Category Archives: 2019

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.

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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!

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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.

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Sjalbottna – one of our favourite anchorages near our Marina

dsc01650.jpgWe 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…..IMG_20190815_174532

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.

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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.

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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…..

 

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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.

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Jurmo

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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.

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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.

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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.

Pia

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.

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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.

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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.

Bletchley Park Code Breakers….not

Mags performed her usual Houdini trick; which meant that all the boat stuff that had been assembled in the sitting room disappeared into every nook and cranny of the car. It is amazing how much you can fit round the spare wheel! Previously we had broken the journey to the ferry at Kiel with an overnight stop – but the security of the car overnight is always a worry. So this time we drove in all the way to Kiel and boarded the ferry to Gothenburg the same day. It is always a trip down memory lane, as the ferry passes the former British Kiel Yacht Club – this the home to Army Sailing for those stationed in Germany…part of my misspent youth… but also of my Father’s, who did his National Service here.

From Gothenburg we crossed Sweden to Stockholm, stopping enroute for lunch but sadly there was no free Wifi. However, there was a protected network close by called Harry Potter’s Great Hall…. After a recent visit to Bletchley Park, we both fancied ourselves as code breakers. Having exhausted all the obvious Harry Potter passwords, we resorted to trawling the internet to find some more obscure ones. But to no avail – other than using up data to find access to free wifi that would save us data….. rather warped logic. Through it did keep us entertained whilst waiting for our Pizza.

IMG_20190514_174128It is always with a sense of home coming when we get to the marina – back in our Scandinavian second home.