After four nights we departed Copenhagen on a drizzly wet Thursday afternoon heading north away from the capital city to explore the more regional areas of Denmark (and to cheaper harbours).
We slipped easily out of our box mooring (first one, so first time getting out too) and took the 12:00 noon bridge opening out of the canal into the harbour.
We back tracked passing the Copenhagen Opera House, the Queens Yacht and the cruise ships before leaving the protected breakwater of the harbour and entered a choppy sea with moderate F4 winds coming from the North East. We beat our way across the bumpy patch for about 2 miles before turning to get a good angle finding steady winds and smoother seas providing a good but wet sail the 23 nautical miles to Helsingør.
We arrived just after 4pm but due to the drizzly day it seemed almost nighttime, a real grey old day. We secured alongside a pontoon in the commercial port harbour basin near Kronberg Castle. It was surprisingly quiet with no other boats on the pontoons, just the ferries coming and going to Sweden in the outer part of the harbour and some fishing vessels also. Later in the evening and overnight a couple of other ships did arrive, two old large wooden barques with two and three masts – beautiful.
The next day we put our coats on and took ourselves (and our trusty umbrella) on a self guided walking tour of the city.
We walked around Kronberg Castle built from 1574-1585 and famous for being the setting of Hamlet’s Shakespeare.
Many of the warehouse buildings around the port harbour are all ex shipyard halls and have been modernised and repurposed to house the cultural centre, library, visitor centre, street food hall, art spaces and the shipyard museum.
The “Han” meaning “He” sculpture is also in the port harbour and stands out being made of highly polished stainless steel.
The maritime museum of Denmark is located here also and is unique in its location being in built inside the old shipyards dry dock – basically it is underground – looks great from the top.
The tour also took us past a rather plain building where Hans Christian Anderson attended Latin School learning to read and write (he was illiterate when he arrived in Copenhagen as a teenager and a rich philanthropist sponsored him to attend school here).
We moved the boat around to the marina later in the day (between showers) as it was cheaper than staying in the harbour, it was also closer to the weekend carnival set up on the edge of the marina in the car park. It was a pretty pathetic looking carnival with just a couple of really lame rides and a few food stalls, but they did have a band that night – an ACDC tribute band! Phil went and listened for a while and said it wasn’t too bad, but being wet it was inside a marquee and the 100 or so attendee’s were all smoking (inside) making it not such a great place to enjoy the music.
After two nights we had done our research as to where to head next as we had some specific requirements and picked out the town of Gilleleje only 12 miles further on.
We will be leaving Red Roo here for two weeks while we take a short break from the boat, and the price and facilities are perfect for doing this. It is time for me to leave the EU again to reset my visa and it is timed very nicely with friends visiting London and Paris from Australia so we will enjoy our mini break catching up with loved ones from home.
We set off from Helsingør around 3pm and just as we slipped out of our berth the heavens opened again dumping heavy rain for the entire journey. Despite the buckets of rain there was little to no wind and we had to motor all the way.
There really was no need for both of us to get saturated so Phil sat this passage out downstairs “doing important stuff” whilst I kept us on track out in the rain. Fair is fair and I must admit usually it is the other way around, it was definitely my turn.
I threw a fishing lure out the back to keep me amused but didn’t catch anything and even considered stripping off and and showering – my hair really was ready for a wash and it wasn’t really cold just constantly wet pretty much like standing in the shower, any wetter and I would have been swimming. The picture doesn’t do it justice as you can’t see the rain (unless you look really hard near the dingy in the water you can see the droplets hitting the water).
It was a relief to see an empty alongside hammer head pontoon to easily and quickly secure to when we arrived around 6pm. We packed up and stripped off our wet gear (Phil did get wet when he took the helm to berth us up while I secured the lines).
Neither of us mind getting wet, it’s fine really, but can be frustrating when the water inevitability gets inside the boat from our wet weather gear hanging up inside to dry – that is when the boat feels small, cramped and damp.
The following day we moved into a box berth to make the boat secure to leave her in a few days time. We also spent the day drying everything, from our wet weather gear, our boots, to the sails as there is nothing worse than packing things up wet, especially since we are leaving her – it is just an invitation for mould, so we were thankful for some wind and a relatively dry day to help (it was the only dry day for the coming week). We also ran two heaters inside the boat all day with the windows open to air and dry everything and circulate air.
The following couple of days were spent cleaning and washing; ourselves, the boat inside and out, and 5 loads of washing (all the linen from both beds, towels, dirty clothes and good clothes that haven’t been worn for a year ready to take away).
Gilleleje the town is small and popular as a summer holiday destination, with a couple of nice beaches and heaps of holiday homes.
The harbour is really big with lots of yachts based here as well as a large fishing fleet, both private and commercial vessels as well as a couple of big ship repair places working flat out on everything from yachts to fishing boats to really large motor boats as well as a historic steam ships (berthed next to us) which is going into dry dock for its 5 year certification test later this week.
Steamship Skjelskør was built in 1915 and was in commercial service until 1962. Since then she has been kept as a historic working ship, taking passengers on cruises (without minimal modernisation of the boat). It actually still runs on coal and has bags of it stored on deck.
So it’s a short break for us (see picture below) and after sailing on average every second day since March it is very welcome. We are feeling fatigued and the thought of a real bed and real shower is very very inviting.
We will be back shortly to explore more of Denmark and hopefully get another 2 months sailing before having to think about hiding somewhere for winter, well at least getting out of the Baltic before there is a risk of it freezing on us!