Day 31 – Broken – on a rock in a hard place

On a rock in a hard place.

Draget Kanal

Wednesday 14th August started and ended with the most nerve wracking experiences of the trip; firstly, piloting through the Draget Kanal.  The Kanal is only 150m long, on the chart only 1.5m deep, and reputedly 8m wide.  We’re about 1.85m deep (before a ton of cruising crap, 600l of water, oh and we’re in fresh water so we float deeper…) and 4m wide.  A “bloke in the marina”* said it should be OK, and there’s a sign at the end that says it’s 2.0m deep so egged on by “the following boat”** we thought we’d give it a go.  Literally no turning back.

Looking at the entrance to the Draget Kanal

Although the video looks serene it wasn’t behind the wheel.  With overgrown trees threatening the mast and depth sounder reading close to zero under the keel the granite on either side rapidly closed in.  We made it through!!  Unfortunately at first “the following boat” didn’t, and had to have a run up at a few points before popping out at our end.  Their keel is deeper than ours, and mast higher, but they made it too, in places literally ploughing their own furrow.

After a few more wiggles through narrow bits to which we were now desensitised we hit open sea and endured an hour or so of unpleasant pounding and short chop.  Head down and pushing through we arrived at the dubiously named island of Broken. 

Breaking in Broken

Ringed by shallow bits and rocks there looked to be a buoyed channel into the yacht club, but not knowing how deep it was Andrew opted to find our own channel using the chart….a big mistake that led to the next nerve wracking experience.  While slowly picking through the supposed not-shallow bit Crystelle Venture hit a rock.  With a gut-wrenching bang and a shuddering crash we stopped and rapidly reversed off.  Unfortunately “the following boat” wasn’t so lucky.  With a 15cm deeper draft they hit the one we glided over and became firmly wedged, unable even with the aid of engine and bowthruster to move.

A rope between her teeth

Not wanting to get two boats stuck the plucky captain swam across to Crystelle Venture with a rope between her teeth and then back to the stricken vessel.  Tethered to the masthead we powered ahead, heeling the boat with the aim of reducing draft.  Even with their side decks awash we struggled, and every time we reduced power she settled back with a sickening grinding crash.  After the third or fourth go she came free, graunching sideways into deeper water.  “She swims!!!” we cried like Jack Aubrey…or something like that.

Firmly resolved to go the long way round we entered via deeper water into the harbour.  Stern anchors and mooring bows-to was the order of the day, a new-to-us technique that seems pretty simple, but we’ve yet to try leaving and lifting the anchor on the way out.  We’ll report back on that one.  Oh, and another “bloke in the marina” thought there was at least 3.0m in the approach channel.  Guess which way we’ll be leaving.

Warmth and sanctuary

Thankfully the island of Broken, although aptly named for our boats, actually was a place of warmth and sanctuary – an honesty box for berth payment of 190 Krona, earth and incinerator toilets, and a free sauna with hot showers.  Both crews walked across the island to share a communal sauna with windows out over the sea, us Brits in our swimming costumes and the 2 germans in their birth skins.  We all, including the germans, chickened out of actually swimming in the sea post sauna, but a few brave souls did in fact go into the water up to their thighs. 

Suzanne baked another lemon drizzle cake, as comfort food and hot tea seemed the right answer to a day of such highs and lows, with both crews huddled round the table on Crystelle Venture.

Daily stats

In 5 hours we made 32 nautical miles, using 5 gallons of fuel, motoring all the way, so averaging just over 6 knots.  

You can listen to our 2 in a boat podcast about the day’s events in episode 31 Broken in Broken.

*this was backed up by the “girl behind the counter”, so we believed him.

**”the following boat” has often been the lead boat in our two vessel off-piste adventures.  They generally don’t run aground, but coincidentally have done twice with Crystelle Venture in the lead…

Day 29: Messing about in Stockholm

After our disturbed night in Sandhamn , we didn’t rush to leave the marina.  We also knew that we didn’t have so far to go, as we had broken the back of the journey the day before. So we took advantage of the capacious shower blocks, had leisurely chats with other rally crews to see how they fared in the storm the night before, before releasing our lazy line about 10 am.

We motored for a couple of hours before were able to put all the sails up and make a decent 5 knots.  An enjoyable sail, with gusting force 4 South westerly wind.  Just after 1pm we noticed a small flotilla of other rally yachts starting to catch us up in the channel towards the sailing club.   However we managed to keep our pace and our position, 

Arrival into the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) at Slotsjobaden, was a breeze.  With our technique for stern buoy berthing nailed, we executed a perfect berthing in front of the restaurant goers.  

We tidied up in preparation for our first and only crew member to join us on this trip, who arrived by train about 3pm.  We had intended to go into Stockholm for a walk round in the evening, but the train journey was longer than expected, due to engineering works.  Yes ,they also have them in Sweden. So instead, we decided to be sociable and join other rally members for drinks and a halloumi burger in the yacht club restaurant.

The next day or so we spent being tourists in Stockholm – visiting two contrasting but equally fascinating museums – the Vasa museum with it’s immaculate raised 17th century ship – and the Abba museum and pottering about on ferries and around old buildings.

Daily stats

We had a short run of only 23 nautical miles, using 4 gallons of fuel and 3.2 engine hours in a 4 hours.  Fuel figures seems slightly out, which we reckon is because Andrew took the reading the day before, and Suzanne the one today.  So it was probably somewhere in between!

You can hear about this leg of our journey, on our podcast ‘2 in a boat’ – check out episode 30 – Stormin Stockholm

Day 28: Getting up close and personal in Sandhamn

Crossing the Gulf of Bothnia

The day didn’t start so well – with a bank of fog so thick we couldn’t see the Pommern or the boats on the next pontoon.  So much for an early departure.   Those who had set off early, had returned to port.

Finally around 0900 the fog lifted and we went to refuel at the self service pontoon.  What a location, right behind the stern of the Pommern.  With an extra 12 gallons on board, Suzanne steered us out and across the Gulf of Bothnia.

What’s it like?  It’s a bit like crossing the channel.  A traffic separation scheme to cross at 90 degrees and a stream of large ferries in both directions.  Andrew went back for some sleep, tired after our late night and our continual days of sailing.  We need a rest!  Thankfully Stockholm is our next destination and we should have a day or two there.

The engine started to warm slightly, only 5 degrees more than usual, so Andrew altered the belt and turned off the external regulator.  We kept a close watch on the temperature gauge for the rest of the journey.

With a southerly wind we were able to sail, and it was a reasonably swift passage across the Gulf.  As our phones pinged to let us know we’d now arrived in Sweden, Andrew lowered the Aland flag and raised the Swedish one.  Our clocks also went back an hour.  

As early evening approached, and we started to weave through the Swedish islands the rain started to pour.  The weather forecast was also for high winds, so we decided to go into a marina rather than to anchor.

We turned into Sandhamn Yacht Club, a sister club of the one we are to stay in Stockholm.  A large substantial club house and busy pontoons, meant we had to search for a berth.  Eventually we saw a blonde youth in a red uniform beckoning us to a spot.

And here it was again – another new way of berthing – a lazy line.  This entails a line tied to a heavy weight, that leads back from the pontoon.  The youth raised the line and Suzanne grabbed it with a boat hook, leading it back to Andrew to tie off on a stern cleat.  Bow lines were thrown to the youth – and all was going well, until a look of horror indicated we’d done something wrong.  We couldn’t work out what he was saying at first – and then Andrew realised – our lazy line had somehow also dragged up the water pipe for the club!    Needless to say we were moved onto another berth – with a racing yacht one side and motorboat the other – and party boat on the opposite side of the pontoon.

Clearly this marina was party central – we’ve not seen marina information before where it says you’ll be fined 2 weeks berthing fees if  you are noisy after 11pm.  Lots of the boats were blasting out music while they could!

The rain was still coming down, but given the late night cooking debacle in Mariehamn, Suzanne insisted we ate out.  We wandered into the nearest open eatery and had a veggie burger and crisps with sour cream and fish roe, 2 beers and a chocolate pudding – which came to a cool £70!  Making those the most expensive burger and crisps we’ve ever had!  Tasty though…

We walked back in a howling wind to find the boat beating its bow agains the pontoon. Andrew  tightened the lazy line and Andrew tried to fend off the bow and put a fender down – helped by a crew member from the racing yacht.  They turned out to be Finnish and they had just won the racing regatta at the club.  

We went to bed, but were woken at 2 in the morning to hear the sound of frantic winching.  The wind was throwing us around, and Andrew went out to investigate.  Basically our boat was on top of the power boat, which was pushing it onto the pontoon.  Rather too close and personal for the skipper of the other boat, who became Andrew’s cheer leader as he battled with the lines and winches.

Further tightening of the lazy line ensued, until a 30 cm gap appeared between the boats.  The racing yacht was also struggling to stay off the pontoon. The storm was raging by this point and the noise of the ropes on masts and flags on boats was intense.  There were 30 knots of winding rushing through the marina.

We woke to a different world.  There was a huge gap between us and the powerboat – the water was calm and it looked as if nothing had happened the night before.  

Daily stats

We were underway for 10 hours, making 67 nautical miles, we sailed for 2, motor sailed for 7 and moored for 1, using around 4 gallons of fuel.

You can hear about this leg of our journey, on our podcast ‘2 in a boat’ – check out episode 30 – Stormin Stockholm

Day 27 – Ferry dodging to Mariehamn, Aland Islands

We had a rendezvous with the rest of the rally fleet and needed to be in Mariehamn, Aland islands, before the end of the day.  We quickly hoisted our Aland island courtesy flag, having inadvertently overlooked the fact that we were already in their waters the night before…

We had a slightly sticky departure from the berth, as our hook on the buoy had got bent out of shape, and the bow line when we released it got caught in the pontoon.  Luckily both issues were resolved relatively quickly, and we made a clean get away.

It was a day of two halves – sailing and motor sailing, sunshine and rain.  We managed a short distance with the cruising chute up, but a storm heading our way, meant we dropped it again quickly.

In the archipelago its best to give ferries the right of way – they go fast and they don’t deviate.  As we approached a rather narrow channel, we realised that a ferry was bearing down on us, fast.  We took the sensible option and moved out of its way.

Late afternoon the wind gave us a good lift and we had a great hour or so of sailing, making up to 7 knots.  

We arrived into Mariehamn when the rally cocktail party was already in full swing on the pontoon.  We berthed perfectly and joined the others on the pontoon – too late to take part in the cocktail creation competition.

It was then a late night visit to the supermarket in town, where a big party was going on. Suzanne was desperate to eat fish and chips, and despite checking all the restaurants and stalls at the fete, nothing remotely doing.

So it was fish fingers and oven chips from the supermarket. Which seemed like a great idea, but our gas ran out half way through cooking it! It was a very late dinner and an even later night. However Mariehamn was well worth a stopover, with a beautiful backdrop of the tall ship Pommern. As with many places on our whistlestop tour, we wish we’d had a day or two more to explore.

Daily stats

No chart of today’s visit unfortunately, as we were too late/tired to get a screenshot.

We covered 42 nautical miles in just under 9 hours, averaging around 4.8 knots – and used 3 gallons of fuel.

Day 24 – Touching bottom in Helsingholmen

By 0730 we had raised both our anchors and retraced our steps to rejoin the fairway.  A grey and cloudy morning, but lifted by the stunning scenery of the national park we seem to have all to ourselves.  We saw seals, great flocks of cormorants and perhaps even more rare a sighting, Suzanne steering.

Around 0930 we were able to start sailing, make a good 6 knots and a for a brief period we even put up the cruising chute – although that didn’t last long.  Throughout the day military launches swiftly passed us.  

Mid afternoon, just past Hanko, we caught up with another rally yacht – who attempted to offer us scones it turns out – though we couldn’t make it out at the time!  The wind had picked up a little and we were making up to 7.5 knots under sail.

Hanko

Andrew had found our berth for a night on a website called viking islands.  It sounded promising, with a kiosk, sauna, showers and fresh fish.  We arrived about 4.30pm, and slowly motored into a sheltered bay on the island of Helsingholmen.  

Our first attempt to moor was rebuffed by another yacht – who said it was too shallow and directed us to the other side of a pontoon.  However when we got there, the boats were too close together and there was no room at the inn.  We spotted a gap further down, and slowly nudged our way in, until we slowly touched bottom.  Nope that was no good.

We reversed back and ended up tying up on the rubbish pontoon in a space reserved for the refuse ship.  Unfortunately Suzanne had just started to cook dinner when the said ship arrived in the harbour.  It had a small crane and was busy working on the round waste containers that were moored in the centre of the small bay.  Everyone watched intently as they made a lot of noise and put in a lot of effort into doing quite what, no-one knew.  

The boat then put across towards us, and Andrew asked if they wanted us to move – no they were ok on the end.  They let their dog off to pee and then they were off again.  Bin men of the waters still working at 7pm at night.  

We had a similar non event with the harbour office.  It was 10 euros to stay, another 5 euros if we wanted electric.  However no shower without the sauna, and that was booked until 1am.  There appeared to be nothing for sale in the small kiosk.  Armed with only a card, Suzanne slunk back to the boat, and we spent the following half hour rummaging through drawers and clothes pockets to scrape together enough coinage to pay the 10 euros.

Nevertheless it was a peaceful spot – with an amazing display of fish jumping out of the water.  It also, inevitably had a similarly large number of flying insects to tempt the fish…

Our daily stats

We made 51 nautical miles in 9 hours averaging 5.6 knots.  We sailed for 4 and used 4.5 gallons of fuel.

If you’d like to hear more, why not check out our podcast – Two in a Boat?

Day 23 – anchoring in the archipelago

Helsinki to Sundskar anchorage

We set off around 9.30am, put up our sails and were soon sailing the inshore route behind the islands, moving into beautiful clear waters and clear skies.  We were sad to say goodbye to Helsinki.  We’d enjoyed a fabulous crew meal at the yacht club the night before – as well as a sauna, and a shed load of washing.  

Unfortunately the tumble dryer couldn’t match the washing machine, and we left with our saloon looking like a chinese laundry – a makeshift line hung up to try and dry the last load of washing.

Our trip to the island of the street of chandlries had been interesting and fruitful. It’s not often you get asked to leave a chandlery at 3pm on a  Saturday afternoon because they are closing.  But yep, they all did.  We had lunch of the local delicacy of fish soup – basically salmon and potato – very delicious, in a restaurant overlooking another marina.  Bit of a busman’s holiday…

Mid morning we caught a glimpse of our first sea eagles, as we wove our way carefully through the guide poles between small islands.  

Beware the gusts that come between islands!  These are strong and can almost knock you over.  We were caught out – and Andrew’s full glass of squash went tumbling down the companion way, over the newly washed clothes – of course!

Others from the rally had taken the outside route, and appeared to be battling against a strong headwind and rain.  Around lunchtime they started to move into the inner route and we met and past a number of the other boats.  

Barosund had been one of the recommendations of the speaker at the crew dinner.  He said it would be like sailing in a swimming pool.  Not sure that some of the other yachts would quite have agreed with that on the outer route – but here as we drifted through the islands, we understood exactly what he meant.

Having learnt the lesson the hard way on arrival in Finland – we knew we would want to find our anchorage in day light.  Andrew had earmarked a few on the chart – and we discounted the first – as too small and possibly also belonging to someone – there was a buoy.   

It was getting close to 6pm, the wind was picking up and our swimming pool was becoming quite choppy.  Luckily our next choice proved just the ticket – some carefully following of guide sticks, and we were hunkered down in an anchorage made for one.  The small island of Sundskar was to be our berth for the night.  

We dropped both bow and stern anchors, and settled down to some mushroom risotto for dinner.

Our daily stats

We made 51 nautical miles in 8 and a half hours, averaging 6 knots.  We sailed for an hour, motor sailed for 7 and used 7 gallons of fuel.

You can hear more of our thoughts about Helsinki and our time there in our podcast Episode 28 – In search of vikings.

Day 22: Where the devil does his washing up

We pottered in the morning and set off about 0930 – the other rally yacht had left earlier as they had crew to pick up in Helsinki.

We slowly motored our way back down the channel out of Porvoo, where the depth at times dropped to as little as 0.9 metres under our keel.  We had hoped to take a sneaky short cut and follow a lead all the way to Helsinki, but the bridge was deemed too low for our mast.

What’s a lead?  Sailing the archipelago they are a must.  They are lines on the chart which show you the way to go from one point to another – show the depth of the water under the keel, and so help you avoid going aground!  It’s a new and different way of sailing for us, and takes up far more energy, nerves and time than we had anticipated.  It is also thrilling, exhilarating, and achingly beautiful.  

Opportunities to sail have to be chosen with care, but even within the archipelago there are wide open expanses of water deep enough to sail, as long as you keep a close eye on the buoys and the transit lines.  

Today we were lucky, with a combination of wind, direction and expanse of water.  We sailed, with the westerly breeze pushing us around 4 -5 knots as we made our way towards Helsinki.

On the lead up to Helsinki, the wind was gusting, getting us to over 7.5 knots under sail, and putting us in the mix with some 5.5 yachts who were racing out of the sailing club we were heading for.  We even over took a ketch.

Around 4pm we let rally control know that we were making our approach and were told to enter close to the stern of another rally yacht.  Unbeknown to us at that stage, that yacht had hit a rock on the entry to the harbour, so we were all now being guided in over known safe water.

We bossed the stern buoy berthing and took the opportunity to take in the stunning setting that we were so privileged to enjoy.  The NJK marina is an island that belongs to the oldest yacht club in Finland.  Its club house is an Edwardian treasure, with the backdrop of the city skyline behind it.  The facilities were perfect, with showers, sauna and laundry.  And a half hourly ferry to take you to the main land.  

We enjoyed the next couple of days exploring Helsinki – travelling out on the tube to the street with 4 chandleries and eating and drinking with other crews.  

Our daily stats

A short day’s run of 38 miles, took us 6 hours and a half hours, we sailed for 3 and made an average of 5.8 knots, using 1 gallon of fuel.

You can hear more in our podcast, Episode 27 – where the devil does his washing up

Day 11 – getting to our Baltic rally start point

Heiligenhafen to Warnemunde (for Rostock)

We left Heiligenhafen after a delicious, but odd, veggie breakfast.  Two still warm bread rolls each, Irish butter and slices of brie, mozzarella, pesto, tomatoes and assorted dips in a waterside bakery next to the marina.  Hearty fare worthy of the epic to come. 

It was a gusty F4 – 5  as we slipped out of our box berth and pointed the stem towards open sea again.  Except this time it’s not that open.  We were nestled just north of the Fehmarn bridge, a 22m high span that we had to negotiate through with our 17.5m mast. 

There should be loads of clearance, but in a moment of false jeopardy worthy of a TV documentary Andrew still couldn’t watch and steered through looking at the floor and crossing his fingers.  Of course we were fine.  We didn’t come to a crashing halt or cause irreparable damage to the historic monument.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


After the bridge the sea calmed down and with the yankee on one side and staysail on the other we made good progress for a couple of hours – this couldn’t last. 

The sea became as confused and uncomfortable as a pensioner’s driving.  The rain came pouring down and Suzanne disappeared below; there’s no point in two pissed wet through travellers.  Andrew started the engine because he’s impatient and was fed up of wallowing around downwind and a couple of hours later we arrived in Rostock.

Seriously, can we please just have some decent sailing weather…


Suzanne bossed the box berth, getting the ropes on first time and berthing in record time.  Andrew got it in the berth nearly straight and only donated a small amount of gelcoat to the glorious German nation.

Crystelle Venture in her box berth at Warnemunde

We’re here, at the start of the Rally, and we’ve a few make and mend days before we set off on Tuesday.  Time to service the engine, wash the boat and polish out the scratches… (think we might need more than a few days to get those scratches out…)

Our daily stats

7 hours for 44 Nautical miles, which averages over 6 knots.  Nearly our shortest trip but fastest speed.  

2 in a boat – our podcast!

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.

Join us

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.

The novice and the old salt

The novice and the old salt. All the gear and no idea? What on earth (or on water) could go wrong…? You’ll have to tune in each week to find out how we’re getting on. It’s available from all good podcast sites, Apple Podcasts, Google podcasts, Anchor, Spotify, Breaker, Pocket casts, Overcast, and Radio Public, so hopefully one of those will do it for you!

Crystelle Venture at Darthaven Marina, Kingswear, Devon

We’ll link to each episode as it goes live here, and if there are any show notes, we’ll include them here too.

We’ve now decided to publish our podcasts on a Sunday and a Wednesday – around 6am. So don’t forget to check for new episodes!

Please let us know which is your favourite episode and if you have any questions you’d like us to answer in podcast.

Episode 1 A week to go

Live date: Sunday 16 June

Recorded: Saturday 10 June

Join us on a wet Saturday drive down to the boat – with a rather reluctant Andrew behind the wheel.

Episode 2 – The night before departure

Live Date: Thursday 20 June

Recorded: Sunday 16 June

Join us on a wet and windy Sunday evening in the saloon of Crystelle Venture – slightly tired after all our preparations, and excited too to be setting off next day.

Episode 3 – Dartmouth to Portland

Live Date: Sunday 23 June

Recorded: Monday 17 June

Finally, we are off! Not to France, but the first leg of our journey along the southern coast of England.

Bonus Episode -3a – In the boat from Dartmouth to Portland

Live Date: Tuesday 25 June

Recorded: Monday 17 June

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!

Episode 4 – Enroute from Portland

Live Date: Friday 28 June

Recorded: Wednesday 19 June

Join Andrew and Suzanne as they podcast from Crystelle Venture as they sail from Portland towards Dunkirk. 

Episode 5 – Why we dove into Dover

Live Date: Monday 1 July

Recorded: Thursday 20 June

So last episode we were on our way to Dunkirk.  But did we get there? Find out in this episode of Two in a Boat.

Episode 6 – Departing Dover

Live Date: Wednesday 3 July

Recorded: Friday 21 June

Finally ‘Two in a Boat’ are set to sail to France.  Just where will they end up this time? 

Episode 7 – Footfall in France

Live Date: Sunday 7 July

Recorded: Friday 21 June

Finally Suzanne, Andrew and Crystelle Venture make footfall in France.  But how did the channel crossing go?  Was it all plain sailing?  Download this latest podcast to hear how it all went.

Bonus episode – 7a – Deceptive Dunkirk

Live Date: Wednesday 10 July

Recorded: Saturday 22 June

Enjoy this bonus episode with our sailors first morning off on the other side of the channel.  Join them as they discuss the delights of Dunkirk and bothersome Belgians.  

Episode 8 – Adieu Dunkirk

Live date: 14 July

Join Suzanne and Andrew in the cockpit of Crystelle Venture as they motor sail from Dunkirk.  Does what happened in Dunkirk stay in Dunkirk?  Listen in to find out.

Episode 9 – Chatting in Cadzand

Live date: 17 July

A week after setting off from Dartmouth, where have 2 in a Boat found themselves?  Find out as they chat in Cadzand.  

Episode 10 – Decisions, Decisions

Live date: 21 July

Wind shift not in your favour?  You have three options – which one are you going to choose?  Listen in as our 2 in a Boat, Suzanne and Andrew, sail up the Dutch coast.

Episode 11 – Submarines, boarders and concrete sheep

Live date: 24 July

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.

Episode 12 – Slow is pro

Live date: 28 July

Settled into their island berth Suzanne and Andrew discuss the various tactics to mooring up in a box berth, being the only Brits in the village and other such nonsense.  

Episode 13 – Casting my account to Neptune

Live date: 31 July

A hard day and night’s sail and our 2 in a boat are reliving the tale.  Just who gave their account to Neptune, and just what did it consist of?  Find out in today’s episode of 2 in a boat.

Episode 14 – Beating the boat from Borkum

Live date: 4 August

Learn about beating, VMG, and horny Borkum in today’s new podcast from 2 in a boat.

Episode 15 – Borkum, bikes and boys

Live date: 7 August

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.

Episode 16 – Cracking the canal

Live date: 11 August

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.

Episode 17 – Happy in Heiligenhafen

Live date: 14 August

Join our two jolly sailors as they celebrate crossing the canal, and their tricky entry into heavenly Heiligenhaven.

Episode 18 – Fingers crossed (we don’t hit the bridge)

Live date: 18 August

Fearless?  I don’t think so.  Hear about Andrew’s fear of bridges and bears as they arrive into Warnemunde, the starting point for their Baltic rally.  

Episode 19 – Blowing old boots to Bornholm

Live date: 21 August

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.

Episode 20 – Sunshine on a cloudy day

Live date: 25 August

Join Suzanne and Andrew, newly landed on the island of Bornholm in Denmark after their overnight sail from Germany.

Episode 21 – Bandidos, hoards and painted stones

Live date: 28 August

Our Baltic wanderers talk about the first two islands they’ve visited on their trip, Bornholm in Denmark and Gotland in Sweden.

Episode 22 – Loving Latvia

Live date: 1 September

Our 2 in a boat make an unscheduled stop in Lativa – and love it!  Find out how our intrepid Baltic explorers got on in one of the smallest Baltic countries.

Episode 23 – Talking in Tallinn

Live date: 8 September

This episode finds our 2 in a boat talking tales of travel in Estonia, as they find themselves in the capital city, Tallinn.

Episode 24 – Thoughts on Tallinn

Live Date: 11 September

Our 2 in a boat are all Tallinn’d out!  Hear them chat about their time in the Estonian capital – we’re talking showers, submarines, and chandleries of course!

Episode 25 – How we almost joined the Russian navy

Live date: 15 September

Our haphazard sailors almost join the Russian navy, are boarded by sniffer dogs and eventually find themselves in St Petersburg. 

Episode 26 – Tall tales of Russian sailing

Live date: 18 September

Talking fried egg sandwiches, touring St Petersburg and the terror of anchoring at night

Episode 27 – Where the devil does his washing up

Live date: 22 September

Time for our 2 in a boat to start recycling their Scandinavian jokes.  When and where will it finish?!

Episode 28 – In search of vikings

Live date: 25 September

Join our 2 in their cockpit as they’re under sail making 7 knots and looking for Vikings.

Episode 29 – Think we’ve found our viking!

Live date: 29 September

Our two touch bottom, again, visit the old capital Turku, and discuss cake gate. Find out how and why in today’s episode.

Dartmouth to Portland

Day 1

With the weather not looking its best, we opted not to leave Dartmouth on Sunday, but to take our chances on the right kind of wind, in the right direction, on a cloudy rather than wet day on Monday 17 June.

Andrew preparing to slip our mooring at Darthaven Marina, Kingswear, Devon, UK

8am sharp

As a stream of 7 naval picket boats entered Dartmouth harbour, we motored past in the opposite direction, hoisting our mainsail by Dartmouth castle at the mouth of the river, and out into the open sea by 8.30 am. With engine turned off, and our genoa hoisted we set our auto pilot to 77 degrees for the 55 or so nautical miles to Portland harbour, across Lyme Bay.

Knots and knots

Our speed at Mewstone was 8.2 knots, with Andrew claiming top speed of the day at 9.1 knots at around 10 am. It was then time for Suzanne to practice her knots, notably the bowline, which is the most useful of knots according to Andrew. With a watch change each hour, our new AIS to play with and get used to -all that beeping when another vessel was within 5 miles range had to be stopped(!) – time passed quickly.

Our first sighting

At around 1130 we had our first sighting of a dolphin or porpoise. As it was on it’s own, swam under the boat and carried on its way – we think it was probably the latter. Dolphins tend to travel in groups and swim alongside the boat. However Suzanne’s theory that sea birds can often be an indicator that a ‘d’ or ‘p’ – our boat code so we don’t jinx the chance of a sighting – is nearby worked again. Watching an elegant lone sea bird, with a slim silhouette similar to a swallow, led us to see the ‘d’ or ‘p’, otherwise we would have missed it. It came and went in the flash of an eye, and far too quick to catch on camera. Next time we hope!

Rounding Portland Bill

Portland Bill has something of fearsome reputation amongst the sailing fraternity. Lyme Bay is littered with wrecks, it has notorious tidal race which is where a fast moving tide is constricted by some kind of land or sea mass. It looks a bit like the sea is bubbling and boiling. The Swinge was the first of these notorious races that we’ve managed to sail, when we visited Alderney. We’ve learnt, give them as wide a berth as possible. And so it was we were safely past and into Portland Harbour.

Berth for a night

By 6.30 pm we had tied up in our berth for the night, Q15, on the outer pontoon at Portland Marina. A fantastic facility, surrounded by numerous sailing and racing facilities, no doubt boosted by them hosting the sailing at the 2012 Olympics (which we were lucky enough to attend). After dinner at The Boat That Rocks, we took a stroll on the incredible Chesil Beach.

A stowaway

As Andrew went to pack away the stay sail, he discovered a large bee resting in the folds. Clearly exhausted, with no energy to fly away, Suzanne fed it sugar water until it revived. Flying and sounding like a B52 bomber, after half an hour our stowaway took its leave.

Our daily stats

We were underway for 10.5 hours, sailed for 42 miles and motor sailed for 12, with around 2 engine hours, using about 3 gallons of fuel. Our noon position was 50degrees 25.5 N, 02 degrees 56.2 W. You can see the course we steered in the screen shot from AIS below.

After a rest day, we’ll be setting sail for France!