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.
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.
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