The History of Hundested-Rørvig Ferry Service
On May 16, 2017, Hundested-Rørvig Ferry Service celebrated 100 years of sailing on the route. The short distance between the coasts at the mouth of Isefjord and the general need for transportation have contributed to the existence of a maritime connection between Rørvig and the Halsnæs coast at Lynæs / Hundested to some extent. It is known, for instance, that when Lynæs Inn was established in 1804, it was granted a license as a ferry inn.
But in 1917, two things happened, each of which contributed to the start of a ferry service with more regular departure times. One was that three brothers from the Nielsen family in Rørvig had been subdividing summerhouse plots from their family farms in an area near Korshage, north of Rørvig, for a couple of years.
The other thing was that the railway from Hillerød was extended to Hundested at the end of 1916, opening up the possibility of establishing a faster connection for the large customer base of buyers and owners of these summerhouse plots, who mainly lived in the Copenhagen area. The summerhouse customers now only needed to be sailed the last short distance to Rørvig. So, in 1917, the Nielsen brothers purchased a newly built passenger motorboat from Weber's Shipyard in Svendborg. It was named "Korshage."
The First "Korshage"
The first "Korshage" was 18 meters long, 4.5 meters wide, and equipped with a 40 HP engine. It could accommodate 140 passengers and had room for some luggage and bicycles. The boat was put into service during the summer months, and the sailing schedule was coordinated with the arrival and departure times of the train in Hundested. The new boat connection quickly became a success, but soon another new mode of transportation emerged - the automobile. In the wake of a competing ferry company operating an older converted cargo ship named "Rigsø," which could carry 8-9 cars on its deck, also crossing in 1927, the Nielsen brothers were forced to act quickly.
Overfarten kunne umuligt give trafikunderlag for to konkurrerende ruter og efter langvarige forhandlinger med myndighederne i de to havne, om ret til sejladsen, trak det nye selskab sig ud af ruten imod en økonomisk kompensation. Brødrene Nielsen fik derefter lavet eneretsaftaler om besejling af Rørvig og Hundested havne, og stiftede i 1928 aktieselskabet Korshage. Og straks derefter bestilte de en ny færge - en kombineret passager- og bilfærge på Frederikshavn Værft. Samtidig gik man også i gang med at etablere bilfærgelejer i de to havne.
The Crossing couldn't possibly generate traffic for two competing routes, and after lengthy negotiations with the authorities in the two ports regarding the right to operate the service, the new company withdrew from the route in exchange for financial compensation. The Nielsen brothers then entered into exclusive agreements for the navigation of the Rørvig and Hundested ports and established the joint-stock company Korshage in 1928. Immediately, they ordered a new ferry - a combined passenger and car ferry from Frederikshavn Shipyard. At the same time, efforts began to establish car ferry terminals in the two ports.
The Second "Korshage"
On May 16, 1928, the new ferry was put into service on the route, and it inherited the name "Korshage." It was a motor ferry of 105 gross tons, equipped with a newly developed 150 horsepower B.& W. engine, capable of propelling the ferry at a speed of 9 knots. It was a so-called pendulum ferry, meaning it had a propeller and rudder at both ends, allowing it to avoid turning the ferry in and out of the harbor. It had a continuous car deck with space for approximately 15 passenger cars and up to 190 passengers. Even during World War II, the ferry route was considered so essential for transportation that it was kept operational by being allocated a limited ration of diesel fuel, allowing it to make a couple of round trips a day.
After the war, the traffic with cars quickly picked up, so from the early 1950s for several years, the ferry company chartered an additional small ferry, "Koster," to assist during the busiest times, enabling them to operate with two ferries during the peak season. However, in 1959, the company introduced a new ferry, "Skansehage," built at Holbæk Shipyard, so they now had two ferries of their own.
The new ferry was slightly larger than "Korshage" but also had space for 14-15 cars and permission for 190 passengers. The special feature of the new ferry was that the wheelhouse was located on one side, making it better suited to accommodate the increasingly taller vehicles. This included the many traveling carnivals that visited the city festivals in the summer and were frequent customers on the ferries. "Skansehage" served the route faithfully for a long time and was only sold after 55 years of service in the autumn of 2013. In 1964, after 34 years of service on the route, the old "Korshage" was replaced by a new namesake, the 3rd ferry on the route with the name "Korshage." It was also built at Holbæk Shipyard and was in size and cargo capacity exactly as "Skansehage."
The third "Korshage."
The new "Korshage" had once again positioned its wheelhouse high above the center of the ferry, which is why it was always referred to as "the big ferry" by the passengers. From the mid-60s, during the significant boom in summer house construction in Odsherred and for two decades afterward, these two ferries are surely the ones remembered by slightly older ferry customers as faithful workhorses during the busy summer months. They made trip after trip with full loads and waiting lines of cars at the ferry terminals.
In 1980, after more than 50 years of operating the ferry route within the Nielsen family, the third generation of the family had no one interested in continuing the business. So, on April 1, 1980, a generational shift took place, where four of the ferry company's employees stepped in and bought the route. Since all the owners were now from Hundested, this also meant that in 1995, the company officially relocated to the Hundested harbor.
In May 1985, the new ferry company purchased a used ferry that had become surplus on the route from Jutland to Samsø (Hov – Sælvig). It was indeed an older ferry, built in 1955, but it had several advantages that made it highly suitable for the Hundested – Rørvig route. The car deck was twice the size compared to the two other ferries, it had bright lounges, and on the top deck, there was a large sundeck for the enjoyment of up to 190 passengers.
So, it was quickly acquired and named "Nakkehage." It was put into service on the route in August 1985. However, the wider and significantly heavier ferry caused some problems when docking at the old ferry terminal in Rørvig. This attracted many spectators on the pier, caused some gray hairs for the ferry crew, and resulted in dents and scratches on the harbor structures. After the summer season, with the assistance of the Nykøbing and Rørvig municipality, a total renewal of the ferry terminal and harbor area took place, along with a deepening of the ferry harbor and approach.
In Hundested, there was a similar problem with the ferry terminal being too small. However, here, a different solution was found by taking over a former Grenå-ferry terminal right next to the ferry's marshalling area, where the ferry fit perfectly.
For 28 years, from 1985 to 2013, "Nakkehage" and "Korshage" sailed together in the Isefjord between Hundested and Rørvig. But the aging "Korshage" needed a replacement, and after preparations and final approval from the Danish Maritime Authority, M/F "Isefjord" was put into service on the route on May 17, 2013. Prior to this, new ferry terminals had been established in Hundested and Rørvig, and modifications were made to "Nakkehage's" ship ramps.