The nights are getting colder and many people are thinking of packing away their sails as their memories of summer sailing fade in the autumn light.
Not me, I won’t forget my summer in a hurry because I realized one of my dreams: my friend and I sailed across the Baltic from the southernmost point to the northernmost point. Nonstop. From Wismar to Toere in 10 days, 9 hours, 32 minutes and 20 seconds.
I don’t think anyone has done that before. It might not be around the world, and Bernard Moitessier could have a giggle about it, but that isn’t what it was about. The first time I went sailing I was bitten by the sailing bug immediately. I began reading books by Moitessier and Wilfried Erdmann and dreamt of having my own boat.
For most sailors it’s the same. And getting your own boat is the first step, but the dreaming doesn’t stop. About long journeys, small bays and big adventures. About sailing around the world.
But the difference between a weekend in the Danish South Sea and sailing around the world is obvious: you have barely got yourself comfy when the alarm clock beeps you back to reality and the office.
That is how I spent the last few years. Reading sailing books, dreaming, going to work, doing the licenses, dreaming, buying a boat, sailing on the Wannsee and around the German coast, and all the time dreaming of something bigger, something more. But what?
As I sit turning the globe we have in the living room, the answer jumps out at me, and it is on our doorstep: the Baltic Sea! All the way across. Was there not a famous yellow buoy I read about up in the North?
The stretch, the time and the crew are quickly found and the Midsummer Sail is born.
Suddenly it is the 20th of June, midsummer, and Holger and I chug out of the harbour in Wismar – and promptly run aground. Great launch, the first mistake before we even start.
But this small sandbank proved to be perfect for hoisting the sails, as we had managed to run aground into the wind. The mainsheet tight, the foresail backed, Blup heels over, the bow is free again as if by magic, tiller over and we were off. Off the sandbank. And off on our adventure up North! Now we were going to see what my sailing heroes had always talked about.
We fought through the occasional squall, stared in awe as dark but windless fronts towered over us, and struggled through long lulls. The sails were pulled in every direction, backwards and forwards, up and down.
We learned that tinned fish had never tasted so good and that the rocks of the Swedish archipelago can be razor-sharp tests not just for boat hulls but also for friendships. But both the hull and the friendship stayed intact – nothing the occasional rum sundowner can’t repair.
On the last day of June we are flying under gennaker with 6 knots towards Toere. I am the happiest sailor in the world and this endless Midsummer night will be one to remember.