There she was, a Beneteau First 30 built in 2012, ready to cast off. And I was the skipper again: One week ahead, weather forecast couldn´t be better and when my two mates arrived the crew was complete. The task for this trip was as simple as it was complex: Sailing the Baltic Sea to the Island of Bornholm and back. A classic. A must-do in Baltic sailing.

There she is: Our boat for the coming 7 days

So I jumped aboard and put my stuff into the saloon, here we are again. The thrill of a voyage ahead could be felt within every single cell of our bodies, smiles and jokes everywhere, a feeling of pleasant anticipation: What would this voyage be like?

Our Boat for one Week: The Beneteau First 30

The boat had been chosen for a reason. I was keen on sailing a Beneteau because as my job puts me in the position of a marketing manager for my company selling Beneteau boats, I need to know the product, how it feels, how it is built. I need to know the strengths and the weaknesses, the quality of the material, the sailing abilities and alike.

Wide stern, flat end with double rudder and tiller steering – the Beneteau First 30

There had been some Oceanis yachts available but the temptation of trying a First – the performance cruising line of Beneteau – was too alluring. Since the First 30 is no longer an active built of the company, this boat has a reputation of being a very special boat indeed. Fast and agile, yet, as some owners told me and I was able to gather from blogs and reviews, the boat seems to bear a character of her own. And I was keen on discovering the secret of the First 30.

A max beam of 2.86 m: Quite a spacious yacht for that class

She is a small yacht: Some 9.15 metres in length over all with a maximum beam of 2.86 metres the yacht is a 30 feet boat with a comparatively wide stern. Distinct chines, a double rudder configuration on a single tiller promise a fast hull made for reaching and running points of sail. Nevertheless, she also has a thin sharp bow which could be interesting in upwind courses.

I´m taking the fore cabin

Since my two crew mates Lena and Jens are a couple I left the bigger aft cabin for them and put myself to the fore cabin. My first impression was: “Too small!”, but that was a bit premature. Apart from the fact that the space for the feet may be a bit limited for two persons, the width of the berth is more than enough for double occupation and – other than in the back of the boat – stowage was plenty in the forecastle. Jens and Lena didn´t found much space to store their clothing so that they had to live out of their huge duffel bags which they had to put right into the saloon: Stealing a lot of space away.

Meet the Crew

Anyway, the First 30 isn´t meant to be a boat for long cruises with a big crew. She is a quick daysailer, a racer, a small boat for fun passages with a small crew. We were attempting to live here for seven days and cover lots of miles, turning the concept of the Beneteau First 30 upside down. The price we paid with pleasure was to lend some space for storing our goods and provisions.

Stowing provisions for 7 days and 3 people: Creativity is needed

Mood was high aboard FIRST TRY, that´s the name of the yacht, as Lena and Jens finally arrived. I know the two from previous sailing trips aboard the Pogo 40 around the Danish Island of Fyn (read about it here and here) and found them two great lads to hang around with, have interesting chats about all kinds of topics and being competent sailors as well. I was looking much forward to sailing with them.

Let the show begin!

Best thing: Jens is a sailing teacher and bears all sailing German certifications from the SKS (coastal skipper, read more here) to SSS (shore skipper, read more here) to the highest degree, the SHS. Besides, he is one of the skippers of a traditional pilot schooner ELBE 5 mooring in Kiel and a very skilled seafarer. As this trip is my second ever sailing experience as skipper of a boat, I felt reassured and safe to have such a trained and skilled person with me. (read here about my first ever command)

Leaving Kiel-Laboe: The boring Start

Prepping the yacht prior casting off was a no-brainer. Well, not quite: We´ve decided to take a week off from consuming meat and meat-products. “Veggie Sailing” was one of the mottos of our trip and since Lena and Jens arrived at the marina right from their working desks I was in charge for provisioning and getting all the food supplies. This was a bit tricky: I know quite lots of vegetarian recipes but provisioning for a whole week and for all three major feasts of a day was quite demanding.

Flat out dead sea upon leaving Laboe

Nevertheless, after stowing the food and the drinks, our clothes and the customary safety briefing of “my” crew we were casting off right into the dusk on 21.45 with the last light of the old day, the boat was steaming with 5 knots into the Kiel bay area powered by the 19 horsepower Yanmar engine. I prepared the main sail by taking off the tarpaulin just as if this would encourage Rasmus to send some fair winds. Sun was going down, we were singing some maritime tunes: It was all just perfect.

No wind at all …

Perfect except one tiny aspect: No wind. The sea was flat as lead, not a single puff of air was moving. Nevertheless my mood was high. I think it is always a pure treat to be out on the water, leaving all the problems and obstacles of the normal life behind, focussing on the here and now. And we had too: The Kiel bay area is one of the most frequented places of the Baltic Sea as it bears the entrance to the Kiel Canal, connecting North Sea to the Baltic. Lots of commercial traffic, small and big, coming our way or leaving the canal for the shores of Sweden, Finland or Russia.

First night shift under engine: Boring

Time flew by and both left the deck for their berths as the watch scheme appointed myself to hold the “dog´s watch” from 0 to 2 o´clock. There wasn´t much to do: After leaving the bay we round the Cape Barsbek and the general course is due East – towards Bornholm. We have now some 200 miles to go. There was a discussion aboard whether or not we could sail this distance in one single leg. The crew was opting for breaking down the distance into two legs since 40 hours of constant sailing would be putting too much stress on a crew of three. I agreed and so our first destination was the Danish harbour of Klintholm, right in the middle between Kiel and Bornholm.

We are sailing!

When I woke up from being half awake and half asleep – as it is always the case when sailing – the new day was in full bloom, sun was up and Jens greeted with a bright smile: “Get up, Skipper!”, he shouted, “There´s wind, let´s hoist the canvas and kill the damn engine at last!” I didn´t need much more motivation, jumped into my sailing clothes and entered into the large cockpit. Indeed, there was wind – and not just a puff. “Ready for hoisting the main sail!”, I commandeered and Jens steered the small boat into the wind.

Good morning, Skipper!

Raising the main could be done easily without any help from the winch. The main sail of a Beneteau First 30 has an area of 27 square metres (fully battened with a small square top) but it´s small enough to be hoisted fully by just pulling the lines and adding a few cranks on the winch. After putting her on a reaching point of sail, letting out the 26 square metres of the jib was a matter of seconds.

Under canvas, at last!

Instantly she jumped forward, adding 0.5 knots to the speed after Jens switched off the engine and after clearing the cockpit of surplus lines and rigging the boat for being sailed with wind power solely I looked up into the mast and my heart was jumping for joy seeing us going that fast with ease: We didn´t even trimmed the sails yet. The whole crew of FIRST TRY was smiling brightly.

A proper breakfast: We try the Veggie Sailing-way for one week.

“Time for breakfast!”, I announced and got myself a huge pot of cereals, part of the Veggie Sailing-initiative. I am not a great fan of breakfasts at all, nor particularly fond of cereals in the morning, but I must say that sitting down in the cockpit, feeling the gentle movements of the boat, listening to the murmur of the waves creeping alongside the hull and smelling the salty fresh air it was a pure treat to fill my stomach with this tasty meal. Ready for my shift!

On a beam reach with 6.5 knots

The Beneteau was going steadily at 5.5 knots on a reaching point of sail and full canvas. During the day wind increased and so did our speed, according to the log we accellarated from 8.00 a.m. after turning off the Yanmar from 5.4 knots to 6.4 knots average in the afternoon upon reaching our first destination. The boat was sailing well, although I must admit I didn´t really quite got warm with the rig. Nor did Jens. Something was … awkward about the First´s sailing qualities. But we couldn´t really describe it yet.

She is going quite nicely

Steering the boat, although some people told me that the rudders would be “too small”, was without any problems. And I must say that steering abilities of the Beneteau First 30 are near perfect – in every conditions experienced throughout the journey. We´ve never had any problems in holding course, not even in strong winds of 6 Beaufort nor when berthing at low speeds in narrow marinas going stern ahead. That´s the strong side of the boat´s construction.

Fast progress for the small boat

Sailing the First 30 is a no-brainer, she will instantly go forward once wind fills her sails. But on the trim she is a boat with a certain character. It took us some 300 miles to get warm with her under sails. I do not know really why but I felt she was kind of unbalanced, nervous under sails. I can´t really describe it as a matter of fact, just a feeling: Where other yachts, like the X-442 I learned to sail on was very, very balanced and easy to sail even in strong winds on all points of sail, the Beneteau First 30 was hard to understand. She does not like going upwind (more on that later), and even on a beam reach the fine trim of the sails would take literally hours for us newcomers to complete. Awkward. Nevertheless, we´ve made mileage and we´ve made it quite fast.

Being Skipper again

This is my second ever sailing cruise aboard a yacht as skipper. It felt good to be in charge again especially after my first experience during our 280 mile-trip to Stralsund (read about it here) was done without any problems. This time the challenge was not just commandeering a boat on a much longer trip but to form a crew of a couple (with all those “internal” things going on within a relationship of two people) and of course the challenge of being a superior to an otherwise superior sailor. Nevertheless, I took on the challenge.

I´m doing log entries and chartwork every two hours

From a perspective of keeping up good seamanship it was imperative to have a thorough safety briefing and a set up for the watch scheme. All crew aboard was required to wear live jackets at all time whilst underway, when alone on watch with attached lifeline of course. Leaving the cockpit to work at the mast or simply shoot some pictures from the bow required attaching the lifeline to the yacht as well. No compromise here of course.

Commercial traffic on the Baltic Sea

I also kept a regular log with entries every second hour. This sadly degraded during the voyage to a point when my two mates didn´t make the full entries into the log but at the least noted our positions to the chart allowing me to reconstruct the log partially. This is a learning for the coming trips to encourage the crew to keep regular log entries. Upon shifting watches I insisted on a proper boat handover: Down below deck the new on-duty had to check the charts for his or her upcoming two hours in advance: Any traffic separation schemes? Shallows? Buoys or stuff? And in the cockpit the then off-duty had to explain the current situation around the boat, current course, speed and sail configuration as well as the weather development of the past two hours.

Most of the freighters adhere to the collision prevention rules …

The Baltic Sea is a well frequented sea with main commercial shipping routes and a handful traffic separation schemes. It´s always fascinating to notice how commercial traffic adheres to the collision prevention rules and really changes their courses to steer free from our boat. The huge hulks avoiding the tiny yacht. Well, not always to be honest. The was one occasion during one of my shifts when the Maersk line freighter BJORK was nearing on a constant bearing. As the privileged vessel I was bound to hold to my course, but the freighter didn´t move a split of a degree. So I had to bear away to avoid a tight pass but even the swell of the freighter was causing a lot of movement and clashing dishes in our yacht.

but some do not quite so.

Which brings me to the safety equipment of our yacht which I would consider to be not sufficient. This boat is privately owned and put into charter to cover the running costs of the boat. So far, so good. But as an oceangoing yacht there was some essential safety related equipment missing from my point of view: AIS is nowadays a must-have, the FIRST TRY didn´t had a transponder nor a receiver the least. The yacht was also missing an EPIRP, which is also an essential part of the safety equipment if you ask me. Which brings us to commercial traffic: If we´d had AIS transceiving capabilities, we would have got information on speed and heading of the BJORK well in advance enabling us to alter course long before sighting the vessel thus avoiding stress for both crews.

Anyway, apart from these two issues, the boat was well equipped with latest charts and so I was able to plot a safe course through all the TSS and offshore wind parks along the way. During night time the thrill of negotiating our way through the Baltic Sea increased manifold and I personally must say that I loved sailing through the sublime atmosphere at night time and enjoyed the quietness very much.

Perfect Weather for Sailing & Relaxing

The Beneteau First 30 is not just a quick boat, she also offers plenty of amenities for a relaxed cruising mode. As the sun came out we took the chance to fill up our melanin-levels by stretching our bodies on the long Teak covered banks. The cockpit of the First 30 is huge compared to her relatively small size. There is plenty of space for a larger crew even in race mode to work the lines without feeling too cramped.

A salute to crew member Mr. Auto Pilot

Another pro of the First 30 is her excellent auto piloting system: It just works neatly and I must say a load better than the steering system I have had the pleasure to sail with during the Dufour 460 delivery cruise from Lisbon to the Canary Islands (read about this trip here and here)

Let´s attach a lazy guy

The Dufour auto pilot (a Lewmar-motor working directly one of the chains of the steering wheels) was making such a noise that our fellow crew members occupying the starboard aft cabin could not find a deep sleep because of the motor´s constant unfiltered and loud screeching. No comparison to the Beneteau: We never heard anything coming up from the autopilot, neither below nor up in the cockpit. Great!

Island of Moen in sight!

As we rounded Gedser Reef to go up northerly to Klintholm around noon the wind stiffened up and here comes again the kind of awkward sailing experience on the First 30: Since I wouldn´t judge the force of the wind too strong, we hat to put in the first reef in the main to avoid too much heeling. Maybe that´s due to the fact that the First 30 really is a small boat and we are used to sailing larger yachts capable of taking on much more winds?

The last miles are flying by …

Wind was building up quite a nice swell but FIRST TRY darted unimpressed towards Klintholm marina. I estimated our ETA at 17.00 which would be – as I hoped – not too late to find an unoccupied berth here. That´s the problem with the Danish harbors, there´s nearly always a run on the berths in high season. I wouldn´t have minded to go on sailing towards Bornholm directly, but Lena and Jens really whished for a break and having a proper shower.

Mooring alongside a large Beneteau Clipper 47

We entered Klintholm harbour at exactly 17.55 but as I feared there haven´t been any free berths on the jetties, not even for a small yacht as ours. So we took some rounds in the marina to look out for a suitable place to go alongside another yacht and I spotted the “Beneteteau Corner”, as I christened it. A jetty with three other Beneteaus, two mid-size Oceanis and one larger 47 feet Oceanis Clipper. I passed her slowly asking the skipper for permission to raft alongside, he nodded.

Our small kicker is a poser next to the huge lady …

The wind had really increased manifold during the last 30 minutes and there was blowing a hard breeze from the North with, as we estimated, some 25 to 30 knots, causing the shrouds of the harbor´s occupants to join into a squeeking concerto, a bang and clanking of halyards, flags stood stiff in the gusts. I positioned FIRST TRY all next to the Clipper and let the wind push our boat to the ship´s side. The log notes: “17.55 boat is moored.”

Heavy gusts set in …

Then the ballet really started: Minute after minute one yacht after another arrived, going fast to being able to hold their courses. The perfect marina-cinema for the afternoon: Whilst having our tradituional mooring beer we watched fascinated to the countless trials to land the yachts alongside the few available rafting positions. “Just how lucky we are having arrived just in time before this mess set in!”, Jens stated and we all agreed instantly.

A perfect Day at Klintholm Marina

Although I would have preferred to let Klintholm pass by on our port side to sail all the way through to Bornholm – especially now that the wind was blowing really hard overnight meaning that this breeze would have taken us the remaining 100 miles to the final destination very fast – I must admit that being in Klintholm was a nice thing as well.

Klintholm is a true beauty – just as virtually all of Denmark´s marinas

After taking a nap and waking up next morning very early, I took a walk alone and was stunned again by the beauty of this place. Lush green scenery, a nice stony beach and this sense for detail is what fascinates me about being in Denmark all the time. The Danish call it “hyggelig”, meaning that it´s nice and cosy. Klintholm is no exception, the level of hyggeligness is astounding.

Moen is a treat to us

The Island of Moen – as all the rest of Denmark – is sparsely populated mainly making a living out of agriculture, stock farming and tourism. There aren´t many Danish people at all so as a German coming from a country with some 82 million fellow countrymen being here is always a treat for the fact that there aren´t simply too many people running around. The air breathes lighter. The sky seems bigger.

Every space inside the boat has been utilized somehow …

Anyway, calling our boat big would be an understatement. When my crewmembers finally got up around noon and having taken their desired hot long showers, the saloon was filled with drying towels, spare clothing and duffel bags all under the roofing.

Sailing to the Island of Bornholm

Estimating the ETA on the Island of Bornholm at 6.00 a.m. by looking at the current weather I stated that the boat should be back on track at 13.00 the latest. My fellow crew members got up shortly before noon, we´ve had a decent meal and readied boat and crew for casting off again. The sun was shining, mood was high again and the wind had eased considerably comparing to yesterday.

Good morning again, let´s rock!

So we loosened the lines to our host Beneteau Clipper at exactly 13.00 to get our tanks filled with Diesel, waved goodbye to the crew and steamed out of beautiful Klintholm harbor again at 13.30. Raising the canvas and pointing our bow down south to round the Cape of the Moen island under full canvas. Looking at the scenery had something miraculous.

Underway at last – destination Bornholm!

I knew that we hadn´t been on the seas for a longer period of time and it may be that looking at the things this way is something bound only to sailing newbies but it seemed from afar that the green was fresher and greener than I´ve seen it back in Germany just days before. This lush and wet fruitful new green. I couldn´t get myself fed up with staring at these rich colours.

Passing by the greenish landscape of Moen

It was good to be sailing again since I felt this urgency to be underway the very first minute after landing the boat yesterday just a handful of hours ago. Asking my fellow crew members about their health conditions in terms of seasickness they smiled at me: “No symptoms at all, skipper”, as it was the same with myself.

The Beneteau First is flying again

The boat was sailing fast and it was a pleasure seeing the water rushing down our hull all the way to the stern with our sharp rudder blades. As Moens Klint passing by, I installed a jury rigged lazy guy after going to our general course of due south at 085 degrees the log noted some 5 knots in average after starting at 6 knots after casting off. The wind was no beginning to die down slowly and I knew from the forecast that it would cease to blow in a significant manner before sundown. We´ve had this rule aboard that if speed drops well below 4 knots we´ll take down the sails and would steam on with machine power. This is what we´ve expected.

Moen´s Klint: The signature cliff line of the island

Yet we´ve made still some progress and there was nothing to complain about in the first place and because the sun was shining that much we quickly went into sunbath-mode again, got ourselves laying down on the banks and let the self steering gear do its work. Jens crawled into his bunk to take a surplus nap – I guess he was lucky to find the cabin unoccupied and the berth for himself alone.

An apple a day …

Still there was enough wind to make a steady progress from and I was thinking of getting the Gennaker up and running to maybe squeeze out one or two knots. The conditions were near to perfect as we would had have to bear away from the general course some degrees to have the Genny hoisted in a perfect point of sail.

Killing Time

I refrained from doing so: As we took on the Gennaker from the charter base they told me that this was a brand new sail and the man handing over the boat couldn´t tell much about that sail. No sheets attached, never tested before and even never unpacked I could imagine a lot of strange things happening to this sail when hoisting it and I wasn´t ready to collect it from the sea in case anything bad happens. I concluded to have the Gennaker inspected on dry land before hoisting it real time first.

Sun´s coming down again, watch mode

The auto pilot was keeping us on the steady course, waves were coming in gently from abaft, raising the stern first, then the whole hull to create a slight sensation of acceleration upon surfing down the wave´s back. Yet the height of these waves could only make up for a little teasing of what this sensation might be with real waves. Nevertheless, it reminded me of my surfing experiences aboard the large 46 feet yacht out on the Atlantic Ocean some weeks ago.

The last puffs of wind for today

I relaxed in the sun, killing time, watching Moen pass by and vanish under the horizon, slowly but steadily. Lena fell asleep for minutes, interrupting our little conversations from time to time, I ate one apple after another as I appreciated the solid texture and the kind sweetness of this particular fruit. It was close to perfect sailing – if not for the wind to begin to die down.

Though it´s fresh outside, we use every minute in the sun

From 13.30 to 15.15 the diary logs 11 miles sailed, to 17.00 that´s down to 10 miles, to 19.00 even more down to 9 miles. As there was no further progress by wind power expected I furled in the jib and hauled in the main sail, starting the engine. The constant humming of the 19 horsepower Yanmark died down any further attempt of starting a conversation and the general mood degraded as it always degrades on a sailing ship that is hampered by a flat calm sea.

Catastrophes approaching

Besides the vanishing winds, other events unfolded and showed the dangerous side of sailing and I must state that we had been extremely lucky for having gone through these without more serious and damaging consequences. It first happened to Lena as she was heading down the 3-step wooden ladder entryway to get herself something to drink from the galley. She fell upon stepping on the uppermost tread.

What a nightmare! This could have caused huge trouble!

With a high pitched scream she fell all the way down to the floorboards, the whole ladder making the closure head for the engine room broke loose and fell upon her – it just flat out broke and gave way. The two gas struts further propelled the loosened part away from the engine. As we were still running under engine power, this was a very delicate situation: Lena has long hair, she wore her live jacket with a lifeline attached. Everything could have gotten into the drive belt system and caused serious harm to both her and the boat.

Jury rigging the entryway

We couldn´t believe it! After jumping down to help her getting up again, we inspected the damage and found that one of the three big screws attaching the closure cap to the big wooden batten attached to two pivots was missing, the other two had been screwed in a way to the wooden batten that they had split the wood in two. No way to get this thing repaired. Jens and I attached two nippers so secure the ladder again. We could use it for the remainder of the voyage safely, but checking oil, drive belt and engine as it was customary for me every day was out of question.

The second desaster causing lots of harm to Jen´s arm

Only a few hours later it was Jens sending a scream through mark and bones: As he was preparing coffee for the crew, a somewhat bigger wave simply surprised his equilibrium sense and caused him to let go the pot with boiling water he was pouring onto the coffee filters – thus ending in a cascade of sputtering hot coffee all over the place and burning his right forearm very seriously. He still suffers from those burns. What a day!

Nightwatch again

My watch started again at 22.00 for two hours and Lena took a leave to place herself alongside her boyfriend down below. I was on my own again and the only thing preventing myself from calling this situation “perfect” was the fact that we were running on Diesel fuel again instead of sailing by the power of the winds.

I´m taking the first watch into dusk

Upon doing my watch it was a matter of course to wear the life jacket, furthermore, to attach the lifeline to the safety cleats mounted all over the deck. Yet there was no real dangerous swell nor wind nor precipitation, I insisted that everyone would behave this way since you simply cannot know what can happen to a person alone on watch: Maybe stumbling over a line and falling overboard? A sudden gust? Swell by large commercial traffic?

Another TSS approaching

If you´d fell overboard nobody would hear your scream through the noise of the engine, you would simply be lost behind the boat trailing away with 6 knots. The water had a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius that time, air temperature was gradually falling to 15 degrees Celsius at midnight time. No time to discuss – attach the life line!

Engine´s on, nav lights as well

As we came closer to Bornholm we´ve had to pass yet another TSS junction and it was happening during my watch. I steered clear of the traffic separation scheme of course and after passing I tried to stay away from the traffic lanes. Nevertheless, some freighters were passing quite near and it was always a thrilling sight to wave to the imaginary brother-in-watch on the high bridges some 500 metres away.

What a glorious moment …

Sun was finally coming down and I enjoyed every single minute of this spectacle. The blue of the seas turned darker, sometimes translucent, the sky turned pitch black leaving but a small stripe of multicoloured atmosphere caused by the sun – a last rear up of the great star and the last gasp of life of the fading day.

Bye bye till tomorrow

When the sun finally vanished behind the horizon I could spot the colours of daylight for some 15 minutes until it went black and night took over. I spotted yet another flaw of the boat: The steaming light wasn´t working but a few times switching it on and off made it work again. This light would later cease to work completely and wouldn´t be lighting up for the rest of the voyage which was a constant cause of a displeasant feeling.

Which side to pass is the right one?

A fisherman appeared right in front of me. Even after minutes desperately trying to identify his position lights and the ship´s side where to pass and the other side where the net was to be avoided I simply couldn´t spot it. Half a mile dead ahead I made the decision to do a blatant change of course to his pass him on his windward side as I supposed his net being drifting to leeward. Now being home and looking at the enlarged photographs I spot the line holding the net: To leeward. A good decision!

Checking position and doing chart work

Shortly before my watch ended I noted the position to the chart and made the corresponding entry to the log to hand over the boat to tired Lena, lucky to haul myself onto the bunk in my cabin, closing the large double doors and thus shutting off a half of the engine noise – I dreamt away almost at an instant …

Reaching Bornholm at last

I consider it a manner of good seamanship to take over the new watch 15 minutes before time and so the alarm went off 30 minutes before my watch started. I got on clothes and felt a cold sensation, making me put on an extra layer of warm clothing. Jens was up and sitting over the chart as I greeted him: “Moin!” “Moin!”, he answered, just briefly looking at me and nodding. He spoke with a calm voice: “Bornholm in sight, just 5 miles to go.” Here we are!

Bornholm in sight!

As I went up to the cockpit my lungs were literally shocked by the cold freshness of the air. Down below in my cabin a strange, Oxygen-deprived odor of wet clothing, body smell and Diesel fumes had blurred my olfactory sense, now the full force of clean cold natural air was making me cough. I freed my nose and mouth of the heavy slime of the night, rubbed clear my eyes and watched through the binoculars to spot our destination: Hasle harbour.

There´s Hasle harbor

The capitol of Bornholm is Rönne and this is where the larges marina is situated. I studied a lot of blogs and books about Bornholm and learned that here a free berth would be a matter of fact but Rönne would be – as it is always the case with larger cities – not a very pleasant place to stay. The most likely harbour for FIRST TRY was identified by me situated some miles north of Rönne, a mid-size marina. But there was one problem: We had been too fast!

Boat´s landed at 4.20 a.m.

As I was able to observe in Klintholm, most of the sailors left the harbour as early as 6.00 to 7.00 a.m. and I was speculating on a similar ETA to Hasle harbour. But now it was half past 4.00 a.m. and I doubted that any of the yachts would leave this early. But anyway, we were here and I didn´t had the will to kill some 3 hours offshore waiting for yachts to leave a free berth for us, so we set course directly to entering the marina. This was a no-brainer since there wasn´t any wind at all. Jens and I finally tied up the boat at the mole head for the time being: We would wait here until a berth would be free by another leaving yacht.

At 7 tied up again at her final berth

Jens went down from his 4-hour-shift to find a good night´s sleep. I couldn´t get into my bunk again so I wandered around, took a shower and inspected the marina while the sun was going up again and Hasle, a small town, came back to life. As predicted, the first yachts left their berths shortly after 6.00 o´clock and there was a very nice free berth available just 50 metres down the jetty – I untied the boat and brought her to the final berth by muscle power, attached shore power, paid for demurrage and checked the internet for news.

Now´s time for the landing-beer.

When the sun was nearing noon Jens and Lena woke up finally. As they were having their good morning coffee, I opened the traditional can of landing-beer and saluted to Rasmus and my crew: We finally made it. After exactly 178 miles of which we were able to make 106 by sailing under canvas we have reached the Island of Bornholm. What a cool trip this has been so far.

Exploring Bornholm for one Day

To foreclose the matter of fact: We haven´t been able to fulfil our wishes to really explore this island. Two of the seven days gone I calculated that it would be safe to have three days for the way back with a safe-day in case something happens, which made us decide that we could spend just one day on the island and would leave within 30 hours from now on. What to do then?

What a lush green!

Jens, who knew the island from two previous visits suggested we´d rent some bikes to have a biking tour to the northernmost cape of the island where a staggering ruin of a huge castle is a must see of Bornholm. We agreed and did his way. I would like to have been able to see a huge canyon which is one of the most significant natural sights of Bornholm but this was situated more south and thus out of question. Even a visit to the capitol, Rönne, wasn´t conceived. I guess y sailor should spend at least 5 days on the island to grasp a whole picture of this rich land.

Let´s discover Bornholm Island!

The upcoming articles will show a bit more of Bornholm Island and what we found here, our way back sailing to Laboe, a short visit to the German island of Ruegen, a stormy Baltic Sea with force 6 to 7 winds and why I like the Beneteau First 30 but again couldn´t really get warm with her character even after sailing this yacht for more than 400 miles. Stay tuned.

You like to sail the Beneteau First 30 FIRST TRY by yourself? You can charter the boat from Kiel/Laboe to very nice conditions at PCO Yachtcharter – with kind greetings from NO FRILLS SAILING there might be a nice discount rate for you.


Other interesting articles on this topic:

Being Skipper first time

Safety concept of a sailing yacht

Sailing from Lisbon to Lanzarote via Madeira