Northern Fender Challenge
29th May – 3rd June We delayed our start as there was due to be more wind later – but it was all relative and after the first hour I had assumed it would be a motor all the way. But eventually there was enough wind to sail. Whilst much of our sailing has been past wooded islands, today we were on the edge of the archipelago and the islands were just a series of small bare skerries devoid of vegetation. Occasionally you could hear a strange moan – which sounded like seals and sure enough when we got the binos out the rocks were littered with seals. Thoughout the day, we saw navy boats and helicopters buzzing about – clearly the Navy war was still going on. Idklubben was another sheltered anchorage – patrolled by a somewhat testosterone driven male Swan – who appeared to do circuits of the Island all day in full feathers puffed up mode.
Previously we had done this passage when we brought Carra up from Germany – though under engine. But with time and familiarity of sailing close to big lumps of granite our confidence has grown and we have plucked up courage to sail though these rocky passages – now we enjoy sailing through them. Though at the particularly interesting narrow, shallow passage with a double dog leg we did roll up the Yankee ( the big sail at the front) to slow us down; as doing 7 knots with 3.5m below you would be a tad uncomfortable. We entered the wonderfully sheltered natural harbour of Ringson which we planned to make home until the southerly winds arrived in 2 days. Tucked up safely was Blue Orchid ( we had met them in Vastervik) – we had been playing boat leap frog with them since then, so it was nice to catch up them again. They invited us over for drinks in the cockpit – very civilised.
It was so hot Mags decided to go for a swim and complete the fender challenge. Ringson is an enclosed harbour and with only 4m depth the water does heat up. Though at 20C it was still too cold for me. The fender challenge is you need to climb onto a fender (not easy) and raise your hand in the air.
We were due to join the Cruising Association Rally in a couple of days, so we had time to fit in one more anchorage. We set off from Ringson without a breath of wind – but within about 1hr the wind had filled in an we had enough to sail. Sails tweaked we then comfortably passed a yacht – not that this is a race of course! There was a cut through we could take that would avoid us going round a headland. As to be expected round here it was narrow with 2 dog legged. We rolled away the Yankee but managed to sail through the passage – then sails out and home for the night was the sandy natural harbour of Nattaro.
One of the stats I monitor is how much sailing to motoring we do. Currently it is at 51% motoring and I am keen to get it below 50%. Which does mean whenever possible I will try and sail. However the short trip of 7nm from Nattaro to Nynasham was going to be a very long one at 1.5kn – so reluctantly I put the sails away and we motored. It was pulverisingly hot – no wind and the sun beating down. Mags decided her PJs bottoms were the best way to keep cool in the midday sun. Thankfully she changed before mooring in Nynashamn with most of the Rally boats watching.
We arrived and the marina had the dreaded boom moorings – short, thin bits of metal with hoops at the end. The challenge is how to do get your ropes through the hoops when they are just above water level whilst trying to park the boat. A previous bad experience with one – had left us and Carra scared by the experience – so we had invested in one of those gadgets you see at boat shows – a hook that attaches to the boat hook and you can attach your rope to the hoop at the end of the boom. It worked! Though we were glad of help from Paul who was able to fend the bow as we needed to then replace the hook with ropes through the loop – which was not an easy task.