Here is the blog post for our little bit unusual sail from Sweden to France in August 2021. The trips was enjoyed with nice good and settled weather (mostly). The wind was from the Northwest to North the whole 900 miles.
The route is unusual because most boats will keep to the sheltered waters of Öresund and aim to go through the Kiel Canal (which save you going all around Denmark), and exit onto the North Sea by the rivere Elbe.
On Wednesday morning, and day 3 of the trip the wind finally picked up, first 10 knots, then 15 and 20. Good sailing with two reefs in the mainsail and the genoa, downwind deep reaching, which is perfect for catching waves and surfing. Frequently doing 12 knots and flying past the oil-rigs and gas installations of the North Sea!
There was a vibrating sound coming from the boat when going fast though. A vibration which can be quite loud and strong at times. It’s new to the boat, and the only thing which has changed is the new rudder. I guess that something about the profile of the sides of the rudder is what is causing it, and it’s not going to be easy to do anything about it for a while.
The night from Wednesday to Thursday was not such funny sailing. We had “English weather” with drizzle and rain. Of course a dark overcast sky, and so no moon at night either. Then to boot also quite a lot of wind with 25 knots plus. The waves actually got quite large, which is when it becomes much more work to steer the boat correctly. It’s important to ensure that the waves come from the correct angle and from behind the boat. We also had to navigate the extensive wind-farms which have been constructed in recent years! Huge areas with hundreds of wind turbines, and of course that is not something you want to sail into in the middle of the night!
If we had just been 100 miles further along our track then that night’s sailing would have been much nicer. The first two days with very little wind and drifting is why we were behind schedule, but that’s sailing: everything depends on the wind!
We sailed the last miles past Dover and out from the North Sea on Thursday morning. Past the white cliffs, and down the main shipping channel with a course for the Southwest! Soon we saw the Isle of White over to port and the more open waters of the English channel where there are no wind farms or oil and gas rigs. The only thing we had missed along the way was a stop in England for some Fish and Chips!
Next day, i.e. Friday morning, we approached Cherbourg in Normandy, France… and at 10 AM we just, just, just managed to squeeze past through the Alderney Race (a strong tidal current between Normandy and Alderney) before it became too strong against us. For the next 6 hours the progress was slow with the current against us. This part of the world is beautiful though. The Channel Islands of Guernsey, Alderney and Jersey scattered about in the green-blue waters of the English channel. This, with sunshine and a steady North-easterly breeze, made for very comfortable and nice sailing all day!
For Friday afternoon we again had a fair current and good progress made toward the Finisterre region of Brittany, now with only 60 miles to go to our destination: the harbour town of Morlaix. The estimated time of arrival was very early morning Thursday, so it would be necessary to negotiate the extensive rocks and mudbanks which make up the Brittany coastline in the dark! This fact, together with our ETA being low water meant that a wise move would be to anchor at the first possible opportune place and await daylight. We did this, when anchoring at 4AM at the little town of Terenez. The trip is now at it’s end, remaining just to motor up the river to the locks in Morlaix for high water the next day at 10AM.
The next few days I will fix some things on the boat, and prepare for the next cruise which is starting 1st September and going to various places on the North coast of Brittany! Very excited about that!
Thanks for reading!
Voyage details: 11AM Saturday 21st August 2021 to 4AM Saturday 28th August 2021. 883nm sailed. Top speed 16.1 kts. Avg speed: 5.48kts. Best 24h: 183nm (avg. 7.6kts).