Skipper: Peter, Bernhard
Crew: Peter, Lotti and Robert
With Bernhard joining us as our new skipper in Balestrand which is
known as a tourist resort and artists’ village on the north shore of the
Sognefjord with beautiful clapper board houses – almost Swiss style! The best example is Kvikne’s hotel and during
our visit there was a magnificent vintage car rally there with beautiful
Buicks, Studebakers and Packards to admire.
I would have gladly spent the night in this charming hotel, but it was
full, so it was back to the boat and my all male crew.
As well as the houses, many of the churches are decorated as well,
including Ts Olav’s Kirke, built in 1897 by a British minister’s daughter who
came as a tourist. She wasn’t the only
one as many royals from around the world have visited, including Kaiser
Willhelm II who enjoyed 14 summers there.
Maybe he enjoyed the local salmon, like we did that evening?
The next day we cast off for Leirvik, 43 miles away and the fjord
looked just like the magical home of elves and trolls. Skipper Peter, whose
mother is Danish and he says the languages are similar. So it’s no surprise that he handles all our
dealings with the marinas, which today includes an invitation tonight to a
BBQ. It was great hanging out with
Norwegians, rather than other tourists, and enjoying their local foods,
including a sort of sweet porridge flavoured with cinnamon.
The next morning, the weather was lifting as we were on our way to
Florø out on the open sea. On our way,
we passed the famous Stabben lighthouse.
Built in 1866/7 the oldest lighthouse in the Sunnfjord area is on a
sharp rock and a popular photo spot – and for us, navigation mark! Our
destination is now an oil town, but founded in 1860, it was home to fishermen
and the painted white buildings in the centre are from that time. It is also the western most point in Norway.
The following today would be our day of days…we would have to round the
formidable Stadlandet peninsula which is reputed to have the roughest seas on
the Norwegian coast. We ere nervous, but
the skipper was relaxed, reminded us that Rolling Swiss II’s A rating was the
highest available to yachts and gave the orders to go.
Robert did an excellent job navigating, although the ocean swells were
a new experience for him and unsurprisingly made him a little sea sick. As well
as the rough waters, the area is famous for history too, including the legend
of Sanct Sunniva, an Irish princess who fled a Viking marriage on the island of
Sertje and in the modern age, the sinking of the Sanct Svithu passenger ship in
1943 by Allied bombers. We were happy to
Once in, two surprises – firstly Bernhard finally managed to catch some
mackerel and secondly we met the Swiss owners of a campsite who invited us to
the Vestkapp, 496m up in the mountains – they told us a lot about the area, and
wow, what a view!
With a third of the Stadlandet to go, our next destination was Volda,
and Rolling Swiss II really had to show her stuff today, as the waves reach 1.5
metres. The more we travelled, the more
inspiring it felt to be on the waves, but after the entrance to the
Rovdefjorden, all was calm again and once again we could admire the rugged landscape. Getting in by 3pm we had plenty of time of
stock up on provisions and water.
So, for our final destination, Älesund.
I was already feeling sad about the trip coming to an end, when the
skipper announced a surprise – an interim stop on the Langevåg peninsula to
visit a factory making woollen clothing, from fishermen’s garments to fine
traditional Norwegian sweaters – at last, for all the ladies, a CCS shopping
It was only a further hour to Älesund where we refuelled and prepared
the boat for the next crew as we would be off at 4am the following
morning. After chores we could stroll
through the town, which has beautiful art nouveau style houses built after the
town was destroyed by fire in 1904. The
beautiful Lyst restaurant hosted our final crew meal and the superb fish soup was
particularly memorable, although it left no room for desert.
These were two varied weeks, with two different skippers. We saw again and again the many tourists on
their ships and found that the facilities for yachts were often rather sparse,
but thanks to the equipment of Rolling Swiss II we were self-sufficient. There were no unfortunate surprises, and as a
sailor having her first time on such a boat, I have to say I could develop a
taste for this.
Thank you for the great fellowship on board.
Distance in two weeks – 404 miles
Fuel used – 925 litres
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