We have used the last day’s consistent westerlies to north-westerlies to make good speed south covering close to 300 nm in 5 days. The first day started with some archipelago sailing and, sometime tacking in order to follow the fairways. The following three days has been offshore sailing in a very varying breeze from the shore. Around 15 knot but occasionally as low as 6 and sometimes above 20. Most of the time going fast, healed over in a confused sea. Not the most comfortable sailing…
We sailed part of the first day in company with Hubert and spent the night at anchor in the bay of our friend Anders. We had a nice and long evening with Annette and Hakan on Hubert and the next morning a long coffee with Anders. We anchored the second day in Kallvik (South of Bjuroklubb) as the SXK buoy was non-existent there and, stayed the third night at Jarnashamn (Järnäshamn) where there was a buoy.
Yesterday, we entered the Highr Coast archipelago and enjoyed seeing islands on both sides of us. We had an interesting docking in Horsang (Hörsång). It was supposed to be 2 m of water at the dock, according to our pilot book, but we were stopped by the sand one meter off. So, we moored, with the help of a friendly man on the dock, standing on the sand, and put out the fender-board to take us ashore.
We woke up afloat this morning as the water had risen over night. The day started by sailing/motoring the remaining 15 nm of archipelago before heading for open waters. It has been a tuff day with winds 20-30 knots gusting 40. Luckily, enough to the north to give us some slack, sometimes even a beam reach. We had a very bumpy and sometimes wet ride, with double reefed main and refed genoa, across the bays outside Sundsvall but, we made good speed and came into port at Skatan relatively early.
Yesterday morning was spent in agony. We (mostly Hakan) wanted very much
to sail the rest of the coast to the Finish border. An easy sail in the western
wind but, a long hard beat to windward in the westerlies forecast for the
coming days. And, we have limited time. The decision was in the end to use the
westerlies and north-westerly winds to return south.
Prevailing winds in these waters are from around south in the summer. Now, we had the opportunity to sail quicker than expected on our return leg. We set of and the wind turned out to be stronger than promised, 15-20 knots, gusting 25+. Great sailing until we had to motor up the river to Lula (Luleå).
We met up with Elisabeth and Per-Olov (Perra), sailing friends from Greece who are living in Lulea and had a nice day sailing with them today. The wind was strong as we sailed all around Sandon under double reefed main and heavy weather jib. Our friend turned out to be excellent guides and the islands came to life as they told stories about them from their youth and from older days.
We found a nice anchorage for lunch and celebrated our reunion with some bubbles. Last time we met was on Arki two years ago and it was nice to catch up. After the sail, they took us sightseeing in Lulea. The present city was founded 1621.
An earlier city was located further up the river and the impressive church from 1492 still stand in “Gammelbyn”. There are well preserved old buildings and around 400 “church cabins”. These small houses were used by the constituency who lived over a large area and needed to stay overnight when going to church. Elisabeth told us about how she and her family stayed there when she was young.
Today was the last day with southerly winds in the forecast so we decided on a long day trying to reach the northernmost port and navigable water in Sweden. A long and relatively fast sail took us up through the archipelago and in the end up the Tore (Töre) river. We sailed to the very end.
We had planned to stay in Tore overnight but, once there, we were met with torrential rain and, there was no suitable space for us in the smal harbour. To add insult to injury, we hit something on the bottom trying to find space. So we decided to go down river again. The cockpit cover was raised as protection for the rain and we savoured a nice cup of tea whilst gracefully motoring in the rain.
Today has been a Code 0 day with light thermal winds all day. Starting
by heading us but, we have mastered the trim to windward by now so we sail
almost as high (curse over ground) with the Code 0 as we do with the genoa. The
wind followed the sun and the last few hours were sailed dead downwind with the
Code 0 on a boom.
Today we reached the northernmost archipelago in Sweden stretching around
100 nm from Pitea to the border with Finland at Haparanda. It is consists of
low laying wooded island with lots of rocky and sandy reefs. So far it has been
lovely and we look forward to exploring it.
We had planned to go to a pontoon on Mosesholmen in Haraholmsfjarden
outside Pitea (Piteå). But, as we approached the dock a man called from another
on the other side saying it was much better there. Having sailed the Med, we
are careful with promises like that so at first we were reluctant but, this is
friendly Northen Sweden so we whent for it.
He helped us with the lines and explained that this was the sunny side and mooring was free for sailboats. We thanked him and invited him and his wife for a glass of whine later. It turned out that Camilla and Ove were living all year on Mosesholmen and they were experienced sailors having sailed several times to the west coast with their X-boat.
Last year they bought a farm on the mainland opposite their home and started up a café named Hildur. It has proven to be a great success being one of the few such places in the archipelago. We had a lovely evening together and hope to be able to visit again on our way back.
One of our best friends and sailing mate has a summerhouse at Rosnasfjarden (Rösnäsfjärden) just south of Byske. We came in yesterday and anchored of their house in the beautiful and protected bay of Rosnasfjarden. We were grated warmely and invited for an evening meal.
Today, we have sailed a day trip together in beautiful summer weather. We had lunch anchored in a bay with a nice sandy beach. And, in the evening a very nice meal on sik (Coregonus lavaretus or common whitefish), a local fish caught in the bay by our friends.
The last two days we have sailed 100 nm along a rather open coast with few harbours.We left Patholmen round eleven yesterday when the rain subsided. It was still grey skies as we sailed out to sea. The wind died down and there were some light rain showers as we motored up the coast. There were numerous small flies coming on-board steeling on the white surfaces in the cockpit after a while, irritating little buggers probably blown to sea.
The skies cleared and we had a mix of gennaker sailing and motoring as the following wind varied in strength. We spent the night in Sikea (Sikeå), an old commercial port shipping iron and wood products during 200 years until the mid-1960s when the last train arrived. Now it is home to a small boat club and boasting two guest moorings. Both were unoccupied when we arrived early evening.
Today we were up early (5:30 am) and the morning followed the pattern from the day before with a mix of gennaker sailing and motoring in an offshore westerly breeze. Stronger westerlies in the afternoon gave us a fast close reach up to our friends near Byske where we anchored in the bay outside their summer house.
We left Ornskoldsvik very early yesterday in order to pass a rather boring coast with few harbours in one day. Motoring out, them sailing upwind till the wind died and then motoring again took us the 50 nm to Norrbyskar (Norrbyskär). The last 15 nm or so includes aome very interesting narrow, shallow and partly unmarked old fairways, much more fun than motoring at sea.
Norrbyskar is an interesting old industrial site. Once home to Swedens (at the time) largest sawmill. The new steam driven saw was started up in 1895.It was built by Frans Kempe and his company was the start of what is now MoDo. Kempe had a vision of a model society and built nice houses, school and church for his employees.
This morning, we motored up to Umea (Umeå) or rather a harbour 20 km outside the city.
Umea is a nice city but for some reason all bridges around it are 12 m or less so it is impossible to reach for sailboats. We made it to Patholmen just as the rain started to trickle. Patholmen is a welcoming club harbour with nice facilities including laundry and sauna, al included in the reasonable fee. Yesterday was still not as bad as expected with only light rain until evening when thunder, lightning and heavy rain showers rolled in.
We sailed from Mjalton to Ornskoldsvik (Örsköldsvik) yesterday to pick up Evas son Daniel and his wife to be. They had a days break from work and came by car from Umea (Umeå) yesterday evening and have sailed with us today.
We made an early arrival in order to provision and to continue the search for a dress for Eva to wear on Daniels wedding in August. This has been an ongoing process that finally came to a conclusion this afternoon.
Today we sailed in headwinds down to Trysunda. It was nice to be able to show our guests some real sailing as we tacked south in a challenging breeze under genoa and reefed main. Trysunda, Swedens most beautiful island according to some, is one of the few harbours on this coast that gets really crowded. It was nice to arrive just before lunch finding several free slots on the dock.
We had an ice-cream and a nice walk on the island. Trysunda has a long history as a fishing village. Originally build around the sounds between three islands, hence the name Trysunda meaning three sounds. But, land uplift has changed the landscape and the sounds have dried out crating one island with a protected bay in what is left of one of the sounds.
There was also time for a refreshing (18 deg C) swim and lunch before
heading back to Ornskoldsvik.
The plan was to have our cooling water pump replaced tomorrow. The mechanic had been booked and spares ordered but, today we learned that there was no Volvo Penta pump to be found anywhere so the repair had to be cancelled on late notice.
Now, we have to continue adding new cooling fluid (mostly water) almost every day and postpone the repair until the winter lay-up. Our VP engine is in practice a Perkins so we will search for spares from them instead. Earlier, we have found the delivery time to be longer but, the cost to be around 50 % of “marine spares”. This is probably a better solution in the long run but, it is very annoying for the time being and we are of cause worried that the pump may break down completely even if many (hopefully knowledgeable people) assures us that the chance is slim.
We motored out of the three consecutive “bays” from Haggvik. The sails were unfurled and we started beating to windward in light winds once we were in in more open waters. We were joined by another boat after a narrow sound and that brought out the racing devil in Hakan. The code 0 replaced the genoa and Sally pick up speed. To our surprise we also sailed higher to the wind than the other boat that soon was left far behind.
The plan had been to change to Code 0 later but now we had to tack with the large sail that has to be furled and unfurled each time we tack. We rounded the famous lighthouse Hogbonden (Högbonden) and headed north. The thermal wind turned clockwise and we turned westwards. In the end we found us dead downwind as we were approaching Mjalton (Mjältön).
Baggeviken on the south east side is a protected lagoon with several pontoons to more up to. It is a very popular place and provides easy access to the trails on the island.
Mjalton is the highest island in Sweden reaching 236 m. It is a tradition among sailors to walk to the top and put a stone on the mound of stones on the top.
We took a detour through the national park before the final climb to the top.
Lunch on the top was a welcome reward for our efforts and it has been some time now (Milos in Greece comes to mind) since we last had such a magnificent view during lunch.
We took a swim in the sea when we were back on the boat. Water temperatures are just high enough now (18-21 deg C) for a quick swim.
Sailing the “High Coast” offers three kind of winds; downwind, headwind and no wind. We experienced all three of them yesterday whilst sailing approximately the same heading. Luckily, we had mostly following winds but some furling, motoring and unfurling was necessary to cope with the effect of high wooded islands.
We arrived at Haggvik (Häggvik) in early evening. The entrance was narrow but well-marked and the small dock offered excellent facilities. We decided to stay today and started up laundry early in the morning before taking a hike to “Stortorget” 135 m above the boat.
This area is subject to land rice. What we see today was 2 500 years ago a large bay. The lake below us was as late as 200 years ago connected to the sea allowing the material to the church in nearby Nordingra (Nordingrå) to be carried by ships all the way. In 500 years time, our harbour is likely to be a small lake.
Eva did in total 3 washing machines and managed to get all our laundry done and dried before barbeque on the dock and pleasant talk with the other sailors until rather late. The sun sets at 10.45 pm and the nights are not dark.
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