We never did get round to a short de-snagging sail; instead we decided to start our journey proper, but instead of making for Klintholm (which was dead downwind), we thought we’d take a gentle hike across the bay, then take the following days westerly up to the north. This cunning plan fell down on two counts; first the ‘gentle hike’ turned out to be two reefs, 35 knots and a hailstorm (the new rigging worked – thanks Rupert!); and second the following days westerly, was in fact, southerly – so 60 miles, dead downwind in 2 – 8 knots.
Our first stop, following ordeal by hailstones, was in Warnemunde, at the mouth of the Warnow river which runs through the Old Hanseatic town of Rostock. This was part of the old East Germany, and the facilities at the new marina bear witness to the considerable investment which has been made since unification – indeed, it is a sore point with some of the older (my?) generation West Germans, we have met. Nonetheless, we got brilliant board and lodgings for Vela with all the trimmings, for a mere £15.
Up with the lark the following day, to catch our pleasant westerly for the journey up to Klintholm! Mmm……..after a couple of hours playing ‘fill the spinnaker’ in an ever-dying light southerly, we resorted to our metal friend. In conditions such as this, we usually deploy our tiller-pilot to deal with the mind-numbing boredom of motoring to a waypoint 60 miles away. Problem was, our newly serviced tiller-pilot didn’t work! So after much swearing and cursing the w______ at Raymarine, I found the connections to the cockpit socket had corroded – err, sorry guys. So once I’d sorted this we were off and running; but running where? Now the chart plotter had decided to play silly buggars, and only work intermittently. By the time we limped into Klintholm we were both severely brassed-off – the only crumb of comfort was that the automatic harbour-master machine was broken, so we got a free night!
By morning, the chart plotter had suffered a fatal relapse, so it was back to paper charts and pencils for the journey to Ystad; but the bonus was the brisk s-westerly which soon had us humming along under kite, for virtually the whole way. A much more satisfactory day!
It was at this point, I noticed a small diesel leak, so we took the decision to stay-put the following day, to fix our ailing craft. We quite like Ystad; it’s become an old friend, so staying another day was not a burden. Thankfully, we have a separate GPS antenna for our radio, so I disconnected it, fiddled with a few more wires I found, and bingo – a working chart plotter! A more permanent repair to the tiller pilot socket, and a few spanners applied to various hoses on the engine, and we appeared to be back in business.
So far we had been retracing many of the steps we’d taken last year, and we were looking forward to this year’s first ‘goal’ of getting to the Danish island of Bornholm, which lies 35 miles off the SE Swedish coast. Another blue, cloudless sky and another downwind sail (I could get used to this!) brought us to Ronne; the main town on Bornholm – and we hadn’t broken anything else! Ronne is ok; quite picturesque in its own way, but we were really looking forward to visiting some of the smaller ports on the eastern, and northern sides of the island. These were all previously vibrant fishing harbours (when the Baltic had fish), many of which had to be literally blasted out of the granite! Overnight stops at Aarsdale, and Gudhjem, followed by todays staggering journey of 12 miles (well it was a beat!) have brought us to Allinge; a really charming little place.
We think we’ll probably say here a couple of days to do some cycling, and explore the dark interior.
After that……………..no, that might be tempting fate!