We have, for the second time, been awarded the Imray price from The Mediterranean sailors of the Swedish Cruising club for articles in Odyssé 2021 “Water makers in the Mediterranean” and “Shift to lithium batteries step by step”.
Last year it was for articles in Odyssé no 2 2020 and 3 2020 “Caught in Spanish quarantine” and “Two safe ports are better than none” ‘a clarifying account of the Spanish Corona situation and of escaping therefrom through nonstop home-sail along closed coasts’.
As we write this, we have a lovely winter in Sweden with ice on the bay and some snow. Let’s all hope for a good year 2022. But first, let us tell you a little bit about our year 2021. We will be linking to our blog if you want to read some more, it is in English this year to inspire more to sail in our lovely home waters.
Hakans had an operation on his right shoulder last fall and it was gradually recovering during the spring allowing him to work on Sally finishing just in time for the season.
Eva started working full time in February as a Swedish teacher for immigrants. This kept her occupied until end of June and we had to change our sailing plans to adapt to this.
Our goal for the summer had been to sail the Baltic and Bothnian coasts. A time was now reduced, we had to concentrat on the Bothnian Sea and Bay. Hakan sailed Sally relatively quick around the south of Sweden, mostly with friends and relatives.
Hakans brother gave a hand on the last legs past Stockholm to Gavle, the start of “Norrland” as northern Sweden is called. The girls drove up by car and we celebrated a traditional Midsummer with sailors from sailing clubs in Gavle and continued a bit north before brother and wife left us.
Our original plan was to sail east and to continue south along the Finish coast but, we did not have the time available as Eva had to start work by the end of the summer. Instead, we picked up a nice westerly that took us south again at speed.
We drove north again in our car to the wedding of Evas son before slowly driving home. We had planned to visit many of our friends along the coast whilst sailing home. Now, we only managed a few of them with the car.
Our summed did not end as planned. Looking at our misfortune from a brighter side, we saw the advantage of having one more month to work on Sally in the yard and we are really looking forward to having a new engine next year.
We absolutely enjoyed the Bothnian coast. Sometimes we felt like in another country, a country where it did not get dark at night and where fellow sailors still help each other to dock. Where in mid-July there was always room in the harbor and fees were very moderate often including electricity, laundry, sauna, barbecue area and company with other crews in the evening. We had a wonderful time and are forever grateful for all the new acquaintances and for the friendly welcome we received.
This fall has been one of work. For Eva full time as a teacher and for Hakan almost full time in the yard. October and November were rainy and depressing – as always. December have been much better with snow and many sunny days. We had a lovely Christmas visiting our children and grandchildren. One our Christmas gifts were to learn that our seventh grandchild is to be expected in the summer.
We are now looking forward to 2022. Hopefully, vaccine combined with springtime will eventually allow more freedom of movement including sailing in other countries. We are planning to sail in our home waters this summer and hope to be able to visit with our sailing fiends along the coasts.
We started driving south after the wedding in Umea after several very nice days with the family.
Skuleberget lies very close to the coast. It is possible to sail there but, time had not allowed us to do so. We now stopped on our way south on a rainy day. Luckily, the clouds lifted and we were able to take the ski lift to the top and walk around the 295 m high mountain top enjoying the impressive views. Skuleberget has the highest old coastline in the world. We found it near the top at 286 meters above today’s sea level. The walk down to the car on the ski slope was a bit slippery but we made it safely.
We had planned to visit many of our sailing fiends whilst sailing home along the coast. We still wanted to see them and managed to visit some of them with the car instead. We also stopped in the lovely small town of Trosa. A harbour we would have liked to visit.
Last stop on our little road trip was with Birgitta and Leif in Timmernabben. Leif was duty “harbourmaster” and had reserved a nice spot for Sally. Unfortunately, we had to disappoint him but we were never the less treated royally.
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We sorted out all the arrangement and found a transport home for Sally. Eva went home Thursday to return Monday with our car.
Torgessons, a transporter from Orust, was going to deliver a boat to
Lulea and was passing Gavle with an empty trailer on Wednesday. This was
perfect for us and at a very fair price. We had great help from Jens in
figuring out how to lift the boat. He suggested Fliskar (Fliskär) marina. They
have a mast crane capable of 600 kg which is enough for our rig. He also helped
us find a mobile crane to lift the boat on the trailer.
The engine did not cooperate when we tried to start it to go to Fliskar
yesterday. We did not dwell too much over this, just called Jens. He promised
to tow us out with his boat. He did so most expertly and gently in the
afternoon and put us by the mast crane. Unfortunately, the crane did not allow
us the vertical lift we need for our keel steped mast.
We had to reschedule the mobile crane for today to allow time to also lift the mast. No problem in principle but, instead of having plenty of time to take everything of the mast and prepare it for transport the job now had to be squeezed to a very short time.
All this made our day today very mixed. The transport arrived early and
the crane arrived on time at 1 pm. Until then, we had very little to do but to
drink coffee and eat lunch, then started a hectic activity as the very
expensive mobile crane clock was ticking.
Everything went smoothly with two very experienced and careful professionals and with help from friendly club members lending a hand as they were passing by. In a little more than two hours the rig was lifted and the mast stripped clean and Sally loaded.
We started our drive north late afternoon after winding down some. We are on our way to Evas son Daniels wedding in Umea (Umeå) on Saturday with some extra time on our hands. We had decided to visit Mellanfjarden, a nice old fishing village that we had not been able to fit in as we passed by. We had secured the last room in the small hotel there yesterday. Tonight, we had a nice dinner in their dock side restaurant making completely different plans for our two remaining weeks before work starts.
The next day, we went in to Gavle for provisioning. Last time was Lulea,
9 days ago and there was very little food left on-board. On leaving Gavle, the engine
failed us in the narrow, dredged fairway. We tried to get the sails up but
there was not enough space so we got stuck in the mud.
We were just outside the harbour, only some hundred meters from the rescue
vessel of SSRS. They came out, after a few phone calls, and pulled us free and
towed us back to the harbour. The Swedish Sea Rescue Society offers a service
to their members where we can call for assistance; this was the first time ever
We have had increasing problems with the fresh water cooling water system
for quite some time now, having to fill water before we start up the engine. What
happen today was that as we increased power a little more than normal to go
against the head wind, pressure in the system increased and a hose connection came
apart. We heard the “bang” but taught that we maybe had hit something in the
water. We learned differently as the temperature alarm sounded.
We also got help to contact a mechanic who came the same afternoon. His
conclusion is that the cylinder head or gasket is damaged as there was quite a
lot of exhaust gases in the cooling water. From what we see today, there is no
water leaking into the cylinder(s) so we are able to move the boat short
distances under our own steam carefully and at low revs.
The repair is difficult, maybe time consuming at
this time of the year, and costly. We have decided that we will replace the engine
instead. We have moved to the marina and are now trying to puzzle together a
lift out and transport of the boat to our planned winter yard who will install
the new engine. Eva has gone home by train to return by car early next week
when we hope to have everything organised.
Today has been a wonderful summer day on the sea. Clear blue skies and a very moderate wind around 6 knots. The Code 0 was unfurled as we were out of the rocky entrance to Bakspan and we managed to sail almost all day with only tacking to get around one point. The wind headed us and increased and we had to tack among the rocks the last bit.
It was not the fastest sail but very nice and relaxing – a change from all the rather tuff sailing we have done lately. We arrived after 10 hours and 35 nm at the eastern anchorage at Kusokalv (Kusökalv). It has an SXK buoy but nothing else but trees. The buoy was occupied but there was just room enough for us to anchor inside.
Today was another long day at sea. We started early (before 7 am) as the wind was forecast to be from the N or NE until around 10. But, it died down shortly after the gennaker was up. Then a weak E came up and we changed to Code 0. It turned quickly to SE, i.e. headwind and then grows in strength and we find ourselves sailing with genoa and main barely laying our course.
We sailed south very close to the coast and managed to get quite far
south on short tacks east. There were some other boats on the water, all of
them behind us, and we were holding our own quite well gradually leaving all
but one behind. The only one slowly gaining on us was an X38 Performance with fancy
golden sails. We sailed as high as them to the wind but not quite as fast bit,
it was OK – they should sail much better than us.
The seas grew choppy as the day progressed and sailing towards and around Hornsladet turned out to be a relentless and long slug to windward. We got a short break by motoring through the Balso (Bålsö) sound. We had some hopes for the SXK buoy at Kuggoren (Kuggören) but it was occupied so we carried on another 10 nm down to Inneston (Innestön).
There is a much protected old harbour, not visible from the sound to the W, called Bakspan (Bakspån).It used to have both shop and tavern in the old days but nothing remains today. The chart showed less than 3 m and lots of rocks in the entrance whilst our pilot claimed that range markers and buoys would guide us in but did not indicate from where so we motored up and down the sound.
We finally spotted the barely visible range markers through the binoculars and very carefully motored in among the rocks. There were no sign of any buoys, we later learned that there used to be some but not anymore. We made it safely in (but leaving we touched a rock without damage or problems, possibly being just a little bit of the range line but, it is more likely that the stated depth of 2.5 m is an old figure (the land uplift here is about 1 cm per year)) and moored up to the dock where we were welcomed by a group of friendly local people. We got the impression that they were quite surprised that we had found this hidden gem.
We joined in on the barbeque and spent a nice evening talking to a young couple that reminded us very much of our own situation 20 years ago. They had left their kids with their ex partners and taken of for a week on their own on daddy’s boat.
We have stayed in Skatan today relaxing after all the sailing we have done the last week. We needed a break and there were some minor things to do on the boat that gave us a good reason to stay.
Skatan is an old fishing village and one of the few on the coast that are still active. There are around 60 persons living here all year around and many more in the summer time. It was nice to stretch the legs after so many days sailing when we took a walk in the surroundings.
They smoke fish in the harbour and we feasted yesterday evening on some samples. Lunch today was a lovely char (Salvelinus/Röding) smoked this morning, we liked it so much that we bought another one to have later in the week.
Today was the last day with northerlies but, we noted with some satisfaction that they did not last throughout the day. It made us feel les bad for staying the day. From now on there will mostly be winds from the south. But, on nicer days, we may catch some early thermal breeze from the opposite direction. Thus, we expect early morning wake up calls, less progress but hopefully nicer sailing.
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