7 August 2015 – Sailing Home

“It looks like we’ll have a weather window with E wind in three days” says Ivar. Neither of us feels like going back, but our fourth and last holiday week has begun and we have commitments back home. We have been keeping an eye on the grib files from site windyty.com, which fairly accurately forecasts the wind for the next few days.

The weather check tells us we have three more days of W wind, so we can visit one last place in Norway. Ragnar & Marianne recommend us to go to Lyngøya. It takes us a few hours of sailing to get there. The island is one of four in this area that have been inhabited for centuries. Together they provide an indescribably beautiful scene, as we will discover the next two days. While Lucipara is half a mile away moored to a rock, we kayak from one island to another and we walk about “natursti” paths (through nature).

On Ivar’s birthday we enjoy our last Norwegian dinner: We eat out at a pub named “the sailmaker” of Lyngøya. A great place and given its popularity among both Norwegian and foreign sailors it may best be compared to the famous Butt & Oyster pub in Pin Mill.

Although we prefer to return to the Netherlands in one trip, unfortunately that is not possible due to a low pressure area moving close. We decide to use a day with E wind to go to Thyborøn in Denmark and wait there to let the predicted SW headwind pass. We have seen only a small part of Norway and are sorry to see Lyngøya slowly disappear behind us.

During the trip to Denmark, another technical problem presents itself: the electric autopilot fails. Fortunately, the wind is strong enough so that we can use the wind vane autopilot. Instead of reading I now listen to music during my watch and I admire the stars. I lipsync and dance along to stay awake and so these hours pass reasonably quickly. During Ivar’s watch, things get a bit tricky at Hanstholm on the northwestern tip of Denmark, where many ships pass by and the wind gets stronger because of the cape- effect. Once past Hanstholm, Denmark’s lee ensures calm conditions and the entry of Thyborøn is simple.

The village has a bit of a sad atmosphere – it is the absence of beautiful buildings, squares and trees, or the many WW2 bunkers on the beach? While the rainy weather passes by, we do our laundry and prepare for the second stage. After two days of waiting windyty promises good winds from E and later N. We seize that opportunity and before dawn we sail along the Danish coast towards Vlieland. The lull between the E and N wind takes longer than expected, and since we cannot repair the autopilot and the wind vane needs wind, there is little choice but to steer by hand. When the N wind finally comes, it does not appear strong enough for the vane to keep Luci running with the wind (voor de wind). We do not make a lot of speed, but are glad we don’t need to use the engine any longer. Such a quiet crossing is still tiring. After 2.5 days sailing we arrive in IJmuiden in the evening, where our friend Erwin takes photos of us from the pier. My mother and her partner wait for us at the locks, what a warm welcome! It’s already 22:00h when we pass the locks, but we stop briefly for an arrival drink on board. Via the North Sea channel we arrive in the Amsterdam marina early in the night, tired but satisfied.

Luci has gloriously endured the test run, despite two technical issues. I’ve learned that sailing for several days will become routine. We enjoyed Norway so much that we even changed our travel plans for next year. There is still so much beauty and inspirational sustainable solutions to discover in Scandinavia, so we will begin our journey in the North; the South will have to wait.

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