Denmark - Profile
- Denmark juts up towards the Scandinavian peninsula from the north-west edge of Europe and is made up of the Jutland peninsula and many islands. Over five hundred make up the Danish archipelago providing excellent cruising opportunities. The islands are scattered over a relatively small area and distances between harbours are never more than a few miles.
- The most popular cruising area is the archipelago south of the larger islands of Fyn and Sjaelland. In the northern part of Jutland are the perfectly sheltered waters of Limfjord, connecting the North Sea to the Kattegat.
- A more convenient point of access for yachts coming from the south is the Kiel Canal, which avoids a long detour around the north of Denmark and leads straight into the heart of the Danish archipelago. The waters between Denmark and Sweden link the North Sea to the Baltic and so are very busy with shipping of all types.
- Yachting facilities are good throughout the country and there are either marinas or fishing harbours with mooring facilities for yachts conveniently situated within a short distance of each other. The majority of harbours have a maximum depth of 2.5m and get very crowded in summer. It is customary to raft up extensively, often several boats deep and catamarans will find getting a berth difficult. The Danish Yachting Association has mooring buoys (marked with
DSin black letters) in 23 harbours in Limfjord, the east coast of Jutland, SE coast of Fyn and south coast of Sjaelland. Visiting sailors may not use such buoys.
- The best repair facilities are concentrated in and around Copenhagen where there are several marinas, the best known of which is Langelinie close to the centre of the capital, although this is generally used by traditional craft and sail training ships. Also close to Copenhagen is the marina at Svanemoellen. There are good facilities at Århus and Ålborg, the latter in Limfjord.
- Provisioning is excellent throughout Denmark and the quality of food is among the best in the world. Marine supplies are available in all yachting centres, although the prices are very high.
- A powerfull flashlight or searchlight is a useful item of equipment for night sailing in Denmark as very many of the marks are unlit but well equipped with conspicuous reflective tape. Although in summer the nights are very short and, in clear weather, hardly dark at all. It is worth obtaining a Danish "cockpit handbook" type publication showing in particular the reflective tape system in use on Cardinal Marks (known sensibly as "Compass Marks" in Denmark).
- Fuel - Diesel and sometimes petrol pumps are found in the vicinity of most marinas. For safety reasons the pumps are usually outside the mooring area. Self-service is the general rule, payment either being to a cashier or, more often, by using a credit card. Low-duty marine diesel is not available to yachts in Denmark. In smaller harbours it may be necessary to fetch fuel in jerricans from a garage. Fuel berths nearly always have pump-out facilities.
- Gas - Best advice is to carry as much gas as possible! Camping Gaz (butane) is available from chandlers, camping sites, Statoil roadside filling stations and some ironmongers. Beware of shortages later in the season. Propane is widely available and burns better in cold weather but there may be problems with connectors. Skippers with yachts with Calor Gas installations should refer to the Calor Gas Ltd website www.calormarineshop.co.uk for useful advice.
- Waste Disposal - Nearly all harbours have refuse bins (some have separate bins for different kinds of waste, glassware etc). To dispose of oil, metal and similar wastes it may be necessary to ask at a yacht club or boatyard. If in uninhabited places, carry your waste with you until you reach harbour. No waste other than fresh fish may be thrown overboard.
Denmark has a temperate climate and the winters are cold. The sailing season is limited to the summer which can be fairly wet, although enjoying long days. The prevailing winds in summer are westerly and this is also where most gales come from. Because of the surrounding landmass, the winds can be variable and the weather also changes with little warning.
Lyngby Radio can provide forecasts in English for Danish waters on VHF on request, but they may be chargable. Gale and strong wind warnings are included in the usual navigational warnings.
In the vicinity of the Sound the forecasts (in English) on Swedish VHF radio after the traffic lists at 07:30 and 19:30 are excellent. They can also be picked up from most of the Danish Baltic waters also.
Navtex which provides weather forecasts, navigational warnings etc in English is useful especially if cruising beyond Denmark to other Baltic destinations.
Snow may be experienced in Denmark between December and the end of February or even later because of the high latitude. Harbours may have ice during the same period as there is little salt in the water. April is dry but can be cold.
May and June are warm and June, in particular, is a lovely month with long daylight hours. There is a prolonged twilight and only about 5 hours of darkness. Fog is rare and visibility is usually good. Prevailing winds are westerly and seldom reach F7 but are variable with squalls under the clouds.
July tends to be warmer but high pressure may bring cooler winds from the North. August may, if you are lucky, bring a persistent high with Mediterranean conditions but this only happens every few years and the more common pattern is for changeable weather.
The peak of the sailing season is late June to early August when schools are on holiday and there are many visiting yachts from Sweden and Germany. It may then be difficult to find a berth even in the larger harbours and marinas. There are however numerous anchorages in the many sheltered fjords.
September brings gales, shorter days, increasing cold and the end of the sailing season. (updated January 2009).
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page
Als: Sonderborg *
Lolland: Rodbyhavn *
* indicates port of entry