread-per-inch shank where 99% of the rod ends combine a 3/4-in hole with a 3/4-in 16 TPI threaded section. The picture above is of both these parts. We need to either find a source for the correct part or a machine shop in the Amsterdam area that can drill the 3/4-in hole out to 7/8-in and thread it at 14 threads per inch. This one is proving challenging.

We would appreciate any recommendations on Teleflex parts suppliers that might be able to get us what we need or machine shops in the Amsterdam area that could drill out the common part to the size we need.

Update 11/14/2019: This one is solved. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Click for larger image
As part of our fendering redesign a couple of years back, we purchased four EasyStore 42x132cm fenders. They’ve performed well, particularly through our 97 lock passages this year, so we ordered one of their larger ones and it just arrived today from Amazon UK. At 24×59 inches, it’s a beast. And it cost only £175, about half the price of the smaller 24×42-inch Pro Stock marine fender we currently use at the bow.
Click for larger image
Damaged Breadboard
It’s only 5 volts, but a year back we made a wiring mistake on this one and the breadboard was damaged. We weren’t intending to change it, but the board comes from a batch that weren’t great. So, the combination of the thermal damage and this being a low-quality board, led us to replace it. The new board even feels better when installing jumpers.
Click for larger image
Junction Box
This is the junction box with the new breadboard installed. This junction box doesn’t really have many connections but it’s enough to look busy and to require some care when changing the breadboard. Passing through this junction box are:  • matrix 4×4 keyboard connection—8 wires in and 8 out  • Lax I2C bus—4 wires in and 4 wires out  • I2C to 8 pin digital I/O—4 wires of I2C and 5 signalling connections to sense:    ◦ Digital in: Gen Autostart off/on    ◦ Digital in: I2C bus off/on    ◦ Digital out: Blue autostart warning light    ◦ Digital out: ER Yellow warning light    ◦ Digital out: ER Red warning light
Click for larger image
Windlass Maintenance
Our Maxwell 3500 windlass has performed flawlessly for us in a decade of use across thousands of anchorages around the world. To keep it that way, we regularly disassemble and grease the top and change the oil.

Read more …

Click for larger image
Freeman Hatch
The weatherstripping on the anchor locker Freeman hatch cover had worked partially out of the groove due to corrosion underneath. Here we are removing the weatherstripping so we can clean up the corrosion and reattach the weatherstripping.
Click for larger image
Removing Corrosion
Using a wire wheel to clean-up the corrosion that developed underneath the weatherstripping on the anchor locker Freeman hatch cover.
Click for larger image
Weatherstripping Reinstalled
We removed the Freeman hatch cover and brought it inside to reinstall the weatherstripping. It’s easier to work with the cover level, and the adhesive works better at room temperatures. Here the weatherstripping has been reinstalled using Loctite 37532 Black Weatherstrip Adhesive.
Click for larger image
Steering Maintenance
Today we removed and replaced the hydraulic steering rod end. In the video at we step through the steering system on the Nordhavn 52, showing some of the wear points and the changes we have made to minimize these issues. Finally, we show the removal and replacement of the hydraulic steering rod end. This is the part that transfers force between the hydraulic cylinder and the steering arm. We show how to check for wear and change the part.
Click for larger image
Oil Delivery
The five 20L pails of engine oil that we’d ordered from Amazon Germany just arrived today. (Well, four of the five did, the fifth came the next day.) That folding cart continues to get heavy use on Dirona.

We’d used every drop of oil on the boat, so this 100L delivery takes us from empty to back to full capacity. This will maintain all of our engines for about a year under normal use.

Click for larger image
Rimula R4L
Obtaining circular pails is getting harder in many geographies, where each company is using their own proprietary-shaped 20L container. We need secure storage when we’re in rough waters, so it’s far easier for us to use a standard shape. We try to get ACEA-E9 whenever we can, but sometimes can only get ACEA-E7, which meets the specs for our engine and is acceptable, but is not our preference.
Click for larger image
Out with the Old
After a year of cruising, we’ve collected about 90L of waste oil. When we bring new oil in, we recycle the old oil.
Click for larger image
333 Days Up
One of our five Raspberry Pis has been up and running without reboot for 333 days straight. That’s almost a year. For such a moderately-priced item, they’re surprisingly reliable.
Click for larger image
Spitfire rolled into a tight ball while sleeping in the pilot house. He’s like a thermometer. If the it’s a little chilly in the pilot house he rolls up into a tight ball. If it’s a little warm, he lies on his back and spreads right out.
Click for larger image
Jennifer getting rid of garbage, including a recently-emptied 20L pail of oil. We now have 100L of clean oil on board and are ready for another year of cruising.
Click for larger image
Charging Batteries
We picked up two group U1 batteries from Accu Verkoop this afternoon and now are topping up the charge before testing and installing.
Click for larger image
Rob & Janet
Rob Westermann and Janet Sijperda of Artnautica 59 Britt are moored behind us in City Marina for a couple of weeks. Tonight we all went out to Wolf Atelier for an excellent meal and great conversation.
Click for larger image
Tender Battery
It’s time to replace the tender start battery. This particular battery is nearly four years old and spent most of its life as a spare battery in the old tender and then was moved over to the new tender, where it has been in use for about a year. Technically it still starts the engine well, but it tests as needing replacement due to waning capacity.
Click for larger image
Fixing Prop
We love exploring in the tender and frequently touch bottom. We’re not too concerned about that, since a new propellor is only $90. But to maximize propeller life, James periodically straightens out the blades and files them smooth. We typically average around a year’s use on a prop.
Click for larger image
The 20L container of Fleetguard ES Compleat antifreeze that we’d ordered locally just arrived. We’d gone through most of our supply in changing the antifreeze in the generator earlier this year and wing a couple of weeks back.
Click for larger image
The holiday season decorations are out in Amsterdam. This large XMAS sign is displayed on a building along Prins Hendrikkade opposite Centraal Station.
Click for larger image
Warmoesstraat lit up for the winter season.
Click for larger image
Dirty Chicken Club
A fun evening at the Dirty Chicken Club for a Bear-Can Roasted Chicken for two.
Click for larger image
Looking south along busy Niewendijk.
Click for larger image
The fabulous art display Amsterdam Oersoep, in the renovated passageway Beurspassage between Niewendijk and Damrak. The display is a modern creation designed to reflect the city and its past and future.
Click for larger image
De Nieuwe Kerk
De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) on DAM square dates back to 1408. That may seem pretty old, but it’s a century newer than Oude Kerk (Old Church). The traditional place for Dutch royal weddings and coronations, the building now functions as an exhibit gallery.
Click for larger image
Mozes en Aaronstraat
Winter lights along the lane Mozes en Aaronstraat on front of the Mozes en Aaronkerk (Moses and Aaron Church).
Click for larger image
Magna Plaza
The spectacular Magna Plaza building, erected in the late 1800s in the Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles. Now a shopping mall, the building formerly was the Amsterdam Main Post Office and is included in the top 100 Dutch Heritage sites.
Click for larger image
Watermaker Maintenance
Today we completed a number of maintenance items on the water maker. We changed the high-pressure (HP) pump oil, greased the HP pump motor, backflushed the media filter until clear and changed the carbon and 5-micron pleated filter. In the picture, James is pumping out the old oil from the HP pump.
Click for larger image
Old Filters
The old carbon filter and 5-micron pleated filter from the watermaker after changing. The last change was about ten months ago.

In high plankton areas like North America’s Pacific Northwest, having to change the water maker prefilter once a day is not uncommon. This can get tedious, so we ordered a simple solution. In front of the standard 5-micron pleated paper filter, we have a media filter.

A media filter is essentially a large vessel full of carefully-selected sand. This approach is the most common approach used in swimming pool filtration and is very effective. We can run the water maker full time for 2 to 4 weeks until the filter begins to show signs of needing to be cleaned.

On ours, pressure gauges on the inlet and the outlet allow us to check the pressure loss across the filter. It’s pretty simple to clean when needed. Rotate the inlet and outlet valves and turn on the media filter booster pump to backflush the filter. After a couple of minutes, it clears and the process is done. Restore the valves and it’s ready to return to use.

Before using the media filter, depending on water conditions, the media filter might need back-flushing weekly, or it could be as long as a month. With the media filter we only need to change the prefilter annually, even when in heavy use.

Click for larger image
Antifreeze Leak
We had developed a slight antifreeze leak under the main engine and could see a drip from one of the coolant hoses that run out to the keel cooler. So the hose clamps likely needed tightening. Unfortunately they are all under the engine on the port side, and the only way to access them is reaching across from the starboard side where you can’t actually see what you are doing. This picture, taken looking aft from underneath the front of the engine, shows James stretched out to arm’s limit and working by feel to place a wrench on the nut to tighten it.

Our experience with heavy wire-reinforced hose is that well-installed clamps will still probably need to be tightened after one to two years, but after that it usually is fine for the life of the boat. That’s the good news. The bad news is these particular clamps are just about completely impossible to access. The entire job took several hours, and the most difficult hose clamp was two hours all by itself.

James has worked on Lamborghinis, Ferrari and other Italian exotics not known for ease of service, but has never found a hose clamp as difficult to access as these four. Fortunately one of the upsides of Nordhavns is they’re designed to be used and serviced, with few parts that are actually “built-in”, so this is a rare problem on Dirona.

Click for larger image
Draining Filters
Draining the fuel from our fuel filter housings to clean them.
Click for larger image
Filter Housing
After a decade of use, a trip around the world, and fuel picked up in many obscure places, the fuel filter housings had built up quite a bit of gunk inside.
Click for larger image
Nice and Clean
The fuel filters back in place after cleaning them.
Click for larger image
The seasonal lights along Nieuwendijk. We love how the Dutch cities light up their streets in the winter with unique street displays.
Click for larger image
Peter Hayden
A great meal at Adam & Siam in Amsterdam’s Rokin district with Peter Hayden, who owned Nordhavn 60 Tanglewood and currently is building Nordhavn 6837. We last saw Peter here in Amsterdam a year ago and had a great time catching up on his build progress and talking boats and travels.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


If your comment doesn't show up right away, send us email and we'll dredge it out of the spam filter.

2 comments on “Amsterdam First Two Weeks
  1. John S. says:

    Wow, your preventative maintenance is very extensive, exhaustive and impressive. I can see why you have suffered so few equipment failures over many years of voyaging. Good idea to bolt down the Freeman hatch even though the company believes adhesives alone are strong enough. Belt and suspenders attitude.

    I am a bit surprised that Nordhavn built the boat with critical coolant hoses that are so inaccessible. One of them took two hours to tighten with a cool engine — would it be impossible to service them if the engine was hot? Wire-reinforced clamped hoses may be good enough to last the life of the boat, but they still seem like an item that should be more repairable.

    • These hoses are remarkably challenging to service but it’s a rare point. I’ve seen some terrible things in the boating world where engines and other components are installed before the boat is fully built and they simply can’t be serviced. There are some ugly things out there. These hoses are silly difficult but they are a rare design point and we can’t blame the manufacturer on these ones since they were installed 7 years after the build. Prior to replacing these hoses when doing some keel cooler work, I never even knew about these 4 clamps. It leaked immediately after the work, I tightened them up and they went 3 more years. Now that I’ve tightened them up again, I suspect I’ll not need to go back in there unless the hoses are changed.

      If these hose clamps leaked at sea, I agree they would be very tough to tighten them in a rolling boat with a hot engine. But, you can manage even fairly large leaks by just adding water to the coolant reservoir as a temporary measure. It wouldn’t be a problem but, of course, they really shouldn’t be leaking and I’m glad they are now sealed up tight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.