Fw: Danish gales en route to Kiel and on to Helgoland at 54.10.50N 7.53.70E
Restless of Auckland
Roland and Consie Lennox-King
Sat 19 Sep 2009 15:23
We sent the last log 21August from Kråkmarö,on the east coast of southern Sweden. We have spent the last month sailing south firstly through the southern part of the archipelago of 24,000 islands which are beautiful and one could spend a summer there alone. Our last anchorage in the archipelago was at Strupö. To get south one has to pass Oland, a long skinny island stretching some 140 ks along the coast with a boring difficult sail down either side. We chose the inside and and had head winds to Kalmar, where there is another impressive castle and a star-shaped medieval walled village. In Kalmar we met a lot of foreign yachts, even a few from the UK, and had a social time there for 4 nights while Roland tried to coax our generator to work and we waited for strong headwinds to diminish. A Swedish couple, Lennart and Ingvor, invited us to their home for a Swedish meal and showed us his 10m sloop he had won a design competition with and many were built as the perfect cruiser some 15 years ago. Apart from his boat behind his house Lennart has a about 9 vintage cars including a 1931 red Morgan 3-wheeler car, which he had great pride in taking Roland for a ride around Kalmar's walled village in. Lennart also helped Roland on the generator, and they identified the parts needed to repair it.
From Kalmar we had a long motorsail to Aspö, around the S-W corner of Sweden, followed by a nice reach to an anchorage at Dragsö. >From there it was a nasty beat to windward where we sailed 60 plus to make good 45nm and arrived just on dark at Simrishamn marina. This beautiful fishing village has a huge cathedral dating from the 1300s, but we had just missed the Herring Festival by a day !!! What a difference a day makes as the village was all but dieting on this Monday.
A 5.30 start as dawn broke saw us motoring the 10 miles to Sandhermn (the Cape Horn of Sweden) before easing off to a reach for our best sail of the summer, averaging 8kts for 93n. miles in strong winds to reach the Danish island of Mon just before darkness fell. We anchored in thick weed in a very very shallow bay and awoke to see thousands of ducks, geese and swans preparing to fly south for the winter, and shooters hiding in the reeds catching them. We had little over a meter under the boat , but with no tide and 30 meters of chain out we were quite protected from the gale force winds that arrived as forecast. The depression affected all Europe and the UK and gave many anchorages upwards of 50 knts , but luckily we were behind a forest ashore and only had about 28 knts maximum,althought Roland put out an extra anchor so he could sleep well. We stayed 5 days waiting for suitable weather to sail across the 80 miles to Kiel.
7September The wind improved to SW15-20kts, and we set off, sailing 50n.miles to Nakskov Fjord at the western end of Lolland island. The next day we set off early and reached the British Kiel Yacht Club in beautiful summer weather at 1600 hours, having passed a military exercise with bombs going off regularly most of the day. We had a lovely sail, and tied up at the Yacht Club in time for a BATH!! and dinner in the Mess for Euros2.50, bargain of the year;!!! For dinner we joined Tim on 'Full Tilt' with his crew of 2 Mikes. After an early dinner one of Tim's crew had one of those terrible accidents we all dread: While climbing aboard over the bow, lost his balance and fell slowly into the icy water. Roland hoisted him out of the water, but his shoulder was dislocated and a piece of shoulder bone cracked. He spent the night in hospital and returned to England the next day. Poor Tim had to wait until he could find a new crew for his return to the UK. We may see him in Amsterdam.
After provisioning and buying yet more charts, we set off on the 10 Sept in convoy with Marjorie and Nick on 'Constellation' to the Kiel canal, locking in around 0900, paid the fee of Euros35, and motored through the day until we locked into the River Eider at 1600. This was a good choice and a different route than most take as we missed the notorious Elbe River with its terrible tides and what would have been a very uncomfortable beat out of the river . The Eider river wanders through beautiful countryside, and we anchored by a small settlement for the night, having eaten a shared meal with 'Constellation'.
11.9.09 That terrible day, 9.11, we motored along the Eider, passing flat farmland to reach the town of Friedrichstad, which was in fact originally a Dutch Hansiatic trading town and most of the buildings looked Duuch . Next morning we exited the Eider river sometimes doing 11 knts down the river with the falling tide, to reach the sea almost due west of Helgoland, two tiny islands, we sailed in strengthening winds and darkening skies. Here we were also gale bound for 4 nights due to gales and big seas. This time they were from the NE which gave us a following sea, but unsuitable conditions to enter any of the Friesian ports as they are very tidal and exposed to the North Sea. We walked all round the island and went into every shop, German tourists go there to buy liquor, duty free and nobody spoke English! We met up again with British yacht 'Constellation' with Nick and Marjorie on board who were suffering more than us from the decidedly uncomfortable marina berths that seemed to attract a vicious cross swell.
We left Helgoland on 16th September and had the most fantastic downwind run with poled out headsail and main and mizzen, 12 hours of 15+ kts of wind into German Friesland. We went into Borkum, reaching a very delapidated marina for a night before heading back out to sea and sailed in through the sandbars past Schiermonnikoog island into our first Dutch lock at Lauwersmeer. Coming into Holland was very exciting, with racing tides, shifting sandbanks, and the wind behind us as we surfed into the river. We were in Holland at last!!
We motored south through Friesland to a lovely town called Dokkum, with 2 huge working windmills overlooking the canal and 1600 buildings. This is the most beautiful countryside, with farms and cows, lovely old houses and Dutch boats tied alongside the banks.
Last night we slept in a bend of the river in Leeuwarden, capital of Friesland. We have been through a few locks and several bridges, some of the bridge masters have dropped a Dutch clog on a fishing line for us to pay the toll fee. Today was market day and we saw an Organ grinder and stalls selling herrings and wheels of Dutch cheese.
We will now carry on south through the Standing Mast route to Amsterdam, where we hope to meet up with many of Consie's (Blaauw) family, visit potential boat yards and then make ready the boat for its winter holiday before we leave for warmer climes in about a month's time.