Haugesund is a maritime town through and through, and although the modern shipyard dominates the approaches it’s the quaint wooden warehouses and Herring processing plants that captivate the eye as you pull alongside. King Harald Fairhair, considered to be the first king of Norway is buried near by. The city hall is an architectural gem, built in 1931 in the neo-classical style.
The facilities available to visiting yachts in Haugesund are very good. There are several chandlers and boat yards in walking distance. The guest harbour is dead center in the middle of town so there is a wide range of shops available in normal working hours. The fuel dock is to the north, on the south shore of Norde Svinholmen.
The guest harbour is very popular, partly due to it being directly outside the bars and clubs. Expect it to be busy and noisy during the weekend nights and around bank holidays. If you want a quieter night keep to the south near the Scandic Maritim, or south of the Risør bridge if possible. To the north of the quay it is commercial, fishing boats, tour boats, fish farm supply and cleaning vessels all use this area. There is also a section of quay clearly marked and reserved for the Røvær ferry.
Payment is via the “GoMarina” app and it’s a relatively simple process to sign up add the boat and pay. For 2017 it’s 150NOK for a boat under 13m (42.5 feet) and 50NOK for electricity. Boats over 13m it’s 200NOK and 100NOK respectively. There is a limited number of electricity stands available. The ones directly outside Sacndic Maritim take a standard 13A 2 prong euro plug (April 2017).
Toilets and showers and washing machines are in the Scandic Maritim hotel, sometimes called the “Rica Maritim”. There are dedicated facilities during the high season. Off season guests can use the foyer toilets and gym showers. Reception also has a small shop selling essential toiletry products and coffee. The hotel has WiFi, bars and restaurants and also offers bicycle hire if you want a quicker way of getting around.
Haugesund has good express bus connections to Stavanger and Bergen. The airport has limited international flights but daily internal flights to other major airports.
Approach to Haugesund
The southern approach is the simplest as you simply head up the Karmasundet. The current under the Salhus bridge known as the Salhusstraumen can run at up to 5 knots at spring tide. The Norwegian Pilot has more details but a summary is:
The Salhusstraumen current is dominated by tides and changes about 3 hours before and about 3 hours after high tide. It is stronger north wards at low tide and strongest south wards at high tide.
Once past the bridge 1.5 miles further North keep to the east bank and take the eastern fork at Storasundskjer light. Passing the land reclamation to your port.
There are two northern approaches, a marked route from off shore and the second entrance for smaller vessels coming down the coast.
The approach from off shore goes through Slettå and the hazards are plentiful and well marked, though some markers are hard to spot in swell.
The guest quay at Haugesund runs along the east side of the channel from the Scandi hotel to the Røvær ferry quay (which is clearly marked). Space to the north of the ferry dock seems to be availible also, but as mentioned above is used by bigger vessels. Be aware that an area might be private/resevered- but these were clearly marked from what we could see.
Depths in the sound are good- generally more than 3 meters. One shallow spot of 1.8m is noted on the chart just south of the brigde. See the sketch below.
What to do in Haugesund
The guest harbour is right in town, so it makes Haugesund a good place to provision or just shop.
Avaldsnes to the south of Haugesund was the home of the first Viking Kings. There are burial mounds, stone crosses 1000 years old and replica settlements. Organised trips run from Haugesund. More details on the tourist office website “Visit Haugesund” website including up to date listing for the Jazz and film festivals.
There are also ferries to the small but beautiful islands of Røvær and Feyøy. Which might make sense if the weather is against you through Slettå (a dangerous sea area with steep waves due to the rapidly shallowing sea bed). Likewise a ferry to Utsira also runs, which claims to have 300 species of birds observed for only 200 residents.