Summer Wine in the Baltic

Diane Carr

  • Skipper: Colin Davidson (Foggy)
  • Crew: Mary Ryder (Edie), John White (Barry ), Brian Cordiner (Cleggy  ), Diane Carr (Marina  )
  • Location: Copenhagen

Day 1 July 25th 2004

Arrived late evening at Kastrup Lystebehavn after a very easy and inexpensive  Easyjet flight and a short taxi ride.  Colin was impressed by the low marina charges (approximately £65 for the week).

Day 2 Copenhagen City

After a very chilly and sleepless  night and an unsettled weather forecast it was decided to spend the day in Copehagen city centre. After a quick shopping expedition for essentials we moved SW into the city centre mooring close to Hotel Admiral and the Royal Palace passing the (very) Little Mermaid on the way. The entrance to Copenhagen is marked by a line of 20 offshore windmills and the famous bridge to Malmo which is approached by an undersea tunnel and therefore appears to miraculously rise out of the water from a seaward viewpoint. We strolled through the city looking for the free bicycles (unsuccessfully), had a beer beside the Christianhauns Kanal and then on to the Tivoli Gardens. Here we found the original Disneyland set in landscaped gardens and decided that we would prefer to return in the evening. Back at the boat we were in time to see the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace very similar to Buckingham Palace except the guards had blue jackets and all this by 2pm!! After lunch we moved SW to Margretha marina and we all had a well deserved snooze so that we could return to the Tivoli Gardens and enjoy the evening entertainment. The No 48 bus did the trick and we arrived in time to listen to the resident band playing jazz and then later on watch an open air performance of comedy trampoline and hunky break dancing. The Tivoli Gardens are famous for evening entertainment and  dining and good value at a ticket price of about £7 for the day.

The crew

Left to right – Cleggy, Foggy, Marina, Edie and Barry

The harbour at Kyrkbacken

The harbour at Kyrkbacken

Day 3 Swedish Island Hven

We duly set sail beating northwards in the Oresund towards Sweden and after a couple of hours Colin announced that we would call in at the tiny island of Hven for coffee and to buy bread. On the way into the tiny port of Kyrkbacken we ran aground at the south end of the mole but thanks to SW’s powerful engine were able to back off and enter the port. Hven is a Swedish holiday island famous because the astronomer Tycho Braahe (he made great contributions to astronomical instrumentation and observation and in 1572 discovered a new star in Cassiopia) set up an observatory there. We bought smoked mackerel on the quayside and a fellow sailor guided us to a good mooring (bow on with a stern line to pick up at the quayside). He lent us a loaf of bread and invited us to barbeque later on. We all fell in love with the place and ended up staying the night. There were bikes to hire but we were too late and a tractor to take tourists back to the other side of the island where the ferry comes in.  The bread shop was some distance and difficult to find and at £2 a loaf rather expensive but we were assured that it was made of some special Mediterranean flour that is grown and milled on the island. Danish currency is accepted but on a par with Swedish, the latter being less valuable. I went off for a lovely bike ride through open fields and past beautifully kept summer houses returning in time to help with the BBQ.

Day 4 Hven to Molle

When in Sweden it is a local custom to take an early morning dip. I did and very refreshing it was too. I was soon joined by Colin (with a great big shriek about the cold) and our friends of the previous night. We set sail soon after breakfast beating northwards in the Oresund between Denmark and Sweden. Just north of Hven we watched a man in a small fishing boat land a large cod which Mary had the audacity to suggest that we might offer to buy. We offered money or cold beer and much to our surprise the offer of beer was accepted and so our supper soon lay dying in the sink. As we approached the impressive Danish castle of Helsingor dominating the sound across from its Swedish counterpart of Helsingborg. Colin announced  lunch time so we diverted into the nearby marina to take a closer look. Originally built in 1420 Kronberg Slot is the official name of the castle which collected tolls from passing ships until these were abolished in 1857. It was built centuries after the time of the Danish Prince of Elsinore Castle on whom Shakespeare based Hamlet but nevertheless provides a fitting backdrop for this tragedy. After a circumnavigation of the moated castle Brian was delighted to find a supermarket which sold wine and beer at a reasonable price and took the opportuniity to stock up. The afternoon sail then took us north to the pretty port of Molle. The berths were rather narrow so we had to tie up alongside the piles and inflate the rubber dinghy to get ashore in rather a precarious fashion. A clear night and consequently a chilly evening drink at the bar near the harbour.

Day 5 Molle to Hundersted

Helsingor- Kronberg Slot

Helsingor- Kronberg Slot

We woke to very warm, sunny weather and moved alongside the main jetty where we were able to top up with water and then explore the village which was very quiet. Neat houses were presided over by the Grand Hotel. Brian, John and I took one of the woodland walks through the nature reserve to a hilltop where we got a fantastic view of the harbour. At midday we set off to beat north towards the headland – a couple of miles away and then decided to follow suit and do as the locals – we anchored up for a quick swim (one and only for John) – very refreshing – and lunch. Colin decided to run with the developing breeze and we had a glorious 18mile spinnaker run to the Danish shore arriving at the small commercial port of Hundersted. Good for shopping and an evening game of dominoes.

Day 6 Hundersted to Linnaes

Woke to blazing sunshine and after another major shopping expedition set sail to explore the fjord leading to Roskilde. Just around the headland we diverted into the marina at Linnaes to find that preparations were being made for their annual jazz festival – some action at last!! After lunch we set off for the Roskilde fjord. There was no wind and a foul tide so we anchored close to a  beach and even Mary had a quick dip despite the weed and jellyfish. A scorching hot afternoon – we returned to Linnaes for a BBQ of delicious fillet steak and then over to the marquee to listen to the music – we couldn’t resist having a dance and Mary made a big hit with one of the locals much to grandson John’s amusement. She had to be extracted from the situation when it got out of hand and the man forgot to hold onto Mary and stumbled to the ground. His wife was looking on!

Day 7 Linnaes to Roskilde 27nm

We set off for Roskilde after breakfast, this time with the tide. It was a cloudy morning with light winds as we motored/sailed down the fjord with flat farmland scenery and neat houses unfolding as we slowly drifted by. There was an island home to at least 100 swans  and a road bridge that opened every hour and another bridge that we only just cleared. At the head of the fjord lies the city of Roskilde which is dominated by the cathedral famous for its baroque organ – the Danish equivalent of Westminster Abbey where all the Royals are buried. It would have been nice to see inside but it was shut! On the quayside where we tied up were some very smart but empty bars and restaurents. Even the locals find the prices too much to pay.

Day 8 Roskilde to Linnaes

The replica of the Skuldelev

The replica of the Skuldelev

We awoke to clear blue skies and spent the morning visiting the Viking Ship Museum where they were busy building a reconstruction of an 11th century Viking warship called Skuldelev which was found preserved in the mud at the bottom of Roskilde Fjord. This 30m long replica had taken 3 years to build and was due to be launched in September. Afterwards we reversed our journey back to Linnaes against wind and tide and tied up in time to listen to the ongoing jazz concert.

Day 9 Linnaes to Arilds

Another lovely morning so we sailed 4nm across the fjord to a charming little fishing port called Rorvik where we were tempted to buy mussels and frites from the local fish shop. A splendid lunch of moules mariniere al fresco was enjoyed by all. Then we set off again into the Kattegat proper doing 7/8 knots beating in a flat sea. It was nearly nightfall when we squeezed onto the end of the breakwater at Arilds – there was not enough water to get the whole boat into the harbour! This charming Swedish holiday village is quaint but very quiet.

Arilds – quiet summer houses

Arilds – quiet summer houses

Day10 Arilds to Råå 25nm

After watching the morning ritual of dressing gowns and sea bathing we left promptly and had a brisk sail in initially fine weather that soon deteriorated into rain which was heavy at times.  We saw dolphins and Mary and Brian caught a small gurnard but put it back. We went into Viken for lunch and then carried on to Råå, the only tricky moment was avoiding five ferries at once in the straits between Helsingborg and Helsingor with the spinnaker up. Rather an anxious few minutes!

Day 11 Råå to Bäckviken 14nm

A very pretty harbour on the other side of  the Swedish island of Hven with daytrippers arriving from Råå. We decided to compete with the locals and do our own Smorgesbrod and very nice it was too!! Perhaps we could have made ourselves a fortune selling it to the daytrippers. Later on we did as recommended by a friendly Danish neighbour and took to the water which was clear, not very salty and fresh at 20oC.


Smorgesbord – all our own work!

Day 12 Hven to Copenhagen

There was barely any wind and it was very hot – although we tried to put the spinnaker up the engine had to be started. Not far off Copenhagen lies the small fortified island of Flakfortet which guards the straits leading to Copenhagen and capitulated to Germany in the last war without a single shot being fired. We tied up in the harbour just next to a rather exclusive restaurant where we celebrated the last day of our holiday with lunch. Afterwards we inspected the fortifications and then motored the short hop back to Lystbadehavn Kastrup near to the airport playing Black Bitch all the way (Colin won as usual ) In the afternoon we tidied and cleaned the boat and left early evening for our flight back to Newcastle.

Overall impression: Both Denmark and Sweden have lots of good sailing and places to visit but are rather quiet at night due to the high cost of dining out. The people are friendly and helpful and the pace of life unhurried and hassle free. They seem to take great pleasure in their homes and gardens and everywhere we went the ports were spotlessly clean and tidy.

Best place: Hven

Best buy: Bright red Souwester – authentic Swedish souvenir made in Portugal – I’ve been wearing it ever since our return!!

The cruise continues the following year….

Skipper: Colin

Crew: Ann, Lisa, Diane, Richard, Julia, Jacob

Location: German Baltic August 2005

Day 1 Rostock 12th August

Easy flight to Berlin and rather a frantic rush to get tickets for the 17:50 train to Rostock. After a 3 1/2 hour train journey we were duly met by Colin who was already out there and entertained to champagne cocktails in an upmarket bar which had a tremendous view over the activities on the river. Finally a taxi ride to board Summer Wine.

Day 2 Rostock

Just when we thought that we had seen enough Tall Ships we found ourselves in the middle of Hanse Woche amongst 200 of them. The ships began to parade out of the river from an early hour and we decided to join them. Rostock is a similar city to Newcastle and it was several miles down river until we reached the Baltic Sea, which was very rough that day so we made a hasty retreat back to the safety of the main Rostock quayside where celebrations of all sorts were going on. There was a huge fair with big wheel, stalls selling all sorts of merchandise, various street entertainers and rock bands. We dined on board and then watched the fireworks at 10:30pm. Afterwards Colin managed to gatecrash the Burgermeister’s party and we nearly managed to kidnap a naval officer’s hat but the owner came back for it and we couldn’t carry it off!

The parade of sail

The parade of sail

Day 3 Rostock to Wismar 40nm

An early start with warmer and more settled weather in prospect.  At the mouth of the river we tied up at Warnemunde for coffee and stores. There was a festive atmosphere along the quayside of this pretty holiday town with street entertainment and market stalls. A Polish male voice choir was in full voice and had attracted a large crowd. We set sail into the Baltic, which was much calmer than the previous day and arrived quite late at the old harbour in Wismar, by which time the weather had turned cool and cloudy again. After dinner we finished off the day in the New Orleans cocktail bar.

Day 4 Wismar to Travemunde.

The central square in Wismar

The central square in Wismar

The morning was spent exploring the historic town of Wismar, which dates back to 1259. There was a quaint central square with fashionable shops and restaurants and red brick Gothic buildings. The town had been occupied by the Swedes for nearly 300 years up to 1903 and clearly showed their influence. After a leisurely lunch we sailed on to Travemunde – originally in W Germany and smarter than the slightly austere places we had visited up to this point. It was a warm afternoon and we indulged Colin with his favourite game of scrabble aided by jugs of Pims and all whilst flying the spinnaker. As you enter the river the tourist attraction of Sandcastle World is seen on the port side – these are certainly the biggest I have ever seen! We tied up at Bobs marina (rather costly and therefore not to be recommended) and ambled along the waterfront where we found a very good fish restaurant and then further on stopped for an ice cream. As we proceeded towards the very up-market seafront there were stalls selling food and every kind of trinket and we rounded off the evening at the Casino – an exclusive hotel with an exquisite ballroom overlooking the beach. The cocktails very kindly provided by Colin were well worth waiting for.

Day 5 Travemunde to Lubeck 10nm

The river Trave runs through very flat and green countryside with occasional industry on the river. We passed farm buildings and a small village of thatched cottages and only just squeezed under the road bridge halfway to Lubeck. At Lubeck we tied up at the new pontoon and went ashore to explore the delights of the city. Lunch was had at the ‘Alte Seafahrers’ – famed not just for its food but also for its dark interior with models of Baltic Traders hanging from the ceiling. Obviously steeped in sailing history. St Mary’s Cathedral and St Jacob’s church dominate the modern city centre. Later on we returned to SW for a BBQ dinner.

The town hall in Lubeck

The town hall in Lubeck

Day 6 Lubeck to Fehmarn 43nm

The day started off being overcast but soon became very warm with very little wind. We backtracked down river again stopping for showers at a small marina en route.  Once out to sea Colin and I decided to have a little dip despite the jellyfish – of the non-stinging variety but wouldn’t like to touch one anyway. Suitably refreshed we continued to the island of Fehmarn and tied up just after 7pm in the fishing harbour at Burgstaaken next to a grain silo, which was also a climbing wall. A very good fish supper was enjoyed by all at the Anchor nearby.

Day 7 Fehmarn

In the morning Colin decided to give some attention to boat repairs and negotiated a sail repair and a lift out. Within minutes the men arrived to put slings on and we hastily tried to finish breakfast, clean teeth etc – the boat was already being hoisted as people emerged from cabins and heads to get off and the men asked if there was anyone else on board!! I’m ashamed to say that crew abandoned ship and walked into the main town to hire bikes leaving Colin to get on with the repairs. Ann and Lisa decided they would have a tandem and lived to regret that decision. The rest of us hired normal bikes and collecting a picnic lunch as we went through the town we headed off into open countryside. The route was interesting but we should have stuck to the marked roads and instead ended up cycling around the edges of cornfields. Lisa and Ann had a domestic and ended up falling off in the middle of the cornfield – don’t think they could decide who was steering/pedalling – Richard and Jacob came to the rescue and managed to cope a little better but we were all glad to return the tandem at the end of the day. We found a beach and had our picnic and then all got separated as we made our way, hot and dusty, back into Burg. Back  at SW, which was back in the water, they all went go-karting and then we walked back into Burg for a pizza washed down by some very nice Sicilian red.

Lighthouse at Staberhuk

Fehmarn – the lighthouse at Staberhuk

Day 8 Fehmarn to Kiel 40nm

An early start departing about 9am. It seemed like another close encounter to get under the road bridge between the mainland and the island and then we called in at Heligehavn for shopping and lunch. The breeze freshened as we left and we were doing 7/8 knots with main only downwind. It was a quick passage to Kiel passing the famous war memorial (a U boat standing prominently on the shore) on the way to the British Kiel Yacht Club. This is in a very pretty location and offers a warm welcome (there’s even a bath) and very reasonable rates. That night the full moon was spectacular and rose large and orange over the river.  Later on we soon made friends in the bar and were encouraged to go into Kiel for a last night out, Colin chose the best option and had a good nights sleep.

Day 9 Train to Berlin

Train fares in Germany seem to have variable charges. We should have chosen the fast train direct to Schoenenfeld Airport but decided to take the slower train at a fraction of the price. This resulted in a mad taxi drive through Berlin city centre telling the driver he would be paid extra to get us there on time, tension building up and ultimately arriving at the check-in desk at the airport with only 5 mins to spare!! Not the best way to end what had been an action packed holiday. Thanks to Colin for organising, acting as interpreter and constantly keeping us occupied.

Overall impression: Germany has a lot to offer the cruising yacht provided the weather remains good. There are many small towns to visit and these are served by marinas with good facilities or fishing ports where you can tie up closer to the activities of the town. The cost of eating and drinking out is affordable – on a par with being at home.

Best  place: I liked Fehmarn because it is a rural holiday island with a relaxed atmosphere – the only industry seems to be gathering in the grain and there was a constant stream of farm vehicles bringing grain to the silo.

Best buy: Trinkets and souvenirs from the stalls at Travemunde – I bought an amber ring to match a bracelet I had been given.

Summer Wine

Summer Wine