There’a a first time for a lot of things when buying a boat and embarking on a sailing adventure. I had very little sailing experience before purchasing Pyxie, and no experience at all singlehanding a boat. I firmly believe in facing fears and aquiring new skills, so I set out on this journey solo. Well, not entirely solo. I have Poesi the cat, my companion through the last seventeen years, with me on the boat. She has been appointed First Mate, no matter if I get more crew onboard along the way. And if sailing is fairly new to me, it is entirely new to her. She has lived with me on the boat since Easter, and she is thoroughly enjoying it. But I had no idea how she would react to the open sea.
To get her adjusted to life at sea, I have made a conscious decision to keep the sailing days short in the beginning. The Oslo Fjord is a great place to start in that respect. No swell and plenty of anchorages make it a good place to get used to things. So we’re not setting any speed records. But what about the open sea that lies beyond?
We had a slightly rough first encounter with the Skagerrak. I made a pretty lame choice of leaving a calm anchorage hours before the wind would change to a favourable direction. It didn’t seem too bad. But there are shallows west of the lighthouse Færder, and with wind against us and current in the opposite direction it got a bit choppy pretty quickly. And the wind increased. Did I reduce sail in time? No, I didn’t. Soon we were tacking against a strong breeze and with waves crashing over the boat. Nothing too bad, but quite a lot of movement for a small cat. So naturally she got a bit scared and seasick. She puked the tiniest of pukes in my bed and hid under the covers. Where she peed. Nice revenge, my dear. I turned into Mefjord and sped past the rocks at about 7 knots. Found an anchorage … just in time for the wind to turn. Pretty annoying. But Poesi was back to her old, perky self in no time and we slept well. Maybe not such a bad idea after all, because we got an early start and had a glorious sail to Risør the next day.
It actually proved to be perfect. The forecast was SW force 7 and waves of about 3m the day after our arrival there, which would have made for a bumpy passage for the both of us. In addition I was bringing a windvane to a sailor in Risør, and he proved to be immensely kind and helpful. We got a free berth (this seems to be a lucky streak!) for as long as the wind would blow from the wrong direction. Batteries charged, water filled and provisions stowed, we are now just enjoying the idyllic, white town and doing bits of maintenance on the boat. The “fix this” list is like the jar of Sarepta – it never runs out. I’m ok with that.
And Poesi is enjoying herself, cuddling under the (now clean) duvet or inspecting my work in the cockpit. She is a curious, old cat and it’s not killing her. Actually, you can follow her reports from the journey on instagram! Check out @karinella (that’s me) or the hashtag #yoginigoesbear.
Gorgeous photo by Carsten Aniksdal.