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.
The installation of our new engine was finally completed this week-end. It has been running since launching the boat in July but, the last bits and pieces has taken some time.
Let’s take it from the beginning. The engine gave up on us by the end of the summer 2021. As it turned out, it could be restored but, we wanted a new and reliable in Sally. A new engine was ordered after a lot of discussions with the yard, other sailors and engine suppliers.
The easiest choice would have been a new Volvo but, it seems that nearly all manufactures now have the manifold on port side whereas our oud Volvo had it to starboard. The smart builders of Sally utilised this to make the port aft cabin wider. A new Volvo would have fitted on the old engine bed but, we would have had to rebuild an entire cabin to make enough room.
When we learned that most of our sister boat were delivered with 36 HP engines, not 48 as we had, we decided to look for smaller engine. Several friends of ours were very happy with their yellow engines from Vetus ( a Dutch subsidiary of Yanmar).
It turns out that Vetus have one of the smallest four cylinder engines on the market. It was small enough to fit in our engine room and still gives 42 hp. We have not experience any lack of power compared to earlier seasons with the olvd Volvo engine. Further investigations revealed that Vetus accepted our almost new Flexofold propeller even if it was slightly bigger than the recommended size. The engine also came with a five year warranty and at a compatible price.
Håkan spent a lot of time renovating the engine room (if you can call a space that you have to crawl in to work in a room), putting on new paint, noise insulation and installing lights. We also took up a second opening in order to have access from both sides to the engine. This have made the engine more accessible and maintenance much easier.
The entire exhaust system was replaced and the outlet moved to a position well above the water line.
The engine was installed in February and the basic auxiliaries in March 2022. Vetus had a kit to place the oil filter beside the engine. (They also have a second one that places oil and fuel filters on the engine front). We opted for this and now we have a filter vertically mounted with a drop tray below. It is much easier to replace the filter and we do not have to clean everywhere anymore.
We had, on the old engine, instruments for two additional measurement points for water temperature and exhaust gas temperature after water injection with adjustable alarm level. The latter is excellent in detecting disturbances in the see water cooling if the alarm is set relatively close to the operating temperature at present see water temperature.
We use a primary fuel filter from Parker Racor. It has now been supplemented with a water indicating alarm.
We wanted to replace the Vetus alternator with the Balmar alternator that we used on the old engine. This turned out to be complicated so we sailed last summer with the Vetus alternator supplemented with a splitter to charge the start battery and out lithium battery isolated from each other.
Vetus accept a replacement of alternator as opposed to most other suppliers whose warranty expired on replacement. We had such good experience from sailing with a single battery for all purposes that we wanted to go back to the same and very simple system.
After a lot of measurements and thinking we conclude that although the Balmar would fit on the supports, the drive belt could not run due to the water pump mounted on the engine front. We had to settle for two independent alternator/battery systems. This has other advantages so we are not overly depressed.
The old pulley from the Volvo were adjusted to fit the Vetus drive shaft, a support for the Balmar was manufactured and a new drive belt ordered. We now have the two systems up and running (charging) since last November and it seems to work very well.
It is important to always have a load on the Lithium system so as not to overcharge the battery. We put together some relays to obtain this and not to mix the two electrical systems. These relays make it possible to magnetise the Balmar generator from its battery and run engine room fans and auxiliary instruments on the Lithium battery.
We are very pleased with the installation. Most things you like to check frequently is easy accessible at the front. The oil dipstick is on top of the engine. To the left is the primary oil filter that has a top opening allowing filter replacement without having to drain fuel or vent air aftervards. The programmable controller for the Balmar alternator is above the fuel filter.
Cooling water expansion tank is to the right, above the engine. See water filter is mounted just above the waterline. It has a glass top so we can check it without opening. See water pump on the engine just below the filter.
On the back of the engine, easily accessible from the two hatches, are the electric fuel pump (standard on Vetus) with filter, engine fuel filter, oil filter and the S-drive.
On the picture you also see some hoses curled up in the back. One is for forced fresh air and is normally blowing cold air on the Balmar alternator. The second hose is the exhaust air normally sucking from the opposite side.
Winter on the west coast of Sweden is normally grey and often wet with temperatures varying around freezing. There is snow one day and then rain a few days later But there are occasional crispy days when the sun shines on Sally in her winter marina.
Last Sunday (Jan 22nd) had promises of another such a rare day. There was a thin layer if ice in the marina as we walked out on the dock. But, Sally is on the outermost sida and the ice only reached half way around her.
No real problems leaving the dock but we had a bit of wrestle with some frozen lines. The deck was dry and not slippery at all. We set sails in a light breeze. The sun never made it through the haze so we warmed ourselves with coffee and turned back to the marina after an hour on the fjord.
Our new heating system keeps sally around ten degrees all the time at the dock. Whilst we were sailing, the temperature came up with the help of the engine and the old diesel fired hot air heater and, we could warm ourselves in the cabin with some soup for lunch.
It was all in all a very present albeit chilly experience. We can’t wait to go sailing again soon.
Our new heating system is now keeping Sally warm. Our ambition had been to install it whilst indoors in the spring. It is so much easier to get access when the boat is empty. We managed quite a bit of the loop by installing bits and pieces together with other jobs. Then we decided that we needed to sail. The work was taken up again in late September and by early October; the system could be started for the first time.
We now have a water based “central heating” with eight radiators throughout the boat. We can heat the water with the engine via a heat exchanger on the cooling water loop to the warm water heater or by a 2 kW electric heater. The heater runs on a thermostat on half or full heat. We can also runt the engine loop “backwards with a pump. Thus, heating the engine and the warm water heater to prevent freezing.
There is a loop around the boat to connect all radiators and heater. This was one of the challenges. We wanted the hoses to be hidden as far as possible and at the same time use them to prevent freezing. The later by running the hose along the engine exhaust, water maker, through hull fittings, water pumps, toilet etc. It was not possible to have it everywhere so we still ended up with a few electric heaters to keep everything from freezing.
The heating has been up and running for almost two months now and is working well. We normally run it on 1 kW and around 6 deg C on the thermostat. This “half power” manages to keep the inside of the boat around eight degrees above outside temperature. This should keep the boat from freezing on a normal winter on the coast.
The next challenge now, is to improve insulation and reduce condensation whilst we are on board.
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