At least it was sunny, eh? The wind was pretty fresh – we’d got our smaller (#3) genoa hoisted, and were beating southwards, but we were only an hour out of Assens harbour when I head the grating rip of sail cloth and saw the clew of the genoa ripping away. Tom rushed to furl it up before any further damage occured, but it looked like it was a simple case of old age, the sail cloth itself was worn through. Without any foresail Lizzie can’t sail to windward, so we had the choice between hoisting the big #1 genoa – much too large for these conditions – or our storm sail. We’d only ever used practised using the storm sail once before when we first bought Lizzie 4 years ago, and it hanks on with large loops over a furled genoa, and an annoying shackle at the base that we’ve now vowed to change to a snap!
We carried on tacking, impressed at how well balanced the boat was with such a tiny foresail and full main, but our speed was significantly slower than before. It was going to be a long day… The main struggle was with the waves: short and steep, they stopped lizzie dead every minute or so. It was impossible to know whether to risk the big genoa to give us more power. In the end, infuriated by the slow progress and uncomfortable motion we lowered the storm jib, and then in a complicated manoeuvre which involved unfurling and lowering the damaged sail we swapped the #3 for the #1 on the roller furler. All pretty wet work for Tom on the foredeck whilst we plunged and rolled around on the sea 🙁
We were aiming for Als Fjord – about 25 miles to the southwest, specifically Augustenborg at the far end where we were planning to leave Lizzie for the winter, so this was our last big trip. We had already decided to stop at the northern end of the fjord at a sheltered anchorage called Dyvig. It was only a day sail from Assens, but we’s begun to wonder if we’d get there in the daylight. The entrance to Dyvig is unlit and very narrow, so we made sure there was a back up option if we arrived after dark, but with more sail hoisted we made much better progress, and managed to work the wind shifts and currents well to make headway into the wind. A few squalls as evening came had us reefing both the main and the genoa, but we made it through them intact (just very wet) and turned into the blissful calm of Als Fjord. What a contrast from outside!
We were able to bear away and reach down the fjord as far as Dyvig – the entrance to which proved to be the highlight of the day – a tiny channel (maybe 10m wide) through into a peaceful lagoon beyond where we gratefully dropped anchor – all under sail with no need for the motor. We were very grateful for the shelter as the wind gusted strongly all the next day. Lizzie was very snug so we inflated the kayak and went for a paddle around the lagoon and a nice walk to the nearest town to stock up.
The following day was calmer and we sailed our last leg of the summer down the fjord. About half way down the fjord divides into the famous Als Sound to Sonderborg, and Augustenborg Fiord, where we were bound. It was a beautifully sunny day and a nice relaxing sail until a last minute panic by Tom marred the final approach into Augustenborg harbour!
We tied up safely in our last box-berth of the summer and could finally relax… except we had just a couple of days to clean and dry everything ready for winter storage, dismantle the boat ready to go into a shed, and pack all our belongings ready for an epic three-day public transport journey back to the UK.