Well, I admit it was a bit too over-optimistic back in may, when I wrote the article about a possible summer sailing trip with the First 24 MADCAP. Corona wasn´t really retreating, we are still beaten by the impact of the restrictions very harshly. Nevertheless, I did get my summer sailing trip – the Biscay- & Channel-crossing in a Bavaria 37 – but this idea of going North in a small boat is still present in my head.

Sailing to Bergen, Norway – 540 miles and we´re there …

With my own new boat coming up the prospect of having a trip to the Baltic North in 2021 is even more realistic, so I´ve bought a boot that would serve two ways: One is keeping up the desire for sailing to the North of Europe up and alive through the dark months of winter and secondly, if I really make it up there, giving me priceless information in case I really make it up there, like a reference book. I thought that the “Norwegian Cruising Guide” by Phyllis Nickel and John harris might be the book I am searching for.

Reading the “Norwegian Cruising Guide”

In short: It is indeed! Phyllis and John are keen Canadian sailors who are behind the Attainable Adventure Cruising Limited, a company that is focused on training skippers to be able to manage their boats on long haul trips – publishing books and courses. The “Norwegian Cruising Guide” I bought is their eighths (!) edition. I opted for the third volume which deals with the one part of Norway which I think is realistic for me to reach: The area around Bergen and the Sognefjorden – world´s largest inlet.

The general structure of the book is very clear

The book has been ordered via amazon and comes at 25 to 40 Euros – depending on the publishing date price varies, meaning that the couple is constantly revisiting and updating their material. A good sign. I am certainly not an expert on Northern and Norwegian cruising but I would say that this book may be one of the main and most important references on that topic.

The book – and what you get

The general structure of the “Norwegian Cruising Guide” is systematic and simple: From Southern Norway (Bergen) up to the North (Bodö) the country has been divided into 6 areas which are dealt with in separated chapters. Each chapter comes with a general introduction. Each marina, harbor or anchorage is named, geo-tagged with its location and shortly described in a few sentences. Valuable information on approaching the very location, anchoring and possible hazards are given.

Short, precise and helpful: Ressources in the book are plenty

If available, surplus information like “things to do”, “for the boat” – meaning technical and maintenance services – or “for the crew” – meaning amenities or recreational tips are given as well. The “Norwegian Cruising Guide” most certainly is not a touristic guide. It serves very well in a ship´s library when on tour as a reference. For me at home it´s not easy to read nor a suitable for finding inspiration – imagining being underway, sitting at the chart table and planning the coming days or weeks, this book will turn out to be a true marvel and helpful guide. We will see if I can manage to sail GEKKO to Norway next year – if so, this book will most certainly be aboard.

My overall rating is 9 out of 10 points

Other interesting articles on this topic:

Books on the Northwest-Passage

What is the best boat for the long haul?

Talking to Jimmy Cornell on bluewater cruising