The Kattegat

In the two first weeks of our summer trip had been south of Fyn and Sjælland, and we were now ready to continue northwards. The trip from Helsingborg in Sweden to the island Anholt in the Kattegat was about 60 nm, so we opted for a fairly early start – it did, however, become around 9 before all last minute preparations were over, the kids were dressed and we were out of the harbour.

Mattis’ favorite place while sailing

We passed a lot of commercial traffic, and had to slow down a couple of times to not be in the way, but as we moved away from the Sound, the Kattegat opened up and we had lots of room to spare. The weather forecast had promised winds from south west – but in reality it came from north west, exactly the direction in which we were headed. So we were close-hauled for hours. After a while we thought that the wind was a bit strong to have both the jib and the full main sail up, so we reefed, and thereby learned that Chip-Chip needs both sails to do any effective close-hauled sailing.

After about 40 nm we decided to start the motor and go in the right direction so we wouldn’t arrive after sunset. Slowly the wind died and the waves disappeared, and as we entered Anholt’s harbour in the sunset, it was completely calm and we had dolphins playing around the boat! I’ve seen porpoises many times in Danish waters, but never a dolphin, so that was pretty cool. Anholt seems to be a favorite for a lot of sailors, and the harbour has a reputation for being overcrowded, so we were prepared to go out again and spend a night anchoring. But I guess the not so great July weather meant that some people have not gone sailing this year, because we got a spot fairly easy. And it was a good thing that the wind had died down, because otherwise we might not have seemed convincing docking, as I had to maneuver the boat close to the stern mooring buoy, which Esben caught, got a rope through, and then handed to me to secure in the back. We have never tried this type of docking before, but it went fine. Anholt seemed like a little holiday heaven, all ships in the harbour had people on board, which made the harbour come much more alive. There’s a big beach, where swimmers and surfers meet, and small cafes which seem to cater to the hipster tourists.

We went for a hike towards the desert the next day. The island is about 10 km long – to long for us to reach the light house at the far tip. But we hiked up Nordbjerget (or the North Mountain), following little footpaths until we had a magnificent view over the sea and the desert. Afterwards it was time for an ice-cream and a trip to the beach.


The “desert”

During the day the wind had gotten stronger, and newcomers found it difficult to dock in the harbor. And while Esben and the kids were at the beach, I observed one sailboat loose control, slide over the buoy that we were moored to, ending up with our docking lines between the keel and the rudder. It was then stuck there, slamming into us every time a gust came through. With the help from people in dinghies, I got new dock lines out to the buoy, so I could loosen the old ones. It turned out that our lines were stuck between the rudder and the hull of the other boat, and I had to let go of them completely – brand new lines bought a few days earlier. When the boat was finally docked next to us, the skipper dove down to check on his rudder, but as soon as he saw the everything was fine he lost interest and did not look for our lines. It seemed so stupid that he preferred paying – or probably rather in the end not paying – for new lines, when the old ones were just below the boat. The next morning Esben decided to defy the rain and cold, and dive in to get the docking lines. And he found both. And looked great in Runas pink girl-sized dive mask.


It was much more grey, cold and rainy than it looks!

After the drama, we went to one of the local restaurants for the great sea-food that the island is known for. The food was really delicious and the sun had come out a bit again. The restaurant even had life jackets and crab nets for the kids to use and it was a lovely evening.

After two nights on Anholt we wanted to move on to Grenå, but the weather was really bad, so we decided to wait to leave until late afternoon when the wind was supposed to die down a little for some hours. It was a grey and rainy day, and the kids stayed inside, while I  thought the extra day would be a good time to get started installing the lifeline netting we had bought before leaving. That, however, was a much larger project than anticipated, and in the end we left the harbour an hour later than planned because I hadn’t finished yet. So now we have one side with netting, and one without. It looks a bit funny, but it’s in the starboard side where we normally walk up and down the deck, so it’s alright, it gives a bit more peace of mind when Mattis is running around there.

The trip to Grenå was very rolly, with winds coming from the front and waves from two different angles. We tried motorsailing a bit to make the boat a bit more stable, but the course was way off, and in the end we motored the whole way. We arrived in Grenå just before midnight, just early enough to realize that the sounds we heard came from a pop concert at the water front. Luckily they closed it down at midnight! As we docked, Esben slipped and almost fell in the water in the dark. But luckily he didn’t.

In Grenå, Esben and the kids visited the Kattegat Aquarium while I stayed back and did some work. I actually did my dive instructor course in one of the large aquariums in the centre back in 2005, and haven’t been back since, so it was kinda funny to be in Grenå again. But we didn’t find Grenå itself very interesting, so we were soon off again, making our way southwards.
We tend to like the little islands, and for this night we would have a look in Tunø harbour. Tunø is, however, within comfortable sailing distance from Århus, one of the larger cities in Denmark, so it’s often over crowded in the summer – and this was also the case on this day. Instead of lying in third row, we went out and anchored right outside the harbour. We figured we would stay the next day, so we could just go in when people started to leave. But after a quiet night we changed our minds and sailed the 10 nm to the small village of Hou, where I new there was a nice playground and probably a lot less people. Summer had actually started now and we spent a sunny day on the playground and the beach. In Hou, two sailing schools are located, HMI, a boarding school for 9th and 10th grade, which I attended for a year a long time ago, and the Egmont school, a folk high school, where some students are disabled and therefore need special boats to go sailing. We watched on the harbor as students in wheel chairs got into the little boats and sailed off. Pretty cool. And because the day had been so busy (no, not really!), we decided that cooking was too much of an effort and went to the local cafe for dinner.

In the morning the sun was out and the ocean completely blank. We motored southwards all day in the sun and reached Årøsund in the evening. Here, my parents and nieces greeted us, and we walked up to their house to let Runa and Mattis play with their cousins. They spent the night at the house and we sailed to Årø where we anchored for the night. The next day we picked up the kids in the morning and we then spent the last day of this summer trip on Årø, bathing, catching crabs and eating ice cream. Finally summer had come for real.

Not that warm after all…

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