Sailing from Oslofjord to Copenhagen

Over the past 10 days we have yet again had some fantastic sailing and ended each day either moored or anchored in some amazing spots, all of which were new to Velvet Lady.  We never knew what we were going to find until we got there!  We started in Tonsberg and spent our first day sailing across Oslo Fjord to Hanko, where Danish royalty keep their yachts.  We were made most welcome in the tiny marina, and the harbour master helped make a space for us moving other boats out of the way.  We continued south from Norway along the Swedish coast visiting harbours and anchorages and watched the scenery and landscape change from bare and rocky to green and lush with many sandy beaches.

This was a milebuilding trip and we sailed 385 miles in our 9 days including one night sail.  I say night sail; it was only dark for 2 hours and light enough to see as we dropped our anchor at 3am.  As on any sailing trip the one thing we have no control over is the wind, and this week it was quite often on our nose, making us all very proficient at tacking.

After 2 nights in Norway and 6 nights in Sweden we came to my favourite stop of the trip in Helsingor, Denmark.  Here the harbour master told us to choose where we pleased and we moored almost in the grounds of ‘Hamlets Castle’.  Kronborg castle, as it is properly known has been here for almost 600 years and was originally used to control who sailed through the sound between Denmark and Sweden and ensure they paid their dues.  Our mooring spot made a fantastic picture, and we also had time to visit the castle before our last day sailing to Copenhagen.

There are many marina options in and around Copenhagen, but as part of our adventure we were really hoping that we would be able to find a space near to the city centre and so decided to go looking!  Luck was definitely on our side and I was very pleased there was no wind as we reversed Velvet Lady down the narrow Christians Havn Canal and finally found a space long enough for us.  The canal is very narrow and on the sightseeing boats route so we had to make sure that we had left enough room for these wide barges to pass by.

We really are right in the city centre, very atmospheric, and it made a great end to the trip. We have everything we need, water, electricity, laundry and we are ideally situated to explore Copenhagen for a couple of days before our next trip starts.  Richard and I are planning on going on a bike ride tomorrow, using the amazing ‘City Bike’ scheme.  There are over 2000 free bikes scattered about the city, especially at train stations and busy places, and for a 20krone deposit you can borrow one for the day.  We have found the nearest bike rack is at the end of our dock so we don’t even have far to walk!

After Copenhagen we are looking forward to the opportunity to visit many more old and historic places as we set off amongst the islands to Arhus.  There is still time and a few places left for you to book and join us exploring in Denmark.  Why not take a look at our website

Sunny Sailing in Scandinavia

Many thanks, as on my previous trip, for 10 great days. I’ve come back really refreshed and, as I said when I left, I feel I’ve had a real adventure. Everyone was such good company. It was a very happy ship. I can’t imagine signing up for that sort of holiday with any other boat. You set such high standards in all departments. (By e mail today)

We are now in Tonsberg at the south end of Oslofjord and the starting point for our summer sailing programme in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea.  The sun is shining and Velvet Lady is ready for yet another summer of adventure sailing amongst islands.  Tonsberg is a charming old town, in fact the oldest in Norway, and with good connections to Oslo airports and ideal place to start our next trip to Copenhagen.

We like to offer our guests ‘the best in cruising’ and so the sail here from Ijmuiden was in two parts.  First the north sea crossing, predicted to be a 3 or 4 night passage with watches, and then after arrival and a nights rest, day sailing and a chance  to explore along the spectacular coastline.  As always, our trips are subject to weather, and after a first trial day sail in Ijmuiden we spent a disappointing second day sitting in port fog bound in visibility of less than 100m.

Finally the sun shone for our departure from Ijmuiden and we weaved our way through wind farms as we headed northwest to cross the shipping lanes at right angles.  The first night we were extremely busy looking out for ships, fishing boats, oil rigs and navigation buoys.  The visibility had now cleared and we could see for miles under a moonlit starry sky.  What a difference a day makes.

It took us 36 hours to be clear of all of the rigs and shipping lanes, and allow us to concentrate on sailing to Norway.  The wind was a steady force 4 from the northwest allowing us to close reach at 7 knots towards the Skaggerak.  The wind continued to build and even after reefing Velvet Lady refused to slow down racing along at 8 knots towards her summer holiday.

Many of our guests come on these long passages in the hope that they might experience some stronger winds and bigger seas than they would usually go out in, and this trip they were not disappointed.  As we entered the Skaggerak, the sea between Denmark and Norway, the wind increased to a Force 7 gusting 8 with 4 metre waves.  We reefed well down and rocketed along the last 100 miles, with dolphins playing in the crest of the waves.

We chose Lillesand as our port of arrival and entry into Norway and what an idyllic friendly place this turned out to be. Our first glimpse was the town appearing above and behind the islands which lined the narrow approach channel. The whole summer schedule is new for Velvet Lady and we are pleased that this new coastline is as spectacular as we had expected it to be.  We followed our night in Lillesand with a night in a quiet anchorage amongst the skerries with a couple of summer houses on the shore.  The owner of one, came out in his speedboat to offer us the use of it, not sure where he was expecting us to go, and he was surprised that we were happy just enjoying the sunshine on the deck!

From our guest book

‘The high point was steering into the waves in F 7 gusting 8, seeing dolphins in the cresting waves and all of us coming out safely.  To venture out into the wilderness that is the sea is a serious step and I feel privileged and grateful to have been introduced to the open ocean with such experienced and professional sailors who are also fun!

Our long passages with watches are over now until the middle of August when you can join us in Kiel for the trip down the Kiel Canal, out the Elbe towards Helgoland, across the shipping channels and oil rigs to Ipswich.

We will concentrate on day sailing from now and an exploring what this beautiful coastline has to offer. We are full from Oslo to Copenhagen, but there are still some places to join us in Copenhagen as we explore amongst the islands of the Baltic Sea. For more details see the individual itineraries as follows

Copenhagen – Arhus: 23rd June to 3rd July 2012m –  £995.00
Arhus – Copenhagen: 7th – 14th July 2012 – £695.00
Arhus – Kiel: 2nd – 12th August 2012 –  £995.00
Kiel – Ipswich:16th – 26th August 2012 –  £1,050.00

All the above prices are fully inclusive on board, but do not include travel to or from Velvet Lady.  If you need help with travel please ask

We look forward to seeing you on board