Crew: Christian, Paul, Josef, Thomas
A training cruise with lots of hours logged and plenty of variety
There had been plenty of preparation and we arrived early in the
airport in Zurich with plenty of expectations, especially of how the conditions
would be in the Norwegian Skagerrak.
After a quiet flight and collecting our hire Volvo the rain hit. On arriving in Kristiansand and taking over
the boat we first consulted the local weather, luckily it was forecast to
improve. Christian and Joseph made the
epic shopping trip to collect enough for five days in the Norwegian Fjords, but
no beer because the sale of alcohol is restricted in Norway after 3pm. The boat stowed and the briefings completed,
a supper of Norwegian salmon in a nearby restaurant awaited us.
What a morning to wake up to!
Deep blue sky and brilliant sunshine, some harbour manoeuvres and off
onto the open seas! Safety, navigation,
meteorology, helming and more; everything we had learned would be put into
practice under skipper Werner’s careful supervision. It would be a great
experience for everyone and an extraordinary voyage to participate in.
We completed the 29 miles to Grimstad leisurely, but then the wind
picked up and a cold front arrived but with a sure hand Werner put us alongside
the port jetty and into pole position to be seen in the harbours webcam.
Grimstad is a mall village of some 2,500 inhabitants. After a look around, we decided to spend
Sunday here and let the storm front blow through. We were finally able to buy booze, and had a
pleasant evening and a wonderful dinner on board the boat. Norwegian beer is excellent.
On Sunday, the stormy weather woke us up with noisy rain and high
winds. We had made the right call – it
was no day to take novices on the sea.
So we had theory training and studied every detail of our boat. In the afternoon the weather had calmed down
enough to let us climb the highest hill behind the village. The view was terrific – the very fantasy of a
Norwegian coast with rugged hills and islands and dark, deep, waters.
Our day of rest meant there was all the more anticipation on Monday
morning as we slipped the lines and headed along the coast. 8 hours and 53 miles later we reached the
port and found a great berth. The port
was beautiful, surrounded by traditional colourful houses, and even a great
cinema! Paul and Christian wanted to
make a harbour tour in the dinghy and, after a successful launch, learned the
hard way that these things don’t work well without a fuel tank…
We knew this wasn’t a holiday when we got up at 5.30 on the third day,
made the boat ready and cast off. We headed out again to the sea through the Kragerö-Fjord.
With favourable weather, we took a course to Sweden across the Skagerrak. Joseph enjoyed his first time out of site of
land, a voyage on the vastness of the sea. After nearly nine trouble free hours
we approached the harbour in the archipelago of Strömstad, where the mooring
was tricky in the wind conditions but these efforts were rewarded with supper
in an excellent seafood restaurant nearby.
The next morning was cloudy, but warm as we headed north. Our destination would be the Oslofjord, so we
would spend the last two days in the vicinity of Oslo, regardless of the
weather. Skipper Werner opened the boat up so we could all experience what two
380hp engines can do and a short time later gave the call “man overboard”. It quickly became clear that this was an
exercise, but this still had to be taken seriously. After practicing the manoeuvred, the man
overboard fender was retrieved. It was
clear to all that theory is all very well, but everything is more complicated
The day calmed down after the training and we were cruising through the
rocky landscapes of the beautiful archipelago in the area of Moss. The small city has a big ferry which crosses
the Oslofjord and was one of the big ships that made navigating through the
traffic exciting for us.
We had done 38 miles in 5 hours and celebrated with a beer in the
harbour pub. Moss did not seem to offer
us much more, so a delicious dinner was prepared on board.
The next morning we headed north on seas so calm it was almost like
being on a Swiss lake. The weather was
perfectly summery and the navigation not too tricky, even amongst the traffic.
A couple of hours later we entered a romantic bay which would be our base for
the night. The peace was briefly broken
by our engines as anchored, but soon we were luxuriating in the immense
tranquillity. A superb gratin form the
oven, and the week was under review as we enjoyed the magnificent colours and
reflections of sunset over the water in the warmth – Norway had exceeded all our expectations.
The next morning, we were again the first boat up and out on the water
– we had booked a training trip not a holiday trip after all! Our goal was Oslo, which we approached
cautiously through the hustle and bustle of boats, ferries and shipping. After
fuelling we were into the port of Oslo City, amongst the many beautiful boats,
and blonde Norweigans!
Three hours work saw the boat made ready for tomorrow’s handover and we
ended the evening at the harbour bar after dinner ashore.
We exceeded our target of logging 250 miles in the week and witnessed
great seamanship in varied conditions – it was an unforgettable week in the
Thanks to all the crew who took part and especially to our skipper
Werner for his careful tutelage on the high seas!