At sea, Sweden, Wednesday August 7
Following our train journey on Sunday, tiresome to read about I’m sure, and tiring to experience, it was with real pleasure that we found our boat moored in the midst of a flotilla of tall ships on the Aarhus docks. The whole area was filled with masses of people, vendor’s tents and tall ships at their moorings. The harbour in Aarhus was the final destination of the annual tall ships race which begins and ends in different venues each year. This year’s race began off Bergen, Norway and after 8 day’s hard sailing, finished off in Aarhus, the fleet then mooring in Aarhus where a Tall Ships Festival was underway. We joined at the tail end, many of the ships having already left by Sunday afternoon but Blue Clipper and a number of others were still at their moorings.
It was a pleasure to be back aboard and even more so to recognize a number of the faces of crew members with whom I had sailed from Bermuda and who were still with the boat. Lots of chatting and catching up and then since all the crew were now aboard, we were the last following our interesting journey from Copenhagen, we had our first crew meeting to begin our passage planning. The sentiment was very much in favour of putting to sea rather than spending an overnight in Aarhus and exploring the city. Our afternoon was then taken up with safety drills, and all the information and practice necessary to raise sails, and work the ship. Then, there being virtually no wind, after an early dinner we motored our way out of the harbour and off to an anchorage for the night, about a 3 hour motor sail away from Aarhus.
The ship’s makeup for this voyage is very different as compared to our Atlantic crossing; there are 7 of us voyage crew and 9 permanent crew, similar to the previous voyage but the difference is the lack of the 10 sail trainees who were part of the crew who crossed the Atlantic. Since this is not a training voyage, there are only 16 of us and not 26 which will make a difference on watch. Voyage crew on the Atlantic run were able to be more flexible in opting out of watches if they chose to do so in order to to catch up on sleep or just not feeling sufficiently well to take their watch, there were lots of trainees to cover requirements. Now however there are fewer hands to raise and lower sails and help with the running of the ship so voyage crew will need to be more present on their watches. Additionally, on the Atlantic we had a chef and a saloon steward to cook and help serve and clean up, on this voyage we have no cook and no helper so each watch will be taking their turns preparing the meals, doing dishes and cleaning up.
Monday was our first full day at sea, pleasant but not very exciting. Again, lacking wind, we raised the sails to get everyone in practice, lowered them again and motor sailed to a Danish island called Samso where we spent another night at anchor. All the rest of the voyage crew went ashore and spent the afternoon cycling or walking and exploring Samso, I chose to stay aboard and write the blog; having just reread it I should have gone ashore with the rest of them.
Yesterday, Tuesday, we had a 72nm sail to our present anchorage. Up sails and underway by 9am with enough wind to move the boat along at about 5-6 knots; a downwind run so the jibs were useless but we gull-winged the sails to catch as much wind as we could, but still a pretty sedate passage. However the wind and seas did pick up later in the afternoon just as our watch started to prep dinner in the galley, one of my least favourite dishes, pasta with vegetables, bacon and pesto, hold your nose and swallow. The swells made dinner prep more interesting than I could have wished, between the smell of the pesto and the ship rolling I was happy to back on deck after dinner with the wind in my face.
Shortly after dinner, the wind died completely so back on with the engine, resulting in a very late arrival at our anchorage, about midnight. The virtue of these overnight anchorages is no midnight or 4am graveyard watches so as late as we were getting in, straight to bed for a quiet, motion-free night of sleep.
Stay tuned, more to come.