Three Men in a Boat (and four girls) - GoBoating

Continuing the theme of tailoring the tour itinerary to meet the tastes of our visitors we rose to the challenge when champion yacht racer RIchard came to visit; boats had to be involved. This was the long awaited visit of Immy’s best friend Rebecca with parents Richard and Tess. Quick research revealed that GoBoat would be a great option.

The GoBoats are solar powered vessels that you can rent by the hour to cruise around Copenhagen harbour. It’s a a fairly safe little boat, with a picnic table stuck in the middle. Their boathouse, which can be found at the end of Islands Brygge, displays the solar panels on roof that provide the power.  The staff were typically Danish - very laid back and more concerned that you had a good time than, health and safety or checking that you were vaguely competent. They even gave Immy and Becca little fishing nets, with the promise that they could get a free ice cream if they fished some rubbish out of the harbour.

This was not a crew that was short on boating experience with two yacht club members, two blade winning Oxford trained coxes and several RYA power boating qualifications. However Captain Cook soon took charge and we were happy to let him; perhaps he was taking things a little too seriously especially as our max speed was four knobs (knob=knot in Danish).

All the kids got little life jackets to keep them safe. Albert was almost beside himself with excitement at the start, but about 40mins in he had to have a nap on a pile of blankets under the bench. Note the obligatory blankets were available as with all outdoor eating venues in the city.

We travelled up the harbour and then trundled around the Slotsholmen canal and past Christiansborg Slot. Can a boat trundle? Probably not but the GoBoats go at a sedate speed (we got overtaken by kayakers); this is part of their attraction, a very quiet electric motor and the sites just drifting by. There’s nothing so fun as messing about on the river, or in this case the harbour/canals.

We managed to dodge the GoBoat pirates and carried on up the harbour with a target picnic spot in the waters behind Holmen by Christiania. It’s amazing how quickly we were in peaceful waters enjoying the birdlife and serenity.

Passing Nyhavn: still fishing for rubbish

We moored up on little Jetty bordering the ravelin dotted strip that marks the outer line of the old CPH defences. We’d been enjoying the tranquil backwater picnic spot for a while when two bohemian young ladies came out onto the jetty. Whilst chatting to us about how our cruise was going they stripped off naked and went skinny dipping. It wasn’t the view we were expecting as we quaffed a glass of Cava, so we dealt with it in a stoic British fashion and acted like it was a regular occurance, making polite conversation. However we were all wearing good sunglasses so it was unclear where anyone was looking. As Rebecca commented later “Maybe they just forgot their costumes and fancied a swim”. Good childhood logic I thought.

When Richard had recovered from lunch we cruised up around the top of the harbour and then down to Christianshavns Kanal. The girls had got a bit bored of fishing for rubbish (the harbour in CPH is too clean so it was an impossible mission), so instead they made a den under the table.

First Mate Albert, by now in his Phil and Teds clip on high chair, was in his element. Cruising down a picturesque canal, picnic food on tap, regally waving at anyone who would meet his gaze.

Overall this was a cracking way to spend three hours in Copenhagen and great value at 1.000Kr between us. When we’d docked we went for a surprisingly warm swim (it wasn’t Baltic!) in the free harbour pool at Islands Brygge. This is right next door to the GoBoat pontoon and includes the ship themed 4.9m high diving board that I had a go at falling off. The girls voted the excitement of the harbour pool as the activity of the day, whilst for Richard and I it was clearly our GoBoat excursion. We discussed the sights of Copenhagen Harbour late into the evening, an unforgettable day!