Trip report: Sailing on the Baltic Sea

From Heiligenhafen to Chritiansö and back

A quite ambitious trip on the Baltic Sea

Originally we had been looking forward to a comfortable sailing trip through the western and southern Baltic Sea and the so called Bodden, the shallow waters around the island of Rügen. That's what 6 out of 7 of our male crew expected. But our skipper's plans were different and implied a 440 nautical miles' journey. Even though we had 9days it was a close itinerary.

Hoisting the blister - click to enlarge
Hoisting the blister

1st day

The taking over of the yacht and especially the storing of our provisions take some time and so it is around noon when we leave Heiligenhafen hoisting mainsail and genoa heading for Sweden. Ystad shall be our next port and so our trip starts with an overnight sailing. We have to look out carefully as there is a lot of traffic and fom this night on we know where speed ferrys got their names from.

2nd day

With sunrise wind is rising to 5 Beaufort and with course 53 degree we are approaching Ystad. As we furl the sails the shackle of the topping lift breaks. We have replacement but for security we buy another shackle in an old fashioned small store near the harbour. Tied up we watch the skills of some kids doing a race just in front of the mole. A short walk through the town and a nice dinner and it is time to sleep.

Arrival at Christiansö - click to enlarge
Arrival at Christiansö

3th day

Leaving Ystad for Christiansö we have broad reach and are able to use our blister. We are making miles having a comfortable trip. At 06.00 p.m. we reach Chritiansö, the biggest of the Ertholmene Islands, the easternmost part of Denmark. Today less than 100 people live here but in former times there were more than 800 when Denmark and England fought a gunboat war in the early 19th century. A few tourist and some fishermen is all we see and we stroll around the island to discover the small church and old canons and enjoying a beautyful view to the neighborhood islands where endangered birds are breeding. Coming back aboard we prepare our meals in the well equipped pantry.

View of Svaneke - click to enlarge
View of Svaneke

4th day

The Swiss crew we lie beside is in a little hurry and so we have to interrupt our breakfast. May it would have been better to come alongside with the Polish yacht. They are still asleep. We are at sea at 08.00 a.m. and sail southwards to the island of Bornholm. Having 7 bft. it only takes us two hours to reach the port of Svaneke. Today we just make 12 nautical miles after 170 in the three days before! But that's fine as we want to discover the island and rent bicycles to ride to the "paradise", an Arcadian area in the woods. Prior to this we visit a smokehouse having delicious warm smoked fish with a cold beer.Coming back to the yacht the skipper takes us by surprise with three giant cods he had bought for little money directly from the cutter. He is slightly disappointed as we tell him that is impossible to prepare these fish in our small oven. At last we have the ingenious idea to buy one way grills in the supermarket and hold a barbecue right behind the mole.

Crossing over - click to enlarge
Crossing over

5th day

Today we have to make up for lost miles the day before and so we leave Bornholm at 06.00 a.m. and have our brakfast at sea. We must cross over for the first hours but then we have proper wind with 6 Beaufort and after 77 miles we reach Sassnitz on the island of Rügen. A shower and diner in the habour restaurant, that is all we want for this evening.

Northern harbour of Stralsund - click to enlarge
Northern harbour of Stralsund

6th day

Destination for today is Stralsund, around 50 nm away. Althought we try our best we come too late for the afternoon opening of the Ziegelei bridge and so we have to wait for the next opening at 09.30 p.m. Some of us go for sightseeing while others prepare the meals on the yacht lying in the south harbour of the Hanse town. Finally we pass the bridge and stay for the night in the crowded north harbour. Interestingly you can start housboat tours around Rügen from here. We go to the old town of Stralsund, a world cultural heritage of the UNESCO. The city hall and the Nikolai church are a must. It is late now and tomorrow we will have another big leg to sail.

7th day

Early in the morning to the bakery and on the way back a fisherman persuades us to buy fresh plaice, so diner is secured. But it will last some time until then. We are heading for Warnemünde. The navigable passage is very narrow and we can not leave it because of our draft. The wind is against us and we have to use the engine. Wheather is misty and it begins to drizzle. That means counting buoys. As we reach the open sea we have 6 bft. but have to cross. The first member of the crew becomes seasick and the others are hungry but there is no chance just to make a cup of instant soup. We pass the famous lighthouse of Rostock/Warnemünde and berth in the Old Stream. 70 nm lay behind us.

8th day

The time is running and our trip comes to its end. We want to reach the Island of Fehmarn this day. Early we have to reef then rain starts and even hail. Visibility is bad as we cross the Lübeck-Gedser-Way where there is a lot of traffic and so we have to have sharp lookout. We dock at Burgtiefe and spend our last night aboard.

9th day

In the morning we meet a crew of retired men who cruise the Baltic Sea all summer long on their 30 feet yacht. Not a bad life. We are a little bit jealous. A short leg leads us back to Heiligenhafen where our sailing trip ends.

We have seen and learned a lot and alltogether had good sailing conditions. Having more time would have been great but work is calling. However, he next turn will come surely.

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