We left Selaon yesterday. There was very little wind, and we gave up on sailing after some fruitless attempts. The wind had been very shifting both in direction and strength for our entire time om Malaren. This fooled us to thing there might be enough, only do dye down completely shortly after the sails were unfurled.
So, we motored east towards Stockholm. As we got closer, we saw how old summer houses had given way to new villas and the first suburbs appeared.
We stopped at Jungfruholmarna, strategically located for a day of battling the canals of Stockholm with some more opening bridges and the lock down to the Baltic.
Jungfruholmarna is the outharbour of Gota sailing association. It has electricity, excellent facilities and nice docks. But the shore sloops gently towards the bay so one must go bow to. The chart indicates shallow water, but our impression is that it is deep enough for most sailboats. We dropped the anchor in 7 meters on a spot the chart indicated as less than 3 meters.
Today is our first “rainy day”. It gives us an opportunity to catch up on several things that has been left waiting. We are also, finally, in “cruising mode”. It was about time to write some blog posts.
The sun came out in the afternoon and that gave us an opportunity to try out our new toy, a SUP, for the first time. A very wet experience. Eva mastered paddling standing up whereas Hakan refrained from trying – his balance is not what it used to. Paddling standing on the knees was difficult enough…
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Sailing on Malaren is a special experience. Here the water lever is stble and there is no salt. What we normally would regard as a small skerry could turn up as a large tree.
Our first stop in Malaren (Mälaren) was in Mariefred a nice small town with wooden houses and not all that much city development during the last decade or so.
A lovely tourist place with a crowded marina. We were lucky to get the last space. Nex time, we will call in advance for reservation.
The marina is partly protected by the Grippsholm castle and the view from our cockpit was unusual. Gripsholm Castle (Gripsholms slott) has since Gustav Vasa, belonged to the Swedish Royal Family and, was used as one of their residences until the 18th century. It is now a museum but, it is still a palace at the disposal of the King as it is part of the Crown palaces in Sweden.
Two bronze cannons, nicked from the Russians in the 16th century, guards the inner courtyard.
We took a guided tour, and it was very interesting to hear about the history of the castle and it´s kings. For us, who have not read about Swedish history for over fifty years, it was also nice to have a repetition of the adventures of our Vasa kings.
We left the marina after lunch and sailed up to a nice anchorage on NE side of Selaon (Nällstaviken, Selaön) to spend the night. Malaren, the third largest lake in Sweden, has nearly 8 000 skerries and islands and about 10 % is large enough to be inhabited. We saw many nice summer houses.
Eva had to go home for MRI, (magnetic resonance imaging), of her back that has been troubling her for some time now. She had been fortunate to get a slot in Gothenburg on Tuesday 11th. We concluded that Nykoping (Nyköping)would have relatively fast connections, so our goal was to be there on Monday.
Another day of motoring took us across Braviken to a SXK buoy at Hasselo-Bergo for the night. Next morning, we motored to Nykoping. After waving good by to Eva on the buss, to the train to the buss home, Hakan continued east in the archipelago to an anchorage for the night.
The next day provided nice sailing the remaining 40 nm to Sodertalje (Södertälje). This is the starting point for the Sodertalje canal, the southern rout to lake Malaren (Mälaren). The water levels differ up half a meter between the Baltic and the lake so there is one lock in Sodertalje.
The canal is under reconstruction (and will continue to be so until 2026) to allow for larger commercial ships. For us, it meant fewer slots in the lock and for the opening bridges.
Eva came back by train on Wednesday and Thursday morning we started on the journey towards fresh water. First looking was at 9:30 am and the bridge opened at 11:00. This gave us just enough time to go shopping for pastry and have a “fika” before it was time go through the bridge.
The canal is short and opens to a long and narrow bay.
Sally was waiting for us in Timmernabben, a small village with around 1 000 inhabitants in the winter, including our friends Birgitta and Leif who had been looking after her while we were in Norway. Timmernabben has with a nice, protected harbour and, located some 20 nm north of Kalmar, it is on the southernmost end of the Baltic archipelago that is our sailing goal for this summer.
We retraced the fairways used by the small costal trader for centuries. Hakan sailed this rout in 2021. This time we followed almost the same track but stopped more often, using the many easily (and sometimes not so easily) accessible anchorages along the way.
We provisioned in Loftahammar, a good harbour with white diesel (without RME) and easy access to reasonable shopping. Fyrudden once again became a good spot to pick up grandchildren. Three kids between three a half and seven makes life interesting. It was really nice to be able to spend some time with them, and their father.
After a restful night at anchor on Hasko, we sailed to Arkosund to meat up with friends and to do laundry and reprovisioning. The staff at Arkosund marina came to meet us in a tender and helped with the lines, just as the “marineros” in the Med. We thought “this is going to cost us” but, the fee turned out to be very reasonable and includes electricity and access to nice facilities and four washing machines.
We left our home port in Ljungskile on Monday 12 June. The preceding weeks had been filled with work and the week-ends hectic with provisioning and preparations for our summer sail.
After so many years of sailing, we are still surprised by how much stuff and provisions we carry onboard in the spring. One reason is that we like to take onboard provisions for the summer that are either heavy or bulky to carry from the shop or difficult to obtain in some places. This includes toilet paper, canned goods, long-life milk, our special brand of coffee, wine and bear, snacks, bake-off bread and more.
The weather was sunny and warm with light and fickle winds as we sailed, or rather motored, down the coast. Having sailed the same distance several times before, we planned the trip so that we could stay in new anchorages and harbours.
Our first night was spent on anchor (Styrsö potta) just south of the main fairway to Gothenburg. On the following day we left the archipelago.
Some regard the characteristic island of Nidingen, with its twin old lighthouses, as the southernmost part of the Scandinavian coast with fjords and islands that stretches for well over thousand miles almost all the way up to Kirkenäs, close to the Russian border.
Next stop was Glommen, a small fishing hamlet offering some protection on the open coast.
The third day took us to Öresund and the small island of Ven. This was the only exception from places new to both of us, we were here together some 20 years ago and Hakan stayed here (in rain) in 2021.Ven is a lovely island to cycle and our bikes came out for the first time this year.
We had sunny weather, light and variable winds all along the way and this continued as we sailed on. Our Code 0 gave us some speed when the wind was from the right direction but most of the time, we had to use the engine.
After the Canal we continued to Ystad where we spent two days with our friends on New Sun. Ystad is a charming old town dating back to when this part of Sweden was Danish.
A long day, mostly motoring (again), took us to Utklippan, a rocky outpost well south of the Blekinge coast and 77 nm from Ystad. A small harbour was blasted in the rocks to provide shelter for fishermen at the time when fishing boats were small and vulnerable. Now, it provides a convenient stop on route on the way to Kalmar sound. A first for us but we will be back.
The last day on this first part of our sail took us 71 nm to Timmernabben and, the winds were finally favourable allowing us to sail most of the way. The following day, we left Sally in the care of our friends while we went to Eva’s family in northern Norway over midsummer.
The forecast for Easter had been changing from day to day between wind, rain and sunshine. We were set to go sailing and was rewarded with beautiful sunny albeit chilly weather. One reason for going was that we had overstayed or time in our winter marina and needed to sail Sally back home.
We sailed a little bit north to a lovely anchorage where we had just one other boat as company. We had a very nice evening with the sun heating enough for us to have dinner under the tent in the cockpit.
We sailed south along then coast the next day. The morning was all right but by midday we discovered that the wind became chilly as the sun disappeared behind our sail. Easter was celebrated with traditional food in the quaint old fishing village of Skarhamn.
We sailed a short sail down to Marstrand for a lovely dinner with friends the next day. They had just moved ashore after living 20 years onboard their boat. The boat is now for sail. It was very late when we took the little ferryboat back to Sally.
The forecast was not so favourable today so when we went to the boat, we were only expecting to check on her and have coffee before returning home again. But, the sun was shining and the wind not so strong so we decided to take here out for a short motoring trip.
First we had to use a brush to remove most of the snow on deck. In the meantime, the engine was run in slow forward and slow reverse to disturb the water and break the ice. We also used the thruster to further clear the ice closest to us.
We take care not to tie any lines to the cleats; we just use spliced loops that are easy to lift of even when they are frozen. Having freed a small area behind the boat, we carefully reversed out and then went bow first through the thin layer of ice in the marina.
We motored for an hour or so well protected from the chilling wind under our cockpit tent. Coffee and frech buns (from the store) tasted extra good while we were watching an archipelago covered in snow.
We also took some time to try out the new radar and plotter. This year’s Xmas presents to Sally have been an Axiom 12+ plotter and Quantum radar to replace our 15+ years old system. A lot of new features to learn and still some adjustments to be made but up it is and running!
Coming back, we once again had to cut through the ice. The dock is approached slowly and lines picked up carefully with the boat hook. No stepping on the dock, just careful line handling from the boat using prepared spring lines on the dock and thruster to align the boat. Everything is slippery and the water, as can be seen ice cold.
We never found the time to tell you about how our summer ended. Work and life in general took up all our time. Well, here it is – finally.
The plan was to sail to Skagen, on the northern trip of Denmark, before heading home. The forecast for the coming days showed consistent winds between E and NE – dead on the nose. Not our favourite.
So we sailed on a close reach directly to the Swedish west coast. Sadly missing the lunch we had been looking forward to at historic Brondums (Brøndums Hotel), our favourite in Skagen.
We had a lovely week visiting some new places on the coast before Eva had to leave to start work. Hakan sailed one more week before returning home. By then it was end of September with rain and wind in the forecast.
It was nice to be back on Laesoe (Læsø). We have been here several times before and like the island. It is very flat, the highest point being some sand dunes around 25 m above sea level. This makes it very pleasant to cycle but, also sometimes boring as there long straight stretches of roads.
We stayed in Vesteroe (Versterø), the harbour on the west side of the island. This time we were somewhat disappointed that the small scale brewery just south of the village had closed down. If we understood correctly, they have now outsourced the brewing and their beer was no longer to be found in the local supermarket.
Laesoe is a centre for crayfish and it has been possible to by directly from the local trawlers. Hakan tried one morning but the boat he found did not have any but, they did have a most impressing lobster at €20 that was cooked before breakfast.
We left Aero after breakfast Saturday and sailed east and then north up Lillebelt west of Fyn. We had a mostly sunny downwind sail in a fresh breeze with the genoa on the boom to windward. The wind turned from E to almost S as we headed more and more north so the sails stayed the same almost all day.
We looked at the forecast and saw that the following days had favourable winds. The decision was then made to use this to take us closer to home in the hope that we may have some days on our cost before Eva had to go back to work.
We found a nice bay on the south side of Kolding fjord to anchor in the first night. Having decided to carry on northwards, we left a little bit earlier yesterday. We were now going more eastwards so we had a long reach hard on the 20+ knot SE wind.
The current coming out of the Baltic gave us a push and we made good speed. We could ease the sheets turning north at Samso. The wind settled down and we thought it might be possible after all to enter the small, and quite exposed, harbour of Tuno, another favourite island.
But, just as we had shred the sailing gear and put on shorts, the wind came back in full force again so we had to carry on. We arrived after six in the protected harbour of Ebeltoft. This time, we tried the “Fregat harbour” by the museum, excellent, and cheaper than the main harbour.
Having spent several days here a week ago, we did not even go shore. We just had dinner and a good night’s sleep before sailing again half past seven today. The wind was again SE at 20+ knots. We sailed out doing 5 knots under reefed main only while we had our breakfast.
We had the wind and substantial waves on our nose after rounding up to go around the headland so we decided to test our new engine in ruff conditions for the first time. It worked well and we could not tell any difference in power compared to the old one even if we now are down from nominal 48 to42 hp.
We could unfurl the sails again after a bumpy and wet hour. A close reach and following current gave us 8+ knots over ground – still bumpy and wet. It is in conditions like this that you find out where you have your leaks. We found on in one of our new smaller deck hatches.
To our immense delight, and for the first time ever, there were no leaks in the forward cabin. And, noting from the renovated deck except from in one of our new smaller deck hatches. So, a winter’s work has paid off.
There are not so many good and nice harbours on this coast. Around 11 we had two choices. Vi could carry on close reaching to Anholt, around 30 nm and 4-5 hours away. Or, we could ease off a little on the sheets and head north to Laeso (Læsø) 65 nm away. The days are shorter now and it is getting dark around eight.
In order to arrive in daylight, we needed an average speed over seven knots. Not something we normally count on for longer spells. We checked wind and current forecasts and they were favourable all day.
There is very little tide in these waters. Instead, the currents are dependent on surface pressure and a high was moving in over the northern Baltic punching water out along our way for at least another day. So we gambled, eased of on the sheets and sailed north, in the beginning averaging over 9 knots. The wind and see settled in the afternoon and the reef in the main was unfurled. We arrived in Laeso Vesterhavn around seven, having averaged close to 8 knots over 88 nm from port to port.
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