The evening before the start of our trip, the four of us— Pirjo, Mia, Ben and I— were having dinner at the local restaurant, right next to the marina. It was a lovely place, filled with great food and happily chatting people (and even Michael Schmidt was there, the founder and previous owner of HanseYachts!).
Outside, a bit gray and cold.
I think we were all looking forward to the next morning and the start of our maiden trip to Finland, but surely there was also some anxiety in the air.
The Wiecker Drawbridge
Our plan was to sail from Greifswald to Rønne (located on the island of Bornholm, Denmark) in one day, so we wanted to start as early as possible. Our problem was what the Germans call Wiecker Brücke. It’s a really cool manual drawbridge that separates the Wyck river (where Greifswald is) from the rest of the world’s oceans, but unfortunately, it doesn’t open very early on a Saturday.
Fortunately, not that late either (see opening times for 2019 here), so at about 08:15 am we cast off the lines and started motoring down the Wyck river towards the drawbridge, a couple of miles away.
We arrived in good time, drove around in circles for while (good opportunity for me to teach myself a bit about boat-handling this boat), and then at 9 am, it started to happen.
To our amazement, we saw two persons (real human beings) walk over to the opposite sides of the bridge, and after that, they started to raise it (surprisingly quickly) by winding on some kind of large wheels. (I’m sure there are mechanically minded persons who know exactly how this works. I don’t, but it’s intriguing and more fun to watch, obviously, than someone pushing first the arrow up button, then the arrow down button.)
We motored against the wind for a while up the Greifswald Bodden (Bay of Greifswald) but a few hours later our course, as well as the wind, were perfect to try our new Code Zero sail (or crossover sail, as HanseYachts has branded it).
“Why do they call it code zero?”, asked Mia. “That’s a strange name.”
I didn’t really know the answer then, but luckily there is Google now, and this article on the North Sails web with a short explanation:
Originally “Code Zeros” were designed to qualify as spinnakers under various rating rules, which require the mid-girth to be 75% of the foot length. Volvo Ocean Racers coined the term Code Zero, which fit into the coding convention established by North Sails: A1, A2, A3, etc.North Sails: “What Is a Code Sail?”
So much for the definition but out on the Bay of Greifswald, the sail looked great and it worked wonderfully!
Our autopilot wasn’t a very good downwind driver, though, but as soon as Ben and Mia took over, everything went swimmingly.
And we got our first speed record! 11.1 knots with Mia at the helm!
Rigging the Crossover Sail
The boat was very nicely rigged and, as promised (!), ready to sail after the handover.
Rigging the code zero wasn’t included, though, so it took some thinking and checking out other boats to get it done.
They included a twin cam block as well, to stop/secure the furling line, but we didn’t figure out an easy way to get the endless line onto it (without opening the splice and resplicing), so we didn’t use it.
Very nicely, though, the actual sail was already wrapped around the tension line, so once we hade the furler in place it was just a matter of attaching and hoisting. And it worked perfectly!
“Windmill waypoint Champagne!”, Ben suddenly burst out happily.
The rest of the crew had bought a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate the new boat. Now we were almost halfway to Rønne, right next to the Arkona offshore windmill park, and everything had gone well. A good time for a toast!
Four Large Lasagnas
The rest of the sail was great and a bit after sunset we were safely moored at the Nørrekås marina in the Danish city of Rønne! (Side note: I’m a bit proud of myself that I’ve learned how to write all those Danish and German special letters that I don’t have on my standard keyboard 😄)
It was quite late and more than a bit cold. Still, we decided to go for a walk to see the center of Rønne and to look for an open restaurant.
We didn’t find any open restaurant but we did find one that wasn’t completely closed. There the nice chef offered to make us some takeaway lasagna before they’d turn off the lights and lock the doors.
“Can you make four big lasagnas?”, Ben asked, hungry as he was. (And usually is!)
“My lasagna is always big”, the owner replied with a grin.
A Good Day and Good Night
Our first day of sailing was turning to night.
All the really important stuff had worked exactly as our dealer had promised, and that is quite amazing.
The boat was wonderful, and so was the lasagna.