First work week has been completed, funny how fast one gets back into the pace. We did however leave the harbor as soon as we could on Friday and spent the weekend doing a very short trip around the neighboring islands of Hommersåk, practicing anchoring maneuvers and relaxing.
The funny thing with the tech of today is that the trip does not only exist in our memory and in our cameras, our navigation software has recorded it as well. If you ever where curious about where any of the places we visited actually are or how long it took us to get there, here are all the answers!
The information was extracted from the open source chart plotting software OpenCPN we have been using during the whole trip. There are some minor errors where one trip has been split up into two or three sections, this would be due to me fiddling around with the computer and restarting it in the middle of the trip to test some new idea probably.
We’re home! Well, technically we have been home for more than a week now, but refused to give up the vacation spirit. I will start working in less than twelve hours, the six weeks we spent going from Stockholm to Stavanger is over. Oddly enough it feels like we barely started travelling. The feeling of “There is no place like home” didn’t hit us when arriving at Sandes, maybe because Maybe feels like a home?
Its been a strange experience arriving here, we did spend a lot of time planning, talking and thinking about this journey and now it’s at end. When arriving in Sandnes and waving good bye to our much appreciated crew member Tom we had a feeling of emptiness. Fortunately we did have a couple of more days to spend, drinking in the fact that we now had arrived in our new home port. We now feel more ready then ever to start exploring the islands and fjords around Rogaland.
So, what have we been up to the last week? As you might remember we had arrived at the island Rott, just west of Stavanger, we spent a night here, charmed by the island but also with the feeling that if it hadn’t been for the incredibly lovely weather the island might not be as charming, it lies very exposed in the north sea outside Stavanger.
The following morning, last Saturday, we continued to Stavanger to attend the “happy food festival” (“Glad mat” in Norwegian), we had to look around a while to find a spot to moor in, apparently its very popular to take your boat to the festival. We met up with Claires parents and ate and drank a lot of happy food and drinks.
The day after was not quite as happy, probably due to some very happy beers the day before, but eventually we left Stavanger and sailed Gandsfjorden to Sandnes. Turns out that the guest marina in the center of the city is right next to the construction site of the new town hall. On the other side of the marina the constructions for the roller ski festival “Blink” started at six am the following Monday morning. Who knew that there was such a thing as a festival for roller skis, who knew that you need to start constructing stuff ten days in advance for one? Anyway, we did spend the night in Sandes, in the boat, 300 meters from our apartment. Monday arrived and Tom left us to go back to Sweden. We spent the day feeling a bit lost, we where done with the trip, what now? Eventually we left Sandnes for a beautiful evening sail to Hommersåk to see our new home harbor. We did see porpoises during the sail, always a good sign.
Hommersåk will be our new home base for Maybe, so we spent the day there getting acquainted with the marina and the surroundings and in the evening we set out for a very short trip to an island called “Tingsholmen” where we spent another day meandering around the island, bathing in the crystal clear, albeit somewhat cold, water and just relaxing.
Thursday marked the start for the Tall Ships Races in Stavanger. The event, where tall ships from all over the world gather to race from port to port, is something I have wanted to attend for a long time. As we had been fortunate enough to arrive at the end of our journey earlier than expected the opportunity had to be seized, so come Friday of we went to see said tall ships. Its an incredible experience. So many beautiful ships gathered in one harbor. Once again the weather made the event something special, at twelve in the night we still had 25 degrees Celsius. We meandered around the harbor, looking at the ships together with friends and finally went back to sleep in our own apartment for the first time in six weeks.
Saturday had us going back to Hommersåk to clean out Maybe and prepare her for a final trip this vacation. We planned to go back to Stavanger by boat and see all the tall ships leaving the harbor on Sunday. So we did and it was spectacular! It looked like every boat in Stavanger was out to see the ships leaving. The ships defiled one by one, impressing us all. Our favorite ship in the end has to be the Taragini, mostly for its fun and polite crew of Indian navy trainees but also because of the beautiful ship in itself.
We ended the day by going to one of the many islands around Stavanger for an afternoon swim together with friends and now here we are, back in the apartment and its soon time to start the work week again.
We have learned much during this trip and I hope to get back with some of the lessons we got in later posts.
We already have some ideas for destinations for the next summer, maybe back to Denmark for more sun and beach life or maybe Ålesund for summer skiing? Who knows, but one thing is sure, among all the maybes there is One Maybe and she will safely take us there. Care to join us then or earlier? Please do – you know how to reach us! =)
There are three points along the Norwegian south west coast that are infamous for being difficult, its where wind meets current and the land points out. This creates waves that range from uncomfortable to dangerous. These three points are Lindesnes, Lista and Jæarens rev. As we have heard much about these places and have nurtured a healthy respect for these we have planned for a lot of extra time to be able to choose the right conditions to pass these places. We where ultimately very fortunate and have now passed all three in the last four days. But lets back up a bit again.
In the last post we where finally moored in a natural harbour again. We spent a day there, enjoying the beautiful weather, walking around the island and bathing. We then continued on to a place called “Nilen” or “the Nile”. Why it had this name I do not know, I have never been to the Nile but do imagine that it does not in any way look like its counterpart in Norway. It’s a nice place however.
On our way to the Nile we passed through a famous system of small channels and inlets called “Blindleia”, i.e. “The blind way”, probably so called because this very weather safe route once upon a time was a very difficult route to navigate and a well kept secret jealously guarded by the Norwegian navy. Nowadays it is marked with buoys I guess are native to Norway, never seen the kind of buoys used anywhere else. Its a very busy route and at some points you kind of wonder if you maybe should put out the fenders when meeting a boat at a particularly narrow passage.
Reaching the Nile we once again deployed our stern anchor, which seems to be what motor boats does here, no other sail boat where using our technique. We spent the evening swimming around in clear, warm(ish) water and enjoying the sun.
Leaving the Nile the plan was to go to Mandal, but the sailing was great so we ended up pushing on. We past the first scary point, Lindesnes, in beautiful weather and light winds. For a while we aimed for passing Lista as well the same day, going for the harbour of Kirkehamn.
Unfortunately the wind died down, fog rolled in and some clouds in the sky made me worried about arriving at Kirkehamn in very dark conditions. We where running out of coffee anyway so we changed destination to Farsund to be able to get there before the supermarkets close. When we arrived we discovered that they where celebrating their annual party called “Kaparnatta”, i.e. “The pirate night”. Turns out Farsund has quite the past, there where several privateers living here during the napoleanic war and the grand finale of the
party is a re-enactment of how a privateer board an english merchant. The funny thing is that the re-enactment makes it look more like the merchant attacks the city and the privateer defends it. Rewriting the history is a proud tradition of humanity. The re-enactment however was great, complete with cannons getting fired, people running around with old rifles and sailors and privateers fighting with swords on the deck.
The following morning when the Farsunders where sleeping off the hangover we left early to get good winds to pass Lista. We knew that in the early
afternoon there where going to be hard winds, so we wanted to use the early morning to get past and as far away from Lista as possible. The plan worked and we did not get hit by the hardest winds – we actually passed Lista by motor – but in the afternoon we did have to tack in 11 m/s headwind. We where happy to arrive in Egersund which has a very protected harbour. Here we spent the following day as the winds where far to strong (16m/s) and from exactly the direction we where going (NW). Instead of trying our luck on the seas we decided to trek to one of the newest attractions around Egersund, a stone formation called the “Troll dick”. After a two hour walk we reached the stone formation and with a bit of fantasy it does indeed resemble the private parts of a troll gentleman.
From Egersund we set out for our final longer leg, 40 nm to the island of Rott, just west of Stavanger. We passed Jærens rev by motor with little or no wind. We are now on Rott, its a charming island, once home to fishermen and farmers, but nowadays hardly anyone lives here, most houses has been converted to summer houses. The harbour is sheltered, not many boats fit in here, but on the other hand there are few boats here. We are six boats visiting at the moment. Maybe is moored outside on another Swedish boat on its way to the south.
Tomorrow we reach Stavanger, so the trip has almost reached its end. Lets hope for an unenventful last sail.
We made it over Skagerrak! We did get a little more than moderate winds that came from the perfect angle for us resulting in a crossing in just about 16 hour. The distance was about 80 nm so we averaged 5 knots during the whole trip.
We did get some waves which made life a bit uncomfortable for a couple of hours but in general everything went fine. Otherwise there is not much to tell about the trip, we saw few other leisure boats, a couple of fishing boats and some commercial ships. We left harbour around 09:00, we where tied up as the fourth boat and when the boat closest to land wanted to leave so did we. We arrived around one in the morning to Arendal, fortunately it doesn’t get dark at this time of the year so mooring was no problem.
Arendal turned out to be quite a busy and expensive marina, there are myriads of small boats buzzing around the dock and the marina fee was the highest so far with its 300 NOK for one night. That doesn’t even include showers, which costed another 35 nok for a five minute shower. We slept, provisioned and left the city, eager to find a good natural harbour instead. We haven’t been in one since the archipelago south of Stockholm so it’s about time.
We followed the fairway for 10 nm south from Arendal and then popped in between the islands and moored with stern anchor and lines to land to a little island called “Store Hampholmen”. We where almost the only sailboat using this technique. The sailboaters seems to prefer swing mooring whereas most motorboaters prefer being moored to land. At Hamholmen we spent the whole day just meandering around, sunbathing, swimming in the sea and generally enjoying life and getting some R&R before continuing on tomorrow.
Our guests Tom and Ellinot quickly adapter to our boating lifestyle. Ellinor left in Anholt and Tom continues to sail with us.
We initially planned to leave Hundested in the morning, but with wind speed of 11 m/s we felt that it was a bit too much. We waited until lunch time before venturing out.
With the winds and the waves beating the entrance we had a very bumpy start of the sail to Anholt. The first three hours we sailed with three reefs in the main sail and the genua furled to a third of its size. We still made 6 knots. The waves made the ride a bit uncomfortable but gradually the wind and most of the waves died down, at the end we had to motor the last 15 nm to Anholt.
Arriving to Anholt was a bit of a shock, looking at the harbour through the binoculars revealed a forest of masts. The harbour guide says that in July the harbour can be quite crowded and it turned out it was no overstatement. As we arrived in the evening we had to make do with mooring on another boat as the forth boat from the dock. Getting onto land turned out to be an obstacle
course over the other boats. Later in the evening we got another boat moored outside us. It was a smaller boat with one man single handling it. His name is Mike and he turned out to be a really nice acquaintance. He was doing a last sail with his boat, before returning and selling it to buy a newer and bigger one.
The habit of mooring a boat on a boat is typical for Denmark, the southern and western Swedish coasts. Having mostly sailed in the archipelagos on the east side of Sweden we’re not really used to this. It always gets interesting when one of the inner boats wants to leave before the other ones. We spent the morning in our cockpit, together with Mike, drinking coffee and watching boats meandering about in the harbour basin after having to leave their spot because someone on their inside wanted to leave. Suddenly the same thing happened to us. The boat second closest to land wanted to leave at twelve, our boat neighbour had the idea that he could move him, us and Mike as one unit and re-moore us when the boat on the inside wanted to leave, the idea was good but the implementation failed and we found ourselves floating away from our mooring and almost hitting another group of boats tied together. We had to quickly untie all lines, start the motor and set of the find a better mooring spot in the harbour. After another hour we where nicely tied up to in another spot in the marina.
We spent the afternoon exploring Anholt, it has a very exotic and relaxed vibe about it. We biked around the island, bathed and checked out the “desert” of the island.
We then continued to Læsø, this harbour was just as crowded as Anholt but with a lot more Norwegian boats. We arrived in the evening and left in the morning so we didn’t see much of Læsø, but it seems like a really nice place, definitely worth visiting again, like so many other places we have visited during this trip.
We have now arrived in Skagen, spent the evening preparing the boat and buying food for the trip tomorrow. This is also a crowded harbour, full of Norwegian boats so we have found the Norwegian holiday wave.
Tomorrow we are sailing for the Norwegian south coast. We are calculating with moderate to hard winds and 18-24 hours sail. Looking forward to it, hopefully we keep the beautiful weather with us.
We knew when leaving Simrishamn that we where going to get strong headwinds from the west, but we where determined to press on to build up a bit of time margin for later in the trip. The first three hours had very weak and southerly winds, but as soon as we rounded Sandhammaren cape the winds turned to south west and started to build up. We do not have a functioning wind meter, but checking the metereologic station in Ystad gave us at most continous wind speed at around 11 m/s with gusts up to 13. We kept beating against the wind, clawing our way south of the Scania coast for twelve hours. Finally arrived in Gislövs läge at 23:30 in the night. Gislövs läge seems to be a nice place, the little we saw of it, we arrived, tied up the boat, went to bed and first thing in the morning we left the harbour. Not because we where stressed, but the wind predictions was lighter winds in the morning than by lunch and we
really didn’t feel like another day of hard winds. After two hours of motoring in light winds we arrived at Falsterbo Channel that cuts through the Falsterbo peninsula to create a short cut for us. After passing through the channel we finally got excellent sailing conditions with moderate winds and very little waves. We had excellent sailing up to the little man-made island Flakfortet in the middle of Öresund.
Flakfortet turned out to be a very special place, its originally a fortress built in the beginning of the 20th century by the Danish military, it was in use until 1957. Today its a very popular day sailing destination for boaters around Öresund. A seawall is built encircling the whole island giving perfect shelter and plenty of mooring space. We moored inside the seawall and spent a memorable day there. Many of original bunkers and hallways are completely open for visitors.
We did however discover that we had gotten our fresh water contaminated. Turns out that during the hard sailing the previous day bilge water had washed over the water tank and leaked into it through a badly installed tank level meter. We decided to continue to Råå the next day as we knew there where good boat shops and good facilities there. We went there and spent the evening cleaning out the fresh water tank. The following day (friday) we bought a new tank meter and installed it properly, using a lot of sika flex (sealant) to ensure that there would be no more leaks into the fresh water tank.
Råå used to be one of the biggest fishing harbours in Sweden. The tetra pak founder Ruben Rausing comes from Råå but what really excited me is that Kurt Björklund had his home harbour here. Kurt and his Monsun 31 “Golden Lady” sailed around the world at three different occasions. The golden lady now resides in a museum here in Råå, just around the corner from the marina we’re staying in. so while waiting for the sikaflex to dry we went there and admired her.
Saturday we continued up to Helsingborg, met up with other cousins I havent seen in a long time. We had a great lunch together, later in the afternoon our crew Tom and Ellinor arrived and we set out to Helingør and spent the night there. From Helsingør we continued to Hundested where we now are, awaiting the morning to continue to Anholt.
“Hey, your sailboat, isn’t that a Najad 34?” I asked the guy sitting in his boat in Hanö harbour. Our boat is a Najad 34 and I was pretty sure their boat was as well. This is by the way a sure-fire way of striking up a conversation with a fellow boater – ask about their boat and they will talk forever. It was a Najad 34, a bit newer then ours, his built in 1978, ours in 1975 and his came with a space related story, but more about that later.
On Friday we where still at Mörbylånga, where the last blog post ended. The idea was to leave early and use the strong winds to our advantage, it was blowing from the north and we where going to the south. Perfect fit for us. Too bad we didn’t really plan for how strong the winds where going to be when we moored. We realised Friday morning that we could easily handle the strong winds out on the water, but we had problems leaving the harbour. The winds where pushing our boat sideways and threatening to smash in to the meticulously renovated wooden cruiser laying to our port side. We didn’t dare risking damaging it by loosening the lines. Finally, in late afternoon, we got our boat neighbours and the harbour master to help us leave the mooring. We should have asked for that much earlier, as it was now we couldn’t really make any long distances and to add insult to injury the winds died down after a couple of hours of sailing. At 23:30 we arrived at Kristianopel. Too late to really see anything of the tiny hamlet.
On Saturday at 07:00 we left Kristianopel again, this time aiming for Christiansø. The wind forecast looked promising with 8-9 m/s easterly. Unfortunately the forecast and reality where far from each other. Around 11:00 we where floating around just outside Utklippan more or less becalmed and when the wind came, it came from south west. Instead of trying to beat into the winds we decided to go to Hanö instead, another island we had heard would be a good spot to visit.
Hanö turned out to be as cosy as described, the island has a small village situated around the harbour, the rest of the island is a nature reserve. Walking around the reserve you pass through forests looking like something form a fairy tale. The feeling of being in a saga just gets stronger as you keep encountering fallow deer in the forests. The spell is broken however, when you reach the beaches, not because they look any less magic in itself but you get woken up to the harsh reality of what we humans are doing to our oceans when you see the plastic littering the sea sides. We found plastic ranging from fishing equipment to polish yoghurt bottles and Russian detergent (we think its detergent at least).
Returning to the harbour at Hanö, as I said, asking about a boaters boat is a great way of starting up a conversation. In this case it ended up with the owners of it inviting us for a evening coffee and telling us about the former
owner and history of the boat. Turns out Christer Fuglesang’s – the only astronaut in Scandinavia – father had been the first owner of the boat and in the early eighties he, Christer and some friends of his, sailed the boat to the west indies and back. The boat was formerly named Wind Lady but the new owners changed it to the aptly space themed “Leia”.
This morning we got up at 05:10, to be the first boat to leave the harbour, or so we thought, we where third. We set course for Simrishamn. This is a very cozy little town on the Scania east coast. We are completely charmed by it. Here we met my cousin Maria and her family. Great to see them again after so many years! Tomorrow we are leaving early once again, with the intention of reaching Falsterbo, we do not have the winds with us however, so we’ll see how that goes.
We have a monster in the basement, its big, green, smelly and sometimes it keeps me up at night. The last two nights it kept me up, wondering what was wrong with it…
It all started when leaving Arkösund on Sunday, as there was barely any winds to get us going we awoke monster. We passed “the emperor” (the only ornamented navigation mark as I know of) on our way, made the customary salute and continued on.
After some hours we noticed that the thermometer indicated that the engine was running hot. Engines running hot is not a good thing so we immediately went into idle. Idling eventually made the
temperature go down so we decided to continue on low RPM towards our goal but where now quite worried. The day continued like that, we went on low RPM, changing to idle, turning it off to sail for some parts when the wind returned for some brief moments. We spent an hour or two just floating around, not wanting to start the monster neither having enough wind to actually get somewhere.
As I’m not an engine wizard and this seemed too serious for me to muck around with so we figured that we should call a wharf to see if they could help us. The first one we called, conveniently located just by the fairway we where floating around in, could not look at our problem until earliest in two, maybe three weeks. No dice for us. The next wharf, located a bit off the route in the harbour of Loftahammar didn’t pick up the phone on Sundays. We decided anyway that our best bet was to continue southbound and try to find a wharf on the way, so we kept limping along and eventually reached a natural harbour close to Trässö, just north of Loftahammar.
The following morning (Monday) we called the wharf “MarineService” in Loftahammar as soon as they opened, we where welcome there the same day! We set sail and thanks to good winds reached them around lunchtime. They got a mechanic down to the boat in just under and hour. We started the motor, idling at the quay and he took measurements. He wiggled a little on the contact to the temperature sensor and all of a sudden it seemed like the temperature went down. Great! What a relief, it’s just a bad connection! We let the motor idle some more, increased the RPM for fifteen minutes, all the time using an IR-thermometer to get the real readings on the engine. Everything looked great. We thanked the mechanic, paid for his time and set out to find a nice natural harbour to relax in. After going for twenty minutes the temperature crept up again, going into the red zone. Damn! Seemed like wiggling a contact didn’t solve our problem, we need to turn back and get this fixed!
The reason it looked so good when the mechanic was on board is probably because we just idled and never actually put any load on the engine as we didn’t engage the propeller. However, I had started to suspect that the engine actually was running at a good temperature, but the temperature sensor had some problems. To confirm this theory we had to borrow an IR-thermometer sensor and run the motor with load, but when we got back to the wharf everyone had already left for the day, so we spent the night in Loftahammar.
Tuesday we started the day with pestering the wharf employees until they borrowed us an IR-termometer, we then set out of the harbour and motored in circles just outside it to see what would happen with the temperature on the engine. I guess it must have amused, or confused, someone. Our suspicions eventually got confirmed – even when the temperature instrument indicates that we are in the red zone the motor itself never goes above 70C. We returned to the wharf, dropped of the ir-termometer and set of again!
We initially had the idea of sailing along the coast line, but the winds where
better for a short jump over to Öland, so here we are now, in the harbour of Byxelkrok. By the way, the last two hours the wind died down completely, so we really got to test the motor again on the way over, it runs like a charm. Still going into red but now we know that this means very little.
This is the short version of the story, there where many more theories around what could be wrong with the motor, both from us and from helpful strangers, there where nightmare scenarios that kept me awake, thinking that the journey will end before it really started. There was stupid stuff I did, unknowingly, during the spring fixing of the boat that I thought might have destroyed the motor. But I’ll save you all of those details. In the end though, I’m really impressed with the guys from MarineService in Loftahammar, they did a great job, gave us a great prices and the mechanic who came to our boat took his time to explain stuff to us, which made it possible for us to later draw our own conclusions. We really learned from this.
Many moons ago we decided that we wanted to bring our new boat with us when moving to Norway, since then we have anticipated this trip, planned it, discussed the route, agonized over everything that might go wrong and dreamt about all the experiences it will bring. Friday was my last day at the office for six weeks and we are finally on our way.