Since we bought Chip-Chip we have been wondering if it would be better to leave her in Denmark, right by the great sailing grounds of the Baltic Sea, go whether we would prefer having our boat near our home in Bremerhaven by the North Sea. Several of my colleagues have argued that the North Sea isn’t great at all for sailing, but we weren’t convinced.
This summer, Chip-Chip stayed in Årøsund where my parents live because it was the most practical. But living 400 km from the boat, definitely wasn’t great. Weekend trips became a big task and any little piece of work that needed to be done was made so much more difficult but the distance. So we decided that we wanted to take Chip-Chip to Bremerhaven, at least for the winter.
It’s, however, quiet a trip. We couldn’t do it in one go, so we decided that we would do it one weekend at a time, that way slowly moving southwards. So a couple of weeks after our summer holidays had ended we drove north again to start the sail. We arrived late at night, and the kids were of course too excited to sleep, but finally we got everything and everyone tugged in and spent the night in Årøsund before departing early in the morning. We felt rather professional as the sails went up just outside the harbour and started southwards on a close haul. As we came free of Årø, we put in a reef because we knew that the wind was increasing, and then continued southwards. We were not too happy with the course, the wind came exactly from the direction we wanted to go, but we found another advantage of the wind vane; it doesn’t complain about the course it’s able to steer, it just continues happily along.
Runa and I went up to sit on the bow. She tends to get seasick, but up there all is good. And additionally it’s really nice to have a quiet moment to sit and talk to her. She likes it when we get sprayed with water – but then it started to rain, so we went back down again. We were also getting close enough to Als that we wanted to tack and go towards the shore again. We soon remembered, however, that Chip-Chip’s ability to tack is awful, so we decided to start the motor and go against the wind a bit so we could get around the northernmost point of Als. The winds and waves had increased, so it wasn’t the most pleasant sailing, but we finally made it into Als Sound where we rolled out the jib again.
We had though about going into Dyvig, probably Denmark’s most beautiful and well protected anchorage in the northern part of Als. But we decided against it, thinking that we wanted to get a bit further that day. The sail down the eastern side of Als is beautiful, but soon we reached the bridge at Sønderborg, which needed to open for us to get through. And for the first time we hoisted our N-flag, and 15 minutes later the bridge opened.
We had actually planned to spend the night in Sønderborg’s city harbour just south of the bridge, but the only free space was right by the bridge, a bit noisy for our liking. So we continued out towards the marina. But as soon as we exited Als Sound, the weather became much worse, and there was no way we wanted to spent the night in a marina with strong winds blowing directly in it. So we decided to continue to the town of Høruphav. As we arrived the wind was still strong, but we found a great spot directly against the wind, and then the sun came out.
We called my dad, who was on his way to visit, had dinner in the cockpit, and went for a walk in the town. Runa found the start of a hiking route called “Gendarmerstien“. It follows the 74 km long route where the border patrols used to walk from 1920 to 1958. And now Runa somehow is keen to do the hike, so I guess we better do that some time soon.
On Sunday we decided to continue to the German village of Maasholm, mainly because it was in the right direction relative to the wind. And because my mom had agreed to come and get Esben so he could get the car, which was of course still parked in Årøsund. We left early in the morning and reached the harbour at noon, exactly as the wind picked up and it started to rain. It wasn’t easy to turn Chip-Chip in the direction I wanted, but we finally made it into the slip. We had lunch in a small restaurant, packed everything up, and waited for Esben to return. In the end we made the last ferry across the Elbe and arrived at home around midnight. A bit late for our taste!