Norway/Fetsund - Sweden/Åmål by Lake Vänern (5 times the waterarea of Oslofjord!) - Skagerrack - Oslofjord/Fredrikstad, June 2008.





Union Jack m.gif    Norge_m.gif


( Click on pic. to enlarge)



By Heinz Dieter (HD) Luetzenkirchen, W10390 RAMP, skipper; translated into English by crew Ken t.o. Jensen W1348 MAITKEN.




JUN 02           Fetsund/Norway - Åmål/Sweden


Ss.gif  -  Norge s.jpg

Using car and trailer for 170 km delivered (by Ken t.y. W6141) at Åmål, a sleepy Swedish smalltown by lake Vänern (known for the film "Fucking Åmål") with a nice smallboat-harbour having a fine slipway, made launching easy in the setting sun of W10390 RAMP (meaning Rascal).













Departure Fetsund


Arrival Åmål


Leaving Åmål harbour


Vänern evening mood


Very fluky winds but the outboard at last brought us to Trollholmen S of Åmål a convenient-looking small isle with a bay opposite the great open lake and on the expected leeside. Bow to shore anchor aft and all well, but actually the nightly movement of the huge open sea-area, E and SE, were reflected by the mainland shore and caused an unexpected, bothersome swell.

The erection of the new anti-condense inner-tent, to be tested the very first time, took some extra while, but gave us a comfortable dry night. Distance 2.3 nm









Vänern evening mood 2


Trollholmen near Åmål


Mystery rays in

Grönviksudde  harbour


First bridge passing


JUN 03              Åmål/Sweden - Grönviksudde/near Vänersborg


  At 05:45 weather report from Denmark, on medium wave, but a Swedish FM found more convenient and giving a good forecast: Easterly 4-8m/sec. It also surprisingly mentioned that the enormous lake was 73 cm above the normal water level. Such a colossal amount of extra fresh water could easily be wanted elsewhere!
  After 4 hours we passed Kjöpmannehamn, where the original intention was to have entered Lake Vänern coming out from the Dalsland's channel, but the locks here were not worked until later in June, and we had no time to wait for that.
  During the afternoon the wind and waves build up to a wee-bit scary condition, and Ken wanted to shelter at Röhrvik while changing to W-trysail on the mast and W-jib up front. That made life much more relaxed and without the earlier on-your-toes-nervousness!
  Remark: Coming into lee and slow speed it's worth remembering to close the bailers.

  The destination harbour, Grönviksudde, was not to be spotted, and great doubt came upon us with regard to our navigation, and rightly so we were too far E, and the terrain of our landfall-area was rather obscured, nearly invisible due the shade made by the setting sun that beamed into our faces. Coming closer a short piece of the wooded shore started to throw white water into the air! Hopefully there was a hole in that wall somewhere, and 'Yes' not a wide one, but enoug to allow us enter and tie-up at 18:15. A nice place but deserted and apparently no longer used as intended. What a shame! The skyline of Vänersborg visible!

  We recorded that the whole day we saw extremely few cabins along the shorelines. The explanation: It's quite restrictive to build there for environmental reasons. Dist. 42.3 nm









Toward the first lock


The first lock done


Railway bridge

over canal


Ken meeting fellow

Citizens in the lock


JUN 04           Vänersborg/Grönviksudde - Fästningsholmen by Kungälv

  After a quiet night we are off under slow rev. engine at 08:00 sharp in a totally calm morning and such wonderful, lovely fresh air and again brilliant sunshine. Passing Vänersborg we entered the canal area. Use of sails is not allowed through the locks and canals of Trollhättan and down Göta River to Gothenburg. Of variable width this waterway it's more like sailing through a parkland than on an industrial canal. Quite broad at places with laky weedy shores and water-fowl of different kind. RAMP shoot the bridges by lowering the mast, and has little respect for ‘stand by’ red blinking lights!
  Nobody seem to mind or try to halt our progress that brings us to the first of the lock-chambers through fascinating views of landscapes and past used canal-equipment like swing-bridges and mooring ramps. Bicycle paths along the shore busy with happy people and schoolchildren having time for smiles and a wave! Upon approaching the lock the operator signals enter and advises us to hold on to the iron-ladder and just climb/'scale' down, hand under hand, as the water rapidly, very so, sinks under us. For the start a water jet from the wall tried to fill our vessel, but this threat was luckily of short duration. Fairly soon we also learned not to leave the chambers too quickly, they are really huge, and the gates are forced open to help level the waters quickly, and that creates an outmoving current! Very amusing, and easier to handle than the old Telemark-canal, Ken tells me.
  He also mentions the 3-some, one cousin-lady and two brothers, who W-sailed from Copenhagen the opposite way, "uphill" and into the Dalsland channel, and in Sweden from E of Halden(Norway) took a short lorry-transport into Norway and the nearby branch of the Oslofjord, and then on to Oslo.  About 350nm total, before the Line-ferry back to Copenhagen.  A wonderful *Super 8* mm-film of the trip, they made, adding some lovely music from the areas passed.
  In one lock-chamber we met a keelboat from Ken's original hometown Århus, which he left just after WW2 to become a sailing ship seaman. He is not satisfied that they carry the Swedish visitor's flag under P/LB in stead of the SB spreader, and definitely less so when the husband of the married couple crew blames his wife for the blunder!  Ken threatens to bring their picture on the front page of their hometown's main newspaper being a major one in DEN, well-known for bringing some disturbing drawings of a prophet!
  One hour helming-shifts, refilling the engine's fuel-tank, and an occasional, illegal unfurling of the Genoa, and we reach the last lock by Lilla Edet, where we before passing got fuel and a proper crew-refill at the Road Inn recommended by the lock operator (share-holder?). Also Ken's cell phone got its refill.
  So we pass the last lock and sail on through the beautiful landscape of great variation, cultural such with cattle, horses and sheep,  Also wooded wild areas with hillocks and rocky parts, pinkish granite, and the weather so lovely tempered warm and delicate – what luck we have!  En route we call Mischa, a Swedish friend, in Gothenburg hoping for a meet tomorrow.
  Down at now sea level by Kungälv and past the last mast-lowering bridge the mighty fortress island of Bohus Fästning (this castle was often under siege but never taken!) is approached. The local rowing club had a race on, and three youngsters in a watch/guard boat had to be told: "Speak proper Swedish in stead of 'jabbering'!"  Then all well and cleared, and  RAMP landed on a tiny sandy beach of the islet's camping site. Fresh water and a shower came in handy. Distance (helped by the outflow of water) 39.7 nm.



 Aerial cableway

 over canal



 Leaving the last lock

 Lilla Edet



 We are drifting

 on the river



Part of saltwater barrier with small boat passage

JUN 05              Kungälv/Fästningsholmen - Marstrand/Halsholmen.




 Again such marvellous weather. Pack and push off, out of the shades and into the sunshine and river stream to be carried along while preparing breakfast. No wind, no engine noise just now and then a paddle-stroke to stay clear of obstructions. Peaceful and pleasant breakfast before engine power comes to action. Mischa is contacted and agrees to meet us at Kornhall. Before then we must pass a huge construction, a stop-saltwater-barrier. It's an old invention protecting the freshwater-supply from the river, supplying Gothenburg, Sweden's next largest city, to be salt-polluted, when a special high water flooding of saltwater could become a threat.
  At Kornhall is a cable-ferry and a small boat harbour with a strong cross-current between the jetties. Very nice to meet Micha and shopping by using his car to get fuel and re-supply stores. The open Skagerrack Sea is waiting and an smooth lightwind gives RAMP a smooth run, except for one touch-and-go grounding stop. Then the wind swings 180 dg. and freshens suddenly "cat out of the hat" to a breezy force 4+, about 8+ m/sec. The working day has started, oilskins donned and reef down while hove to, then tack upon tack, and during one such we loose a cushion, a *behind softener*, so "man overboard maneuvre, rescue-action" satisfactorily and very efficiently performed by skipper according the old ’salt’/mate.
  Somewhat later our only none-seamanship-occurrence is experienced as a landlubber-driver comes out of the Brunskär harbour at full planing speed already at the exit, and cuts right in front of us. His luck that our 'torpedoes' were in *peace mode*! Then in the further increasing wind a loud crack followed by a shape-change of the mainsail as a reefing line pulls free, but it's pulled tight, tied up and we continue our progress seeing the high rocky lands of Marstrand, the destination up ahead. Very shifty and gusty winds, difficult to come about, and "bang, bang" rocky bottom hits the CB as the tiller-movement is somewhat restricted in a wind shift by the tied down 'crow-foot' across-ship, serving as a mainsheet-bridle due the engine being at the transom.  Modified later on, but we have had enough by now and seek shelter in a most attractive, small peaceful bay-creek - entirely for us only, all alone as in most places!




  At the map we notice just opposite a small islet by the name: "Churchyard Islet"! Not a bad place to have arrived to accept: sooner or later that's your destination port!
  In Sweden and Norway you have free access to all land, which is not cultivated ‘inland’. So all is well and most friendly when the surprised owner(fam.-ownership since year 1600) came by kayak, and showed real great interest in RAMP and us, while we prepared a well earned dinner and made ship-shape ready for the night. Distance 22.7 nm straight on, over the ground, but in zig-zag past lunch so add about 40% distance - mostly felt in the buttocks - for about 5 hours!




River landscape



On the way to Kornhall



Isle owners










JUN 06              Marstrand/Halsholmen - Gullholmen/Stora Risholmen


  Shortly after breakfast bringing along our sea-maps and naturally his cell-phone, Ken goes involuntarily but invariable head first into the sea, comes up spluttering from his first dive this season and has raised the sea-temp in the progress through angry comments. Maps are put up to dry in the light sunny morning wind and the cell-phone condemned, but SIM-card saved. Ken's right palm needs attending due sharp Sea Urchins' assisted rip stop!  In Swedish the Sea Urchins are called "Sea-Tulips"!  Nasty 'flowers' in our book!
  The "Patron" (owner of this isle) comes by on his morning kayak-trip and invites us for coffee to their farmhouse. It takes some exploring to find it, but we are rewarded given a great reception by his charming wife, who serves some really delicate, homemade scrounges and very good coffee on the terrace having a wonderful view of nature, land- and waterscape - in such lovely weather.
  In the barn with a top modern workshop - the sheep taking care of themselves in the open, no wolves here - the pride of the place a beautiful Swedish Class-dinghy "E-Canot", a little longer than the Wayfarer and most certainly faster in flat water, but we like to think not quite fully as sea-kind out in the Skagerrack Sea. It has nice, good, under deck stowage-drawers, but a rather limited cockpit-space, and the owner marvel to hear about W1348 with 4 children, 7 grown ups and 1 dog on a bathing trip out to a skerry-islet at Oslo.

  Onward through the Albrektsound's Canal to Marstrand under engine. Many flags and a lot of traffic, it is Sweden's National-Constitu-tional Day. Wonderful though to get out into the open to hoist sails despite all the things to look at, among them the great Castle of Marstrand  lured to surrender by historical Danish-Norwegian-Sea Hero called Tordenskjold (Thundershield) who made a lot of noise (literally with his ships' canons!) and disturbance on this coast of Scandinavia.


  A smooth delicate on the run sail to Gullholmen getting into a race with a 33 ft keelboat under spinnaker and with young joyful people of both sexes on board. They smiled happily at us, but took a closer look when we beat them to the finish line by the harbour.
  We prized ourselves to a nice winner-dinner at the quay's fish-restaurant, and prized is definitely the right word as the bill stated a rather shocking forty, four-zero dinners, instead of just two! With smiles all around 38 hereof were cancelled. Gullholmen (Golden Islet) got the name from the great wealth of the earlier days' abundant Herring Fisheries. Most appreciated was a visit here by The 2003 W.- Int.Rally-participants from nearby Malö. We leave port for our night stop in a shallow-water bay placing planks across-ship under the hull, to guard the CB-slot from picking up gravel. Ken's right arm - unpleasantly warm and reddish - has started to pain from the hand up - blasted "Tulips"!  Must see Doc. tomorrow at Lysekil. Dist. 24.3 nm









Halsholms small bay


Drying charts


Preparations for the night


Funny sea salt crystals at Vajern

JUN 07              Gullholmen - Smögen/Vajern


  Luckily the water is back in before departure into sailing upon a stainless steel plate surface; fresh morning, marvellous visibility and sunshine. Peaceful, the 'motors' - except for our own outboard - are not up yet. After two hours we make harbour at Lysekil, where Ken heads off for medical help and a replacement cell phone. He is back after a long while with a bandaged hand, and tells about more waiting since the phone got to be charged.

  Useful leisure-time for a shower and shopping in a cosy coastal town with a very nice sea view of boat traffic from a fine harbour. Finally at 15:30 off under reefed main and jib into fresh conditions; oilskins and Wellingtons in place for expected spray-showering work to  windward,  tack-upon-tack, right into it! The silver glare over 'white bone' breakers from the sinking sun, salt-sprayed glasses, heads-hooded, looking away from the oncoming spray-showers, difficult map-reading, are all part of the reason why we error-navigate twice. But so what, N.America is quite far off !

  Much beauty seen on the way, most of it land- and seascapes, but one wrong (possible right?) turn brought us close to the barren rocky shore, where a single, none-singing blond-haired "Siren", straight out of Homer, had settled, and Ken, a polite forehand bend over with a ‘gracious’ arm swing, presents the helming skipper as "Mr. Ulysses". This commotion brought out from behind the rocks the father of the "Siren"(a quite young and beautiful girl, looking a bit bewildered) and he acknowledged her as such. Big smiles and laughter all around as we tacked away, having enjoyed lee of the shore and human beings for a short while.

  Main Lane chosen through Smögen-Kungshamn, but downing sails, kicking in the engine, we veer W-ward into a narrow canal closely lined by fishermen's hamlets. Now all made into too modern, highly expensive summer cabins with a small jetty. Past here we find our nature-lagoon, unspoiled by culture, with low-water and a lovely sunset for dinner on the still sun warm rocks. Distance, excl. tack upon tack increments, 25.9 nm









Evening at Vajern


Delicious breakfast


Stone house by Soten canal


Big waves

JUN 08              Smögen/Vajern – Lindön


  In the morning some repair work was demanded for my reefing-system, reinforcement and re-whipping to ensure a higher degree of possible stress-load. Then a very pleasant, relaxed trip through the Soten-canal, where sneaky W1348"Maitken"back in 1967 came through the very first time, with no engine, en route from CPH to Oslo(winning Frank Dye’s Viking Trophy). We abide the law and use the engine through this short-cut - protected from powerful Skagerrack - very enjoyable and although no need for us the swing-bridge opens - for tall mast opposite traffic.

  Gale force being forecasted we head out into our first real open Salt Sea sailing. The goal is to reach as far northbound as can be achieved! Progress is very good under a SW-breeze and full sails. Having luckily chosen some protected cuts through the bare rocked archipelago, after the open sea-passage, the ‘load’ suddenly comes down on us calling for an immediate hove-to-reaction as the sea starts boiling and are presenting some sharp(or 'shark'!) white-teeth breaker 'grins'!

Jib up front and the Genoa as W-trysail on the mast stabilize the situation. A back-smoothing fender, for Ken’s cross back, went over-board and despite many trips, back-and-forth, searching the area, it was lost - not found in the unruly sea. Luckily it was just a fender!

  In order to reduce the 'wrath' of the Skagerrack Sea, and the pronounced build up of waves from there, a course was taken S of Otterön (Otter Isle) and E of Pinnön (Stick Isle). After a look N towards the town of Fjällbacka and passing Fiskholmen (Fish Islet) there is a serious challenge of open sea with big build up of incoming breaking beam-seas. Furthermore they made a disturbing back-wash/lash after hitting our lee shores of rocky coastal granite-walls! It all made it an easy choice for me to let the old salt handle the helm. On W-trysails only the heavy seas were constantly there threatening to poor some cubic meters of top-water right over us as RAMP fought and climbed up the steep 'hillsides'. The concerned-concentrated looks of the helmsman indicated exactly that this could well be expected, but actually only a few buckets of splash-water against the windward topsides came aboard. Our much beloved WAYFARER really is a most capable sea-vessel for rough conditions.

  A Norwegian 38 ft keelboat under a small foresail and engine power overtakes us, and out at sea, heading in, there is a sailboat under reefed down sails. It is really whipped/tossed about! For us its such a great relief when able to veer off to broad-beam-reaching, heading towards Havstenssund. So much easier to veer and 'scoot' downhill – reliable rudder mandatory(!) - and leave the white 'grins' to try their foam-reaches for the Norwegian ensign at our rudder head.

  After selecting a lovely, once more low-water, bay, only open towards SE, Ken needed a well-deserved stretching of his back on the smooth sun warm rocks, and snores away, while RAMP needed for me to make a 'spider web' tie down in addition to the anchor with the "dauman" ('dead-man') lead-weight holding tight the anchor line. All in all five lines to the spider-web, because it was blowing: 'Hats and Hay!' and nearly from all directions despite the protecting hillocks and trees surrounding our small bay. During the somewhat lively night the wind veered from SW-W to North coming more directly at us and making RAMP pull at the lines like a nervous 'Mustang'. Still we slept and everything stayed put, and being the tentmaker this naturally gives me a good sense of achievement, because it was really blowing very hard. Distance, with very rough sailing and demanding sail changes and -chances, in all 30.2 nm





Heavy breakers



Well deserved rest



Plenty of gusts









We are overtaken

JUN 09              Lindön/Resön - Hvaler/Norway

  After a night of noisy wind-wailing and a proper nourishing breakfast its time to head out under some scepticism with regard to what is in store outside? The weather forecast isn’t the best and the open Kosterfjord is notorious of being able to serve some rough conditions of the well known mix of current, wind and waves! Yesterday has not been forgotten!

  Ken’s new cell-phone get strong signals, BUT the net-operator had somehow managed to block the use, and later stupidly tried the totally unacceptable excuse that cause being the switch-over NOR – SWE. Must be caused(as clearly informed!) by ignorance!

 At the wonderful ‘out of this world’s WORLD’ along the rim around Skagerrack you have now the telecom masts available inland, if wanted! Earlier only homing pigeons for one way communication. Aboard RAMP we didn’t have much such telecom need, but now we couldn’t be reached and since our departure my wife, Guri, knew nothing of our whereabouts! So first then a short way to a short-stop at Hamnsundet’s guest-harbour for telephone and shopping, and then out into the open under Jib + W-trysail.

This quickly became full sails, Main and Genoa, since the wind had abated allowing a splendid progress as we hurried northbound over the Kosterfjord at nearly full hull-speed, and increasingly faster and faster as the wind gradually increased to give us occasional swift surfing rides from the enlarged wave-heights. Gradually plenty but stable surf-planing-tours as we left sibling(brother-sister)-land of Bohus Län (County) Sweden behind, checked the markers along our course, while the steering was made easy by the smoke-column of a big forest-fire in Norway, where the proud homecoming RAMP crossed the border at near top (controllable such!) speed. Coming into the fjord of the Hvaler Isles we were still able to have full sails all standing, and just *foam-sizzle* along! Out in the open it would definitely have been prudent to reduce speed due the wave-build-up.

Well not much later the by now very rough condition brought us into shelter, or partly so, found by Tjeldholmen (‘Oyster Catcher’ islet) so pleasingly good as we entered with relief and great satisfaction of once again having avoided *stumbling*, being pooped or *cart-wheeled*, and we were back in the homeland after the day’s distance of speedy 23.8 nm.



Been dry a long time turf



Last harbour with gusts












Coffee at least

JUN 10              Hvaler/Tjeldholmen - Frederikstad/Isegran


  This night through the feeling of being right below a rail-bridge of nearly continuously passing high speed freight trains could not be denied. The gusts were so shaking and powerful to become a severe test for the boat-tent that this really could be expected to flee by flying away. Thankfully it fought the battle bravely, stayed put and whole!

  At breakfast and our ordinary *Viking-Ship Members’ Council* we also chewed on the forecast of gales, occasionally severe such, from W – NW, expected for the next 4-5 days. We knew this is not how you W-sail up Oslofjord and decided to terminate at old town Frederikstad and make a trailer pick-up from there. So we made preparations to leave, but really had to move about with great care since the gusts were so sudden and strong that there was a fair chance of being swept, blown into the water!

  The jib was hoisted on the mast as W-trysail and gave us, when free of the bay, a now and then surf + planing, which is pretty much amazing and quite major for such a small sail-area on a W. loaded quite heavily for a cruise of 10 days with engine, fuel, oars, paddles, tent and all other gear, including a fairly solid crew of two!

  Luckily the wind was so far still from SW and pushing us up against the outflow from Norway’s largest river, Glomma, just then bringing a lot of melting water from the ice + snow of the high mountains and thereof creating for us a very strong head-on-current. But we were really sailing, pushing on so fast that the bow water-spray was caught up and blown in over the beam. One problem though to this was as we approached the harbour that when looking at the shore we were going nowhere forward!  All right, up Genoa and seek out the back-waters, and progress was re-established for onlookers working in the commercial harbour of Frederikstad.

 In order not to be swept out again, it was definitely necessary to arrange/make a huge ‘side-sliding’ margin before attempting crossing the main river into the smaller west-river where our destination port, Maritime Centre, Isegran(restoring of old wooden vessels) was located. This margin we got nicely right and it was gained from sailing up along the old town of Frederikstad before crossing. Good feeling of right judgement, but now we were properly 'whipped', down-up-down repeatedly, coming hard on the wind and forced to tack-upon-tack among low water shoal-grounds, so the old mate/’salt’ quite willingly volunteered to helm into a ‘heavenly’ port, where all work had ceased to watch us come, or NOT come at all !  What a Grand Finale to a wonderful W-trip.

 In 2 hours RAMP made the distance of the last 7 nm over the ground, without counting the extra distance through the water - due the rearward-pushing-by-the current!


 Total sailing distance for the whole trip over the ground 218.2 nm in 8 days.



Heavy sailing toward Fredrikstad



Still blowing a lot on the river Glomma



RAMP in harbour



Arrival at Isengran
















            PS :












Boathook left, to be screwed on and secured. Middle the pole with endfitting, lockpin and -hole. This end is placed on the gooseneck when used as boom for the W-trysail.  



Multipurpose adaptors for the telescopic spri-/spinn.pole.


Right the hook for spread/'wing' the foresail/spinnaker, to be screwed on and secured.


Length adjustment-system. Pole consist of two glassfibre-tubes(will sink in the water!) one inside the other.




Shows the pole-end to be hooked onto the mast's bow-fitting for spreading a foresail  OR  used aft-wards for the W-trysail's sheet and 'kicker'-lines( ref. p7230021).  Also the inner and outer tubes are shown.




W-trysail-sheet going aft and the line for the 'kicker'/vang or boom-downhaul goes forward to the ordinary boom-vang-adjustment-system.


The W-jib as W- us onto surfs and short planes in a fully, cruising-loaded trysail(which pushed W10390


p7230025.jpgBoom on gooseneck, downhaul using the Cunningham-haul;  the lowest  glider/slide of the W-trysail is visible in the mastgroove, -slot(obvious a leading edge of the sail that will slide into the mast-groove is an advantage for a solo-sailor and used on W1348. Ken)


For reasons of safety and survival at sea in  W1348"Maitken"  the idea of a W-trysail was adopted(through several modifications to get easy/functional handling) from "Heavy Weather Sailing" by Alard Coles back in 1968, where we for training in navigation, nightsailing, evaluation of and adjusting to weather-changes, and training seamanship sailed(many boats, at most five W.s) for 24 hours non-stop from Copenhagen and into the Baltic in the south and the Kattegat in the north. Arranged by KDY/the Royal Danish Yachtclub.

The very first time our W-trysail was used in earnest,  was by my two oldest sons(then 12 and 14 years old) and me, during a dark, rainy, windy night in a cold-front passage in the Bay of Køge known for big waves due the current(flow in-out of the Baltic Sea) and the open water all the way to Poland. Our best score total logged 112.6 naut.miles in 24 hrs.


Ken, W1348"Maitken"



The hook for the foresails mounted to the spri-pole and locked with the locking-pin.



W-trysail, equal the W-Genoa-size, with the W-jib forward (please note small chance for the boom to catch the waves as is clearly possible using a reefed W-mainsail the ordinary way without an upwards lifted/adjusted gooseneck and a boom-end-lifting mini/flat reef, ref. photo page 31 of WN, issue 114 "Sea of Hebrides" = fairly chilly waters!