Denmark’s windiest port! And Sweden in sight!

After the drama of the broken leg of the night before, we were very keen to leave Odden at the earliest possible opportunity next morning. We had a much easier exit than arrival and we were soon out into Odde Bay. We had been sailing for no more than about 10 minutes when a message came over the VHF, “All Ships, All Ships, NATO live firing exercise in area RF19, clear the area immediately until 1600”. This was repeated every 30 minutes. Oh no! RF19 was exactly where we needed to go! We really did not want to go back so the morning passed as we tacked in and out of the restricted area as the sound of gunfire and smell of cordite filled the air. We expected at any moment to be chased away. About lunchtime, the 4 warships got in a row and fired everything they had in some form of ‘grand finale’, before dashing off over the horizon for tea and biscuits!

Dodging in and out of the firing range!

We continued to tack our way across the 10 nm of the Hesselo Bugt before approaching the entrance of the Isefjord to starboard and Hundested to port. Then motoring up the long 5 nm channel toward Lynaes at the mouth of the Roskilde Fjord. This is an ancient route which the Vikings would have taken a 1000 years ago and been familiar with! The whole area is covered by shallow reefs and narrow buoyed channels. We were keen to go to Lynaes as it had a good chandlery as we needed new charts for our next leg down the Oresund.

Kite surfers are never a good sign if you don’t want strong winds and there were plenty outside Lynaes harbour! The guest berths are in the old fishing dock, it is a slightly down at heel place but we found a space on the the harbour wall next to an abandoned yacht. It was only later that evening that the significance of the kitesurfing became apparent as the wind rose and we realised our mistake, the strong westerly wind drove a fierce swell through the harbour mouth and that pinned us firmly against the wall. We seemed to have arrived in Denmark’s windiest place and the wind did not let up for a moment for three whole days!

The north cardinal at the start of Isjelfjord

Being stuck on the wall, we saw a lot of the Danes (literally). At the end of the harbour there was a magnificent sea bathing hut and from early morning to late at night, a steady stream of Danes in dressing gowns wondered along for a naked dip!

Stuck on the wall and seeing a lot of Danes going bathing!

I was tempted to go swimming but the water was very cold!

Our trip to the chandler was only partially successful, we bought a new cabin light fitting but as for charts we were out of luck! We had no option but to go to Copenhagen and the famous chartmaker of Weilbachs. They have been making some of the world’s most beautiful charts since the 1750s. The large format chart of the Oresund we bought is truly a work of art!

Weilbach the chart maker

Our beautiful new chart of the Oresund!

The New Harbour, Copenhagen

To get to Copenhagen we borrowed two bikes to get to the station from a huge pile from behind a shed. Out of the 30 bike quietly rusting away we found one bike that worked and then mine! Mine steered permanently 5 degrees to port…’weather helm’- not really a problem as that is normal for Grace! No brakes – not a problem as the bike was so small I could put my feet on the floor. One incredibly low gear – less good as the ride to the station was going to be like running a marathon only sat down. More of a problem was the bike saddle, bits fell off it as I cycled until I was left with two sharp spikes to sit on!

Not surprisingly, when we returned to the station our trusty bikes were just where we had left them that morning and we gingerly cycled back to the boat laden down with a full set of charts to take us all the way to Stockholm.

Lethal bikes!

There comes a time when you just have to go for it. Having exhausted the delights of Lynaes and naked bathing, we had to escape the harbour wall and continue our journey. Grace does not like to leave walls from alongside, no bow thruster, a wide beam and high freeboard and with a wind ‘beam on’ means she will stick to a wall like glue. The practical option to get away is to ‘spring’ her off stern first. This involves putting fenders on the bow and putting a bowline to a shore cleat mid-way along the hull. Then by motoring forward the boat pivots around the bows pushing the stern out, hopefully far enough to clear the boat behind as you engage astern and slip smartly out. It never usually works that well but this time it was perfect……we were so surprised that we both stopped to admire what was going on… was real text book stuff, only to have Grace slip back to the wall! Back on the power and we were finally away from Lynaes!

The next few days took us first to Gilleleje, a rather smart weekend retreat for Danes from Copenhagen and our furthest point east so far! It was also the site where in 1943 over a 1000 Danish Jews were smuggled across the Oresund to neutral Sweden by local fishermen.

Passing the furthest point east sailed last year!

Our first sight of Sweden!

Gilleleje, a rather smart weekend retreat

We then sailed on to Helsingor, our last stopping point in Denmark and the Kronborg, the setting for Hamlet’s Elsinore Castle. The marina, in the shadow of the castle was full and we had to slip into a ‘red’ space – expecting to have to move at any time when the owner returned.

The Kronborg

The Kronborg is a fantastic place, it was built to charge taxes from shipping passing by in the Oresund. A tax that the Danes continued to charge until the 1850’s when they were paid 68 billion kronor by a ‘world agreement’ to stop it! The castle now is rather like a ‘Hamlet theme park’ with hammy English actors popping up all over the place to overact various scenes from the play that can’t be mentioned……all rather good fun!

Hamlet theme park!

To encourage payment of shipping tax

There is also a very good maritime museum, actually hidden in the old dry dock behind the Kronborg. It has a superb explanation of navigation and using a sextant but like every Danish maritime museum it has the obligatory Maersk container…..apparently the inventor of the ‘box’!

No Danish museum is complete without a container!

1 thought on “Denmark’s windiest port! And Sweden in sight!”

  1. Think that the wind which brought down a large branch of our mulberry tree must have caught up with you. Hope you will have calmer weather.
    Love, Jan and John.


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