When approaching Faaborg, it is impossible not to notice the yellow clock tower rising from the city’s highest point. It was built for the 13th century church, the city’s first, which was called Sct. Nikolaj Kirke (Church of St Nicholas). After the Reformation, the king donated the recently built monastic church – previously belonging to the Order of the Holy Ghost – to the Faaborg congregation. In return, the king took possession of the congregation’s old church and planned to use it as a granary. In actual fact, the church building was never used as such and was eventually torn down. The clock tower, however, remained standing. Among the reasons for this decision was the fact that it provided a great view of the surroundings as well as being an easily identifiable point of orientation from the sea. When sailing from Svendborg Strait, after passing Svelmø Trille (Svelmø Bar), you can aim for the clock tower and sail straight ahead from there – and you will only miss Grydeløbet (the Fairway) leading into Faaborg by a few metres.
Starting at Fyn, Katterød Rev (Katterød Reef) almost reaches out to the two green buoys marking Grydeløbet – in most places the reef is only a few centimetres below the surface at the usual tide, making it impossible to take that particular course towards Faaborg. Over the years, many a sailor has learnt this the hard way. And quite a few must have been taken by surprise when noticing an angler apparently standing directly in the water so far from the coast of Fyn, reeling in a sea trout or a garfish!
Opposite Faaborg Harbour is a shoal called Sletrøn (55° 05.413’ N 010° 13.970’ E), which is marked with a red buoy. This shoal, however, is not natural. According to tradition, it consists of the ballast that has been thrown overboard from various vessels. This explanation is quite probable, since at least two shipyards have been located in the current harbour, the first being Dyreborgs Værft (Dyreborg Shipyard), which was located in the western part of the harbour in the 19th century, and the second being the famous Møllers Værft (Møller’s Shipyard) which was in operation from 1868 until 1938, where a majority of Danish lightships was built. Among the ships originating here are a museum ship in Esbjerg Harbour, the lightship in Copenhagen’s Nyhavn (New Harbour) belonging to the Danish National Museum, and one in Christianshavns Kanal (Christianshavn’s Channel), also in Copenhagen. The two well-known veteran ships “Mira” and “Halmø” were also built at Møllers Værft. When one of the large wooden ships went ashore for reparations, the ballast had to be thrown off the ship, thereby creating Sletrøn, which you want to avoid because of the many boulders.
One of the characteristics of Faaborg Harbour is the harbour front, separated from the harbour by only an ordinary road. It is the back of the large merchant’s houses in the shape of a couple of warehouses and one backyard with a distinctive hexagonal garden pavilion. Ever since the merchant’s house on the street of Holkegade was built in the early 18th century, the latter has been used as a garden.