After refuelling in anticipation of light winds and getting clearance from port control we sadly left Ronne at 0800. A close look at Hammershus castle on the North West coast during our transit past the island and Bornholm receded into the distance.
Bornholm is well worth a visit. It’s full of cute villages, nice people and it’s great for cycling. In Gudhjem on the north coast you are allowed to cycle up the hill through the main street, but not down the hill. Which is interesting, as in Bray, the main town on Alderney you are allowed to cycle down the hill, but not up. It’s an island thing…
Sail away, sail away, sail away
The forecast was for light, variable and generally unfavourable winds, so for the first four hours we motorsailed. As the wind backed we hoisted the cruising chute, which powered us along to an un-dieseled 5 knots, the sun shone and things generally looked good. Elixir another rally yacht caught us up and as we dropped our chute due to failing wind, they hoisted theirs, in bright pink.
We motorsailed away from them as they were off to Utklippan to spend the night en route but a dark and ominous grey cloud was in front of us. We heard the rumble of thunder and saw spectacular lightning in the distance. Visibility dropped, the temperature fell ten degrees and the rain started. Torrential rain, with a strengthening wind.
Andrew stayed outside as Suzanne went in to start cooking Swedish veggie meatballs in honour of our arrival in Swedish waters. The sails were drawing well but engine continued to be used to keep us ahead of the lightning flashes. Water gushed from the end of the boom as it ran down the sails.
It stopped as sudden as it had started, with blue skies and failing wind, and it was back to motor sailing as the speed dropped to 2-3 knots.
For the night watch Andrew opted to wear his immersion suit. Not because of any impending disaster but because it’s been cold at night, and sitting around in the cockpit watching for merchant ships with drunk, sleepy watchkeepers attempting to run you over doesn’t keep you warm. It does keep you awake though.
Light variable winds all night kept the engine on until 0620 when a bright and cheery Suzanne took the deck and let a cold and less cheery Andrew off to go and get some sleep.
Visby, Gotland, Sweden
By 1100 Andrew had “slept” for a couple of hours and we were back to motor sailing, into a short uncomfortable chop through the deep water shipping lane. This slowly subsided but with the wind remaining on the nose we motorsailed our way to Visby, alternatively sleeping and watchkeeping.
We motored past bird island where we could see no birds and inviting looking beaches which lay at the base of precipitous and crumbling cliffs.
Sailing towards Visby, the main city on the Swedish island of Gotland, you could make out the cathedral spires. We asked for permission to enter Visby harbour and after waiting around on channel 25 with no answer, decided to enter anyway, slowly and cautiously following a huge RoRo ferry.
Our final berth was rafted up against 2 other rally boats, both American, and more experienced rally sailors.
Our daily stats
It was a long 35 hours, with 27 motor sailing and only 8 sailing, consuming 17 gallons of fuel on a voyage of 204 miles
You can hear more in episode 20 of our podcast ‘2 in a boat’ – Sunshine on a cloudy day – due for release on 25 August 2019.