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.