Thursday 08-07-2021 Departure from Gdansk
In 2015 I had it easy. Then I could make a reasonably easy crossing from the Finnish south coast via the Aland islands in the Gulf of Bothnia to Sweden with relatively short trips. Now it’s a bit different at this point the Baltic is quite a big water to cross to Sweden. So my only alternative is to sail back along the same Polish coast to a place where I have the shortest crossing. And that is via the Danish island of Bornholm to the Swedish coast. I would then have to do that from Darlowo to Bornholm, DK. Still good for an eleven hour crossing. But we’ll see, barring unforeseen circumstances.
I leave Gdansk at 08:00, after first filling up with 300 litres of diesel, to Wladyslawowo some 32 miles. 7 hours of sailing. But if the wind is wrong there, it is also bad. It is a grey day with full clouds and a wind 3-4 NNO. We set the Genoa and with two turns we sail to the cape point of this bay. The gods are in my favour this time, the wind stays north so my route along the coastline is roughly half wind from the sea to the coast, the swell is still a bit annoying but will subside a bit later. Arrival Wladyslawowo 17:10.
Friday 9-07-21 Wladyslawowo – Leba 35Nm
Departure 07:30. Sea is not calm, probably as a result of the earlier passing showers. Swell across, a lot of rolling almost no wind (1Bft). We left the tip of the Genoa in place to prevent rolling. Still 6 hours to go. Arrival 14:00. I decide to stay two nights because tomorrow the wind will be from the wrong angle and stronger so I would have to tack. The next day, there is a Danish motor boat in front of me. The man comes and asks if I have maps of Gdansk, to which I reply that I don’t, but he is happy to look in my plotter to see what he wants to know. He had always sailed, but now took a motorboat to Gdansk. While talking, he recommends the little harbour Listed on Bornholm for my crossing. On the eastern side of the island.
Sunday 11-07-21 Leba – Darlowo 47Nm
Left at 07:30. We now pass by Ustka, which we did on the outward journey. Wind south 2-3Bft, swell moderate. Because this is actually two stretches, this is longer sailing, about 10 hours. It is usually very quiet along the Polish coast, which I also experienced on the way there. The few boats you encounter have AIS, which gives me the opportunity to read a lot, or take short naps on the couch. With one eye off, I look at the screen or outside.
In Darlowo, too, I decide to stay for two nights, as thunderstorms and strong winds are predicted for tomorrow. By the way, along this Polish coast there is nowhere to shoot between some islands to avoid rough weather at sea. You can only walk into a fishing harbour, so you can forget about anchoring. The advantage is that the overnight stays are affordable, unit price 13 euro (60zlt). The first little harbour I visited on the island of Bornholm cost 220 kroner (29.58). After doing some studies about the crossing to Sweden via Bornholm, I decided to book another night. The next evening, a big thunderstorm line will pass over and it will be windy with the necessary showers. So again a good choice to stay the day. For Tuesday no showers forecast and wind and strength from the right direction.
On Monday we went to the supermarket and bought the necessary fresh produce and beer. I paid for my second night with Polish money in cash and can eat from the rest. Then I have some money left over which I spend at the fish stall selling fresh fish. That way, I have no Zlotys left and a meal of fish for Tuesday evening. By the way, I notice that many Poles still smoke, both old and young.
From the moment I left Gdansk, and even before that, I have been looking for the best place and time to cross. And not only considering the distance but also the weather forecast. Soon the choice was made that it must be from Darlowo, which is the shortest crossing, but still about 60 Nm – 12 hours sailing. I first wanted Monday 12/7 but the closer you get to hour “U” the more accurate the weather forecast. Sunday night decided it had to be Tuesday and Monday night happy with that decision, it looked good. Looking at the weather patterns of that Tuesday, early in the day (05:00) wind East 2 later that day shrinking to NNO or even N and then increasing in strength.
Because the wind is going to shrink and become stronger later that day, I make a route with a waypoint to 3/4 of the trip with a turn to starboard, so that if the wind shrinks I can widen the course of the boat so that the wind stays aft.
Tuesday 13-07-21 Darlowo – Listed (Bornholm) 60 Nm – 12 hours
Departure 05:45 The bridge I have to pass through turns every hour, so at 06:00 there are three boats in front of the bridge. Once outside, the weather and the wind are as predicted. Wind east force 2, almost no swell, nice and calm start. I set the mainsail and Genoa. I switch on the autopilot and the Asmara is on its way ETA 18:00. After indeed a few hours, the wind shrinks a bit and now comes in as half wind. The strength has also increased and the swell is getting higher. The Asmara is now running nicely at 5.6 kts over ground, and when the wind shrinks further and becomes more powerful, I will arrive at my planned point where I can broaden the course to keep the wind behind me, which will fit in seamlessly with my planning. I do worry about that little harbour, which has an approach in 3 metres of water and then a right angle turn between two poles. The swell and the wind are directly on the harbour entrance. Maybe I should have chosen the leeward side of the island. I divert my route to the other side of the island and throw the boat around, right before the wind. The arrival in the large harbour on the west side will only be at 22:00. The wind does not increase in strength (expected 4-5) but subsides again after a short time at 4. Around 15.00 the wind drops further to 2 while the swell still increases, it also starts to get hazy. It is now clearly foggy. And if it is foggy it is done with the wind, so I quickly put the route back to the small harbour, arrival still 18.00. Within half an hour the fog had closed in with 80 metres visibility, fortunately there is no heavy freight traffic here at this time of day. I had say 3 ships of 100 metres on my AIS and they crossed my path at miles distance. The wind dropped further, indeed to 2 sometimes 1, the swell now remained stable and also seemed to decrease. At 17.00 hours, I sail along the coast at 1 mile and there is still no land to be seen. What a small world.
The approach plan: My second-to-last waypoint is right on the approach line to the harbour, the last waypoint between the harbour breakwaters. Just before the penultimate waypoint I turn my Genoa in, then I turn the boat into the wind on the automatic and let it run against the wind at a few knots, while I go on deck to lower my mainsail. Then I put all four mooring lines around the bollards and hung the fenders out on both sides. The last step, I now send the automatic again to the last waypoint, at 80 metres still no harbour in sight. The depth drops to 1.5 metres below the keel. And then suddenly I see a pier right in front of me, I disconnect the automatic transmission, put the throttle in neutral and speed out into the harbour manually. I still had to make a slalom between two breakwaters, but then I was inside and the harbour master was waiting and showed me a place to moor. What a small harbour and it is almost full, and that for 29.98 euros. This island belongs to Denmark, but tomorrow I will be in Sweden. But islands are always expensive, I hope. At this writing it is 23.00, time for a nightcap and to bed. Tomorrow I have to leave here before 12.00 as this place is reserved for another boat.
Wednesday 14-07-21 Liste – Ystad (anchor) 47Nm – 10 hours
Left at 12 o’clock in the direction of the Swedish coast near Gislov hamn. Mainsail and Genoa set up. By now 17.00 I will not make it to Gislov, so now I steer for Ystad to anchor next to the harbour. Daan with his motorboat “Dickson”, met on the outward voyage in Helgoland, now sails here in the region and comes from Stockholm. But he is sailing faster (7 kts) so I don’t think we will see each other again, he is already a bit further in Smygehamn.
According to the radar app (internet), a thunderstorm is approaching, so I decide to take my chances and reef the Genoa. Then I turn the boat against the wind on the autopilot and lower the mainsail, so let the storm come. At 19.00 I dropped my anchor next to Ystad harbour in 3 metres of calm water. No thunderstorms.
Thursday 15-07-21 Ystad – Smalland fahrwasser (region Sjaelland,dk) 61 Nm – 12 hours
I wake up early 0600 and decide to leave immediately because of the long stretch. There is hardly any wind and no swell. The advantage of anchoring, raise your anchor and you’re away. So I have breakfast once I have put the boat on the track to the other side of Denmark, after all, I have 12 hours.
At 0830 I see that Daan has left as well, he is doing very well again with 6.7 Kts. As he does not respond to an app I call him. His wife, it turns out, has disembarked in Stockholm and taken the plane to Holland. A friend of his has come aboard for the onward journey. He is not going through the Smalland fahrwasser but via Klintholm and Gedser in the direction of the Kiel Canal, he says. He will cross my path but far ahead of me. We greet each other and wish each other a safe journey.
The beginning of the Smalland waterway that I will be heading for and arrive at around 18:00 is a 3-mile concrete channel that will take me past all kinds of shallows. Next to the channel there is often less than a metre of water. The wind is still weak and changeable, fortunately no swell, but therefore bothered by very, very many small flies. So I keep everything shut with only the roof open with the window screen. It is extremely hot inside and I am naked, with sweat pouring off me. It gets a bit exciting when I have to cross a traffic lane again. And of course, when I want to go through it, it has become misty again with visibility of less than one mile. And last but not least, there are 4 cargo boats and a tanker coming to cross my track, so the only question is when and where. I have checked each of the boats on the AIS, all 5 of them are about 100 metres long and doing about 15 knots. I let the Asmara keep its speed (5 Kts) and course on automatic to the next waypoint. When the first cargo boat has passed my track line, the others soon follow, the last one sailing a little less than 1 mile over my track line while I cannot see this 100-metre tanker. What would you do without AIS and radar on trips like this?
At 1900 I dropped anchor on the roadstead of a small island called Nyord. There are five sailing boats at anchor here. I will stay here until Monday, finally some peace and quiet, then I will sail further into the Smalland fahrwasser and think I will go shopping in Kalvehave.
In the end, I am going to move on Saturday, the wind has turned and will increase to at least 4-5 and then I am lying here on low land. I didn’t enter Kalvehave yet because it was the weekend. So I sail under the bridge and crawl behind it in 1.5 metres of water to the shore and drop my anchor on Saturday 17/7 at 17:07. What a lot of sieves.
Monday 19/7 Kalvehave harbour
I lift anchor and at 09:40 I sail into the harbour of Kalvehave. There is a supermarket right on the harbour, so that’s nice for replenishing fresh fruit and vegetables. When I leave here, my next stop is behind the island of Taero, an uninhabited island. But six years ago, I had no phone coverage there and therefore no internet. That makes me decide to stay an extra day in the harbour to update some internet stuff, websites, blogs and the plotter map. On Tuesday, my website Aerotaxi.nl turns out to be inaccessible and not even as an admin. The site has crashed somehow. A long time later and calling the host, it has probably gone wrong with the automatic upgrading of wordpress to a higher version. I have been looking for solutions all day without result, my host can only give me manuals but not the content, they only host. Because I can’t manage it, I call it a day and decide to stay in bed for a while in order to continue tomorrow with a fresh mind. On top of that, tomorrow, Wednesday, the Dutch Lionesses play their first Olympic game against Zambia. The ladies win 10-3 and that three was not necessary, but very careless. After the game I continue with my problem and make one last attempt, I will not tell you the details but, hey, it works again. Soon I make a new backup.
Thursday 22/7 Crescent Harbour – Taero
At 11:55 I cast off for the island of Taero. The route to this is through very shallow water and that with a map of 2018. Soon it turns out that the map is no longer correct, there are two buoys a red and a green one and according to my map they lead through an area where there is 90 cm of water. Nevertheless, I decide to follow the buoys and not the map. The depth drops to 40 cm below the keel, but eventually I get through and end up in water that is 2.20 metres deep again. (When I steer towards the coastline, the depth gradually decreases; there is another two-master at anchor. I drop my anchor 40 cm below the keel. I still have a good range with my phone and therefore also with my internet on board, which was different six years ago, when I had no range at all. So now I can watch the 2nd match of the Dutch Lionesses on Saturday.
This is really a very quiet area, the island is uninhabited with the exception of one farm. But then again, only a few sailing boats can enter this area because of the shallows. When I look at the weather forecast for the coming days, I see that on Saturday and Sunday there will be a strong wind from the East and I will be at the bottom of the sea. That is annoying, but the way I look at it, I can just see the match that starts at 13.00 and lasts until 15.00. So I look for a new place to moor. So I started looking for a new place to go. I found a bay 2 miles away that is good for east winds and west winds.
Saturday 24/7 Taero – Vesterkov
This island with a connection to the mainland has a bay with a tiny harbour, (Skaninge Bro Havn) not suitable for me, so I anchor at 15:52 on the beach. The harbour is crowded with weekend tourists and swimmers. The wind is now strong from the East as predicted, but I lie here quietly no waves. Maybe on Monday I will take the boat to the shore and go for a walk. I am now determining my further route. One day from here is the island of Langeland, I might want to do some fishing there. Then to the island of Aero where there is a good anchorage. And from there along the Danish/German East Coast back to Kiel. All things considered.
Today I will do some painting, as the wind is too strong for the small boat.
Monday 26/7 Vesterkov – Dybvig
Quiet weekend in the shelter of Vesterkov or Osterkov or whatever the island is called. At 08:20 anchored for Dybvig, a small harbour where I have also been in 2015 trip 34 Nm. The wind is still East so again with Genoa on the buoys follow. When approaching, it turns out that the chart from 2018 is no longer accurate, even though it is very much needed in shallows without buoys. I looked carefully at the sailing ships around me that were heading in the same direction and saw which route they would choose. Close to the approach at a distance of about 3 miles, my chart shows two cardinal buoys a north and a south cardinal one mile apart, indicating shallow areas. In reality, I see only one. Normally you would sail between them, but now with only one left, I keep to the buoy on starboard. This is a south cardinal, which means that it lies south of the shallows. You must therefore pass this buoy on the south side. More information on this at this link. I see a boat coming from the opposite direction and look carefully at its route in relation to the cardinal. He is sailing south, shortly past the buoy. This is how I get through these shallows, but it would be better to have a map that shows this. On my next trip to this area I will make sure I have a new map with me, for now I have to take into account that my map is not correct.
At 2 p.m. I walk into the small harbour of Dyvig and, as in 2015, it is completely full. There is still a place with the nose in between the mooring posts. I quickly bring in my fenders because I certainly won’t fit between the poles with them; in fact, at the widest part of my boat, I am already touching both poles and can just squeeze through. After a lot of fumbling, I finally settled down, with my nose against the jetty. The harbour master came straight over to pay electronically, 24.20 euros, including showers and electricity. I found a small supermarket on my phone that I was going to walk to, 1.7 km away. The weather is nice so a walk does me good. A beautiful environment where I take the necessary photos. I didn’t do that in 2015. Simba can also finally stretch his legs and jumps up the scaffolding via the nose.
Tuesday 27/7 Dybvig – Langeland (fishing and watching football ladies)
I leave super early at 05:45 because I want to fish some cod in the Langeland belt and watch Olympic football at 13:30. I arrive at the fishing area at 11:00. There are deep pits of 40 metres in the traffic lanes. Above such a pit, or rather in front of it because of the current, I cast my rod, but the current is too strong to fish well. Also, large ships regularly pass by, forcing me to swerve. After having tried this for about an hour, I call it a day. I sail to the coast just a mile north of Spodsbjerg and drop anchor 50 metres from the beach to watch football.
The next frustration arrives, the football starts NED-CHINA women Olympics. After the first goal by the Dutch, NPO1 announces that they will continue with Ned Hockey against Canada and occasionally look back at the football when a Dutch goal falls. Grrrr! I got up so early for that. I also knew that I could not stay here because of the strong southerly wind and the harbour would become too expensive if I had to stay there for 3 or more nights.
So I lifted the anchor to sail to the other side of the island (the north side) because the wind was going to turn to the south-southwest and would dominate from the west for the next few days. There is a strong wind force 5-6. I unfurl the Genoa and let the Asmara run away with it, this goes so well that I switch off the engine at a certain point and run as well as 4 knots (current-wise). When I go round the island, I know that the wind will be against me, so I enjoy this for a while.
Once at the northern point of the island I see that the point where I want to go is not to sail, so I look for a course straight to the coast of Funen, at the port of Lundeborg I turn in the Genoa and set a course close to the coast until I see a mooring buoy where I manage, after several attempts, to get a line through the eye and I am ready.
The next morning I cast off at 09:00 and sail along the coast, the wind has become slightly more westerly, to the entrance of the bay to Svenborg. This part is unsailable and I don’t feel like tacking because of the waves. Around 11.30, I enter the bay at Svenborg and the calm has returned, here I had already chosen a place that gives me protection from the strong westerly wind that will come in the next few days. Here, too, I find the last free mooring buoy and tie up with double lines.
The weather and the surroundings are beautiful.
Today, Thursday 29/7, it is still quiet in the morning, the mooring buoys are taken and next to me, a German sailing boat of about 8 metres parks its boat at anchor. Around noon, the first heavy showers come over, without thunderstorms but with strong winds from the West, winds up to 30 knots, wind 7-8 in showers. This continued throughout the day. The German next door seems to be leaving but he is taking his anchor with him, in other words, his anchor is not holding. I watch this for a while but then see that they notice it too. In the middle of a downpour they come out and until they are 10 metres away from me they have things under control and sail a little against the wind to anchor again. When I see his anchor I think it is a light plough anchor. When they drop the anchor, I think they are putting out far too little chain. We will keep an eye on things.
I hope to be able to watch the 1/4 finals of the ladies against the USA, which they narrowly lost to in the last World Cup, here on this spot on Friday afternoon.
Continued with last part Summer voyage Baltic 2021 Part 6 – The return voyage from Svendborg,dk to Netherlands