We woke to a beautiful morning in Klintholm, although the boat was covered in a small guano mountain of little unwanted offerings from the bountiful house martins we had enjoyed watching circle about the boats the night before…
After a quick refuelling stop at the eye-watering price of around £1.50 a litre, in comparison to the 67 pence we paid in Russia, we set off with a gentle northerly wind behind us.
Once we had turned the corner of Mons to enter the sound we turned off the engine and gently sailed between the islands.
Today was the kind of sailing day you dream of. Bright sunshine, cloudless sky, a calm sea and a breeze to drift you along. Bimini up, bikini on – a day of lazing in the sun stretched before us.
We marvelled at the buoys with their bottle brush tops – just why were they like that and why hadn’t we seen them before. We watched butterfly after butterfly flutter by the boat, and wondered why.
Within quick succession we had two road bridges to negotiate, and Andrew went under the first without breaking into a sweat – the second there was a moment of hesitation, and it did seem almost close, but we and our mast fitted under both – and we were through.
Here the water was almost like a millpond and the breeze enough for us to chance putting up our asymmetric cruising chute. The one that makes us look like we’re from Greece. It worked beautifully, and after we’d reduce the main to stop it blanketing it from the wind, it pulled us along at a creditable 4 knots.
Not sure if it was the heat that had gone to our heads, but it was at this point, alone in the middle of a shimmering blue sea, drifting along under our mediterranean sail, we decided to try a spot of nude sailing. And even to go into the sea from our swimming platform. Both completely unheard of before on Crystelle Venture. Something of a success. But whether it will ever be repeated…
Around 4.30pm we prepared our ropes and fenders to enter the harbour at Vejro, a small island less than 2km sq in size. We debated whether we should in fact stop there, as the wind was forecast to shift in the night, and would be blowing into the shallow harbour when we wanted to exit in the morning. Our only other option was to sail for another hour or so, to an even shallower and smaller harbour, where we shouldn’t have that potential problem with the wind pinning us in.
Eventually we opted to stick with our original plan, a smart move as it turned out, and slowly approached the harbour breakwater.
As we entered we were pointed to the right side of the harbour, as the left side suffered from too much swell. Our preparations paid off and we bossed that box berth in front of all the locals, and with the help of the harbour master.
We promptly got off to pay, and the harbourmaster explained that we were on a private island. That all the facilities were included, such as bikes, showers, laundry, but the price was a little high as a result – 350 danish krona, – about £40. We took a short walk up to the restaurant/cafe/shop – bought a couple of ice creams, beers and eggs – ordered fresh bread rolls for collection in the morning, and picked a few blackberries.
As we walked to the shower block later on, we noticed how dark the sky was, and how brightly the stars shone. What a wonderful spot to end our time in Denmark.
Our daily stats
We had a leisurely 9 hours cruising round the Danish islands, managing to sail for 5, so using only 2 gallons of fuel. We’re sure that would appeal to the owners of Verjoe island who want it to be eco-friendly and self sustaining.
Ystad is a cute little place, feeling more Danish than Swedish with a nice little market square and houses reminiscent of the island of Bornholm, which is only 50 miles away, a distance the superfast (and super scary) ferries do in about ninety minutes.
We left Ystad into a headwind, with a high mackerel sky, which by now is a familiar story. Hours of battering into lumpy seas motor-sailing our way out of Sweden.
Sunshine and passing ships broke up the monotony, as ships were a rarity in the archipelago. Now we’re back in the main Baltic, right alongside the deep water channel, they’ve returned. Bulk carriers, container ships and the ubiquitous ferries.
Our departure from Swedish waters, into those of the Danish, meant our first changing over of our courtesy flags in somewhile. Andrew, as always, did the honours.
The journey meant we sailed close to the Cliffs of Mons – possibly the closest Denmark has to the white cliffs of Dover, and seemingly quite a tourist attraction on the island of Mons. It is perhaps the highest natural form we’d seen since leaving the UK.
Arriving in Klintholm, on the island of Møn entailed threading through fish stakes, a narrow shallow entrance and berthing alongside in the area reserved for 12-15m boats.
An alongside berth next to the electricity with the pontoon the same height as our deck. We paid at the self service machine beside the closed harbour office – which appeared to only open for an hour or so at the weekend.
A kiosk selling Magnum ice creams, late summer sun and fresh Danish pastry for breakfast tomorrow. We marvelled at the bravery of the lady in the small ‘mini brugsen’ shop who had to put her hand into the glass cabinet abuzz with wasps covering the jammy pastries.
Watching the sun go down, and the house martins swirling round, we caught up with some admin, and watched as the harbour slowly filled with boats.
Our daily stats
We made 57 nautical miles in 9 and a half hours, averaging 6 knots. We motor sailed the whole way, using 8 gallons of fuel.
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.
At 0900 we listened as rally control gave out instructions for today’s departure from Warnemunde over channel 77. The planned noon departure had been put back to a suggested 1400 – 1500 due to the wind strength and speed of the 15 boats in our rally flotilla, suggesting we’d arrive too soon. We’re not really used to sailing too quick, so were a bit concerned that they’d overestimated our speed potential. How wrong we were.
We pottered about getting our usual jobs done, flask of soup, flask of hot water, smoked salmon sandwiches, biscuits, fruit, Doritos, orange squash, and a couple of posh pot noodles. Suzanne had also bought fresh croissants for breakfast, and a marzipan Ritter Sport for Andrew, to keep him going during the early hours.
Jerry can man can’t
About 2pm we pushed back from our berth, hit nothing (which is good as people were watching this time) and set off for the fuel barge. We arrived at the same time as a jerry with a can. He was really helpful, called on the intercom and refuelling man arrived by bicycle about 5 minutes later.
Embarrassingly he was refused service – as it is ‘verboten’ to walk around the harbour with fuel cans on show. “Ridiculous” jerry can man said to us (through clenched teeth) “verboten is the most used phrase in German. Of course it is very important that things should be verboten” and chuckled (or grimaced, I’m not quite sure) .
We inquired could we fill them on our boat and deliver them to his boat but refuelling man clarified that he could have his diesel if his cans were in bags, a bit like having alcohol but only if it’s in a brown paper bag. We furnished him with two “bags for life” and he could now legally buy diesel and walk back to his boat.
On leaving the fuel berth we headed out of the marina, slowly, sorting ropes and fenders knowing that once we were in the maelstrom of surf outside such things would be difficult. We discovered our imaginary seals were also real at this point. How embarrassing. (Listen to our podcast to hear more on that subject!)
A Crystelle Venture record
Outside the breakwater things got a bit more serious. Force 6* onshore wind was whipping up some wicked waves and we set off on a wet, bumpy reach to our first turning point. This was supposed to take seven hours but we made it in five. We ducked inshore of the wind farm following most of the other ARC Baltic boats. The waves weren’t huge but they were big enough to give us a non-tidal assisted Crystelle Venture record of 10.4 Knots momentary surfing speed.
The waves subsided, night gathered and now Andrew’s watch began. During the night the boat was barrelling along, with speeds of between 6 and 9 knots. At one point Andrew considered reducing sail area to slow down as the boat was quite twitchy above 8 knots and it was difficult to get the autohelm to steer a good course. Sustained by a bar of Ritter sport chocolate (marzipan), packet of choccy biscuits, tomato soup, four slices of bread, a penguin and turkish delight Andrew saw the night through.
Early the next day, 0700 we reached Bornholm, Denmark, standing off the harbour entrance at Ronne and waiting for permission to enter. Once the harbour radio operator woke up we were allowed in, berthing snugly against an Oyster 575 who had tailed us by a couple of miles all the way from Warnemunde but passed us at about 0500.
Follow that boat!
To keep tabs on all the boats in the Baltic rally, each boat has been kitted out with a Yellow Brick tracking device. You can follow the Arc Baltic from their pages, or even download the Yellow Brick app. It gives updates refreshed every 4 hours. You can also still view our progress on AIS.
Our daily stats
110 miles in 16 hours, a serious sugar headache and a couple of days to explore the Danish Island of Bornholm!
*Force 6 is 30 knots, 35mph, try sticking your arm out of a car window at 35mph, that’s how strong the wind is. Don’t put it out too far though, and certainly not your head…that is dangerous.
2 in a boat is our podcast that brings you the sailing and travel world of Suzanne and Andrew on their aged yacht Crystelle Venture.
You’ll join us along the way as we prepare for our longest sail yet, from Dartmouth, UK to St Petersburg, Russia. Our route takes us across the North Sea and around the Baltic this summer, a round trip of about 3000 nautical miles.
With a fab intro music written by our talented nephew, Joseph Turner, and artwork by our equally talented daughter, Jessica Caballero – it’s something of a family affair.
Warts and all live recording of our time sailing across Lyme Bay to Portland. Ever wondered what goes on during those long hours in a small cockpit on a yacht? Now’s your chance to eavesdrop and find out what Andrew and Suzanne get up to!
Just where have our 2 in a boat washed up now? They’ve spotted submarines, been boarded by the Dutch authorities, and now want to buy concrete sheep. Listen in to find out what on earth/on sea, has been going on.
At last our 2 intrepid sailors have made their way to the gateway to the river Elbe and the prospect of the Kiel canal looms. But what are our 2 in a boat talking about? Borkum, bikes and boys! Listen in to hear about their journey from Borkum to Cuxhaven, and all manner of other discussions.
Today is the day our 2 in a boat face one of their biggest fears, and most anticipated parts of their journey to the Baltic – going into the Keil canal (NOK). Find out how they got on in today’s episode.
Today we find our 2 in a boat preparing for the first official leg in their Baltic rally – from Warnemunde, Germany to Bornholm, Denmark. What have they done in the past few days and what are their thoughts on the rally? Join them on Crystelle Venture to catch up with our 2 in a boat.