Sister's Journal

Date: 13.May.1999
Location: Ronne, Island of Bornholm, Denmark
Position: 55 degrees 06 minutes North, 14 degrees 42 minutes East
A Danish island in Swedish waters
The nearest mainland to Bornholm is the Southeast coast of Sweden. It is effectively separated from the rest of Denmark by Southern Sweden. It has been Swedish and Russian and was occupied by the Germans during WW II.
We've been gone a week now and haven't sailed yet. I said we haven't sailed yet. We've motored in Sweden from Ellos to Marstrand, a small sailing resort, on to Traslov, a small fishing village then to Helsingor, a sizeable town in Denmark back into Sweden at Falsterbro and now into Denmark again on Bornholm.
The trip to Helsingor was relatively unremarkable except for negotiating the entrance to "The Sound" the waterway between Southern Sweden and Sjaeland, the Danish island where Copenhagen is. Lots and lots of ships coming from everywhere pass through this 4 mile wide entrance. There is a traffic separation zone in the Sound which means that northbound ships must bear to the east side of the Sound and southbound ships must bear to the west side. Since we were coming down the Swedish coast we had to cross across the traffic to get to the southbound lanes as we approached the entrance. There were ships everywhere. Fortunately the weather was beautiful so everyone could see everyone else and we didn't have so much as a close call. We found our way into the southbound lane and proceeded along with the big boys to Helsingor.
In Helsingor we found an internet cafe. I wasn't prepared to take advantage but was able to get email and sort of test the internet cafe concept. Next time we find one I'll be ready with email and/or status reports. Meantime we probably won't have direct access to email from Sister for some weeks yet.  Part of our email announced the birth of our grandson ... Clark Vincent Biard. Baby doing fine, mother and father out on their feet.  Can't wait to get a moving deck under my grandson's feet.
Monday, May 10, Helsingor, Denmark: After sitting out a near gale in Helsingor we motored south to Falsterbro on the southwest tip of Sweden. We expected to go through the short canal there and on but we decided to stop in Falsterbro. We helped a local step his mast, walked into town and found another great bakery. On returning to the boat we found we had been joined by a strange looking schooner from Poland. The boat wasn't quite as large as Sister but she must have been carrying 12 kids. They were all about 20 years old and apparently taking part in some sort of sailing program that enabled them to visit some of Scandinavia and/or other Baltic states. Maybe part of the program was to learn how to function in the face of life threatening danger because that's what going out in that boat amounted to. She was in woeful condition. She had no portholes so the cabins must have been plenty dark. She had no anchor, her mooring lines were well worn, she didn't appear to have a sail for her mainmast and her lifeboats looked bad. I hesitated to ask them aboard because there were so many of them and I felt a little like the Ugly American with my big beautiful boat with all her fancy electronics and with only three people aboard. I didn't want to feel like I was trying to make them envious. Getting a little weird as I get older I guess.
The afternoon and evening was beautiful and warm then about 20:00, virtually instantaneously, a near gale started to blow. It blew all night.
Tuesday, May 11, Andy's birthday. The wind seemed to abate a bit around 11:00. When the wind decreased I decided to leave for Bornholm. So, it was through the draw bridge, the short canal and out into the Baltic and on to Bornholm. Bad move!
We spent the next 10 hours in sailboat hell. Again we motored. Again we went directly into the wind ... about 28 knots, with gusts to 35, apparent this time. For this leg, our first experience in the Southwestern Baltic, we were faced with short, choppy seas that tossed us about pretty well. Sister seemed to enjoy the ride. She repeatedly buried her bow in green water and rose to throw the water into the air and thoroughly wash down everything aft of the anchor roller ... which is to say everything. Major water, we're not talkin spray here, repeatedly power washed the hardtop windshield. Praise the lord for Hallberg-Rassy hardtops.
We pointed our thus far unnamed autopilot to Ronne and huddled under the hardtop the entire time. Andy challenged the sea ... "I refuse to throw up" ... the sea won and she fed the fish just a bit. The skipper got sick as well but, strangely, felt somewhat better when Andy vomited. Bob didn't seem to mind. In fact he spent a fair amount of time below munching sandwiches and various snacks.
We all nearly froze including Bob who wore his fancy deck suit and was, in fact, cozy warm from his next down to his ankles. From his ankles to his toes he was as cold as the rest of us. Andy and I were unsympathetic.
We all nearly froze including Bob who wore his fancy deck suit and was, in fact, cozy warm from his next down to his ankles. From his ankles to his toes he was as cold as the rest of us. Andy and I were unsympathetic.
The autopilot raised Ronne about 2000. We still had about an hour of motoring to do but, in the lee of the island the sea settled quite a bit and all we had to worry about was freezing to death before arriving in Ronne. You might ask yourself ... "Don't they have heat on that fancy boat" ... and, of course we do. In fact the cabin was nice and warm the whole time. Our basic choices were to freeze on deck and minimize the seasickness or to go below to be cozy warm and sick as a dog. We chose to freeze. Since Bob wasn't seasick I can't explain why he chose to stay outside and freeze with Andy and me ... maybe loyalty ... maybe he just ain't too smart.
We came inside the "yacht harbor" where we had about 1/2 meter of water under our keel, tied up and went below to thaw and enjoy the relative stillness of the boat. Before long Bob and I were stuffing ourselves with whatever food we could get our hands on. I hadn't eaten all day. Andy played with some mashed potatoes but decided to abandon the effort to eat and just go to bed.
Andy turned 43 on this day. For a while I felt guilty for putting her through this on her birthday. Before long I was too cold and sick to worry about her birthday. Sometime along about evening Andy looked at me and said, not so much as a smirk on her face, "Who's idea was this anyway?". Clearly we've got some way to go before we achieve our sea legs.
Wednesday, May 12 Ronne, Bornholm, Denmark. We're enjoying Ronne. What a cool little village. Like everywhere else we've been they're just waiting for the tourist season to arrive. Lots and lots of facilities that are all underutilized right now. OK by us since there's no problem finding moorage etc. We just wish it were warmer. We found an internet cafe here as well so we're going back tomorrow to send this status report. Meanwhile, from the net we learned that it is 44 degrees F and raining in Seattle ... some consolation since it's about that cold here but not raining. What the hell's going on. Mid May is supposed to be warm! We also learned that both the Sonics and Mariners suck ... guess we didn't need the net to tell us that.
The wind's still blowing hard and we're not leaving until it dies down some. If it keeps blowing then we'll consider Danish citizenship.
Thursday, May 13, Ronne, Bornholm, Denmark. Wind has settled somewhat but we're committed to stay the day.

Copyright Ames Lake Systems 2001-2002