Friday Sept 6. There are still a few good Dutch(wo)men among us. And departure report.

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 6th, 2013

I knew my chances were slim to none. I had gone through the exercise in Bulgaria in 2011 trying to recover the nearly $2,500 in VAT sales taxes that was due to me on the exportation of the engine, from the EEC, that I had bought from Holland and installed in Romania in late 2010. I bounced from one customs office to the next in Varna on the Black Sea.

This time I should be able to get the VAT (BTW) back on anything I purchased within the three months before my departure. The biggest purchase is my new EPIRB and altogether it is 250 euros, close to $400. The problem is that seldom a sailor goes through the hoops to recover these taxes. Tourists flying out of Holland can easily claim their refunds at the airport. I made a number of telephone calls and every one contradicted the other. There is no customs office in the port I’ll be leaving from, IJmuiden, the most logical alternative would be the port of Amsterdam but I was directed to the Schiphol airport. How in the world can they verify that I am taking the goods out of Holland? But sometimes I do get lucky. It was a long walk from the airport building to the customs office. It had started to rain and my bedraggled look probably helped to stir compassion. At first the custom’s man and woman, taking their smoke break on the entrance steps, told me that this was not the place.  I told them about the many phone calls I had made and that I was not very happy. The lady had worked in the port of Rotterdam where they still have a customs facility. She called the Rotterdam office. In the meantime the other male officer offered me a cup of coffee. And sure enough I started hearing the sound of stamping on the six invoices I had submitted. The next step is trying to get the sellers who collected the VAT from me to refund it to me…..because they will most likely not be familiar with the procedure.

I had figured on having to go through this exercise on Monday in Amsterdam but now that it is taken care off I should have clear sailing to IJmuiden on Monday and if the weather cooperates I plan to begin my sail to Woodbridge from IJmuiden in late Monday afternoon and arrive at the mouth of the Deben River on Tuesday morning or late Tuesday afternoon.  I can only cross the bar early morning and early evening. There are a number of friends and relatives who wish to wave me out and I think I should be going through the locks in IJmuiden in mid afternoon on Monday. I shall be checking out with the Marechaussee there and probably be there an hour or two. You can check with me on my mobile phone.

Please, note that from now on to e-mail me while I am away from shore you’ll need to use the trusted Sailmail e-mail address. Remember, it is my WDB  call numbers followed by




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