A long hop south

By |Published On: September 2, 2023|Categories: Europe, Norway|1171 words|4 Comments|


Over the past few weeks we had been working our way south knowing that we were operating with an ever shrinking timeline. Most immediate was the need to get to the North Sea in southern Norway before the southwesterly autumn storms began to pile in. Failing to do this would mean that we wouldn’t have a sufficient weather window between storms to get all the way across to the Netherlands without getting hit by bad weather. The consequence would be an unpleasant if not dangerous crossing. Late September / early October is generally the latest when sailboats make this crossing in order to beat these storms. The other deadline was the Australian referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. We needed to be in the Netherlands by October 14 to be able to travel to the Australian embassy in the Hague to vote.

‘Fyr’  (lighthouse) along the way.

In theory, we had plenty of time but in practise it was becoming clear that, actually, we were running out of time. Already we were having to grab windows of weather between gale force storms as they barreled out of the North Atlantic and hit the Norwegian coast, and already those weather windows were short, just a couple of days. Some years September sailing in Norway is fantastic, so we were told, but this appeared not to be one of those years. So it was time to get our skates on and get south.


The first leg of this push ended up being a 40hr hop from Leka to Kristiansund. This started in sunshine and with good winds. We happily sailed between the islands, through Nærøysund past Rørvik and out into the Folda, a shallow and exposed area that extends about 22nm south / southwest away from the Rørvik archipelagpo. Here, we crossed paths with fishing boats that must have hauled in a good catch, as they were followed by a billowing flock of seagulls and two sea eagles.

Seabirds trying to get an easy feed.

With the light winds, we were, for a change, experiencing very pleasant sailing conditions. So, as the sun was setting, we made the call to not cut into the inner lead behind the islands, but to stay out in amongst the shallows and the skerries for a more direct and faster line south to Hitra.


This worked well for a while. The sailing was good, we were passed by a pod of a dozen or so long-finned pilot whales, the skerries were beautiful in the fading light, but ever so gradually conditions were deteriorating.

The sunsets were still gorgeous.

The wind began to back and build and, being a shallow coastal danger area, the seas quickly followed suit and it began to get a bit more uncomfortable on the boat. When Frederieke had gone off watch our plan had been to stay outside in the Folda but, given that the forecast for the next 24 hours was for another gale to gradually build, things were only going to get far worse. What’s more, it was clear from the charts that if we didn’t get inside the shelter of the islands soon we wouldn’t be able to do so for a long time. And finally, why were all the large commercial vessels, coastal cargo ships, and cruise ships following the inner lead? Clearly, it was time to change our plans. So a route between skerries, rocks, shallows and islands was quickly plotted and we made a dash in the dark for the protection inside the islands and the regular coastal shipping channel. Once inside conditions immediately improved and we happily plodded along, glad we had made the right decision.


We stayed in the inner lead for the rest of the trip to Kristiansund. Overnight, the lack of wind meant that we spent most of the time motoring, but the full moon made for a beautiful trip under the coastal mountain range. The next day, winds were supposed to be picking up and coming from a direction that would allow us to sail down the Trondsheimleia, with a corresponding ETA of 1800 in Kristiansund.

This year, the September weather was not so nice for sailing.

However, this is Norway, so instead of a pleasant breeze enabling us to sail down the fjord, we got 25kn on the nose. Combined with the tidal current running north, we motored at a frustratingly slow speed of 2 to 3kn. Keen to find good shelter in Kristiansund for the upcoming gale, we decided to plow through. The only highlight was the sighting of a single dolphin in the Tronsdheimleia.


I (David) remember this entire trip as being in the dark and the rain, but given that it was about 40hrs it must mean that my watches were either in the dark or in a dim, grey rainyness that just felt like the dark. Finally, however, we did approach Kristiansund in the dark and rain around 2200. I was tired and coming in from the north the approach was confusing, a situation not improved by the pouring rain and enormous platform supply vessels manouevring in and out of the approach. These things all added up to providing me with an opportunity to try and run us aground on the rocks of Skorpa, adjacent to the entrance to the narrow northern harbour channel. Luckily I was alert enough to my state that I called Frederieke up to help with the navigation – “I am aiming to pass between that red light on starboard and that green light on port, I think those are the channel markers. Can you check them?”. Oops, no, that was the wrong red light, the channel was on the other side of the green light. Thanks, luv!


Having recovered from the near miss and motoring safely through the entrance, we slipped along the long, narrow channel into Kristiansund’s main harbour. This took us past high rock faces and forested slopes, past an industrial area and through a very narrow section under a bridge, perhaps 1 or 2 boat widths, between brick warehouses, shops and homes built right to the water’s edge , before opening up into the harbour proper. Needless to say, a pilot boat came screaming out of the harbour through the narrowest, one boat wide, section just as we were about to enter from the other side, which forced a bit of quick manouevring on our part.

The next day, Yuma snugly tucked away in Kristiansund Gjestehavn.

In the rain and darkness, the blaze of lights from the harbour’s edge made finding the pontoons of the Gjestehavn a little difficult, but after a couple of passes we sorted out where we needed to go. Finally, at midnight we were moored up and exhausted, but glad we made it inside a safe and quiet harbour. Outside a southwesterly force 9/10 storm continued to build.


  1. Caro Imming April 19, 2024 at 10:03 am - Reply


    • Frederieke April 19, 2024 at 10:52 am - Reply

      Ja, beetje te, maar goed, ‘t is goed afgelopen.

  2. Caro Imming April 19, 2024 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Prachtige foto’s

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A walk around the Troll’s Hat
Spending time in the city of Kristiansund