The sound of flapping pennants and the sound of ropes whipping against masts mix with chatter and high spirit, when sailors from more than 110 bigger and smaller sailboats dock in Ballen Havn as part of the ‘Aarhus2Star’ sailing race.
As popular as Springsteen
‘Aarhus2Star’ has, over the years, developed into one of the most popular sailing races in Denmark. “It took less than one hour from opening the ticket sales until we had 113 entries and had to report everything sold out. It’s almost like selling tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert!” says enthusiastic Race Director Kenneth Meier-Andersen. He also muses on why this particular race is continuing to enjoy a favourable tailwind: “The relatively short distance of 32 nautical miles between Aarhus and Ballen is rather perfect in terms of engaging the smaller boat classes. At the same time the distance is long enough to force sailors to think tactically in order to stay in the competition. Finally there’s the socialising, for which Ballen Harbour is truly ideal.”
As the race name suggests there are two people to a boat. “Some people team up with a friend or ‘a sailing buddy’ but couples also sign up” explains Kenneth. He continues: “The race appeals to many sailors in both larger as well as smaller boat classes. Most of the competitors hail from Aarhus and the surrounding area but boats from Flensburg and Kalundborg also take part. The race is part of the ‘2Star’ championship series, which includes ‘Around Funen’, ‘Øresund 1-2-3 Stars’ and the ‘Vegvisir Race’. Some of the sailors participating in the Aarhus2Star are hardened competitors and then there are the ones to whom ‘hygge’ and the social aspect is much more important than crossing the finishing line as no. 1.”
Theory and praxis
The race kicks off on the Saturday morning, where the first boat sails out from the marina in Aarhus . “It’s a so-called ‘reverse respite’ race, where the slowest boat starts – not unlike playing with a handicap in golf. A couple of hours later the fastest boat sets sail and in theory this means they should be able to arrive in Ballen at the same time.” Kenneth says.
Theory however is one thing and reality on the open sea another. Particularly last year, when the race took place in glorious summer weather and with almost no wind. “When we reached the Sletterhage Lighthouse on the southern tip of Djursland, there was hardly any wind at all. As a result we and the Marine Guard, which sails ahead of the race, decided to shorten the race and move the finishing line to Vejrø, eastnortheast of the tip of Besser Reef. It was a good decision, since soon afterwards the wind died away completely and most of the boats were forced to motor into Ballen Harbour. Some of the smaller sailboats without engines were towed in by the larger ones,” explains Kenneth.
Beers on the pier and a gala dinner
Nevertheless, the sailors were most pleased on Saturday afternoon to step ashore in Ballen. As per tradition they were met with cold beers on the pier. “And then begins the long chatter about the sailing, the challenges, the ups and downs and in particular about one’s own abilities as a skipper”, tells Kenneth with a big smile.
Saturday evening, when the last beer bottle is empty, all participants meet for a gala dinner and party. “For many years we’ve had a wonderful collaboration with the good people at Restaurant Dokken. Not only are they incredibly flexible and accommodating but also able to provide an evocative setting and well-prepared food for a large number of people in one sitting. Last year we were so many that we had to use the hall in the sailing club in Ballen. The hall is adjacent to the restaurant so it worked out really well”, states Kenneth.
In general the sailors and organisers are very pleased with Ballen Harbour. Kenneth explains: “The harbour folk are very good at accommodating our wishes. We take up a great deal of space arriving with 110 boats. They reserve the whole of the southern jetty for us and are very good at getting us in as and when we arrive. The harbour facilities are also excellent so we are certain to be back next year – for the 13th year running”, Kenneth finishes.
Ballen Marina is Samsø’s largest and most visited marina and has approximately 8,500 guest visits a year. Ballen Marina is located on the southern part of the island on the east side. Ballen, where the marina is located, is Samsø’s holiday town no. 1 with lots of restaurants, cafes, the island’s only disco etc.
Langøre Harbour is located on the northern part of Samsø on the estern side of the protected Stauns Fjord. Langøre is a natural harbour which has been in use since the Viking Age. The harbour sees about 4,000 yachts per year. During most of the year, the harbour is used by local leisure-time fishermen in and around the fjord.
From the island’s northernmost harbour you have some of the island’s most magnificent scenery right before your feet – Nordby Hills. This enormous hilly area stretching from the harbour to Issehoved, the north tip of Samsø, is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.
Kolby Kås Havn
When you arrive at the southernmost harbour of the island, you are guaranteed peace and quiet. The harbour is also a good starting point if you want to see the southern part of the island from your bike. From the harbour it is maneagable distance to Kolby Mill, Brattingsborg and Vestborg lighthouse.
Last updated: 30. Apr. 2019 08:53