Let’s all hope for a good year 2021. But first, let us tell you a little bit about our year 2020. It started off with a very nice “winter” in Cartagena with beautiful weather. We had walks and excursions in the area with friends and a trip to Madrid before skiing in Italy in February.
The nasty bug started to make itself known as we were getting Sally ready for our sailing season. The plan was to start sailing in early March and to make it home to Sweden by middle of September. We were looking forward to Madeira and possibly the Azores as well as visiting London and some of our old favourites along the way home.
And, we took off as planned and sailed for two days before lock down in Spain made us spend six weeks instead of 2 days in Aguadulce. Six long weeks when we had to stay on the boat, we were only allowed to leave the boat one at a time to buy food or medicine. Thankfully, we had stocked up with red wine before we left Cartagena.
It became clear to us already after a few weeks that the best option would be to sail home. A new plan to sail more or less directly home developed. We took on provisions to last us for five weeks and as much fuel as we could carry. Leaving also required permission from Guardia Civil that the marina arranged for us.
We had two ports available for stopover when we left Aguadulce April 24th; A Coruna and Brest. Some instrument problems made us turn around at Trafalgar and go to La Linea for repairs. We left, after refuelling in Gibraltar, on April 30th heading for Muros that had confirmed while we were in La Linea.
Spare parts awaited us in Muros and while we waited for a weather window, the restrictions were gradually lifted so we could hike in the mountains. We left Muros May 12th and had cold but moderate easterly winds across the Bay of Biscay. We finally, after a dozen E-mails, obtained the last permissions to sail in France and enter Cherbourg the night before our arrival May 21st.
We had a quick “overnighter” up the channel and arrived in Vlissingen May 25th. Holland turned out to be quite welcoming so we were able to spend two near normal weeks on the Standenmast Route up to Lauwersoog. Another “overnighter” took us to the Kiel Canal and new but, slightly different corona restriction.
Denmark was completely closed to us (as Portugal and Belgium had been) so we sailed directly from Kiel to Sweden bypassing with sadness some Danish favourites. We arrive in Varberg, Sweden June 15th. What a relief to be home and finally, in a country where we could move freely – and fully understand the language. We then continued north from there, stopping by friends and family, and arrived in our home port Ljungskile June 22nd.
We spent July preparing for a life ashore. We did some renovation work on our house but decided to leave most of it to the professionals. We tried to sort out everything that was in storage but, could not move much back to the house before renovation was finished. We also spent a lot of time with friends and family.
We went sailing when the painters started work in early August and had a lovely time on the Swedish west coast for a little more than two weeks. We sailed very leisurely short distances between friends and favourite places. So nice to be back in protected waters with an abundance of anchorages – and the sun was shining!
We were home again just in time to take a last farewell of Hakans father who passed away at the age of 94.
The house awaited us with shining new paint and nice wallpapers and so started many days of carrying furniture and boxes to unpack. Then, we had to clear out the rest of our storage to temporary spaces while a water leak was repaired. We spent the better part of a month carrying, unpacking, sorting, repacking and carrying again.
There was finally time, in mid-September, for a last sail. Eva had by then started part time work so for this shorter trip Hakan sailed singlehanded part of the way. We had a lovely week-end together with “indian summer” weather.
The storage had been repaired when Hakan came back so, a new session with sorting and carrying and then emptying the boat started. We lifted Sally the first week-end in October and she was empty, cleaned, covered and ready for the winter a week after that.
Hakans right shoulder has been giving him problems since last summer. This accelerated during the sail in August so he finally gave in and visited the hospital. An operation was necessary to sort it out and was arranged for 15th October. This should allow for the expected six month recovery period to be over just in time for getting Sally ready for the next season.
Having the arm in a lock for six weeks and after that, so far, with restriction on use, gave the term “single handed” a new meaning. Recovery and physiotherapy are progressing normally. But, it has been a really boring time with increasingly strict Corona restrictions, grey, wet and generally miserable weather and not being able to do much with one arm only. Now thing are looking a bit better with the start of vaccination and Hakan have been able to use his arm in a more normal way lately- although very carefully.
We had a lovely Christmas with three of our four children visiting with their children. Eight adults and six grandchildren might have stretched the recommended maximum for private gatherings but, so far no problems.
We are now looking forward to 2021. Hopefully, vaccine combined with springtime will eventually allow more freedom of movement including sailing in foreign waters. We are planning to sail in the Baltic next summer and hope to be able to visit with our sailing fiends along its coasts. More on our planes as they shape up in the spring.
We wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year
Eva & Hakan