Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Completing the Circle

Apologies for my very delayed final entry but better late than never.
After being in Aero for a few days due to fresh winds we headed north to Svendborg which was a nice sizeable town with a lovely marina and lots of old ships around. After one night we headed out the beautiful channel which had some very nice and expensive holiday homes. The wind was light and the weather warm as we rounded the north of the island of Langeland and across the Grosser Belt. The chart showed a small island called Omoe and a small harbour at the north end. The Baltic pilot gives very basic information and of course cant show every harbour so even though it was quite a shallow approach we slowly made into a small harbour with some post berths which were full and a good fishing harbour. As in most places we were made welcome and tied up in a very comfy berth alongside. It was a gem of a place and we enjoyed a long evening walk. I had a swim as Susan made some excuse! I braced myself for the cold but it was quite warm and very pleasant.


 Thatched hideaway cottage

 Baltic Whale Maybe

Next day sad to leave Omoe we headed east through more bridges to a tiny post berth in Vordingborg in the Storstroem on the south coast of the isalnd of Sjaelland. We headed into town and found a festival in full swing. Lots of live music and all ages loining in the fun. Not wanting to overdose on fun we headed back about 10pm as the noise boomed away in the background.
Still heading east we pondered if it was possible to leave the Stoerstrom by the north channel. This was mentined in the pilot book as being only suitable in very settled weather as it goes out in a very tight channel 4 miles offshore and is supposed to be dredged to 2.2metres depth. We decided to do it in the light westerly which took us through very tight turns and under bridges with 20m airdraft. I had been under 19m bridges in Norway so I put Susan on the helm to watch her face as the mast looks like it will never fit under! She fretted but kept going ( unlike my brakes on napproach in Norway) The channel out to sea was very busy with yachts which gave me confidence but the sounder at times showed only a spare .3m under the keel and we could clearly see the bottom for much of the way. Glad to be in deeper water we made for Roedvig and tied up again alongside in a busy wee fishing harbour. the weather was due to be grim so we stayed 2 nights and it poured with rain on the second day.

   Must rain a lot in Roedvig

Weather changed and it became very hot. We thought we would head over to Malmo in Sweden and sus it out for a visit with our daughter who was due in Copenhagen in a few days time. We headed into a marina on the southern outskirts of Malmo under the famous "bridge" again. A bus into town we checked out the central dock marina for a future visit.
Next day back over to Demark and Draegor only 8 miles south of Copenhagen and 2 miles south of the airport. We had a few days so hired bikes and cycled around in the increasing read roastind temperatures. Lynda arrived for her whistlestop cruise so we headed over to central Malmo and tied up in a good example of a dockland marina. It was though boiling hot with no air. The old boat hook fell apart while tying up and I left my phone sitting on ndeck which got fried in the sun. Susan and Lynda went shopping and I potterd doing jobs here and there. I did a steak dinner when it bwas showing 35 degrees in the cabin! Off to Copenhagen next day and found a berth in Langeline marina which was bows to after tying onto a  stern  buoy. Nprobs to the slick crew(and the flat calm). A nice marina witha pleasant 15min walk to the center of town. We did the tourist thing though it was very hot to wander all day.

Malmo Dockland Marina

A bit tricky them pullpits!

Denmarks unremarkable number one tourist attraction, the mermaid that is

Cheers Lynd

Well all good things end and it was sad to see Lynda away after her 3 night stop  and sad again when Susan flew home next day. However it wasnt quite over yet as Peter Eddie and George flew out to do the journey home. They arrived in the still hot sunshine on Friday and spent Saturday looking round the city including a train journey to Malmo to enjoy a couple of £7.50 Innes and Gunn beers in a Scottish pub, very nice they wee too.

We headed off on Sunday morning into the Kattegat ending up doing 80 miles to Grenna as our intended stop of Gillelege was too close and would have meant a lunchtime arrival as opposed to out near dark one. 

Onwards next day to the entrance of the Limfjord at Hals for a nice meal and shower in the busy harbour. Ever conscious of the job in hand we pushed on next day through the lifting bridges at Alborg (Denmarks 3rd city) and tied up in a very tight but nice harbour of Loegstoer. The Limfjord is a good shortcut across Denmark in sheltered but very shallow channels. It is though well marked and well worth doing. Pushing on next day to the west end town of Lemvig where we ate out and had probably the best meal of my whole trip. 
We were aware that the wind was to go light and southerly on the Friday and Saturday then being fresh from the west Sunday and Monday. This looked our best window to go so we set off passing Thyboron and into the North sea at 10.00 Friday morning. We got along with some sailing some motoring and some motor sailing for 2 days. The North sea motion made cooking interesting but do-able. We took a course to a point about 25 miles south of the Rhumb line by Sunday so as to account for the westerly wind shift. As predicted the wind went more SW but we managed to sail and motor sail with up to 30knts. The motion was a bit lumpy and tea was a sandwich free for all that night. The first land we saw were the Cheviot hills and the longstone light away in the distance. As we closed the land its a first that Ive seen the lights of Berwick to the Bass rock at the same time. The worst weather or most frustrating was rounding Fidra to 25 knts bang on the nose which meant a real slog for the last 18 miles. We did though tie up at 0700 on Monday morning. All fit and well we had a mega breakfast and went home to sleep.

A great trip lasting 10 weeks and over 2000 miles. Very pleasant well managed countries with excellent facillities which made life very pleasant and simple. I feel I missed a trick by not leaving the boat there over the winter which would allow more of the Baltic for next year but hey, its only a 3 day sail away!           

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

German coastal wanderings

Jack and Ian arrived on Monday night as planned so we left Warnermuende next morning with only a rough plan in mind. Having initially intended to go back east the wind was not looking good for that with easterlies for a few days then westerlies. We tried to lay a course for Gedser in Denmark but the light wind had too much north so we headed along the coast a short way to Kuehlungsborn and had a quiet night in the marina. 
A better wind and fine weather next day took us up to Burg on Fehmarn. A busy wee harbour but we got squeezed in and enjoyed a trip ashore for a beer. Another submarine here but we did not go aboard for a visit. I did tho manage to get my Calor propane cylinder recharged for half the cost of a replacement at home. 
Fine weather again took us under the bridge an on a short way to Heiligenhafen. Another interesting town with a busy harbour and marina. As  everywhere facilities are excellent and put our at home to shame.
Jack and Ian enjoy the Baltic sunshine

We had been told about Kiel week which is a huge sailing event which ends with a parade of sail on the Saturday which I was told was well worth a look. We headed for Laboe in the Kieler Foerde so we would be well placed for the parade next morning.
I don't think I ever saw so many boats in my life. There was every kind of pleasure boat, tall ships, steamships as far as the eye could see.

 The Big Parade

We were heading out slowly in amongst loads of boats and as you can see by the sky a massive thunderstorm eventually reduced visibility down to about 100 yards at the worst of it. It took a bit of teamwork watching radar AIS and window wiping (about the only time Ive used he inside helm)   to get us out safely but with slow speed by all vessels it was fine.

We headed away north to Marstal on the Danish island of Aero. A very bonny town with loads of nice wee houses and a great tradition of building the Baltic trading vessels. A good sail back next day found us anchored for the first time in Flensburg Foerde. It was very quiet and we enjoyed a mega feed of mince and tatties with carrots and fresh peas bought from the Danish supermarket. They do have good veg with new tatties that the skin falls from. What happened to these ones at home I wonder.

Jack enjoys the houses in Marstal

Next morning we headed the 20 miles or so to Flensburg. We still had a day in hand but decided a day ashore to sort out trains etc would be good. We got a cracking berth right in the town centre and enjoyed good meals ashore and wanderings in the town. We visited the ship museum where a very pleasant well spoken and interesting guy explained all about the steam launch he was rebuilding.

The Steam Engine

Well we all headed off to Hamburg on the excellent value for money and efficient German railway network. Jack and Ian went into the departure lounge and I met Susan before jumping back on the train to Flensburg.

Leaving Flensburg

We stayed another night as its a pleasant interesting town then headed out in sunshine to Soenderborg. A lovely berth alongside the town quay was great. Through the opening bridge next day and into into Alsfjord where we anchored at Lejsbjerg.

This bridge opens every 30 mins! 

Thunder and lightning was impressive.
On next day to Faaborg and into a tight post berth. Gettingt the hang of these now but they are still tricky in a wind! Sometimes getting out is worse than getting in!
Roasting hot with lots of people swimming from Faaborgs new swimming platform.
Were currently over in Aeroeskoebing on Aero again. Its a lovely island with lots of old and interesting buildings.

Nice wee streets

The Kirk

 Wind has been fresh but sun is shining so having some chill out time and some long walks. Intending to start on the way short hopping to Copenhagen tomorrow.  


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Around Ruegen

Davy and Chris arrived on the Wednesday and we enjoyed a bit of time climbing high church towers and going to museums. Friday morning time for Jim and Graeme to leave but they gave us a hand to get out of the tight marina in the breezy conditions. They went with a skip in their step to Hamburg for flights and other adventures.
The new team headed first for fuel and then east from Stralsund under the opening rail bridge. With over 20knts of wind behind us we flew along with only the headsail following well marked routes. the approach to Peenemunde was very tight and very windy but with Chris's diligence navigating and Davy helming we made it into and tied up in Peenemunde harbour/dock.

Stralsund from a high point

Opening on time Stralsund rail bridge

Davy in full concentration mode

 Peenemunde harbour

Peenemunde was a strange little place. The harbour/dock had abandoned old Soviet ships and a submarine which gave the place a bit of a derelict feel. Not all bad though we got onto a nice little pontoon assisted by a very strong and able lady who was painting her boat. She said "tonight iz not good iz big party wiz loud music. Sure enough some kind of festival/rave was kicking off which would last all weekend!
Undeterred we made off for the rocket museum which was overlooking the harbour. It was used to develop, produce and deploy the V1 and V2 rockets which brought terror to England and other cities in Europe. The V1 being short range was launched from mostly France but the V2 being long range was the later preferred option. The rocket only burned for 60 seconds reaching a height of 50 miles before going into a freefall towards its target 200 miles away impacting with 1 ton of explosive at 1800mph. These weapons were very technically complex with very advanced propulsion and guidance systems. This of course meant  after the war there was a scramble between the west and the soviets for the rockets and their engineers. Many were taken to the states where they carried on their work developing space travel and modern missiles. Good or bad, technology is difficult to ignore when its there.
Anyhow enough ranting. It was a very interesting visit though as indeed the lady had predicted it was a very noisy night with boom boom boom being the recurring tune!

 V1 on launchpad

V2 Chris checking it out

We left next morning for Sassnitz on the east side of Ruegen. A guy bumpy trip with the wind never in our favour. The weather brightened though as we approached town. About 2 miles out  call for Aros More came on 16. On responding it was a police vessel who came in for a look. I thought we may be boarded but they only asked where we were from, where we had been, where we were going and crew numbers (more of later).

A lovely high footbridge in Sassnitz

Sassnitz was very pleasant but we headed off round the north of the island in light winds for Vitte in the Hiddensee on the west side. A lovely day with sun and a light wind though a couple of fog banks made for a bit of "peering". Another police boat hovered about then headed off. At one point we put up all sail but after a short while the wind fell away so we left up the main and motored on. After an hour a rib flew up astern with 2 officers on board. I though we were being boarded but no they stayed 5 yards from us. After having bought a motorsailing cone specifically for the trip to my eternal damnation I had forgotten to put it up. Never used in UK but I apologised for my crime and after I immediately got it out he said you must put up now. I did this and their mood was more friendly wishing us a nice stay in Germany.
Into the Hiddensee we tied up in post moorings in the lovely wee town of Vitte. A bit like the Channel islands with few cars, horse buses, and lots of people cycling in the sun. As Auto the pilot had stopped again we took out the drive motor and as suspected the brushes were stuck. There was plenty wear left on them so in it went and "Auto" is good again.           

Vitte in the sun

A bonny wee harbour

We had over 50 miles to go from Vitte to Wernemunde so rather than go against a west wind we opted for a night trip when the wind was to be light and favourable. A lovely night made for a pleasant though always tiring trip. With sunsets and sunrises to keep us interested.

A new day

 A few ships about but mostly further out in the shipping lanes. Yet another police boat about, where do they get all the money to run these quite substantial small ships. On approaching Wernemunde Rostock 4 ferries, a cruise ship, a cargo ship and us all heading in at the same time. We hung back as the parade went by. We entered Wernemunde hoping to tie up in the main Alter Strom town centre but this was full and at 6am one doesn't like to raft alongside. We made round for the huge Hohe Dune marina complex. Good choice as although posts there is plenty room. Facilities are great with shower suites, free electricity which does not trip out and good wifi all  at a very reasonable price. Davy made a good breakfast and we turned in or an hour. Just as I got up yes you guessed 2 police officers arrived. I asked them on board but they just wanted to see our passports and ask general questions. They were quite welcoming and friendly though. Im certain we had been seen on AIS and they wanted to check us out so we could be removed from there vessel of interest list. In over a 1000miles we had never had any such interest. I have only though seen 2 UK registered boats so I guess we are unusual. Maybe I just look dodgy or maybe the inherent German efficiency, I prefer the latter as it belays my rising paranoia!  We spent the last day taking in the town which was busy with cruise ship visitors.

Indiana Jones AKA Chris enjoys a last beer

Chris and Davy headed off to Hamburg and Ive been pottering doing wee jobs here and there. The weather has not been so good with over 30knts wind at times.  I have to say a big thanks to Jessica from the marina office, very kind girl who has very good English who showed me how to work everything(didnt fancy another 4 hour laundry). Look forward to Jack and Ian Meechan arriving Monday night when the weather is due to improve.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Heading South

Well at last I'm getting to an update on the summer cruise to new shores. Eddie Brian and I headed down the Swedish coast and up a river into Halmstad. A nce university town where we wandered around and had a meal ashore. Next morning we made good use of the excellent facilities and did our washing. We didn't leave as early as expected as my choice of normal wash cycle locked my smalls in the machine and went into a molecular level washing cycle which lasted 3.5 hours. We did though make most of the time and changed the engine oil. Eventually we were on our way and made the trip to Hesingoer our first landfall in Denmark.
We were invited into the local yacht club and spent a few pleasant hours. Next morning the plan was to changed the fuel filter which took about 20 mins till we tried to reprime it. Trying for ages to do it we decided to put on the spare fuel pump. This was a very difficult job due to access with very nimble fingers required. We got it done though and headed away bouncing towards Copenhagen to meet up with Maureen and Linda who had enjoyed the sights of the city prior to escorting my crew home to Edinburgh. We tied up in the nice if not a bit noisy Nyhavn right in the town centre. Graeme,Jan and Jim spotted us and came down or a beer prior to joining me on Friday morning. Linda and Maureen also came along so we had a good catch up of news and put up the 2 Scottish flags which Linda had kindly brought out from home. The ladies took the men away to do the touristy things and I got the boat ready for the next Leg.
Wonderful Copenhagen

The departing and the arriving.

Friday was a bit breezy so we had a day in Copenhagen enjoying the city and visiting the hippy hideaway of Kristianna. Jan went back home leaving the sailors to their fate.

Copenhagen Tourists

Saturday morning was glorious and we left Nyhaven to cheers from the still partying youth of the city (how do they do it).
We passed the Danish Royal Yacht and headed for the "Bridge" yes the famous bridge mad famous by the TV series which connects Denmark with Sweden.

 Too big for the west harbour

The "Bridge"

Jim put up the Swedish courtesy flag as we headed in to the tiny harbour of Skanoer on the west side of the Falsterbro peninsula. it was moving with boats and the only place we could get was against the wall in the harbour entrance. It was fine though and we enjoyed a walk in the sun to the shops and a taste of Swedish beer.


With light winds our choices of where to go next were limited. We had liked the sound of Bornholm the Danish island off south Sweden but instead headed down to Klintholm on the Danish island of Moen. My faithful friend "Auto" stopped steering and after some restarts it went again but I planned some investigation later in trip. After passing some high white cliffs which could have been Dover we tied alongside in a very pretty though almost too pretty harbour. It was a bit like some of the Norwegian visits we had in that it was like the "Trueman Show" in its neatness. A nice meal ashore made it a very pleasant stay though.  

Danish Dover. The small dots on beach re people

The welcome forecast wind of 15knts did not matierialise so we motored in roasting conditions acros to Ruegen island in Germany. Entering the Hiddensee and steered through the incredibly narrow but well marked channels. It was like driving along a road with busy traffic and some right and left turns. We got to the Hanseatic town of Stralsund after 8 hours and tied up in the big busy marina. Stralsund is a very historical and bonny town with medieval buildings everywhere. We wandered through its streets and visited museums. I was ready for a day or 2 ashore as its easy to keep moving along but there is not really any point of sailing to different countries if you dont have a good look at them along the way.

A traditional boat 
 The Rathuis

 Jim having a wee stroll

A sadder past

A sadder reminder of Stralsunds past are these plates which have been placed in the pavement which record the names of the jewish people who were removed from their homes at that address and what their fate was. Most recorded that they were murdered in one of the many concentration camps. It was also quite unexpected that even in a church display the story of what happened to the jews is up for all to read. It seams they are making sure that no one forgets the not too distant history.

On the next day (Tuesday) we planned a trip in the train to Sassnitz on Ruegen island. We also planned a visit to the remains of Hitlers dream holiday camp at Prora south of Sassnitz. It was pouring rain and serious thunder and lightning but not deterred Graeme used his lingual skills to get us on and off the correct trains and we arrived at Prora. A very interesting museum in one of the buildings which were erected by Hitler as a holiday camp for German citizens. His intentions of course to keep the faithful happy and let him prepare his war. It was going to be 3 miles long and house 20000  but was in fact never used as a holiday camp (Butlitz) as the war started and the 9000 builders focussed on nearby Peenemunde to progress rocket research. 
Soaked about 4 times we had tea in Sassnitz and back to Stralsund on the train. A grand day despite the rain.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Well we left Norway for our overnight to Sweden with a brisk southerly and were flying along about 8 knots although Eddie was enjoying the helm we put 2 reefs in the maln and reduced the genny so the wind pilot could do the steering without being hard pressed. We went along well about 6 knt but the wind slowly eased and came round to south eventually needing the engine for the last 30 miles.
We got into Smoegen about 9am. What a lovely harbour and very busy with boats and tourists. The weather was outstanding with blue skies and hot sunshine.

Left heading south in the morning but took the longer passage round the islands of Orust and Tjorn. A very nice inland passage of about 40 miles. The auto pilot was a bit wonky until I found a fishing pirk had slipped down beside the pilots compass! Loads of places to stop but now in Almosund. Had a nice walk ashore before early night as it was as quiet as Stornoway on a bank holiday Christmas Sunday.  I had not realised I had the president and Vice President of the Maxi appreciation society aboard. This is Maxi heaven as they were built here. Eddie and Brian salute them all. When tied up they spend hours reviewing everthing down to the the differing glints of the shackle pins.

On down to Varberg and after shoehorning in to a post mooring enjoyed the pleasures this attractive town. Eddie again produced a culinary delight for tea.

Left Varberg today (Tuesday) bound for Halmstad and to our sadness it's raining. Sailed half way now motoring last 20 miles. The Kategat in poor viz and rain is just as driech as anywhere else but can't complain as we have very lucky.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

We Have Arrived

Well we arrived in Norway 80hrs after we left Granton. We did not have the best crossing but nothing too bad. The wind was on the nose and a lumpy sea while trying to escape the Forth. The mutinous crew suggested Pittenweem but aware of their access to free bus travel I kept them going! Once out we managed to lay the course motor sailing before being headed a while about 100 miles out. A bit of tacking then we got going again. About 150 miles to go we had very thick fog that lasted 24 hrs, not a problem until the radar stopped rotating. I did have a spare belt but didn't fancy going up mast to replace it with the swell. The AIS did a sterling job showing traffic with the fishing fleet over here also sensibly equipped.
The fog cleared early morning and all looked good with about 30 miles to go. Wrong! The wind piped up to 30knts right on the nose with a steep sea. Rather than take hours and hours to make Mandal we headed comfortably off the wind for a wee town west of Lindness called Listahavn. It was a quiet village but very gratefull to get tied up against the wall for a shower and a sleep.


Next day was a better day and we motored round to Mandal in about 5 hours. This was a bigger town and as most of Southern Norway very pretty. Our first beer ashore was a nice treat, I say treat as it was £8 a glass needless to say we only had one.


Off next morning in glorious sunshine to Kristiansand. Taking the inside passages was fantastic, I did though have a go astern moment approaching a bridge which I had checked a dozen times as 19m clearance as it just looked so low. We of course went under without a problem other than my nerves. With a lunch stop in a stunning anchorage we twisted and turned our way to town.

Nice cruising 

It was a beautiful trip of about 25 miles with clear skies  a following wind and warm sunshine. Shorts on weather!

After one night in the big toon of Kristiansand we made for Lillesand through the  Blindlea which means blind channel. It has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth to sail. Very narrow but well marked channels lined with rock and some lovely whiteboard houses. Clearly the weekend retreat of Oslo's richest


Lillesand was a quiet little postcard type town. In fact everywhere was very quiet and were told that the season only gets going in July!

 Left Next day again in glorious weather for Arendal. A great though well spread out town of about 40000 people though it was quiet and we didn't see many of them! The weather was blowing hard from the east so we were holed up for 3 days. Even though the wind blew hard it was clear and sunny and very warm out the wind. We wandered round town and took some very pleasant long walks.

Around Arendal

Well as I write this the wind is down and the forecast good so we will head the 80 miles across to Sweden. We expect a quiet overnight trip though it is a busy area for shipping. I must lastly apologise for the odd text and colours as I'm getting used to using a new app!