To be, or not to be in Copenhagen in a week.

That was the question. Having spent the best part of a fortnight getting from Sandevik to Goteborg, it was bound to be a challenge to get to Copenhagen in less than a week. Were we up for it? Would the gods continue to bless us with perfect winds?

Well, it was still hot and balmy when we greeted Adam and James off the tram at Langedrag. So, after a quick lunch of quiche, bread, cheese and fruit left over from Karin's picnic, we started the journey south, tacking through the islets that formed the southern end of the Skargard. Towards evening we anchored in the remote bay of Vimbarish - where Adam spent some time after supper photographing the sunset in all kinds of different exposures. James turned out to be the model crew member. Eats almost nothing, drinks in moderation, is a superb cook, can carry a full 11kg gas cylinder in one hand whilst throwing a rope accurately with the other. He tended to sleep through the more boring parts of passage making, but was always on hand when things got tricky.

The following day we were just able to lay our course to Taslov, a small but pleasant harbour 29 nm to the South. This was a town of blondes; not a brunette to be found; a whole clutch of giggly gorgeous golden-haired girls were running the ice cream parlour when Peter and Robin surveyed it, but by the time we had dragged Adam and James back there after devouring Adam's signature dish of chicken risotto - the shift had changed. As had the weather! By the next morning, a stiffish Southerly presented us with a couple of long tacks under mizzen and reefed genoa to get to Falkenburg.

Here we motored right up the river passed two floating docks containing huge vessels that towered above us sticking out their wave breakers like swollen probosi. We came alongside just by the bridge. The town has a mention in the rough guide to Sweden: "You could do worse than spend a couple of hours wandering about the old town between trains". The Falkenburg tourist office however, claimed that the town is a cultural Mecca, having more museums per inhabitant than any other town in the county of Halland. The rod and gun guru W M Wilkinson wrote his best selling "Days in Falkenberg" here in 1884. Then the salmon river still provided prolific sport. But for us the highlight was the St Laurentii Kyrka - a fine medieval church, still in use to day - with primitive wall paintings and a ceiling depicting Christ in Judgement and the Jaws of Hell. At the press of a button, Peter and Robin were given a pre-recorded organ and choir concert that was quite delightful. Altogether well worth the half an hour we spent there sheltering from the rain. In the evening we woke James up and enjoyed a meal of garlic lamb, parsnips in semolina, peppered cabbage and new potatoes. James then cleaned us all out of matchsticks in a game of Poker than lasted into the early hours.

The wind stiffened further in the night laying the reeds flat by the riverbank and washing our decks with sheets of rain. As we motored out of the river, the lifeboat left its moorings and manoeuvred astern of us. We picked up a gale warning, but went anyway - heavily reefed. The wind was on the beam and despite everything we made good time down to Torekov - a tiny harbour on the end of the Bjare peninsula. But the seas are shallow here, not much more than damp sand, and the long carry offered by the westerly storm created short steep waves - occasionally four meters in height according to the GPS, but more commonly 2. Robin was sitting in the forward windward corner of the cockpit, when one climbed aboard, poured itself straight down the back of his neck, inside his shirt and out through his trousers into his boots; and he had only put on a new pair of pants that very morning. We took a few more on board during the trip - which surprisingly everyone seemed to enjoy. It was at least beautifully sunny.

Torekov is a tiny harbour with only a few guest positions; nose to the breakwater, Swedish style. Some of the area that should have been available to us was closed as yachts had put lines from their sterns diagonally to the adjacent breakwater as a protection against swinging in the gale. A woman gesticulated that there was plenty of room amongst the rowing boats in the inner harbour but we did not fancy that; it was shallow enough in where we were. It was going to be kedge over the stern and bows to the breakwater despite the obstructing ropes. We made various preparatory moves and a few threatening feints until the one of the Germans present moved his rope a notch and gave us sight of a meter of quay. On the other side, the Danish owner of a Nordship 33 refused to budge his lines at all. As the manoeuvre was dead up wind, which was gusting 30 knots, we put James on the bow with the instruction that he had one chance to throw the rope to the helpful German, but if he missed, the bows would veer off and then it would be chaos. A little gentle pressure then. Robin even suggested he should aim to hit the German full on the chest with the rope so that he would have to grab it in self-defence. "Show no mercy!" When all was ready, we motored firmly up wind towards our meter of quay. Adam dropped the kedge 15 meters out and paid out the slack; with 3 meters to go, nearly point blank range, James let the German have it full in the chest and the kind man quickly seized a bight of the rope through a mooring ring and we came to rest with the bows suspended just over the edge the quay and stern warp to the kedge nicely taut. Perfect!


One snag with this arrangement is getting ashore. With the exception of Chris and 50% of the under 25s, it pretty well impossible to climb up Voltair's overhanging bow and either under or over the even more overhanging pulpit. The practice we have therefore adopted is to rig the dinghy alongside on an endless line which runs through the sheet pulley on Voltair and though a suitable ring ashore. The dinghy then acts as a line-ferry shuttle service taking people and goods from amidships to shore in comfort. "Tuppence per trip or per part of trip!"

Torekov (why to these Swedish towns have Russian names?) is a charming resort village with loads of restaurants. It seems people come here for the sea bathing. At various times of day, strange processions of elderly folk walk across the market square wearing the sort of towelling dressing gowns you get in up-market hotels. They walk out along a jetty pointing seaward (into a gale in this instance). At the end of the jetty they hand their gown to the person behind them and walk down some steps into the sea. "They'll be dashed to their deaths" muttered Peter. But no. The allow a wave to break over them, then return back up the steps again, hanging onto handrails, collected their gown and walk back along the jetty and across the square.

In the morning, the wind remained strong, but had shifted slightly to make the next part of the passage dead up wind, so we enjoyed the sparkling weather until the early afternoon when a lessening of the wind strength permitted us to motor the 11 miles to the tip of the Kullen peninsula, where we were able to hang a left and lay a course for Ellsinor, changing our courtesy flag en route. On entry into the harbour we woke James up, and proceeded to practice close quarter boat manoeuvring in a crowded marina. The only available berth was the end of an exposed half of which was already taken by a tubby motor-sailor leaving about 9 meters free. An incompetent motor boat was buzzing around and eventually managed to lay herself across the bows of the motor-sailor where she was joined by an inflatable who came to help. We decided to put James ashore in a touch and go operation and then come in and throw him a rope. Unfortunately the pontoon end was only a foot wide so James was left trying to catch and secure a stern line against which we could motor whilst balancing on this fragile plank. We succeeded on the second attempt. Robin went in search of a better spot on foot whilst several other yachts that arrived later and had bow-thrusters searched the harbour by water. All the spots were off the type where you motor between two vertical piers lassoing them as you pass and come 'bows to' onto the quay. The cruising guide advises that many are narrow and you often have to remove your fenders to get past. Aha, thought Robin, this is where Voltair's narrow beam is an advantage. She can go where Bavarias would fear to tread. Alas the one Robin had spotted was too narrow even for Voltair and had to be abandoned when fending of was required on both sides. But we did finally squeeze into a slot under the towers of Hamlets castle and within a few meters of the barbecue tables and flowerpots.

After a meal of roast corn-fed Goteborg chicken, James and Adam went ashore, where they gained entry to the graduation dance of a girl's high school and they spent the night picking up some Danish - and they even learned a bit of the language too. They returned to the boat just after dawn's rosy fingers had done whatever dawn's rosy fingers do. Shortly afterwards Robin and Peter had a hearty breakfast and, joined by a hungover Adam, visited Hamlets castle, its chapel, its dungeons, its tower, and its ship museum. Apparently two of Shakespeare's company of actors had played Ellsinor in their youth and met the Gildensterns a well-known local family.

Copenhagen, or Kopnhavn, being only another 20nm to the south we set off after lunch and soon had all the sails up, and then down again, then up, then down, then only halfway up as calms swept passed interspersed with the occasional viscous squall. In the late afternoon we entered Kopnhavn, passed the tourists photographing the little mermaid with Voltair as background to starboard and the opera house to port; thence into packed canal system of Kristianhavn, where we practised some more close quarters manoeuvring. pirouetting, ferry gliding, canoe scattering (only one capsized under our bows - must do better next time) before mooring up between the poles next to the harbour mistresses live-aboard. We woke up James and had a fine meal of juicy roast Swedish entrecote with two sorts of carrots, roast parsnips and onions, all washed down with a fine Tempranillo. And thence to Tivoli, where Adam and James commented on the number of hot girls, whilst Robin wished he had brought a sweater. There was a big tall whirly thing into which you could be strapped, lifted high above the rooftops and whirled around at enormous speed to aid the digestion. All but Robin decided this was a must and bought tickets. They were immensely disappointed to join the queue just after it closed for the night. We settle for drinks at a good table to listen to the big band concert playing everything from Miller's "In the Mood" to Sinatra's "My Way", culminating in a spectacular display of fireworks with jazz at midnight. Peter and Robin retired to sample some more Island Malt and were relieved to find it was still drinkable, whilst Adam and James returned in time to buy us all fresh croissants for breakfast from yet more hot girls.

We split up for the day, Adam doing the art galleries and the rest of us not. Kristianhavn is really the centre of everything, surrounded by cheap eateries - really cheap if you want to risk the delights of Kristiana (Kopnhavn's dropped out quarter). We are moored just alongside the tall grey Justits Ministerie, so that's all right then.

Best wishes to you all

Robin Peter James and Adam.