Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
After two nights of light but fair winds sailing from the coast of Sweden, the Picton Castle sailed into Kristiansand Harbour in southern Norway. This is the homeport of the beautiful sail training ship, the full-rigger Sorlandet (meaning “The Southern Land”), which is a little bigger than Picton Castle.
We tied up at the small heritage shipyard at Bredsholmen just south of town. This yard is devoted to restoring and servicing historic riveted steel ships like ours. There are still quite a few old riveted steel ferry, cargo or tug boats from the early 20th century and even the 19th century, some with original steam power. This shipyard has just recently carried out a multi-million dollar re-plating of the bow and stern of the full-rigger Sorlandet, all in riveted steel plate. Riveting steel is like sewing sails by hand, it takes longer and very few know how to do it anymore, but it is a very good way to put ships together.
This was a snug little berth in a tiny cove for us but quite an interesting place to lay for a bit. There were lots of interesting water-craft around to check out. Because there are so many pretty little pine covered rocky islands nearby in the harbour, a picnic was set up with a full on Caribbean barbeque. Good time had by all. They have a lot of oil industry service vessels in Norway and we were beginning to see them. Much bigger than supply boats, massive things with high bridges and even helicopter pads above the bridges. I have been told that Norway has gone from being the poorest nation in Europe fifty years ago to one of the richest today(with prices to match -$20 fast food hamburgers, $8 Cokes), all because of North Sea oil. This was just a brief stop to see something different and we were off again bound for Stavanger – this time we had head winds so we fired up the Alpha and pushed against small seas in clear weather sailing around the southern corner of Norway.