The long way back

von Mikolaj Trzeciecki am 05.08.2019 / in General

The weather has no mercy upon us. The forecast predicts no wind for the Tuesday and the Wednesday, and a strong wind we would have to beat against for the Thursday. We are unsure what to do and we dispute our options quite loud. Finally we agree to a trade-off plan: we cast off in the afternoon, when the hope for a whiff of wind is highest, and have an option to touch at Klintholm for the night, or to sail through the night directly to the Yachtclub.

Before we sail, we make a walk around Skaare. Then we can sail a whole hour long – after that, a calm makes us drop the canvas an throw on the engine. The hot, standing air produces Fata Morganas – we can observe the cliffs of Moen directly in front of us, despite the distance of 30 miles. Funny thing, we cannot keep this on a photo.

On a glassy sea surface, the engine pushes us speedily forwards. According to the forecast, we should not expect any wind in the next 12 hours, so we get used to the noise. We reach the cliffs (the real ones, not the mirage) even before the evening. Close to them, we see a glittering object on the sea surface – this creates some confusion, but then we approach it and we pick up… a toy balloon, lost by someone on one of the Trelleborg ferries.

This commitment to the cleanness of the seas gets applauded by a porpoise herd. They accompany us for one hour – during this, we stop the engine and hoist the sails. In between, the wind has come, and a favourable one to that.

When the porpoises are gone, it is the high time to make our mind, weather we sail overnight to the Yachtclub or do we want to spend the night in Klintholm. It is 8pm, we can still reach that harbour – well known to us – in daylight. We decide to sail on to the home port. We put one reef into the mainsail, make the genua smaller, and distribute the watch duty. When we are done with this, the wind goes up to 5 Bft. This is too much for a single reef in the night, so we reef more and only then I can fall into the berth.

One hour later I wake up with the insight, that – due to our higher speed than originally planned – we are going to reach the crowded area at the Kadettenrinne entrance soon, during Agnieszka’s sole watch. I jump into the cockpit and from then on, we maneuver ourselves through the waterway in the dark together. Using binoculars with the integrated compass we can avoid big ships running along the main axis, the others avoid us. This goes for three hours, during which the wind changes from the North to the East. This reduces our options as we are closer to the wind – but soon we reach the area in front of Dars, where the big ships do not go. We can ease the sails and – alternately – catch some sleep. The person on the watch has still a hard job, as the wind turns further and increases its force – soon we are beating against a full 6. Despite a general easterly and later southerly wind, the waves come from the west, so we get to feel their action too.

The sun rises. We are in the line of buoys towards Warnemünde – nearly at home. Now the wind eases down and changes the direction to West. An easy beam reach carries us swiftly into the Warnow and up the river. Nearly no traffic there, we go smoothly towards the Yachtclub. We moor at the Yachtclub quay short after 9am and we fall asleep thereafter.

We are quite tired after this nightly sail. For the most part, both of us were busy. We have crossed a high traffic area without AIS nor plotter, relaying on taking binocular bearings only. We will try to sail there in daylight only till we have a better equipment. This time, the moody weather destroyed our timeplan. Generally, the wind knew only two settings: off (1-2 Bft) and on (5-6 Bft), nothing in between, this was quite tiring too. But we made it, and next time we will get better.

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