Monday, August 18th, 2008
Starting the race “Fyn-Rundt” and sailing for Copenhagen
Before the start of the Fyn-Rundt race the skippers of all the ships gathered at 0700 at the Naval Association club-room at the old Navy Base (and by ‘old’ I mean early 18th century- before the days when Nelson was sacking Copenhagen and Denmark had a large sailing navy) in Korsor for instructions, coffee and rolls. Surrounded by naval and maritime memorabilia – swords, photos of sailing frigates and steam ships, bits and pieces of brass from ships- we took our good Danish coffee at white linen covered tables. We would sail in an hour. So we did. At 0800 we simply all cast off and streamed out the narrow habour entrance of Korsor without any complicated committee inspired plan in triplicate. We should all just observe good seamanship, common sense and the rules of the road.
Another cool grey, overcast day with spitting rain and a fair wind, but we were getting used to this. The vessels made their way under the huge bridge now connecting Denmark and Sweden with a land route to the rest of Europe to a spot to the north, cracking on sail and dodging about near the starting line. We did likewise. At the gun the Picton Castle had the weather mark and crossed pretty snappily but it was our lot to carry on to the NE while the fleet sailed off to the west. In force 6 breezes soon the fleet of ships were specks lost on a hazy horizon. With a blast on the whistle and a round of greetings and send-offs on the radio we pulled away from the fleet, making good speed under upper topsails.
Luckily for us the wind and rain blew through, breaking out into clear skies and fair breezes from the north as we rounded the top of Sjaelland and we ended up having a beautiful sail overnight right up to the approaches to Copenhagen. Clear skies and light northerly winds carried us along with yards braced sharp on the port tack as we made our way east in smooth seas and fine summer conditions towards Copenhagen.
Kroneborg om Styrbord
At Elsinore, on the north east corner of the main Danish island of Sjaelland, is the castle of Kroneborg, the famous setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A ship must pass this castle on the way to Copenhagen. This castle dates well after the time of Hamlet and he wasn’t real anyway. For Danish deep-sea sailing ships, passing Kroneborg on starboard means that you are really home now, only a few more miles to Copenhagen. It is also the point where the strait between Sweden and Denmark narrows considerably and there is extremely busy large ship and ferry traffic crossing the shipping lanes at top speed. Our wind got lighter and lighter so we fired up the main engine and pushed on towards Copenhagen. Little tiny fishing draggers fished in the channels, north and south bound ships to and from Russia, Finland and Poland passed us. Big deep sea ferries connecting Oslo and Copenhagen lumbered past. The Italian Navy Sail Training Ship the Amerigo Vespucci passed us under power. She is huge and is modeled after the great three-decker naval sailing warships of the 19th century. She went to anchor off the port and we heard them ordering a pilot for the next day. The Picton Castle would just sail in.