August 2020 – big plans

von Mikolaj Trzeciecki am 20.11.2020 / in General

We have finally vacation and this time pandemia limitations should not interfere with our plans. We had big plans – we wanted to sail to the Old Country, at least to Kołobrzeg, to check Polish yacht yards and craftsmen. We are not very happy with the German ones,, but this is another story.

With such big plans, we want to sail as early as possible. We drive from home on Friday after work and arrive late evening int our club, intending to sail off early morning (the first leg is 60 miles). But after arriving, we have to greet our friends, and in the morning (after sleeping off) we have to help other club members with their boats. So we are ready to go in the afternoon – too late for these 60 miles, but we sail off – to Hohe Düne, a harbour at the mouth of the Warnow. We will be closer to our target by this little piece of track tomorrow. Having arrived in Hohe Düne, we use the fact that water there is much clearer than in our club and we clean our hull from fouling.

Sunday, 2, August, we rise early and already at 08:15am we sail east… Rather north east, as we have to sail around Dars, Hiddensee and Rügen. We sail on broad reach with a weak wind. Genua doesn’t work properly, hidden in the wind shadow of the main, and keeps falling in. Butterfly does not work on this weak wind and with the roll, so I start experimenting with the spinnaker boom to stabilise our jib. It doesn’t work very well but better than nothing.

We arrive at Dornbusch on the island Hiddensee. There, we need to enter a boyed channel towards the harbours on Hiddensee. A bigger yacht approaches and we contact her per VHF so as to who should enter the channel first. The other yacht, however, intends to cast anchor here in front of Dornbusch rather than sailing on in the channels. Actually, this would be a good idea for us, instead of motoring the fairways to the harbour today and then from it back tomorrow. But we give it up as we ahven’t yet trained anchoring and if it doesn’t hold, we would sail the unlit fairways in the dark. So we follow the buoys and arrive in Langenort shortly after sunset.

We resign of getting to know the nice neighbours, as we want to get up early and sail on. Thus, on Monday 3rd of August we sail away at 7:30am. After negotiating the buoyed channels we pass Dornbusch and then we sail north-east into the waters hitherto unknown to us. On the starboard we see Cape Arkona, where a sanctuary to the Slavic god Svantevid used to be. But we cannot ponder on history, as we have a problem with our fridge: it seems to work, but the stuff we take from it is rather warm. We eat everything that can deteriorate.

After passing Königsstuhl, the highest hill on Rügen, we home on Sassnitz. It is quite an easy sailing on broad reach, but suddenly our autopilot ceases to work, messaging that the voltage is too low. What, another breakdown? We charge our batteries every night in harbours! Finally, I take a peek into our battery box and realize that the clamps of our charger are connected in reverse. Obviously, I was in too much hurry while connecting them on Friday evening. This mistake prohibits batteries from charging – both from shore power and from the alternator, and this also explains our problems with the fridge and the autopilot.

Finally we arrive in Sassnitz, moor in a box and connect the electricity. I have to run quick to buy charts of the Polish coast – we sail to the old country but have no charts of it on board. Having corrected even this mistake, we indulge ourselves in eating in a restaurant in the marina. Then we go early to bed, again without getting to know our nice neighbours, tomorrow we want to sail on to Poland. We sleep peacefully while batteries get charged.

Tuesday, 4th of August. Two days of wind favourable for sailing east are forecast, they should be followed by a couple of calm days. So we must reach Świnoujście today and Kołobrzeg tomorrow, otherways our plan is bust. We leave the Sassnitz harbour early and run down a weak and even weaker wind. We decide to set our gennaker up, although it returned from the winter cleaning service without its sock. This causes a problem: the gennaker develops from top to bottom and the sheets entangle each other. All three of us try to disentangle the lines, and nobody watches the course relative to the wind. The wind changes however and comes from the front. I run towards the steering wheel in order to regain control. I start our engine and engage the gear – the engine goes out – one of the gennaker sheets fell into water and it got now into the propeller.

I take on my neoprene and jump into water, meanwhile the crew strikes the sails, including the gennaker. The boat keeps drifting slowly, but I am glad that I am bound to her by a rope. Under water, I see that the line is entangled into the propeller shaft, which was pulled out of the boat by ½ inch. I remove the line from the shaft, paying for this with cuts to my skin resulting from barnacles. Of course I cannot do anything about the shaft pulled out from the stern, and back on board I see that the elastic coupling of the shaft to the gearbox got elongated and probably broken. We cannot use our engine propulsion for a risk of losing the propeller completely. So we decide to return – on sail – to Sassnitz, it is quite a big harbour so they will certainly have facilities allowing a repair.

Tacking, we approach Sassnitz. I inform harbour master that we come without engine power and thus will need help in maneuvering in the harbour. Shortly thereafter we observe a motor boat of the SAR ship stationed in Sassnitz speeding out of the harbour. Apparently, the in-harbour maneuvering assistance got confused with general assistance. Anyway, they tow us to harbour and help us get into the very same box that we spent the night in.

The harbour master informs us that the crane in Sassnitz can handle up to 6 tonnes, not enough for our boat. He arranges for Marina “In Jaich” in Lauterbach to accept us for repairs, there is a pretty big portal crane there. The problem is, we would have to sail all the way there, and tomorrow the wind is expected to change to south.

We decide to sail right away and to pass the longest leg towards south before the wind change. We should then pass the narrow channels on the south coast of Rügen in the morning and arrive in Lauterbach around noon. First then, we leave the box using sails only, and than sail against the wind in the harbour. It takes 10 tacks to arrive at the pierhead, and then we sail on the beam reach along the coast while preparing for the night sailing.

Night sailing along Rügen coast is tricky due to numerous shallows. Around midnight we arrive at the southernmost point, behind which the narrow channels begin. We do not want to pass these buoyed but unlit channels during the night, so we sail on beam reaches through the rest of the night 2-miles legs in front of the channel entry. We jibe every half hour, we change watches every two hours.

We do this until dawn. When we see anything, we enter the channel between Rügen and the island Usedom, we are disappointed that the wind didn’t change to south – we must beat within the channel now. There is very little space for tacking thus we have to be very efficient. We tack every couple of minutes, the maneuver itself takes us no more than three seconds. This is our new virtue born out of necessity. This is tiring, however, and we keep the nightly watch system so that somebody can rest at every given moment.

Finally we are free of the shallows. We pass by island Vilm and there, at the entrance to Lauterbach, the motorboat of the “In Jaich” company awaits us. They pull us into the marina and then into the dock, where our “Anna Karin” is taken out of the water. An engineer examines our propeller shaft outside and inside of the boat and concludes that the elastic coupling is the only loss that we suffered. This coupling can be exchanged and then the shaft can be pulled back into the boat. We have to only order the coupling, wait till it arrives, and have “In Jaich” do the job.

Tuesday, 11th of August. Having spent a week in this beautiful place, we are happy that our boat git repaired and we can sail again. But we have to sail back to Rostock, there is no more vacation time to sail to Poland. The advantage of this adventurous trip is that we get to know the waters south of Rügen.

We sail along the cliffs to the south west and behind Palmer Ort we have to enter another narrow channel towards west. We start reasoning where to moor for the night, preferably combining it with a reconnaissance for a winter lager. So we leave the fairway and aim for Stahlbrode. When we enter this harbour we decide that the waves inside are just disgusting, so we decide to leave. We aim for Stralsund now, perhaps we can find a harbour and a winter lager there.

We have to wait in front of the flap bridge. We hardly start considering if we should train anchoring before it opens – it opens. Not only for the commercial traffic, as the harbour guide maintains, but for us too. We pass the bridge, take a tour through the city marina, then we decide to moor in the club marina at Danholm – an island opposite the city.

Thursday, 13th of August. Stralsund is worth visiting and after a full day of it yesterday we decide that we have to return here someday. But now we have to sail back. Today’s target is Barhöft, a place we know from the last year. This time we sail from the east along the narrow passages and we arrive there without adventures.

Friday, 14th of August. This is the longest leg of our return trip – there are no harbours between Barhöft and Rostock. After passing the narrow channels in front of the island Hiddensee, we rund down a weak wind. We do not want to try gennaker again, so we run wing-and-wind. This time we take our time to properly set the boomlet and all its lines, and finally we arrive at a sail configuration that stays stable even when we roll.

This is how we arrive at Rostock. It is already dark but we decide to sail on, directly to our club, rather than entering Hohe Düne at Warnow mouth. After another hour of sailing up the river we moor at our place. On Saturday, we pack our stuff and drive home, finishing this not entirely successful holiday.

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