Night sailing

Sailing in the Danish Belt Seas is really nice and easy, usually with day sails from island to island. But I have been doing that type of sailing with my parents for many years, and still do. So this summer we were ready to go a bit further. We actually wanted to cross the North Sea and go to Scotland, but the weather put those plans on a hold. Our backup plan was to go to Bornholm. Preferable directly from Kiel Holtenau to Bornholm, without stops on the way. We figured that this way we would get much further much faster – and Runa would be able to sleep some of the way instead of feeling seasick.

This plan turned out to work really well for us. Yes, I did have a bit of trouble sleeping, especially the first night, but it was good for both of us to see that Esben had no problems sailing alone at night. In the spring, Esben did a week long sailing course in Svendborg, combining theory and practical sailing, and this definitely helped his confidence in navigation. Also, we have nautical maps on our iPad, and before we left Esben had managed to set it up so it receives the AIS signal from our VHF. This means that we all the time knew if there were large ships around us, and even more important, if we were on collision course. This was a big help, and though we so far only have an AIS receiver, a transponder is on our wish list for the winter. For me, the biggest problem about sailing alone was handling the sails on my own. But Chip-Chip’s sails are actually kinda small, and as long as I made a point of reefing in time it wasn’t a problem.

So we ended up doing all the longer stretches of sailing during the night this summer, the longest being the 44 hour sail from Kiel Holtenau to Hammerhavnen on Bornholm. And we will definitely continue sailing this way in the future. At least for as long as Runa still gets seasick while sailing.

Food was one thing we had been contemplating how to handle under way. Eating hotdogs does, after all, not work day after day. Even though Mattis would probably like it. I know many people prepare food for a few days before setting out, but the size of our fridge ruled that option out. We had wanted to try canning food in the pressure cooker for a while, and after some googling, we figured we would try to make some canned meals.

The first time we canned a meal we just got out what we had and ended up with beans, some vegetables and a sausage. It didn’t look great, but when Esben and I spent an evening working on the boat some days later we tried it out. And it was surprisingly delicious. We later canned both goulash and pumpkin soup. I found the goulash great, and the kids liked the pumpkin soup. For our summer trip we used the canned meals both on the trip towards Bornholm and on the way back as we waited go through the bridge to Stralsund. Still, we ended up not using it all during our summer holidays. Instead we used the last glass one weekend when we returned late a Sunday evening from a visit to Denmark. Handy.

All in all, we find that sailing longer distances during night worked great for us. Runa was appalled when she woke up after the first night on the way to Bornholm and realized that we would be sailing on for the whole day – and for another night. But she appreciated it once we arrived and could spend the saved time exploring the island rather than sailing short distances each day.

2 thoughts on “Night sailing

  1. Great article 😊
    Sounds like a awesome adventure. How about making some big portions of fried rice and vegetables. You don’t really need to keep it in the fridge. And it’s taisty 😊 or some homemade muslibars you can survive of those for days 😊

    Love and hugs Melanie


    • Hi Melanie, lovely to hear from you! Maybe you’re right about the food – I am just always a bit worried about food that’s not cooled. And we definitely need to get more food like müsli bars, snickers are after all not great as a main meal for days in a row 😉 Happy that you enjoy reading.


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