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Old 29-04-2022, 08:22   #1
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Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

We have already talked to a few cruising friends about their ideas for our Baltic cruise this Summer. We will be leaving The Netherlands mid-late May and need to leave Schengen area by mid-July. We have a new boat that we are hoping to give a good shakedown in the Baltic. After July we will escape to the UK/Channel Islands before heading back to over-winter the boat in The Netherlands.

(We are US citizens...VAT not paid so need to comply with VAT exemption and Schengen time limits).

As much as we want to also get up to the Stockholm-Finland area, we might not get that far and still have a leisurely time of it.

We will be returning through the mast up route of The Netherlands to get to the English Channel crossing, doing a bit of a zig-zag to Southern England and Channel Islands before returning to NL before the weather gets too bad.

What are your suggestions for spots to see and get some good test sailing in? What charts do you like? We have ordered mostly NV Charts kits with the digital addition for the iPad.

Thank you in advance for the help.

Harley and Susan
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Old 29-04-2022, 10:32   #2
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

Don't bite off more than you can chew :-)

You say nothing about how you are gonna get from the Netherlands to the Baltic. There is a heck of a time difference between going around the top of Jutland and going through the Kielerkanal!

As a Former Danish Person my general advice would be to stay away from all the usual touristy bits of Denmark, perhaps with the single exception of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. The rest is all too glitzy and banal :-)

However, a cruise in what the Danes call "the South Seas" - the waters south of the Island of Funen - can be very, very pleasant indeed. You will find age old seafaring towns such as Ærøskøbing and Marstal on the island of Ærø that are both picturesque and fully functioning, viable modern societies, not just museum towns. And all the locals speak English a damn sight better than I speak Danish anymore :-)!

If you are into history, you should know that from the 1600s through the 1800s Danes in that neckathewoods, in their rôle of farmers, would get their seed in the ground in the spring, then skive off, in their rôle of seafaring men, to St.Thomas, St.John and St.Croix for a cargo of sugar and be back in "the South Seas" for the harvest in the autumn. The said islands, which were "Danske Vestindiske Øer" prior to being sold to the US under duress in 1917, are now, as I'm sure you know, the US Virgin Islands. As I said: "Under duress". The settlement price, in real terms as opposed to mere dollars, was about the same as today's price for two good houses in one of Vancouver's better districts.

If you do go to Copenhagen, and you are serious seafarers then go a few miles north to Helsingør (Elsinore in English) and visit the fabulous Maritime Museum in Elsinore Castle. If literature turns your crank, take in a performance of Hamlet. You already know that Hamlet was a (mythical) prince of Denmark, billeted, so said Shakespeare, in Elsinore Castle which, in Danish, is called Kronborg, meaning "Castle of the Crown", i.e. of the King, in this case Christian IV, who had a reputation for being rough on the Swedes just across the water. The reason Kronborg stands where it stands is that ChIV's cannon could reach from Kronborg all the eay to the little Swedish town of Helsingborg and therefore "choke off" entrance into Øresund ("The Sound" in English) from Kattegat (the waters twixt Denmark and Sweden) protecting Copenhagen from attack while demanding taxes from all maritime traffic. "Sanctions" is nothing new :-)

If you like mythology, 'ave a butchers in the crypts of Kronborg. There you will find a statue of Holger Danske, a mythical hero equivalent to the German Sigfried.

If you are a bit down on the English, as many Americans are, lemme tell you tales about what perfidious Albion did to poor little Denmark back in Lord Nelson's time, and how I came to have a Spanish "camp follower" for a great-great-great-great-great grandma!

Anyway, if you'll be more specific about what you are sailing, what sort of people you are and what interests you, I'm quite sure I can suggest more things for you to do than you could possibly have time to do.

Cheers,

TrentePieds, FDP
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Old 29-04-2022, 10:46   #3
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

Agree on tivoli pretty cool place
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Old 29-04-2022, 10:46   #4
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

We intend on going out through the canals in NL to eastern Frisian Islands then through Kiel Kanal to enter the South Seas. We would like a blend of anchoring and marinas. Our boat is 46' (50 feet overall) so some marina options will be tight. Would would consider going back West via Limsfjord.
Thank you for your tips so far.

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Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Don't bite off more than you can chew :-)

You say nothing about how you are gonna get from the Netherlands to the Baltic. There is a heck of a time difference between going around the top of Jutland and going through the Kielerkanal!

As a Former Danish Person my general advice would be to stay away from all the usual touristy bits of Denmark, perhaps with the single exception of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. The rest is all too glitzy and banal :-)

However, a cruise in what the Danes call "the South Seas" - the waters south of the Island of Funen - can be very, very pleasant indeed. You will find age old seafaring towns such as Ærøskøbing and Marstal on the island of Ærø that are both picturesque and fully functioning, viable modern societies, not just museum towns. And all the locals speak English a damn sight better than I speak Danish anymore :-)!

If you are into history, you should know that from the 1600s through the 1800s Danes in that neckathewoods, in their rôle of farmers, would get their seed in the ground in the spring, then skive off, in their rôle of seafaring men, to St.Thomas, St.John and St.Croix for a cargo of sugar and be back in "the South Seas" for the harvest in the autumn. The said islands, which were "Danske Vestindiske Øer" prior to being sold to the US under duress in 1917, are now, as I'm sure you know, the US Virgin Islands. As I said: "Under duress". The settlement price, in real terms as opposed to mere dollars, was about the same as today's price for two good houses in one of Vancouver's better districts.

If you do go to Copenhagen, and you are serious seafarers then go a few miles north to Helsingør (Elsinore in English) and visit the fabulous Maritime Museum in Elsinore Castle. If literature turns your crank, take in a performance of Hamlet. You already know that Hamlet was a (mythical) prince of Denmark, billeted, so said Shakespeare, in Elsinore Castle which, in Danish, is called Kronborg, meaning "Castle of the Crown", i.e. of the King, in this case Christian IV, who had a reputation for being rough on the Swedes just across the water. The reason Kronborg stands where it stands is that ChIV's cannon could reach from Kronborg all the eay to the little Swedish town of Helsingborg and therefore "choke off" entrance into Øresund ("The Sound" in English) from Kattegat (the waters twixt Denmark and Sweden) protecting Copenhagen from attack while demanding taxes from all maritime traffic. "Sanctions" is nothing new :-)

If you like mythology, 'ave a butchers in the crypts of Kronborg. There you will find a statue of Holger Danske, a mythical hero equivalent to the German Sigfried.

If you are a bit down on the English, as many Americans are, lemme tell you tales about what perfidious Albion did to poor little Denmark back in Lord Nelson's time, and how I came to have a Spanish "camp follower" for a great-great-great-great-great grandma!

Anyway, if you'll be more specific about what you are sailing, what sort of people you are and what interests you, I'm quite sure I can suggest more things for you to do than you could possibly have time to do.

Cheers,

TrentePieds, FDP
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Old 30-04-2022, 22:15   #5
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

While it is a lot to bite off, consider this or part of it. After the Kiel Canal go east through Denmark and on to Sweden and Bornhom Island. Then north up the Swedish coast through the Stockholm archipelago to Stockholm, then backtrack just a bit by way of Södertälje to get into the Göta Canal - assuming your boat will fit (I'm pretty sure it will - mast up). It is a beautiful trip, if a bit of work (something about the "Divorce Ditch"), that takes you into the Swedish Great Lakes and then down the river to Göteborg. From there head west and a bit north to Skagen on the north end of the Jyland peninsula. It is touristy but still pretty nice, and the art museum there is a must-see for the Northern Lights painters. Then south a bit and through the Lymfjord if that is your preference (which sounds great but I haven't done that).

Be sure to stock up on liquor, wine, and beer before starting - it just keeps getting more expensive as you go, and the state liquor stores are not open on weekends.

Greg
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Old 01-05-2022, 01:40   #6
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

In Denmark and sweden a lot of new boaters have come along since COVID, so in July it is nearly impossible to get a berth in any of the attractive marinas.
So be prepared to anchor, or sail at night and arrive before 11 am (yes it was that crazy last year).

I would recommend that you spend a little time in the southern part of Jutland, it is highly overlooked, but a great place for sailing.
Check out places like: Dyvig, Genner Bugt, Baagoe and Barso.
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Old 01-05-2022, 02:05   #7
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

After enjoying Denmark, do sail on to the Swedish west coast. From Helsingör with one night sailing, you will be in a wonderful archipelago reaching all the way to Oslo. There are lot's of nice restaurants, you can buy fish and crayfish (the salt water type) in small stores and there is a myriad of coves and islets to tie up to. If the weather is bad, shelter behind the islands. These are my sailing grounds and I can warmly recommend. Even so, we will take a right hand roundabout in the north Atlantic this year, but after that we're back.

By the way, why go back to the Netherlands? You could lay up in Sweden over the winter, there are many very competent yards on the island of Orust (where Hallberg Rassys and Najads are built). I have had my boats at Vindö Marine since the end of the 80's https://vindomarin.se it is an excellent yard.
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Old 01-05-2022, 14:37   #8
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

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After enjoying Denmark, do sail on to the Swedish west coast. From Helsingör with one night sailing, you will be in a wonderful archipelago reaching all the way to Oslo. There are lot's of nice restaurants, you can buy fish and crayfish (the salt water type) in small stores and there is a myriad of coves and islets to tie up to. If the weather is bad, shelter behind the islands. These are my sailing grounds and I can warmly recommend. Even so, we will take a right hand roundabout in the north Atlantic this year, but after that we're back.

By the way, why go back to the Netherlands? You could lay up in Sweden over the winter, there are many very competent yards on the island of Orust (where Hallberg Rassys and Najads are built). I have had my boats at Vindö Marine since the end of the 80's https://vindomarin.se it is an excellent yard.
We take it back to the builder's yard where they can fix anything that went amiss during the first season. They also include moorage or indoor storage for the first year.
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Old 01-05-2022, 16:51   #9
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

Completely naive question, coming from someone who dinghy sails on the Canadian great lakes... What is the particular draw of sailing in Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands/etc versus the Mediterranean (or other warm location)? I totally love many European countries, but if I think where I might want to sail elsewhere, I would pick based on the weather...


Thanks,

Allan.
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Old 01-05-2022, 18:49   #10
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

Nothing naive about it :-).

Some of us don't like hot, sticky weather. Some of us come from stock that colonized Greenland a thousand years ago, and even Newfoundland - if you can believe that :-0!

Others among us are keenly interested in how the modern world came to be, and if you come up the west side of the Island of Als in Denmark you get to inspect the fortifications at Dybbøl where the German Chancellor Bismarck in 1864 did a dress rehearsal of his brand new rifled artillery pieces that he had the famous Krupp Works produce so he could beat the bejapers out of the French in 1872.

Take it from me: North American history has nothing on European history, and is only relevant insofar as it was an overseas sideshow of what happened in Europe during what Americans call the "antebellum" period.

You can keep Zorba as far as I'm concerned :-)!

If you are a dinghy sailor, you'll know that a chappie called Elvstrøm - a Dane, natch - was something very special in Olympic sailing some years ago. Went to Fiddlers' Green in 2016, if I am not mistaken. Some twenty world titles, if I recall! If you can lift your eyes from the sweaty Med, have a go at the "Silver Rudder" single handed race around the Danish Island of Funen!

Cheers

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Old 01-05-2022, 18:55   #11
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

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Completely naive question, coming from someone who dinghy sails on the Canadian great lakes... What is the particular draw of sailing in Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands/etc versus the Mediterranean (or other warm location)? I totally love many European countries, but if I think where I might want to sail elsewhere, I would pick based on the weather...


Thanks,

Allan.
Well we bought a boat that was in The Netherlands and as a pilothouse is totally designed for cooler weather. And, we here there are few more blissful places to sail than Denmark and the Stockholm to Finland archipelago. Its too dang hot in the Med...been there. We are totally fine with fog, rain and cool weather. Our boat has a kick ass heater.
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Old 01-05-2022, 20:07   #12
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

The archipelago is nice: tons of little islands. If you make up as far as just north of Sundsvall (halfway up Sweden) you have Höga Kusten (The High Coast) which is on the UNESCO world heritage list. You can do some nice hikes there too.

Then there is Åland, an Finnish cluster of islands in the middle of the Baltic, and Gotland which was a wealthy island during the viking age and onwards, and you can tell from the architecture. North of Gotland there is Gotska sandön and Fårö. If you remain in the Balitc until August and are into such things, there is a week long medieval fair in Visby on Gotland (somewhat touristy, but also fairly good as such things go, and the remains of the town wall is a nice backdrop for medieval activities),

If you like old boat wrecks there is of course the Wasa museum in Stockholm, as well as the Viking ship musum in Roskilde (Denmark). For US people a visit to the Old Town part of Stockholm, dating back to the 13th century and some building remaining from back then, might be worth it.
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Old 01-05-2022, 22:28   #13
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

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What is the particular draw of sailing in Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands/etc versus the Mediterranean (or other warm location)?

Just look at some pictures. And maybe do two or three groupings, Scandinavia the Netherlands (or any other country close by) and tidal/non tidal.

Med is easy, mostly expensive and mostly crowded. The north is cheaper (both in harbor fees and more free anchorage). If you get away from the population centers it's not uncommon to be alone in an anchorage.



Sweden and Finland (and especially Aland) have insanely beautiful Skerries (skär) and a legislation which actually allows people to be there and enjoy them. It's easy navigation, accurate charts, mostly rocky grounds, so an old chart mostly works out fine.

If you want a bit more of a challenge, come to the north sea / german bight /netherlands outside of IJsselmeer / belgium. Tides up to six meters, Tidal currents up to 6kn, the top 4 busiest commercial ports of Europe. All sandy ground, yesterdays commercial chart is often wrong. Navionics once showed us a 12m/30ft tidal hump in an area with 4m/12ft tide. Nope.


And: Unique nature, virtually no charter boats. To really enjoy it you sadly need a boat which can dry out / has reduced draft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadden_Sea
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Old 01-05-2022, 23:49   #14
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

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Originally Posted by ayates View Post
Completely naive question, coming from someone who dinghy sails on the Canadian great lakes... What is the particular draw of sailing in Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands/etc versus the Mediterranean (or other warm location)? I totally love many European countries, but if I think where I might want to sail elsewhere, I would pick based on the weather...

Thanks, Allan.
The weather in the southern Baltic is very pleasant during the summer with temperatures 70F. Also being so close to mainland Europe a good breeze tends to build during the day and then dies out in the late afternoon. Caused in part by the land mass warming up each day. So very pleasant sailing rather than the too much or not enough wind often encountered in the Med.

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Old 03-05-2022, 12:39   #15
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: 6-8 Weeks: Recommendations?

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We intend on going out through the canals in NL to eastern Frisian Islands then through Kiel Kanal to enter the South Seas. We would like a blend of anchoring and marinas. Our boat is 46' (50 feet overall) so some marina options will be tight. Would would consider going back West via Limsfjord.
Thank you for your tips so far.

The canals are fun but be very careful about draft and air draft restrictions. The so-called "Mast-up route" is too shallow for most 50' boats.


With a boat that size, unless very shallow draft and very low mast, you will likely have to come out the Ijsselmeer between Terschelling and Vlieland and follow the coast to the Elbe. This is not a bad trip and can be done in one overnight from from say Harlingen, which is very much worth a stop.


Another really great stop in NL is Enkhuizen, just at the lock between the Ijsselmeer and the Markermeer, with a fabulous outdoor museum. The harbour is lovely and you can anchor inside the harbour.



All these waters are very shallow so make sure you have good charts, pay attention to the tides, and be careful.


I would not recommend breaking up a Harlingen-Cuxhaven passage in the Frisian Islands as they are all treacherous to get into, through winding constantly changing channels, and very hard to get out of in any kind of weather. I would just do the overnight to Cuxhaven. Be careful about the timing of the tides in the Elbe; the currents really rip there and you have a good distance to go from the mouth of the Elbe to Cuxhaven.


The Kiel Canal is delightful and you shouldn't race through it. A great stop in the middle (and free) is the waiting pontoon at the entrance to the Gieselau Canal. Be careful to understand and obey the signals in the Canal, and follow the rules. Don't ask me how I know.


Once you're out of the Kiel Canal and inside the Baltic, you have an almost infinite choice of cruising grounds. Lot of good advice already in this thread. All the small harbours in Denmark are lovely. We think of Denmark as a small country but the length of the coastline is huge. The Swedish West Coast is also fabulous, especially above Gothenburg. That will give you plenty to do over 6-8 weeks.


But if you want to go further, the Swedish South and East coasts are fabulous, as is Bornholm. And the further you go, the better it gets -- Stockholm Archipelago, the Archipelago Sea, the Aaland Islands, the Finnish South Coast, the Estonian Islands. It would take many summers to properly see all of this. You can pretty much take your pick within whatever range you're comfortable with -- you can't really go wrong.


There are almost infinite possibilities for anchoring in these places and you will rarely share an anchorage with even one other boat. But the anchoring is tricky as the bottom is rocky. But the small community "guest harbours" are delightful and incredibly cheap -- often not more than 10 or 20 euros a night. We spend as much time in these as we do at anchor.



Note that mooring in these harbours is mostly bows-to using your kedge anchor from the stern, or a rope around a pile, or a rope in a buoy. Alongside mooring is rare. It takes some time to get the hang of this. You need a ladder to get down to the dock from the bow, and you need a special hook for catching the buoys. Note that it's pretty hard to put the bow lines on yourself, so don't be shy to ask for help -- Baltic sailors take each other's lines in this situation.
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