Monthly Archives: May 2015

Getting Closer

23rd May

As we left the secure anchorage we touched the bottomed – clearly an unmarked rock as we were in 3m of water – but it was a gentle nudge at a very slow speed. So I wasn’t too concerned. But note to self always take the same route out. We then spent the next hour rock dodging as we picked our way through the meteorite field to get to the main thoroughfare. The wind was expected to be on our beam but instead we were head to wind and was much stronger than forecast. Once in the channel (still quite narrow) we hoisted the main sail and had some exciting sailing with the main and staysail up doing 7.5 knots – but when the passage got very narrow again we stowed the staysail so we had better visibility and to go a bit slower.

Just before entering the river that goes to Nykoping we took down the main for an hour long motor up a narrow river – with a completely different landscape from the rocky archipelago – this shallow river was bounded by reed marshes. We were planning to leave our boat here and Michael the harbour master had said he would meet us – so about an hour before we called him to let him know our arrival. We also wanted to know about depth at the fuel pontoon – at least 2.5m he said….. well when it got to 2m I went into reverse – so we didn’t get any fuel. Michael allocated a berth for us between the booms. It looked narrow but he assured us it was big enough and we would fit. We later found out it was 3.8m and we are 4.06 wide. We did fit …. only there was no room for fenders that weren’t having their life squeezed out of them. Not somewhere to leave your boat for a couple of weeks. The space we were supposed to have he hadn’t bother to reserve – even though he had known for a month that we were coming….. and a motor boat was parked in it. I wasn’t happy were we were. So he agreed to move the motor boat. So we left with all the fenders deployed but there was a strong cross wind…. Despite all attempts to fend off the result was a scrap down one side. To make matters worse the next berth was quite shallow and the keel hit an old anchor stone on the bottom which had been there from a previous marina which he failed to warn us about. It was a very frustrating way to finish what had been a great trip. All very frustrating -so we packed away the boat and then went to the marina restaurant for a meal.

23rd May

We had few hours of cleaning and stowing anything that was movable below as the marina had no security and a public footpath goes through the marina past out boat. The showers were great and we were soon wondering through the very attractive city of Nykoping, an ice cream en route to the train station. 6 hours after leaving the boat we touched down in Helsinki… she is definitely getting closer!

A £4 App earns its keep

22nd May

Just before turning in we had set the anchor alarm app and went to bed…..only to be woken by the screeching of the alarm going off at 0130. The wind had got up and was now NW – even thought it was supposed to be SW- W – which would have been ok for the anchorage. We had dragged slightly with the change of wind direction. We tried to reset it but couldn’t and I am not sure we would have slept any way. So we decided to set off early as it was better to get some sleep in watch system and be safe. So we headed off to Harstena. Thankfully I had put in 2 routes into the chart plotter the previous day – one shorter route picking our way through rocks and the other much simpler but longer back out through the channel. Given the fact it was dark and we were tired I picked the easier one. With night only lasting for a very short time at this time of year – the sky was lightening as we left one Archipelago and set sails for the next one and by the time we got to it the wind was blowing a steady 26 knots – so as we picked our way through the rocks. Once sheltered by the islands, the sea became like a mill pond – which didn’t reflect the strength of wind. It is quite incredible that you can have 45m depth of water yet 2 boat lengths away you can see rocks.

WP_20150522_15_17_33_ProHarstena had a perfect little anchorage which was concealed as was the village, until you had entered the cove. One side of the shore was lined with old red wooden houses. We picked our spot, and the anchor dug in first time, and as we were surrounded by reeds on one side it reassured me that there was some mud for the hook to dig into.

After lunch we pumped up the dinghy – so much more civilized now that we have a 12v dinghy pump. We fitted the torqueedo (electric outboard engine) – but it failed to start, we assumed that the battery wasn’t charged but it was later diagnosed that Mags had forgotten to switch it on! So we rowed the short distance ashore.

WP_20150522_15_21_05_Pro The hamlet has about 45 permanent residents and in the summer makes its living from the tourists that visit – but thankfully this was off season so it was just us and the locals. It is a beautiful, authentic village full of little red houses in various states of repair and the village dates back to the 14th Century. With it being out of season the bakery wasn’t open yet or the shop – so after a short exploration we headed back to the boat and an early night after a very long day.

At Anchor in the Archipelago

21st May

The extra distance we had covered yesterday meant that the start was more civilized. We cast off at 8 am and pootled out of the harbour. There was absolutely no wind, so for the first few hours we motored but gradually the wind filled in and we were able to sail. Our original destination had been Figeholm but keen to make use of the extra miles we decided on a anchorage on the island of Huvfallso , having had open water for most of trip so far we were now entering one of the archipelagos.


So we picked our way through the rocks to find a very sheltered spot. We initially had difficulty setting the anchor and had to try 3 times before we managed to get it to hold. So I dug in the anchor and we had a relaxing afternoon.

The wind died towards the evening and the sounds of the archipelago are very special, there were no man made sounds at all, just a cacophony of birds song- quite remarkable.

Bacon Butties for Breakfast

20th May

We awoke before sunrise – which meant we got some great photos of the lighthouse bathed in warm golden light.

P1070206Going back out through the tight entrance was less heart stopping as it was flat calm and as we left the harbour we were watched by seal. We had breakfast enroute – bacon butties – they really hit the spot.

We had a fantastic sail up Kalmarsund as we had finally we lost the Baltic Swell. So despite the light winds we could sail. We had blue skies, the wind direction was from behind us and we were making a great pace. For the whole day we were sailing downwind but didn’t have to gybe once – despite the wiggly route through the tight channel at Kalmar and past the rather grand Kalmar Castle.


 We were making such good progress that we decided to carry on past Kalmar where we had been due to stop and we carried on to Borgholm another 20 nm up the coast of Orland – a very long island off the east coast of Sweden.

Parked Next to a Lighthouse

19th May

It was an early start with the sun barely up and the tranquility of a village still asleep. I headed off to the bakery for some freshly baked rolls and a loaf and then we were off. The night before the sea had been flat calm with the island sheltering this side of the island from the swell….. but over night the wind had changed direction and there was an uncomfortable swell this side. There would have been enough wind to sail without the swell but the waves were just at the wrong angle so for the first few hours we had to motor. Finally the swell decreased and we got the sails up and make great speed towards the island of Utklippan. By now the wind had increased to 26 knots so we were steaming along.


The island is literally a collection of rocks, 12 miles of the coast of Sweden on which stands a light house and a harbour blasted out of the rock where in days gone by pilot vessels used to lie awaiting their next ship.

The 2 entrances to the basin
The 2 entrances to the basin

It has 2 entrances and you are advised to take the most sheltered one. The proximity of the rocks is far too close for comfort and with a sea running through the entrances it was an interesting entrance….but well worth it. We were the only boat there – and we were surrounded by nesting birds so you couldn’t explore the island without risking a serious dive bombing attack from an irate gull – not that there is much to the island.


From Storms to No Wind

18th May

We knew that the seas would take a while to die down so planned to start after lunch and as each hour went by you could see the sea flatten. I made a quick trip to the Chandlery and Mags went food shopping. In the end I think we left about an hour too late because by the time we got out to sea the wind had died completely and we had to motor all the way to Allinge on the other side of the Island.

WP_20150518_17_27_34_ProAllinge is a traditional Bornholm harbour blasted out of rock – with a intricate way in clearly to stop the winter storms getting into the harbour The harbour was tiny but thankfully virtually deserted. It is a tiny little village overlooked by 2 old smoke houses.

A tour of the village took no more than 15 mins and then we headed to a restaurant for Dinner and an early night.


Storm Bound in Bornholm

17th May

We awoke to waves crashing over the sea wall – but bright blue skies Today was a lazy day as we were storm bound and we weren’t going anywhere. We spent awhile adjusting fenders and putting on a few more warps, then went off to explore Ronne – the Capital town of Bornholm.


But we weren’t the only visitors, the Queen of Denmark was here in her magnificent yacht. She clearly hasn’t suffered from defence cuts that saw Britannia decommissioned.


As it was Sunday most of the shops were shut so we wandered into the central square and stopped for a delicious salmon salad and then followed a walking tour of the town led by Hiawatha Campbell.


Denmark does do pretty very well – with quaint coloured houses. The walking tour was rewarded with an icecream then back to the boat. By the time we got back to the boat, it was gusting 50+knots. So we were very glad not to be at sea.


The big Geese Migration

16th May

Today we actually managed to leave at the allotted time of 8 o’clock. It was a bit bouncy in the harbour entrance, so we nipped into the commercial port to put up the sails. 2 reefs in the main and the yankee up and we were screaming along at 7.5 knots and had a cracking sail to Bornholm. Soon after leaving we felt as if we were in the middle of the African bush witnessing the migration of the wilderbeast …only it was geese as wave after wave of them flew over in arrow formation.We had a very quiet crossing of the shipping lanes – but then it is so much easier with a functioning AIS. We arrived just after 3, chickened out of the box moorings and went alongside in the very pretty ( Denmark does very well at pretty) town of Ronne. Our 3rd country in 4 days! We doubled up the lines and deployed all the fenders as we were expecting a storm the next day.

WP_20150517_12_38_20_ProMags went off to pay the harbourmaster – who turned out to have been automated – he was a machine.

Sitting in the cockpit with the tent up and heating on ( we borrowed an idea from Malo that has a heater vent in the cockpit) we were toasty warm. A beer and snacks – it was very civilized.

Electronic melt down

15th May

I got up for my watch at midnight and we were bang in the middle of the shipping lanes, Mags went off watch. Every now and again the auto pilot lost its course. But it just needed resetting and it was fine. About 1:30 with shipping still all around it stopped working altogether which meant I had to helm and you cant helm and check the big ships at the same time. So I had to get Mags up and that was the end of the watch system and any prospect of sleep! By now the wind instruments had gone blank and it was clear we were in the middle of a digital melt down. Helpfully the autopilot contribution to the general atmosphere was to alarm repeatedly to say that it wasn’t happy – you would clear the alarm and seconds later it would alarm again. Soon after the wind instrument died so did the log ( tells you the distance) and then the depth guage went and we were sailing blind. Our destination Bornhorm has a narrow shallow entrance – and no chance of finding a Raymarine Dealer – so we decided instead to head for Ystad which was an easier entrance and a bigger town. Also if we were unable to fix the problem we could leave the boat there. However that meant bashing into a head wind but the sea was a beam sea ( ie waves coming from the side of the boat) – which is a very uncomfortable motion which eventually did for Mags and she was seasick. It was a long rest of the night and even when the sun came up – we were both so dog tied it was difficult to keep our eyes open – but at least were out of the shipping lanes and could take it in turns to cat nap in the cockpit. Thankfully the closer we got to land the sea abated. Whilst striking the German curstey flag I lost my glove overboard. Thankfully it floated so we did a quick man over board drill and recovered it. By 0930 we were tied up in Ystad – very relieved and very tired.

But we couldn’t collapse – fault finding needed to start. Mags pursued the local route of finding a service engineer. While I spoke to Simon and Rustler – who eventually helped me diagnosis the problem – a faulty GPS unit. So the sailing holiday was back on!



Ystad is a very beautiful old Swedish town and recently home to the Wallander series. It was much more attractive than the TV programme made out and there were no subtiltes. We tried to eat at the harbour restaurant but as Friday was a holiday in Sweden it was packed and no spaces until 2000 – with the night we had had we hoped to be asleep by then!


Off to Denmark or so we thought

14th May We didn’t manage to leave on time – but the joy of the Baltic is that there are no tides so it just meant we would arrive later in the day. But we did leave by 0900 and by 0930 we had the sails set en route for Ronne on Bornholm, a Danish Island in the middle of the Baltic. The journey was 128nm – so our biggest trip so far in Carra. By the time we lost sight of Fehmarn Island the skies had cleared and with a beam reach – it was champagne sailing – and we were doing between 6 and 7.5 knots. Some of the best sailing we have had so far on Carra. P1070154Our last sight of land was the impressive cliffs off Klintholm (Denmark). Frustratingly the AIS which allows us to see ships was working intermittently – despite reading the handbook I couldn’t fathom out what was wrong. As the sun set we were goose winged (a sail on each side) and making a steady 6 knots. It had been a great days sailing

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