DAMRAK II’s Maiden Voyage in Scandinavia. One week in heaven.
After her launch in Gdańsk, Poland in May 2011, the 70 Sunreef Power Damrak II has departed for her maiden voyage to Scandinavia with the owners Olivier and Katia, their 2 year old daughter Anna, and a couple of their friends, Marcus and Mia. They were accompanied by three crew members : Joc, Shaz and Stephanie. They wanted to explore the untouched beauty of Nordic landscapes before heading to the Mediterranean for the summer.
DEPARTURE FROM DENMARK
The boarding was planned from the dock in front of the splendid Admiral Hotel located in the centre of Copenhagen, occupying an ancient market place just by the Royal Palace.
“We arrived in Copenhagen the day before to visit the city with our friends, Marcus and Mia, who live in Gothenburg (Copenhagen’s neighbour city). We had dinner at a local restaurant where we had a chance to try smørrebrød, a kind of excellent Danish tapas,” recalls Olivier.
“We boarded the Damrak II the next morning. I was very proud to see the admiring smile on my friends’ faces when they watched the yacht approaching from the channel in front of the Royal Palace. They are boat owners themselves, so their appreciation meant a lot to me,” says Olivier.
Damrak II is the second 70 Sunreef Power yacht owned by Olivier and Katia. They sold their first Damrak last year and bought the new one introducing some minor modifications to make it even better for chartering. “The shipyard has kept to production deadlines perfectly, so we can enjoy our yacht right now before the summer charter season starts,” explains Olivier. They decided to follow the route from Poland to the Mediterranean to make the maiden voyage to Scandinavia. “We couldn’t do this trip with our first boat because the weather forecast in Norway was a disaster,” recalls Olivier. Luckily this time the weather was predicted to be fantastic, and the travellers were impatient to begin their adventure.
After just five minutes of cruising, the first disappointment! No, it’s not about the Damrak; it’s just that Olivier’s illusion was shattered when he saw that the Copenhagen mermaid statue was much smaller that he imagined. “She is so tiny that we could hardly see her from the Damrak, passing only 30 meters away from her,” laughs Olivier.
Finally they could head towards the channel separating Denmark and Sweden. The Damrak cruised between the sea of wind turbines and the huge, magnificent bridge linking both countries.
For about an hour they tested the Damrak to find the most efficient cruising speed. The choice of the new engines (2 x 800HP Mann instead of 2 x 455HP Cummins on Damrak I) was the right one. “On Damrak I, the cruising speed was 10 knots with fuel consumption 22l/h per engine (44l/l in total). On Damrak II, even with slightly heavier engines, we reach 11 knots at 1350rpm keeping the same fuel consumption. With the 16 000L of fuel that the Damrak can store we can get a range of 4000 nautical miles at 11 knots, which is truly impressive. If we reduce the speed to 8 knots, the fuel consumption drops to 6l/h per engine (12l/h in total), which means a range of 10 500 nm, enough to cross the Pacific without stopovers… which I wouldn’t do anyway given the number of beautiful anchorages in Polynesia,” says Olivier.
The first call of their trip was scheduled for Maarstrand in Sweden where they wanted to arrive before dinner. Covering over 150 miles in 7 hours wasn’t a problem for the Damrak. At 85% of engine power, at 2100rpm, the boat easily reaches 21 knots. “Which other yacht could give me an oceanic range and a maximum speed of 25 knots ? Apart from a megayacht, and still, I don’t even know any other option than a Sunreef cat,” insists Olivier.
ARRIVING IN SWEDEN
After a pleasant crossing, the Damrak arrived in Maarstrand for its very first Swedish call. Established on the rocky island and dating back to the Middle Ages, this little village is a tourist’s delight with its colourful wooden houses from la Belle Époque. The area’s granite rocky cliffs make it reminiscent of cruising in Brittany in France.
“It was very special to navigate the Damrak in this region where boats rarely exceed 40 feet in length. Navigation routes often include numerous straight channels only slightly larger than the Damrak. It felt strange passing all these typical Swedish houses and docks on the two islands so close to the Damrak,” says Olivier.
The next morning the Damrak left Maarstrand and its imposing fortress to arrive in Fiskebäckskil, a splendid picturesque village very popular among tourists, where Marcus and Mia own one a little red fisherman’s house.
As the marina is too small, the Damrak stayed out at anchor. Fiskebäckskil has a beautiful wooden church from the 18th century with colourful interiors and many hanging boat models. After a relaxing walk in the village, Olivier and his company decided to dine on the neighbouring island, Kärringön, at a traditional local restaurant called Petterssons. “Unless you check it on the map, you never know whether the land you see is a terra firma or an island. To be able to drive in this area you need to know all these complicated connections between bridges and ferries,” explains Olivier.
The next day the Damrak departed towards Smögen. To explore all the surrounding islands, the party embarked on Targa 44, Marcus and Mia’s boat, which allowed them to access the maze of channels and tiny islands.
Smögen is an island on Sweden’s west coast attracting many tourists thanks to its numerous leisure activities such as relaxing walks on the famous 600 m long pier with shops and bars serving delicious local cuisine, or resting on beautiful beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing. All this is set in stunning, peaceful surroundings.
Smögen also has a renowned fish market where fishermen sell their fish straight from the sea. All the fish stands also sell delicious sandwiches or prawn salads. The prawns are already peeled and the salads are massive – a true bowl of freshness!
Back in Smögen, the party was getting ready for the big crossing awaiting them. They were about to depart to Stavanger in Norway. To do so, they needed to cross from Sweden towards western Norway for about 150 nautical miles and then to go along the Norwegian coast for a few hundred miles. To make sure they didn’t lose any precious moments of their tight schedule, they decided to do the trip by night at 20 knots. The anchor was up at 6 in the evening; the direction: westwards.
“The sea is very calm. That’s even better, we’ll have a quiet, pleasant night. After a delicious dinner made by Shaz, we decide to watch films in the saloon. With engines on full power, the noise is almost imperceptible and we have no problems talking and watching TV,” says Olivier.
He continues, “After the film we went to the flybridge to enjoy night cruising, which is always an unforgettable experience, especially in these conditions. It stays light very late. Will the sun never go down? Total darkness only lasts about three hours”.
WELCOME TO NORWAY
The Damrak arrived at 6 the next morning. “A quick look out of the window and I realized we have arrived at our destination, and the Damrak was cruising along Stavanger docks plunged in fog,” recalls Olivier. Dating back to Viking times, Stavanger is a very busy commercial port with a base for large cruise ships going north and many petrol companies. The city was chosen as the European Capital of Culture in 2008. It is situated by some of Norway’s most amazing fjords.
Leaving Stavanger behind, the Damrak explored long miles of famous Norwegian fjords before arriving at the beautiful Lysefjord. This stunning, 42 km long fjord meanders through 1 km high vertical rock faces. It’s one of the most picturesque sites in Norway, and comes recommended by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Lysefjord’s two main attractions are Preikestolen cliff and Kjerag mountain. Olivier, Katia and company enjoyed the hiking routes in the mountains among waterfalls, crystal clear streams and savage forests. It was a profound encounter with nature and a real delight for all of them.
Throughout the journey, Katia and Anna appreciated the stability and solid structure of the Damrak, a marvellous companion for exploration at all conditions in comfort and ease.
After her maiden voyage, the yacht left for southern Europe to start the Mediterranean charter season. But Olivier and his family are already longing for new yachting adventures...
To be continued.