Sept. 2003 – Trip from Norway to Germany
Somewhere between July to August 2003 John (suddenly) decided to sell his share of Rolling Stone and he asked me to buy him out. I was immediately hooked and in fact I was already in love with the boat during my first trip to Norway. Of course that meant, that I now was also responsible to transit her to Germany. With Rainer, Matthias and me the crew was rather small, but due to Rolling Stones excellent single-handed properties I didn’t see any problems and that proved to be correct. During this trip we visited the follwoing ports: Tananger (Norway) – Frederikshavn (Denmark) – Rudkoebing (Denmark) – Marstal (Denmark) – Arnis (Germany).
Leg 1: Tananger (Norway) – Frederikshavn (Denmark)
Especially the first leg from Tananger to Frederikshavn (approx. 270 nm) I never will forget. We left Tananger with a fresh breeze and sunshine but that should change. With falling twilight the wind increased considerably and the weather got really nasty. We were on a broad reach down the Norwegian West coast and with Matthias and me sitting in the cockpit the waves were breaking some meters above our heads. The sea state became really rough, thunderstorms were visible at the horizon and Rainer went sea sick under deck.
However, the boat did very well and so did the rest of the crew, so our main concern wasn’t the weather but the intense commercial shipping around us. We had our doubts that high speed ferries and supply vessels would notice us in these conditions, in total darkness and still some 180 nautical miles to go – despite the two radar reflectors dangling from the mast. Then it happened: a ferry, which we tracked for a while and which we found to be no threat, suddenly changed her course by more than 40° and was directly heading towards us! Oh boy. this ship was fast, We could do nothing at all. In a moment the monster zoomed past us, only a few meters away…What a shock! We instantly decided to be prepared the next time, especially contact ships via VHF radio before they came too close and we pre-positioned a very strong hand light in the cockpit. Fortunately this was the last and only incident this night.
Approaching daylight the weather got better and better. When we entered Skagerrak the sun was already shining but it was still blowing with 20-25 knots. We sailed on a close reach and through the whole day MONITOR did a great job steering Rolling Stone across this infamous sea area. It was fantastic, pure sailing! In the meantime Matthias and I were sitting comfortably in the cockpit and every now and then took a long drink, Cola-Bacardi, to be honest. At that moment (latest) I really fell in love with the MONITOR, it was such a great relief for us. I never want to miss it again.
Leg 2: Frederikshavn – Rudkoebing (160 nm)
Compared to the first leg the second one was cozy and comfortable. Due to easier navigation at night, better sailing condtions and in general „more water“ we avoided the narrow passage through the Little Belt and we took the Eastern route through the Great Belt instead. At the crack of dawn we passed under the Great Belt bridge, which connects the two main islands of Denmark, Zealand & Funen.
The rest of the trip was more or less fast and happy sailing. After reaching Rudkoebing it was only one more day hop to our final destination Kappeln / Arnis, so we took the extra day to visit the nearby scenic harbor of Marstal, which I knew very well from my childhood. Everything went well, except for the engine…shortly after we left Marstal with light wind, it decided to shut-down and we didn’t manage to get it back to work, so we had to “sail” with 1-3 knots towards Schleimünde. Fortunately the wind direction was favorable to enter and pass the narrow Schlei-Fjord to arrive in Grauhöft, a very tiny marina nearby Kappeln, where we could berth easily without help of the engine. There we were greeted by our families and friends. The last meters to Kappeln were accomplished the following day after we repaired the motor. Rolling Stone had safely arrived at her new destination. It was a great trip!