24 May 2018 | Helsinor
Another great and sunny sail today, to reach a large marina in Helsinor next to Kronburg Castle, the inspiration for Hamlet’s Elsinore. After the rather dull towns we have visited this week, this looks to be a lot more interesting, and large enough to absorb the cruise ship hordes.
The castle is situated on the narrowest part of the Örusund, the busy channel between Denmark and Sweden. The wealth of the town grew over the 200 years during which the Danish kings charged a levy for every ship that passed through.
We may stay a few days and visit Copenhagen from here. It's an easy 40 minutes on the train, probably easier than sailing into Copenhagen itself.
A Long Bike Ride
23 May 2018
After three days’ consecutive sailing, we felt it was time for a day off the boat and some exercise. Regional Cycle Route 40 passed through the town, so it was an easy choice. The loop started with a ferry ride, shared with a rather large tractor. The next 15 miles was on a dirt track through a dense beech forest- interesting for the first 10! Then we crossed back across the fiord on a busy bridge to a rather boring town for lunch. The ride back was a mixture of quiet suburban lanes and excellent cycle tracks alongside main roads.
Denmark really has got it's cycling infrastructure sorted; so much better than in the UK.
About 40 miles in total. Barrie's OK but I'm exhausted!
Back on the Mainland
22 May 2018 | Hundested
At last! We managed to sail for most of today, tacking out to the headland, and back on the opposite tack. We are in Hundested, a much larger and busier harbour than Sejero, and again used by a mixture of commercial and pleasure craft. It's all a bit of a muddle, but we just fitted in at the end of an alongside berth.
We like the visitor payment system in Denmark. Every marina and harbour so far has had a ticket machine, fortunately with a button to press for 'English'. You enter your boat length and credit card. The machine dispenses a card loaded with a few kroner that gives access to the facilities and the electricity box, and a label to display on the boat. Before you leave you return the card and get a refund for the amount not used. And we still haven't paid more than £20 a night!
Plenty of Room
21 May 2018 | Sejero
Another day of motoring into wind- and more than was forecast, so it was quite choppy. We arrived as planned at the only port on the small island of Sejero. The harbour had different sections for the ferry, the fishing fleet and yachts, and looked small on the chart. We were worried there might not be room for us, as we didn't have a plan B, but as you can see there wasn't a problem! The box berths were way to narrow for us, but we had the new quay all to ourselves.
We arrived in time for a cycle to the lighthouse at the northern tip of the island, about six miles of gentle hills and quiet roads. All very lovely. The island felt quite remote despite being not that far from the mainland.
And an even nicer anchorage!
20 May 2018 | Aebelo
We spent the night at anchor in the shelter of Aebelo, a small uninhabited island at the very north of Fyn. It was a bank holiday weekend- traditional Whitsun- so we weren’t alone, but there was plenty of room. We nudged in as close as we dare, and anchored in just 3 metres.
A Lovely Marina
19 May 2018 | Middelfart
The hardest part of passage planning in Denmark is the huge amount of choice! Every small town has a marina, and there are also fishing harbours and anchorages. We are trying to average about 25 miles a day, leaving early and arriving at our chosen destination with time to explore, and maybe a late lunch ashore.
Today we are in a marina at Middelfart, an easy name to remember. In the Baltic most berths are box moorings, which involves lassoing posts on the way in, then tying up close enough to the pontoon to be able to climb off over the bow. This was our first experience and it went well, thanks to U-tube videos, forward planning with the lines, and no wind! It was rather tight however with only a few centimetres clear between us and the posts. Getting jammed would have been embarrassing. Yarona is a big boat for round here. The marina is attractive, the facilities are spotless, and it's cheap- about £20 a night.
15 May 2018 | Soenderburg
13 May 2018 | Laboe
Exiting the Canal was another anti-climax. We had to wait about an hour for two cargo ships to be locked in, then we entered the lock with just six other yachts. We tied up, and ten minutes later the gates opened and we had arrived- the Baltic! We headed for the marina at Laboe, a holiday town a few miles from Kiel.
We stayed two nights, and had the first excursion of the year on our bikes, recovered from below our double bunk. They will probably remain on deck for the rest of the summer. We had a pleasant cycle along the coast, and had a look round the German submarine U-995. It was enormous! At the end of the war it had been surrendered to Norway, who later presented it back to Germany for renovation and display as a museum. It was hard to imagine what life under the sea must have been like for the crew.
A Very Big Canal
11 May 2018 | Kiel Canal
The Kiel Canal was easy! At 65 miles long, it could be motored through in a day, but we decided to stop half way. There were only a few allowable options for this, and we were delighted with our choice- a mile up a side canal tied to a pontoon just before some lock gates. This part of Germany had been disputed with Denmark from the 1600’s on, and was finally won from Denmark in 1864. Now however it is incredibly peaceful. Maybe we should have spent the last ten years canal boating?
Back in the main canal, a large ship passed us every half hour or so. The canal was really wide, and there was really no stress.
Outside the Freisen Islands
09 May 2018 | Cuxhaven
It is possible to sail inside the islands, but four metre tides and shifting sandbanks makes this a challenge, even with a good chart plotter. So we opted for another overnight passage, mainly motoring in light winds on the nose. The bill to fill up the tanks when we arrived in Cuxhaven was €250- ouch!
A never ending stream of big ships trundled north on our port side, which was fine until they broke away to head in front and behind us into the Jade. Barrie was asleep below and I have never been so glad of AIS! The screenshot shows the problem...
Cuxhaven is Germany's biggest seaside resort, but isn't very exciting. However, the marina was excellent and good value, so we stayed two nights, and spent a day finishing off some of the minor jobs we hadn't got around to doing over the winter.
A gentle motor across the North Sea
07 May 2018 | Den Helder
We made the most of a rare period of light wind for an overnight passage from the Orwell to Den Helder in the Netherlands- much easier than hopping up the French and Belgium Coast. The sea was almost as calm as this Dutch canal! The only stress was a mystery throbbing noise that started in the forepeak and got steadily louder- until we realised it was the giant rig a mile away drilling piles into the seabed. We timed the tide well for an easy entrance into the Navy Marina, and stretched our legs round the town before settling down for a good night's sleep.
Ipswich, Foxes Marina
06 April 2018 | Ipswich
We've had a month in Ipswich, with Yarona hauled out for the first time in two years. We decamped for a fortnight to a holiday cottage nearby. Yarona has had a thorough clean and polish inside and out, and here she is looking very shiny, about to go back in the water.
Winter in London
16 March 2018 | London
Maybe we wouldn't have been as keen to spend six months living here on board if we had known it was going to be one of the coldest winters for years! Our best new purchase has been an electric blanket. But despite the Beast from the East, we have had a fantastic time here in St Katherine Docks, exploring London and almost beginning to believe we were locals. I've managed a couple of days Locum work most weeks, which has just about paid for the new generator. Installing that has kept Barrie very busy.
Up the Thames!
24 September 2017 | London
The blog has been neglected, but after a few great weeks in the Azores we sailed for Southern Ireland, and crossed our outgoing track in Schull. Then the Azores and the south coast of England, and finally we motored up the Thames to our winter berth at St Katherine Docks, next to Tower Bridge. Yarona is about to become our London pad for the next six months.
28 May 2017
We dropped the anchor at noon, and took the dinghy in to the tiny marina to check it out. It's tight, but there should be room for us to move in tomorrow. This must be one of our most dramatic anchorages ever, between the huge outer breakwater and towering cliffs. The best find is a great cafe. A large Pizza to share, four beers, two expressos and two cakes- €27 total! We plan to stay a while....
Bermuda to Flores (Azores) - Day 13
27 May 2017 | SW of Flores, Azores
Blue sky again, with happy fluffy little clouds. I can see a terrier chasing rabbits and ducklings along the horizon; Barrie thinks I definitely need to get to land. The swell is very slowly reducing, but the wind is from the north, meaning we are bashing into it for the first time this passage- but it's only 14 knots, and is due to back to the SW around midnight. We had three separate visits from dolphins yesterday. Once we heard the squeaks before we saw them. Some were spotty, so out came the reference book. 'Atlantic spotted dolphin- often in large herds of several hundred. Vigorous swimmer, able to make high leaps. Often plays around yachts'. The faster ARC Europe boats should have caught us up, heading for Horta, and I'm surprised we haven't seen any. We haven't seen a yacht since our first day out of Bermuda. We hope to be dropping the anchor before noon tomorrow.
Bermuda to Flores (Azores) - Day 12
26 May 2017 | Mid Atlantic
Last night was truly miserable. After heading 30 miles south, we turned east and made good progress with just a scrap of jib. The wind stayed 25-35 knots for eight hours, and the maximum recorded gust was 49 knots- the highest we've ever seen. And it rained- heavily for six hours. No reading or podcasts on watch- too wet for kindle or IPad. But for the last few hours we've been heading in the right direction again. It's still wild and windy but there are patches of blue sky, and the swell is due to decrease. 240 miles to go, so we only need to manage a minimum average speed of five knots to reach Flores in daylight on Sunday. It's our 38th wedding anniversary today, and not one we'll forget.
Bermuda to Flores (Azores) - Day 11
25 May 2017 | Mid Atlantic
It's not over until it's over.... We had a lovely overnight sail, with no stress on the watches and good sleeping down below. But we were concerned when we looked at the downloaded forecast this morning. We were in danger of running into the storm soon to pass over Flores. So we emailed Commander's Weather to ask their advice, and are now sailing due south as fast as we can, in totally the wrong direction. This will take us away from the worst of the wind and the swell when the storm comes through tonight, and once it arrives the wind shifts to the SE, so we can put it behind us and charge back to Flores. Saturday should be calm. Well, that's the plan, lets hope it works out. We are now likely to arrive on Sunday.
Bermuda to Flores (Azores) - Day 10
24 May 2017 | Mid Atlantic
What a difference a day makes! The sun is out, the swell is regular and gentle, and we're on reach in the right direction under full sail at 7 knots. Yarona is ship-shape again, and normal dinner service is resumed- creamy chicken with mash for dinner. We may will be motoring tomorrow, and as we have plenty of fuel there are no concerns there. But- getting in to Flores is looking challenging. We need to get behind a small intense low that passes over the island on Friday night/Saturday morning, and avoid getting headed by the wind from the north that follows it. We may decide to motor north then follow the depression along the same latitude as the island, but it's still a bit early to call. Barrie had to call up a Turkish cargo ship this morning (I was having a wash below), when it changed direction and a comfortable 3 mile CPA as shown on the AIS suddenly went down to less than a mile. Maybe they were coming to have a look at us, but that is far too close, especially as we are sailing to wind and not a fixed course. The watch leader agreed to change course and pass us to stern.
Bermuda to Flores (Azores) - Day 9
23 May 2017 | Mid Atlantic
I'm typing with one hand and holding on with other as a squall comes through. A band of big grey cumulus passes over us about once every two hours, with the wind always shifting clockwise and the speed increasing by at least 10 knots. We cope the lazy way- just head more downwind for 10 minutes until it passes. We have a good saw-tooth track. We have now turned towards Flores, maybe a bit too soon, as the latest downloads show less swell behind us. We probably haven't done ourselves any favours by going so fast as we've kept up with the worse weather. It should be calmer tomorrow, with slightly less swell. The less said about the catering on board today, the better. Less than 600 miles to go!