Archives for 2011 | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

Norway – Haugesund and Skudeneshavn

August 26, 2011


New! Distant Shores Season 7 DVD - Channel Islands to Scandinavia + San Blas Islands
This 3-disk DVD set will be ready for shipping on September 7/11 so order today and be among the first to own the latest DVD in the Distant Shores series! For more information on this and all the Distant Shores DVDs we invite you to visit our
online store.

Watch Distant Shores in Canada on Travel and Escape Channel starting November 1st
To all our Canadian viewers, we are delighted to announce that starting on November 1/11 the Distant Shores TV series will be broadcast across Canada daily Monday to Friday at 6:00 PM on
Travel and Escape channel. You will find Travel and Escape on Rogers Cable 267, Shaw Cable 102, Star Choice 572, and Bell ExpressVu 527 to name a few.

Newsletter: Norway – Bergen south to Haugesund and Skudeneshavn

Sheryl with the city and harbours of Bergen below. Photo credit Paul Shard

The city of Bergen, our first port in Norway (see July newsletter) was to become our central base for cruising the west coast of this dramatically beautiful country. South of Bergen were several island groups we wanted to explore and north of Bergen we wanted to explore the fjords, especially Sognefjord, the world's longest fjord.

We decided it was best to go south first, then conclude our cruise of Norway in the north since departing from northern ports would give us the best angle on the prevailing northwest winds to sail back across the North Sea to the Shetland and Orkney islands north of Scotland where were scheduled to film the next episodes of Distant Shores later in the summer.

One of the challenges of cruising in Norway is figuring out where to go – there are literally thousands of choices! With the numerous barrier islands plus fjords off fjords off fjords, route planning can be a challenge. We did our research by first surfing the internet to find websites and blogs of other cruising sailors who have experience cruising here. This way we got a feel for common routes and “favourites” plus recommendations on cruising guides and other resources.

We found the most helpful cruising guides for our style of cruising was the Imray pilot entitled “Norway” by RCC Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation/Judy Lomax now in a second edition, and an wonderful e-book cruising guide which we purchased online at and downloaded onto our iPad.

The best and most fun way to research is to talk face to face with sailors you meet along the way and to go over the charts together marking good places and getting their opinions on decisions you've made merely through reading.

Paul carries an iPhone onto which he's downloaded the Navionics app which gives us electronic charts in a portable style. Then when we meet someone and they start talking about great places he can quickly bring up the chart of the area and mark a waypoint or suggested route. Wow! It's great and very inexpensive. We also have this on our iPad in HD version which we get through the iTunes store. It's great for planning. We use our Raymarine chartplotter for navigation which uses Navionics charts also but the mobile apps are good back-ups. Check out the Navionics website for more info on these mobile navigation tools.

Korsfjord Photo credit: Sheryl Shard

So with our route planned south to Haugesund, we cast off from the town quay in Bergen 60º24' N 5º19'E. It was lovely sunny day, a change for the rainiest city in Norway. Winds were light so for most of the morning we were motor-sailing but we were thankful for the quiet warmth and stunning surroundings where the snow-topped mountains glimmered in the rare sunshine.

Marstein Lighthouse Photo credit: Sheryl Shard

For about 3 hours we wound our way out through the fjords (Byfjord, then Raunefjord to Korsfjord) back towards the North Sea and, just before the Marstein light where we'd made landfall in Norway a few days before, we tucked into the tight but very protected wilderness anchorage on West Horgo 60º05.7'N 05º05.9'E. The anchorage here is very deep, 21 m (69 ft), but we carry 80 m (262 ft) of 3/8 chain and the forecast was for very light winds for the weekend, so we put out over 60 m (197 ft) which is 3 to 1 scope and were quite comfortable.

Anchorage at West Horgo Photo credit: Paul Shard

We spent the weekend swinging on the hook, cataloguing clips from the footage we'd shot earlier in Shetland and on the North Sea passage, updating our script notes, and making phone calls to arrange interviews and follow up story leads for our upcoming shoot in the Haugesund area, our next destination. We also scrabbled up the high surrounding rocky cliffs to get shots of the anchorage for the Distant Shores TV show and our magazine articles. It wasn't all work though. Paul actually took a break and went swimming. The water temperature was 15ºC (59ºF)! That is way too cold for me! Paul told me that after he got used to it he didn't notice the cold. I think it was because he was completely numb!

Sailing wing and wing Photo credit: Sheryl Shard

On July 4th we raised anchor, leaving Horgo and had a fabulous downwind sail to the port of Haugesund. Our route took us down Stokksund, the lovely channel or sound between the islands of Stord and Bømlø. We poled out the genoa and flew wing and wing down-wind, down-channel and down-current. Although the day was cool and overcast the universe came together for a lovely day of sailing.

Cruising on the west coast of Norway you often have good winds but flat seas due to the numerous surrounding islands. You just have to be prepared for strong unexpected gusts if the surrounding cliffs are high.

Once through Stokksund and under the bridge we enter Bømlafjord and then headed out into a stretch of open water called Sletta which is classed as a dangerous sea area due to the lack of shelter, great variations in depths – 2m to 250m – which can cause dangerous turbulence and strange currents. However, we had light wind with tide so it was no issue. We just enjoyed the scenery as we sailed gently along the coast.

July is high season and we were prepared to be rafted 3 or 4 deep against the town quay when we arrived in Haugesund but we lucked out and got a choice spot right alongside in front of the Maritime Hotel near the south bridge. The Maritime Hotel manages the showers, laundry facilities, etc. and collects harbour fees.

When we arrived a man from the Port Authority came down to say hello. He was an avid fan of the Distant Shores TV series which airs in Europe on Travel Channel and had recognized us and the boat as we came in. Being familiar with our programme, he had some very good ideas for local activities and projects to film for the show including the construction of the world's largest ocean-going Viking ship to be built in modern times that was taking place right there in the port. He made the introductions and we visited the building site to interview the skilled and passionate team working on this historic ship.

The ship is named Dragan Harald Fairhair after Harald Fairhair, the Viking king that unified Norway into one kingdom. The ship is a hundred and fourteen feet of crafted oak, twenty-seven feet on the beam, displacing seventy tons, a thirty-two hundred square foot sail of pure silk.

The Dragon Harald Fairhair will have 25 pairs of oars. It is necessary to have at least two people on  each oar to row the ship efficiently. That will give a crew of at least 100 persons.

This magnificent ship is on schedule to launch in April 2012. Volunteers from around the world are being sought to train and participate in upcoming voyages. To learn more, visit their website at

The next day we met up with Dr. Jostein Waage for more sightseeing around the Haugesund area. We met Dr. Waage in 2009 when we were filming aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship “Explorer of the Seas” for Distant Shores episode 75 “Cruising in Style” (Season 6 DVD) on a voyage to Bermuda. He said if we were ever in Norway in Haugesund, where Dr. Waage serves as a city councillor, to give him a call and he'd show us around.

We had a great day together visiting Alvadnes, once the ancient centre of power on the North Way, where the name Norway comes from, and excavations are still going on. There is also great heritage museum and Viking Farm called the Nordvegen History Centre where we learned about the history of the unification of Norway and learned about Viking life from the knowledgeable staff who dress in period costume and demonstrate crafts and food preparation from Viking times.

We also visited an old copper mine at Visne and learned that the copper used in the building of the Statue of Liberty came from here. Who knew?!

Another astonishing tidbit from Haugesund and that the actress, Marilyn Monroe's, father (or would that be grandfather?) is supposedly from Haugesund and there is a statue of her on the waterfront right in front of the Maritim Hotel. Haugesund hosts a popular annual international film festival too.

From Haugesund we continued south down Karmsund between the mainland and the island of Karmøy to the picturesque, historic and very crowded (for good reason) harbour of Skudeneshavn. “Skudenes” refers to the ships used in the early 20th century in the herring fleet that brought prosperity to the town. The old homes and warehouses have been preserved and there is an interesting museum along with ilittle boutiques and restaurants. There are also nice walking trails, a park with bandstand, and a beautiful white sand beach. No wonder this is a popular destination for both boaters and landlubbers.

Skudeneshavn was our furthest point south on Norway's west coast. From here we turned back to begin the voyage north up to explore the world's longest fjord, Sognefjord, which I'll tell you all about in my next newsletter.

In the meantime, Paul has been postings lots of news and photos of this year's voyage as well as responding to comments and questions on the Distant Shores TV Show Facebook page. If you are Facebook user, please drop by and “Like Us”.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Sheryl and Paul Shard
Aboard Distant Shores II

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Sailing from Shetland to Norway

July 1, 2011

Bergen, Norway

Latitude: 60º24'N
Longitude: 5º19'E
Historic Hanseatic buildings in Bergen
Happy Canada Day to all our family and friends back home!

This year Paul and I are celebrating our national day in Norway at the town quay in Bergen where we are, totally by chance, rafted to another Canadian yacht, Milvina, owned by friends from Montreal who we haven't seen for several years. It was a serendipitous reunion when we sailed into Bergen and we have had a pleasant afternoon celebrating Canada Day with Neil and Helen and their son, Michael. We were lucky and got a dry sunny day. Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, is the wettest place in Norway with rain on average 260 days a year.

Paul and I arrived in Norway aboard our Southerly 49 sailboat, Distant Shores II, on June 29 after a fast 24-hour 195nm passage from the Muckle Flugga light (60º51'N 0º53'W) at the most northerly end of the UK in the Shetland Islands to the Marstein light (60º8'N 5º4.5'E) on the west coast of Norway.

It was the best overnight sail we have ever had since at this latitude it never gets dark at this time of year! Getting up for my 0200 – 0600 watch was a breeze with daylight. Even on Paul's watch at midnight, he had twilight and could easily see all the North Sea oil rigs we were passing en route over Halibut Bank, Bressay East Ground, and Viking Bank. We also crossed Meridian 0º of Greenwich on this passage.

The voyage started off with light SW winds but then went NW and strengthened to 20-25 kts with a constant drizzling rain. Flying our small self-tacking jib and a reefed mainsail, we soared between the raindrops towards Norway!

Once we reached the Marstein light at the entrance to Korsfjord, we had another 25 nm to go within the very protected and stunningly beautiful network of channels and fjords (Raunefjord and Byfjord) to reach the historic port of Vågan in Bergen, once an important base of the Hanseatic League.

The old waterfront warehouses where Norwegian stockfish was once processed and shipped to ports all around Europe by the Hanseatic merchants based here, have been renovated into colourful boutiques and restaurants.

Whenever Paul and I complete a passage and arrive in a new country we always treat ourselves to dinner out. But eating out in Norway is VERY expensive so rather than something fancy we shared a salad, medium pizza and 2 beer – the total was 380 Norwegian Kronar (NOK) or about $71 US dollars! An order of fish and chips in a cardboard box with 2 coffees in paper cups would have been about $35! The exchange makes prices over-the-top for non-Norwegians like us. Better to buy good quality Norwegian food in grocery stores and cook onboard. Luckily we had been warned beforehand and had stocked up on lots of supplies in the UK too before leaving which will help make this cruise more affordable for us.

Dockage at the town quay was within reason at 150 NOK per night which is about $0.50 US per foot/per night. This did not include power. You pay by credit card at an Automat machine at the head of the harbour. The instructions are in English as well as other major languages.

Norway is not a member of the EU so as a foreign yacht we had to clear in with both Customs and Immigration. (We cleared out of the EU in Lerwick in Shetland and carried clearance papers but were not asked for them in Norway.) The Customs office in Bergen is right in the harbour across from the visitors quay so walking over with our ship's papers was easy. To get our passports stamped for Immigration we were told to go to the Police Station which is just a couple of blocks up from the Tourist Office at the end of the harbour. It took a little while to find the right person to deal with us there but everyone was very kind and helpful and eventually our passports were stamped and the job was done.

Now we were free to explore this lovely town with it's warren of old alleyways, historic buildings, bustling fish market and beautiful views from the top of Mount Fløyen 320m. We rode the Fløibanen funicular railway to the top to film the panorama. We also really enjoyed a tour through the Hanseatic Museum located in an 18th century merchant's house on the waterfront where we learned about the life and work of the Hanseatic League in Bergen.

The Distant Shores TV series is widely viewed here in Norway where it plays weekly on Travel Channel so in the few days we've been here we have met many fans who have recognized us and have given us warm welcomes. The episodes we are filming here will be broadcast this coming winter. (In the USA you can see Distant Shores on WealthTV)

So stay tuned for more adventures in Norway!

And if you enjoy Facebook, we hope you will “Like Us” on the Distant Shores TV Show Facebook page where Paul has been postings lots of news and photos of this year's voyage as well as responding to comments and questions.

'Til next time.

Sheryl and Paul Shard
Aboard Distant Shores II

April News

2011 voyage around the UK, Norway and French Canals

Hello Friends,

Spring has sprung and preparations for a brand new season of boating have begun! Paul and I have had a great winter in the studio completing post-production on 13 new episodes for season 7 of the Distant Shores TV series. The new shows cover last year's voyage from England to countries on the Baltic Sea. (See below for info on when/where to see them on TV.)

We're just packing our bags to fly back to England for Easter to launch Distant Shores II, our Southerly 49 sailboat. This summer we'll be cruising England's south coast, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, England's east coast, then entering the French Canals in the autumn.

We invite you to watch the Distant Shores website and the new Distant Shores Facebook page for updates on this year's voyage.

Season 7 Premier of Distant Shores sailing adventure TV series on these channels:

Distant Shores is now broadcast in 24 languages around the world! Watch the new season of shows as well as repeats of past seasons on the following channels:

Travel Channel
UK: starting 20 April at 21:00
DE: starting 27 April at 20:15

EMEA: Wednesdays at 19:30 CEST
Asia: starting 28 April at 20:00 HKT
NZ: starting 30 April at 20:00
For detailed schedule go to: Click on Schedule for your region.

Wealth TV
Wealth TV kicked off the new season 7 episodes of Distant Shores this month in the USA and Caribbean. Airing new shows weekly plus repeats of earlier season's episodes. For schedule and Where to Watch: Click on Schedule and then Search “Distant Shores”.

Distant Shores DVDs – Season 1-6 Super Pack Special
In celebration of Spring Launch we're offering a DVD Super Pack Special on all the past episodes of the Distant Shores TV series. This is the entire collection of Distant Shores from Season 1 in the Western Mediterranean all the way through Season 6 taking you through the Chesapeake Bay, Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. This Super Pack includes 14 DVDs – 78 episodes in all. $99 ($120 for PAL format). Hours of adventure and cruising information.

Distant Shores on Facebook
This month we launched a Distant Shores Facebook page. If you enjoy social networking check it out to see if you Like It.

Paul's New Boat Blog wins Best Boat Blog Award
Paul has been updating our New Boat Blog with boating safety and navigation topics as well as destination tips and has been awarded his second Tripbase Best Blog Boat Award. Congratulations! Check out the latest update at:

... offers the best for information on boat travel...insight and advice into the technicalities of setting out... also provides a more in-depth look via photo journals and diaries of their days at sea. If you're considering seeing the world from the ocean, you're in the right place ...amongst the finest blogs in our boating category for the Tripbase Awards 2011.”

Happy Boating!

Sheryl and Paul Shard
SV Distant Shores II

Happy New Year & Toronto Boat Show

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, Everyone!

We hope you have had a joyful and restful Holiday Season and that you are looking forward to new projects and adventures in 2011. If boating is in your plans, don't forget that it's Boat Show Season! Yippee!! Attending boat shows is a fun way to forget about winter weather and get inspiring ideas and gear for your project.

Before continuing with stories of our cruise through Sweden, I just want to let you know about our upcoming boat show presentations and cruising seminars...

Toronto International Boat Show
Presentations Sat Jan 8 at 5 PM & Sun Jan 9 at 2 PM

Paul and I will be speaking at the Toronto International Boat Show again this year. Our 1-hour presentation including question period is “"Caribbean Cruising - Off the Beaten Path in the Leeward Islands" and discusses the route south down the Erie Canal and ICW to the Virgin Islands via the Bahamas and on to the lesser-visited islands such as Saba, Montserrat, St. Barts, and the Saintes. Really good warm-you-up material for the winter season! Sat. Jan 8th – 5pm Sun. Jan 9th – 2pm Seminar location: Presentation Theatre (located adjacent to Hall B entrance)

We'll also be at the Nautical Mind Bookstore booth #G545 at the Toronto Boat Show where you can purchase Distant Shores DVDs including the “6-Disk Caribbean Combo” also available in our online store.
Sat. Jan. 8th from 10–11 AM, 1–3 PM
Sun. Jan 9th from 10 AM – 12 noon
For more information on the Toronto International Boat Show and other seminars being presented see:

Distant Shores DVDs – Boat Show Special “6-Disk Caribbean Combo”
In celebration of Boat Show Season we're offering a Boat Show Special – the “6-Disk Caribbean Combo”. This is a bundle of our 2 latest DVD collections “Distant Shores Season 5: The Med to the Caribbean and Bahamas” and “Distant Shores Season 6: ICW, Chesapeake Bay, and Leeward Islands” which gives you hours of information about heading south to the Bahamas and Caribbean. Regular price to purchase both Season 5 and 6 is $69.90 US. For a limited time only get both for $60.00 US and save about $10.00. Also available through our website:

Sail Away Seminar with the Shards - All Day Cruising Seminar Port Credit Yacht Club February 19 2010 – 8:30am - 5:00pm
Planning to go cruising and have lots of questions about cost, equipment, provisioning, communica-tions and route planning? Back by popular demand we will once again host a “Sail Away Seminar” at Port Credit Yacht Club, 115 Lakefront Promenade, Mississauga, Ontario, L5E 3G6, to help you design your sail away plan. This will be an intensive one-day workshop. Attendance is limited to 20 people.
Topics covered will include:
• buying and/or equipping a boat for cruising
• destination and route planning
• budgeting for your cruise
• communications
• safety at sea
• provisioning and much more
Contact our office manager, Jill Schaffner, for more information or telephone: (705) 484-0061
Cost in Canadian Dollars $175 per person or $275 per couple plus HST. Price includes seminar materials. Lunch/dinner is available at Port Credit Yacht Club’s restaurant.
Other Presentations in January:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 7:00 PM, Canada

Port Credit Yacht Club
115 Lakefront Promenade, Mississauga ON L5E 3G6 Presentation: "Caribbean Cruising - Off the Beaten Path in the Leeward Islands" Open to club members and reciprocal club members Reservations required: (905) 278-7911 Directions and info:

Friday January 21, 2010 – 6:30 PM, Canada
Burlington Power and Sail Squadron
Fundraising Dinner for the Burlington Able Sail Program
Dinner Presentation: "Caribbean Cruising - Off the Beaten Path in the Leeward Islands" 
Date: Friday January 21, 2010 - Cocktails at 6:30 pm, Buffet Dinner at 7:00 pm Location: King's Court, 1159 King Rd., Burlington, ON  L7R 3X5 Open to the public. Reservations and tickets required. $25 per person For tickets call: Les Armstrong 905-637-2270 or Carol Krummenacher 905-335-4460 H or 905-388-8911 X240 W

Wishing you Smooth Sailing in 2011!

Sheryl and Paul Shard
SV Distant Shores II

January Newsletter – Cruising the East Coast of Sweden
Following the Toronto Boat Show I will do an update and continue the tales of our adventures cruising in Sweden with our trip up the east coast and Medieval Week Festivities on the mid-Baltic island of Gotland.