Ready for Norway

Sunday was a family day for Eva and a fixing day for Hakan. It is amazing how many small things needs to be dealt with on a sailboat. This year we experienced a lot of air in our fresh water. After some searching Hakan found a leaking pre pump filter. By replacing the filter with an old one, that was kept as spare and clearly market “LEAKING”, the problem was solved. Careful cleaning and gentle tightening of the O-ring seals did the trick or maybe it had just repaired itself during the two years it has been laying amongst the other “could be good to have some time” parts onboard.

Yesterday was spent at the awning makers Rossy (Rössy) where Johan and staff provided excellent service on short notice. Our new sprayhood and cockpit tent was adjusted to a good fit. Now it only needs some time to adapt to be perfect. It is modelled on our old that they made in 2017 with some improvements to keep it tighter and more stable.

The evening was spent with sailing friends that now have traded the boat for a camping van. We walked to visit them and had a lovely dinner. The moon was up on our way back to Sally.

Today started nice with a light and warm southern wind. Well, with 10 deg C and a hazy sunshine it was at least warmer than the freezing temperatures we have experienced so far. We motored across to Kungshamn to take on diesel and some medicines before continuing north.

It is nice and quiet in the archipelago at this time of the year. We had a most enjoyable trip most of the way and met only two other boats during our 20 nm to Vaderoarna (Väderöarna). Although, the April weather lived up to its reputation and turned up a heavy rain shower that for a period turned into hail. And the sea on the 5 nm open passage to the islands, was quite confused and annoying.

We are the only boat in the old pilot harbour and the small hotel is closed. The islands seam deserted except for some carpenters working on one of the houses. We have yet to meet a living sole. On the positive side it saves us a rather hilarious harbour fee (we expect it might have been negotiable at this time of the year…) and leaves us to our own resources – the old diesel air heater is back in business.

We are now on one of the westernmost islands of the Swedish coast. The plan is to cut across to Norway tomorrow and the bow is already pointing in the right direction. Risor (Risör) is about 60 nm to the west.

Leaving Ljungskile

We left home today. The early morning was sunny and crisp with temperatures just below freezing. No boats to be seen on the water in the early morning but, we said hello to some seals.

Now most things are ticked off and we are on our way. It may turn out to be a shakedown cruise but, we hope it is the start on this summer’s sailing.

It has been an unusually cold and miserable spring this year. When we returned from sunny Spain, we found March cold and rainy. Luckily, Sally was dressed for the winter, and we could do work inside. Except for some fine tuning of our water-based heating system, this winter have been all about repairs and replacements.

All the sailing we have done in recent years has taken its toll. We had to renovate and repair matrasses and cushions, service the life raft, replace the dingy, repair the windlass and replace the sprayhood and cockpit owning. And of cause, the long list of regular tender love and care.

We manage to find a gap between the rain showers over Easter to take off and fold the covers whilst reasonably dry. We had booked the crane to put Sally in the water week after Easter but it would have been very unpleasant:

Ther following Monday (8th April) proved to be a better option. An impressive crane lifted Sally very smoothly in the water.

A late evening’s work with the help of a friend fixed what was left in the rigging and many heavy things were lifted onboard. We motored to the marina the following morning and then the wind and rain came back with very few chances to work on the boat.

This week has been the firs reasonable spring week with only a few rain showers. The Monday was calm and allowed us to put up the sails. Numerous trips with the car between shops, storage and Sally has gradually filled her with all we need for a long summer.

The (revised) plan was to sail yesterday but it was to late (and to cold) when we were finally ready. So, we slept onboard and set the alarm for 6:30 and got under way shortly thereafter, motoring on a calm sea.

Snow fell on deck and stayed for a while before the sun came out in full force. We motored out through the fjords with a light following tide. There is very little tide in Sweden but some in our area. We left just before high tide and as we turned the corner and headed out north of the big island Orust we had up to one knot in the narrower passages.

The wind picked up as we reached the coast, and we could sail in bright sunshine and following winds for a couple of hours before the wind died down and the engine was started again to take us to Smogen (Smögen) where we need to stay until Monday to have our new sprayhood and cockpit owning adjusted.

On the hard

Hakan continued sailing in northern Buhuslan in September. Sometimes joined by friends.

Valoen nature reserve – one can use the anchor in many ways

Vaderoarna, crowded in the summer, are quiet in September

Koster

We sailwed a total of 2 200 nm during 2023.

Sally came on the hard and we tried to do as much as possible during October to prepare for an early start next year.

She was dressed for the winter by November and work now continues inside when time allows.

Hamburgsund

This week have been a rather relaxed week when it comes to sailing. I sailed from Skallahamn on Sunday, taking on diesel at Bjorko (Björkö). They have RMF free diesel and are easy to access. We had used 100 l from Arkosund after two days with a lot of motoring on top of normal consumption. Monday was spent working at a buoy south of Marstrand.

The traffic tends to accumulate in the narrowest part of Albrektssund canal.

Motoring past Marstrand

The rest of the week was a week of relaxed sailing up the coast mixed with work. Eva visited over the weekend. The plan was to do some sailing, but rather intensive raining made us stay in port. We took a long walk on Hamburgo on Sunday when the skies cleared..

Almost back home

Hakan is now sailing alone, Eva is home and working full time.

I left Vastervik around noon Tuesday 9th, motored in rain and headwinds a little bit south to an anchorage on East Ekno (Östra Eknö). I would rather have stayed in Vastervik but the dock was reserved for boats in a championship so I had to move.

The anchorage was nice and well protected, and I stayed for a day to settle down to new routines. I had also promised to be available to do some work for a client and this was the first day since early June set aside for work.

Friday was a pleasant day sailing to Byxelkrok on Oland to meet up with friends. Close reaching with a few tacks and some motoring in the end. It was nice to see New Sun again and to have the Danish pilot we lent them back. It may come in handy later on.

I continued tacking south on Saturday. Nice weather with moderate winds and calm waters.

I anchored for the night in one of the very last anchorages before Blekinge at Stora Maso (St Måsö) 10 nm N of Kalmar.

The forecast for Sunday 13th was for westerlies and I was looking forward to a close reach south. I started early, motoring in hardly any wind. The westerly starting to build around seven and I was reaching with good speed south to Kalmar where it disappeared again.

Motoring against a very weak but building SSV south of Kalmar until it was time to start tacking. Wind and sea started to build, and I was tacking in considerable seas a few hours south of Kalmar.

Probably looked a little bit like this boat that I sailed together with for a while.

I had to take a reef in the main in the afternoon before I could ease the sheets and head in to Kristianopel. The small harbour is well protected, and not much could be felt of the 25 knot winds in the sound outside. I was able to more to one of the few spots where one can stay alongside the dock. Handling buoys and bowlines at the same time is complicated when you are alone onboard.

Monday became a day of rest and recouperation – and work. I also took some walks in this interesting little hamlet, once the first renaissance town in the Scandinavia. It was established in 1606 by the Danish King Christian IV to strengthen the defence on the then Danish/Swedish border. Denmark had to cede this area in 1658 to Sweden and the fortifications were demolished by the Swedes in 1678. The old church and part of the walls remains and the fort is now a large camping site.

Tuesday 15th was a long day at sea. I again, started early in the morning and motored south in increasing rain until the expected easterly developed and allowed me to sail/motor-sail. I met some heavy showers south of Utklippan with thunder and lightning, luckily at some distance. The afternoon was nice with sunshine and light to moderate easterlies and pleasant Code 0 sailing.

The wind died down towards the evening and the motor came once again to good use. I arrived in Ystad in darkness around 11 pm having sailed 100 nm. The new radar worked well, both in the rainy weather and later in the evening. It allowed me to judge the rain showers and to avoid some smaller boats near the costs.

I stayed two days in Ystad, waiting for the right conditions for the last legs home. Working some and looking after the boat. I also took the bike (to avoid the mistake from Trosa) to the supermarket 2.5 km up the hill.

The forecast for Friday 18th was promising. I left early with the aim to time the opening of the bridge at Falsterbokanalen at noon, 30 nm from Ystad. Dead downwind sailing with varying speeds. I was a bit worried for a while when we were down to five knots and an ETA closer to 1 pm for the 2 pm opening. The wind picked up again and we arrive at Falsterbokanalen with about 20 min margin.

The current and winds were favourable reaching up Oresund allowing me to sail even longer than planned. I arrived in Molle (Mölle) around half past eight, just before darkness fell and having sailed 90 nm. I was able to find a place as the fourth boat alongside.

Another early start the following day allowed me to reach up the cost with Code 0 almost all the way to an anchorage in Skallahamn, south of Gothenburg. I was now back in the archipelago and almost home having sailed close to 400 nm from Vastervik.

Vastervik

We are now in Vastervik (Västervik) on our final day together on the boat. Our friends from Timmernabben said they wanted an excursion and very kindly drove our car to Vastervik and we had a lovely lunch together.

We took the opportunity to go shopping in the afternoon. Having the car allowed us to go to the big shopping centre and by everything we had on the list for the boat as well as food for Hakans onward sailing. Eva is leaving the boat tomorrow to go home. She starts working Monday morning.

The sail across the Aland Sea went as planned with a close reach and reasonable speed. Until we approached the Swedish archipelago when a huge raincloud visited us. We took shelter under the cockpit tent and sailed on. The rain stopped after an hour as we continued south to the northern bay on Sjalbottna (Själbottna) nice and popular but with room for Sally to anchor.

The following day was a day of tacking and close reaching. We had a plan but there was not time, so we found another nice and popular anchorage in Korsviken on Ornso.

Eva was steadily and increasingly needing her pain killers for her back and they were running out. So, the plan for Wednesday the 2nd was to sail for Nynashamn, a rather big city, where there should be well stocked pharmacies. We started tacking southwards but, the wind increased and we took a reef in the main. After about an hour, the wind on our noose was so strong we had to take a reef also in the foresail which hampers our performance.

By that time, we were near Uto (Utö) and we said “lets skip another four hours of this and head in”. It was around noon, an ideal time to find a good spot in the marina. We had a pleasant afternoon with lunch ashore and walks on the island. Eva also had some time to phone the pharmacies. This was fortunate, as there was hardly any place in Sweeden with her medicine in stock.

She was able to locate two boxes in Trosa as the only place within many miles. And, they could reserve it for her for a day or two. We decided to leave the next day. The morning turned out to be very rainy. By lunch it was clearing up so we left, only to be graced with a torrential shower 15 minutes out of the harbour.

The rest of the day was nice as the sun came out and we could reach with good speed south before easing the sheets and heading east towards Trosa. We stopped to anchor for the night at Fifan (Fifång), fairly close to Trosa.

We motored to Trosa the next morning and into the river as far as we dared. We tied up when we had about 10 cm of water under the keel. Unfortunately, the pharmacy and supermarket were about a 2 km walk from the boat. Quite nice walking there through the nice old town with its wooden houses. We found a good butcher and a stand with smoked fish on the way.

Walking back was the problem. Carrying heavy groceries in backpack and bags tock its toll on Hakans back. But we got what we came fore and high-quality proteins – on par with Abo.

We sailed on in the afternoon to stop at another lovely anchorage. This time in Humleviken on Ringson. Part of a large natural reserve it was pure and beautiful nature. The anchorage is large with protected corners for any wind and very popular.

The winds were back to SW and thus in principal, on the nose on Saturday 5th. By motoring some in the archipelago and sailing when we could we caried on to Oxlosund where the waters open up. Frome there on we managed to sail with only tacking once to just north of Arkosund. Arkosund has free washing machines and was a godsent for dirty sailors with 4 machines to run.

By now, we became increasingly aware of the storm, later to be named “Hans”, that was heading our way with NE winds gusting above 40 knots (20 m/s). Most people sailing the cost go looking for a safe harbour in moments like this. But, we agreed with our English neighbours that the safest place to be is a good anchorage. We identified a few good alternatives.

We left early Sunday morning and basically motor sailed 40 nm to the best one. We almost made it before the rain but had to motor against wind and rain for the last hour or so. We anchored in the rather large anchorage in the lee of Smago (Smågö), and very close to Bjorko, and was rewarder with an Irish coffee made with Paddy´s and lightly whipped cream.

We anchored in 5 m of water as the only boat within sight. We let out an extra 10 m of anchor chain and lay safely through the storm that hit us in the late evening with torrential rain, strong wind, thunder and lightning. As the weather improved the following morning, we continued the remaining 13 nm to Vastervik.

Rodhamn

Rodhamn (Rödhamn) became out last port in Aland. It has been some very nice weeks in the Archipelago Sea.

One must make a rather long detour NW up to Sotunga from Kokar before it is possible to head SW. This made the first part of the day very pleasant open reach in sunshine. Then, the tacking started and lasted almost all the way to Rodhamn. The name translates to Read Harbour and comes from the extremely read granite of the rocks.

In some places one has to sail in the same fairways as the ferries. They are huge and it feels like they take up most of the water. Best to stay sa fare to the side as possible, or tack into a bay as we did here.

Rodhamn has been an important harbour on the main sea rout from Sweden to Finland since the Middle Ages. It was a busy harbour right up to the beginning of the 20th century with a pilot station manned from 1818 to the 1920s. Now, it is run by the Aland sailing association as an outharbour with all facilities, except garbage handling.

Rodhamn is very popular with sailors crossing to and from Sweden as it is the closes harbour to Sweden in the area. There is about 30 nm open water between the archipelagos.

Kokar

The wind was heading us as we left Abo – as always when we decide to start heading home. It also tends to follow the islands so when you think you might have a close reach in the next sound, the wind wears against you. We sailed in partly clouded weather and not too strong a breeze. It gave us an opportunity to fine tune our windward sailing – or rather learn how to set the autopilot to sail Sally.

We anchored for the night in Toras bay, a nice and protected bay with the usual good holding in mud/clay. It takes quite a lot of housing to clean the chain and anchor in the morning.

The Archipelago See is vast, there are islands all around us but quite far away.

The following day took us back to Aland (new curtesy flag) and Sandvik on Kokar (Kökar). Kokar is the southernmost group of islands in Aland. It is an island municipality with a population of 221 and struggling to survive.

The three main islands are connected by bridges. The bikes were unfolded the following day for a 20+ km cycle tour. The islands are rather low and easy to cycle.

We had a lovely break with coffee and Aland pancakes at Aplagard. Did some shopping on the way back.

We took a walk in the afternoon to visit an interesting 3 000 years old (bronze age) site at Otterböte. There are remains of a settlement for seal hunters where. Among other things, house foundations, animal bones and pottery shards have been found. The pottery indicates that the hunters came from the Lusatian culture in the southern part of the Baltic Sea, in present-day Poland.

Even if the site had been used for centuries, there was not much to see except the nice glen of the site – and the view from the hill above it.

Abo

We sailed from Lappo in the afternoon in sunny summer weather. As the fairways wound their way through the archipelago, we had everything between tacking upwind (but not much), fast reaches and pleasant downwind sailing.

We anchored for the night in a bay near Nasbyn (Näsbyn) on Houtskari. Hakan was trilled to see notes in the old sailing directions from 1985 about depths. We think we put the anchor down in almost the same spot he had done then. The bay now boasts a marina, but we wanted some peace and quiet. The evening turned out to be magical.

Looking at the weather forecast, we decided to sail all the way to Abo (SW Åbo, FI Turku) yesterday to avoid the rain even if the wind was to head us. Motoring the first part in light winds we started tacking east when we reached the main fairway to Abo. We managed to avoid the rain showers keeping them astern of us with a narrow margin.

We had to make some short tacks between long close reaching before we could ease the sheets towards Abo and sail in looking at very nice old houses.

Abo was the administrative centre for Finland during the almost 600 years Finland was part of Sweden (before we lost it to Russia in 1809). Abo is still an important port with a large commercial harbourand lots of ferries. The old castle, that used to guard the entrance to Aura River and the old harbour, is now well hidden behind the new harbour.

The old harbour has been converted to attractive housing.

Even if much of the people spoke Finish during the days of Swedish rule, the administrivia language was Swedish. There are still groups in many places, especially along the coast, that have Swedish as their mother tung. Around half the people we talked to spoke Swedish, the other half passable English. Finish is a (for us) very difficult language far from Western European languages.

Abo is a very nice city. It has both an open market and an indoor food market. Even if the later to a large extent has been converted to restaurants and bars, one can still find high quality food there. And not far from the marina is a small pedestrian ferry boat (free of charge) that runs across the river to a supermarket, very convenient.

We normally don’t post pictures of the food we eat, her is an exception. We found a friendly (Swedish speaking) fishmonger in the food market, and he sold us some local delicatesses. From left to right; cured common whitefish (coregonus) (SW sik), smoked vendace (Coregonus albula) (SW siklöjja) and a salad based on roe from northern pike (SW gäddrom) and smetana.

Abo became our turning point this summer. We have sailed 900 nm to get here, and it is time to turn the bow towards home. Eva has little more than two weeks left of her holidays, and we wanted to be able to sail back without having to push hard to get to a convenient railway station on the east coast of Sweden.

We stayed two nights and on the second night we had live music from a restaurant boat just far enough upriver to give us a reasonable sound level – very nice.

Aland

We left Rodloga early and sailed north towards Kappelskär, then turning NE towards Aland (Åland).

The gennaker was unfurled and used in almost all the way across. It is around 30 nm open water separating Sweden and Aland (Finland). The SE wind picked up as we approached Aland so, the gennaker was furled and replaced with the genoa. We do not like to sail in more than around 15 knots (7m/s) with the gennaker as furling is very hard work in stronger winds.

We had made good speed on the crossing and decided to continue to the marina on the east side of Mariehamn. The marina was very crowded, but they had a berth at the end of a dock for us. Stepping ashore, we understood why. There was a music festival starting the same day.

We had heard, they made an awful lot of noise, and seen several powerboats flying past us on the way over. We think there were some kind of rally and we later saw them moored together in the marina.

Aland (Åland) has been an autonomous and demilitarised region of Finland since a 1920. Its only official language is Swedish and the capital city is Mariehamn.

We left Mariehamn via the Lemstrom canal and had a wonderful downwind sail across Lumparn. More varied sailing and even a few short tacks before we could ease of as we entered Embarsundsleden. This is a narrow passage with a little more than 2 meters depth in some places. Nice and quiet downwind sailing took us east to Andbergsfladen near Bano (Banö) where we anchored for the night.

The archipelago from Aland to mainland Finland is huge, some 100 by 50 nm. There are islands everywhere you look and you can sail in protected waters for a day in any direction you like.

It is called the Arcipellago Sea (SW Skärgårdshavet, FI Saaristomeri). Such as large area requires a lot of ferries of varying types and sizes.

The charts are much better today when the Finish armed forces have released a lot of data. We can sail freely over large areas. Hakan remember the large uncharted areas from last time (1985 – he is getting old…). Still lay-lines are used to guide heavy traffic. You can see the next one in the woods in front of the sailboat.

You will also find many bays suitable for anchoring. Almost always good holding in clay or mud, even in shallow water. You may stay anywhere one night without permission except close to houses.

We had another lovely sail in sunny weather yesterday sailing up passing Seglinge and Kymlinge to the small hamlet and marina at Lappo. Arriving around 4 pm we got the last boy on the dock.

There is a lot of boats out and about and the marinas seems to be full. However, as the archipelago is extremely large, and we do not see so many boats whilst sailing or anchoring.

We took a 5 km walk today along a nice and well-marked trail over the island. True to the naval tradition, the trail was marked with white stones, similar to the stone cairns along the fairways.

It was nice to stretch the legs after days of sailing. Lovely landscape and some nice views. A shower felt good before we set sails again – leaving Aland for Finland proper.

I denna blog skriver vi lite nu och då om båten och våra seglatser. Kontakt: sally@bikan.se +46708220250