Sunday, 12 September 2010

Norwegian Waters

Just back from a 730 nautical mile trip from Bodo, up in the Arctic Circle down to Bergen, on an Oyster 55 (something of a contrast to my own smaller fleet of canoes).

Jackie dressed for Arctic Circle sailing and on the helm.

The land appears to instantly disappear into truly deep water allowing the coasters to almost skim the mountains, north & south, up the Norwegian Coast.

This coast is just peppered with rocks, with long stretches 15 miles or so out!

There were two highlights of this excellent trip for me and this was the first, diverting to explore the Svartissen glacier.

It's not every evening you pick up a mooring for the night at the foot of a glacier.

My watch on the helm!

Onoy Island

One of the Arctic Circle marks

Into Kristiansund to sit out some gale force winds in the forecast. I liked Christiansund, which was a good job as we spent several days here. The forecast around Statt headland (our next obstacle) turned to Storm force 10 and clearly that was not the place to be (so Kristiansund and surrounding anchorages became our base for a few days).

My second highlight was chancing on a wooden boat centre, including some real gems. The one that took my eye particularly, was the Colin Archer yacht 'Christiansund' and I would love the chance of a sail on one of these Norwegian classics sometime in the future.

For anyone wanting to see these heavy displacement historic boats (which formed the first lifeboat service for this coast), have a look at this video.

A design above which has clearly influenced Iain Oughtred (designer of my sailing canoe on this blog) with some of his other great designs.

The moorings in crystal clear (but cold) water were something very special.

The Storm and Gales gradually went although the next 300 miles were sailed mainly in force 7, near gale conditions and with some big seas hard on the quarter. Surfing down these waves will be something to remember. The body clock during these passages had to get used to four hour watches, four hours off, repeating this cycle. This was definitely an interesting experience, particularly eating and putting sailing gear on, while the yacht rolled heavily down the waves. Sleeping was not a problem (at least for me) well tied into the berth with lee cloth in place to keep me there.

We eventually arrive in Bergen at first light.

A place of:


Dried fish

Photogenic wooden buildings and great views down over the city (below)

A really good holiday and for anyone else interested, Velvet Lady sailing comes highly recommended

Quick video below (until I find time to edit the main video together), with Michael on the helm.

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