|-- August 26th to September 2nd 2018 --
|New country, we leave Sweden where we
have been sailing since the beginning of the month for Denmark, with
its most oriental possessions: Bornholm and Christiansø islands. Then
we have to start heading back home and we get back to our good old
More - a lot more - pictures of very beautiful islands and a movie on a bike in our page "Pictures".
203 nautical miles
3082 miles sailed since the start
|26th August : Hällevik – Allinge (45 NM)
southerly wind has finally veered to the West, we can sail on a direct
course to Bornholm! The wind is planned rather strong, this will be a
quick and active passage. Leaving at midnight of course ...||
was quite a sprint! First under genoa and full mainsail, then with the
jib and one reef, then two reefs, then one again… we are sailing on a
close reach rather than abeam, with a choppy sea from the side.
Saltimbanque is eating up the miles. Bob steers and we only have to
adjust the canvas and monitor the nasty clouds lingering in the sky,
leftovers of yesterday’s storms.
Saltimbanque sailing fast, with 1 reef and the jib !
The small lighthouse at the northern end of Bornholm island
reach Bornholm’s tip in the early morning. This is a green rolling
meadow landscapes, with a few cliffs, farmed lands and small fishing
villages at sea level. Memories from years of sailing across the
Channels are flooding in: it looks like Guernsey!|
the tip of the island has been rounded, the wind and the sea calm down
at once and allow us to enter Allinge's pocket-size harbour. This is a
magical moment in the morning light, sailing in behind the two stone
jetties that leave only a narrow passage to the rectangular basin in
the center of the village. |
We moor along quays that could be
in Penzance or Looe, surrounded by stone houses that look so British,
there’s even a fish-and-chips smell in the air! Dear oh dear, where
have we landed! And yet… the yellow color of the houses and the fish
smoking houses are a clear sign. Yes we are in Bornholm, Denmark. What
a passage! We just sailed 45M in 8 hours at more than 5.6 knots
average, and the heavy clouds are kind enough to wait until the last
line is tied before bursting out. Sometimes things turn out well too!
We had time to moor and take a picture, but tidying up the jib will have to wait that the rain stops !
harbour is not full, so we can moor directly along the quay, surrounded
by German sailboats. This is so much their territory that they address
us directly in Goethe's language, without checking our flag, and are
almost surprised when we answer in English! It is definitely their home
waters, which they share with some Poles. Here as in Poland, they are
always with large crews and a skipper who speaks a lot standing in the
middle of the cockpit. Perhaps one more step on the skipper's
Streets of Allinge: no more wooden houses like in Sweden, only brick walls, covered with danish yellow rendering
advantage of sailing at night is that you can visit during the day.
Sleep ? We have all winter to sleep ... Short walk in town to start,
very cute with its little yellow houses and gardens full of flowers.
Many fig trees remind us that we have reached the southernmost point on
our return journey.||
the afternoon we take the coastal path. Bornholm is actually a part of
the granite ridge that formed the Finnish archipelagos and we find, to
our delight, pink granite !!! (One cannot change overnight). An otter,
apparently liking granite too, is passing close to us.
Piture of the otter, the bird on the picture comes as a bonus !
Chimeys of the fish smoking houses, they are everywhere in Bornholm
coast is beautiful, alternating granite coves and white sand beaches.
And always the yellow houses and fish smoking huts. On the way back we
encounter a wild mirabelle-tree which has been a little shaken by the
wind and left us with beautiful fruits to collect on the ground.
Mirabelle plums are a nice addition to our collection of scavenging
27th August : visiting Bornholm (biking)
|Bornholm is a big island and like in Gotland and Öland we rent a bike to explore the northern part.
stop: the ruins of Hammershus Castle on the Northeast Point. At the
forefront of the Danish-Swedish wars, Bornholm has always been well
defended, first by this fortress from 13th century, then by the island
of Christiansø after the end of the 17th century.
site, especially thanks to the superb views of the sea. We admire the
architecture: pink granite for the structure and brick for the details
(windows edges, doors, slopes of the roofs.)
The castle ruins: after Guernsey, now we feel like in Scotland !
The only believers staying at "John's chapel"
a series of cliffs nicknamed "John’s chapel" after a hermit who lived
in the adjacent caves. It is very vertical! There are no believer
today, but many birds are dwelling on the flights of rock.
to our next stop: the medieval churches. Very old (13th century), they
were both a place of worship and a stronghold. They are thus built like
a dungeon, all round, with slits from where to pour… boiling oil or
holy water? Inside, the nave is organized around a large central pylon
around which the church-goers sit. Some seats are well concealed behind
the pillar, convenient to doze off during long sermons.
the lights of the church go out. We do not pay much attention, more
worried about the rain which is beginning to pour generously. Quick, to
the charming village of Gudhjem! There we might find shelter and hot
Typical round church of Bornholm. The buttresses have been added in the 18th century to hold the tower straight
Gudhjem: actually very cute but probably better appreciated with nicer weather
|This is nice
little village with a windmill, yellow houses and a small harbor
enclosed between stone quays. Coffee is there, alongside appetizing
cupcakes. But when we order, the waitress crushes all our hopes "Do you
We: "Of course not, what a weird idea..." (in Scandinavia everything is paid by card, we never carry cash)
waitress: "The power is cut throughout the island, it seems like a boat
has been anchored on the underwater cable and damaged it. No power, no
card reader ... "- so no coffee at all? The waitress kindly gives away
two coffees that are still lukewarm (the machine being down…), which we
sip looking at our smartphones. Damned, the network is down! Antennas
must have been cut. Even the emergency number seems to be unreachable.
All the stores are closing because they cannot accept payments – or
because their supply of ice-cream is melting. Without power, the
economic activities of the island are brought to a stand-still...
our bikes need only muscular energy and we can bike home – after
stopping at some other cliffs with impressive views. One can even enter
one of the crevasses and walk inside the caves. It's all dark at the
bottom, we turn around well before daring to explore it to the end !!|
The crevasse in the rock, impressively long
to dry our clothes with our oil-burning heater that we bought last
winter. Actually it works very well, it quickly reaches over 20°C
inside the boat !
to the boat, our legs stiff after the 64km-ride, completely soaked. No
light in the windows, the power is still off (it's been almost 3 hours
now). The alarm system allowing access to the showers does not work –
so no showers - there is no hot water anyways. So we will have to
resort to Saltimbanque-style showers, in a swimming suit in the
cockpit, with buckets of seawaters, rinsed by the persisting rain and
some kettled-boiled fresh water. Passers-by look at us wonderingly... |
warm up, we light up (for the first time of the trip) our oil heater.
Remarkably efficient it turns the boat into a place warm, dry and
welcoming for the evening. We just wonder how to check the weather
forecast without internet. Finally everything goes back to normal in
the evening. 4 hours without power, only 4 hours, and the whole island
has been disrupted. This is proof of our dependence on power. The next
day, supermarkets sell off their fresh products with a discount: yummy
steaks for 1 euro :o)
|28th August : Allinge – Christiansø (13 NM)|
Approaching Christiansø, pushed by both rather strong wind and seas
calm night is expected tonight, ideal conditions to visit the fortress
island Christiansø, known to be as photogenic as it is poorly sheltered.
westerly wind is still well strong when we leave Allinge. The passage
is quick and bumpy. And on a portside tack. Some news from our
starboard winch: the damaged part cannot be found in Northern Europe in
a reasonable time (or at reasonable price), and our quick fixes with
tape or glue only lasted a few hours before being dissolved by the gear
oil. We keep experimenting with solutions to send the starboard sheet
to the portside winch during the whole passage and we decide to work
the winch with only one of the two ratchets until Oslo. Fingers crossed
that it lasts until there- or that we get only easterly winds...
last jibe and we approach the very narrow entrance – pushed by a strong
swell. Junior is fit as always and propels us inside the basin with a
harbor is small and its west side shallow. On the East dock there is 3m
of water ... and many German and Polish sailboats! We moor along a
small red yacht with a very nice Polish crew. We also see our "crazy
kiwi" again, the little German "Kati Kati" painted the New Zealand way.
He shows us where the ferry docks every day from 10.00 to 15.00,
between 2 lines of white paint on the quay: yachts must clear the space
then. We're just on the right side of the line, whew!|
German-Polish world, a Rustler 36 arrives in the harbor, flying the
Union Jack and registered in Falmouth. Human nature being what it is,
people are drawn to those that resemble them most… Bretons and British
sailors have the Channel in common – that makes our neighbor a very
eligible partner for a friendly conversation and a nice evening onboard
the Rustler. What’s more, John and Miranda are former instructors
from the Glénans (like Camille)! They will tell us about their trips to
Iceland, to the Lofotens, to Finland etc. Too bad to meet them so late
in the journey and just as they are heading south and we north...
The northern harbour of Christiansø
from the friendly sailing community, the island itself is worth a
visit! The fortress is no longer used for military purposes, but it
still belongs to the Ministry of Defense which manages this territory
occupied by a small community of about 60 people. There is even a
school (4 teachers for 12 students...), a firemen station, a post
office, a restaurant, a very small supermarket. Everything closes after
1600 until the next day at 1100, those are "tourists hours" – according
to the waitress at the bar. No way to visit the towers outside of those
hours - but we do have the island pretty much for ourselves then. |
East coast is bare granite rocks. The main attraction is the 18th
century village, with its pretty yellow houses, fishing barracks and
fish smoking huts. The colors are beautiful in the sunset. Christiansø
is our last major stop in this tour of the Baltic. It does not
The harbor and its iconic “big tower” is on the
cover of our Imray pilot book which guided us all along the trip, so of
course we needed the same picture - but with Saltimbanque on it!
Postcard-like pictures (or rather sailing guide cover-like pictures) are always best with Saltimbanque on them !
29-30 August : Christiansø – Tårbaek (115 NM)
small miracle: Easterly wind is expected from this afternoon. We intend
to take advantage of it to progress as far as possible towards the west.|
Seals all over the sea !
leaves us a few hours in the morning to walk around the island again.
What are those hoarse sounds on the Eastern beach? It is in fact a huge
colony of seals, swimming around in the calm of the morning.|
the water must be salty you think? Well, it depends on the places. In
the bay where Laure swims on the Western side, the water is so fresh
that she actually drinks it! It is also full of jellyfish (the
transparent, non-irritating kind), so that the water seems thick with
is there and the wind is about to come, let's go! It’s blowing still
very much from the South, so that we can sail the asymmetric spinnaker
until to the northern tip of Bornholm. But there we lay in the lee of
the island. Dead calm. The island is high and big and we will have to
motor for 3 long, frustrating hours.|
Then we will try a few
miles with the symmetrical spinnaker but it doesn’t work very well. At
the beginning of the night the easterly wind finally returns as
expected – right from the back. We are sailing downwind, goose-winged
with the pole holding the genoa up in the swell. This is efficient, but
it requires human steering unfortunately.
No wind on the lee of Bornholm, but nice views of Hammershus
The sun rises after a tiring but efficient night !
try to rest a little bit, taking a nap inside sitting on the bunks, all
equipped and ready to go out on deck if needed. Around midnight the
wind increases again and we can take down the main sail and keep only
the genoa alone for the next 2 or 3 hours. In this configuration the
windvane can steer. Nothing is perfect though, and the continued wind
creates high and steep waves. There is at least 1m of swell, with a
period of 5 seconds, and series of 3 successive waves higher than the
When the wind decreases again, it’s time to put the pole
to the genoa again. It's a balancing act in this swell! But we make
good progress and at 0600, we reach the South buoy marking the
south-western tip of Sweden! We luff and head due north: there starts
the last leg of this trip, back to Oslo!
easterly wind begins to head up more and more towards the
North-North-East. This is a good timing: we made the most of the
downwind sailing window! The current is also with us today, more than 1
knot under the bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö. So rather than
stopping in Sweden as planned, we decide to push further north, passed
the bridge (before this current decides to turn…)|
This is how we
officially leave the Baltic Sea to enter the Øresund, the narrow sea
between Denmark and Sweden. This is also where we sail back on our
tracks from 3 months ago. This is the end of a chapter, as we return to
familiar waters and leave behind us this world apart of an enclosed sea
of nearly-fresh waters. This world that we now know a bit better...
idea of stopping again in the large and noisy city of Copenhagen does
not appeal to us. On the other hand it starts raining in earnest and we
are tired - we would like to take shelter. The small harbor of Tårbaek
is located on the map 5 miles north of the Danish capital. The
harbor-guide description reads: "Tiny port, only for boat less than 12m
long AND less than 3m50 wide AND less than 1.8m deep, few places
available" Perfect for Saltimbanque isn’t it? |
Entrance to Copenhagen, inviting us not to stop here !
The one and only visitor berth of Tårbaek, probably designed for Saltimbanque
is but one free space left (marked with a small green sign – occupied
spaces are marked with red). This is a mooring line. It is exactly the
size of Saltimbanque. Perfect, it's quiet here ... 130 DKK / night,
with shower, electricity and even wifi in the boat. The harbor master
is adorable, so happy to have visitors, he tells us what to see in the
area, shows us the showers, and finally gives us the key to the yacht
club building if we want to enjoy the kitchen or the living room. The
cloakroom will be perfect to dry our soaked oilskins ...|
raining cats and dogs and we are very happy with our passage, but also
a little tired. We spend a quiet afternoon cooped up in the boat close
to the electric heater. It is very quiet here and we are delighted not
to be in the big city.|
That's when messages start blinking on
our phones. Firstly, L’Escale is also in the area and this is our last
chance to see them before they head back south. Then our friends
Jingle-ex-Traou-Mad (from the Atlantic tour), on holiday (by land).
Very soon appointments are made: tomorrow we shall spend the day in the
city! Well well, so much for trying to escape it!
|31st August : back to Copenhagen (onshore)|
taking the train to Copenhagen, we do justice to Tårbaek and its
beautiful forest, former hunting ground of the king. Large trees
(including an 800-year-old oak tree!), a golf course, plenty of horse
riders, a castle on the heights, deers roaming free in the park: is it
because we keeping hanging out with Brits? We swear, it's just like
being in Richmond Park in West London! |
Tårbaek's park, and yes we are still in Denmark !
Porto Santo, Mindelo, Les Saintes, Horta, and now Copenhagen ! Wondering where we will meet next time ??!!
spend a very nice afternoon with our travelling friends. L’Escale tell
us about their difficult crossing against the wind and their upcoming
plans for a quiet fortnight of visits... Jingle tell us about their
travel plans more or less distant (starting with a tour of the northern
and Baltic capitals… sounds familiar ;o) )|
1st September : Tårbaek – Hornbaek (30 NM)
thought we could go quietly downwind taking advantage of usual autumnal
lows with winds from the south-west ... No. The wind is expected North,
then absent. It blows a little today, from the north of course, but we
must take it to move forward. The current is on the other hand very
favorable in the Øresund and therefore we do not complain too much.|
Like we do, many boats tack under the famous Hamlet castle
reach Helsingør and pass the Hamlet Castle, then we sail on to the
other side of the sound. Now we are in the Kattegat, a proper sea with
proper salty waters! As if to welcome us, a group of porpoises rushes
towards us! At least 4 individuals come to play with the boat.
Porpoises usually not that playfull and we are absolutely delighted
with their dance! We had not seen dolphins since 2014 in Cornwall.
wind may well increase and the rain start to fall, we have a big smile
set on our faces as we enter the port of Hornbaek. The entrance is
narrow between 2 small buoys and two jetties. It gets a bit trickier
with the northwestern swell. But once inside the basin it is very
sheltered. Guest berth are on stern buoys. Fees to pay to the machine
(180DKK including power, no wifi). |
Hornbaek, fishing harbour side
|2nd September : visting Hornbaek|
A long sandy beach ! It's been a while...
is a popular holiday resort, thanks to its large white sand beach. It
is very beautiful on this Sunday and all of a sudden we find a holiday
atmosphere again, with boats coming in for the day.
advantage of all this activity to ... do laundry and shopping! Laure
swims (such a beautiful beach!) in delightfully salty but fresh (15
degrees) water. Then we walk a little in the woods.
wind will soon decrease, but a few hours of wind are expected again for
tonight. We need to make the most of it again. Departure at 1800, along
with the majority of yachts at the end of the weekend: they are going
home, and we are going out to the open sea ...||