||55 degrees 42 minutes North,
12 degrees 36 minutes East
Back for more ... Anholt United
Our break at home is over ... only too short,
and we've been back on the boat for nearly three weeks now. Returning
with us from the states were Camelia and Ryan, our niece and nephew
respectively. C & R (AKA the ARs, the amazing redheads) are
from El Granada, CA. Camelia is 18 years old and graduated from
high school in June. Ryan is 15 and will start his sophomore
year when he returns home. The ARs will be with us until August
17 when they fly home from London.
We returned to the boat in tiny Ellos, Sweden
July 13. While we were gone Hallberg-Rassy did some repairs for
us, the most important of which was to repair the not insignificant
ding in our keel which, you may remember, was caused by a sneaky
Norwegian rock. After talking to several people about our "close
encounter" with one of Norway's finest rocks I find that
the consensus, at least among Swedes and Danes, is that they are
indeed the most sinister and hateful of all the Scandinavian rocks.
Hallberg-Rassy closes the yard for a month
each summer. The last work day before the closing this year was
July 16, three days after we returned. On that Friday a Dutch
owned HR-39 sailboat arrived at the yard with a good sized ding
in the keel, not unlike the ding that we had put in ours. The
skipper wanted HR to lift the boat so they could assess the damage.
He also wanted them to fix the damage but really didn't know what
to expect since it was the last work day and a lot of the employees
had already split. His concern was amplified by the fact that
the boat belonged to his father. He had already reported to his
dad that the boat (new in June) had been damaged
and he sooooo wanted to be able to call back that same day to
say that the damage was not significant and that it had already
been repaired. HR to the rescue! They hauled the boat, the damage
looked bad but wasn't, and they repaired it on the spot. By early
afternoon the crisis was over.
We hung around for a few days, recovering
from jet lag, getting our compass "swung", doing some
grocery shopping and visiting Gothenburg. The weather was fantastic.
We planned to leave the yard on Sunday, July 18. Early Sunday
morning was overcast and drizzly but dead calm. About mid morning
we left. Literally within minutes of our departure the wind came
up and it started to rain. Of course, the wind was on our nose.
Oh well! We motored through the archipelago, out into the Skagerak
and on toward Laeso, a Danish island in the Kattegatt. The going
was pretty rocky rolly and Ryan began to change color. He decided
that he wasn't "enjoying this very much" so we changed
course for Marstrand, a Swedish harbor only a couple of hours
from where we were at the time.
We had been to Marstrand before the summer
season when we had the harbor to ourselves. We had heard that
it was a hotbed of sailboat racing and that it was always full
of boats during the summer. In fact, about half the boats would
have to leave before you could actually refer to the harbor as
full. Boats were tied to boats were tied to boats were tied to
boats and so on. It was wild and crazy. The harbor was a destruction
derby of boats moving forward, backward, left and right. Sister
was one of the bigger boats drifting through the harbor and it
seemed that everyone gave us a little extra berth. We spent a
very rocky rolly night tied to the side of an old Danish sailing
fishing boat. Tied to our side was a pretty dinged up sailboat
which had been chartered by a group of German men who didn't have
a clue. When they tried to come along side Sister they did it
too fast. When they couldn't find the brakes they struggled mightily
to avoid colliding with us. They grabbed at Sister's rigging to
push off. They threw fenders and body parts between Sister and
their boat and, amazingly avoided a collision. I was a little
pissed off about their assault on my boat but, of course, I appreciated
the valiant effort to recover.
One night in Marstrand, on to Laeso, a small,
fairly uninteresting Danish island in the Kattegatt where we were
stuck for a few days awaiting reasonable weather. Finally, we
escaped south to Anholt, an even smaller but ever so much nicer
We spent three days on Anholt enjoying the
gorgeous beach (Ryan studying the tops of his feet as he walked
past the topless lady sunbathers), great restaurant and holiday
atmosphere of the island. Danes flock here by the bunches. They
come by boat, there were probably 400-500 boats in the oh so crowded
harbor, and by ferry. There are virtually no accommodations so
those that arrive by ferry are almost all campers.
Just after we arrived in Anholt in the evening,
we went ashore and stopped to have a beer and listen to some very
local musicians playing an accordion, a mandolin and a saw. At
one point we weren't paying attention and the accordion player
knelt behind Camelia and began to play "Love me Tender".
The mandolin joined in. Camelia turned around to see this guy
on one knee and looking straight at here with the absolutely brightest
blue eyes I've ever seen. Camelia has red hair, lots of freckles
and a reddish/bronze complexion from all the sun she'd been getting.
That is to say that she's pretty red, but not fire engine red
... not, at least until she realized that she was being serenaded
there on the quay in Anholt. She was appropriately embarrassed
but also clearly enjoyed the attention.
While on Anholt we enjoyed watching the
"Anholt Cup" (my name for it). The local soccer team,
they wear "Anholt United" on their t-shirts, regularly
challenges various subsets of the visitors to the island to a
match. One match, for example, was between Anholt United and the
Swedish campers on the island at the time. Anholt United is a
motley assemblage of boys, young men and old men. The old men
reminded me a lot of "Comatose", the old man's volleyball
team that I was a part of for so many years. As Carole King sang,
"They moved with some uncertainty", that is, and this
really reminded me of Comatose, when they moved at all.
The game proceeded, as do most soccer games,
with virtually no scoring. There was a unique time keeping system
that, apparently, allowed Anholt United to decide when the quarters
ended. Once we thought the game was over when the teams gathered
together in the middle of the field. It turned out that they were
gathered around a case of Tuborg that mysteriously appeared and
the break in the action was just a beer break.
The matches are held in the Anholt Bowl
(again my name) and is attended by a vast minority of the current
population of the island ... maybe 100-150 people. The Anholt
bowl looks a lot like a pasture. The grass is shorter than the
surrounding fields, which are definitely pastures, and there are
goals at either end so it apparently really is a soccer field.
There is also a concession stand at one end of the field. There
you can get any kind of beer you want as long as it's Tuborg green.
You can get it, that is, if you can squeeze in between the players
queued up at the stand.
Anholt United even had a cheerleader squad.
They were mostly young women who led the roaring crowd in ...
maybe one or two, clever yells. They must have been clever because
everyone that understood Danish laughed at them. Each cheerleader
had two homemade pompoms made from a variety of rags they had
stripped from bed sheets or some such.
When the match really did end, the players
from both teams lined up mid field parallel with the sidelines.
They drank beer, saluted the crowd and did a version of a wave
... one might called it a microwave. Being from Seattle where,
some say, the wave was invented, I felt particularly at home.
There was a particularly vociferous cheerleader
for Anholt United. You might call him their head cheerleader.
He was tall, slim, bearded, maybe 40 years old. He wore pants
that were much too short for him, suspenders and a bicycle helmet.
He came across as something of a clown. He moved up and down the
sideline loudly urging on AU and vigorously greeting, with a high
five and some unintelligible Viking-like utterances, each fan
that he encountered. At first we thought he was drunk but he drank
only soft drinks and it became apparent that he was somewhat mentally
disabled. We learned that he was a year round resident of Anholt
and rather than shun him or
simply put up with him the other residents went out of their way
to make him feel special. They enthusiastically included him in
the local scene. After the match the AU team called him out on
the field and presented him with a poster size framed picture
of himself. In the picture he apparently was on holiday somewhere.
He wore a sports coat and tie, and was coifed just so and looked
very sharp. He unwrapped the picture and held it up for all to
see. He was clearly moved by the presentation. So was I.
For Camelia and me, both of us being pretty
beachy people, Anholt was a great place and we'd probably still
be there but for ...
A second report from Copenhagen next.
Chuck, Andy, Camelia and Ryan in Copenhagen