Schooner Sailing in Norway: Bergen to Stavanger
27 August to 2 September 2011
After Stephen's great "taster weekend" sailing the
schooner Trinovante from Ipswich in May last year, we both decided that
this was something we'd like to do again, with the attraction of
with Schoonersail and the scenery of Norway as an additional lure.
Diary constraints meant that the week almost picked itself, and we found
ourselves last November booking a week with Su and John and six
strangers. Nine months on, we took a plane from Gatwick to Bergen and
the airport bus deposited us by the harbour in Bergen. A pigeon pooped
on Stephen and his bag, and shortly afterwards it started to rain -
welcome to Norway.
A map of our route for the week is at the
bottom of this page.
Trinovante is a three-masted gaff-rigged schooner, 21
metres (70 feet) long on deck and 23.9 metres (80 feet) long overall,
with a draft of 2.2 metres (6 feet). Launched in 1994 she has nine guest
berths (carrying up to eight guests) plus our hosts, guides, teachers
and fellow voyagers John and Su.
As we prepare to leave our berth in Bergen, there is an opportunity for
a final look at Bryggen, the Hanseatic commercial wharf buildings in
Bergen that are now a World Heritage Site.
Getting underway, we leave the harbour of Bergen.
We spent some of last evening on introductory safety briefing, and as
soon as we are out of the harbour we practice the man-overboard drill
(with a bucket to be rescued). We fill up with diesel (the tank coming
in at over six hundred pounds).
Initially it is very calm and we pass a group of yachts nominally racing
under sail but really just jilling about until there is some wind. That
comes later, and we spend much of the afternoon with some good sailing,
before getting sails down to motor through the narrow Lukksund
The Norwegian coast is a complex mixture of many islands, big and small,
with a criss-crossing network of fjords resulting in a beautiful
landscape on a huge scale.
We moor for the night at a timber quay at Uskadalen where the next morning
as we prepare to get underway, behind us there is a farmer who has come
over from the next island in this boat with the milk from his six cows
to wait for the milk tanker. It's extraordinary that this can still be
economic in 2011 but Norway is a remarkable place.
We set off from the quay under sail. Conditions were blustery, with wind
being alternately being sheltered and funnelled by the hills.
Claire and Stephen went onto the bowsprit to be ready to get down the
jib in a hurry.
Tea time - there is an awful lot of tea-drinking goes on aboard
Trinovante! The team is small enough to be rapidly friendly and
supportive, but large enough that numbered tea mugs are important.
Sailing up Hardangerfjord towards a long waterfall ("foss" in Norwegian,
which suddenly makes all those Forces in northern England make sense)
With the wind dead aft, we sail goose-winged for a while with the
foresail and mainsail on opposite sides
Just visible on the top of the mountains is the ice-cap glacier of
Folgefonna which covers 207 sq. km
Some impressive "fossen" - Furebergfossen
With the wind starting to fail, we decided to turn right up the side
fjord to Sundal
Coming in to moor at Sundal
The outflow glacier of Bondusbreen from Sundal. The ice road from the
village to the glacier was used to transport ice down from the glacier
to the fjord and thence across Europe.
The glacial lake of Bondhusvatnet at 190 metres above the fjord, sitting
on the boundary of the National Park. Some of us walked on the
additional distance to the waterfall seen at the other end of the
...but time was running short to go much further. Three-day trips are
available over the glacier, which sounds like an interesting expedition.
A cheerful party heading back to Sundal after feasting on wild
Descending the "ice road" to Sundal village
A number of the buildings have turf roofs
Next morning, a 180-degree view from Trinovante at Sundal quay. Click
the image for a larger version.
Trinovante leaves the quay to provide some photographic opportunities.
Three of the many ferries that provide links across the fjords
More tea-drinking as we sail much of the length of Hardangerfjord
towards the sea.
A fish farm as we approach our stop for the night
Next morning, a 180° view from our anchorage at Vorlandsvågen
In 21 metres we had put out all of our chain, and it was a team effort
to raise it. (They're laughing at Stephen taking the photo, not at Lucy
We had a great run through coastal waters which brought a gentle swell
Three of the crew felt a bit green, but the party the night before may
have been a factor.
The many, many islands range from large with many inhabitants to small
Su and John as we pass through Haugesund
Stephen and Glenn preparing to hoist one of the fisherman's topsails
The fisherman aloft
Coming in to moor at Skudenshaven
Skudenshaven - we went out under sail the next morning, which was
Rob taking a break by the forward hatch
Fisherman's ready to go up again
Fishing for mackerel
Our three fishers - Claire, Michael and Lucy - with their catch of seven
mackerel (two tiddlers having been thrown back).
The fishers eating their catch
More sail-hoisting preparation
Morning view from our anchorage at Økstrafjorden
Another view at Økstrafjorden - click image for a larger version
Exploring possible anchorages for a future voyage
The "fish-aker" is something between a fisherman's and a spinaker and is
around 1000 square feet.
John checks our progress - his periodic reports reduced from a slow
amble to a processing down the aisle pace to an all-fours crawl (which
he demonstrated) as our pace slowed to 0.5 knots and we almost lowered
sail and motored, but patience paid off and the winds improved.
The beautiful Norwegian scenery seems never-ending
Coming in to moor at Stavanger
Trinovante in Stavanger harbour
And so it is almost time to go home. We spent much of Friday at the
Petroleum Museum before catching the bus to the airport.
View Trinovante, Bergen to Stavanger 2011 in a larger map
So ended a great holiday, with great sailing, great company and great
scenery. I expect we'll be back soon!