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City Visit Oslo, Part two

City Visit Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

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City Visit Oslo, Part two

Needless to say, Oslo has an immense choice of cafés, restaurants, and shops. I’ll talk about some of favourites in a future post. Here are a few of the “must-sees” in Oslo.

The Holmenkollen Ski Jump and its museum

The first thing we wanted to visit in Oslo was the Holmenkollen Ski Jump!  You can see it from a great distance as you sail up the fjord to Oslo.  The last time I saw the ski jump was in 1983, and it’s been through 2 remodels since then.

City Visit Oslo - Holmenkollen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The Holmenkollen ski jump – what an amazing architectural masterpiece!

The shiny new Holmenkollen ski jump is an amazing architectural feat!  Its cantilevered style gives you the impression that it could tip over at any moment.  It is truly a fantastic example of modern architecture.

An elevator whisks you up to the top of the jump — it’s the same one the competitors use.  Once you’re at the top you can visit the actual jumping start point. It’s incredible that someone could actually launch themselves down this steep slope — it’s much steeper and longer than it looks on television!

City Visit Oslo - Holmenkollen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The ski jump itself is far steeper than it looks on television!

An observation platform at the very top of the structure provides gorgeous views of the Oslo Fjord, the city itself, and the surrounding countryside and mountains.

City Visit Oslo - Holmenkollen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The beautiful countryside behind the ski jump.

City Visit Oslo - Holmenkollen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

You can see quite far down the Oslo Fjord from the top of the Holmenkollen ski jump

After you’ve had enough of the view from the top, you can visit the museum on the lower levels.  It’s a tribute to 4’000 years of skiing in all its forms.  Don’t forget the Scandinavians used skis just to get around back in the day.

City Visit Oslo - Holmenkollen | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The Holmenkollen museum of skiing. They used skis to get around on Svalbard, where the polar bears live in Norway.

Admission is 130 NOK.

Getting there: take the Nr. 1 metro (T-bane) and get off at the Holmenkollen station.  Go the Ruter Public Transportation site or app for information on how to get there from exactly where you are in Oslo.

The museum island: Bygdøy

Bygdøy is home to several museums so you can easily spend a couple of days there! The easiest way to get there (unless you’re at the marina there) is to take the ferry. It’s located at Pier 3, close to the city hall and leaves every 20-30 minutes.  If you’re visiting during the colder months (November to April), you can take bus number 30.  Download the RuterBillet app to buy public transport tickets on your phone.

City Visit Oslo - Bygdøy | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Small viking-style boats moored in the Bygdøy harbour next to the ferry boat pontoon.

We only had one day so we chose the Viking Ship Museum and the Fram Museum. We will visit the other two the next time we’re in town.

The Viking Ship Museum

City Visit Oslo - Viking Ship Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

One of the viking ships that was dug up and restored for the museum

This is a must-see if you’re visiting Oslo for the first time.  During our visit, three ancient viking ships were on display.

Displays of other viking artefacts including a wagon, tools and swords, as well as household items show how the vikings lived.  The craftsmanship is just breathtaking!  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

City Visit Oslo - Viking Ship Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The dragon heads on the viking ships are amazing works of art. The wood carvings are intricate and complex.

City Visit Oslo - Viking Ship Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

This dragon head is a bit older, so the wood had partially rotted away.

Admission is 100 NoK (discounts for children, students and seniors) and it’s open every day.

The Fram Museum – The Polar Ship Fram

The Fram museum is one of the most beautifully arranged, decorated and laid-out that we’ve ever seen.

City Visit Oslo - Fram Polar Expedition Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

An example of one the types of animals brought back by the one of the polar expeditions.

This impressive museum is dedicated to the exploration of the Polar areas.  The Fram was a wooden polar research vessel used by both Fridtjof Nansen to the north pole area and Roald Amundsen for his expedition to Antarctica.  It is entirely preserved and you can go aboard and have a look at all of the living and working quarters on the boat.

City Visit Oslo - Fram Polar Expedition Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A model of the first Fram expedition – getting stuck in the ice.

City Visit Oslo - Fram Polar Expedition Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Another model of one of the Fram polar expeditions-this time in the south pole. They reached the south pole in December of 1911.

The vessel Gjøa is exhibited here as well. This is the first ship to have navigated the Northwest Passage. This expedition established the location at the time of the north magnetic pole and then proved that the magnetic pole moves over time.

City Visit Oslo - Fram Polar Expedition Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The Polar vessel Gjøa.

A cinema with translation headsets provides a crash course in Polar exploration, and numerous exhibits show the results of the research and life onboard the vessels.  If you have children, there are quite a few fun and educational exhibits aimed at teaching children about the polar environment.

City Visit Oslo - Fram Polar Expedition Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

You can see that even the little cubs have very sharp teeth!

City Visit Oslo - Fram Polar Expedition Museum | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Post cards from the crew. Notice the incredible calligraphy from back in the day.

Admission is 100 NOK, with discounts for children, students and seniors. It’s open every day.

Visiting the Fram museum made us truly  appreciate the modern conveniences (heating, refrigeration, for example) and equipment (gore-tex, for example) we have on today’s cruising boats!

City Visit: Oslo Part 1

Oslo Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55City Visit: Oslo, part one – the Aker Brygge area and its marina

The Oslo Boat show was winding down when we arrived in the Oslo area, which meant that the Aker Brygge marina was still closed to the public.  We decided to stay in one of the lovely anchorages not far from the city.  The Ostøya-Grimsøya-Kjeholmen group of islands is only about 6 nautical miles from Aker Brygge in Oslo and outside of the “high” season in the middle of summer, it’s not crowded at all.  Several houses dot these islands so lying at anchor is the best solution so as not to disturb the inhabitants.

Anchorage near Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Anchored in beautiful weather at Ostøya

The Aker Brygge marina had announced on their website that it would open to the public on the Tuesday after the boat show, so we left the anchorage for Oslo city.

Surprise!  The workers who were taking down the tents and temporary pontoons were not yet finished with their task.  We were given the choice of lying on the outside of the pontoons or finding another marina.  The wind was brisk and coming straight into the marina making the waves in the entire harbour quite choppy.  We clearly did not want to moor on the outside of the marina.  The ferries and cruise lines that enter and exit Oslo also create a lot of waves.  We opted to go to Dronninghavna.

Dronninghavna boat club, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A view of the Dronninghavna boat club, with the Holmenkollen ski jump in the background

Unfortunately, Dronninghavna did not a berth for our boat and we were given a waiting pontoon. We weren’t pleased with the situation.  We were told that all of the marinas in Oslo were full because all of the visiting boats and even the permanent renters of berths at Akerbrygge were relegated to the other Oslo marinas.  There was nothing to do but accept the situation. At least they let us use the waiting pontoon free of charge (there’s no water, electricity or access to toilets, etc.)

Dronninghavna boat club, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Dronninghavna boat club on the island of Bygdøy, just outside of Oslo city centre

The Dronninghavna is otherwise a good choice for those of you who want to visit the most famous of all of the Oslo museums: the Viking Ship Museum, the Kontiki Museum, the Fram museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum.  They are all on the same island as the marina, Bygdøy.

Finally, on the Wednesday after the boat show, we were permitted to up at the Aker Brygge marina.  This is the marina closest to the city centre of Oslo.  Aker Brygge is a modern waterfront neighbourhood that successfully blends restaurants, cafés, boutiques, offices and living space.  For anyone who loves modern architecture, this place is just amazing!

Aker Brygge Marina, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Aker Brygge Marina

Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The marina at night

Marina Review: The Aker Brygge marina

The marina is relatively new and you’ll find everything you need, including toilets and showers, a laundry room, wifi, and a small café.  The toilets, showers and laundry room were all spotless and in brand new condition. We absolutely loved staying here!

It’s relatively expensive, but you get a pristine marina and walking distance to downtown Oslo for the price.

The only downside is that it can get quite noisy if the weather is nice and there are lots of people out.

Marina Prices: 14 NOK per foot.  This includes WiFi, use of toilets, showers, washers and dryers, electricity and water.

Contact: https://www.akerbrygge.no/marina/  Telephone: +47 930 50 655, Email: goh@npro.no

Akerbrygge Marina, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Senna on a sunny Oslo morning at the Aker Brygge

Akerbrygge Marina, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Freja moored at the Aker Brygge Marina. The harbour office and facilities are to the right in the photo

Akerbrygge Marina, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The view towards Tjuvholmen from the boat

The Akerbrygge/Tjuvholmen borough of Oslo

The Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen area was built from land that served as a shipyard and small mechanical factories until 1982.  It was then developed, step by step, into the amazing architectural wonderland that it is today.

Aker Brygge, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Aker Brygge on a sunny morning

A few of the buildings were not removed, but renovated and reborn as shops, offices, restaurants and apartments.

Aker Brygge Marina, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A late evening view of the Aker Brygge Marina

Aker Brygge, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Walking Senna through the Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen area at night

Aker Brygge, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Another part of our dog-walking route

Aker Brygge, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

More of the amazing architecture at Aker Brygge

Some of the more well-known architects represented here include Niels Torp (who also designed the beautiful SAS building outside Stockholm), Space Group and Renzo Piano, who designed the Astrup Fearnley Museum on Tjuvholmen.  Renzo Piano is also the architect responsible for the Shard in London, the Paul Klee Centre in Bern, Switzerland and the New York Times building in New York. If you are passionate about architecture as an art form, you will love this area.

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Tjuvholmen by day…

Tjuvholmen, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

And Tjuvholmen by night

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The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art on Tjuvholmen island

The Aker Brygge is the part of this new area  with the most restaurants, shops, bars and cafés.  We had dinners or lunches here and found what we think are Europe’s best croissants for breakfast (it’s the incredible Norwegian butter)!  You’ll find lots of different shops and boutiques, but for essentials, there is the Coop grocery store.  You can get your internet access card for your router at Telia.

Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Another part of dog-walking route (and tour of amazing architecture)

Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

One of the many sidewalk restaurants at Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen. This one has a view of the marina and the Oslo Fjord

Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Here’s another of the many cozy sidewalk restaurants in the Aker Brygge area

Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Lovely sculpture and water art in front of yet another sidewalk restaurant

Aker Brygge/Tjuvholmen, Oslo | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Another view of the incredible modern architecture in Aker Brygge

In my next post, I’ll go over our favourite places to visit in and around Oslo.

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Great Discoveries: Norwegian anchorages, part 1

Great Discoveries: Norwegian anchorages part one: the eastern Oslofjord area

Sailing the Oslofjord | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55It seems that most people who sail to Norway skip over the entire Oslofjord region.  If they’re coming from Sweden they’ll sail directly to Farsund or Eggersund. If they’re coming from Scotland, they’ll sail straight to Stavanger or Bergen.  It’s really a shame, because the Oslofjord region is breathtakingly gorgeous!

We use three different guides to Norwegian anchorages and marinas.

1. Havneguiden

2. Norske Los (free to download as pdf files)

3.  Norwegian Cruising Guide by John and Phyllis Harries (morganscloud.com)

We recommend them all, but the Havneguiden is the one with the most photos, taken from the air so you can really see what the anchorage looks like. If you download the inexpensive Eniro charts (charts for Norway and Sweden) for your iPad or smartphone, you see lots of anchorages marked.  In addition, the paper charts for Norway often have anchorages marked out.

Fredrikstad

If you’re coming up from Sweden, a good stop may be Fredrikstad.  It has a marina in the middle of town and a lovely historic old town, Gamlebyn, to visit.  We arrived from the east, first going up the fjord, then river Østerelva that leads to the city of Sarpsborg There’s quite a current here, so consider yourself warned.  You can also approach from the west side, in which case you’ll avoid having to wait for bridge openings.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Vintage boats in Fredrikstad

When you enter from the east to enter the city, you’ll see an old mill in full working order — that’s how strong the current is.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad Mill | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The mill at Fredrikstad

You’ll have to request and wait for a bridge opening to get to the marina if you come from the east side.  They don’t open the bridge at request, but if you call, they know someone wants to pass and they will open the bridge at the set times.  If you don’t let them know, the bridge doesn’t open at all (because they think no-one needs an opening).  You can wait for the bridge opening along the quayside just before the bridge.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

View towards the centre of Frekrikstad

The town itself is quite small but has a good choice of restaurants, cafés and bars along the quayside.  We had dinner at a tapas restaurant there – excellent dishes and good prices (for Norway, that is).

The prices of berths at quayside range from 250 NOK to 600 NOK (15 meters and up).  They have showers, toilets and laundry facilities.

We planned Fredrikstad as our first stop because we thought we’d have to check in our boat and our dog.  We well called the Norwegian customs , we found out that you just need to carry your dog’s passport (with the stamps for all of the necessary vaccinations and the special worm treatment for Norway) in your pocket or purse — just in case anyone wants to check. The customs explained to us that since our boat is registered in a Schengen county and we are from a Schengen country, we didn’t need to clear in.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Filling up the diesel tanks. Diesel is a bit cheaper in Norway than Sweden.

If you leave Fredrikstad from the eastern side, you may want to fill your diesel tanks at the Nøkledypet marina. Glommen Bunkerservice is open between 8.00 and 20.00 during the summer season (until end of Sept.)

Sailing the Oslofjord - Fredrikstad | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

It seems that you don’t pay the road tax on diesel at marine fuel stations. You do pay the VAT though.

Korterødkilen anchorage

Another idea for a first stop in Norway is the charming anchorage of Korterødkilen on north side of the island of Kjeøya.. It’s kind of a Norwegian summer neighbourhood, though there’s not much activity outside the vacation period and the weekends.  It is protective of winds from any direction.  You just need to be careful of your anchor scope as there are several boats lying on buoys.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Kjeøya | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The lovely anchorage on Kjeøya called Korterøkilen

The anchor bottom consists of sticky mud/clay — good holding.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Kjeøya | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Summer houses in Korterøkilen

Sailing the Oslofjord - Kjeøya | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our anchorage at Kjeøya. The GPS coordinates: 59°5’48N, 11°13’8E

Hankøhavna anchorage

Our first anchorage on the way up to Oslo was Hankø’s west side.  Hankø also has a big marina on it’s east side.  We chose the anchorage because we didn’t want to waste time going around the island.

Sailing the Oslofjord - anchorage at Hankøhavna | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Dramatic evening skies at Hankøhavna

In hindsight, we should have done so because the Hankø anchorage is not really suitable for a large boat like Freja. The problem here is that many boats are lying on buoys, and there are additional buoys for the Norwegian cruising club to use.  The anchorage is so crowded with buoys, it’s difficult to put out enough chain to have a proper scope for strong winds.

Sailing the Oslofjord - anchorage at Hankøhavna | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

We had strong winds at the anchorage of Hankøhavna

If your boat is 9 tons or less, you can use these buoys if they aren’t taken by a cruising club member.  Since our boat displaces far more than 9 tons, (about 27 tons fully bunkered) hooking onto one of these buoys wasn’t possible. We prefer to use our big anchor in any case, as we know once it’s bedded in, we aren’t going anywhere.

Our 55kg Spade held throughout a night of 30-38 knot winds, even on short scope (about 4:1) but I didn’t get a lot of sleep.  I was constantly waking up to check my iPad (which acts as a remote for our Furuno TZ plotter) to check the wind speed and to see if we were dragging.

Sailing the Oslofjord - anchorage at Hankøhavna | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our anchorage at Hankøhavna. GPS coordinates: 59°11’53N, 10°46’7E

Son Marina

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

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We found the seaside town of Son utterly cozy and charming.  Hyggelig as they would say in Danish.  We arrived  on a Saturday, so the village was full of activity and all of the littles shops, restaurants and cafés were open all weekend (except for the Vinmonopolet which is always closed on Sunday.)

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

View of Son Marina

Speaking of the Vinmonopolet — this is the Norwegian version of the state-run shops that sell alcoholic drinks.  You see the same system in Sweden (System Bolaget) and in Finland (Alko).  Norway has the most expensive wine of the three countries, so you may want to stock up before arriving.  In Norway, Finland and Sweden, you can buy light beer (lower alcohol content) in grocery stores, but normal beer is also sold only at the state-run shops.  You may think that because it’s a monopoly system that the prices are higher than in “normal” shops, but that isn’t always the case.  We saw, for example, a 75 cl of 2014 Tignanello for sale at 600 SEK (61 Euros or 68 USD) in Sweden.  The same bottle in Switzerland would cost twice that.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Out for a walk in the seaside town of Son

Sailing the Oslofjord - the town of Son | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The beautiful cobblestone streets of Son

Getting back to Son Marina,  we spent 2 and a half sunny days there.  We sampled one of the restaurants, “Solsiden”, had coffee in one of the pleasant cafés, “Torvgården”, both very good. Jacques even had a haircut at the marina salon.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A view of the boardwalk at Son marina

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

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Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Having some early morning cappuccino in a café at the marina.

Be warned though, that outside of the normal summer holiday period (from around the 25 of June to around the 10th of August, the restaurants and cafés are only open on the weekends.

Sailing the Oslofjord - the town of Son | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The fire brigade museum in Son

Sailing the Oslofjord - the town of Son | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A view of the town square in Son

We will definitely come back to this lovely marina town!

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

This dachshund was out for a ride on mom’s kayak.

Information on Son Marina:

This marina is open all year ‘round, with lower prices between around mid-September to mid-May.

Prices include:  electricity, water, wifi, toilets, showers, laundry room, exchange-a-book library, septic tank pumping station.

Prices: 250 NOK to 500 NOK depending on the size of the boat.  We paid 500 NOK for Freja (55 feet).  A warning about prices — if you reserve a place with Dockspot, the price is 100 NOK higher than the official price.  We reserved our first night with Dockspot. It was 600 NOK instead of the official prices of 500 NOK.

Marina telephone: +47 649 587 38

Marina email: post@sonhavn.no

Sailing the Oslofjord - Son Marina | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

This cutie was waiting for his owners to get back to the boat.

Fredagshølet anchorage

This anchorage is extremely well- protected from winds and seas from all directions.  It’s located on the north side of the island of Seiløy (Sail Island!).  Getting to anchorage is a bit tricky, no matter if you’re coming in from the night or south, so pay attention — there are underwater rocks on both sides of the channels.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

The anchorage of Fredagshølet

The nature is that of a typical outer archipelago island — mostly smooth, rounded granite and small bushes and trees. It’s easy to find a warm rock for sunbathing if that’s your thing.  The anchoring holding is excellent — we brought up lots of sticky mud on or anchor.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Smooth granite islands around Fredagshølet

If you prefer marinas, there is a small marina close to Fredagshølet called Bukta Gjesthaven.

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

A view of the small marina near Fredagshølet called Bukta Gjesthavn

Sailing the Oslofjord - Anchorage of Fredagshølet | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog | Discovery 55

Our anchorage at Fredagshølet. GPS coordinates: 59°7’21N, 10°51’21E

Getting started as a cruiser? Get some coaching — Part 2

NorwegianCoachingCruise | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55Farsund

After a wet voyage rounding Lindenes, we were happy to finally come into the port town of Farsund. First task: dry everything out! We had to rinse and hang all of the cockpit bench cushions as well as our life vests, foulies and boots as they had gotten a thorough drenching throughout the day.

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Drying out the cockpit cushions at Farsund marina.

The marina was empty except for one other boat that was planning to make the passage down to the UK and then onwards for a circumnavigation. They had bicycles and skis (!) lashed to the deck.

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Beautiful Farsund marina on a calm and sunny morning

The marina is quite handy as it’s next to a supermarket — and one of the state-run liquor shops in case you’ve run out of wine or beer. I wouldn’t advise the purchase of anything stronger as it’s tremendously expensive here in Norway (liquor tax depends on the level of alcohol).

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Regina Laska docked just in front of the grocery store

Farsund has preserved it’s small town charm — we were impressed that  the new architecture blends in perfectly with the older buildings from the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Everything  is built in wood, obviously an abundant  natural resource here. It provides for some nice walks to explore the town and the neighbouring forests and fjords.

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Beautiful little fishing boat docked at the fishing quay in Farsund

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Farsund marina information panel

We also had a short lesson in maintenance and repair after breakfast. Things will break and wear out on your boat, even if it’s brand new, we learned. Leon told us we’re lucky that we complement each other in our skills. Jacques has the hands-on mechanical skills and I have more of a “geek” skill set. If anything electronic stops working, I can trouble-shoot and usually find what’s wrong, and if anything mechanical stops working, Jacques can do the same.

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Lesson in maintenance aboard Regina Laska

We learned to have lots of spares on the boat, high-quality tools (the cheap ones will rust quickly) and a good method for organising them. Nothing is more frustrating that not finding the part or the tool that you know you have — somewhere.

Next stop: Kyrkehamn/Hidra

As we left the lovely town of Farsund, we noticed the first signs on deteriorating weather towards the west — bands of wispy cirrus clouds that warn you of a warm front coming through and usually rain within 24 hours. Best to take full advantage of our last sunny day!

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Coming out of Farsund, you can see the cape of Lindesnes in the distance on a clear day.

To get to Kirkehamn (Church Harbour)/Hidra, we had to round Lista Point and sail north through a narrow fjord. The entry to Kirkehamn is quite dramatic. As you approach, you come closer and closer to a lone white wooden church perched on a hill at the end of the fjord. It seems as if that church is the only thing in the harbour. When you actually get to the harbour at the end of the fjord you notice that it is actually a large fishing village. We imaged that many of the houses you see at Kirkehamn are actually summer houses, as their couldn’t be that many fishing families here.

During our sail, we learned a little trick for rolling in your mainsail when you’re running before the wind. What you need to do is position yourself so the wind is 180° directly behind you. Haul in the mainsail sheet so the boom is stationary, and then furl in as usual. Works like a charm.

We docked at a small marina on the opposite side of the harbour from the fishing boat harbour, Isbua marina. We were the only boat on this cold but sunny day. At this time of year (first week of May) the marina was free of charge, but no electricity, nor WiFi was available. The “season” there begins around mid-May, after which the fee is 200 NOK including electricity and WiFi.

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Isbua marina at Kirkehamn

After securing the boat, we decided to go for a hike to the top of Hidra Island. The views were breathtaking!

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The view from the top of Hidra

The island is home to a large flock of multi-coloured sheep. As it was spring and lambing season, we saw lots of little ones. We hoped they appreciated the wonderful ocean views of their island pasture.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Black lamb on Hidra

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The sheep on Hidra have a beautiful sea view

Kirkehamn to Egersund

The cirrus clouds of the yesterday did indeed foretell rain within the next 24 hours. We woke up to a heavy downpour. After a warm and hearty Swedish breakfast (herring, liver paste, crispbread, eggs and coffee) we went seeking fresh fish for our evening dinner. We were in a fishing village after all.

We docked in front of the “fish hall”, where the morning’s catch was brought in, sorted and organised for sale. You need a fender board for this as fishing boat pontoons are not made for fibreglass hulled sailboats. Norway is not know for being a low-price country, but I can tell you that buying fish directly from the fisherman is a real deal. It’s fresh off the boat and 5 times cheaper than buying it at the supermarket or even the marketplace in town.

We left Kirkehamn with the goal of arriving in Egersund early enough to do some grocery shopping. We now had lots of fish but not much else. The visibility got increasingly worse throughout the day and it was easy to forget the past 5 days of brilliant sunshine. As we entered the channel of Egersund, we had a lesson in using the Furuno radar overlay on the chart plotter. This way, you see the AIS IDs on boat that are transmitting, and you see the radar signatures of boats or other things that are not transmitting an AIS signal, all on top of your chart.

The marina in Egersund is well-protected at the end of the eastern branch of the bay. But be careful — a small river empties into the bay at the visitor’s pontoons and the sideways current can be two-three knots depending on how close your place is are to the mouth of the river and if it’s been raining. The marina is also just across the road from a shopping centre with a large, well-stocked grocery store. There’s also a pharmacy, a liquor store and a veterinarian close to the marina.

Facts about the guest harbour in Egersund:
Prices (as of March 2016):
up to 39 ft: 200 NOK
40-50 ft: 250 NOK
51-60 ft: 300 NOK
61 feet and over: 500 NOK
Facilities included: water, electricity, toilets, showers, Wi-fi, laundry (washer and dryer).
Telephone: +47 481 52 573

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Motoring through the channel that takes you from Egersund, towards the north and then west around the island of Eigerøya

 

Egersund to Kvitsøy Islands

The voyage from Egersund to Kvitsøy would have been lovely but for the rain and mist. Our visibility was around 2 nautical miles.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The marina of Ydstebøhamn on Kvitsøy.

Kvitsøy is a group of islands on the outer coast, not far from Stavanger. During the summer, it’s full of vacationing Norwegians, but during a rainy, chilly first week of May, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be empty. It’s a wind-blown place, being out in the north sea and totally exposed to the worst westerly storms. As as result, there are no trees on the islands. There’s lots of grass though, which makes the many resident sheep happy.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Map of Kvitsøy at the marina

We didn’t see a single person as we motored to the single marina in “town”. We were happy to be in the warmth of the boat, eating a hearty dinner cooked up be Leon and drinking good wine – in this case, a bottle of our own Merlot 2010.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

View of Ydstebøhamn from the marina

The marina at Ydstebøhamn is really well-protected from wind and waves as it’s tucked up in a tiny harbour. Facts about the guest marina in Ydstebøhamn:
Position: N59 3.647 N – E005 24.168 E
Price (as of March 2016): 100 NOK.
Facilities included: water, electricity, toilets, showers, Wi-fi. There’s a small grocery shop and a few galleries that are open during the summer.
Telephone: +47 51 73 63 10.
Email: post@kvitsoy.kommune.no

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Summer cottages at Ystedbøhamn

Kvitsøy to Lysefjorden

We were full of anticipation – we were going to visit the beautiful Lysefjord today! This fjord is famous for the Preikestolen (Pullpit Rock), cliff that stands over 600 meters (2,000 feet) over the water. It’s wide and flat at the top, making it a perfect place to be photographed with the mountains and fjord in the background. Visit this page to get directions for hiking up the mountain to reach the Pulpit Rock.

The weather had not improved overnight and we were off to a drizzly start. After an hour of sailing we began to approve the environs of Stavanger, a lovely city know for being the centre of the oil industry in Norway. Not that there are many oil platforms around Stavanger. It’s more because it’s the centre for the provisioning of the special materials, ships and know-how for the industry and the headquarters for the Norwegian State-run Oil Company Statoil. We say lots of strangely-shaped boats and barges around the harbour.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Fishing boat leaving the harbour of Stavanger

We passed the outer harbour of Stavanger on our way to the Lysefjord. Dark grey clouds, almost the colour of asphalt, hung over the mountains. Amazingly, the rain stopped as we passed Stavanger. There were even a few holes in the cloud cover, providing striking contrasts with the swollen grey clouds towards the inland mountains.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Mountains and entrance to the Lysefjord in the distance

At we turned northeast into the Lysefjorden, the wind turned against us. In the fjords, you wither have the wind at your back or on the nose. We started the motor for our trip up the fjord. The landscape is as you would imagine — sheer granite walls that continue into the water down to a depth of over 400 meters (over 1’300 feet) in certain areas. No anchoring in the fjord! The weather was slowly improving as well, and we saw more and of the sun shining through gaps in the cloud cover.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

In the Lysefjord

The Lysefjord is one of the shortest of the famous Norwegian fjords at only 42 kilometres, so you have ample time to sail up and back down during a single day. The marina at the entrance of the fjord at Forsand is small and cosy. It’s located close to the only bridge that spans the fjord.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Bridge that spans the Lysefjord

The price for Regina Laska (15 meters) was 200 NOK. Water, electricity, toilets, showers and laundry facilities are included. There is a fuel pump next to the marina, but if your boat is longer than 15 meters, you won’t fit into the slip. Leon only just managed, with his skilful boat handling, to squeeze Regina Laska in the slip. The village grocery store is located next to the fuel pumps — convenient though rather small.

Lysefjord — Stavanger

It’s not a long sail back to Stavanger, so we allowed ourselves an extra hour of sleep and were up at 8.30 instead of 7.30. By 10.00, we were on our way. This time, the sun was kind and stayed with us. Dark clouds hung above the hills and mountains, but above the waters, the skies were mostly blue.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Sailing towards Stavanger

As we approached the inner harbour of Stavanger, we noticed two immense cruise liners that completely dwarfed the 3 and 4- storey buildings next to them. One was the Celebrity Eclipse (a great name, since the boat eclipsed half the Stavanger harbour) and the other was the Azura from P&O Lines. We were going to have to enter the marina by motoring between them. It was a surreal experience slipping by a boat that has an air draft of about 40 meters, and that’s not including the smoke stacks.

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Approaching Stavanger’s inner harbour – notice how gigantic the cruise ships are next to the buildings!

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

Motoring towards the Vågen marina in Stavanger

Coaching Cruise in Norway | Cruising Attitude Sailing Blog - Discovery 55

The Vågen marina in lovely Stavanger, Norway

Our coaching cruise had come to an end. After of week of private coaching in “big boat” handling, we felt confident that we could handle our future boat. “Slow is pro” is the slogan etched into our brains after practicing harbour manoeuvres under motor. We also profited from Leon’s experience in refitting boats to change and add to our list of the equipment we wanted on our future Discovery 55.  Here’s a partial list:

  • A second, totally independent autopilot as a backup (mentioned in our previous post).
  • A Furuno satellite compass more accurate than a fluxgate, and, according to Leon, make the autopilot more stable. Your radar images also get a shadow so that you the course of the boats that radar has picked up. Furuno says that this is not for sailboats, but many Scandinavian sailors have it.
  • Furuno’s bottom-discriminating sounder