26.04. – 03.05.2014 Calais – London

Skippper: Andi und Urs
Crew: Paul, Christian, Matthias, Thomas
Tour: Calais – London total 373 Sea miles

Foreword
In early February, we met in the restaurant Schmiedstube in Bern for the first time. After the usual round of introductions the meeting started, work distribution and the crew’s preferences were discussed. We agree things concerning life and training on board and are curious how the week onboard will be. But time flies by, as always at these crew meetings, and soon its time to say “so, bye, until April”.

On the Friday afternoon before the start of the tour, gradually the crew and skipper meet in the hotel in Calais. This gives us the opportunity to do the biggest shopping trip of the tour already so that we don’t waste any valuable time on Saturday. In the evening we have a delicious meal with a glass of wine and get to know each other better. The Mood is good
and after paying the bill we start back to the hotel.

26/04/2014 Calais – Dunkerque
In the morning between 8:00 and 9:00 we are at the entrance of the Marina with our purchases. Rolling Swiss II is moored at the dock ready and waiting patiently until the ship handover is completed by the skipper. Finally, we may board and stow our purchases in the designated compartments and in the refrigerator. Everyone grabs a berth space and settles in. We get the first impression of the ship and Urs (our skipper 2) begins with
the safety briefing telling us some things about the Rolling Swiss II. This is compulsory on all CCS tours and once its over, its  “oilies” and life jackets on. Andi (our skipper) discusses with us how he intends to carry out the departure manoeuvres. Having cast off we bob comfortably towards the bridge the next opening will allow us into the harbour. There, the ferries to England operate and we must call up the Harbour Authority on the radio in order to leave the harbour. We are allowed to follow after one of the ferries and at about 12:30 make a heading for Dunkirk. The current helps us to do just over seven and a half knots through the water. The atmosphere on the bridge is good and the ones new to Rolling Swiss II learn a bit.  For example, there is a small grey boat that approaches us from the starboard side. Is there a stationary bearing? Who by KVR has right of way? When this type of situation crops up. During which time, a crew member notices that the name of our ship is called on the radio. We quickly notice that the little grey boat belongs to the French customs and announces us his intention to visit. We are instructed to
keep the course at a reduced speed so that customs officers can transfer from their RIB to Rolling Swiss II while moving. This whole check runs orderly and disciplined. The officials are friendly but also determined. Our skipper shows the ship’s papers to one of them. Another one looks at our passports. Two officers look in the fridge and lockers. One officer unscrews the circular hatches on the radar arch and looks in with the help of a mirror. Then, the hatches in the floor. The bunks and bags of the crew members are searched in our presence. No drugs or contraband are found. Everything is in order, as it should be. After close to an hour, the officers say goodbye and get into the RIB. And none of the
officers falls into the water. Those who have never experienced such a control are richer for the experience. Now, finally, we have time to exercise our MOB manoeuvre. Now we can get a very good impression how precisely Rolling Swiss II can handle. Later we continue in the direction of our destination port, which we reach by around 1700 and moor the ship in the Port Due Grand Large.

04/27/2014 Dunkerque – Lowestoft

It is about half past three on Sunday morning. Crew and Skipper are in top gear between breakfast and the preparations for the trip to England. Around 120 nautical miles are on today’s program and at four o’clock exactly the two motors of the Rolling Swiss II are started. The Weather is moderate with occasional rain, Force 3 to 4 and sea state 0.5 – 1 are awaiting. So great to be travelling in a motor yacht and sitting in the dry. A port exit in the dark turns out navigationally interesting. Lighting and leading lights must be
interpreted correctly in order to stay on the right track. A comparison between the conventional chart on paper and the modern electronic device in such a situation makes for a good experiment. How does the next navigation mark flash? Three times in ten seconds? Compare this with the function started by the day navigator’s waypoint list and once again we learn how theory and practice work. We all benefit from this. When it gets lighter outside it looks different again. There is not much more to do than keep track and look out for any obstacles”. Some try on occasion to get a nap. At some point though, one
or the other realize why this ship carries the name Rolling Swiss II. Wind and waves together are creating these conditions.
The boat rolls a long way sometimes and I discreetly make my way to the
rails as I bring my breakfast back up again.  A Stugeron taken before would have helped but they are packed away in my bunk. Later, it calms down because the waves come from a different direction. In the afternoon, after 3 hours we change the clocks. Andi goes to look for the British courtesy flag which will be flown later. When we finally moor up in
Lowestoft it’s just after 19:00. We arrived in England after a good 15 hours. Paul and Christian devote themselves to important work in the engin room- cleaning the water filters. Matthias and Thomas set about preparing the navigation plan for the next day. Soon, though all are sitting at the table. And the day comes to and end.

28/04/2014 Lowestoft – Shotley

After breakfast, Thomas makes his way to the harbour master’s office to pay for the berth. The head of the Marina asks us to advise him when we leave the harbour, via the radio. Dangerous situations could arise because cargo ships in the channel are notified to go under the bridge with lights and the channel they use is directly in front of the harbour entrance. The harbour master must give his approval before Rolling Swiss II may leave the
port. Aha. No problem sir, we will contact you by radio When We Are ready to go (and have a nice day) …

Later we contact him as usual via radio and with his permission make a few small harbour manoeuvres. Then we may leave and enjoy the English weather. Today we are making a short trip along the coast, past the lighthouse in Southwold to the northern shore of North Shipwash. From there we go into the entrance of the Bay of Harwich. This estuary entrance lies between Felixstowe and Harwich and is quite well marked. Two rivers converge here. In the west the River Stour and to the north, the River Orwell. The weather is better and the sun makes an appearance. In Felixstowe there is a huge container
terminal for cargo ships and we can see from a distance as container after container is loaded. We head westward and after passing the south transit of Shotley Spit and into the green Ganges, we turn Rolling Swiss II into Shotley Marina. We must aim directly at the lock. To Port and starboard the shore dries out at low water. However, with careful helming there is no problem because the entrance channel is dredged an additional two meters. The small lock in the harbour entrance of Shotley is also thoughtfully designed. On both sides of the lock we can moor our boat onto a floating dock. The harbour master greeted us as we rise up in the lock and is very helpful. At our berth we can see the  container terminal better. And also during the night we are always reminded that they are
working nearby.

04/29/2014 Shotley – Titchmarsh

Today, we fill the water tank of Rolling Swiss II before leaving Shotley Marina. The lock gear works perfectly. We went out via the dredged channel to the south channel. From there we are now on the River Orwell travelling up towards Ipswich / Greenwich. On the way up through the river we get a taste of rural England. Again and again we pass Mooring areas where the British park their sailboats and motorboats. Finally we pass the Orwell Bridge and go to the West Bank Terminal of Port of Ipswich. We go further and leave
the entrance of the port lock to starboard. After a few hundred meters, we stop at a narrow point of the River Orwell and begin our turning manoeuvres. After these exercises, we resume our course to the mouth of two rivers. Finally, we chug peacefully into the open sea with Rolling Swiss II and move forward after passing the northern transit between Landguard and the yellow bin Pye End, travelling south-westerly along the coast. After about 6 nautical miles, we reach the next bay to the south and follow the Walt-On-Channel. Here again, precise navigation is required. We have the opportunity to compare the navigation information on the paper chart to electronic data and identify differences
sometimes; however, it does not affect our motoring journey. In this river the water the level has not yet reached the high water mark but it is sufficient to enter the Marina Titchmash. By radio we report and get a berth assigned. After a drink on the foredeck the skipper and crew go into town to make purchases and look around a little. Only the cook of the day remains to prepare the evening menu.

30/04/2014 Titchmash – Burnham on Crouch

The day begins with a leisurely morning meal and the final preparations for casting off. We continue our schedule in relation to the flood tide. We are a little early and take the opportunity to make a few more harbour manoeuvres. At Around 0930 UTC +1 we leave the port and navigate by visual navigation (using the charts of course) using a list of compiled waypoint. After the harbour entrance we catch a seal taking her morning bath. The passage through the river runs smoothly and soon we are out of the bay, out into the
open sea with the Rolling Swiss II, again. Our next destination is the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm installations. Here we want to deal with the theory regarding anchoring. To get to these wind power farms drive up to the red and white Pye End buoy and then go for the next 8 nautical miles on a southeast course to the red buoy Wallet No2. At some point we cross the Seaward limit and are in the area which is controlled by the Port of London Authority. When we get to the Wind farm out came our cameras and cell phones (for Facebook and WhatsApp) we are in awe as to the size and height of the individual powergenerators. At almost half past one we set the anchor near the wind field and have a cosy coffee break for about an hour. The sun comes out and one of the
crew makes himself comfortable on the foredeck sun pads. However, as we go on, we quickly realize that the view is not necessarily better just because the sun is shining. On the contrary, we must pay greater attention because the marks blend into the seascape. We are travelling towards the sun up until the Burnham-on-Crouch harbour entrance. We are honest and have to admit that this sunshine is good for our minds and when we have completed our mooring, as allocated on the radio, we can enjoy a drink on the foredeck.

01/05/2014 Burnham on Crouch – Gravesend

What seemed almost impossible is now already a reality. It is the navigational challenge of a circumnavigation of the Isle of Sheppey. The calculations were well prepared and we calmly leave at five to six in the morning, down the River Crouch, with its many navigation marks, out of the bay and out into the open waters. The time window for the trip around the Isle of Sheppey is a little over seven hours.  But first we take a southerly course for about four hours and sail past the Maunsell Forts. These are towers laid on the sea bed by the admiralty during the Second World War that served as coastal defence. These isolated structures are still visible and give the scenery a spooky feel. We feel that the history is not so far away. On the starboard side, we see a small wind farm. Shortly before eleven o’clock we enter in the Swale River around the Eastern Cape Shell Ness with Rolling Swiss II. We
follow the river and pass Faversham Spit to the north. On the hills next to the Watts area cows graze, we don’t recognize the type. Old abandoned industrial ports and ships whose captains got their tide calculation wrong remind us of the past. We pass gently through the shallows without a problem. The Sheppey Way Bridge next to the King Ferry Bridge opens for us after we notify them over the radio. After three and a half hour we have circled the small island and drive out of the mouth of the river Medway into the River Thames.  After the yellow mark ‘Sea Reach No 7’ we follow the river for about five nautical miles and pass the container terminal with the rather large container ships and head for our destination Gravesend. Following a request by radio we moor on the inner side of the Town Pier next to the Tilbury Ferry terminal. The whole procedure is done under the eyes of the
curious passengers waiting for their ferry ride. Yes, the Swiss are confident and have the show “in the bag”. Some of the crew go ashore and take a look at the town, then into a pub for their first Guinness on land. Back to the Rolling Swiss II where dinner is already waiting and Navigation preparations for the next day.

02/05/2014 Gravesend – London Imperial Wharf

Just after six-thirty in the morning the motors of the Rolling Swiss II are turned on and we head off in the direction of London. It’s just about 30 nautical miles to our destination, London Imperial Wharf. Cautiously we calculate about 5 hours drive at a speed of 6 knots. After Tilbury Docks, on the right side, we take the first left turn at the Broad Ness
Lighthouse. Firstly, we go under the Queens Elizabeth II Bridge and then navigate around some of the bends on the Thames.  Near the Gallions Point we catch sight of a seal swimming around in the river. We steer our motor yacht past the Royal Victoria Gardens and North Woolwich. Behind are the King George V and Royal Albert Docks where the City of London Airport is located. Now we are at the Thames Barrier. Matthias call on the radio to ask for permission to pass. Approval is given and we enter into the gate that is signalled using a traffic light system. Then the cable car goes over us, which connects the Docklands, over the Thames, with the famous O2 Area. We notice that there is more and more traffic on the water and must pay more attention to the Ferries which swinging
back and forth between the banks of the Thames (which has right of way). The boat taxis are doing up to 25 knots. Care and attention of the skipper is a top priority. Shortly before the Tower Bridge Urs calls the Fuel barge on the radio. To fuel up Rolling Swiss II., We moor up at the Fuel Barge and wait for the gas station attendant. This Fuel Barge is almost like a children’s playground for technically interested adults. Through the dusty windscreen we see inside the offices of the fuel seller. Nothing is tidy, its total chaos. Invoices should be carefully stored in files, not lying around on the dirty floor. After
waiting for over an hour and trying to contact the relevant person we set off,
in not such a good mood, and ask ourselves how this business has survived. The water
level rises and we have to pass under the bridge to get to Imperial Wharf. We can not afford such a long wait, so we pass under the first bridges (starting with the Tower Bridge). At some of the bridges we fold the antennas down to ensure that everything goes well. Passing the giant Ferris Wheel, the London Eye on the left Big Ben on the right side. At Westminster Bridge there is a second fuel barge. We make a further attempt to refuel here, but after a long wait we decide to go on again. Further ahead just before Vauxhall Bridge we drive past the unassuming building of the Secret Intelligence Service. Stopping here is strictly prohibited and photography is also not allowed  After said bridge, and on the same side as Saint George Wharf there are some a chic Riverside bars, where the secret
agents sip Martinis and chat up the local totty after work. After passing another bridge we reach the entrance to Chelsea Harbour. It is located close to the Imperial Wharf pier. The harbour master has already been informed by radio of our arrival. He stands at the pier and waves us to a free space. There we make our final mooring on this trip and tie Rolling Swiss II up. We are pleased that everything has worked out well as we enjoy our drinks on the foredeck. Later, in the harbour office the disillusionment returns … no sanitary
facilities … no beloved WIFI … but pay dearly for the space (about three times as much as before in other ports). In the evening after cleaning the ship we go to a pleasant area of ​​Chelsea on the Kings Road, we have an aperitif in a pub and some good food in an interesting location where there is lots of activity. The day draws to and end and on the way back we pop into a pub where we enjoy a nightcap and chat about the last few days.

Postscript
It’s Saturday morning and the bags are packed on the dock. The new crew arrives and we say goodbye to Urs who remains as the new skipper for the next tour on Rolling Swiss II. We give him enough money to refuel the boat. Somehow, it’s annoying that this has not worked out, here on the River Thames, although it is well recommended in Reeds. Presumably, this is just an experience one has to endure as a seafarer and this information may help others to plan their trip. As we leave Imperial Wharf and Rolling Swiss II the
sun comes out and dazzles us a little. One after the other, our group slowly splits up. Different airports or train stations … that’s how it goes after a tour. The author stays few more days to look at the city. “See you! and safe journey home” to the other crew members it was cool with you.

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19.04. – 26.04.2014 Antwerpen – Calais

Skipper: Florin und Andreas
Crew: Paulette, Leonora und Patrick

Through Flanders to the North Sea.

19-4-1014 Antwerp – Gent

The new crew arrived at the port of Antwerp promptly at 7:30. In the truest sense of the word, new, it’s Leonora and Patricks first trip to sea. The composition of the crew promises excitement. Skipper 2, Andreas wants to do everything right, the two novices who don’t want to do anything wrong come up against skipper 1, who wants to do everything perfectly.

The first day runs smoothly and without any major incidents. The first lock in the
port of Antwerp could be passed. Florin manoeuvred the boat, the rest of the crew were busy securing Rolling II correctly according to instructions. At the second lock, Merelbeken, It was Andreas turn to navigate whilst Pädi and Leonora received their instructions on how to properly secure a yacht in a lock. Also, the Waterways vignette for 2014 was purchased here. With that the lock keeper took 20 minutes to fill out the form. She was probably a little overwhelmed by the Swiss German words (street and city).

Our first overnight stop was in Snepdijburg, Gent. The debriefing was conducted with drinks at the bow. There, Andreas announced  that he thought it was a super day, had learned a lot, but it  was sometimes challenging and is glad that the Rolling II is located in the harbour and we can now go out to eat.

20/04/2014 Gent…

After a quiet night and a delicious breakfast à la Paulette, the crew decided that today, Easter Sunday, they would have a leisurely trip into Ghent. While the women listened to Easter Mass skipper 1 slept in the pews, at peace with himself. Andrew and Patrick on the other hand, preferred to visit some sights.
For lunch we went to a real Belgian “chip shop”. Lunch – spicy sausage with chips. To top off the Easter Sunday lunch there were Belgian waffles with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Satisfied, we took a taxi back to the marina. There, we decided unanimously not to continue on today, but rather continue our tour on Easter Monday towards Bruges.  The three men went to the harbour master to pay for another night (and to have a swift half in the local club). During this time, Paulette prepared a wonderful Easter dinner. (Mango salad, pork fillets with rice and ratatouille). While we were all sitting comfortably a different harbour Master came to charge us for the berth. After some discussion it turned
out that we had paid the wrong Harbour Master (The left bank is not the same as the right bank).

21/04/2014 Ghent – Bruges

7:30 breakfast, 8:30 left for Bruges. After a short briefing by the Skipper 2 we
could let the lines go and Andreas manoeuvred the boat towards Bruges.
After about 3 hours of driving without incident, but with far more traffic than the
day before, we steamed into Port Flandria, Bruges. The nice harbour master
showed us to space number 23.
After several landings and some artwork, Rolling Swiss II was moored at the dock and
the crew could be on their way to the beautiful little town of Bruges. Andreas had been tipped off, but only after a long search for a suitable restaurant, to chose the inn Raymonde. The younger crew teamed up for a Château-Briand amicably, while the elder ones preferred a fish dish.
The way back to the marina was a longer walk because we did not agree in which
direction we should go. Thus, it was a whole of half an hour longer. Tired and
filled up, the crew members disappeared early to their bunks.

22.04.2014 Bruges – (Newport) – Oostende

After careful route planning with canals and a section in the North Sea we left at 10.15. On this route we were eight bridges and three locks. It was impressive to pass all these swing bridges. Slowly we approached the turnoff to Plassendale canal. Just before we let a, hot headed and keen to overtake, freighters pass us. In order to do this, we approached the canal bank (sheet piling) whereupon suddenly, without warning an unpleasant rumbling startled us. Through the clear water we discovered the cause: “Two discarded concrete
slabs, similar to the ones used for the sheet piling”. Between Bruges and Oostende there are probably only two, but we have found them.
The rest of the day passed with phone calls and looking for a competent and willing
shipyard to investigate the condition of the two props on  RS II.
** A DAY to FORGET **

04/23/2014 Oostende

After a night moored at the dock of the shipyard in Oostende, we got up early to be
ready for the upcoming lift out of  RS II. After breakfast and a small tour of the factory buildings of the yard we waited a punishing 5 hours until the crane arrived through the streets of Bruges and Rolling Swiss II was lifted out of the water. After assessing the
damage to the props the shipyard owner, Florin locally and Marc on the phone decided
to replace both the screws and put the boat back to the water.

24/04/2014 Oostende – Dunquerke

After Florin and Andrew had discussed the route intensively to ensure that all quadrants are found, we set off around noon. The three men were well equipped with binoculars, maps and other material, so that we reached the port of Dunquerke without problems. After a delicious dinner on board all excused themselves and sought their cabins. Our skipper had ordered a departure the next day at 5 o’clock, so that we could avoid the weather that awaited us on the sea. Leonora & Patrick, the two greenhorns, had butterflies in their stomach due to the fact that this would be their first trip to sea.

25/04/2014 Dunquerke – Calais

As ordered, we left the marina at daybreak and headed into the North Sea, direction Calais. The wind was, to my mind, very strong and the waves bundled RSII rudely to and fro, so that after a good hour the two greenhorns where hanging their heads over the rails and….

As we entered Calais Harbour a fleet of ferries where leaving the harbour on their way to England. The Harbour authority announced “Rolling Swiss, Rolling Swiss Keep Clear….”.  And directed Rolling Swiss to wait at the side of the channel until the large ferries had left the harbour. This experience was very impressive and we forgot how bad we where.
Subsequently our skipper passed with flying colours. After an hour we moored up for the last time and had a drink on the foredeck.

Due to the unintended stay in Oostende, our lateness meant we needed to hurry to clean
the boat ready for the next crew.

A great and impressive experience, especially for the two greenhorns.

Leonora and Patrick

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05.04. – 12.04.2014 Rotterdam – Antwerpen

Skipper:
Florin und Peter
Crew: Paulette und Jürg
Inner and Outer Holland and Belgium
Saturday, 04.12. Ship handover in the City Marina in Entrepothaven, Rotterdam.
First a shopping trip to the big supermarket, which is aptly named “Jumbo”. Then, finding all the items on the shopping list took so long that the skipper decided to leave on Sunday.
Sunday, 04.13. Rotterdam – Hook of Holland – back to the diversion in the Oude Maas – Spui – Haring Vliet – Willemstad (not on Curaçao …).
We had an Interesting ride on the Nieuwe Maas and the Nieuwe Waterway through the third-largest port in the world (after Shanghai and Singapore) with its many Europoort docks. Thanks to AIS and radar reflector our ride is monitored by the various traffic control centres. We Also tuned into the correct VHF channel, as indicted on the chart. So, we were warned once on the radio that a barge was about to leave one of the large docks. And then he pops up turns to follow behind us. Not only does a huge fully loaded tanker pass us by at the Hook of Holland where the mouth meets the North Sea, but also on
top of that there are big scary waves  due to  wind against tide  and crossed seas. They toss Rolling Swiss II like a matchbox to and fro; in the saloon the movement is enormous. The Skipper decides, luckily, to turn around and continue via the inland route. After some time, we turn into the Oude Maas. Here, Barges run constantly in both directions. Suddenly we are called on the radio.  “Rolling Swiss – Rolling Swiss, What is your intention”? It comes from the loudspeaker. After a brief communication, we are asked politely: “Please keep on the green side …”. What was the reason? The writer had
misinterpreted a sign “bridge entrance to starboard” with two orange lights to be “No entrance” so had taken the port side passage. Oops. For those that don’t already know. The two lights mean, “ Passage here, middle of the channel”. Yet something new learnt. After a quick change on to the unmarked green side, a short radio apology to the traffic control. “No problem at all, that’s our job.” The Traffic control kindly replies. After taking the Spui then the Haringvliet, we reach Willemstad.
Monday, 14.04. Port Day in Willemstad
Due to constant strong winds (the Haringvliet covered in foam from northwest to southeast) and a warning of gale force winds with strengths 8-9 and the information from the harbour master that crossing the Eastern Scheldt in these conditions would be difficult. The skipper decides today to be logged as a Port Day in Willemstad. The town has a small but very interesting town centre with its many beautifully restored buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a typically Dutch small fortress town. The fortifications of 1602 has seven bastions, for each province of the former republic of the Netherlands .
It was restored in the 1980s. (Source: Wikipedia). The seven bastions are built outside a moat and a surrounding mound and is protected on the outside by another moat.
Tuesday, 04.15. Willemstad – through Volkeraak – Mastgat – Osterschelde – Verse sea – channel van Walcheren – Middelburg
A beautiful drive through the Dutch countryside, “interrupted” several times by locks, leads us to channel the van Walcheren. This connects the inland waterways with the North Sea via the sea lock in Vlissingen. Middelburg is located north of Flushing on the Walcheren peninsula, in the Zeeland province. During World War II the city centre was
heavily bombed. The now historic townscape is based on a complete reconstruction. We would like to moor in the inner Harbour. We note that the bridge is open only ¾ of an hours after our arrival so we moor at a dock and wait. Later, the harbour master comes and tells us that the bridge won’t be opened preseason, but that we could stay where we are (well located). The advantage is that we are ready to go unhindered in the morning.
Wednesday, 16.04. Middelburg – Zeebrugge – Breskens
Over 4 nautical miles between Middelburg and Vlissingen there are five bridges and the sea lock. Instead of the estimated one hour it takes two hours until we are out of the sea lock at the entrance to the Westerschelde. The opening of the bridges is not coordinated so we have to wait a considerable time before each bridge. In a marked channel we drive on a calm sea and little wave action to Zeebrugge, BEL. We dine here in a restaurant. The sun is shining and it is warm, we can sit outside. We continue with our journey returning to the mouth of the Westerschelde. Across from Vlissingen we moor in the marina of Breskens.
Thursday, 04.17. Breskens – Hansweert (lock) – Wemeldinge
We head up the Westerschelde on the marked channel, direction Antwerp. An interesting ride. Time and again we encounter ships and we are overtaken by inland waterway vessels. In the time before we have to cross the channel to port to enter into the lock of Hansweert, we are overtaken by two ships that where behind us for some time and had slowly caught up with us. We drive a bit out of the channel, so that they can pass us unhindered. From the lock we receive via radio communication that we can enter behind the work boats. After about an hour channel drive we reach the Marina of Wemeldinge. Before dinner we will have the opportunity to practice reverse driving into a box in gusty crosswinds. Thanks Florin, you’ve not only managed to make me sweat, but thanks to you I have also gained knowledge and (hopefully) helped improve my Manoeuvring skill!
Friday, 18.04. Wermeldinge – Westerschelde – Antwerp
Shortly after 8 clock in the morning we leave Wemeldinge, so that we reach the Marina in Antwerp around noon. After leaving the lock in Hansweert we fight against a current of about 3 knots up the  Westerschelde. Again, a very interesting ride. The current is pushing us to the side, its worth watching out that we are always in the marked channel, even at the edge. Or else we would end up in the clearly visible shoals very quickly. By 1300 clock we wait outside Royerssluis to enter the port of Antwerp. Fortunately, we have pre-registered by radio. We are number 7 to enter and only have to wait 10 minutes behind the work boat Orion until the lock is opened. Then, from starboard, five barges enter the lock lined up like pearls on a string, in the lock-in. Behind the Orion we have the seventh, last and smallest space. It takes a long time until all the ships moored properly, the Orion lays in the pack next to a big tanker .Its impressive to be lifted up.  Now we have to pass two bridges to get to the Marina. It has taken three hours to pass the lock and the bridges. After taking on Diesel we tie up in the marina at  Willemsdok at 1600. Now, unfortunately, is the end of this beautiful and varied trip. A special thanks to Paulette. She was always at hand and looking out for our well being onboard. We were able to enjoy the trip in a well-run five star restaurant.  Many thanks for your excellent commitment, Paulette.
April 2014 Peter
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Rolling Swiss Ahoy, here we go

In contrast to the start of the 2013 season, the new 2014 season could start as planned – almost as planned …It quickly became clear that the yard could do all the work on the motor yacht of CCS in time for the launch date, there were no large jobs. The planning for the commissioning of the ship was done, the flights and hotel were booked, the transports with their colleagues from the other three CCS ships was coordinated  - and yet February became a little hectic
So:
More and more it looked as though the first tours of the season, a boat handling tour and a team tour was short of crew. The two tours were merged and the season started for the CCS motor yacht a week later … Then there was a problem with the launching – no! The two Mobile Cranes in the picture were not there to launch our Rolling Swiss II … But were in Medemblik just for these few days to install a new railway bridge. The way to the
shipyard was blocked by this construction site. The work was planned for several days and for those who know about the reliability of schedules for these kinds of construction sites, knew this did no bode well! By our use of the shipyard “De Klerk Yacht Service” and the ongoing coordination regarding the progress of the new bridge, in the end, everything worked out – for all four CCS ships on site … The ships were ready on time, the trips could start!

I wish you all interesting and instructive trips in the 2014 season

- Enjoy your cruise on the “MY ROLLING SWISS II” – we look forward to your reports.

 

Marc
Pingoud

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14-09-13 to 21-09-13 Copenhagen to Kiel

Skipper:  Marc,
Richard

Crew: Bruno, Eric, Markus

Saturday 14-09-13

What a day to revisit our Lady! She was in the harbour at
Kastrup near Copenhagen, the weather was great, and our boat was ready to
roll!  A compliment to the previous crew,
she was immaculate inside and out.

Belongings stowed, we discussed our plans.  As the experienced CCS members know, first
off the boat needs to be provisioned – the well-being of the crew being the
priority.

So, with a suitable market identified, a team was dispatched
under the careful supervision of Markus who had nominated himself galley
chief.  Perhaps a few more items than
were on the list found their way past the cashier, and the less said about the
nutmeg the better, but soon it was all stored on board and in the late
afternoon we were on our way from Kastrup to Copenhagen harbour, where we
berthed on a long pier opposite a striking modern building.

Sunday 15-09-13

The reveille sounded at 4am, and the skipper ordered “cast
off” at 4.30…An early start, but Marc had planned for us a run of some 70
miles, with some night time navigation.

The sky was cloudy, drizzle fell and the visibility was
terrible. Finding the right course and identifying the navigation marks was a
real challenge for the whole crew but we worked hard, and thanks to thorough
preparation before we had set off, the boat ran safely and without incident
through to dawn and then the weather started to improve.

Early in the afternoon, we were safely moored in the harbour
of Stubbekøbing.

Eric, gourmet for the day, made this voyage particularly
memorable, as he whipped up a risotto with fresh chanterelles for us….yum!

Monday 16-09-13

From now on, the skippers have relaxed the morning schedule,
with a civilized breakfast at 8.30.

We took advantage of the spacious harbour for the crew to
practice mooring and boat handling, perfecting coming alongside and using
spring lines.

Around 11.00 we left the harbour and set off for your next
destination, Nykøbing.  We had hardly got
out of the shelter of the shore when a fierce wind picked up in front of
us.  Taking a force 6-7 right on the
nose, one could ask who has more work to do? Bruno the helmsman or the
windscreen wipers!

As an added challenge for our pair of navigators, the chart
plotter was covered up so we were practicing navigation the old fashioned
way!  One thing you can use while
navigating in shallow waters is the contours of the depth under the boat, a
great addition to the other, more obvious, references for checking your
position.

So having mastered that challenge, we were son at the bridge
at Guldbord where we used our VHF skills in English to gain passage, and by
6.00 we were safely tied up in the port of Nykøbing.

We wanted to eat ashore, after such a day, but after a long
walk we failed to find a reasonable restaurant.
Plan B – back to the boat, and a raid on our Lady’s stores. The
result?  A fine Pasta al Tonno.  Result!

Tuesday 17-09-13

We woke to delightful weather and after a leisurely
breakfast and a visit to the spa; we were on our way once more.  Our second passage through the bridge was
marked by much more relaxed use of the VHF radio.

Today’s voyage was rather shorter; 26 miles would see us in
the island harbour at Vejrø.  A fierce
crosswind at the harbour entrance surprised all of us, as did the sudden rain
showers.  The crew did well though and
although the manoeuvres all had to carry out quickly, the boat was soon head to
wind alongside the pontoon with the spring lines secured.  It makes a real difference if everyone knows
how to do their role when the weather is less than ideal.

The island of Vejrø is privately owned by a banker from
Denmark.  It has a nice, new, restaurant
with a small shop counter as well as a few guesthouses, a lighthouse and a
small grass runway.  It also has many
many rabbits – no natural predators apparently.

This was the most expensive harbour we visited, but it also
had the best facilities, so that seemed fair.
We also had the culinary highlight of the cruise here as Eric rustled up
roast beef on board for us.

Wednesday 18-09-13

Another beautiful morning and a relaxed schedule on board
and by 10 o clock we were out on the open sea.

We wanted to do some open water handling exercises, so
everyone could get the feel of the boat.
Yes, our tracking line might look like an unintelligible squiggle, but
every crew member did practice helming for a man overboard.

Still in nice weather, we reached the port of Sposbjerg at
about 3.00.  After a refreshing trip
ashore to have a look around the village and get some more supplies, we retired
to the boat for the evening.

Thursday 19-09-13

With our cruise slowly coming to an end, we left before
10.00 on our way to Laboe.  Although the
long crossing was rather quiet and unspectacular, at the Leutturm of Laboe a
cloud came over the skipper.  The port
instructed us to moor against a metal pile wall, so to protect the boat and
Marc’s nerves, we attached the fender boards.
After a perfectly executed mooring, we were looking forward to
celebrating our 100 mile trip with champagne and a nice meal in a great restaurant,
and we were not disappointed.

Friday 20-09-13

The morning sky was cloudy, and the rain fell, but the light
was still striking and beautiful.

We made our way out of the harbour at Laboe, and into the
Kiel fjord and into the North East Channel.
After a short cruise round the harbour, Marc made sure our lady was
safely in her final destination in the port of Düsternbrook and the team had
used the fenders and lines for the last time.

After the announcement of our “Putzete” we enjoyed a fine
evening in the Cellar Rat in Kiel.

Saturday 21-09-13

There’s really not much to say – at 9am the boat was handed
over to her new skipper and our crew sadly went away.

It was a great week – 224 more miles on the log – super
great team and a great boat!

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07-09-13 to 13-09-13 Gothenburg to Copenhagen

Skipper: Florin, Andreas

Crew: Daniela and André, Monika and Anthony

And finally a night cruise

In the short term, me the route Göteborg – the end
of August was passed Copenhagen, my baptism of fire as skipper 1.

Some of the crew were already known to me, because the crew meeting had already
taken place. I had done my preparatory work, and consulted a logbook dug out
from the time when I had sailed here before. Also, I started watching the
weather development, which was quickly evolving, online.

The first encounter with the crew took place on Friday evening at a dinner and
I was always confident we would be fine.

Saturday morning went quickly, Daniel, André and Andreas already during the
previous week with the RS II, which significantly eased the handover and set
up. A part of the crew got the shopping, while those left behind were planning
the first stage and I could get comfortable in the role as skipper of the RS II.

The gained advantage on the planning allowed us already around 1500 to place
and to steer course on one of the many, Göteborg offshore islands, Fotö where
we could create a short drive around 1730. The port was already fully occupied
as it was Saturday. Thankfully, we found a place to moor nearby and were
spoiled with crabs and prawns, what we followed with Swiss chocolate. The offer
of hard booze of hard drinks we declined, and remained on board with Rioja and
pasta.

On Sunday we had decided to drive first to the North, to enjoy the ride through
the Schärenlandschft. We reached our goal, Marstrand in the early afternoon, so
we had time for a day spent strolling around the impressive castle before
dinner.

On Monday, we made it to Salö, the small island with the lighthouse, which
serves the control of Gothenburg. We knew that it would be very tight and found
a few places (2) unfortunately busy even before lunch. Thus we carried on to the
Marina Donsö, which has evolved tremendously since my last visit six years ago.

On Tuesday, we left the archipelago for a bigger trip with aim of getting to Varberg.
The somewhat monotonous ride has eased as Daniela and André had passed their
500th nautical mile. It was an hour later for Anthony too to clock his hours.
We arrived early in Varberg, so had time to the visit the Castle and then to
take a drive with the dinghy.

Also on Wednesday, the best thing was the weather and the calm seas. For the
Thursday, had we made us much and already laid off around 0900. The first
destination was Landskrona, where we docked shortly after noon. Until dusk everyone
did what they wanted, a visit of the Middle Stadzzentrums to a small snack, or
just with a little bit of the sun. By 8pm it was dusk and set sail for
Copenhagen.

Thanks to the good preparation of the crew, the beacons were each quickly
identified during the crossing. It was somewhat challenging when approaching Copenhagen.
It was not always easy to identify the important lights of the city. I was
somewhat relieved when we moored close to the Amalienborg at the Larsen Plaat
at 2300.

Unfortunately we spent much of Friday trying to find a “working” fuel
dock. So we unfortunately it was only after dusk that we reached the harbour in
Kastrup for our well-earned dinner. Rather than in downtown Copenhagen we
decided to spend the evening in the club room of the sailing club Kastrup where
we were gifted a club Pennant (a CCS pennant was already there).

It was a great experience with an established and knowledgeable crew.

Thank you very much,

Florin

 

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31-08-13 to 07-09-13 Oslo to Gothenburg

Skipper: Ernst and Andreas

Crew: Daniela Marc-Henry and André

 

The trip started in Oslo
with the acquisition of the rolling Swiss II in heavy clouds and persistent
rain. While skipper tended to the takeover, the rest of the crew went to do the
shopping. After all the Rolling Swiss II was stowed, we treated ourselves to
the first lunch. After the skipper 2safety instructions we headed out – on our
way to the first anchor and place now in brilliant sunshine and blue skies. The
exit from the narrow harbour basin was a real masterpiece which our skipper
brilliantly mastered.

The first night on the Rolling
Swiss II at anchor, ran what but did not diminish his sleep due to wind and
waves. Only one creaky door left ajar scared us. It was early in the morning again
very quiet – for a harmonious and peaceful awakening! The ship operation and
life on board took its course. Today’s goal was a mooring on the island Kirköy.
Unfortunately, we found no appropriate place, so we docked at the pier in
Skjærhalden.

After breakfast and water
bunkering, there for each crew member mooring maneuvers. Very instructive, and
more important again, under different circumstances – such as wind and currents
- perform the maneuver. Then we went a stage to Strömstad, which is already in
Sweden. Here, we enjoyed the beautiful steel blue weather and made just a few
purchases. Then we went into a small port in Havstensund, where there was no
shore power or water. A starry night underlined the Idyll.

Day 4 brought an exciting
stage. We crossed two channels; the Hamburg Sund and the Sotekanalen. The first
gave us great photo opportunities and a fantastic and well maintained
landscape. Here, we treated ourselves to lunch in a typical fish shop and
local. The second channel was very tight and we had to pass a low bridge. Since
the route was quite complex, almost the whole line was manually controlled and
navigated through the channels only on point of view.

Gullholmen was a pretty
idyllic and typical place, which is extinct but even out of season and on a few
residents. The aim of today’s stage was Kälkerö. A small, uninhabited island,
which was home to a few local birds. Here we have attached a stern anchor and 2
lines. Then there was a short dinghy instruction and then an exploration tour.
It was exciting that there was a great rescue exercise in the anchor area from
20.00 h to 23.00 h by the Swedish coastguard, which we couldwatchfrom our front
row seat out.

Day 6 is called the
destination Styrsö Sandvik. This is located just outside Gothenburg, our goal
for this trip. On this small island, which is also empty out of season, we
fueled and then cooked in the galley one last time a fine farewell meal.

Arrival in Gothenburg! Now,
the ship was scrub, cleaned, and polished to a high gloss. A beautiful,
weather, technically brilliant and instructive week was over.

 

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24-08-13 to 31-08-13 Oslo to Oslo

Skipper: Andi, Max

Crew: Reto, Paul, Marco, Charlotte

Saturday 24-08-13

 

After handover, Max and Andi check the boat and plan our trip while the
rest of us are dispatched to do the provisioning.  It’s quite an operation; 100 kg of water,
juice and wine (of course!) as well as food for the week. Lots of innovative
ideas are employed to first transport and then stow everything we have
bought.  Then Max gives a safety
briefing, including the use of the lifejackets.

The weather is a dream; blue sky and sea – the water looks like a lake,
oily flat.

On the program for the first day is to anchor in Hăyöbukta bay, 15
miles away from Oslo.  Andi briefs us on
the boat procedures and we take our positions; Andi at the wheel, Paul on the
spring, Reto and Paul on the stern line and Marco and Charlotte with fenders on
the bow.  After a perfect cast off, we
are out of the port and into the Oslofjord by 14.15.  Because it’s the weekend and the beautiful
weather, it looks like Lake Zurich! Very little shipping is moving.  At 8 knots we make good progress and we are
soon in the lake preparing the anchor and the land line.  Paul and Max go ashore armed with rock nails
for the land line and with 50m of chain laid out everything holds and they
return to the boat.

As dinner is prepared, there is a heated discussion about how to make
salad dressing between Marco and
Charlotte, while the rest of us look at the long voyage planed for
tomorrow – we plan to make for the beautiful natural harbour of Gluppösome 75 miles
to the south.

After a beautiful evening meal of spaghetti eaten on the aft deck, Reto
has the great idea to sleep on the foredeck, but quickly gives up as it gets
cold after sunset.

Sunday 25-08-13

With our plan to leave at 6.30, most of the crew see the beautiful
sunrise an hour before.  Fortified with
breakfast and lots of coffee, we cast off the landline and haul the anchor.

In amazing weather, we head south and lots of us spend time on the
foredeck – or “sun terrace” as it is known on board.  As good seamen, we change the courtesy flag for
a Swedish one at the border and finally reach the island of Gluppö.  Again, we moor as Scandinavians do, with both
chain out and a land line taken ashore.
While dinner is prepared, Paul and Charlotte take a dinghy trip and go
ashore to photograph Rolling Swiss II from the rocks.  Dinner, drinks and sunset make for a
beautiful atmosphere on board and we chat and swap stories on the aft deck
until midnight.

Monday 26-08-13

Having cast off at 8.30 we head south through a narrow strait between
the island of Hamburgöand the mainland.
Charlotte helms the boat through the narrow passage just on the engines
– she is getting a good feel for handling the boat. Later, we anchor for lunch
in the fjord of Sannäsfjorden and after head on to the harbour at Strömstad.
Paul brings the boat in expertly along the pontoon, but we have two goes at
setting the warps for the perfect tie up.

Supplies of wine are getting low and we seem to have forgotten balsamic
and olive oil, so Marco and Charlotte are dispatched into the city to remedy
this intolerable situation.  This turns
out not to be that easy, as wine is only sold in special shops, and the close
one has already closed. After a quick march, loaded with shopping bags, they
make the second with two minutes to spare.
Phew!  It’s a long walk back
though loaded up like pack-donkeys.
Worth it though, as we enjoy a dinner on board of pork cutlet, caprese
and fried potatoes with rosemary.

Tuesday 27-08-13

As everyone is up with the dawn at 5.30, we head out to see an hour
earlier than we had planned.  We have to
traverse the canal that separates the islands of Koster and Nordkoster.  The islands are connected by a chain ferry,
which uses a flashing yellow light to assert its right of way over all other
marine traffic.  We wait before passing.

For lunch we anchor off the island of Otterön where we disturb the
peace by running our generator so we can cook eggs and bacon.  After a siesta we move on, heading north and
then north west, running south of Syd Koster and into the beautiful bay at
Arholmen.  Again, we lay the stern anchor
with 50 metres of rope and lines onto the rocks.

Supper is sea fish just caught by ourselves from the dinghy, and
prepared with tomatoes, lemon and a drop of Pastis.  While we chat, we agree we’ll all put in a
bit for the fuel budget so we can try the boat going faster tomorrow.

Wednesday 28-08-13

Paul has finally delivered on his promises, and frothed milk so
Charlotte can enjoy her morning cappuccino.

We set off at 8.45, and again the weather is wonderful. Andi helms the
boat into the open water, sets the throttle and, with a roar, we surge up to 20
knots.  Rolling Swiss II sits comfortably
in the water at this speed, and everyone has a turn helming at speed.

At this speed, we quickly reach the mainland where we conduct our man
over board practices.  After, Reto helms
the boat into the bay and we anchor again at about 13.45.  Our fifth day voyaging is done, and now we
have 238 miles on the log.

We have no bread, so Paul and Max go ashore in the dinghy with a four
mile round trip to a shop ahead of them.
While they’re off, the boat is cleaned, log books filled in and the
peace enjoyed.  When they finally return
with milk and bread, we all laugh at the photo of their “shop” – stall would
really be the word.

Tonight’s meal is a magnificent spaghetti Bolognese with a salad.  The breeze dies off, and when it does, the mosquitoes
descend and we take shelter in the boats comfy interior.

Thursday 29-08-13

Paul is up first as usual and, ignoring the jellyfish, takes a cold
bath off the back of the boat, even washing his hair in the sea!  Seeing his facial expression, Charlotte
changes her mind and does not go down the ladder.

Breakfast again features frothy milk, and then we prepare to put to
sea.  Unfortunately, this time it
doesn’t   go quite so well, and as a 12cm
pipe comes up with our anchor!  The boat
is carefully handled as Andi frees the pipe with a boathook and drops it back
in the water.  No angry locals appear, so
hopefully no harm was done!

Marco takes the helm and Max takes charge of the navigation.  They take great care in the shallow waters
along the Langärsund.  After two hours of
difficult navigation we are in the Oslofjord North where there is noticeably
more shipping traffic, including the ferry between Horten and Moss – plenty of
chances to practice assessing collision courses.

At about 18.00 we reach Havittingbutka at the southern tip of the
island of Jeloaya. The water is very deep, and out stern line technique is not
holding, so instead we lay both bow and stern line ashore, and the boat rest
safely across a small inlet.  To
celebrate our last anchoring, Reto hands round glasses of his port, which had
been intended for an Italian zabaglione desert.
We all agree that port has never tasted better!  Dinner is salad and then curry and rice, with
plenty of our hoarded wine, although everyone remains well behaved.

Friday 30-08-13

After a quick breakfast, we set off at 8am.  The seas are calm, but the sky overcast. We
have less than 3- miles to run to the marina in Aker Brygge.  There, the yacht is fuelled and we see the
cost of the previous day’s high speed adventures.  The boat takes 10,000 crowns of fuel, the
dinghy 60!  I wonder whether we should have
done a few more miles in the dinghy…

A careful bit of boat handling by Andi and the boa is safe on a
sheltered inner berth, and we can get on with preparing the boat and
paperwork.  A riotous final evening
ensues, on the floating restaurant nearby, where we even make some friends and
invite them back to our boat for a few late night drinks.

Saturday 31-08-13

The early birds gather at 7.30 for breakfast a hotel nearby.  Marco and Charlotte enjoy a lie in till 8.30,
but then have to get up as our next crews arrives promptly at 9.30 and the
skippers conduct their handover while we prepare for a day out in Oslo.  We hope the new crew have as fantastic trip
as we have, and that the weather improves for them!

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13-08-16-13-08-24 Kristiansand – Oslo

Skipper: Werner

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
at sea.
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
High North.
Thanks to all the crew who took part and especially to our skipper
Werner for his careful tutelage on the high seas!

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27-07-13 to 03-08-13 Bergen to Stavanger

Skipper: Ernst and Urs

Crew: Margrit, Tamara, Peter and Pierre

A training cruise in Norway, from the view of the pupils!

I’m off to Norway, with high expectations.  I’m a keen sailor, but what will it be like
to spend six days on a motor boat? And what of the mountainous landscape, might
it rain every day?

After a morning of preparation and briefings, we set sail in the
afternoon.  The Norwegian landscape is
beautiful with cute painted houses along the rocky shoreline. There is plenty
of traffic too, including large cruise ships and for the first time, I used the
AIS system – amazing to be able to see the other craft and identify their size,
course and speed – great for avoiding collisions.

Pierre, Peter and I alternately take turns to navigate, under
supervision of the skippers and it is my role to passage plan for
tomorrow.  By 5pm we have arrived in the
quiet Büchtlein Lysevagen, where our first manoeuvre involves launching the
dinghy and laying a stern anchor.  While
Margrit and Peter prepare a great supper, I’m still working with the charts and
then put the course into the plotter – we won’t be lost!

In the morning, I’m supervising the helmsman and using bearings to
check the position and course as well as using the plotter.  I also check the bridge heights for safety,
and use landmarks like lighthouses as well to check the track.  As a newbie, it is amazing for me to see all
this technology at work in the navigation, and Ernst and Urs are great
teachers. After passing through the Maurangesfjord we make Sundal for the
evening.  The skippers take great care
navigating through small obstacles in the water, and when laying the landline
and anchor so we won’t be left hanging when the tide goes out.

What a day!  I’m exhausted and
happy to relax after my day as navigator.

Before setting off the next morning, we are taught the man overboard
procedure, and two fenders are tied together so we can practice at sea.  Sure enough, as we motor along, Pierre gives
the shout and throws the fender…the first time, it’s all a little clumsy, but
we get more confident with repeated practice.

Later, we make a stop in Rosendal so we can get ashore and stretch our
legs.  Then it is on to the remote ferry
town of Skånevik and are treated to dolphins swimming with us.  It may be high summer, but I’m amazed how few
people there seem to be around here.

The next morning’s briefing is all about how to abandon ship and other
emergency procedures, including using the liferaft – I hope to never need any
of this.  As Peter is today’s navigator,
I am on the helm, and it’s my turn to helm.
As I said, I hadn’t any experience of a twin screw boat, and I’m amazed
at how manoeuvrable it is.  I practice
the MOB drill too and while I am getting the hang of positioning the boat, I
fear that my casualty might freeze in the water before the rescue…

At lunchtime, a violent thunderstorm rolls through and we lose almost
all visibility.  It’s a great chance to
use the boat’s radar for navigation, as explained by Ernst.  We had planned to head for an island, but
because of the weather turn in to Storasund.

The sun was shining when we woke up and I planned an attractive route
through narrow channels.  It’s beautiful
and all the cameras snap non-stop.  We
anchor and enjoy lunch in the sun at Kvernaviga and at 3pm undertake the last
trip onto Skudenshaven.

Full of anticipation we round the entrance and are treated to a
picturesque view of neat white houses and the protected harbour.  The berth was very tight, and Ernst
demonstrated just how to place the large Rolling Swiss in a tiny space.

The next day, we explore this beautiful area before heading on to
Boroyholmane before making our way to Stavanger where we had to refuel the boat
and prepare her for the next crew.

It’s been an amazing experience, and many thanks to Ernst and Urs for
sharing so much of their knowledge.

Tamara

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