Trip on Freyja starting 2015-08-17 in BSANov15
Malmo to Rendsberg 17 – 27 August 2015 – report by Peter Wakeling
This charter was booked on the CSSA Najad 380 ‘Freyja’ as part of the 2015 Long Trip to The Baltic. Skipper Peter Wakeling and crew Ted Booth, Bill Cullen, and Clive Pelerin. Crew met up at Copenhagen airport by chance on the train to Malmo although we had planned to meet up in Malmo station. Taxi ride to the marina was a problem because the driver spoke no English (possibly Swedish neither) and after a roundabout drive it dawned that ‘marina’ is not used in Sweden where they refer to a ‘small boat harbour’.
The previous crew had left yacht in good order and we provisioned at nearby shops. Our plans for departure next morning were however disrupted by the weather. The general weather situation in Baltic is a high pressure system with prevailing F4/5 E winds, warm sunny days – lovely sailing conditions. Unfortunately the forecast was a gale warning for our area, and the harbourmaster advised against sailing to Rodvig, in Denmark, the intended first port of call. So a day pottering around, crew and yacht familiarisation. Had excellent dinner in waterside restaurant at moderate cost – no more expensive than at home and excellent value for money, which became the dining theme of the trip. It was surprising how much better value eating and drinking has become in both Sweden and Denmark.
Following day good to go and we left passing under The Oresund Bridge (famous from ‘The Bridge’ & The Killing’). The swell increased as we cleared the southern tip of Sweden and we had gusting E F6 as we berthed in the old fishing harbour of Rodvig after 42 nm passage. Berthing in the Baltic box moorings requires a particular technique. Guiding the boat between posts, the crew have to loop very long stern lines over these posts before tying up on the bow. This does call for a crew of 4 particularly in difficult conditions. With a strong gusting wind on the port beam our approach was quite difficult, and we failed to get a line on the windward post (the important one!). It took time and help from ashore and alongside before we finally managed to tie up securely. Our crew were not familiar with box mooring and this was a useful if testing first lesson – we were much better at it in days to come. I had happy memories of family holidays in a log cabin at Rodvig so tracked down the cabin which was exactly as remembered from 30 years ago. Learned that two yachts had been wrecked near Rodvig in the gale the previous day and lives lost, so delaying was clearly the right decision.
The following day required a second diversion from the original passage plan. Although the wind had reduced to E F4, the residual swell made it highly inadvisable to attempt the narrow and tortuous channel through the exposed Bogestrom with a minimum charted depth of 2.1m. The alternative required a diversion around the south of Mon, past the spectacular chalk cliffs, then entering the narrow and shallow Gronsund. Berthed in the quaint, silted harbour of Stubbekobing on Falster. Explored town and had delightful dinner in Thai restaurant run by mother and daughter. Next day navigated the channels past Vordingborg, then out in open water heading for the tiny island of Vejro. This island has an abandoned village but is now owned by a family and being slowly developed into a secluded boutique resort with own airstrip. The showers are located in a large log cabin but inside they are really luxurious, quite surprising. Barbeques are provided alongside the harbour, wood is included in the berthing fee, steaks etc. can be bought from the small hotel. The restaurant was closed that evening because of a large booked party so we chose to eat on board after a pleasant ramble and swim, altogether a most delightful place to visit and very convenient as it is located right on the usual passage route,
Next day a glorious 40 nm sail round the north end of Langeland, through a narrow buoyed channel off Lohals, then south to Rudkobing, another diversion from planned stopover in Svendborg as we had lost time earlier. Rudkobing is a picturesque town with working harbour and boat yards, birthplace of Oersted whose statue is in the square. Dinner in pleasant restaurant.
Yet another change of plan the following day, conscious of the need to make Rendsberg on time for our handover. The weather was set to stay SE F4, perfect for the 40 nm SW Baltic crossing to Kieler Bucht in Germany, however forecast to veer SW increasing to F6 with heavy rain squalls the following day, not good for the crossing. Decided to make the crossing a day earlier to take advantage of the weather. Started out navigating series of narrow buoyed channels past Marstal on Aero, then in open water set sail for Kiel. Kieler Bucht has a number of marinas along its length. Our choice, a small holiday resort called Strande turned out to have no visitors’ berths so we sailed the short distance to the Olympiahafen. This was purpose built for the sailing events in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Many facilities and still has the giant for the Olympic flame. This is one of two contenders, along with Hamburg, to host the sailing in the 2024 Olympics though will be modernised and expanded. Excellent dinner in Italian restaurant in the complex.
Next day, stormy with heavy rain so definitely good decision to get here day before. Spent tine exploring and had dinner in beachside restaurant, good food and very welcoming owner who also has a large cheese business.
Early following morning sailed in towards city of Kiel, past the German Navy and U-boat memorials, to the entrance locks for the Kiel Canal. The smaller locks, normally used by leisure craft, have been out of action for a long time now and we obeyed the signals to enter the large locks alongside large ocean-going cargo ships. These locks are very large, built to enable German navy dreadnoughts to passage between the Baltic and the North Sea. Finally a 20 nm cruise to Rendsberg, set on a lake off the Canal. A very picturesque place indeed and ideal for handover as station is short walk away as is the very pretty town which was just setting up for their Autumn Fair with plenty of food/music/entertainment all over town. Excellent waterside restaurant at the yacht harbour.
We parted company as Bill and Ted were staying on board for the next leg to Helgoland and the Friesian islands. Clive and I took the train to Hamburg airport for flights home.
We had covered almost 210 nm, using very little fuel as we had excellent sailing weather almost throughout. Had to use engine for some of the narrow channels and to navigate the Kiel Canal. Once again found the Baltic is perfect place for sailing in August. Lovely sunny weather (it was pouring with rain the whole time back in England!). Further advantage is that children go back to school in mid-August so you have beautiful sunny weather and no crowds! A big improvement over the Solent. The much improved exchange rate and value for money there is a bonus. By the end we had become quite an experienced crew handling box moorings and hope for a return visit to the Baltic soon