A Very Satisfactory Day

Trip Start Apr 28, 2012
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Trip End Sep 01, 2012


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Flag of Denmark  , Falster,
Monday, May 14, 2012

The gods were smiling and we were able to depart. We were up at 06:00, showered, breakfasted and engine on at 07:00. Now as this was the first day of sailing, it would have been nice if our actual departure from the confines of the harbour had been easy, as after 8 months or so of not driving the boat, I was somewhat rusty. However, we found ourselves pinned against the pontoon by the SSE breeze (F4-5), were pointing landwards rather than out to sea and with precious little room to manoeuvre, with boats doubled up in front and behind us, only about 5' away in both instances. Normally, given more room, you can attach fenders onto the bow, tie the boat securely to the pontoon at this point and using the engine, force the bow against the fender which makes the stern swing outwards, at which point you can quickly engage reverse, untie the nose and you’re away. In our case, we have a high bow and even higher metalwork ie the protective stainless steel pulpit around the nose of the boat and given the height of the pontoon, we couldn’t effect this particular manoeuvre, which meant that we had to revert to the bowthruster, which pushes the bow around whilst protecting the stern with fenders, as it is crushed against the pontoon. Now our bowthruster is not that powerful and we effectively had to turn the boat through 180, through the wind and in a confined space whilst being blown rapidly down onto unsuspecting moored boats. Fortunately, we passed this first test of seamanship and got away from Fehmarn, turning the engine off at 07:35 and settling down to a long-awaited sail.

It was a chilly breeze and the sea was quite lumpy but with the breeze steady from the SSE, all we needed was the genoa to give us 5-6 kts. There were quite a few vessels about, both large and small and it was satisfying to see that with the exception of our GPS repeater on deck, all instruments were working so we were good to go. The repeater can be fixed when we get back to Fehmarn in September.

Julie has, over the past umpteen years, demonstrated that she has a cast-iron constitution, in that to date she has never felt even remotely seasick. I, on the other hand, am prone, especially in the early days of the season, to mild queasiness and today was no exception and it really was quite cold. So after 20 miles or so we decided that a 60-miler would be too much (especially for me but to be fair, Julie never wanted to do this distance on the first day’s sailing) and that Gedser would be a better option, about another 10 miles to go.

Apart from having to avoid the departing Gedser – Rostock ferry, we got into the almost deserted marina without incident by 13:30 and were able to moor up alongside a pontoon, thereby avoiding the dreaded 'Danish Box’ ie fixed poles that you have to get between and tie the boat to, whilst gingerly approaching the pontoon, either bow or stern- to. It was beautifully peaceful, with hardly a soul about and marina dues being payable via a sophisticated multilingual automated machine that dispensed a ticket, a key card which gave access to the facilities and even login details for the powerful wifi that was provided! The Danes are so slick in this regard and on top of that, it is not expensive, about 15.00 a night, all in.

We went for a stroll past the deserted holiday chalets until the road ended (there is nothing in Gedser apart from the ferry harbour, the chalets and the yacht harbour) and upon our return, were able to help Odile alongside the pontoon a little distance from us. A pleasant hour or so was spent in the company of Andy & Pauline and Mr Finley (cheap gin available in Germany) then chicken bone curry (you have to try it before you criticize it!) (actually chicken carcass curry is more accurate), a quick bit of TV thanks to the internet (Holby City if you must know, Julie is an addict) then bed. A good first day.
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