Starting on 26th July, the inaugural Baltic 4 Nations rally is now in full swing with near perfect sailing conditions. The weather has been glorious with temperatures in the high 20’s and winds 10-18 knots. Patrick Van Kerckhoven, skipper of Belgian flagged HR 42 had no idea the Baltic could be so nice! After cruising for many years in Sardinia he commented 'we had a fantastic sail all the way from the Dutch coast, making it through the Kiel Kanal and up to Copenhagen in quick time, with this weather you’d think you were in the Cote d’Azur!'
The crews this year have differing levels of experience with some beginners just along for the ride, and some experienced crews having completed Fastnets, transatlantic crossings and various legs of the Clipper Round the World race. Others are families, with varied cruising experience, eager to explore somewhere different during their summer holiday. One thing they all share, is that none have sailed in the Baltic before. Following the Baltic Forum Sailing Rallies held in April earlier this year, everyone is enjoying putting what they learned into practice and discovering for themselves the attraction of Baltic cruising.
For David and Vicki Addey the rally will be their maiden voyage in their new Moody 41AC ‘White Satin’. Vicki comments 'White Satin was built in Greifswald, Germany, so joining the Baltic 4 Nations rally was an obvious choice. We particularly like the idea of spending some nights in company with other members of the rally but also spending time on our own, anchoring and exploring on our own. We met the Sailing Rallies team at the Transatlantic Forum in 2013 and their organisation and professionalism quickly instilled confidence in the team.'
Briefing in sunny Klintholm before sailing to Stralsund Germany - Baltic 4 Nations
Before the rally start the crews had time to explore the sights and sounds of Copenhagen. The Sailing Rallies team organised a trip to the Royal Danish Naval Museum followed by drinks in Nyhavn, where having a beer on the wall and watching the world go by is almost a rite of passage! After a comprehensive briefing about the first days sailing, crews settled down to a Saturday night welcome meal provided by Sailing Rallies, with rum punch (perhaps too much Caribbean influence?) before setting sail the following day.
Leaving Copenhagen, the fleet has so far sailed about 100 miles south to Klintholm, breaking the passage at a delightful harbour at Køge. Tales of lunchtime swims, sun bathing, cliff top walks and some perfect day’s sails were resonating throughout the fleet at the evening BBQ, along with some lucky sights of the rare Baltic Sea Harbour porpoise. Anusha, a Starlight 39 skippered by Simon Hewitt described the day as ‘the perfect sail – a broad reach in 15 knots of wind’. Simon and his wife Sheila make up one of the family boats, sailing with their teenage daughter and friend, both named Holly.
Next, the rally will be moving onto Stralsund (Germany), Swinoujscie (Poland), the beautiful island of Bornholm (Denmark), and Malmö (Sweden) before returning to ‘wonderful Copenhagen’ in time for the closing evening on the 9th August.
The Baltic 4 Nations is a 370 mile, two week event, visiting some of the most beautiful locations in the Southern Baltic. The rally follows a planned route, tried and tested by the Sailing Rallies team, with organised meets at seven locations in Demark, Germany, Poland and Sweden. There are no tides in the Baltic which makes for straight forward navigation. The longest leg on the rally is just over 70 miles, meaning no overnight passage making is required – unless crews choose to do so. Free-sail days combined with group meals and activities provide a perfect balance between social sailing and time for crews to explore on their own.
Next year’s Baltic 4 Nations rally takes place 25th July – 8th August 2015. Those eager to know more can visit the sailing rallies team at the Southampton Boat Show in September, or contact the team on email@example.com, +44 (0)845 257 5004.