Thursday, August 04, 2011

Svanemølle, Copenhagen

So, this is unexpected. We left Klintholm at 7.30am expecting that the first few miles to Rødvig would be bumpy and unpleasant, but then we would have a more-or-less ok passage. For various reasons none of us had slept very well and although the easterly wind eased a bit overnight, it was still creating waves.

As expected, the first few miles around the corner of Møn, straight into the wind, were slow and bumpy - although the pain was eased by a great view of Møn's cliffs in the morning light. Once we headed north, however, our speed increased to more than 6.5 knots. It became clear that we would reach Rødvig so early that if they were feeling mean they could charge us for an extra day for arriving before 12 noon.

Was it worth making the most of this excellent wind? Copenhagen was still 50 miles away but at these speeds we would get there before 5pm. Conditions were bumpy, but manageable. A quick re-plan was undertaken and we decided to go for it.

And what a passage it was. The sun shone, the sea was blue, another yacht was on the same course as us a mile ahead (it's always helpful to have an aiming point in bumpy conditions, it's so easy to get knocked off course). And for mile after mile we made better than 7 knots. From about the halfway point, with Sweden on our right, the sea even got a bit flatter.

We covered 56 miles in 8 hours and 45 minutes, an average of 6.4 knots - and that includes the first hour where we were lucky to make 4 knots into the wind, and the last hour where Camilla got nervous about sailing goose-winged (one sail on each side, with the wind dead aft) up a narrow channel to a place we didn't know, so we dropped the mainsail and used just the genoa. Normally we might have expected that distance to take around 11 hours.

We were hoping to go to Hellerup, which is a little harbour north of the city. But we came in late enough to be uncertain of getting a berth, and we couldn't reach them by phone. So instead we are in Svanemølle, about a mile south, which is apparently Denmark's biggest marina. It feels quite manageable though, and it's full of traditional wooden boats, and numerous dayboats and dinghies sailing into the marina - which would never be allowed in the UK. Apparently they had to rebuild the whole marina in 2007 after a chronic infestation of, would you believe it, woodworm.

We have until Monday to recover (a long bumpy passage leaves you feeling as though someone has been kicking you for a few hours) and explore Copenhagen. Currently the forecast is for strong winds on Tuesday and Wednesday, so if these appear, Sam and Camilla may spend even longer here.

Miles covered today: 56, with almost 50 miles under sail. Top speed on the GPS: 9.4 knots.

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