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Newhaven - Lysekil
-- 5 to 26 June 2015  --
After 3 years spent in short navigations in well known areas, we can at last resume discovering the world ! New seas, new countries, and a new record position: 58°21'41" North and 11°35'15" East. That's a long way since French Guyane (4°51'N) and the British Virgin Islands (64°45'W), riding our faithful Saltimbanque...

More pictures beating against the wind, as well as many films, in our page "Pictures".

882 miles sailed

Our stops, click on the names for more details:
Breskens (marina) - Veere (pontoon) - Benedensas (marina) - Stellendam (pontoon) - Ijmuiden (marina) - Giselau (pontoon) - Kiel (marina) - Stranden (marina) - Anholt (marina) - Marstrand (marina) - Lysekil (marina) - Långö (anchorage) 
6-8 June: Newhaven - Breskens (156 M)
Friday June 5th, the plane from Oslo lands at London Gatwick. It's delayed. So are the luggages. Fortunately the train heading to the southern coast is no more on time. Laure has run to buy the tickets, Camille rushes in the station and here we are, packed in the carriage right before the doors close. It's crowded. The signalling screens don't work. We change carriage twice before we are certain to be in the right one. Laure who is moving out of the UK carries a lot of luggage to be transported by boat. Camille is still shivering from a bad cold which started the day before.

It's then in tip-top shape, but willing to escape as fast as we can, that we make it to Saltimbanque on that evening. With 3 weeks ahead of us and a tropical, eeer scandinavian destination ahead of us.

The weather is far from being optimal: South-.Westerly wind 6b, veering rapidely North-East (yes indeed, right in out face), increasing up to gale force 7-8b on Monday, then stable from NE 6-7b for the entire week. The equation is rather simple: we have to leave as quickly as possible, otherwise we'll get stuck on that side of Dover Straight for days.

Off we go ! Bye bye Newhaven...
7pm Saturday, we are ready: the boat is full of food, Laure's huge suitcase has found it's space in the back (after all we used to carry a kite-surf and a guitar !), we said farewell to the - very friendly! - staff of Newhaven marina. We sail for the last time along the long wavebreaker, unfurl a bit of genoa (the SW wind is still quite strong), and that's the trip beginning. Heading to East-South-East first to pass offshore Beachy Head, the most southern point of our voyage. (50°43'45" N)

Hardly 1 hour running in heavy swell, and Laure notices a weird behavior of the tiller. Indeed it shows a worrying play (the tiller can turn by about 20° before anything would happen to the rudder). When we changed the bearing on the rudder this winter we had noticed there was slack in the small side bolt thread, but we trusted the main bolt to hold the tiller in place. Has the swell managed to damage it already after such a short time ? We are already seeing ourselves stopping in Eastbourne to repair, and then loosing our one and only weather window... Just in case we try tightening again the main bolt. To our outmost surprise it is totally loose ! We tighten everything hard, the tiller comes back perfectly in place and works at it should. We keep on checking regularly but it doesn't move. It won't move for the entire journey in spite of the heavy seas we met. The boat grounded at each tide at Newhaven, and the rudder would hit the mud regularly. We think this is why the main bolt got loose. We hardly left and already quite a fright, promising...

Time to recover from this adventure, and the wind has turned already to the North-west, decreasing in force. We send all the sails up and Camille down in bed, and we start the 3h/3h shifts. We have sailed 3 hours in a row with the wind on a direct heading to our destination. That's the voyage record !
This first night is really nice, not a cloud in the sky. It became dark at around 22:30 English time, the dawn shows up at 2:30... Benefits of high latitudes in June ! The wind and the sea both calm down but we keep sailing well under the morning sun thanks to a good optimization of the tide stream: 78 NM during the first 12 hours !

Early in the morning we cross the cargo rail and sail in French waters (2nd country of the trip)! After we are done with zigzaging in between the cargoships, we need to avoid the sand banks typical of this coast. Junior, our brand new engine, helps us discreetly as the wind really drops, and we arrive in Belgium (and that's the 3rd one !).

Sun set close to Zeebruges
The wind forecasted from the NE settles in, we are heading towards Ostende, then under Ostende. The belgium weather forecast confirms the strong wind for Monday noon: we still have a few hours to try and reach our objective: the Netherlands and their inner waters, promises of manageable conditions even when it blows hard.

At 3am we sail in the Westerschelde, the river leading to Antwerp. Heading to Breskens where, contrarily to Vlissingen, there is no lock which makes the entry much easier at such an indecent time of the "day". We get there at 4am local time, change the courtesy flag for the dutch one (4th country in one navigation !), and enjoy a few hours of deserved sleep.

8 June: port call at Breskens

Local delicacies
The forecasted wind arrives at the planned time, and not just for fun... Not really a weather for Saltimbanque. At least we have a bright sun that let us wear shorts ! We go for a walk on the dyke, now remembering that these Dutch landscapes..., well, were not unforgettable ! The wind is so strong it blows the sand off to a point where it hurts our naked legs. We get sheltered in the polder underneath. Or rather in the polder supermarket, where we replenish our stocks of beer, Belgium chocolate and Dutch cheese :o)

9 June: Breskens - Veere (13 M)
After a revitalising morning of sleep (which will actually be the only one of the trip !), we leave again at 3pm with the slack tide, in a sporty North Easterly wind but sheltered waters. A few active tacks later, we pass through the Vlissingen lock (all good we still remember how to do it :o)  ), and enter the "Dutch inner waterways".
Sportive sailing in fortunately calm waters
Today the objective is to motor against the wind up the "kanaal door Walcheren" until Veere. The first part goes very well, in between cyclists and Dutch trains (everything being faster than us, except may be the cows). But then the canal is far less sheltered and we can hardly beat the wind with the engine. We try again the trick that had worked in the Thames before: main sail with 2 reefs, we tack and tack with support from the engine. The canal is pretty narrow (5 times the length of Saltimbanque approximately) and we make very slow progress, pushing the engine hard though it has just passed his running in period.

The last lock is a liberation and we jump on the first available berth on the small pontoon at Veere.

The canal ... looooooong canal....

Meet the locals

10 June: Veere - Benedensas (39 M)
The Dutch inner waterways have the advantage to be very narrow and thus always flat whatever the strength of the wind. But the drawback is that we need to tack very often. The trip promises to be long, so we leave at dawn. At this point we notice another damage to our tiller probably also a consequence of our groundings at low tide: the hole in which passes the axis that prevents the rudder from falling down in the water is totally oval. Nothing critical at short term, we can stabilize the situation with a washer and epoxy paste, but we'll have to fix that during the winter... That's a lot of trouble by a tiny small tiller...

Typical Dutch boat
The navigation is pleasant, in between the small islands under the morning sun.
"At the green buoy, you tack !"
"At the red post, you tack !"
"Here, green post, you tack!"
"There, you tack before the island!"
"I can see something right ahead, shall I tack?
- No this is just a barnacle goose against the light. But don't wait too much before you tack, right? "
And we tack. And we tack. Oh a lock, that's a bit of change ! And we tack again. Ah, at last a long run on the same tack, let's prepare some sandwiches ! Big mistake: when going down in the cabin, the eyes automatically check the GPS which indicates the speed over the ground. It's very slow, we have over 1 knot of current in the face... They must let the water out to the sea, that's not our lucky day...

"I'll take the white one please !"

Channel of Benedensas, taken from Saltimbanque
And we tack again, spontaneous regatta with 2-3 other boats who tack and tack like us (believe it or not, we won! thank you brand new main sail!). And that's Bruinisse on our left side ("The mussels' capital", as proudly claims its giant sculpture of the famous mollusc). One more lock and we finally reach Benedensas, this pocket port hidden in the vegetation, where the wild cows welcome you along the channel.

11 hours of sailing with in average one change of tack every 10 minutes, we are slightly exhausted !

11 June: Benedensas - Stellendam (28 M)
The morning starts similar to the previous one, only difference is the barge trafic, very intense in the Volkerak where we are by now.

The wind picks up, we take a reef, and then it happened again, the suicidal hat of Las Palmas (re-read your classics HERE) has done it again. This time we are simply sailing with no towed fishing line, so everything is easily sorted out by a small Hat-Over-Board manoeuver. It's good to train from time to time!

The barges, our mates in the Volkerak

A few hours of summer, feeling good !
One more lock, and here we are in the Haringvliet. Our good old Haringvliet where we were sailing 7-8 years ago, and its eponymous bridge right in the middle. Ok, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean, we are not going to get stopped by a stupid bridge! Normally we have at least 80cm margin above the mast, no need to wait for the bridge to open ! And indeed Laure had always been right there is plenty of space :o) Eaaasy !

We are now heading to the North-West, towards the sea, and are then running with the wind, but not on a direct course to our objective so it doesn't count. Whatever, it's quite enjoyable ! It's suddenly very hot and we sail wearing shorts and T-shirt by 25° on a flat sea. A few wind turbines, a small harbour: it's Stad aan het Haringvliet, our former home port! Now that's it, our round trip around the Atlantic is finally properly closed this time !
Last lock, Saltimbanque is back to sea water and spend the night in the outer harbour of Stellendam, alongside a couple of nice pensionists who had sailed on a 28-feet aluminium boat in the past before they swapped for a catamaran. (but even their small cata was cute, with a DIY feeling, especially the TV-antenna built from Heineken cans!)

We enjoy this warm and sunny evening and cook the coconut we bought in a delicious pie, which goes very well along with the ti-punch drink in the cockpitt. Holidays are a great invention!

Summer time, and the living is easy....
12 June: Stellendam - Ijmuiden (55 M)
Originally, we didn't want to go. No no, we will never stop in Ijmuiden. We will rather go to Scheveningen, there is a South-Westerly gale forecasted for the day after, if we have to be stuck let's at least be stuck in a nice place !

And the weather has made the decision for us, offering us a full entire day of perfect East wind force 3, bucolic Ijmuiden on a quasi-direct run under the sun. Rejecting this opportunity would mean loosing almost 24 hours on the direct route, it would be irresponsible given the wind conditions to come.

It's very warm ad heavy weather during this nav. The boat is covered with insects, especially bumblebees, who land in everything a bit colorfull... More than 6 NM offshore, 2 swans fly one behind the other right above the sea surface in a very gannet-like flight... Suddenly, the sea becomes green and choppy then brutally blue and smooth. It smells fresh water like in the Haringvliet and it's crowded with  birds. We are very far from locks and rivers, but clearly there was a huge layer of fresh water offshore the Hague that morning... Weird navigation !

Passage between an oil rig...

... and a famous 3-mast shooner

Now you understand why we didn't want to go ?
A platform, a wind farm and the 3-mast shooner Eendracht later, we have a visual on our favourite harbour. Nothing has changed, the emotion of the magical entry in the heart of the cement plants and furnaces is still the same: it's filthy ! At least as we are off-season the marina is empty and we can find a berth without any neighbour at less than 50m.

13 June: gale in Ijmuiden harbour
At last south-westerly wind ! Yes but minimum 35 knots... We don't do half-things in this place! The kite-surfers seem to enjoy it, but we do prefer the comfort of Saltimbanque's cabin where we welcome our friend the dutch single-handed sailor Richard. He hadn't seen the boat since Terceira in the Azores and finds it similar to his memories !

Then we spend the time onshore preparing our new route. After twisting the weather files in all possible ways, we have to accept the obvious: there is no visible weather window for us to cross the North Sea towards the North-West of Denmark as originally planned.

The solution to still have a chance to reach Sweden in the time frame we have is a canal (yes, one more !). It crosses Germany in its narrowest bit and gets out at Kiel in the Baltic Sea. After that we will be on the lee of the Danish peninsula and thus much better sheltered from the gales. It makes the trip longer by about 200 NM, but it's always better to do a detour than not going anywhere ! We then buy a German courtesy flag and have a few hours of rest in a westerly wind which struggles to drop down.

14-16 June: Ijmuiden - Gieselau (279 M)
Departure at 2am, as soon as the wind weakens so we hope for some favourable breeze and at least we'll have the tide stream with us. Lost case, the wind has already completely died and Junior has to work for a few hours.

The weather forecast plans for weak winds for the entire day, mostly from the North-West. Then it should turn toward the North force 4 during the night (perfect), but blowing hard from NE for 2-3 hours before that in the evening. Weird... Wind charts are certain of it, but the local forecasts don't see more than force 5.
At 18:45, a black bar of clouds on the horizon towards NE. The wind veers, slowly becomes stronger. Laure is outside while Camille is waiting for the 7pm weather forecast in the cabin.
"Camille, we should change the genoa for the jib, the wind picks up.
_ Indeed... do you think it can wait for the forecast ?
_ Don't think so, it's coming fast...
_ Ok let's try to be quick then"

18h47, we start preparing the jib
18h52, the jib is up
18h54, we take the first reef
18h56, we take the second reef
18h58, we just get the main sail totally down as we cannot control the boat any longer
19h00, we receive the weather forecast which plans for a perfect force 4-5. Outside the swell gets higher. Laure steers all senses awoken, Camille thinks about heaving to if the wind keeps picking up more. There is at least 30 knots.

19h15: the wind has stabilized but the sea increases. We can still sort of beat against the wind with only the jib, but with the tide stream and the swell coming towards us, our heading is not glorious. Not the highest priority right now.
19h30: wind is stable. We tack and tack in between the cargo rail, the shore (we are just offshore Vlieland, one of the Frisian islands), and a platform which honestly could have been somewhere esle.
20h00:  we don't dare saying it but it feels like the wind is dropping a bit

20h30: we hoist the main sail back up with 2 reefs, then 1 reef
21h00: all sails up, this mess is behind us...

At least the sunset was amazing !
Brutal phenomenon, a bit unusual for these latitudes, but perfectly forecasted by the wind charts (passageweather.com)... We calm down with an amazing sunset, and the layer of clouds which finally goes away to let the stars shine in the dark sky. The tide stream turns, we pass this bloody platform. The shore now takes a more eastwards orientation, and we can head directly towards the Elbe river.

Everything would be perfect if it wasn't for this painful swell coming from abeam, and the ambiant temperature of 11° in a northerly wind. We wear layers and layers of fleece and beannies like in the coldest of the norwegian winter...

The next day is event-less, losely hauled in a NNE wind force 4 and under a blue sky with a few white puffs.

Third night at sea, still rather shaken but with a good speed. We cross the German border and enter a 5th country, this one  unvisited yet !

"You wished to see Cuxhaven, you have seen Cuxhaven"
Early in the morning, we reach the entry of the Elbe river leading to Hambourg just 1 hour ahead of the tide schedule (not too bad after 3 days at sea !). We could believe we have made it, but there is still 20 NM left to reach Cuxhaven, 35 NM if we want to make it to the entrance of the Kiel canal.

The wind is good, with us over a few miles as the river curves to the South (but it still doesn't count, we are definitively not heading North !). We are in the good tide timing for the canal, we take a few pictures of Cuxhaven but we don't stop.
The lock to this canal is a bit wider than the ones in Holland. Not surprising given the size ot the vessels sailing through them.. The doors close, then open, and here we go on the highway to the Baltic Sea !!

3 days at sea, we could do with a shower. But the possible stops half-way along the canal are rather isolated. We thus do a short hygenic pit-stop in Brunsbüttel. Aaaah we feel better when clean, and we can continue our trip towards the East !

Pure sailing is forbidden in the canal, and indeed given the shore effects and the traffic it wouldn't be the best idea. Whatever, Junior is a very enthusiastic brand new piece of mechanics and he will cover the distance without any problem, right ?

Don't turn back, you are followed by wind turbine blades
Junior is indeed in perfect shape. But when checking around the engine, we realize that the crack on a neighbouring beam that we had noticed and repaired last winter is wide open again as if nothing had been done...We have a closer look, and we understand the problem happened already in the past as welds and reinforcements have been added here and there. But on one side the old weldments have given up as well, probably because of the new crack on the opposite side. It becomes a bit worrying even though the structure of the boat and the engine berth are not in danger. Kiel seems like a place where we will be able to repair or at least stabilize the situation, but we have still 40 NM to cover under power... We mark the size of the cracks in order to follow their evolution. None will develop further during the trip, but it's definitively not comfortable at all !

A bit of rest...
But so far we are still making progress at 3 knots (against the wind...) until we reach the pontoon at Gieselau, well hidden in a small side-river. The place is simply magical, a peaceful green setting where a few dutch old gaffers hide away. We forget about the tireness of 3 days at sea and our cracks issues to simply enjoy the moment and celebrate our efficient navigation. A new gale is forecasted for tomorrow evening, and we have made the outmost of this weather window !

17 June: Gieselau - Kiel (34 M)
The trip is long, the engine is new but no more powerful, and the wind will pick up in the afternoon. We thus wake up at dawn (we're kind of getting used to it) on a gorgeous canal, totally flat, whose surface evaporates under the relative warmth of the raising sun.

The wind has veered to the West and helps us from time to time. The landscape is charming, but it's a bit long. We take this opportunity to study our nautical guides of the Baltic Sea. We hadn't anticipated this alternative route and we have to prepare everything. It looks superb, the trip is longer but may be nicer!

The canal at dawn

In the last lock
At last we reach the last lock. Laure remembers her nicest German to communicate with the locals and we understand we have to pay for the canal in the office by the lock. 12 euros for us, only in cash.

The doors open, let's go to the Baltic Sea !!! Except that the boat in front of us calls us worringly: their engine don't start. And here we are, us Saltimbanque and his reliable engine (yes !!) and powerful (well...), towing a boat with a dead engine ! So everything is possible ! We even managed to tow them to another quay (fortunately we were pushed by the wind, it helped....) Then we can hop to the marina downtown Kiel.
It looks completly full, but it's our lucky day: we spot the harbourmaster walking on the quay side and he finds a berth for us for the next 2 days (yes the wind is forecasted very strong the day after so we'll stay in the marina). More luck again as this same harbourmaster calls a friend of his who should be able to help reparing our cracks !

This place looks very welcoming :o)

18 June: a day in Kiel
Kiel is a city who looks to the sea. It was actually born by the sea: first a fishermen village visited by Vikings, then member of the Hanseatic league (excluded from it in 1528 for having hosted pirates), Kiel has always been a busy commercial harbour for the entire region. For a while (1773 - 1864) it even belonged to the king of Denmark without being part of the Danish kingdom. Actually the entire region was the property of the Holly Roman Empire, and the king was just the janitor (a part-time job in parallel of his official one as a king). A bit messy. Finally the Prussian Wilhelm I arrived to put things in order, gave a proper city status to Kiel and turned it into an important naval base. The popuation then sky-rocketed (less than 20 000 in 1864, over 200 000 in 1910). So he naturally deserves the big statue on a horse in the main city park, as well as the title of Commodore of the Kiel Yacht Club, funded in 1887. Kiel has also been the place where a few seamen started the german revolution of 1918, and a strategic harbour (also strategically bombed) during the 2nd world war.
Today Kiel's harbour is home to state-of-the-art shipyards, a submarine base, one of the main institution for marine research (IFM-GEOMAR), a dozen of ferry-boats and cruise ships leaving to the Baltic or the Atlantic, hundreds of sail boats of all sizes and shapes... The marinas are full, the bay is crawling with activity, the promenade along the fjord (yes that's how they call the bay) gets covered in cabans and sheds... the Kieler Woche (the Kiel's week) starts in 2 days ! With 2000 boats and 5000 seamen every year, this is the largest sailing event in the world. And it will require many schnitzels to feed the expected 3 million visitors ! Preparation progresses rapidly in stereotyped german order and efficiency, jawohl!

Kiel, city side...

... and dock side !
We won't have the chance to participate this year, pressed by the weather. But we have a bit of time to walk the city, which soon ressembles a giant funfair.

All day long, gigantic ferrys leave or arrive, passing by old gaffers and large shooners invited to the event. In the meanwhile the locals keep sailing their optimists, kayaks, fun boards or playing water-polo (even kayak polo !) after a day at work.

The maritime side of Germany, we didn't know yet - and we like it !

19 June: Kiel - Stranden (8M)
We have an appointment at 9am with the welder at Stranden, a few nautical miles towards the exit of the Kiel fjord. Once more we wake up at 6am, and off we go. There is still a near-gale warning in force, but the bay is so sheltered from the NW wind that it's hard to believe...

We sail quietly, not-too-close hauled, in the Kiel channel. Many boats keep converging to the Kieler Woche. Today we have military ships from Poland, France and USA. The "USS Jason Durham" gets closer to the green buoy far far in front of us, and will clearly take the channnel on the side before we will reach him. But a small fastcraft marked Polizei calls us, and asks (without missing to fully hide a far from professional smile) if we could go a bit on the side as the big American boat is "ein bisschen nervös"...  Well, we pretend to change our course, but given our respective speeds, the grey boat passes way ahead of Saltimbanque, the high level threat !

We scared the hell out of him with our sharp bow !!

The Baltic Sea :oD
We arrive in Stranden right on time for our appointment with the welder. He does a very good job, welding extra reinforcements for a ridiculously good price! We are really happy and relieved not to see our Saltimbanque getting cut along the dotted lines...

The welder is happy too - he is actually president of the local Yacht Club, owner of a beautiful X-yacht 42 on which he organises cruises on the seven seas with friends and members of the Club, of course also one of the organizer of the Kieler Woche ... in a word a great guy :o) And who apologises but he has to leave to prepare his meeting with his Excellence the President of the National Japanese Yacht Club.

We enjoy a quieter afternoon with a walk along the northern end of the fjord.

It's our first contact with the Baltic sea and we eagerly absorb all the impressions. The water is blue, transparent and beautiful after the grey shades of the North Sea. But it's covered with jelly fishes ! Apparently they leave when the water gets warmer, later in the summer...

The sides are flat but a bit more elevated than in Holland, with many trees. It's very green ! Quite a lot of fieds as well, right behing the narrow sand bar. Without tides (20cm maximum...) and foreshore, the vegetation almost reaches the water. Green so, and pink: wild rose bushes everywhere.


20-21 June: Stranden - Anholt (163 M)
The weather forecast had been claiming for the last 2 days that the wind was blowing at gale force, even though it was hard to believe from our perfect shelter. So as soon as it promises a quieter moment, at 2am this Saturday, we rush towards the North.

We have hardly left the shelter from the shore that we realize that yes indeed there has been a gale for 2 days, and guess what the wind is still quite strong. We sail on a beam reach for the first 25 NM and we sail fast: 6,5 kts average ! The sea is choppy and short, which makes is uncomfortable. There is a bit of commercial trafic, but the large vessels respect well indicated narrow channels, there is no room for surprises.

4 hours later, we arrive on the lee of Langeland island, and so changes the world. The wind drops a bit but mostly the sea is flat, the clouds fly away, and it's good and fast gliding on the Danish waters (and that's a 6th country !!!!)
The morning is just amazing, we get some rest and enjoy the conditions. But the wind quickly drops, the weather being a bit "everything or nothing" during that journey... But then we can fish, as for once we are sailing under 5 knots, and we are very curious to find out what kind of unknown fish we will catch in these brakish waters. Very quickly the line gets under tension, it's... a needle fish ! Quite a large one. The wind keeps droping and soon we have not much left, then not-much-left-and-right-in-the face. We tack and tack at 3 kts, despairing to never reaching the bridge of StoreBælt that we have seen on the horizon for hours.

There is no tide stream in the Baltic Sea. But when the wind blows hard it "pushes the sea" and creates surface currents. The wind is coming from North-North-West (in our face), so it creates a current going towards the South (so also in our face...) We have to fight against all elements at the same time, we even need to cheat a bit with the engine to pass the brige as the current was really strong and the wind disturbed by the bridge's legs...

Once behind the bridge it goes a bit better. A wider area where to sail as we enter the Kattegat (so the current weakens), the wind picks up bit, turns a bit so we can sail on a direct route. Still beating, but we are not too picky!

Store Bælt bridge (the great belt), very impressive !

Anholt, a little crumb of paradise...
One more night at sea in windy and wet conditions, one more day in irregular conditions and a wind now dying again... Junior helps to fill the sails with wind in this light breeze. We sail along the largest wind farm of Denmark, not very productive that Sunday. The water is so transparent as we aproach the island, it reminds us of the Glenan islands. Anholt island gets bigger and bigger on the horizon line and we reach the small harbour at the end of the afternoon. Three fishing boats, of a shape new to us with a rounded deck at the bow, may be to deflect the big waves of the winter storms ? Otherwise the harbour is empty. The number of available pontoons tells us it will get much busier in a a few weeks ! Aaah, off-season sailing...

This small harbour seems arbitrarily dropped here, they built a dyke in the middle of the beach, dug a bit in the sand, et voila ! No quay - the boats float along the sandy banks. Most of this 25km long island is a natural park of sand and dunes. Only the western third with forests and cultivable land is inhabited. During our long walk along the beach and through the village, we meet a few cormorans, two cyclists and a fat chicken.
While refueling (as they plan some calm days) we notice that our consumption is much lower than what we expected. With Nestor we estimated 0,7 liter / hours. But the young Junior doesn't look very hungry ! 0,35 liter / hour.

Evening walk on the sandy island

22 June: Anholt - Marstrand (74 M)
We would have loved to stay longer on the beautiful tiny island, and explore a bit more in depth the Danish waters... but we have to reach the North of the Kattegat before the next gale. And so we leave as early as the next morning. Departure at almost a reasonable time (8am) and we leave behind us this world hardly previewed, promising ourselves to come back...

The forecasts have been hesitating for a few days, between flat calm and SE wind 25-30 knots. We leave with one reef, that we will release right after the dyke. And we sail on a beam reach with a perfect 3-4b and a lead colored sky.

We meet several Swedish boats heading to Göteborg, but we are going to the North, to our home port of Lysekil, and so we are waiting for the weather forecast in the afternoon to decide where exactly we shall go! For the moment, the wind turns a bit more and we are - you won't believe this - running with the wind on a direct course during 3 more hours ! This is matching our record for the trip !

We resume fishing, the line gets tensioned, again a needel fish. We don't like that so much and releases it in the water. A few hours later, a new species is approaching ! It's a ..... makrel ! How exotic !

Sweden !
But the wind turns again because of a big squall cloud, and we are back to a more usual beating course against the wind. That's it, we can get a glimpse of the Swedish coast on starboard. Soon we cross the maritime border and hoist the ikea, err Swedish flag: 7th and last country of the trip !

Today the Volvo Race arrives in Göteborg. We will be a few hours too late to be part of the party, but we can see the last boat on the horizon in the afternoon.

We finally receive the forecast: the wind drops and totally disappears during the night and tomorow Tuesday, then the gale arrives on Wednesday. So we can't spend too much time on the way, but if we anyway need to finish under engine power we can do it with day light. So we pull the tiller and head to Marstrand.
It's already 11pm, but for the last 3 days and latitudes above 57°N it's never really dark. At 10:30pm the sun goes down but the sky remains clear. A kind of permanent sunset stays above the horizon and the sun rises again at 3am. That makes intersting nights, heading North, following the sun light !

We need to sail in between rocks to enter Marstrand, hepled by coloured sectors of lighthouses. Right by the white ray of light indicating safe waters, unlit buoys, rocks, and lobster pots all over the channel. The permanent gleam is much appreciated and we reach the marina at 1am enjoying the landscape.

Marstand and its conspicuous fortress
23 June: Marstrand - Lysekil (33 M)

Right out of the channel
After a long 6 hour night, we discover Sweden under a warm sun. Marstrand harbour is cut in two by a narrow channel winding along the granit blocks, it's fantastic !

The forecast was about very weak wind, but to our great pleasure, there is actually a good 10 knots (still from NNW just in case someone would imagine us somehow not beating against the wind...) Saltimbanque sails at 3-4 knots, perfect for careful sailing betewen the rocks. Why going around the rocks when you can pass in between ? It's narrow, but well buoyed and absolutely gorgious. We glide in silence in between rocks, it's beautiful... Ijmuiden is so far away !!
We continue our day, tacking and tacking, fishing big makrels. It looks like it's crawling here ! Super afternoon against the wind but with a favourable current, all sails up.

We sail along an island covered by birds, and approach the rocky maze that we need to pass to reach our harbour. We look for the buoys and beacons which will soon become so familiar: a green one here, a cardinal one there. A last narrow passage in between 2 islands and we arrive at Bastevikhamn, Lysekil Marina, our home port :o)

The rocks that will soon be called "our" rocks
We have sailed 882M since Newhaven, and are so warmly welcomed in our new place that we already feel home. Must be the pink granite...

Saltimbanque in its new home port !

24 June : Let's sail to the supermarket (6 M)
The gale is supposed to arrive during the day. Ok, but we don't have much food left onboard, as we have eaten everything we had bought in Kiel. Our marina is hidden in the heart of the granite, it's amazing but there is nothing around ! We then decide to sail to the closest town, 3NM in the South.

We are pushed by a strengthening wind, just before it becomes way too much for us, and come back with all the necessary ingredients for a home/boat-made pizze !

The day after we stay in the harbour, having some rest and rincing the oilies and the sails.

Yummy !
26 June : Visiting our new neighbourhood (24 M)

A day in between the rocks
The gale didn't last for long and on this Friday there is a very sympathetic westerly wind force 3. Let's explore our new territory!
We leave the harbour, heading North to the large channel which goes to the refinery (yes, we didn't want to be too much in a natural paradise we picked the marina close to the oil tanks, very discreetely hidden in between 2 rocks). Once in the channel, we tack slowly in a light wind, facing a rather painful residual swell from the day before.

Once almost in open seas, we head (very precisely !) to the North to enter the bay of Kungshamn. We sail almost in the cliff and a few meters before the crash, sharp turn to the East to pass in between a rock and a small lighthouse. It's really narrow but so beautiful, sailing silently in between islands...

Small houses on the rocks at Smögen

Our first Baltic anchorage !
One island, 2 islands, 3 islands, here is the bay that we have selected for our first "Baltic anchorage". This technique is very common here, but for us it's a first! The plan is to drop an anchor at the stern, then go ahead very slowly towards a rock, drop a crew member with a long rope from the bow so s-he can attach it around a small metal pole incidently hammered in the rock. Very easy on the paper at least. In practice it's a bit trickier. There are long algaes that are trying to get jammed in the propeller, the rock is not as clean as we thought, jumping on a nice and round rock is kind of acrobatic, and the wind turns around the rock to push us directly towards the shallows right on the side.

But we did it ! Not the most comfortable anchorage, but it makes nice pictures ! Since that first time we have improved the stern anchor line and are a bit more confident, so we have way more positive experiences !
We leave again, towards the east in between the rocks, then heading to the South to get back to our marina. This is the end of the holidays but the boat is now very close to home: we'll be back soon !

Sailing in the Swedish rocks, so happy to have found a beautiful sailing area !

The rest of the summer, between rocks and sea
First of all, we build a better stern anchor line for Saltimbanque, getting inspired from our neighbours: a small anchor, a few meters of chain, and 25m of strap stored on a drum: the magical formula for successful Baltic anchorages!

Then with the boat at hardly 2h30 form home, our week-ends become Swedish and we keep exploring our new waters. This coast is absolutely fabulous and we are not missing Brighton too much :o)

A Swedish summer...

Let's go to the end of the fjord
But it's already mid-september, time to find a shelter for the winter. Our winter port is 16NM away from the summer harbour, at the end of the Gulmarfjord. Nice navigation under a fresh sun, but we are so slow !! The local mussels are crazy about the mud from Newhaven, which still covers our keel, so we hardly sail over 3 knots... We finally make it, and the boat is craned up for a winter under a tarpolin and a lot of snow !
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