2016 Summer Trip – Part 1: Germany to Norway singlehanded

I sail EASY singlehanded along the Danish Eastcost up North. Kirsten visited me on the first weekend and will join me for the rest of the trip after two weeks.

Day 1: Fehmarn – anchorage Aerösköbing – 49 nm

I left Orth/Fehmarn on Sunday. Not enough wind for sailing so I motored the whole leg. On my way I installed my new B&G 3D – Motion Sensor. The Navigation System had tobe switched off and the engine was in idle while I was working under deck. Suddenly I was alerted by people shouting outside. In the middle oft he Fehmarn Belt an other sailing vessel had come alongside to check if everything was all right. I thanked, started the autopilot again and commenced my trip to Aerö. The night at the anchorage was calm and relaxing.

Day 2: Anchorage Aerösköbing – anchorage Gamborg Fjord (West coast of Fyn) – 50 nm

The water temperature form y morning swim was 15,8°C, so I had to truncate the swim to a short dip to wash my hair. It was a good day for sailing. The first three hours I sailed upwind, taking andvantage of some rip currents at the east coast of Aerö. Then followed several hours of fast sailing through the Small Belt. The wind increased to over 25 knots so I had to reef the main tot he first reef and the genoa to about 2/3. This is not the best treatment fort he genoa since the roller furler puts a lot of tension on the leeches when reefed so far. But I was too lazy to set the second forestay to use the jib which would have been perfect for these conditions. I was hit by several rain showers so it was a whole day in foul weather gear. In the evening I found a nice Anchorage in the Gamborg Fjord next to three other yachts.

Day 3: Anchorage Gamborg Fjord – anchorage Ebeltoft – 59 nm

No wind in the morning. Water temperature form y morning swim of 15,0°C. Then rain. I left late, well after 11:00 h. A day of motoring again. At the northern end of Fyn near the village of Strib, passing the Snaevringen Fjord, I heared the loud breezing of a dolphin.Dolphin I stopped the engine and was able to shoot a video on my Gopro.

The weather improved and I had to take care of skin protection of UV-light fort he first time on my trip. The west coast of Samsoe looked very nice and I was tempted to turn right to stay in Samsoe fort he night. I headed on and was rewarded with a scenic sunset in the Ebeltoft bay.

Day 4: Anchorage Ebeltoft – Grenå – 23 nm

A dozen of early-risers had already left Ebeltoft harbour and passed my anchorage until I got organised to leave. No morning swim in 17°C clear water since the density of jellyfish was too high. The water was so clear that I could see every detail oft he anchor and the chain in the seabed. After half a mile the jellyfish had disappeared so I could wash and go for a quick swim. Then I engaged the autopilot and had breakfast and coffee. I was briefly distracted and nearly ran over a small fishing boat when following the coastline. A Norwegian yacht motored with the same speed as EASY so I had to constantly wath their path in front of me. I increased my cruising speed to overtake them. I was just in front of the Norwegians when I saw a dwarf whale (Schweinswal). I stopped the engine immediately but could not spot the whale again. Since the wind had increased to 8 kn by now I could set sails. It was a warm and sunny day of sailing


On AIS I later saw that the Norwegian yacht motored all the way to Grenå and reached the harbour an hour before me.

Nearly all of our potatoes had sprouted.
.20160720_134656 They had been stowed in paper bags in the bilge. I took them all on deck and removed the sprouts and treated them with UV-light.
Then the experiment began: One bag went into the bilge as before. In the other bag in the bilge I added an apple. Two other bags went into the fridge, one with and the other one without an apple. Waiting for results in the next five weeks of our trip.

Entering Grenå harbour was interesting since the entrance is narrow due to sand around both breakwaters. My forwad scan echolot did a good job in this situation. I found a berth with wind from the front so I could berth EASY with no problems singlehanded. For detailed description of my singlehanded berthing procedure see: Harbour Maneuvers An icecream at the pier was a good reward for the maneuvre. After four days alone at anchor these were the first people I talked to and I enjoyed it. I asked the harbour master for WiFi access and he said there was no WLAN in Grenå harbour. When I replied that this did not matter to me since I am on holiday he put on a big grin and replied that I was the first person ever who had put it this way.

Day 5: Grenå harbour to an anchorage in the Limfjord near Nibe – 67 nm

The distance to cover was 70 miles to reach a suitable anchorage in the Limfjord. The Limfjord cuts off the northern part of Denmark and connects the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. I had planned to cross the Limfjord for several reasons: To start from Thyborön is a more westerly point so it would be easier to reach Norway in predominantly southwesterly winds. We will see if this strategy pays off. Secondly the Limfjord would give Kirsten the chance to visit me over the weekend. And then, I would really like to meet Mads who lives aboard Obelix in the area. I have been following all of his youtube videos since over a year and know so much about him that I have to meet him in person.

I left Grenå after topping up diesel at 08:30 h. Unfortunately the wind was just not enough fo a speedy passage. I motored for 11 hours. Since I was bored I watched another ship on AIS when I was astonished to see the Name GARLIX on the screen. SY Garlix had just returned from a two year circumnavigation. Dagmar had written an interesting blog about the journey, another blog that I had followed regularly for over a year. I could see the sail of Garlix on the horizon and gave them a VHF-call. I welcomed them to their home waters and gave them my gratulations for their outstanding performance. You can find their blog here: http://sy-garlix.de/spukschloss-seenebel-und-zurück/ .

After passing the Hals barre I saw a tilted mast of a sunken ship as the only reminder of that accident. Later I saw another wreck of a small sailing yacht on the shore oft he Fjord. Despite these signs of fierce conditions I found it very relaxing to motor through the calm waters oft he Limfjord.

I passed a power plant and two power lines crossed the Limfjorden. Until I realised that I had forgotten to check the height oft he lines it was too late. So I crossed to the side where the wires were higher. You have no chance to compare the height of your mast to a structure above. I was horrified to touch the lines. Later I found out that the minimum height was 49 m (my mast height is 19 m). I know this effect well and I am frightened every time when I pass the Fehmarn Sound Bridge which is about four meters higher than my mast.

The passage to the anchorage gave me another excitement since there was a part oft he buoyed channel with a minimal depth of 2,90 m. My draft is 2,25 m. Now I am anchored with 1 m of water below the keel, the wind has died down and EASY lies motionless as on the hard.

Day 6: Anchorage near Nibe – Skive Marina – 43 nm

Another day of motoring all the way down into the end of the Skive Fjord. Here I was lucky to meet two very nice people: Kirsten drove all the way up to meet me for the weekend. And Mads who I had met over the internet about one year ago. Mads is the author of the Youtube channel Sail Life with weekly videos about sailing and his work on his old boat OBELIX. Mads just recently bought a new boat ATHENA, a Warrior 38. So by now there is a da capo-effect since most of the work he had invested in refurbishing OBELIX will have to be repeated to get ATHENA into se same nice shape.

At the entry of Skive Fjord I saw some more seals sunbathing on the sandy banks. One of them dove up right next to EASY as to give us a closer inspection before we enter the Skive Fjord.

Docking in Skive was exciting for me since the log showed 0 m of depth for the last 300 m before I could enter the berth. I was in constant fear of getting stuck aground. Mads had suggested two empty berths the day before but I did not dare to turn EASY between the pontons to enter the suggested berths but ended up taking the first one I could reach straight in front of me. This turned out to be a mistake since the width of the mooring poles was just about wider than EASY so I lost a bit of gelcoat when touching the left mooring pole on the way into the berth. Anyway, I had two very nice people to catch the lines.

Days 7 + 8 – moored in Skive Marina

Kirsten, Mads and I spent two very nice days together in Skive. I had not talked much for nearly a week so I must have tried to compensate not only for that but also for the coming week of singlehanded sailing. We took Jekyll, Mads Islandic shepherd dog for extended walks. We had two great evening meals produced by Kirsten and sat together to chat for hours on EASY and on OBELIX. Mads and the dog Jekyll live onboard OBELIX, a 30 ft Albin Ballad. We had a thorough look at ATHENA and all the work that has to be put into the boat. The main task is the treatment of osmosis of the hull. All the interior has to be refurbished. The teak deck will be removed and since Mads is doing that all by himself there are many videos about boat repair to look foreward to. A short footage of our visit can be seen at the end of this video:

Too hot and too wet

I spent half of the night to hook up my Pactor modem and the skies started brightening slightly when I finally made it to bed.

Day 9: Skive Marina – Anchorage Harre Vig – 31 nm

I left Skive at 10:00 h and set sails in 9 kn of wind to have a very relaxing ay sailing. The skies matched my spirits when leaving Kirsten and Mads in Skive: 100% overcast and some light rain. With the wind from straight aheyd I had to motor for the final miles to reach a perfect anchorage in Harre Vig. Since the weather seems to be suitable to cross the Skagerrak from Wednesday afternoon on I decided to move on to the next anchorage in Lemvig, close to my starting point Thyboroen, tomorow.

Day 10: Anchorage Harre Vig

Since the weather forecast showed some fronts passing on Wednesday afternoon I had to postpone my North Sea crossing for a day. I spent the day on board sorting out numerous manuals and booklets ending up with several kilos of paper waste. The rest of the time I spent swimming in water of 23,8°C, sleeping and listening to music on the Danish radio.

Day 11: Anchorage Harre Vig – anchorage Lem Vig – 23 nm

Morning Swim (22,8°C) and late breakfast. Then  it was another day of sailing in instable weather. Three fronts passed me, two warm fronts, allowing me to sail the first half of the afternoon in T-shirt and short trousers.bracka-4Chart from 14:00 h, showing the three fronts
The last front was a very noticeable cold front so I had to put on foul weather gear, boots, a beanie and a scarf. I got the jib out, rigged the removable forestay and sailed most of the time just with the jib. The average speed was very low, just 4 knots, but this includes some 20 min of waiting time at the Oddesund bridge (Oddesundbroen). The bridge opened just for me, interesting to see the long traffic jams instantly forming on both sides of the bridge. There was a fair bit of current at the bridge when I waited with the sails taken down. In rain and gusty conditions up to 26 kn of wind I could sail close to the anchorage.20160727_210640a The exit of the Limfjorden is just 9 miles away and the anchorage is not as calm as the previous ones since the odd North Sea wave makes it round the corner down to Lem Vig. 20160727_210608aTomorrow will be the day to cross the North Sea. I planned for Flekkefjord as landfall to Norway.brack1-1The weather looks allright with not too much wind to expect for the passage.

Days 12 and 13: Anchorage Lem Vig – Flekkefjord Harbour – 129 nm

I hoisted the anchor at 08:00 h and had a nice sail to Thyborøn in around 18 kts of wind under full mainsail and reefed genoa.

Thyboroen20160728upThe sunshine lifted my spirits. I passed the exceptionally large wind turbine in Thyborøn with only two rotor blades. It is produced by the Chinese Envision energy and delivers 3,6 MW. The hissing noise of the blades was very impressive when I passed it.


Then came the passage of the breakwaters and of the bar west of Thyborøn. ThyboroenOut20160728upEven in moderate conditions the waves that formed in onshore winds of around 15 kn were noticable (does not show on the photo) although the tide was running in. ThyboroenOutSelfa20160728This passage would definitely be difficult to sail in strong westerly winds and outrunning tide. I had read about this in Reed’s Nautical Almanach before and understood the reason for this warning.

Unfortunately, the waves turned rather chaotic during the middle of the passage to Norway with a set of waves running in from the west and another from the north east. It took just one hour longer for me to become seasick and even vomited several times. At this point I did not feel like taking any more videos or fotos.

Several miles further up north of the main shipping lane I noticed a CPA of 0,05 with a midsized tanker so I had to alter my course to avoid a collision.

CPA is the closest point of approach. This is a very useful feature of the AIS (Automatic Identification System). Ships equipped with AIS send their position to all surrounding vessels. On the chart plotter the value can be displayed for all identified vessels and it can be judged whether an alteration of course will be necessary. I avoid a distance of less than 0,5 nm to large ships. When I pass their bow at this distance I routinely give them a call over VHF to negotiate whether the officer on duty is comfortable with me passing their bow at this distance. It is amazing how often you get a very friendly answer. In my case of the tanker the CPY was way to low so I had to alter my course to pass his stern. Theoretically I would have had the right of way. The alteration of the course for a 190 m long tanker at a speed of 18 knots would be too complex. So in reality on a sailing vessel you always give way to large ships. Only sometimes when you talk to them over VHF beforehand they suggest you keep course and alter their course slightly to avoid a collision.

The next obstacle for me was the fleet of fishing vessels between Denmark and Norway. Since most of them were only moving at a speed of 1-2 kn I did not have to give way to one of them although the AIS signals on my potter were all over the place.

At 2:00 h in the morning the wind decreased to under 10 kn. The waves on the other hand increased even more. I had to start the engine to keep moving. The wind shifted to different directions so the genoa was furled in fully and when the mainsail started to flap and the boom started banging from side to side I also had to take down the main sail on approach of the Flekkefjord.

The passage of the Flekkefjord was very calm and exciting. It got slowly bright. Seasickness was nearly forgotten. I cleared up everything on deck and below. I so much enjoyed the sight of the Fjord, the mountains, small islands, a waterfall which filled the whole fjord with its noise, that I lowered my speed to 3 knots to take in all the impressions.FlekkefjordEinfahrt20160729up The clouds were partially hanging over the slopes of the mountains. There was some light rain shower and then the surface of the water was so flat that the image of the coast and the small houses was reflected as by a mirror.

At 5.00 h I finally fixed my lines at the west bank of the river in the town of Flekkefjord. I slept until 13.00 and got the message that Kirsten would arrive in the evening of the next day by plane on Kristianssand which located is some 130 km east of my position. Since it would have been too late for her to travel to Flekkefjord by public transport I rented a car to pick her up at the airport. I spent the afternoon driving around in the car and taking in the impressive sights of the surrounding landscape of Fjords, mountains and Lakes.

Days 14, 15 and 16: Flekkefjord harbour

Since the westerly winds of around 20 kn made it too difficult for us to move east. We spent the days talking, driving to the beautiful Flekkeid located on the Lundevatnet, a long lake with sweet water that had a tiny connection to the sea. There we had a refreshing swim in the clear water in the rain and talked to some very friendly people at their summer house telling us the stories of the area, of them and their house. The evenings were loud since there was the annual Laksfestival in Flekkefjord just on the bank where EASY was moored.


We bought salmon and Kirsten prepared a great dinner onboard EASY.

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