Alesund 62:28.422N 006:09.307E

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Fri 12 Jun 2015 10:48
Friday 12th June 2015. W4 with swell up to 2.5m. Cold but not that wet. 48.2nm. 7.5 hour trip with engine hours to match as we motored all the way at 2000 revs.

When we arrive in Ålesund the crews of Shiraz and Fri will be home from their 6 week trip to Scotland celebrating Helge’s retirement from teaching. On Thursday night Helge told us he is off to Spain for the summer and so will not be needing his charts and harbour guide as he is taking an airplane rather than Shiraz. Accordingly he leant them all to us and showed us the detailed route past Statt and the further tricky outside area up north of Hustadvika. This is a wonderful help to us and we are delighted.

Today, Friday, we spent all day waiting in the rain at Silda for the wind and more importantly the wave height to reduce outside the mighty headland of Stattlandet. The Norwegian Met Office provides a regular specific forecast for the area and all the boats monitor it carefully. We set off together at 1715 and we followed Shiraz and Fri who kindly moderated their cruise speed so heavy old Pelagia could keep up without blowing a gasket. With a westerly wind we were able to take some help from sails from time to time and we made good speed. 

The cliffs were stark and rather sinister in the big sea and following Shiraz and Fri gave us no pilotage to do. Helge was on the radio to us regularly with tourist info - our personal guide. A few miles past Statt the traveller (which holds down the main sheet - end of boom) broke off its rail with a bang and a shower of 8mm white plastic bead bearings, many in pieces. That was the end of using the main sail as we had no means to control it so we lost speed as we headed up wind to get it in. 

Shiraz and Fri turned east to their home marina on the south side of Ålesund and we motored right into the middle of the old city to the guest pontoons. The noise of pop music was deafening and it took a while to see the source was an open air concert on the wharf. There were plenty of motor cruisers in port for the weekend and a few yachts. We rafted to a Norwegian boat, Lillie May, on it’s way to Finnmark and the music stopped just after midnight. 

On Saturday we tried to find a Lewmar dealer to get bearings but Lewmar is not popular here and most of the boats are motor cruisers anyway. Frans took the travelling car to bits and it was clear that there was no damage other than the bearings. We have a self tacker on the foredeck and so that car was dismantled to see if the bearings would fit. Happily they do and so the sheet is back in service with the salvaged white bearings on one side and the brown ones from the self tacker on the other.  As we tried the chandlers and Frans searched on line for a parts drawing and tried to phone Lewmar in Southampton it was clear we’d get no help with it being Saturday. Sarah told Frans not to worry as she felt sure Helge would stop by to see if we were ok. Sure enough just as we got it back together Helge and his wife arrived! How lovely…..consistent with last year we only meet marvellous friendly Norwegians. 

Ålesund is very pretty having mostly been rebuilt in Art Nouveau style (with Bavarian influences) following a fire in 1904. We did the tourist bit of climbing the 418 steps to Mt Aksla above the city to enjoy the view and were surprised to learn that William the Conquerer’s Dad Rollo, Viking founder of Normandy in 1011 is commemorated here! 

You have to salute the Old Lady when you pass her, I mean the buoy of course.

Imposing Stattlandet headland

Mainsheet traveller had come off the rail. You can see the debris of the broken white bearing balls.

Fri and Shiraz