I like alliterations – I have to admit to this. However, Salt is a wane whale and we did go West.
She´s vane with new stainless steel ventilators and a new spray hood. The spray hood is the best investment in comfort for the creature in Salt since the diesel heater. Now it is possible to sit out of the spray even in heavy weather and rain.
I thought the spray hood would be taken down as soon as the sun shined, but no. I don´t think it ever will be taken down. Even when racing it is nice to get out of the spray.
Racing: Talking about racing. Salt has not raced much so far this year. The reason is that I have abandoned ship and started crewing in a hot X-35. She´s faster, has more
competition and its cheaper racing for me. However, we have raced the Salt with good results in the two 1928 races. And I did race the Seilmakeren in a Maxi Mixer this year – and we won our class. Which I am very proud of since the boat is much harder to sail than Salt and the weather was awful with gail, hail and rain.
Shetlands: Mid June we set sail for Shetland from Stavanger. A week before I talked to my brother in law John about equipment. I told him to bring his winter long johns, a woolen hat, mittens… – more or less what you would bring for a mountain trip in winter – plus a watertight set of rain clothes. Crossing the North Sea this summer, a sun stroke was more of a problem than cold fingers. Dead calm seas and a Florida like sun took us to Lerwick. Wonderful, but I only have 100-120 liter diesel and a range of a 40 hours plus at 5 knots.
We still had some diesel left when we arrived Lerwick though. So we did sail a few hours. Lerwick is changing into a modern city that could be anywhere in the world. Gone are the mom and dad shops, the gray and wet stone shop fronts and the girls in last years fashion. Now they are all up to date and driving new shiny cars. Good thing the boatclub still holds on to the old forms and respatex tables with charts.
Shetland Race going back to Bergen started the morning after we arrived. Salt has taken part in this race several times. This is the only time I have been happy I did not have to start. The sailboats where just drifting in the super light breeze. Dead calm was what waited out in the North Sea – no wind and sails banging back and forth in the old sea. Not a lusty thought. For us left behind there was still lots of life left in town. Farmers- and fisherman’s marked, live bands all day and beers to make it all bearable. Of all the absurd thinks to do in Shetland we ended up going to the sports area and play two rounds of mini golf. I don´t know about anyone else who has played mini golf in Lerwick.
Fair Isle: This summer I had decided that we where going to Fair Isle no matter winds or rain. So we arrived at Fair Isle in dead calm and seriously hot weather. The fairytale island – more or less exactly between the Shetlands and the Orkneys – came out of the sea in a heat fog! Fair Isle has 60 days a year of gails and storms each year. The warmest day ever recorded was in 1979 and the record was 19 degrees. The Salt crew arrived in 25 degrees, and no wind at all. What´s the statistical possibility of hitting such a day? None at all.
Fair Isle was wonderful and definitely worth the hazards of heatstroke and motor cruising. The Island is all green, sheep and birds. More than 54000 puffins live on the island besides all kinds of Sea Gulls and birds I have never seen or heard of before. And it is so green. Green is so much more than green – it is yellow green, emerald, dark green, brownish green, light green, bluish… they have all the variations at Fair Isle. And the shape of the island is so dramatic with green pastures ending in deep cliffs with white beaches deep down the geos. Geos are short small fjords formed when the island split like a glacier.
Tea-mugs: For years I have wished for a number of beer-glasses from the pub in Fair Isle. It would have been tops to invite some unsuspecting fellow sailor aboard for a beer – and then served it up in glasses from the gale tormented island in the west. There is no pub in Fair Isle. The shop keeper have no glasses with Fair Isle motives. However, I did buy some tea mugs. So if ever a non suspecting sailor turns up for a good story, I have to serve tea. Which is fine for me – but kind of ruins a good storytime.
Scotland: From Fair Isle we sailed in a heavy mist through the Orkney islands to Kirkwall. Thanks to the Tiki Navigator on my laptop and maps from the British Admiralty we could do navigate the archipelago in good spirits. Going in to Kirkwall the strait is pretty narrow and shallow. I could hear the shore less than 100 meters away – but we did not see it. During the day the fog lifted momentarily a few times and revealed a wonderful landscape of low laying islands with long beaches. I did not enjoy the Orkneys the last time I sailed there. But this summer it really would have been fine to spend a few more days on the outer islands. Kirkwall is nice to. Narrow streets and cobblestones, small shops and tearooms.
Salt followed the Scottish coast south to Aberdeen with a short stop in Wick. The small port of Wick has a reputation of being gray and anonymous amongst Norwegian sailors. But just outside the port it is nice and welcoming. The yacht port is all new and opened up this summer with lots of space and safe. However, I don´t enjoy harbours organized as camping grounds. I always feel that I could be anywhere in the world and I might as well have stayed home when settling in to such a harbour. It´s just not my cup of tea.
Why I am an idiot: Calm waters and sunshine made it possible to follow the Scottish coast pretty close going south. A low and green coast with long beaches spotted with castles. Relaxing cruising. In 1996 Aberdeen hosted the Tall Ships Race and I participated sailing the Wyvern. The port was then all flags, sails and people. So I presumed that Aberdeen was a large port with lots of sailboats. In good spirits we sailed straight into the harbour through the narrow river-inlet. That was all wrong! – You are idiots, the harbour master screamed at us from the powerboat ordering us to follow them. – Don´t you have VHF?
Sure – the harbour master is all correct. Aberdeen is a strictly commercial harbour with huge ships and the overnight ferry to Lerwick. Had we met any of the other ships in port going out the inlet as we sailed in – there would have been no more Salt left. Sailing into Aberdeen is totally stupid and dangerous. I won´t do it over again.
However, Aberdeen is a nice town. And I like the commercial ports better than the boring camping-ports. Dockworkers are nice and the commercial fishermen too – once you get to know them.
Denmark: In Aberdeen the crew took a flight home. Thale and I sailed to Thyborøen, Denmark, double handed. 350 nautical miles in all from hot summer weather to huge seas, thunder and lightning combined with a gale – typical North Sea and the German beak weather.
A storm in 1893, or there about, opened up the sea between the Limfjorden and the North Sea at Tyborøen. It is still like sailing up a river going into Tyborøen. After some long days in the ocean it is nice and calm though. The gail pushed us through the fjord at top speeds with main only. Interesting sailing in narrow lines. Wonderful farmland all around. A few nice out-harbours and small quaint fishing villages. Compared to the dramatic nature of the Shetlands and Fair Isle the Limfjorden and Denmark is like sailing in a park pond. Beautiful, but boring.
Anholt – a small wonderfull island in the middle of Kattegat, Danish, but once taken by the British and of importance to Sweden in the old days – is perfectly placed for a cruise from Aarhus. We spend some amazing days in the sun and on the beach at Anholt before we cruised down to Gilleleie – due north and as far as you can get from Copenhagen without crossing a bridge or take a ferry. Thale abandoned ship for Copenhagen while Ellen and Mathias renewed the crew. In sun, rain and thunder we cruised the coast of Demark down to Kerteminde and Odense. Kerteminde is the yacht center of Odense and a quaint village of its own. Nicely situated in a bay with a view to Storebelt, Kerteminde became our turning point for this summer cruise.
From Kerteminde we sailed straight for Anholt. Lots of wind and no waves sped Salt North at 9 knots upwind. For more than 1 hour both the through water speed and speed over land/GPS was consistent 9 knots or more.
Home: Going up Kattekat towards Skagerrak we met the current and some heavy winds resulting in short steep waves and some very wet sailing. We had to dry out for a couple of days in Skagen before crossing the Skagerrak to Arendal. We then hugged the Norwegian south coast and sailed in as much sheltered waters as possible. Scotland is dramatic and beautiful, and Denmark is orderly, green and parklike – Norway is both. It sure felt good to be in home waters.
Ellen and I sailed home alone in some heavy weather and large old waves from Eigersund to Stavanger. We had rains and gails, but even the most misery days of rain had at some time during the day a long patch of sunshine. So all in all it was a good summer cruise.
50 kroners misery: Salt behaved good. The only enduring problem was water seepage through the propeller shaft. The Volvo rubber thing for the inner part of the through-hull shaft was sold to me as non maintenance and water greased. That is wrong. Finally home I talked to Volvo and they said it is supposed to be greased every year. I have wringed out numerous buckets of water from under the engine – my hands was sore from the salt and bruises and my knees got blisters – besides, even I who normally don´t mind the sea and the motion can´t enjoy life with my head stuck into a hot engine with diesel fumes for 15 minutes pumping every second hour. Misery to be avoid for a 50 kroner tube of Volvo grease. Agh!