We travelled out to the boat in Germany again via the Hook of Holland car ferry on the last day of April. The Baltic Kolln yard were their usual efficient selves and Grey Wanderer was waiting for us when we arrived. A bit dusty but none the worse for her winter sleep. The weather was cold and windy, so we were pleased to get everything done prior to launch in the shelter of one of the yard’s huge sheds. The decision to book a holiday apartment for the first week was a good one, as we had somewhere to warm-up and cook a meal in the evening away from the inevitable mess inside the boat. We had the usual fitting-out jobs to do, plus some electrical work and new stern gland packing. Then after a week in the yard she was in the water and we were able to move on-board. The annual mast raising and lowering is becoming slightly less of a chore as we get used to the routine.
12 days after arriving in Burgstaaken we were off and on our way to Denmark. Arriving off Gedser on our first day out we had a Dolphin come and take a look at us. Not sure how common these creatures are in the Baltic, but hopefully a good omen for the voyage ahead. I’m sure the Vikings would have thought so anyway.
The following day we sailed on to Klintholm, and continued to follow our route of 2016 as far as Kalmar on Sweden’s east coast. Klintholm was quite empty in mid-May, so we had plenty of space to practice our first box mooring of the year – just as well as it wasn’t our finest hour….
Discoveries so far: It’s colder than last year and we’ve been using the boat heater quite a bit. We have shipped a box of particularly nice flapjacks with strawberry jam filling, and over-ordered on the shampoo and shower gel to the extent that we can probably start our own floating shop selling the stuff. Encouragingly, Stockholm Radio are on the VHF every day saying that “the ice has mostly withdrawn from the Baltic now”.
Already we’ve met new people and renewed acquaintances from previous years, both in the yard in Germany and on the way to Kalmar. Baltic sailing continues to be much more social than sailing closer to home.
We reached Kalmar on 23rd May and intend to stay a few days, so Jane can see the things she missed last time, before continuing North. Not missing the tour of Kalmar Hospital this time!