Pursuing an idea

Inspired by a book, Morten Friis and his family went sailing for a long time! 

No real sailing background

Morten – a highly educated banker and family man – didn’t start sailing till 2007, where he was introduced to the local club by a colleague. His very first boat; Beetle – an X-412 - was bought in 2008. In 2013 he and his wife crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and Morten sailed back singlehanded. What seems to be quite an achievement doesn’t seem to impress himself as he says;  “A lot of people cross the Atlantic Ocean”. True but then again with no real sailing history and all the way back singlehanded!

Pursuing an idea

From that very day in December 2009  where Puk gave Morten this book; “I samme båd” by Hannelore Dörner as a birthday present, things started to move. At that time the kids were still too young, but the dream evoked to sail around the world. Preparations started. Morten took the Certificate of proficiency in yachting, his wife followed, then Morten went on with Yacht Master3rd Class and Yacht Master 1st Class. As time went on, so did the considerations. The original idea of sailing around the world was downsized a bit. Let’s cross the Atlantic and go to the Caribbean. Morten was that determined that he was willing to quit his job and head out. However, he was in a lucky position and was allowed a one year leave.

The route 

The first part the four of them were together on what mostly resembled a summer cruise, from Denmark down to Le Havre, France  – in the English Channel. From here on Morten sailed singlehanded to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria where he left the boat, flew back to Denmark and joined the family for 2 ½ months until the kick-off of the ARC November 24th. 

Out of the 225 participating boats just 15 sailed double-handed. Beetle arrived in St. Lucia as the first doublehanded boat, more than two days ahead of No. 2. Just 6 days after the start of the ARC, they found themselves in a strong storm. Puk was down for three days, awfully seasick! 18 days and 23 hours later they reached St. Lucia where the daughter Sif and the son Oscar joined their parents for a 4 months cruise in the Caribbean. Four months of swimming, drinking rum, enjoying family life, school on the boat in the mornings. Simple living had to come to an end. Puk and the kids flew back home from St. Thomas as planned on April 15th 2014 and Morten prepared for the trip back home – over the Atlantic via the Azores to England and back to Denmark.

Ups & downs 

Overall the family had a trouble-free journey. Of course they encountered bad weather. On the single-handed trip back over the Atlantic just 22 miles after the Azores Morten had to turn around. “I am not really the type of person who turns around, but the autopilot wasn’t functioning a 100 %.  And that is crucial. Just south of England another incident happens. Morten hits a cutter while sleeping. The cutter had turned off the AIS system.  “I was towed to Falmouth, had to stay for 5 days before I could go on. But then I was resolute and with 400 litres of fuel I headed out on June 4th  to go back home. In the Caribbean I  had promised my son, Oscar to be back for  his 7th birthday on 10th  June, and I intended to keep that promise.” And on that very day Morten was home at 1.30 p.m.!  Determination paved the way.

“Elvstrøm Sails has been with me all the way. I invested in new EPEX sails and a new gennaker.  At first I was a little reluctant to invest in EPEX sails, but William Friis-Møller from Elvstrøm Sails convinced me and I must say it´s  has been worthwhile. Their shape was great and the trimming a lot easier than I’ve been used to with my old Dacron sails”, Morten explains.