Elaine left us in the morning and our plan was to look for a weather window to cross the 132nm to Finland, we wanted a good wind direction, but not too windy so that we could sail all the way without it being too lumpy. I looked at the long term weather and there was a distinct lack of wind for the next 4-5 days. Not what I was hoping for as it would mean we would have to motor. We had a choice wait 5 days or go and hope to catch the last of dying the wind. Härnösand wasn’t really a place we wanted to spend any more time than we had to – so we decided to go for it.
We set off east out of the fjord – frustratingly we were head into the wind. But once clear of the headland, we could set all 3 sails and head roughly in the right direction – close hauled into the wind. Which was great as it made what little wind there was appear stronger. 6.5 knots was more than I could hope for. We managed to sail for 6 hours but with the wind progressively coming round first at 90 degrees then from behind us it meant the wind we saw got lighter and lighter until we only doing 2.7 knots. Time to capitulate and turn on the engine…..
We were sad to be leaving the High Coast – it is a stunning area to sail in and had exceeded our expectations – dramatic scenery, pretty little fishing villages and unique geological features. But with each mile travelled, the view of the High Coast disappeared over the horizon and soon it was just sea that was visible. Given that we were expecting the trip to last 26 hours, we set up a watch system. Having had dinner, Mags went off watch and went to sleep. There were a couple of large ships to watch out for – but with electronic tracking (stalking or its proper term AIS) it was like playing a very slow electronic game. It was interesting seeing all the exotic destinations they were bound for – one was going to Alexandria.
But with no sails to tweak – few ships to watch out for…. I was getting bored and that meant I would start feeling sleepy. I got out the sweetie box. But there are only so many mint humbugs you can eat….
So out came my guitar and I decided to have my only concert in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia. From Bossa Nova, Ed Sheeran, Tracy Chapman, The Beatles, Oasis, James Blunt, the Shadows – Strumming away, I gave it rooty toot – singing at the top of my voice – my guitar teacher would have been proud of me as I even played Paranoid by Black Sabbath (not my favourite but apparently a useful technique he tells me) – all on my ½ sized classical guitar……The engine drowned out the many dodgy notes and I was able to labour until the misguided belief that I was the next cool acoustic guitar soloist. But just before you rush to book me up for your next party:
a. I cant sing
b. My “set” wouldn’t last long – as I only know one song from each
c. I would still like to have some friends.
It never really got dark – at about 2230 the sun was setting but it would rise again at 0300 so the sun just went below the surface and only had 4.5 hours to rush round to the other side of the sea so it was like having a permanent sunset and sunrise.
Mags took over – she had been oblivious to my gig. It rained for a bit and she saw a weird horseshoe rainbow then I was back on watch for a couple of hours, then Mags took over again. 10 am we had bacon butties – always good for morale plus we were able to sail from there – a relief turning off the engine.
Our destination was the light house island of Kylma-pihlaja about 5 miles off the Finnish Coast – close but very isolated. We arrived 26 hours after setting off – into a small harbour which had been hewn out from the rock, was a former pilot station harbour and we were the only yacht and a hand full small motorboats out for a lunch stop.
Tip toeing through the goose poo, this was a bird sanctuary – we walked round the island – and climbed the lighthouse which was now a hotel. By 2030 we were completely pooped and fell into bed….. next thing we knew it was 10:30…. It was a lovely sunny day and we were the only boat here. A fine harbour so we were quite happy to spend another day here.
Boats came and went all day – it appears to be a coffee stop for the coast guard and pilot boats, the ferry made frequent stops. One couple will be rueing the day they didn’t check the time of the last ferry and with no beds in the inn – a water taxi came out to pick them up….ouch – expensive!
With the harbour deserted all bar one small motorboat, a yacht arrived…..with the whole harbour to park in – he chose to moor 2ft in front of us at right angles by picking up a stern buoy. Making it more difficult for us to get out. It was totally out of order and inconsiderate. So I took great delight the next morning in springing Carra out – this is a technique where you pivot the boat using just the engine and one warp – which brought her stern out perpendicular to the harbour wall. He came out to watch, initially he looked worried as it isn’t a commonly used technique in these waters. He was about to make a very “helpful” comment then stopped to watch –– we exited perfectly…..I felt satisfaction for all the mansplaining I have had to endure as a skipper – this was womansplaining to an inconsiderate skipper without saying a word and it felt great!
Ed Note: Spell checker recognises mansplaining but not womansplaining!