Leg 2: 2-11 July Aalborg to Fredrikstad, Norway
Wednesday, 10th July
A relatively relaxed day today, with yacht cleaning and a few repairs ready for the next Leg so nothing to exciting, but chance to reflect on the trip.
For me as my first-time skippering AT on STBV, it has been a pleasure I have covered a fair few miles with her by the time I arrived so was more than content putting her to sea. The real eye opener was the crew that I had been given, 7 in total and 5 whom had never sailed before and an experienced mate in Johnno who finally cheered up once his bag had arrived.
I feel it was a real shame that we couldn't do what we set out to do as John and I where so up for it. Crew make up for this sort of AT is a huge part of being able to complete the task ahead effectively and ultimately safely. I feel I made the right call in not racing and cruising up instead, but something that needs to be looked at for future races, both john and I said if we had maybe a DS and a CC we would have gone for it! We cant turn down a challenge that easily!!
Never the less we have had a fantastic sailing trip and got to see a few more places than we would have if we had of raced!
We would have loved to have spent more time on the water but with the repairs that where needed that just wasn't possible.
I have learnt a lot on this trip and reminded myself of things I already knew, It has been an experience that I wont forget in a hurry, there where lots of firsts for me in this trip and it's those that stay with you longest.
Now with Leg 3 looming and stepping down to Mate as the next skipper arrives for the cruise in company to Bergen, I certainly feel a sense of achievement. I am definitely looking forward to the Baltic trip next year and hopefully St Petersburg……….
Mate's Final Thoughts
I'm sitting writing these thoughts with the weather outside reminding me of this time last year sailing home from Spain. Having never sailed in or around the Baltic area I didn't know what to expect but I did not expect the glorious weather we have had.
So I did what most would and packed long trousers and heavy jumpers for our visit to Norway after finally receiving my bag in Aalborg and setting sail I have come to realise that most of my clothes will return home as clean as they came out.
The crew were quick to soak up the whole atmosphere of the tall ships and jumped straight in to helping us conduct the repairs from leg 1 after we set sail most were happy to settle in to there watch system with only one getting the dreaded seasickness after a good few hours on seeing not much but the big blue we entered the Norwegian fjords it was such a beautiful sight to see with the hidden coves and cliff top houses it was one of the best sights I have seen in my sailing past.
We have now spent the day cleaning the boat ready for handover in the morning with a comment made from the skipper im glad your leading it as you have a bosun standard. I hope this was implying that it was a high standard.
Gnr Crouch. Overall, I really enjoyed the trip we all gained experience and we all realised sailing isn't easy. We all got along really well, especially with Ed and John which made the sail more exciting.
Even though we didn't entre the race we still manged to get a really good amount off sailing in throughout the trip and I would recommend sailing to a friend/colleague.
I would happily come sailing again and I look to further my sailing experience in the near future.
Bdr Davies. The reason I put my name forward for this trip was because I wanted to see some more of the world and having never been to Denmark or Norway sailing around didn't seem like a bad way to do this. At the start it was a bit slow having to fix the boat and prep it to be ready to race. I was all up for the race but having been so calamitous during the parade of sail and our first real taste of sailing I was feeling slightly less optimistic. Due to some issues with the boat, weather and lack of experience of the crew the skipper decided not to race this turned out to be a good decision as lots of very experienced crews also dropped out or where made to finish during it.
The sailing we did do I really enjoyed, it was good to do sailing through the night and get a taste of what it would be like when either racing or sailing across a large distance.
On a whole I was glad I came on the trip and have thoroughly enjoyed my time aboard the ST.BARBARA V. I would recommend trips like this to everyone and hopefully I can get myself on a few more.
Bdr Hall. When I put my name forward for this trip, I honestly didn't think I would be put on it, I wanted to seeing as it's in a part of the world I had never been before and I was keen to get some new experience and have a taste to see what sailing was like, however saying that I'm really glad I have had chance to do this and to experience it.
When we arrived in Aalborg, there were a few issues with the ship that needed to fix before we could set sail, this took up the first 2 days which meant we were limited to time get any experience on the boat before we were to set off. The decision was made to not race and to build our confidence up sailing first, this was due to the fact the nearly all of the crew including myself had never sailed before.
Once we got out onto the open water it was like a different world and it was eye opening to see, and especially when the seas started to get choppy and you had to "tack" against the wind to keep speed up on course , we got to see first hand how much skill it takes to keep a sailing boat moving.
Overall I have really enjoyed this experience and a am glad I have had the chance to participate in some sailing. I hope to get on something like this again in the future.
Gnr Haynes. When the opportunity came up for a sailing competition, I was at first unsure as in had very little sailing experience. However, I was keen to go and experience Norway and Denmark for the first time and test my sailing abilities.
Upon arriving in Aalborg, we spent a few days exploring and repairing the ship, unfortunately we did not get any sailing practice before the start of the race as the repairs took longer than expected. However, in the end the decision was made not to take part in the race as we had very limited sailing experience between us and thankfully this was a good decision as most of the more competent crews ended up pulling out due to the conditions.
When we left the harbour and began sailing we had to quickly learn the basics as our skipper and mate were very seasoned and held nothing back in trying to teach us what to do. My first day of proper sailing was quite pleasant as it was calm seas and nice weather, however my second day as we crossed from Denmark to Norway I became very sea sick and was not very helpful to the rest of the crew. Thankfully this was taken into consideration and I was allowed to try and sleep it off.
When we arrived in Norway no one was more relieved than me to step foot on solid ground again. We tied up along the shore for the last time and after a good nights sleep we cleaned the boat and are now looking forward to returning back to the UK.
Gnr Ishmael Anthony Haynes. Am always up for any sailing adventure, reason for this I love sailing and I want to gain more experience and skills required to become a good sailor hence the reason why I put my name forward to do any type of sailing.
I have definitely learnt more skills on this leg of the tall ship race 2019 from Denmark Aalborg to Norway Frederiksted. It's my first time experience overnight sailing which I found to be good.
We started at Aalborg where we took over the boat, most time was spent getting the boat prepare and ready, a lot of time was spent getting the boat prepare and ready for the race that took us a couple of days. When that was finish we set sails and started our overnight journey to Frederiksted..
We arrived in Frederiksted rested the first day as everyone was tired from that overnight sailing, the follow day was spent cleaning and preparing the boat for handover, then it was a relaxing evening of meals and good laugher with the lads.
Tuesday, 9th July
Having had a night in Skagen, I went for a wander in the hope I could find some Norwegian charts, I wasn't keen on coming into Norway with no Paper/ detailed charts and solely relying on the chart plotter (Although the new kit is amazing). No such luck, Skagen was a very mixed bag of commercial fishing and shops, Similar in some ways to Puerto Calero.
We slipped our mooring at 1130, and joined the hustle and bustle of stink boats pretending they knew what they where doing, to get to the fuel pontoon. We topped up the tank, and 120litres later we where on our way to Larvik, Norway. We motored out round the top of Denmark hopeful for the forecasted Westerly. Wishful thinking we found ourselves with a NW, not the end of the world as we could fetch our waypoints. Merely 2 hours in to our 15 hour trip, boom, straight on the nose at a good 20knots!! Not Cool! (But still cracking sailing)
Throughout the night we had lost our bilge pump in the cockpit, not to worry we still had two. After a quick chat with the mate, we made the call to head straight for Fredrikstad. Although this would add a few hours onto the trip, and would mean we would have no shelter from the Skaggerak, bearing her teeth at as, we knew we would have the support network, with our liaison's to find parts should we need too.
The prospect of another 50/60 miles beating to windward was too much for one crew member, who seemed to lose all solidity to his bones and pretzled himself firmly in the fishing seat. We knew St B would laugh if she could, she just cut through the waves like butter. As ever she stood her ground firmly and didn't even flinch in the gusts!!
Coming on shift at 0200 and it still being sunset/sunrise was a really surreal feeling, being this far north it never goes dark, so we saw a cracking sunset straight into a cracking sunrise without any darkness.
The navigation without detailed charts was certainly challenging, but never the less we have arrived safely into Fredrikstad, moored up on the river wall waiting for the lifting bridge to allow us to get in alongside our tall ships berth.
The views in the river on the way in where fantastic sheer cliff faces, the aptly name pirates coves, the house with its on marina, all was very quiet and the sound of St B cutting through echoed off the rock faces around us.
Whilst we have been waiting for the bridge to open John and I went to see the town and tried to find out what was where, we succeeded in finding the race office and a kebab shop (No laughing the food on this trip has been rather……… unfilling). The quayside is full of restaurants and local shops, Tall Ships Banners hanging from every lamppost!
So my intentions now are to get the boat prepped for the next leg, check the bilge pumps (More repairs), get out into town and see some of Norway again having not been here for 20 years!
Monday, 8th July
Mon 8th July
We arrived into Skagen port slightly later than we had anticipated, roughly 2200 the port was full and it took us a good hour to find somewhere to park the boat. Once in place the crew had a celebratory beer, a German captain joined us for a drink and from there people broke down to get ready for bed.
We where awoken about 0900 in the morning by a disgruntled Danish man he informed us we had to move because our space was reserved for vessels over 20 metres. Upon finding this out we had to bring forward our 1400 planned departure time to about 1200 this gave lads time to grab some more bread and lunch bits. Once we had returned from the shop with about 4 kilos of bread we set off via a calamitous fuel stop where we had managed to leave roughly half the crew on the pontoon, we swung round and was informed that the remainder of the crew would jump on, a straight forward request for all but one member of the crew who jumped straight off the boat. It all got sorted in the end and we started our journey towards Larvik.
The first couple of hours was predominantly under the engine due to there being about 8 KTS of wind, we split down into shifts doing 2 on 4 off. However after 2 rotations of this system the wind had picked up significantly so we split down into 2 shifts doing 4 on 4 off. Dinner that night was Lasagne and garlic bread everyone in the crew seemed to enjoy it except for one member of the crew who had adopted the foetal position towards the rear of the boat, safe to say the fish ate well that night. A couple more things we learnt about that day was when you put a reef into the sails. Up until about 2200 we covered about 6 NTM an hour quite consistently then after that between 1-2 NTM an hour (VMG) as we where forced into beating into the wind. 0600 a swift crew change and bacon sandwiches scranned we are now 4 hours from Fredrikstad. 0930 we arrive into Fredrikstad and moor up on the waiting pontoon this is a good time for members of the crew to eat breakfast, catch up on sleep and in some cases stop throwing up. Overall it was a good journey and thankfully the weather wasn't disgusting.
Sunday, 7th July
Skipper's Notes and intent.
We are currently alongside in Skagen, with a days total of 65NM, looking to leave no later than 1400 to make way for Larvik, intending to top up fuel and water before leaving.
There isn't much darkness here so intend to sail through what dark there is to make Larvik lunchtime Tuesday 9th July.
Spending the night of the 9th in Larvik, slip early morning of the 10th, to make the scenic route into Fredrikstad to re join the tall ships and to clean down ready for the next crew on the 11th.
Crew Blog. Gnr Haynes.
Sunday, crew woke up at 0630 ready to cast off for 0800. We had breakfast consisting of bacon and cheese rolls. We beat our 0800 deadline and began to sail out of Aalborg down the canal out into the open ocean using only our engine which took 2 hours. Everyone had a chance to steer and get a feel for the boat. Upon breaking out into the open ocean we raised the main sail and began to keep a log of our current state, this would be done every hour.
We then were shown how to tack and practised this a few times before having some lunch wraps and then splitting up into our shifts at 1300. Shift A consisted of 3 people and B 4 people, shift B which I was in got our heads down for 3 hours whilst the others carried on sailing. My shift then took over at 1600 and began our 3 hour stint where we took it in turns to steer and tack from both sides of the boat. The mate asked us to Tack twice just so he could use the onboard facilities, not sure what that's about!! It was challenging at first as we are all new to sailing and we were not fully competent in what we were doing.
However after a few mishaps with accidental tacking and lobster pots we got the hand of it and moved on to have dinner of chicken tikka. On our approach to our destination Skagen we dropped the main sail and motored our way in to the harbour. We then tied ourselves up on the dock and had a celebratory drink and felt a sense of achievement of what we had accomplished on our first day of sailing. We are now all looking forward to our next leg tomorrow Skagen to Larvik which should take us 17 hours to complete, which means we will get more practice in what we have already learned and also get to experience night time sailing for a first. We are now relaxing in Skagen for the night before our first timing tomorrow at 1000 with a time of departure no later than 1400.
Saturday, 6th July
Crew Blog. Gnr Crouch.
Friday night few members off the crew went and watched the firework display which was a really good end to our stay in Denmark.
The next day we woke up at 0700 started morning routine, 0800 we started prepping for race 1 off the tall ship race. Unfortunately, we had the news that we would not be racing due to a number of reasons.
We attended the parade off the sail mid afternoon which was the first chance the crew has had to get hands on sailing which was exciting, after spending around 1hr 30 we came back in to the marina for the night.
For tea today we had bangers and mash which was cooked by Bdr Davies and Bdr Hall, everyone will be getting an early night tonight ready for a 0630 start and leaving Aalborg at 0800 heading to Skagen which will take around 12 hours.
Friday, 5th July
Skipper's Report. A day of pouring over weather charts the race route, asking myself the what ifs about 30 thousand times. We have looked at the route and the weather and are looking to race!! Parade of sail tomorrow dependant on the arrival of Johns bag. Then Leg 2 will be away en route to the start which is a little over 12 hours away.
Safety Briefs and theory lessons this afternoon, then some more charts and weather for John and I.
All repairs are good AIS is still Transmitting our location and has been now for 48 Hrs so we are happy there.
Thursday, 4th July
Skipper's Report. The day started off with a great team run then into breakfast. We then started working on the boat again doing little bits and bobs washing the deck, filling the water tank etc. We Then entered the basketball competition which was great, later in the evening we attend the crew parade which was also a great experience, as each ship crew displayed their different cultured band and music. Great day great experience….
Wednesday, 3rd July
Skipper's Report. Everyone got a good nights sleep after a long day yesterday albeit with the skippers snoring!!
Started the day with the Race Safety Inspection Team arriving onboard. We have now been cleared and signed off to race in ALL legs of Tall Ships 2019.
Repairs started with the binnacle being dismantled, no easy feat for John and I after the refit, it was painful to take to pieces again but entirely needed the bracket had sheared completely again. We will look at options to replace/reinforce/permanently resolve the binnacle issues when back in the UK.
Whilst chatting to the RCO, who stopped by, the one the only Paul Molyneaux appeared and was delighted to see us all! He was just off to register having arrived in the early hours this morning.
In the afternoon after a quick sandwich lunch, the Tri Colour was repaired, and a new AIS unit fitted. We should now appear to the wider world and we can now race (Steering Dependant).
The repairs seemed to swallow up a huge amount of time and before we knew it we had been called to DINNER (Ongoing Conversation Onboard). The crew are slowly working out things take longer to cook onboard even alongside, making things ………… Interesting.
Tomorrow John and I hope to get the steering back together, and find some water, we are down to ¼ the port wing tank!! Also report to the race office to collect our yellow brick tracker – Details to follow.
Bdr Joe Hall. First day waking up on board in Aalborg and around 0830 we were all up, eaten breakfast and were ready for the day ahead. Gnr Haynes met with the Liason Officer and got given wristbands along with maps of the area for activities to take part in for the next few days whilst we are here. We then went about helping with the repairs that needed to be done on board which included the steering and the tricolour light. It was interesting and felt rewarding helping out and getting hands on straight away.
We then went out and explored a bit more of a wider area of Aalborg, due to the fact that today was Open boat day this included going onboard other vessels to have a look around, we then went and got more supplies in for both lunch and dinner that we needed. Whilst John and Ed worked on repairing the AIS system in the afternoon we walked down the harbour and saw a concert that was going on and came up with a plan of action for the next 2 days whilst we are here, so that we have a loose idea of what needs doing and when.