Ross Moncrieff


We have come back to sail with Leon each year for 5 years now, sometimes sailing more than one leg in a single year.  This in itself is a strong recommendation to sail on Regina Laska. Why do we come back so often?  


Källö Knippla in Bohuslän on the west coast of Sweden had not yet woken up from hybernation. We were the only boat in the marina.


First up, the contrast between our sunny clime in Australia, and the often wintery landscape of Northern Europe is a great attraction.  This year was a case in point, sailing from Regina Laska’s winter lodgings in Vindön (Sweden) to Cuxhaven (Germany).  The vegetation was still dormant when we arrived in Vindön, and shrouded in fog and mist.  Sailing the Swedish Archipelago was an eerie experience, and a new chapter in our navigational catalogue.  


Vegetation did its best to wake up and to welcome the few sunbeams there were



Inching along, with both radar and chart plotter working full time, plus a hand-cut sticky pointer on the paper chart, I now understand why Swedish navigators always have their charts in their hands!  Add to this the very real need to sound the horn every few minutes (sometimes more often, regardless of Colregs), is an other-worldly experience.   


Meeting a vessel in the fog crossing the busy entrance to Gothenburg in total fog was a very interesting exercise I will never forget!


Of course, it was not all wintery sailing – there were a few days in full sunshine, and an ocean horizon, so that we could take sun-run-sun sights and plot our position with a sextant and reduction tables.  It is a real feeling of accomplishment to master this long standing art of navigation, and the results are extraordinary – within a few hundred meters of our high technology position!!



Then there is the comfort of Regina Laska.  Realising that Leon would be putting to sea for a shake-down cruise, we asked for only one item to be pre-tested: the heaters!  As always, the boat was very ‘gemütlich’, and a pleasure to journey in.


We have been watching the Danish/Swedish TV series “The Bridge” back in Australia and it was a great thrill to actually cross The Bridge, we had seen on TV so often!


 The day spent motoring along the Kiel Canal (more correctly, the ’Nord-Ost Kanal’) was a real joy, despite a bitter breeze in places and the need to hand steer throughout –  the cockpit provided a pleasant refuge from the elements all day.  


In the huge locks into the Kiel Canal.

The pontoons in the canal are really low, so a side ladder makes a lot of sense!


Arriving in Brunsbüttel on the “other end” of the Canal. Now The North Sea will await us with tides and waves!


Cyndy spotted “Original Hallberg-Rassy China” which must originate from the Enderlein designs in the 1970’s or early 2980’s in an antique shop in Brunsbüttel in the Canal


Wind over tide making interesting waves on our way from the Canal to our final destination Cuxhaven


Finally, Leon has become a colleague over the years, so that now we are more friends who pay their way, than clients.  



The leg is an adventure we share together, and what better way to do it than a shake-down cruise?  As always, I remain in awe of Leon’s seamanship – he and Regina Laska seem to be a single entity at times, particularly when berthing in a tight spot, or pushing hard into a strong swell with a full complement of sail hauled out.


Once again, the leg from Vindön to Cuxhaven was a total experience, combining some sailing lessons, catching up on what other guests have been doing over the last year, cooking and eating delicious meals with their accompanying wines, visiting new and interesting places, and generally living life in a fulfilling way.

Vielen Dank Leon!!



Ross Moncrieff, Australia, joining Leg 1-2018 from Vindön, Sweden, to Cuxhaven, Germany