We had carefully moved our way around the southern corner of Norway avoiding the storms that kept moving across the North Sea. When we finally navigated the oil platform jungle, we were actually looking for wind.
After inch size hail we were happy to reach Inverness, get some of the engine problems fixed and navigate the Caledonian Canal.
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A summary of our tour from Kappeln, Germany, to Kristiansand, Norway. Unfortunately, we hit a rock in Denmark and had to pull Tioga out for repairs in Aarhus, Denmark.
As we were lucky to find a nice group of people in Aarhus, we only lost three days. The new mast made it in one piece and the bad weather is already forgotten…
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What a day!
After some early morning fog we had lots of blue sky. The breeze filled in from the south as predicted, providing perfect broad reaching conditions all day (and night long).
With almost flat seas and about 10 kn we zig-zagged around many, many oil platforms. At any given time we could see about a handful of them.
We received our first friendly courtesy call in the morning from one of the larger platforms making sure we had them on our radar screen and keeping a distance of at least 500m.
Later on we received a safety warning because a larger ship towing an 8 mile cable to the south of us. Good to have AIS and DSC radio on…
With the southerly wind stabilized, we knew we would sail like this all the way to Scotland and therefore not have to use the engine again. We therefore cleaned up the Diesel mess in the engine room and enjoyed the rest of the day. Dark German bread for lunch and a very nice Indian curry made for a happy crew.
We rigged the Aries windvane with Peter’s larger vane, but could still not make it work.
A pod of larger dolphins put a nice touch to the perfect sunset and rounded off the day.
The wind is supposed to increase to 19kn throughout this morning, pushing us to Inverness, where we hope to arrive in the later afternoon. We see lightning on the horizon and are expecting rain from 14:00 onwards, but so far so good.
It was a delicate balance; had we left early, we would have sailed into a gale, leaving yesterday would have meant that there would have been sufficient wind but straight on the nose (resulting in a very low speed towards Scotland), leaving tomorrow would have increased the southerly wind (which is good) but we would not have reached the other side before the +40kn winds would have made our sail a little more adventurous than we need with our new mast and crew…
That’s why we left on Monday, hoping that the predicted low winds (around 8kn) would materialize. While we have found some breeze here and there, we were forced to run the engine most the time. Given the noise, cost, lack of sailing clearly not our preferred way forward on any day. With the diesel leaking out of the injector we are this time more than ever hoping to find wind. We had followed Bob’s advice (Hansen Marine) and bought diapers to absorb the diesel (it absorbs the diesel better than the paper towels we used before and with that limits the diesel evaporation), but we can’t wait to get this fixed.
Hopefully Dan has received the spare parts by now and we will get this replaced when he arrives in Scotland.
As the temperature went up throughout the day (to about 16-18C) we performed more general maintenance, put whippings on a number of worn out ropes, watched Nick’s amazing splicing skills (we are redesigning the attachment to the hydro generator) and had more good food.
When the captain pulled out the watch schedule to prepare the crew for the night watches, our new crew members realized that maybe a little more sleep earlier in the day would have been a good choice 😉
We see a freighter or fishing vessel here and there on the AIS and so far only one oil platform on the horizon. A very easy night watch, especially given the very long daylight (at 23:00 we have almost regular daylight still and even now at 2:00 the visibility without moonlight is not too bad).
Now send us a few more knots from the S, please….
Believe or not but we did have to use sunscreen today 😉
By 01:00 the large windfarm off of Anholt was in sight. It looked like a landing strip for aliens with all its white flashes etc.
By 03:30 we were past Anholt and reached Læsø by 09:00. With 8-9kn, we were going pretty fast in the SW wind.
Now at 14:30 we reached Denmark’s northern-most point, Skagen, where the Baltic sea meets the North Sea, and started preparation for the North Sea (we changed from large genoa to working jib in anticipation of almost 20kn from the west). We are surrounded by a surprisingly large fleet of freighters waiting out here.
We are planning for a about 24 hr crossing to arrive somewhere around Mandal.
The mood on board is good. All are catching up on sleep and are checking the charts even more frequently than before 😉
While we are waiting for our new mast to arrive in Kappeln, I had the opportunity to fly with my buddy Jens around Germany’s northern-most state, Schleswig-Holstein, and take a couple of maritime themed photos.
You might recognize the locks of the Kiel Canal we went through last summer, a couple of the marinas in Kiel, the lighthouses we passed on the way to Kappeln, or the Schlei (where Tioga is now). Other interesting sites are the UNESCO world heritage Wattemeer in the Northsea and some of the islands and beaches in that area.
North Sea – Sandbank – Wattenmeer
The last leg of our 2015 transatlantic tour took us from St Malo, France, via Guernsey (Channel Islands) and Cowes (Isle of Wight, UK) to Germany.
The Channel Islands are a destination in their own right and in three days we barely scratched the surface. Taking the ferry to Sark was a great experience and we wished we had more time (and less rain).
Sailing across the Channel past the Needles and down the Solent to the sailing mecca, Cowes, was a special experience (especially, when 400 boats participating in the Fastnet Race are going in the opposite direction).
On the Isle of Wight we enjoyed our daily exercise riding bikes up and down the rolling hills.
Finally pushing off to the final sail took us past the cliffs of Dover, lots wind farms and oil platforms and endless lines of freighters. Going through the locks to get into the Kiel Canal indicated that we were getting close.
A large reception with family and friends topped it off before we took Tioga out of the water in Kappeln.
All basic repairs are done by now and the more significant work is in progress. The new mast was ordered.
Distance traveled: about 680nm.
Life is good… (don’t wait too long to live it to its fullest 😉 )
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