Category Archives: Blog post

Dame Edna Comes to Visit

We try to avoid sailing in the rain if we can help it. It was due to rain by mid-day – ergo it needed to be a short sail – a whole 5nm to a perfect all weather anchorage – the kind you snuggle down into – cocooned by trees to the waters edge – Kolnäsviken, Ornö. The next day it was another quick hop to a neighbouring island,   Mörtö Bunsö. It is a nature reserve with a natural harbour,  and when we arrived there were just 2 boats and a pair of white tailed eagles gliding effortlessly above us – we anchored and a cup of tea and some of Mags’ home baked oat cakes and we enjoyed the peace and quiet ….but to our surprise it  just  kept filling up and by the end of the day we had 40 boats in there.

The Big House

Needing to stretch our legs, we walked to the south of the island in search of “The big house”. A good path led past tiny pastures – a sign of its  former farming life,  The Big House was perched on a cliff ( it is a relative term here) – to the rear small stubby pine trees that seemed to float above mounds of silvery lichen and to the front stunning views over the Archipelago from a massive picture window.  Build in 1905, in a Finnish Romantic style it looked rather incongruous in the middle of nowhere. Incredible ornate hinges and door handles. On the way back Mags spotted a fawn that was less than 1 month old – it was tiny.

Level 3
Dame Edna Glasses

When we got back, a yacht had anchored and sat over our anchor – so we moved up to level 3 – on our scale…. Mags went off in the dinghy. But by then they had had a few drinks and weren’t going to move – actually she decided they would do less damage staying put till they sobered up.

Crunch was the noise I heard as I sat on my glasses – the archipelago has many wonderous things but a surfeit of opticians is not one of them. Out came the super glue, and the clamps – I adopted the Dame Edna look. The glue only worked for a few days – so the clamps became a feature.

We were lucky with the weather, the next 2 days were settled so we could visit some more of the outer archipelago. Another rather hairy entrance – and then just one spot for one boat to anchor – we bagged it. The rocks were much lower – with little vegetation. Mags went for a swim – it looked lovely but Iwasnt tempted! The pilot book recommended climbing the “hill” on the nearby big rock …. We did – it was 15m tall but it was highest point round here.

We fancied going to the Island Bullerö – but it was less than ideal as you needed a northerly wind to visit – and we had southerly one – a direction which was very open –  but the wind was light until midday – so we had  could have a quick visit. Former fisherman’s huts lined the little harbour, but the water looked less appealing as the lime green streaks indicated an algae bloom – the odd area beginning to turn cyan blue – this is when it is poisonous. We had come to see Hunting Lodge – which had a spectacular picture window and painted ceiling – quite a party room I would imagine. 2 such party guests were Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flyn!  We were soon back on board and sails up and we headed to Sandhamn but anchored in a nearby island.

Out on the Edge

With Denmark now a lost cause, we had a new plan – to head east and explore a new patch of rocks – the outer Archipelago. An area on the chart marked as “known rocks over 6m shown”. As Donald Rumsfeld would said “what about the unknown knowns”. We made an overnight stop in the imaginatively named Djup Viken – deep harbour – then headed east to the Island of Fjärdlång – a nature revere. We entered the bay but you had to be right at the end to see the entrance to the inner lagoon. Hugging the shore,  just 10m off with rustling leaves almost touching the sides of the boat …we crept in. A little lagoon came into view already full of boats attached to the rocks at their bows. We anchored, visited the amenities….. a compositing loo. The ground had big voluminous mounds of  bright green moss and blueberry bushes full of tiny berries clung to the rocky slopes – the result of a very dry year. No sooner had we got back than a boat anchored next to us. He dropped his stern anchor – with no attempt to dig it in (making sure it would hold you) then left it attached to his stern – rather than taking it forward to the bow.  We have a scale of 3 when it comes to people who anchor too close –  1  The look – mildly concerned. 2 – Sarcastic comments. 3 Send Mags over by dinghy for some words of advice. He was a 2 – so  I asked him if he was planning on joining us for lunch. His reply was we were swinging about. I did point out that there is a reason it is called swing anchoring and suggested that if he moved the rope to the bow he would lie in the same direction as all the other boats anchored. He did and his boat moved away.  

We were quite close to some rocks behind us – which had a resident tern and her annoying adolescent  offspring who screeched the incessantly demanding attention –  sometimes  doesn’t appear to be much separating us from other members of animal Kingdom!

The next morning, we went to explore the island which had a soft centre with lush grass and sheep – a contrast to the rocky terrain with stumpy pine trees growing out of barren rock that we could see from the boat. Mags did a pilates class on the deck and I had a Cruising Association meeting. As soon as the meeting was over, the engine was on and we headed out.

Ghosting along under the yankee (the front sail)– with still no sign of the mainsail we arrived at the islands of Finnskar – well a formation of about 200 rocks might be a better description –  Carra entered dancing a slow dance choregraphed by the rocks lurking below the surface. Once safely into a large pool, the chain rattled down and we dug in the anchor. It proved to be a popular location. At one point boats were queuing up in an orderly fashion to moor on the rocks surrounding us, it was a hive of activity – metal on metal clanging as they secured their hooks into granite crevices.

The Compass

We took Pikku Carra (our dinghy – Little Carra) on an expedition – we had a photo of the chart and zig zagged around the submerged rocks to a hamlet  – we were in search of a compass carved into the rocks by fishermen from 1826 – Da Vinci Code stuff it wasn’t –  you could just about make it out – though blink and you might have missed it.

We had an early start to sail south – and we actually sailed with the mainsail up – second outing this year!  Proper sailing – I had  forgotten the pleasure of trying to get every inch of speed whilst sailing into the wind and seeing if you could make past the odd inconveniently placed rock. All rocks safely passed we entered  Huvudskär – an old fishing harbour which had been an pilot and Customs post. It is right on the edge – nothing between it and Estonia. It must have been a grim existence in the winter months. Even today’s summer residents don’t get the mod cons of other islands’ summer cottages, given that there is a well for water and communal compositing loos in little blocks.

Mags has turned native and was seen skinny dipping – but it was a lot chiller than other places so she was soon back on board.


We have noticed quite a few Super Yachts have discovered the Baltic this year – I assume Covid has made them desert the Caribbean and Med for the safely of the Baltic. Anchored close by was a 72m British  boat – a study in grey with grey hull, grey mast, grey boom, even grey radar…. It oozed money and paid crew. Normally, we would invite over the crew of a British boat – but we felt that they wouldn’t want to speak to the common people. Let’s hope they don’t like the Baltic and bugger off back to where they came from.

With some windy weather expected, the low lying rocks of the outer archipelago offering no protection – so we hightailed it back with a bit of a windy sail to the shelter of Brunnsviken – a rather quaint marina. Every now and again it is good to be ashore – we can plug in, catch up on admin and stretch the legs. We cycled to the shop on the other side of the island for an ice cream and some essentials. Later the heavens opened – the wind  blasted the trees above us – we were nicely tucked up with a cup of tea and some of Mags’ latest batch of oat cookies. Bliss.

Virtual Life and the Virus shows up

With some windy weather expected, plus it had been along time since we had seen a washing machine, we set off in the search of a marina and settled on Nynäshamn. With little wind, we motored past the commercial port – clearly a cheap parking spot for a redundant Mediterranean Cruise ship – though ship seems to be a rather generous term for something that looked like a towering apartment block that defying the laws of physics in terms of stability. We were on a deadline – our Pilates class started at 10:30 and it was 10:25 when we tied up. Speedily we closed the boat electronics down/abandoned the rest of the boat, yoga mats on the deck, moving the multiple lines that run across the deck to find a bump free but not level place. We joined the class, much to the surprise of our Pilates teacher in the UK – though the class was international as there people joined from Portugal and Spain. I am not sure our neighbours knew what to make us as we adopted strange positions – negotiating ropes that were inconveniently placed and the ferry wash adding to the challenge of balancing moves.

Following our class we then went to check in. Realised there was a much nicer berth closer to the facilities – important for the early morning dash to the loo, close to the wifi – oh and yes not forgetting the nautical stuff – more sheltered. So much to the amusement of neighbours we upped and left.

We had previously been here at the start of a CA rally – but have never bothered to explore the town. The positive vibe that surrounds the harbour with little shops and cafés, and fabulous fish smokery ended there and the town was a non event – a homage to boring brick buildings and devoid of character. Apart from the Harbour,  its other redeeming feature was the network of cycle paths to explore the coastline.

Lockdowns in the UK had seen a friend and I jamm virtually every week. Me on guitar and Casey on the piano. Part therapy, a lot of fun and developing our musically ability, it has been the highlight of some of our lockdown weeks – like the curates egg we can sound good sometimes , bad others and always have the luxury of blaming any timing challenges on the technology. So we were determined to carry on the boat– though my mini guitar sans amplifier was no match for the piano – but still great fun.

Having been away from Marina life for 2 years,  we had forgotten what fun it is to people and boat watch when someone comes into moor  – the onlookers turn into Meerkats. Thankfully that what ever mess we are all watching unfold from our ring side seats, that we aren’t the providers of the entertainment. Or if the move goes smoothly – everyone averts their gaze quickly as if we weren’t really that interested. However there was one boat that caught everyone’s attention – a steel hull German vessel called Virus came into view. I am quite sure it seemed a cool name 2 years ago but I think it was crying out for a renaming!

Kyrkvikens and Cakes

With the luxury of time and no set schedule, we could pick our direction according to the wind. So we had a tranquil sail downwind to Trasko Stora, a beautiful anchorage that shows the archipelago off at it’s best. After the frantic activity of getting the boat into the water, the peace of just swinging on the anchor was bliss – just to take in the scenery –  the warm tones on the red rocks – it was good to be back living aboard. Mags went for a swim – a pleasant  (for a Scot) 21C – unless there is steam coming off the water it is too cold for the southern softy.

Getting the anchor up the next morning was problematic, in that a twist in the chain has caused it to seize solid on the drum of the anchor windlass (the electric motor that lifts up the anchor). Which meant that Mags had to take the windlass apart – whilst I did circles of the anchorage. Thankfully, as she services it annually, she knew how to take it apart quickly.  So in no time the anchor was shipped and we were on our way. With northerly winds for the next few days, we decided to meander down the chain of islands to the south of the Archipelago. This would leave us in a good spot to sail to Denmark should Anders sell the boat….though a diminishing prospect. We spent the night in a natural harbour  Bjorko which was rather spoilt by a ramshackle marina – but it was more of a passage anchorage.

With the wind directly behind us, ( would the mainsail ever make an appearance?) we sailed down a large stretch of water – gently cruising, avoiding the occasional lump of granite. The last time we had been in these waters we had been beating into a strong winds. What a difference it makes going where the wind takes you.

Ornö Kyrkvken

Our destination was on the Island of Ornö– Kyrkviken – or Church bay. A straight forward but narrow entrance – the kind that you don’t go down if anyone is coming the other way, as there was only a few metres either side of the boat. The large harbour was overlooked by the white church that sat high above the bay and glistened in the morning light. The harbour had a small marina – but we chose to anchor further in the bay.

We explored the harbour by dinghy – bought some freshly basked bread and had an ice cream. We decided it was a nice spot to spend 2 days. Mags baked some oat biscuits then went swimming to cool down. 25C, an oven and hot flushes aren’t a great combination. We had arranged a facebook tea and cake session with my mother and had had some mini cakes from Betty’s sent to her. It lifted her spirits albeit for a short while, as she has been very low.

We saw our first sea eagle of the season.  I did some work for Captain’s Mate – an app I have helped design and has taken up much of the winter months. The next morning ,after our boat jobs – we headed into the village and went to the museum and the guide told us of the history of the island and the village school where the museum was situated. With only 30% in private ownership, the Island is ruled by 2 sisters – and this was reflected in the houses: those with dodgy jetties and well worn red traditional houses – as opposed to those with proper little mini harbour jetties and smartly painted houses. No guesses which belonged to the landlord of the Island. The island had been a source of Feldspar ( used in Porcelain in Europe) and I walked to the quarry that is now filled with water.

There are a couple of harbours in the Stockholm Archipelago that I have been on my list of must visit. Utö is a holiday island, the main harbour which we have visited before  but it would be packed and I was keen to anchor in the Kyrkviken as it was on the list. Arriving there at 10am afforded us the best chance of getting a spot, as it is when most Swedes leave. Sure enough the anchorage was empty. The corner of the inlet is over looked by the simple yellow wooden church which was glowing in the sun as the anchor bit the mud.  Close by was the church pier where the islanders of yesteryear would land, having rowed in large church boats – driven by  as many as 12 oarsmen.  After lunch, we set off  on an expedition to the main harbour by dinghy with Dizzy our electric outboard –  attracted by the famous Utö Bakery and their fab cakes. It was just over a mile to the main harbour – and we have been using the dinghy a lot in the last harbour. With 51% left in the battery, we set off into a brisk head wind. The battery started to drop and drop 40%, 30%….. we went a bit slower – we got there with 26% left. Cakes on board, we set off and with a downwind advantage we got back with 8% left…. I now understand the range anxiety with electric cars. Though in fairness to Dizzy, we had managed 4.5 miles in total on 92% of the battery. Kettle on and a nice cup of tea with our first cinnamon bun of the trip. Bliss. Mags – the water baby did a few laps of the bay whilst I practised my guitar.

Mags with Uö tKyrkviken

First Rustler Owner’s Baltic Meet

Everyone at the Marina was pleased to see us. It has been Carra’s home for 6 years now. We were due to be in the shed for 3 nights – but a tin shed at 30 C is the equivalent of being cooked alive slowly. So we were relieved that they could put us back in the water early.

No slings – no drama

I went to move her round to the mast crane – there was a pathetic cough – but she failed to start. We have the ability to start her using our domestic batteries and the engine roared into life. One for investigation but for now we had to get the mast on. Niklas and the crew from Doghouse manoeuvred the heavy mast into position. But the back stay ( the wire holding the mast up at the back) appeared  to be 10cm too short. There were comments about the boat must have relaxed…. I was very sceptical given the thickness of our fibreglass. Then they decided to try and force the mast back by hauling down on the mainsheet with a taught topping lift. After 10 mins of achieving nothing,  I was concerned that they might break something but also I just didn’t believe the boat relaxing was the issue. I said something must be rigged differently, as I pointed out the mast hadn’t grown and it was seated correctly at the bottom – so there must be something different at the top. There then followed much shouting and I think Swedish swearing – I haven’t done that du- olingo lesson yet  and it was ascertained that the trainee rigger had not noticed that there was a link missing on the forestay (the front wire) hence the mast was too far forward. Surprise, surprise once the link was in place the backstay fitted. I was just glad the boat was still in one piece after the demonstration of brawn rather than brains.

We then set to rerigging the boat – all the lines and halyards and sails – hot work in 30C. We decided to try starting the engine with just the engine battery – and it worked first time. But I wasn’t happy why hadn’t it charged with the shore power. One to check out.

Carra and Sini

During the winter I had chatted with Mika a Finn who had just bought a Rustler 42 – he had planned to do an Atlantic Circuit but due to Covid he had got to the Kiel Canal and decided to go next year. On his way back he dropped me a line and he popped into the marina for a night so we had the first Baltic Rustler Owners meeting. It was inspiring looking at all the adaptions Mika had made to his boat….. we now have a long list. They joined us for Dinner on board Carra and we had breakfast with them on Sini the next day. Mika and Outi were a fascinating couple – Outi had sailed across the Atlantic with her family when she was 15years old. She was now helping her father  build a wooden boat – that he had designed – he is 81 years – just shows you that age is no barrier. Mika was a serial entrepreneur who had designed a digital lock whose power was derived from putting the key in the lock.

After they left we did some tests on the battery. Marcus our friendly New Zealand Electronics engineer found that the fuse between the battery and the shore power charger had blown – as a result of the condition of the battery. So he put the battery on an external charger to be reconditioned for 24 hours to see if it could be brought back to life…… it couldn’t so we bought a new starter battery. But considering she had been left for nearly 2 years we were lucky than only a battery had failed.

Last shop stowed and we cast off our lines and set sail down Svinninge Fjord – not knowing if we would be returning or going to Denmark.

Plan F Succeeds

Having missed the sailing season in 2020 – we were keen to get Carra out of her shed and into the water so she still felt loved – boats don’t like to sit doing nothing. Our intention was to move her to Denmark – so that we could her get her back to the Uk in 2022 before the 30th June to avoid paying VAT twice on Carra – a joy of Brexit.

Having jumped through various sizeable hoops – finding care for my mother so in an attempt to make me feel not quite so guilty about leaving her and getting vaccinated – the question was still could we get there?

  • Plan A in 2019 was to drive back out to the boat as we had taken some pieces of equipment back  including the saloon cushions that needed a repair. But given that we couldn’t  drive through Germany, NL or Be…..
  • Plan B – fly – but we couldn’t fly into Sweden as it had banned people entering from the uk….nothing looked possible.
  • Plan C – In June, entry to Sweden via Iceland was allowed – but not really that appealing. Later Sweden allowed entry through Denmark – but we couldn’t get into Denmark without a worthy purpose.
  • Plan D Later Denmark allowed double jabbed Brits in and it was debatable if you needed to quarantine. We wrote to Anders ( Marina Manager of the Yard in Denmark) to tell him we were definitely coming out and could we get a berth.  But only if he managed to sell a boat he would have a space for us. We were hoping the Danish market was as buoyant as the British boat market.
  • Plan E – Fly to Denmark and get the train to Sweden but we really needed to get the stuff out to the boat that we had brought back…..
  • Plan F – We would drive to France, stay in with Mags’ brother and family for 10 days so that we could drive through Germany – we still couldn’t drive through Be and NL. Plus we weren’t suppose to leave the UK but we were able to get travel insurance that covered us.

So we had a plan, and we would leave on 15th July…… But then it was clear that the Delta Variant was running rampant in the UK and Angela Merkel was trying to persuade the rest of the European leaders to ban anyone from the UK. So we needed to get there as soon as possible – we left my mother’s on Tuesday afternoon following a hospital appointment  and by the afternoon of Wednesday 30th we had driven home,  packed, had  our lateral flow tests to get into France and we were on the Chunnel train bound for Calais.

After 10 enjoyable days in France with Sandy and Corinne, and a PCR test by nurse whose party trick was to make the majority of the swab disappear up your nose whilst counting to 5 very slowly – we were off.

By the time we got to the French/ German border it was raining –  “biblical quantities” as I texted a friend. It was to continue raining like this for the next 4 days resulting in those devastating floods in Germany in the area that we passed through. We passed into Germany – without any controls. The Danish customs man wanted to see our PCR test. The final crossing was across “The Bridge” scene of the Nordic noir into Sweden. The cheery customs official wanted to see our passport and we were in. 1900 miles later and twice our normal mileage we arrived at the Marina with a sigh of relief and disbelief that we had made it.

Hobbit Holes for Wet and Windy Weather

There was some windy weather expected and whilst our anchorage would afford us protection, we decided that we would rather be in a harbour so that we can easily get off the boat and catch up on some admin task such as laundry – which always take longer on the boat. So Gräddö was ideal, only 6 nm away so sailing slowly was allowed. Then came the conundrum. All the entries on Capt’s Mate (an app that gives people views on the harbour) had all said go on the inside of the guest pontoon to get out of the way of the wash of local speed boats that enter the harbour but that would mean that we would have our stern into the gale. I wasn’t keen as it would be much better to be head to wind. Whilst the harbour was sheltered, it would mean we were hanging off a buoy with the full weight of our boat plus windage on whatever stone was used to anchor the buoy. We arrived and you could see the boats on the outside of the pontoon wildly bucking and snatching at their bow lines. Bows crashing down close to the pontoon. Very uncomfortable – so decision made and I resolved the dilemma by three lines – 2 to our buoy and a rope to the neighbouring buoy which had another boat attached to it and also decided to reduce our windage – by taking down the spray hood and putting on our winter cover – our hobbit hole. We weren’t going to go anywhere. The windy weather came and went without drama.


The Hobbit hole – getting ready for the windy and wet weather

It is quite normal for 2 boats to be on a mooring buoy here – but our neighbour who wasn’t Swedish informed me with bags of confidence that the rule here was one boat per buoy. As I pointed out to him the buoy on the other side of him had 2 boats on and if he was concerned he should but another line on the free buoy next to him. Mr Rules as it turned out was a 2 week holiday in a club boat – so had little knowledge of local custom. It was only after they left did I see the sign that they were parked next to which said max 3 boats per buoy….. what a shame I hadn’t been able to point that out at the time!


What could possibly go wrong?

This was the first time we had been on the mainland – as opposed to an island for nearly a month. As water is rationed on islands, boat washing is a no no and Carra was looking a bit grubby. So Mags decided to wash the decks and provide entertainment to the marina – act 1 – hose parts company from tap when she turns it on – Mags gets soaked. Act 2 the spray nozzle separates from the hose and flies over the side and is declared Man Over Board. Thankfully they float – so Act 3 was fishing to catch said nozzle. Once retrieved, we rewarded ourselves for the many tasks ticked off with some cakes – It is always good for morale when the marina is next to a cake shop!

FejanNext stop was Fejan, a former Cholera quarantine island. In the 19th Century, the disease killed 60 million people in Europe and in order to prevent it spreading to Sweden, the very smart Swedes set up quarantine stations where ships arriving from infected areas had to spend 48 hours – which is the incubation period. Fejan was one such island, the buildings are still there including the Doctors House – a very ornate wooden building – which was also known as Congo – as it was originally destined to be a chapel in the Congo. The morgue and autopsy room are now a beautiful restaurant – but sadly shut up during the weekdays as the season closes as soon as the schools go back. IMG_20190813_123826One of the other reasons for coming here was that it had a pontoon – which meant that I could polish one side of the hull – one task on our annual maintenance task list – which is easier at pontoon height than it is when she is out of the water.
We had 2 lovely chilled days in 2 anchorages – one new one and one favourite. The peace of being in a secure anchorage which is more like a lake when the only sign of it being windy are the tops of the trees rustling in the breeze. I have just been told that is too romantic an image – they were whipping around in the gale – either way there wasn’t a ripple on the water.


Sjalbottna – one of our favourite anchorages near our Marina

We left the anchorage and had an entertaining time dodging the ferries that use this fairway into Stockholm. We headed off to Vaxholm to fill up with fuel before heading back to our home Marina. As we store the sails on the boat –we need to ensure they are dry. With no rain forecast, sun and a gentle wind it was the ideal day to take off the sails. We had just tied up a Vaxholm and started filling and the rain came from nowhere – short and sharp but enough to soak the sails and then back to bright sunshine all within 30 minutes. So we then had to spend the next 1:30hrs sailing up and down the fjord by our marina drying our sails…..


The only dramas putting the boat to bed was a wasp sting – ouch. Followed by a long drive back home – this time driving the length of Sweden to go and visit Carra’s new home in Denmark. Enroute we stayed in Karen Blixen’s family – she of “I had a farm in Africa” fame – well it turns out they had one Denmark too. Then we diverted off the motorway to go and visit a farm – I had stayed with my Parents when I was 11. I remembered a working farm, the smell of cows, 101 feral cats and an idyllic  holiday where I learnt to milk cows…… we found a ramshackle farm which had become a junk yard. I now understand why going back is not always a good idea. Next stop was Augustenbourg – soon to be Carra’s next home….. We arrived back home close to midnight with a boat load of kit – and given the benefits of hindsight turns out was not the best idea!

2019 Stats

Miles sailed: 1074nm – 62% under Engine

No of days on board: 106

Harbour visited: 44 – 37 new fishes gained

Drop dead gorgeous traditional red fishing villages: 7

Bizarre Museums: 2 Haggvik and the Bonk Museum in Uusikaupunki

New rocks found: 2 – and a large quantity of mud in Rauma

Boats stalked:1 ….Foss and the Nauticat

Good bye to Finland…..for now

As thunderstorms were forecast for the next few days – missing out on Gullskrona did give us time in hand, if we needed to miss a day. I had been looking at the weather forecast as to when we might cross back to Sweden. A passage of only 30 miles but it is in open sea and needs the right wind – plus the weather window closed on the 10th as after that there was a period of very strong SWs for over a week.

In the morning, I was expecting to see black skies given the forecast of thunderstorms but we awoke to bright skies without any signs of cumulus nimbus clouds the towering clouds that are needed for thunder. So we decided to go and we had a lovely sail with a gentle F3 wind; we were leaving Turku Archipelago and arriving at Lappo on the outer edges of the Aland Islands.

As I took down the Finnish courtesy flag, I felt quite sad. We left Finland 3 years ago but having the boat has meant that we have still had our home here. Even though the language is impossible, we love the fact that we still remember a lot of the vocabulary and can surprise Finns by the fact that we can still speak some Finnish – though I am not sure “I drive a blue car” and “I live in Espoo” is the most scintillating conversation. As we are moving Carra to Denmark next year, we know that this is the final goodbye to living in Finland – from now on we will just be visitors. Up went the Aland Islands Flag.

Now was about getting the right weather to cross, so we missed out Seglinge and had a cracking 30nm sail to Degerby – I was even allowed to do some tacking – as they were quite long tacks.


Spot the ferry in the right hand picture – in a very narrow channel

DSC01586I was about to put the engine on then saw the yacht up ahead – so decided I would see if I could pass it and then put the engine on – otherwise it would be cheating. Thankfully they had someone inept on the helm and so I was able to pass them easily – so on went the engine for the final wiggle to Degerby. A wiggle that large ferries (think cross channel ferry size) do daily down narrow channels.

We had been to Degerby before, 5 years ago in a charter boat – and I had forgotten how attractive it is with its colour houses – they must have been rebels here as they had colours other than red!

Rodhamn 1

Rod 2Our final stop is one our favourite harbour Rodhamn with its lovely red rock and heather in full bloom – isolated but very secure; that has been a harbour for many hundreds of years. IMG_20190808_160347Sadly we left too early to get the freshly baked rolls that they deliver to your boat – though don’t worry we had made up for it with their home made cakes the day before.

We had both sails up as we sailed … well ghosted out of the harbour. The perfect spot to say goodbye to sailing in Finland …….for now!

The early start meant that we would get the best of the NWs allowing us to sail in relatively light winds. At 60 degrees to the wind we were romping along at 6.5 knots. A large black cloud loomed over head and the wind built – we were doing 7.5 knots with all three sails up. It was either going to get very wind or very wet or both. We put 2 reefs but thankfully we missed the rain.


Leaving Finland behind. Note to sailors – yes I did move the lazy sheet….

A speedy crossing saw us arrive at Arholma anchorage before 1pm and watch a flotilla of yachts coming in having crossed from Finland. The most impressive of which was a yacht with teenagers onboard and a young skipper and they sailed on to the wooden bow to and dropped the stern anchor and all with no engine. It is a lovely anchorage surrounded by wooden boat sheds and lots of reeds! We were back in Sweden so up went the Swedish courtesy flag.

The itch that won’t be scratched…..



Still not close enough to the camera!

As we left the harbour, a white tail eagle flew overhead, just as we were in the middle of putting the main up. We have seen several at close quarters but never when the camera is to hand. So I abandoned my duties and went into Blue Planet mode – and Mags was left to sort out the sails.


Our destination was the island of Jurmo – a pretty harbour, with the ubiquitous red boat sheds. But this Island’s claim to fame are proper highland coos. I went for a run but couldn’t find said coos but their relations provided mince which was made into a tasty meal with lentils.




The next day, we had peaceful sail to Nasby and we tried a new sail plan for running before the wind – using both our foresails goose winged (one either side). We have a spinnaker pole but it makes me nervous using it with all the rocks around.

old and new

Goose winging

But this worked a treat. Nasby had a little supermarket and it had been 11 days since our last visit to a supermarket – so I knew Mags was getting twitchy about running out of food – her fear and reality are poles apart due to the many tins of corned beef onboard – for some reason this doesn’t seem to placate her fears.

Coming into Korpo we attached to the buoy as usual, with the mooring hook or clicky buoy as we call it – but it fell at an awkward angle. It is a long metal pole with the hook at the end of it. I stopped the boat on the webbing as normal – but this bent the pole with load of the boat pulling at the wrong angle. It was only when we rode out to it to put a second line on the buoy did we realise it was bent and we couldn’t get it off. We removed the webbing leaving the mooring hook permanent attached to the buoy. This would be a hazard to us and anyone else when we left the mooring. But it was stuck firm…….so after a large dose of spinach and a tip from a local – I went off to try and unbend it. Success – well enough to get it off but not to be used again. Thankfully we had bought a spare – fearing this would happen as it was already slightly bent.


Yes my face is doing more work than my arms!

Some friends Pia, Jukka and Anni arrived by speed boat late afternoon from their summer cottage – they “popped over” – an hour away – it was lovely that they came over to see us. We had drinks on board and then had some yummy sticky spare ribs in the local restaurant.


I have decided I suffer from FMOONH – a fear of missing out on nice harbours – an unvisited top spot is like a scratch you have to itch. Last year, we hadn’t been able to go to a beautiful anchorage Toras Viken and then there was the one that Sakku had just told us about Gullskrona – apparently it had just reopened after a 10 year closure and used to be the most popular in the archipelago.


Well marked – 2 leading lines and channel marker

Though narrow channels, we had a lovely downwind sail 20nm to Gullkrona – Mags likes this point of sail. As there is no danger of tacking (interrupts the puzzle booking). The wind gradually built throughout the sail. Although there are no tides here, the water level does vary and we were -25cm below normal. Which meant there was only one place we could go in the harbour. It was down wind and slightly cross wind pick up of the stern buoy. We approached, Mags picked up the buoy and handed the webbing line over to me. I was focusing it rather than looking where we were going – and next thing I know Mags is screaming to go back. Not sure if this was due to a rock – I put into reverse at full speed – which then leaves you with the challenge of unhooking the stern buoy. All a bit hectic. We had been going in too fast and she wanted me to slow down. The reality was that this mooring spot was too exposed in this wind direction and we decided that we could live without the stress. This was definitely a case of wanting to visit and not really being realistic about the shelter of the harbour…. A lesson learnt. So Gullkrona will remain as a scratch not itched.


Unwelcome visitors in Toras Viken

The only problem was that the next harbour I wanted to go to was 20 miles in the direction we had just come from and back head to wind into a freshening breeze…. I was very popular. So by the end of the day we had done 40 miles to actually go 9 miles. We did manage to sail for about the last 2 hours – but it was a very long day. On the brightside, we arrived in Toras Viken, a natural harbour in glorious sunshine which scenery to life. It was over 6 weeks since we had anchored – so it was lovely to have the peace and quiet that an anchorage affords. Lots of reeds meant a good night’s sleep as you know the anchor will dig in well.

Chance Encounters with old friends and meeting Foss and the Nauticat

Despite the lack of wind, we set off – with only 9 miles – we were able to drift at under 2 knots and as expected the wind picked up and we arrived at Katanpää in a reasonable time. It is an island with a military history, built in the Russian occupation of Finland as part of a defence plan for the Baltic that was created 200 years earlier by Peter the Great. Later it saw life as a prison. The Gun emplacements and many of the wooden buildings housing the troops were still intact, all connected by cobble stone roads and built by forced labour. The cobbles, we now are the result of uplift of land that we had seen on the High Coast.


We had noticed a British boat in the harbour – so I went over to invite them for a drink….We met a lovely spaniel with blonde highlights called Foss and the Nauticat – and their owners Julie and Yvonne. They bought their boat in Finland and 4 years later they are still here. They love it just as much as we do.

1Conversation flowed easily and drinks turned into dinner. Before we knew it was well past our bedtime. The next night they invited us on board for Dinner…. which included delicious home made ginger cookies and home made bread – we needed to stalk these two! Lulling them into a false sense of security….we went our separate ways the next day. However, you can sail….. but you can’t hide!
The sun was pulverising and with only a light wind, we arrived at Brundalsviken hot and bothered. I popped into the shop to see what the depth was at the fuel pontoon. In a bit of a dwam (Scottish word) with the heat – I suddenly heard my name being called – it was Tommi Paattakainen – we had worked together closely in Nokia. It was lovely to see him – he and his son Aaro came on board. It is a small world. We ate ashore at the Thai Summer pop up restaurant and it was definitely worth the trip here.
With strong northerlies due, we were keen to tuck in out of the way. Moonstar (Yvonne and Julie) don’t have AIS – so it is difficult to stalk them without their knowledge – so you need to be less subtle – we messaged them and agreed to hole up in the same harbour. A family owned harbour with a lot of charm and tastefully developed – Parattula/ Peterzens. It was a little hurricane hole sheltered in every direction – if a little shallow in parts -thankfully it is mud as we arrived and it showed 2m under the boat. When we left it was a mere 1.8m!

img_20190730_113651.jpgLater that day, Mags was just returning to the boat when she heard her name being called – it was Sakku and Merja. We had met them last year and then we had seen Sakku on the High Coast in July. It was lovely to see them and we joined them for a drink aboard Duo and catch up on their news. Next morning we invited them over for Coffee and Pulla ( Finnish Cakes) before they headed off.

We had a list of admin and maintenance jobs to be done – including changing the secondary fuel filter which was long overdue.

lifeOnce they were all ticked off, we went for a dog walk out to the lighthouse.

dsc01490.jpgFoss, unlike Magoo, was beautifully behaved and was desperate to go swimming but wouldn’t unless she was given permission. It wouldn’t even have crossed Magoo’s mind to have asked. He belonged to the school of “ask for forgiveness after” … though come to think of it, he didn’t do that either. For the next 2 nights, we ate alternatively chez nous then chez Moonstar.

We awoke to the rain, it was the first time for weeks – so we wouldn’t be leaving today. We headed over to Moonstar – they were getting ready to go. So this time, we needed to deploy another cunning tactic. The mention of cheese on toast worked – they don’t have a grill and had said they missed it….. they decided to stay another day. After cheese on toast and cheese toasties – we had a movie afternoon and watched Hidden Figures followed by walking Foss.

Before they took out a restraining order, we decided we really couldn’t detain them any longer and so waved goodbye. We have really enjoyed their company.


They managed to escape!

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