Cruising Logs: 2006 - A Scandinavian Cruise
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  Imagine our delight when we emerged from the Risor Sjaergard next morning  to find 15 knots of hot SW wind on our beam and an almost ludicrously quick passage on offer. The wind built to over 20 knots for a while ( probably due to some impressive thunder clouds to our North)  so we reefed for a while , but with the wind just aft of the beam it was always comfortable and we raced along in Carribean conditions . For the last 2 hours the wind eased off but we were able to hoist a shy kite and maintain our speed, finally nosing in to the little offshore island  group of Storo–Vaderobod , where we were welcomed into a crowded little nook by a charming family of Swedes.

 The Swedish islands  have markedly less vegetation than those in Norway , although once you scramble ashore you discover thousands of flowers clinging precariously to life in the merest semblance of earth in the rocky environment.  Storo-Vaderobod  was one of the Swedish destinations suggested by Liv Cooper , so it was not surprising to hear that it was once a pilot station just like her home island of Kvitsoy . The water temperature here was 25 degrees and a swim was an absolute necessity in the hot evening air . Lynda surpassed herself and we had a genuine banquet as dusk fell to celebrate an astonishing trip across the Skagerak.

  The wind was light and from the South when we eventually got going the next day . It was hot again with big cumulus building along the coast , which was perhaps why the wind swung onshore and blew us along into Smogen  , a blousy sea side town humming with youngsters and nightclubs, and where it was generally accepted that nobody gets any sleep once the night gets into party mode. We made a rapid retreat once we had stocked up with fish (good value) and diesel which was astonishingly expensive and perhaps explains why there are few motor boats in Sweden compared with Norway .  It also means there are lots of sail boats to race although as before, by the time we arrived at our destination late in the evening in the beautiful pink granite Gaso archipelago , all the shore ringbolts were taken so we opted to anchor off, turn in for an early night and set off in good time next morning.

  With work beckoning and 800 miles still to go we could only afford  a whistle stop tour of Sweden but the next days pace was deliberately  gentle , motoring in flat calm through the inshore Skjaergard past pretty little fishing villages , and finally dribbling along under sail through the offshore islands before  mooring up at midday  in a nook in the lee of Valholmarna – a tiny  island less than ½ mile long. We got a prime spot and were gradually joined by a pleasant group of Swedish and Norwegian boats  and spent the afternoon and evening exploring the surrounding islands in the kayak , swimming in the warm water or just soaking up the sun and warmth from the rocks.

  Time to move on

  If you are first into a nice spot in Sweden you must expect a crowd to join you , and equally be flexible about leaving as the moorings and stern anchors can become somewhat intertwined. This was the case the next morning  but as the weather had broken and it was wet for the first time for ages , we were not in a hurry. Or at least we were in a hurry, but as we intended  to sail the 250 miles to Kiel in one hit ,  an hour or two didn’t seem to matter . Marstrand was 2 miles away and we called in there to stock up on food fuel and water. It looked a fun place and it  would be good  to spend a night or two there on another visit, with a great little anchorage near enough to the fun to take part – but far enough away to sleep at night!

 The weather was rather alarming , with big black thunderclouds bringing rain and squalls from all directions , interspersed with calm periods , but as the day wore on  it gradually settled down to a fresh NW which allowed us to get our westing across the Baltic and be tucked under the lee of   Grena  when the wind came ahead at dawn the next morning. From then on it was a beat through the Western Danish Islands in a hot fresh wind with occasional showers (dress code  tee-shirts and shorts under oilies ). We  finally dropped anchor for an hour at 1730 to cook a meal and recuperate just before the narrows at Fredericia , welcomed by birdsong from the woods ashore and  a little harbour porpoise busily getting on with his fishing around us. We saw lots of these in Danish waters – perhaps there is less of the industrial scale fishing that seems to be decimating them in the Channel.

  An hour later we were under  engine through the narrows between Fyn and the mainland  and then south through the Bredningen  under the onslaught of increasingly vicious thunder squalls and with the  threat of a dead beat to Keil . Mike kindly texted  a forecast and it took little persuading to stop for 6 hours in the hope  of a veer to SW which would allow us to make our course. Accordingly in the pitch black of a thunderstorm ( we had left our light Northern nights behind us now ) we felt our way into the little harbour of Aerosund and tied up next to a German family in a racy looking 40 footer.

  Denmark would be fun to visit with more time . There look to be plenty of anchorages and a plethora of sheltered waters to enjoy , and although the harbours might be crowded , one could perhaps visit them during the day to avoid the worst of the crowds.

  The alarms woke us at 5 and we were off again, initially with a fresh SW wind , but as we left the lee of Als  it turned South once more , a dead beat into the short Baltic chop. The thunder clouds were still rolling across , pulling the wind all over the place , but luckily half way across the Kieler Bucht  we had a westerly blast which put us back on course. It didn’t last but we were just able to make the Kiel Light in one . I spotted the Kevlar headsail of the German yacht who had left after us , and the race was on , and to our chagrin they beat us in , but were able to advise us that the best place to reprovision was at Rensburgh,   15 miles along the  Nord Ost See ( Kiel ) canal. Accordingly we locked in and raced  after them to get into the charming little marina before the yacht “curfew” and spent a pleasant evening yarning  with them over the remnants of the whisky.




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