We were the 13th boat to arrive in Stavern and were directed to moor up alongside and right opposite the shower block but as other yachts finished we ended up the inside boat of a raft of seven!
The next couple of days were spent cleaning the boat, laundry, sightseeing, and of course socialising, eating out and a grand BBQ on Greyhound. Every yacht to finish was greeted with a cheer and round of applause, creating a great atmosphere.
The host Club’s marina which is in Larvic is not big enough to hold all the yachts, so two busses had been laid on to take everyone to the BBQ/ presentation evening. We were lucky and sailed there onboard Crazy D, with the rest of the gang, it was a great night and ended with everyone, regardless of age, dancing on the tables! As Crazy D was not going back to Stavern, we were privileged to hitch a ride back with Christa and Ysbrand onboard the former Whitbread 60, Silk Cut.
The following day was red hot, with no wind, we said goodbye to Freddie from Insomnix and left with Greyhound, later linking up with Crazy D to our next in destination, in the Oslo fjord, the small port of Haton. On the way a penny suddenly dropped, just before the start of the 500mile race we refitted the autopilot which had been away for repair and although we had reset the pilots compass for deviation, we hadn’t re commissioned the auto learn. Bugger!! Half an hour later and we once again had perfect control.
The next day we said our farewells to Gerard and Laura from Greyhound and sailed in company with Crazy D further into the stunningly beautiful fjord, with summer houses and boats moored alongside the rocky shore.
We tied up in a small marina at Hanko and later that day we took a ferry to the other side where, after a short walk through the woods we came across the summer house (but now a hotel) of King Olav, which overlooked the yacht club and the main Norwegian yacht racing centre. We were impressed to see that among the yacht berths were berths for sea planes, accentuating the wealth of the area.
It was 0530 the following morning when we cast off and said goodbye to Peter and Madalon, it was strange to have the whole Oslo fjord to ourselves, after the hustle and bustle of the previous few days but as the hours slipped by boats appeared from everywhere.
We left the fjord and were now sailing past Larvic and on to our destination for the night Risor, where we eventually tied up in the overcrowded marina and rafted up alongside of Spirit, one of the participants of the race. What an interesting place this is, the town had made the most of its harbour with a floating restaurant and curios from bygone days along the water front, all surrounded by a multitude of white hotels and houses, which is probably why it is known as the white town.
Our next destination is back across the Skagerrak to the Danish port of Thyboron and with the wind on the nose, it won’t be a fast passage but we eventually make it to the Danish coast, there are boats everywhere and closer to shore the inevitable wind farm. It is now really quite rough and we are glad to sail into the shelter of Limfjords. The harbour is enormous, with the pleasure craft marina right down to the end, mooring is bows too and poles at the stern, which to our amazement, even in the strong wind we execute perfectly to the nodding heads of approval from the local on lookers!
The facilities here are immaculate, obviously new, with three complete kitchen areas for guests use, adjoining the large dining room and lounge which overlooks the sand dunes, and sea front. Perfect.
The weather forecast for the next few days is not good and we resign ourselves to the fact we could be here for a few days before we set off on the last leg of our passage home.
We set off to explore the town and come across a fantastic open market with stalls representing counties from all over the World. Cheese from Holland, chocolates from Belgium, paella dishes from Spain, pasta from Italy, and an American ham burger stall and Fish and chips from England. Is that how the rest of Europe sees us?
First job is to restock and we set off in search of the local super market and for a fairly large place are astounded to find two of them, both not much bigger than a village store, but we manage to get some basic supplies.
The largest navel battle of all time took place of this coast, the Battle of Jutland and we spent an interesting afternoon looking round the museum of the same name, it was fascinating to see the many exhibits from both sides, photographs, log books, conning towers from submarines, torpedoes, mines and many more navel artefacts but it was so sad and emotional to read the last, undelivered letters from sons to their families. Outside, scattered among the sand dunes were monument s to each ship that was lost with sculptures representing the lives lost by each.
Another interesting place to look around was the sea life centre, displaying fish from the North Sea in large tanks, with information about the different species, and areas where children could dangle their hands in the water and touch the fish.
We had watched the weather forecasts looking for a window to sail the last leg back across the North Sea and home and had decided to leave the following morning after a weather front had passed through. We left mid day in very lumpy seas and our best course to windward would take us somewhere near the Orkneys!
There were fishing boats all around as we bashed our way home, but as anticipated the wind eased and eventually so did the sea, the wind shifted and we could now sail a much better course, now towards Hartlepool!
Surprisingly, once clear of the coast we saw very little shipping for the rest of the trip. It is 366nm to Scarborough and after a couple of uneventful days we arrived home safe and sound after another fantastic summers sailing and covered just under 1800 nm.