When setting up the boat, I wanted an electronic anchor alarm. The chart plotter has an alarm but it is too quiet plus it is at other end of the boat – so it would never wake you up. Also it’s current draw is too high. The other option was a hand held GPS with anchor alarm but the alarm is very basic – set by a distance that you judge and enter.
With Anchor – you mark the anchor by hitting a symbol on the app at the point that you drop the anchor (shown as an anchor on the photo). This ensures that any swing is always measured from the anchor. If you forget to mark it when you set the anchor you can shift the little anchor symbol to where you believe the anchor is. It then tracks where the boat wanders and shows it graphically on the screen. It colours different time periods as different coloured tracks. You then set a guard alarm by dragging the circle to the desired distance (red circle on the photo).
The advantage of this is that you can watch the boat for a while and see the maximum swing and then set the guard zone slightly beyond that. You can also set the guard alarm as a sector not a circle. The other big advantage is that the alarm is a very very loud siren…. and it does wake you up. See how it earned its keep. If you connect your iPad to the Internet it will send you an email or dial a iPhone if it drags – though I haven’t tested either of these features. We run it without charts but you can get it to superimpose onto a map or satellite view – though you have to be on the internet to do this. Which is not so practical – it would be great if it could off line charts. We run it on an iPad with a Bad Elf attached as a GPS – as it more accurate than the internal GPS of the iPad.
The procession of boats that had left on Friday were clearly all returning back to their marinas and we seemed to be the only ones going against the flow. Hopefully this would mean that our next stop would be fairly empty. We motored into a gentle breeze and about 2 hours after leaving Sandon we arrived at Trasko Stora. It had several places to moor against the rock and if we chickened out we could always anchor in the middle.
First we needed to decide where to go, there was one spot which looked perfect which had recently been vacated by a motor boat. Our first attempt was less successful and we had to pull away just about 2m from the rock as I hadn’t quite judged that the wind would blow our bow off – so we reversed, up came the anchor and we started the process again – at least it kept the locals entertained. The second time around we were successful and Mags stepped onto the steep rocky shore with a line which she tied to a tree and she then hammered a stone hook into a crevice to secure the second line. We feel like we have now passed the Swedish initiation test – mooring onto a rock.
It was a tranquil spot and the sun came out and was actually hot enough for shorts. After lunch we tried to explore the Island but without crampons we weren’t going to get very far. So we retreated to the boat, just as a single hander sailed into the anchorage and moored on the rock next to us effortlessly… it was very impressive. It will be a while before we are that proficient – if ever!
Mags had her usual afternoon zizz and I cleaned the boat. I went ashore to take some photos and ended up talking to the single hander – who shared his top recommendations for places to visit in the Archipelago.
Dinner in the cockpit – without the cockpit tent ( a first this year) rounded off by a beautiful evening sky.
With an evening flight to Finland we had an early start on what was our last leg of the journey from Kiel to Stockholm. The wind direction had changed overnight and was now coming in directly through the entrance – so there was a fine chop on the water just to add to the fun.
Our route out was a little more complicated than coming in as it had 2 dog leg in it which thankfully were marked with leading lines. Sorry it was too scary to even think about taking photos!
My “mastery” of Swedish extends to understanding the Swedish weather forecast – which is more than I can say for the Finnish equivalent. I have to give their forecasters the prize for the understatement. The weather forecast was SW to W 18 -24knots with risk of gusts over 20 knots 80%….. given that is was regularly gusting 40 knots meant their forecast was true but not very helpful. But Carra takes these kinds of conditions on with relish – and with 3 reefs in and the staysail we were very comfortable. Mags with her cattle prodder on full belt ( see the post of XX) was able to go down below to produce Bacon butties which were most welcome.
On passing one rock and I mean a rock I thought I saw a chair – Mags got out the binoculars and it was infact a toilet…
Most sailors will recognize the phenomenon that means the wind is always coming from where you need to go. Well on this cruise we have been very lucky is has always been behind us but today the wind was on the bow – but again our luck has held and we have been able to be on one tack all the way up a fjord ( not sure Sweden has fjords).
Exactly a year ago to the day, we had done the reverse of the route with a group of friends from the UK. The narrow canal cut though felt even narrower when a large motor boat decided to overtake us in the middle of it…. I had indicated to him to stay behind us, but as he passed us at the narrowest point I gave a thumbs down sign to the driver – his wife look embarrassed – he just didn’t look at me!
We wound our way through the islands, narrow passages and with the scenery changing from the remote archipelago to banks lined with houses as opposed to summer cottages and then by about 2pm we had the first glimpse of our marina, which is to be our sailing home for the next few years. We had been allocated L62 – but when we arrived it was clear that it was not going to work as the access to the berth was way too narrow for our size of boat and with winds gusting 40 knots it wasn’t wise to try. So we found an alongside berth that was free. It is a club rather than a commercial marina so it doesn’t have visitors places, also the harbour master is only there during the weekdays. So we left them a note explaining why we had had to abandon her there. We checked with near by owners that it was free and we just hoped that we would have left before an irate owner turned up. So after 700 nm we have made it from Kiel to Stockholm.
A phone call to the office and thankfully they managed to find us a new berth 2 away from the spot were we had abandoned Carra. A great relief!
We hadn’t really appreciated the beauty of Ringson when we had arrived late last night. Judging by the movement of the top of the trees it was clearly windy outside but it wasn’t apparent in this sheltered haven. About half the banks were bounded by reeds and exposed rock in the rest, some of which had a few boats hanging off them and a couple of boats at anchor it – clearly we weren’t alone in thinking it was an ideal spot! If we weren’t on a timetable we would have happily have spent a few days here chilling out but……
We had been warned about the mud that would be on the anchor so we had the deck wash set up and it was all cleaned before stowing. By 9am we were out of the harbour, the sails were up and we were speeding along at 7.5 knots. There was a rain shower and out came the Sowester (fleece lined Mags would add)
Going anywhere in Sweden there are 2 ways: the long way around and then the short cut – the latter always involves very intricate routes, and this was no exception. Doing this at speed wasn’t an option – so we stowed the yankee and put a second reef in and it made it less of a white knuckle ride. It is amazing that it can go from 54m to 3m in a very short distance. Once the other side of the islands we then were exposed to an uncomfortable swell which meant sailing downwind wasn’t an option… on went the motor, down came the sails. After an hour or so we fell under the shelter of the island of Uto and so lost the swell and we were soon cruising along at 6 knots with just the yankee up.
- A narrow entrance – and you can see only the rocks that are above the water in this picture
- Looking out towards the entrance at Gronskarfladen
We had a lovely sail through the outer edges of the Stockholm Archipelago. The entry into Gronskarfladen was narrow, shallow and a dog leg thrown in for good measure. When visible rocks above the water are only 3 metres either side of you, it concentrates the mind! We dropped the anchor about 8pm and soon had a beer in hand, relaxing in the cockpit.
Having flown in late Friday evening from the UK, Mags had done a sterling job getting the boat ready. All I had to do was step on board and cast off the warps and go. Our first task was to fill up. Ever since we had Carra the fuel gauge was not reading correctly – so with the tank relatively empty the plan was to fill the tank in 20 litre amounts and recalibrate the gauge. A grand plan til you find that the pump at the filling point will only allow you to put in a max of 31.76 litres and then you have to put the nozzle back in the pump – which involves hauling a big heavy hose across the boat and enter your credit into the machine and start all over again….and when you need 245 litres of diesel it is a rather length affair. But now at least we know how much fuel we have in the tank. We wanted to get out of the river to a nearby anchorage so that at least we had a headstart for the next day – as in total we needed to cover 100nm back to our marina just north of Stockholm.
Every now and again in the Archipelago you see a small island where are the trees are dead and completely – which means that Cormorants are in residence and their guano has killed the tree. This tree never had a hope as it was covered in their nests.
Thankfully with the long summer days we arrived at 22:30 to the last of the twilight and dropped our anchor in a delightfully enclosed bay of Ringson with a narrow and shallow but straight forward entrance (for Sweden). With the anchor secured, anchor app on we turned in.
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.
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!
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.
Harstena 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.
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.
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.
The original plan had been to go sailing for a couple of days – but Boat jobs always seem to take longer than planned. But we left Mylor and headed for one of our favourite anchorages for lunch. There wasn’t much wind – but enough to get the main up – which was just as well as we realised that a bolt that holds the mainsheet track onto the boat had come lose. So we quickly tightened that – but rather glad it wasn’t windy. But the wind soon died and we motored into Durgan Bay on the Helford River.
We dropped the anchor and had lunch. I suddenly heard the blow hole of a Dolphin and turned round to see its head out of the water looking at us – clearly curious as to what we were. I have only ever seen dolphins interested in boats that are moving not ones at anchor. I rushed for my camera and it swam very slowly along the side of the boat. As I lent over to take a picture – it stopped cocked its head to look at me then swam slowly off. It was really amazing – it swam close by for a short while then headed off. It was soon time for us to do the same and we headed back to Mylor.
The next day we left very early but it was quite amazing to think that the next time we would see Carra was in Kiel. On the way to Heathrow we popped in to visit Sue and Neil in their new house in Wiltshire – it was lovely to see them and catch up with her and have a fab brunch to set us up for the return to Finland.