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The Voyage of 'S/V Röde Orm' - Sweden
Come on board and take part in our adventures while exploring the world at the slow pace of a sailing boat. We left in June 2009, heading south to escape the northern winter... to start with. Currently in Algarve/Portugal taking it one day at a time.
And more of the same

The fog was dense all nigth, and sadly staid dense all day long too. In addition to this, the sea was dead calm. After more than 24 hours of motoring, it gets a little boring. I am sure there was still sunshine somewhere over the fog, but it was less than enjoyable when the second drizzling cold night approached and with 34 miles left to Dover, where we now planned to fill diesel and water and check the weather forecast, we decided to simply shut the engine off and leave the boat slowly drifting in the tide during the night. This way we would arrive in daylight instead of 3AM. We took watches anyway though, checking the radar screen for hazards every ten minutes. By now we were in the coastal inshore zone away from the heavy traffic. At once today we had 11 radar echoes simultaneously on the 6 mile-radius screen. Interesting as radar navigation practice, but hardly in any other way. The barometer is still quite high, but obviously we expected more from this high pressure sailing than slowly motoring with close attention to the radar.

The North Sea

Most of last night was spent going far enough to the north to be able to turn westward well outside the TSS (trafic separation zones) a sort iof highways for the commercail shipping. Not too far from the island of Helgoland we changed course to 280 and kept going for another 100 miles. The wind was E from 6-24 knots approximately which provided us with opportunities for reefing a couple times.

Provisioning in Rendsburg and then to River Elbe

Needless to say, during this short trip to KIel, there were already a couple of small 'fixes' to be made on the boat before we felt ready to go out on the North Sea. Amongst them the door to the Head (toilet) that for some complete random reeason decided to not stay in locked oposition shortly after we left Falsterbo.

Then, being Swedish, with the rediculously overtaxed wine and bear, we choose to enter the charming little town of Rendsburg to somehow manage to lower the waterline of the boat a little more.

Left at 1.30PM to motor to Brunsbüttel at the other end of the Canal. Here we will await the High Tide at 4.30 tomorrow morrning to contiinue westwards on the river Elbe for the North Sea.

Having sailed in Scandinavian waters all my life, it's an entire new entity for me with tides. Not too complicated, but who on earth decided that the highs always seem to be in the middle if the night? Or maybe that wasn't somenone ON earth, but someone well elevated from it?!

Anyway once out there, we intend to keep going as long as the favourable winds stays with us. I might add that today it's blowing a steady 20 knots in the canal. Could that be because we are inside, not sailing? Hrrmm!

Arrival at Brunsbüttel at 8PM we could go through the lock right away. Ans alone. All in all a lot less traffic than we expected.

Anyway, once outside the lock - in river Elbe- the tidal stream was at least three knots. Our vague idea (since I have no previous experience with tides, was to anchor outside the lockl and wait for the next high water at 4.30 in the morning. It did not look very inviting to anchor here though and we met one sole sailiingboat that showed to be locals. They advised us to go on to the North Sea right away with the outgoing tide instead of waisting five ours here. So we did. An exhilirating sailing in 20 knots of E wind and the streaming water. Over 11 knots on the GPS close-hauled! Then, as daylight ran out, the busy shipping area fuly showed up. I have never seen so many bouys and ship's lights at the same time. I had the time of my life there, sailing the boat and navigating simultaneously, and I was so excited I dind't think of waking Isabelle until almost 4 in the morning, when I was soooo tired.

The Kiel Canal

At 7PM we were in the lock with two other sailing vessels. Much to my surprise, there were no grumpy old guy in uniform in the Lock Master's office, but a kind man in his early thirties who offered me a piece of cake (!) when I payed the '12 in fee.

Germany certainly seem to have changed since I hitch-hiked through it at seventeen!

The locking procedure is not THAT dramatic here, it's just a couple of decimeters we gained in altitude before continuation to the sheltered inland waterway. The canal is 53,3 miles long and connects the North sea with the Baltic Sea, thus making it unnecessary to round Denmark. (No offense, dear Danes, just distancewise!)

Pleasure Crafts are not allowed to be uner way in the canal at night, giving us an excuse to get a full night's proper sleep, so we anchored in Lake Borgstedt in one of the five 'sichers' along the stretch of the canal.


At last we managed to cut those docking lines. Probably the hardest part of any voyage of this nature. That doesn't necessarily mean that the rest is going to be easy, but most likely very simpe in comparison. A year and half, spent on selling the landased possessions and then refitting the boat is finally over.

With a magnificent High Pressure System covering most of the North Atlantic from the Azores to Scandinavia we just had to go now. A weather window like this doesn't appear more than once a summer at best. The forecast is sunny and warm and N-NE and then E winds in the 8-23 knot range for a week to come.

By now we have skipped the iea of going to Scotland to start with. Since we are already delayed for about a month, we want to get south ASAP. So it will be the English Channel and then Bretagne (Brittany) and from there across Bay of Biscay to Galicia in Spain. Pretty much the same route as most people take from this region. Hopefully we'll get the opportunity to sail in Scotland som other time.

Three a clock we went south under the opening bridge in Falsterbo Kanal, to set course for another Canal, the Kiel Canal, or Nord- Ost see Kanal as the Germans call it. 210 degrees on the compass and approx 140 miles to go, so we should be there tomorrow evening at dinner time. The wind was fresh, around 24 knots, so we started with a reef in the mainsail.

After just a couple of hours, we had to shake it out and the wind went down to just enough to provide steerage. So much for forecasts! A mere 2 hours. Normally very reluctant to fire up the engine on a sailing boat, I did. Not only do we want to make the best use of the high pressure and the (forecaasted, remember?) winds but the mechanics 'orders' for the best of the Iron Genny was to run it pretty hard and long hours at the start. So we did, with diesel tankage for more than 70 hours of motoring, we didn't hesitate to keep on for most of the 27 hours to Kiel. We managed to sail 3-4 of them, that's all.

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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