9 b Ochars

Skippers Log 7 / Koroni Greece towards Strynø Denmark.

I have written this log from reading the ships log and listening to stories from the crew

Day 324 Thursday the 11th of May 2023

The log reads” Command change due to sickness David ashore for medical treatment”.

Greg takes command and prepares for sea. Kristopher rejoins at the anchorage at Koroni After sending me off on a plane to Denmark. Koroni has proven itself to be a delightful anchorage. Great little town to wander around including Castello Koroni, yet another magnificent piece of 13th century Venetian architecture, housing its own monastery and village the last of the inhabited fortresses in Greece apparently.

The weather variable with patchy showers, so motor sailing it is as Yukon rounds Cape Akritas, steering west northwest into the Ionian Sea toward the straits of Messina and Sicily.
The 300-mile crossing gives us a plethora of conditions. A moderate front from the south southwest  on Saturday morning  strong and gusty lots of sail handling  and veering quickly round to the southeast and easing  in the late evening, it’s a bit like being in a washing machine, the seas chopping up to a couple of metres and then laying down just as quickly maybe it’s the ghost of Odysseus or the Sirens of Cape Pelorum tempting my weary crew as they  push westward. Sunlight encourages and lifts humour as the Sicilian coast hove’s into view.  The heavily trafficked straits of Messina are dutifully watched over by the local Vessel traffic control which we log onto around noon on Sunday. After a few hours tacking we weather Cape Peloro which takes the last of our breeze for the day, so it’s good old Henry for a couple of hours along the north Sicilian coast towards the beckoning finger of Cape Milazzo. Dropping anchor at Porto Del Toro just about nightfall.

Monday May 15th a busy day, Thunderstorms are forecast and with them, squally winds, gusting in excess of 30 knots. We thought we had used our quota of such irritating weather in Malaysia, but the Mediterranean has her own version. We need to make westing for the shelter of Cape Marchiafava and the Cefalu marina about 70 miles run, it will provide shelter from the forecast westerly front in a couple of days. It proves to be a tough passage under double reefed mainsail with radical wind changes along this stretch of coast, one minute your flying along the next your rolling almost becalmed, the little fishing harbour is a welcome sight around nightfall, after a little hesitation we make it to a berth just before the last and toughest squall of the day rolls through with fifty knot katabatic winds blasting down the Rocca di Cefalu, a giant rock between the city and the harbour.
The next few days were enjoyed in Cefalu with a combination of routine maintenance and some great times ashore. Sicily is known for its culinary delights and beautiful cities.
Palermo was also visited as it’s only a short distance away. Home to Teatro Massimo Europe’s second biggest opera house and Catacomb Dei Cappuchini a mass tomb containing over 8000 remains held open to visitors by the Cappuchini monks.

It was great to have a few days to enjoy the area as this was to be our final stop before crossing toward Sardinia.

 This passage of almost 300 miles across the Tyrrhenian Sea was to prove to be another 3 days with strong winds and rapidly shifting conditions. As I read the deck log to write this piece it looks like the crew were busy with sail changes and heavy seas, the second day was the hardest with winds gusting to about 35kts resulting in the morning watch handing the triple reefed main and just continuing with the forestaysail.
The anchorage at Porto San Paolo on the north tip of Sardinia gave good shelter and time for a quick look ashore and Provision. Next stop a lovely bay on the south coast of the National Park Island of Caprera. A period of calm weather descended on the good ship. The Med was proving to be a bit tempestuous, and some swimming weather was welcomed including a splendid day sailing rounding Punta Delle Capre part of the picturesque Maddalena Archipelago which is a geomarine national park capping the north coast of Sardinia. The evening anchorage in Porto Pozzo included a great dinner ashore getting the final fill of Italian food. Next stop, the Balearic Islands, time was ticking away so It was decided to run for the Minorca 350 miles to the west southwest, it would mean a fair bit of motoring, better than headwinds. Calm days prevail with a glassy swell which too was gradually decreasing.

Friday 26th of May. Day 339, 0400 the log reads, Motoring forever onwards. Our faithful motor, Henry at 1350 rpm pushing the beast home to Denmark. After 300 days of voyaging the days begin to melt into each other, some folks on board are starting to count down.

I am certainly following all activity with interest from the lake district in Denmark as I sit and wait for my operation, talk about bloody frustration and a bit of head scratching anxiety, I have never left our dear ship in the hands of another captain apart from two morning cruises during the Australian Wooden Boat Festival a few years back, so it’s a big learning curve for all onboard and myself. I have great faith in Greg and the boys, Kristopher and Aron and am grateful to have Ola, an experienced sailor aboard as a bonus. But still.

By 0900 the breeze builds, enough to make full sail and shut down the engine. This makes for a lovely sight as Yukon lands in the capital of Menorca, Mahon many of us imagining as we sail in the harbour Patrick O’Brian’s ‘lucky Jack’ rescuing his friend the doctor from the Spanish armada stationed in the beautiful natural harbour. A couple of days later, it was the Island of Majorca and disembarkation for Ola, Nanna, and Enok¸ it was great to have them aboard again after so many years. Anne and her sister Helen also said their farewells thank you guys for a great couple of months. Ea embarked for a fleeting visit to see the boys and keep the flag flying in my absence. Yukon anchored in Palma Bay off Cas Caleta moving a little further down the bay towards the southwest to Cala Xinxell where we remained for a few days. It was maintenance on the agenda, Greg spend hours finding spare parts, hard to believe pricing for the same item can varies hugely from one marina to another! Peter was busy painting Yukon’s hull and giving her a good shine. The boys and Ea taking the weekend ashore in the beautiful countryside to have some space away from the boat. Every afternoon was highlighted with a thunderstorm somewhat reminiscent of our time in the Malacca Straits it certainly helps to clear the air.

Sunday the 3rd June day 347.

Martin and Deb our old neighbours from Franklin in Tassie embark for the next leg, great to see them. They did a trip with us around Bruny Island a few years back, so they are familiar with Yukon and life on board. Their fresh energy and good humour are welcome at these late stages of the voyage. The following day we embark Johannes as 1st mate from Denmark he sailed with us from Dublin to Tenerife back in 2010 another familiar face and a great sailor to boot.
West we go, towards the Straits of Gibraltar, the first couple of days it’s the mixed bag of variable breezes punctuated by motor sailing, we cross the meridian of Greenwich on the 8th of June and have to make an irritating alteration south due to war games being played close to the Spanish Coast.  This costs valuable time on a rapidly closing weather window. In the course of the evening the breeze builds from the southwest and so does the sea making for a tough night of motor sailing, the current is on the nose as well so the elements line up maliciously to be against us. The going is slow, after a long day of punching into a short sharp sea making a painstakingly low average speed, we enter the large commercial harbour at Almera. We immediately hook up to the harbour’s fresh water and hose the thick layer of caked up salt of our extremely sunburnt selves, then it was time for a beer, finally swooned by the impression of provincial southern Spain.  The following morning Punta Etinas beckons, but it proves to be too rough to round. So, we tuck into a tourist town marina, a few miles down the coast where we take hot showers that are enjoyed by all followed by dinner ashore.

Afternoon finds the good ship westward bound toward Malaga, we attempt taking fuel in Caleta De Velez which lays about 50 miles west but no go so it’s on to Malaga on the smell of an oily rag. We lay in the centre of the beautiful city of Malaga and enjoy Picassos hometown while waiting for anther weather window to make the passage through Gibraltar.  We power through the straits 0900 on the 15 June at a fine pace, Europa point on the starboard beam. Goodbye Mediterranean and hello Atlantic.

Thursday 15th June day 361 the log reads:
1653 Rudder hit by Orcas!
We had been following recent events in this area and concluded that these attacks had been so sporadic that it was a worthy risk. Some lighter vessels had been sunk as a result of the attacking Killer Whales the top predator in our seas!
Its uncanny for many on board it was the first time that they had seen and orca pod and here they were trying to bight our rudder off, the shudder could be felt throughout the hull and all hands were on deck. It was calm conditions with a light easterly wind and Yukon was enjoying some lovely sailing when the fun started.

After dropping Johannes off in Port De Mayo the only Portuguese harbour on the trip, we start heading north now in two watches instead of three. Easy conditions prevail on the Portuguese Coast, pigheaded Atlantic trawlers being the tired crews only cause of concern.

Tuesday 20th June, we cross our outward-bound track from 11th august 2010 that’s it!
Yukon had completed her circumnavigation. Rum was enjoyed by all hands. Unfortunately not port wine, we had to keep going and were not able to celebrate up river in the legendary city of Porto, where we spent a wonderful week in 2010

The following day we anchor at Costas, north of Cabo Silleiro. It’s one year ago today we sailed from Franklin. The Bay of Biscay is the next open passage so it’s critical we position ourselves up near Cabo Finisterre. Deb disembarks the morning of the 23rd in the small town of Cee, the six remaining crew get away early hoping to make it around the cape and into the Bay of Biscay before the end of the day. Not to our surprise the notoriously tricky cape throws us a few surprises and stronger headwinds than expected, Kristopher gets a wonderful idea…

The fishing town of Camarinas was a great stop on our outward-bound voyage 13 years ago so it was great to be back, the first familiar sight ashore on our voyage around the world and the timing was perfect it was the annual Festival ’Virxe do Carme’ the patron saint of sailors so it was a grand night ashore. On our way out to Tasmania we collected two pinecones on the beach here and for some reason they were hung in the mizzen shrouds as a souvenir, there they remained for 13 years in fact they are there still opening and closing with the weather. Greg went ashore and found a couple more pinecones from the same beach so now there are four. The passage across Biscay was light to calm, the little breeze was coming out of the west, we were extremely bored, not a bad problem to have in the Biscay.  

Greg started the main engine and gave her a kick ahead this was enough to cause a loss of interest from our black and white friends and they fell astern and headed off in search of a more edible rudder. Yukon’s 3-inch-thick solid oak version thankfully not their cup of tea. We motored into a nearby anchorage, Porto Sherry on the northern side of Cadiz letting go just after midnight. The following morning, we donned goggles and dropped down to inspect the rudder, all was well not a scratch Aron was hoping for a tooth imbedded in the rudder as a souvenir of this most curios incident.

We had a voyage crew change in the port of Douuenez and embarked for the final leg of the voyage Ea’s brother Lass and his son Sigfred joined, as did Mike and Uli from Tasmania, they did the last Port Davey cruise on Yukon. Lynnette Peter’s wife joined us as well. Signi signed on from Denmark as a third watchkeeper, so we were eleven souls. Richard and Jill dear friends from Franklin showed up to say hello, Greg’s parents as well. Nice surprises!
After a few pleasant days in Dounenze and preps for the English Channel were complete.
Light conditions prevailed but the old greasy Atlantic swell made its presence felt in the stomachs of some of the newbies on board after rounding Ile De Batz it was into Roscoff for bunkers and respite from the fiercely ebbing tides. Steering northeast we gently made our way the following day the 70 miles to the Channel Island of Guernsey where we cleared in at Saint Peters Port. Pints were in, just before last orders so with whistles whet it was a good night’s rest for all.

Portsmouth has long been on the voyage plan to pay homage to HMS Victory and enjoy the history of the surrounding port. it was a bit of a rigmarole seen as how the English showing a brief lapse of reason voted themselves out of the European union, this meant clearing out of EU and into UK for just a couple of days.
I have many fond memories of cruising the south coast of Britain and was with the mob in spirit from my hospital bed….. a good old time was had by all. Peter and Lynette decided to disembark, Peter bless him had been with Yukon since Darwin and was ready for some more space. He and Lynette were booked in to join a cruise liner from Southampton in 12 days, so they seized the moment. His scones on Saturdays, and unbelievably, his bagpipes were bringers of fond memories.

Onward, east for a change the weather was shaping up sweetly for a good run across to the mouth of the Elbe, but first the headlands of Dungeness, leaving the busy ports of Folkstone and Dover to the portside Yukon motors in glassy conditions crossing the mouth of the Thames toward Harwich.
The log reads all fast alongside Harwich halfpenny pontoon, I wonder if the pricing still holds. Later the same day, we shift ship and cruise a couple of hours up the River Orwell to the fuel dock at Wolverstone Marina and top up.

Thursday 11th July Michael’s birthday again!!! Mike joined in Franklin, our only voyage crew to sign up for the whole voyage back to Denmark. His ambition was to get to Scandinavia without visiting an airport. Last time we celebrated Mikes day was in Port Nelson north of Sydney back on Day 20 of the voyage. It’s a credit to him a novice sailor more a motorcycle man than mariner to complete such a voyage. Its difficulties its revelations and joys now part of him, well done Michael.

Moderate southwesterlies usher the fair ship abeam of Texel in Holland quartering seas and steady breezes as the miles glide by punctuated by showers and the constant stream of traffic, everyone going somewhere, the crew all trying to appreciate their final night at sea from their rolly bunks.

Yukon clears back into Europe at Cuxhaven on the western bank of the Elbe before heading across the famed estuary into the locks of the Kiel Canal at Brunsbüttel.

Ea and I rejoined. 247 days for Ea and only 66 days away from Yukon for me, we were happy to say the least, to be back on board, see the boys be amongst the crowd there was no way I was not going to be onboard to complete our voyage home.
The familiar surroundings of our dear vessel and crew helped lift the energy levels for both myself and Ea, but there was no denying we were both still pretty weak from hospital and cancer treatment. Transiting the Kiel Canal was accompanied by the usual level of confusion, last minute lock changes etc, but nothing could dampen our excitement as we made sail in Kieler Bugt after a night alongside in Laboe, welcomed by Lars the Blacksmith who helped install Yukon’s engine back in 2004.
Now our last patch of open water, the 30 odd miles northeast toward the town of Marstal on the Danish Island of Ærø a lovely smooth summers afternoon the gentle south-westerly on the quarter as we made landfall.
Denmark at last, the famous seafaring town of Marstal on Ærø was a welcome sight, family and friends embarking that evening for the final 4-mile leg to Strynø the following day.

A misty morning with light airs the ultimate destination of our voyage around the world was in sight, slowly but surely Yukon ghosted her way in the millpond conditions. A fleet of vessels of all shapes and sizes carrying old friends and new, began to congregate tooting and cheering as we handed sail. In the harbour, a marvellous party, carefully planned by our dear friends, had begun on the wharf with flags, music and refreshments.

Day 394, Wednesday 19th July 2023. 14.20 The log reads.

All fast alongside Starboard side to.
Wow we did it!
Back alongside the same wharf we started from, many of the same faces were there to welcome us home that saw us off 13 years ago.  Some were hard to recognise, toddlers had become teenagers, children had become adults some of the oldies had moved on to the next world and some were still here looking just the same, maybe with just a few more wrinkles. Even voyage crew from both the first and second part of the circumnavigation had made the effort to turn up as well as some of our super deckhands that joined Yukon in Tasmanian for a season and became part of the family.
Our lovely little island community of Strynø population of 240, an island with a coastline the same length as the foot of Uluru, 10 kilometres, home to farmers, sailors and fishers for centuries gave us a grand welcome.
It was a magic moment, one we dared not dream of for several years whilst we were living in Tasmania yet was to become our goal once again.
We spent the early afternoon greeting folk and relishing the festivities laid on by the island, continuing into the late night in our own backyard with food and wine flowing under the summer foliage. Yukon laying alone for a while in the harbour, our lovely ship, 93 years old who carried us all safely around the world, her decks silent wondering what all the fuss was about.

I would like to thank Greg who did heaps of work helping prepare for this voyage and for his dedication in helping get Yukon home and of course my two sons Kristopher and Aron for their commitment and hard work for completing the voyage and of course Ea for being there in sickness and in health. Thanks also to all the guests and voyage crew that made this voyage possible.
I sincerely hope that you all look back with fondness of the time we spent together  

It’s challenging to sum up a voyage on paper, experiences like these, manifest and articulate themselves in many forms conscious and subliminally and they live with us the rest of our days with memories of places and people, sights and smells of life in the wide open. I have often felt thwarted in my efforts to try and convey the meaning behind it all, perhaps it best not to, it gives us reason to keep on looking.   

Thanks for following skipper’s log

David and Ea Strynø February 2024.




15,822 nautical miles from Franklin to Strynø 394 days
18,476 nautical miles from Strynø to Franklin 549 days
Added up a total of 34,298miles and 934 days or 31 months, under way.
Yukon crossed 3 oceans Atlantic, Pacific and Indian.
Crossed numerous seas.
Transited 4 canals, Kiel, Caledonian, Panama, Suez, Kiel.
We wanted to transit the Korinth canal in Greece, but it was closed for repairs.  
We visited 40 different countries and 100 islands.