MINNIE MOLTOK GOES ALL THE WAY AROUND THE ISLAND A STORY FROM DENMARK
Page 7 Wed 15 Aug Kraghj – Nykbing (Magenta course)
The morrow was warm and hazy. What wind there was came from the east. This sort of weather carries air-pollution from Europe up to us, and on that day the ozone level reached the limit of what is allowed in the European Union, irritating eyes and air-passages. It is shocking to see how high that acceptable level actually is. It’s much higher than this sailor can tolerate, but what a comfort it is that there’s a law against its being worse than this. There’s no end to the advantages we’ve gained by joining EU.
Into the smog.
We found the water, in the smog, by following the sound of bathers – well, OK, we had a compass. This evening trip will be a case of rowing between patches of wind, and smog, it seems. The daughter wants to photograph seals. She rows toward the nearest patch of wind on the way to Ejerslev Rn, with the boom hoisted out of the way by the topping-lift.
The daughter rows past Feggeklit.
In a smooth piece of water, showing a current running with the wind, we see lots of thistle-down and a strip of red algae approaching the appearance of home-made tomato soup. The water everywhere is almost opaque with red algae, and this strip of them is clearly visible for a long way through the haze. Unfortunately the haze doesn’t allow the disposable camera we bought for the trip to take very intelligible pictures, however if it is first explained what the picture represents, it helps visualization.
Current, thistledown and algal soup.
The patch of wind turns out to give about as much speed as the rowing, so the oars are shipped as we creep up on the holm.
But what is that? A motor-boat on its way toward the Rn. It stops and someone gets out – two of them? Don’t they know it is forbidden to set foot on it? Of course they do, they’re walking past The Notice.
The first time we became aware that something foreign had appeared on the holm, we sailed nearer to find out what was written on it. About twenty-five metres from The Notice, the lookout was asked what it said. “It says: ‘Reservation … It is forbidden to approach to within … 50 metres of this Notice’.” Aha.
The motor-boaters can’t find any seals, and leave, disappearing into the smog. They haven’t disturbed the cormorants, so the daughter photographs them as we pass to the west. Safely past the reef to the south of the holm we change course for Blindern, the place where the seals really are, when the water is so low that it breaks surface, but at this speed it will take a couple of hours to get there, better have some lettuce with something round it, to pass the time.
The sun over Drby Vig. The wind has freshened. It’s not every day one can photograph the sun in a cloudless sky.
About an hour later, at 19.45 we were woken up by the freshening and veering wind, about 8 kn, SE, so we decided to give Blindern a miss, change course with the wind, and sail 200 toward Salling Sund. We don our sweaters and waterproofs and keep to the new course for 1_ hours to 21.30, when the thought of getting up before six begins to take precedence over the wish to get as far as possible in this useful wind, and the course is changed to 235 for the north of Nykbing. Not too far north – that’s the sewage-treatment plant. What does the beach look like here? Regular objects, what can they be? We must really get a more powerful torch. Further south, under the light marking the passage from Liv Bredning to Salling Sund, is the start of the sandy beach we’re looking for and we wriggle in past the moored outboard-dinghies and carry up the beach, having first removed the sand-sacks. Minnie Moltok may have had a hull-weight of 45 kg when she was young and inexperienced, but now, re-taped, strengthened, epoxied from gunwale to skeg, with rig and sails, rope and anchor, extra clothing, food, toolbag, extra sails, bucket and spade, etc., she weighs considerably more. The – uh – mobile phone makes contact with base and summons transport.
We make Minnie comfortable on her side on the beach with sponge and sand sacks, give her a sack to keep the flies off her mast-top, collect our gear, the board and the rudder, and head for the road.
What we need now is some good, strong, westerly wind to clear this European smog.
Thursday, 16 August, Ministerial Meeting and more …
During the morning, a meeting called by the Health Minister with the Transport Minister and the Industry Minister resulted in a request to the Danish Meteorological Institute to effect an immediate change in the weather. At midday the lever was moved from SSE to SW, a switch was thrown, and we immediately received wind, rain and thunder, with a warning of violent gusts. (Notice though the effect of the afternoon coffee-break at three o’clock.)
This was an evening for pulling the plug on everything electronic and drinking mugs of steaming cocoa, while watching leaves and twigs blow past the windows, to the accompanyment of thunder and lightening. We didn’t feel at all bad about wasting this opportunity to try out the jib-as-mainsail option in the gusts.
Fri 17 Aug, Nykbing – rding Strand (Brown course)
Minnie Moltok was still lying on the beach when we returned to her early on Friday afternoon. We sailed at 14.10 in a 16 kn wind that was very gusty with marked shifts of direction, and pointed south toward Salling Sund. After a kilometer during which the dinghy bucked as if trying to throw us off, the helmswoman decided Minnie was trying to tell us to reef, so we landed by the youth-hostel, reefed, took a feeding break and while we had the chance, a shot of ice-cream.
Looking NE across the mouth of Salling Sund from Nykbing Light (white & red hut). The island to the right is Fur. Liv is on the horizon in the centre. Minnie Moltok is visible, still lying on the beach.
After reefing we made slow but more comfortable closehauled progress against the current. The keelboats coming out of Nykbing reeled in the buffeting wind. We took a tack into the bay south of Refshammer to get a faster course toward Salling Sund bridge. The larger boats had speed enough to take the bridge in their stride, but for us attempting to sail straight through could mean standing still against the current, so we came at it at a flatter angle with more speed. We kept far enough away from the windward bridge-pillar to avoid its worst effects on the wind – maybe too far, since the current was running at near two knots, and we only just managed not to leave paint on the leeward pillar. On reflection we should perhaps have unreefed before the bridge, thereby getting more speed. We could also pretend the openings in the bridge are just too narrow for a dinghy. The clearance over the mast we can’t complain about, unless it’s about the velocity of visitors dropping in from that height.
Salling Sund Bridge ahead. The sections of this bridge are glued together with epoxy.
Note the scenic area, Legind Bjerge, whose highest point is 52 m, west of the bridge. In the days of the ferry the road ran beside the beach. Now a much faster road allows increased traffic to pass through the Scenic Area at a speed which minimizes the noise-impact over time of each individual unit of traffic
As it was, it turned out that the wind had worn itself out by its earlier tantrum and we took the reef out a kilometre south of the bridge and rang home for transport from rding Strand. The transport officer suggested we should meet nearer, where a beck ran out from a deep valley under a wood on a high bluff. However we could see several places that might be that one, our chart couldn’t help and it would be dark when we got there, so we agreed on rding. So little wind was there that we eventually spent some time rowing, but when the wind changed to a westerly we sought more of it further out in the sound, sailing south until we had reached what we guessed would be rding and tacked toward the shore.
Under land it was almost calm and silent as death. One small light could be from a house near where the road comes down to the beach. The narrow beach was unpleasantly stony and the water cluttered with randomly positioned, but cunningly submerged, individual large stones. A search to the south along the shore found no sandy beach, only sea-thorn, thistles and bog. Walking to the north though, my “read-a-newspaper-at-200-metres” flashlight found the faces of a couple cowering on a bench against a fisherman’s hut – rding Strand. The couple melted quietly away in the dark. It is too bad that you can’t even find peace on a bench by a beach at eleven o’clock at night, a couple of kilometres from a small village, down a narrow, dark road. Damned dinghy-cruisers.
We laid Minnie on some soft grass and awaited our transport home. Our speed to the bridge had been something over 1 kn. From the bridge to rding Strand even less. I don’t know why these dinghy-cruisers bother. If you really want to sit on you arse for hours on end, couldn’t it be better done in front of the TV with a jumbo bag or two of onion-and-cheese-flavoured, expanded bacon-rind snacks, and some six-packs of good, gassy beer? Is there a treatable condition lying behind the compulsion to embark in a small sailing dinghy with the intention of getting from here to there when the wind is trying to blow you backward and even the water is running the wrong way?
We shall not here contemplate dinghy-health matters, like for example the risk of deep-vein thrombosis from sitting cramped up for hours on end without the opportunity for exercise, but perhaps all dinghies should display a licence-disc with a suitably worded Government Health Warning. Revenue from the registration-fee could help pay for the cost to society of dinghy-related illnesses.