Our last Danish days

Thursday 13 – Wednesday 19 September

On the Thursday we turned North for Kastrup’s fuel berth, navigating the final metres of the flight path into Copenhagen airport on the way.  Doubtless the jet pilots are used to yachts crossing their approach route; we weren’t so sure…

In a pleasant Southwesterly, my crew set the staysail and first reef in the main, and we set off towards Klintholm, on the island of Møn – to the Southwest.  We soon swapped up the staysail for the genoa, and an hour later shook out the reef and continued under full main.  This worked well for the majority of the 49 Mile passage, but for the last hour we gave up pushing the headwind, and dropped all sails to close another circle as we motored back into our first Danish port.

Thankful not to be delayed by another electrical failure, we left the following morning, motoring again into a stubborn headwind across the bay towards Stubbekjøbing.  Contrarily, we managed to float the genoa to motorsail down the channel into the fishing and commercial harbour, having correctly assessed the leisure harbour (from seaward) as too small for us.  The town seemed peculiarly quiet, but our wanders uncovered some interesting architecture.

After sitting out a windy Saturday in harbour, we headed West under the first bridge, on Lolland.  Once clear we set full main and genoa in a light South-southwesterly, clearing a second bridge between Falster and Faro, and a third at Storstrømsbroen.  After lunch the wind picked up and the sails were reduced, first staysail and then first reef in the main.  By 1600 the wind was F5, gusting 24 knots, so Skipper set the second reef.  A good day’s sailing saw us tied up to a new pine quay on the edge of a camping site at Kragenaes, with some pleasant facilities all to ourselves.

Monday 17th saw an early departure for a 45 Mile passage to Bagenkop, our final port in Southwest Denmark.  A good day’s sailing in a steady Southwesterly F4 with easy motion on the sea, we started close hauled under full main and genoa, and by 1100 had tacked onto starboard, finding ourselves in the lee of Langeland and safely West of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) lanes.  In the afternoon we noted Encore motoring a mile ahead of us, and we enjoyed the coastal scenery and majestic lighthouse as we rounded the tip of the island to be safely tied up by 1700, ready for a lovely long chat with Second Mate, who was celebrating being settled in her new flat in Balham by cooking a Mystery Dinner for friends.

The only fly in the ointment of our final days of Baltic cruising was Skipper finding the holding tank to be blocked and full.  Now we needed to find a pump out station that we could get close enough beside to enable the problem to be rectified – soon.

Overnight the wind swung back to Eastsoutheast, giving us a light and bright day that began under full main and genoa.  Not surprisingly, the wind was once again ‘on the nose’, and we reduced to staysail and then reefed the main, before changing the courtesy flag from Danish back to German when we crossed the border mid-afternoon.  Shaking out the reef as the wind kindly backed to Southsouthwest  as it increased to F5, we revelled in the warm sunshine and lovely scenery of the Kieler Bucht, the mouth of the Kiel Fjord.  We decided to anchor just North of Holtenau, the entrance to the Kiel canal, after a last hour of unpleasant winds and very choppy water.  We tucked in close to shore, and with only occasional rocking from passing ships, enjoyed a private performance by a fire juggler, and then bagpipe practice wafting across the water from a nearby workboat.

On Wednesday morning we crossed the busy shipping lanes in and out of Kiel, heading for Laboe on the Eastern bank, as the pilot book implied a pump out station would be available.  Unfortunately we were unable to access (or even identify) such a facility, and after a certain amount of tight space manoeuvring by my unflappable Skipper, we set off back to the other side of the fjord, berthing once more in Dürstenbruck.  This time the harbourmaster invited us to take the alongside berth on the pontoon, thus relieving us of the necessity to lasso a post at the stern while not ramming the quay on our bow.  Oddly, we had a second experience here of the non-tidal Baltic producing a tidal surge, when the step onto the pontoon from the side deck varied between almost level and about a metre up!