They sailed away for a year and a day to the land where the bong tree grows. Edward Lear ‘The owl and the pussy-cat went to sea’

Well, it is difficult to believe that it was only about this time last year that we were getting ready to make the first leg of our Baltic trip starting from Grace’s home port of Chichester to Brighton as soon as the weather was suitable. Now there is just a week to go before we go back to Augustenborg in Denmark to continue the cruise for this summer.

Sailing over the Bar at Chichester, not knowing when Grace will be returning!

Checking my log for last year, we left Chichester Marina just after high water at 7.20 am in very light airs arriving in Brighton on the visitor’s pontoon at 15.30 pm after sailing 38.25 nm. This was in fact one of the longest daily runs we made last year! I remember our entry into Brighton very well as we were surprised by a large dredger filling the entrance as we sailed in and we had to squeeze past her, albeit on a rising tide through a narrow and twisting steel pile lined channel while dodging the fishing trip boats at the same time!

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Safely on the visitor’s pontoon at Brighton!

Grace, having spent the winter in a nice warm shed, has had her bottom cleaned and antifouled and just needs a new anode for the saildrive, which I have sourced from the Bruntons, the auto prop manufacturer to be ready to go back in the water when we arrive next week.

Fresh antifouling and ready for the Baltic slime!

The vital bit! A new anode for the prop.

The repairs to bows, from the collision with the very unfriendly walls of a lock are now well underway. It is of course going to be more far complex (expensive!) to repair! After removing the bow roller there was more damage to the structure beneath it, as  well as some cracking to the base of the electric winch. Apparently it is a common problem with these Bavarias so we are taking the opportunity to get it reinforced as we will be using the anchor a lot more this season.

Once back in the water, the riggers will tune the rig and install the whisker pole and track. This will enable us to properly goosewing the genoa downwind, effectively doubling the sail area we can carry when running before the wind. It will also help maintain the sail shape on a broad reach, both of which will improve our downwind speed and safety!

We have planned a couple of days of ‘sea trials’ to check that Grace is  fighting fit for her adventures! The Alsfjord is a perfect sailing grounds to test the boat with some nice places to moor around Dyvig or down the Als Sund at Sonderborg.

Our route to Sweden from Augustenborg to the Helsingborg in the Oresund

We will then head north, out of the Alsfjord and into the ‘Little Belt’ and up into the Kattegat to Middelfart. Then we will sail east, over the top of the island of Fyn towards Odense.  Crossing the ‘Great Belt’, we might possibly call at Ballen on Samso before cruising on to Kalungborg on Sjaelland (The largest of the Danish islands). We will skirt past Roskilde and the vikings as we visited them last year and head on into the Oresund. This forms the border between Denmark and Sweden. It is here we have the choice to sail south down the Danish side to Helsingor, the home of Hamlet’s Elsinore Castle or sail to the confusingly similar Helsingborg across the water in Sweden! No doubt the wind will decide it for us! We will then head down the Oresund under ‘The Bridge’ past Copenhagen and Malmo and into the Baltic Sea….. proper….. again! A total distance of about 550 nm or about 25 days sailing for Grace optimistically assuming fair weather!!

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