Yard owner

...single-handed between porpoises and mermaids

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Text by Ib Kunøe

Text by Ib Kunøe

I recently started my second season with an X4³, and have previously owned a fantastic Xc 42. My new boat is easy to handle and it is very fast.

My boat was in Aabenraa in Southern Denmark and I had decided that I would sail it back to its home port in Vedbæk on my own. I was born and raised in Aabenraa where my sailing career started. So it was a fantastic journey through “the streets of childhood” on the sunny side of Denmark.

I started in Aabenraa Saturday around lunchtime with a nice trip and an overnight stay in the Little Belt (Lillebælt), and afterwards I took the long trip Monday morning from Fredericia to Vedbæk in one stretch.

One thing has changed; The Little Belt has been taken over by porpoises. Recently, I read that there are more than 10,000 porpoises in Danish waters, most easily spotted on flat water.. but, where are the mermaids?

In my childhood we rarely saw them, although everybody claims that there were more fish back then.. but, near Årøsund, I saw flocks of 5-7 beautiful animals playing around the boat. 7 knots suit them very well, obviously. Back then there were only few mermaids.
I spent the night south of Årøsund at “Halk” in totally silence, not a sound other than gurgling water – which is a very rare experience in our civilized society.

It was a wonderful evening with a cup of coffee, a fine brandy and a good cigar. Again the thought came across my mind that Denmark is not only known for porpoises, but also for mermaids, and I couldn’t stop thinking about where the legs end and the tail starts on a mermaid?

But the water was cold!

I slept like a baby and woke up to more sun and light wind. The only time I was at the fore deck was when the anchor was to be pulled up or going down – and when I arrived in the harbour.

You have to consider things and prepare yourself more when you are alone – but with a bow thruster and some sensible thinking, it goes just fine.

Under the bridges of the Little Belt, I met the porpoises again and this time 2 flocks with 4 animals in each. I am not sure why they decided to love X-One, but to my great pleasure they followed me, these beautiful, strong and elegant “dolphins”.

Monday morning I sailed out of the harbour of Fredericia in light air on close reach, 6.5 knots, but eventually, it freshened up and even though the wind went up to 35 degrees true, I sailed really fast with 7-8 knots – no significant sea and lovely sunshine.

There is something special about being alone for a couple of days, because when thinking about it, there are almost always people around you. In a boat, sailing single-handed, you are alone with the boat and the element.

South of Samsø, the wind increased to 9 m/sec – and with a bit of luck, I could fetch Odden on a tight beat.
I was wearing my rescue belt – but didn’t need to go on deck. Everything has been led down to the cockpit so it was a piece of cake.

Full sails all the way through “Snekkeløbet” and a little ease on the sheets up along the North Coast of Zealand. Very fast – 9 knots in average – fantastic! The autopilot works perfectly when you don’t want to steer, are having lunch, coffee or read a bit. I could have set the gennaker, which sits on a furler.. but would be a little too much with 150 m2 and being alone in windy conditions.

It was incredibly easy, and all warnings where proved wrong. I had decided to sail in the day light, but could have done it during the night. I will try that next time.

The wind was constantly North North East, so already at 22 pm, I sailed into Vedbæk harbour – it took 16 hours to sail 130 sea miles – with 8 knots average – a great, safe and easy sail.

Read more about the X43