Rocks and Rolling in Estonia
Setting out from Helsinki at 8 am meant that we missed the fog – with so many ferries going back and forth to Stockholm and Tallinn – you had to keep a close eye on them, plus crossing the shipping lanes – it was quite busy with ships. With the exception of about an hour we had to motor most of the way either due to lack of wind and when it did blow it was bang on the nose. We arrived at Haven Kakamae next to our friends form the Rally: Derek and Julie. It was lovely to see them again and very kindly they invited us for a meal – which was most welcome after a 10 hour sail. That evening on the quay we were treated to a salsa dancing lesson – it was a lovely mild evening and had we not been out for dinner I would have joined in.
We had a arranged for a sailmaker to collect our staysail and put a patch on it to prevent the yankee sheets rubbing on it. For the rest of the day we had a bit of an admin time, went shopping and were surprised to see that Tallinn was not as cheap as we had remembered.
The next day we put on our tourist hats and headed off into Tallinn. We had been to the old town several times so we decided to go to Kadriorg Park and Palace. The Park was linked by serveral formal gardens which were full of linden trees in full flower, filling the air with a delicate jasmine like scent. The park has a very pink 18th Century Palace built by Peter the Great. As Russian palaces go it was rather attractive because of its simplicity and its small size. But there was also a very humble little house which is now a museum where Peter the Great lived when the palace was being built. Nearby was the President’s residence – all very open and accessible to the public.
That evening we had Derek and Julie onboard for dinner, it has been lovely getting to know them and tonight’s entertainment on the quay was a jazz concert. Though you had to feel for the spectators as it was quite cold and miserable.
By the time we left the next day, the wind had increased and after filling up with fuel we departed the harbour. With 2 headlands to get around before we could sail it was motorsailing into the strong wind. Once round the second headland we could bare away enough to set the yankee and we were soon doing 6.8 knots. The coast was lined with white sands – but the sea full of rocks. It is remarkable how different the land is compared to Finland which is only 45nm across the water.
The harbour of Lohusalu (the picture at the top of the post) was tiny, very well sheltered and fairly shallow and we assumed couldn’t take many boats. But throughout the day sailing boats kept coming in and the harbour master packed them all in which included putting them on the outside of the harbour wall. So glad we arrived early! Celtic Warrior followed us in and we helped them moor. The marina had the smartest shower facilities given the size of the place. That night the local sailing club had a live band and the quay was bopping to the music.
By now there had been NW winds for some time and the sea was building not that you would know in Lohusalu as it was incredibly well sheltered. There was enough wind to sail and for once in the right direction but progress was slow as every now and again a wave would stop the boat dead. We sailed past the Pakri Lighthouse on a prominent sandstone cliff and a couple of very sandy islands. At times we motor sailed due to the sea state ( not that it shows from the photo) – then the wind picked up which allowed us to punch through the sea and make progress. In the last hour the wind built very quickly and we soon found ourselves over canvased and so rolled away the yankee and started to make our approach which was down wind into a shallow harbour which was surrounded by rocks. Once behind the sea wall there was calm, though parking with a strong wind behind into a narrow space was challenging though thankfully Derek was there to take the lines and so it went smoothly.
The harbour was relatively sheltered until the wind changed direction and although the wind was dying the swell was making the boats move. It would calm through the night but you wouldn’t want to be in here with a strong wind. We had Julie, Derek and their guests Owen and Geraldine onboard for drinks and then we ate out at the beach restaurant.
There was very little wind the next day and so we set off motoring but about half way into our journey the wind filled in just enough to sail. We were soon to enter an area of sandbanks and rocks and much of the channel is only 3.6m and either side of the channel you could walk it was so shallow. So we were quite happy with just the Yankee out doing 3knots. I always believe you should never go faster than the depth – but with a few hours of shallow water it was a challenge. Our next destination was the town of Haapsalu. The channel just hugs the marina, yet there is a large expanse of water stretching beyond the marina but within a couple of boat lengths it is only 60cm deep. We tied up alongside Celtic Warrior. Later that day there were a few dramas of kit overboard – we managed to rescue our cup holder but Derek lost his navigation light which had pinged off with some misplaced bow ladders.
I was also taught that you should never go faster than your depth. Very sound advice that I have followed ever since!
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