Sunday, February 11, 2007

A simple boat stand

by Ron Hack

Simple to assemble and build. Easy to raise boat for bottom and keel work.


1. 2 – 6”X6” timbers 8’ in length (cross timbers for boat to sit on)
2. 6 – 6”X6” timbers 2 ½’ in length (to support the cross timbers)
3. miscellaneous boards of 8’ and 10’ lengths (to make the frame rigid)


1. park the boat on its trailer in a flat spot with good working area
2. assemble stern cross timber (1) and stern supports (3) and strengthen with nailed horizontal and diagonal cross pieces (as illustrated in the bow supports pictured above)
3. assemble bow right (1) and left (1) supports and strengthen with horizontal and cross pieces along the side of the frame (note: the bow cross timber and centre bow support is assembled last after boat raised off trailer and the trailer removed)
4. keep in mind that the side to side frame length is 8’ to allow for working space between the supports and the keels and that the back to front frame length is 10’ to allow for boat balance and work space

Raising the boat:

1. lower the hitch end of the trailer to the ground raising the stern of the boat
2. move the stern support forward so it is just touching the boat bottom (or assemble the stern support with the stern raised)
3. place a jack (a car jack will do but a larger jack will make the job easier) under the hitch end of the trailer and raise the bow
4. when the bow is high enough, slip the 8’ bow support under the bottom of the boat and on top of the left and right supports (see picture)
5. the boat will now be sitting on the stand
6. remove the jack and the trailer and install the vertical centre bow support
7. reverse the process to put the boat back on its trailer
8. keep in mind that the length of the six supports will depend upon the height of the keels off the ground when on the boat. The goal is to raise the boat at least 1” higher than the frame of the trailer so the trailer can be pulled out.

Contact me through the Alacrity user groups: Ron Hack sv Tulameen

Saturday, February 10, 2007

2006 Summer cruise


This year I was determined to get on the boat for a longer part of my vacation. The conditions were good as I got four whole continuous weeks off work. Still my wife and I did not want to burden my mother in-law to take care of the cat for three weeks. Also my wife had to work some hours the first week so we decided that I would start on my own for a week, then sail home to get my wife for another two week's sailing. The weather this summer had been superb. It had not rained much previously and I was a bit concerned that this would change just when we were to cruise, all by the rule that did it not rain before it surely must rain later. But I was wrong! July turned out to be the hottest and driest since 1994. A blessing after last years rainy cruise. I set out on my single-handed little cruise on Monday, July 10th. That morning it was for a change raining heavily, so I waited for it to stop and did not sail until 1630. There was the tail of a gale blowing from the SW, which was perfect to get me out some distance from the city despite the late start. I sailed with genoa only, something I never tried before. It turned out to be a safe and nice way to sail in this weather except for the little tacking I had to do to in the beginning. With genoa only, the boat really did not go to weather very well and also it is a hassle to tack (as always with the genoa, which I am now beginning to use as a light wind-downwind sail only). I reached the club harbour of Getfoten outside Vaxholm at 1930 and got some help to moor the boat. Mooring the boat single-handedly with an anchor at the stern and bows to a dock is no easy thing, but I am beginning to get the grip of it.

This is the dock at Getfoten in the evening. The next morning I continued at 0930 and sailed to another club island, Ekholmen. I had never been there before, but got the tip from a friend who never had been there either but got the tip from someone he met. So it clearly was a place that needed to be checked out. Ekholmen turned out to be one of those nice places that tries to stay out of the pilot books so it gets a bit exclusive. Still they do welcome guests. There is a good dock and a clubhouse where one can get a cup of coffee or ice-cream.

I got tucked up nicely next to a big motorboat, securely moored with stern to a bouy. As the weather forecast talked about a gale early next day and quite some strong winds even later I decided to stay here for two nights. The second evening there was a spontaneous concert with guitar and trumpet on the dock. Also I learned that the club has a tradition of welcoming the steamer "Storskär" on her evening run at 2000 by cheering and playing the trumpet (when the trumpet player is there), the ship replying with it's steam whistle. So this evening I could see the whole show.

The trumpet player is standing nearest to the camera. On thursday I was beginning to have trouble with the weather forecast. I originally had planned another stop somewhere in a natural harbour but there was still forecasts of heavy winds later that week-end and I felt that I could not sail further out and be back in time to get my wife for the second week if I had to wait for gales to abide. Instead I decided to curtail the trip and head for home directly. Depending on the weather I would stop somewhere on the way (but then I would have to stay there for two extra days until I could sail home). I headed out at 0930 in quite some wind with jib and a reef in the main. I had to beat, but with long legs on quite open water in the beginning. It worked nicely. When I reached Vaxholm I got onto a beam reach that brought me past the fortress quite quickly and I decided to continue. Of course the last run up Askrikefjärden would be a beat again but by now I was into it and it had almost become a sport to try to get home in one run. It took me 10 hours of continuous sailing, mostly upwind. I shook out the reef and took it in again twice. I lived on water and bread slices with nothing on them. Still I made it.

The sunny cruise

Well back home my wife and I decided that as I was home earlier from my single-handed cruise we could as well start earlier with our cruise. We used the week-end to provision the boat with food and wine for two weeks. As usual, when I sail with my wife great care was taken to the little luxuries onboard, such as table cloth, plant, extra cushions and things like that. Our plan was to set out on monday and so we did. Exactly as on the previous monday there was quite a lot of wind. But now we sailed with reefed main and jib in order to be able to tack more easily if the need should occur. We sailed at 1130, passed Vaxholm at 1300 and entered Ekholmen at 1530, sailing the last part with reefed main only. This was exactly the same distance I tacked up in 10 hours three days earlier. Now we had made it in four hours! I think it was now we broke our personal speed record by 0.3 knots.

Quite early that day we passed a house pontoon being towed by a tug. Also my wife took some daylight photos of Vaxholm castle.

My wife did like Ekholmen as well, although there was no trumpet playing for "Storskär" that evening. During the night there was a brisk northerly blowing making the harbour a bit bumpy. It had blown itself out by noon the next day and we started for our next stop, Gällnö. We had been there before a couple of times, but not liked it as much the last time we were there. Now we decided to try it again and we did indeed like it. This time we moored the boat on the opposite side of the anchorage. This way we got the sun into the cockpit during the evening.

In fact we liked it that much we stayed for two nights. The next day we walked a few miles to the little village where we had lunch at the café and bought some things. Unfortunately we were not allowed to buy a disposable grill because of the dry weather and risk for fire. So we had to cook the meat we bought in the frying pan.

The forecast talked of mostly light winds for a few days and we decided we would try to get into a good starting position to make the jump over open water to the outer parts of the archipelago again. So on thursday we first motored through a tiny channel and the set sail north towards the island of Kålö, another club harbour with a dock and in a perfect postion near the open water.

The harbour itself was a bit crowded, but the view to the other side was very nice.

I also took a walk to the other side of the island. From there the open water could be seen.

The next day we started at 1100 and sailed to the island of Kallskär. Kallskär is one of the few islands in the outer part of the skerries that has a protected archorage. The pilot book even calls it a "hurricane hole". On the picture below, Kallskär can be seen in the distance to the left.

While this is certainly true as far as swell is concerned I do have some doubts as for the wind. The harbour is a tiny cove with a narrow entry from the south that literally funnels the wind into the harbour. This was mentioned in the pilot for southerlies and although we did have southerlies when we arrived we knew that the wind soon would veer into the north so we moored inside anyway. After a two hour trip over open water, making more that 5 knots most of the time we arrived into an anchorage that was totally empty! And that with the pilot book's warning in mind that the anchorage was popular and fenders would often be needed.

This is the viev over the anchorage from the top of the highest hill on the island. The narrow entrance is to the left.

We did like Kallskär very much. The only downside was the draft, with even northerly winds blowing through the anchorage. In fact it was quite cold here, I guess this is how the place got it's name. Kallskär means "Cold Skerry". In the evening did in fact arrive some more boats, but still not at all many and fenders where definitely not needed. Our plan was to stay here for two nights. The last time we were in the outer skerries we only stayed one night and regretted it since. So we had one of our nice dinners and settled for a night that became quite calm. The next morning we got fog that lifted at noon. The forecast talked about some more days with mostly light winds and I was a bit tempted to try for another outer skerry, Rödlöga, but my wife had by now become very keen on restaurant food and some civilisation. So we decided to make for Finhamn instead. Even that morning there was a fog, even denser than the day before. I was very surprised when I saw three boats anchored just outside the harbour entrance when the fog lifted a bit. At 1215 we left the harbour. Visibility was not yet good but improving steadily and good enough to see other vessels. Navigation could be managed by GPS anyway. So we sailed.

We saw some kajaks out in the open water. They were not easy to spot in the still not perfect vis.

Only a few miles before our destination we got into a thunderstorm with heavy rain, but fortunately no severe gusts. It was over in less than an hour and the sun was back again. As it was quite late when we arrived we decided to stay two nights and go to the restaurant the next day. Here we would also be able to fill the water and buy some more food. Unfortunately the visit at the restaurant turned out to be some kind of anti-climax. It was quite a long way to go and finally there, everything was so over-efficient and fast we got the main course before we had time to finish our drinks. The food was not very good either. In my opinion the best food for sailors in conditions like ours is a good steak with a nice bottle of red. When we have been out for a week or more living on canned food and hard tack we do not need or want fancy dishes in funny bowels fitted with italian names. This is all good and well at home in town (especially if you don't need to pay for it yourself), but out here, give me a steak at a decent price any time. I do understand though that these places (or many of them) thrive on day visitors coming out by ferry from town for a swim and a sunday dinner and maybe they indeed do want the fancy food. Anyway, it'd better be tasty then at least. So somewhat disappointed having missed the hop to Rödlöga for some uninspiring food we decided to make the best of it and do some island hopping in the area, adding some places we had not gone before to our list. The first one of those was only one hour's sail away. Stora Kalholmen, an island with the oldest youth hostel in the archipelago and quite some nice achorage. The place turned out to be nice enough and it even had water and a tiny shop where canned food and bread could be had. So next time we can go here instead of Finhamn.

This is the youth hostel or parts of it. The picture primarlily shows this little fluffy dog in the middle which is the reason why the house is out of focus... The next day we continued to a place called Säck (which means bag). It is an anchorage shaped just like a bag with a narrow entrace to the north. Due to favorable winds we did in fact both sail in and out of the anchorage without having to do a single tack. This was also the best part of it. Otherwise the anchorage was very crowded and quite dirty (I found some garbage disposed of in the middle of the forest althouth there was a litter station nearby). During these days we had light winds and very sunny and warm weather. Even at nights it was quite warm now and long gone were the sweaters and blankets we used in the evening in the beginning of the cruise.

Even the water was warm enough to be quite comfortable once one had been in it for a while. In fact during this cruise we never ever used a marina with a shower so all washing was done in the sea. We still had our wine even if the place felt more like a camping lot.

The next day we decided to sail to a cove we had visited before and liked very much. Then we were almost alone and we hoped for similar conditions this time. On the way we passed a little seaside village, Norra Stavsudda, that has a store and a pub and we stopped for lunch.

This was exactly the kind of seaside restaurant I was talking about. We had hamburgers and a beer and it was perfect. At that time I was beginning to get a bit annoyed by the beard I was developing. I had decided not to shave during this cruise and now it was itching more and more.

After lunch we continued to Lådna to arrive there in the afternoon (I did not note the exact time in the log for some reason). There were some boats but we got a spot quite for ourselves. At Norra Stavsudda we finally had managed to purchase another disposable grill and some fresh meat and now we were eager to have a barbecue the next day. My wife was especillay looking forward to this. The morning was clouded but it did not rain during the whole day. But right in the evening a thunderstorm appeared with some heavy rain.

Disappointed, we had to fry the meat in the frying pan once more. The rain held during most part of the night. We decided to leave the next morning as it was time to make some way homewards. More rain and light winds were forecast and indeed this day was the only one with continuous rain that did not stop until shortly before we arrived at our destination, Hästholmen south of Grinda. On our way we passed the dock of Lådna village where the "Skerry doctor"'s boat was moored.

At Hästholmen we had the chance to dry out and watch all the others having barbecues. We, though, had already eaten our meat and although we now had the grill we did no longer have anything to put on it. Maybe I should learn to fish? In fact we saw a lot of fish this season, oh well. Now our cruise was coming to an end. Our last stop before home was once again Getfoten were we had a good meal at the pub (a simple and decent one as well). I had moored the boat to a dock under which some swallows had nested. I did not get a good picture though.

If you look closely you can see the dots of their eyes. The birds were very nice all right, but they do wake very early and then they make noise and walk on the deck just above my head. Anyway we also woke early and started the last leg home at 0930. For once we had a following wind and a good one, too so we arrived at our home berth around 1300. 15 days at sea together, plus my little prelude made this cruise a really good one. Even this time we had made some improvements to the boat. We carried an old big umbrella that was lashed as a parasoll and did work perfectly.

I also carried a new anchor, a Bruce. I am not really sure what I am to think of it. My impression after this cruise is that it does not set as easily as the mushroom I used before, but once set it does not drag. In fact as of yet the Bruce has never dragged. But once or twice I had to make a new run because it woud not set on the first try. The first time this happened to med was at Ekholmen when it was too late to stop the boat and it bumped into the dock, fortunately with no damage to either. We also improved our mooring technique in natural harbours. Now once I am sure the anchor has set I go forward and do the actual rock climbing while my wife stops the boat with the anchor line. This cruise was one of the nicest yet. We did not sail an excessive distance this time (I have not yet summed it up, but I guess it is less than even last year (not counting my single-handed part). Still, we did see the outer skerries again, and visited new places. And most important: we had the best weather yet. A final note with regard to bird flue worries (which were quite strong in the late winter). We did not see a single dead bird. There were fewer ducks as usual (but not at Getfoten!), but a lot of Swans. Even the cormorants seem to thrive well.

Archive: Summer Cruise 2007

(July 22 - Aug 12) Includes also: "Baltic Bilge Keel meeting" by Jens Kuhn I will say it at once: this year's summer cruise was like the best and the worst at the same time. The best because I had a lot of fun and because I was living on the boat for three continuous weeks - the first record of three (more about that later). The worst, because we encountered probably the worst weather yet, at least during the first two weeks. The third week was OK temperature wise, but there was almost no wind instead. But I will start from the beginning. On July 22 my wife and I set out for our annual cruise. The boat was loaded with food, wine and water for two weeks and the weather forecast was terrible. Well, the very day of departure was OK but the next days would bring rain and gales from the north. However, we decided to start anyway, as if we had waited we would have been forced to wait so long so we would become crazy all over. So we sailed in mostly light winds and glorious sunshine to Vaxholm. If you usually read my reports, you know that place already. We do not really like it. The marina is very busy and the waters around are choppy and full of motorboats and we usually feel the vacation does not start until we are past it. There is, though, one good thing about that place. It is great to wait out rain and gales. It has restaurants a plenty and the harbour is, once inside, very safe. So we tucked up there and had a good dinner. The next day, we had breakfast at a café and watched the rain. We also did some shopping: a new hurricane lamp as the old one had stopped burning properly and some real fancy new Helly Hansen rain gear for my wife (I had bought some cheapy stuff for her before we set off, but when she put it on for the first time we discovered several holes in it! And we visited the castle! I have written about it several times and posted some pics but this time we actually went over to it and had a look. There is a museum inside covering Swedish coastal defenses over time and while not extremely good, it kept us out of the rain.

This is the view from the castle over the approaches. The museum also had a lot of modern stuff about post-war coastal defence positions buried deep down under the rocks. From there the crew could overview the archipelago and fire guns and missiles.

It's a bit like in a submarine, but under the rocks. The next day most of the rain had gone and anyway, my wife had her new Hellies, so we set off. We sailed to one of our favorite anchorages at Gällnö. Usually it is quite full, but surprisingly this time there was only one other boat. Later another sailboat arrived, but this is still extremely little for late July. The truth it did not really feel like July, especially the nights were very cold. The next day the other boats left and we were alone for a few hours. Unfortunately the peace was dramatically disturbed when a group of no less than five motorboats cruising in company arrived in the afternoon.

In Vaxholm we also had purchased a big piece of meat, so we could have a proper barbeque. It took two of those disposable barbeque sets to cook it! The next day we were off again. We felt that we would have to go to a new place this time so we headed for a little anchorage in Träsköfjärden which according to the pilot book was perfect for shallow draft boats. The wind was good and the sun was out and we enjoyed our sail. Suddenly we heard a conversation on the VHF between two sailing vessels one of which was a Russian sailing frigate about to take part in the Tall Ship Race. We then realised that she was headed towards us in the same area so we directly plotted a course to intercept. Unfortunately she was not under sail, but a beauty nontheless.

We resumed our original course and arrived at the designated anchorage shortly after lunch. However, when we peered inside it revealed itself being full of small motorboats with lots of children running around on the rocks. This was not what we wanted so we carried on past it. Now we had to find another place to stop for the night. I decided to try for Hälsingeholmarna, a group of islands I had been thinking about before, but never went there as it is not protected from all winds and also it is very shallow. This time however the wind was forecast to stay in the south west for days, albeit blowing like hell. Hälsingeholmarna proved to be the perfect spot! Sure we had to try for about half an hour to find the probably only place deep enough to let us moor to the rocks, but once there it proved to be perfect. It was dead calm inside during the next three days, although a short walk to the other side revealed a totally different view. The waves were high and creaming and the few boats out had reefs in and did not look too comfortable.

It is perhaps easy to understand why my wife declared this to be her new favorite spot. It had all. It was quiet (one motorboat during the first night, a kajaker, and another sailboat further out in the deeper water was all we saw during our stay). The view was great with even a small patch of open horizon to be seen. The weather though, was, well, neither fish nor fowl. One day it rained for about half an hour every two hours. Still we timed our meals so we could eat them in the cockpit in the sun. On the other side of the island it was blowing a gale, but in here we had a nice time. We stayed here for four nights. In fact, I could have stayed longer, enjoying the remoteness and lack of people, but the wind was now forecast to be blowing from the north and from there there would be no protection. So we left, and having been alone for so many days we decided to go to Möja, to get some supplies and have a good meal at the pub. The sail to Möja was an utterly eventless but tedious beat in light winds. And when we arrived we discovered the pub was closed (How can they close on a Monday in holiday times?). This was a near crisis, but we resolved it by buying some hamburgers at the shop and put them on the barbeque. I did not take any pics in Möja as there are some in one of the other cruise reports. It is a very charming fishing village. We had breakfast at the café (extremeley expensive, but hey, we did save the pub money the day before). After breakfast we had to decide if we would stay another day or not. There was a near gale again and many boats decided to stay in and wait for it to blow over. However, this time it was from the North East, and we would not have to tack into it. So we decided to give it a try, put in a reef in the main and headed out. At first it was a glorious ride, but once out on the open fjord it got quite bumpy. We had two options, one long ride all the way down to Nämdö or to stop after about a quarter of the distance at Hasslö. After that there would be not many good harbours until we got down to Nämdö. We decided for Hasslö to be on the safe side.

Hasslö was another nice spot. There were only two other boats, one of which a nice old wooden workboat. One side of the anchorage was uninhabited woodland but on the opposite side were nice little summer houses. Unfortunately neither of us thought about taking any pictures of those. The next day the forecast was for winds from the Southeast. This was not at all perfect as it would mean a beat almost all the way down to Nämdö. Anyway we decided to go. Normally we do try to avoid long upwind passages but this time we had to make our way south in order to get to Härsö to meet Nigel who was going to sail his boat Super Anne over from Latvia. According to the forecast the wind would be strong, but not too strong. So we started out nicely with full main and small jib and everything worked just fine. The sun was shining and the wind was almost a trifle too weak. We passed this nice wooden boat on the way.

However the further south we came the more the wind increased. As did the waves. Once out in the open Nämdöfjärden we had a quite bumpy ride taking spray over the bows more often than not. It was still a glorious ride, the boat almost felt like it did enjoy it for once. Heavily loaded for cruising as we were I did not even feel the need for a reef. Still after some more hours of this my wife showed signs of getting a bit tired of the motion and the heeling. She did not say anything though, just went below and rested with a book for a while. All the time I was thinking the wind had mostly to do with that dark cloud that now had gathered over us and would soon weaken again. But it did not. I now think it was the typical thing of the sea breeze increasing the forecast winds from the same direction. This can happen sometimes when the wind is from the south and especially in the afternoon the wind can easily reach 20 knots without the forecast even mentioning it as without the sea breeze to add it would be only 12 knots or so. Anyway, when we neared our destination my wife finally got fed up for good, so I doused the sailes and motored the last two miles into the anchorage. Which was crap. It was blowing right through and was full of boats anyway. We tried three different spots until we found one good enough for the night but still we did bump onto the rocks sometimes when powerboat swell got through. Now, in the beginning I promised three records, and you may have realised that this was the second one. We did not know it then, but several days later at Härsö a fellow boater from my club told me he had been out that day in about the same area and had measured 28 knots of wind. And in that we where happily (sort of) tacking without even a reef in. The Alacrity really is a safe boat. So we did not like that anchorage at Nämdö, and the next day we got up early and left at 0930, probably the earlest departure during the cruise (no that's not the third record!). The wind was quite strong and still from the south and we put up the main only with a reef in and headed for Munkö, a few miles directly to the north of Nämdö. With only this little sail area we still made more than 4 knots. Munkö (meaning monk island), despite being quite crowded was a relief compared to Nämdö. It was sheltered, we got a perfect spot and arriving there after only one hour's ride, came in there exactly as everybody else left. We settled for a day of rest as I did not get too much sleep the night before, going up several times to adjust mooring lines and haul the boat further away from the shore.

Sunset at Munkö. After that night the weather changed dramatically. Summer finally arrived with warmth and light winds. In fact, we did not have a good breeze since. It was now Thursday and Nigel was due to arrive at Härsö on Monday. Also my wife would leave me then and be replaced by a friend as crew. The plan was to arrive at Härsö on Sunday at the latest in order to get some rest before the last week of the cruise. As my wife wanted to go to some more seaside pub before the end of the cruise we decided to try for Rödgrund, a small island in the middle of a big fjord. It has a very small harbour with a restaurant and a bed and breakfast place. We started with a light wind from the south and had a quiet beat about half the distance to Rödgrund. Then the wind died away never to return that day (nothing in the forecast about that!). I waited drifting for about an hour or so, then fired up the Honda and pottered away to Rödgrund. Arriving there we were told that we could get a meal but could not stay over night as they were all booked for the night and there was no space in the harbour.

The little dock at Rödgrund. At first we were a bit disappointed but then we realised we would not have wanted to stay over night anyway if there was a big party going on at the pub which was very near the dock. So we had a couple of hamburgers with fries and then set of again. Now where to? There were a few places between Rödgrund and Härsö but in those light winds we would not be able to sail to any of those. And the new forecast did not promise any wind the next day either. To Härsö it was 6.5 nautical miles, about two hours at most economic speed with the Honda. So we filled the tank, put on our raingear (it was a steady drizzle by now) and played the motorboat for a while. At 3.3 knots we arrived at Härsö before dinner using less than a litre of petrol! I had thought I would have to refill the tank halfway out, but that proved unnecessary. I did fill it shorty before entering Härsö though as I did not fancy having the engine quit on me in the middle of entering the anchorage. Härsö is my club's summer place so there would be known people around. At Härsö we rested for the week-end. On Saturday the weather was glorious for everything but sailing. Bright sumshine, finally warmth even at night and not a sign of any wind. We could even take a swim without freezing to death.

Here the first part of the cruise had come to an end. On Monday morning I motored to Trinntorp right over the bay where there is a bus stop. There I took farewell of my wife and collected Björn, my new crew for a few days. The Baltic Bilgies cruise After having stowed Björn and his belongings into the boat, together with some more supplies bought at the little shop at Trinntorp, I realised that there was blowing a little breeze. We could give the engine a rest and sail the way back to Härsö in order to arrive there at about the same time as Nigel with his Super Anne who by now had entered the archipelago and only had some more miles to go. And he had a following wind while we had to tack. We hauled the boat off the dock using the kedge, set sail and sailed away without even using the engine, hopefully making some impression on the people at the nearby beach. Arriving at Härsö again we immediately saw Super Anne moored to the dock. Nigel was standing ready to take our lines. Here they are, two boats and four keels.

Nigel and his Latvian crew Edgar relvealed themselves being throughout enjoyable company (by immediately presenting me with a bottle of whisky...) and we finished the afternoon off by drinking Latvian beer (in a 1.5l PET bottle!). My new crew Björn who is from Northern Sweden had been promised we would fire up the sauna so after another hour or so resting, this was the next task.

This is the sauna. Unfortunately Nigel and Edgar did not join us in the sauna. After their long trip crossing the Baltic they were really quite tired and needed to rest. After the sauna we had a barbeque with fresh hamburgers from Trinntorp and some chicken which Nigel had brought over. We had some more beers and chatted away for a few hours. Then we got a call from Tommy, another Brit who had brought his dinghy in the car over to the mainland side to take it over to Härsö and say hello. Unfortunately he discovered a hole in the inflatable so could not make it. A pity! We discussed some alternatives but did not find an attractive one and anyway we had probably drunk too much to go to sea by then anyway. And Nigel was almost falling asleep right on the bench where he was seated. So we all went to sleep. I was determined to make an early start the next day, as Nigel only would be here for a couple of days and I wanted him to see a few anchorages and islands before he left again. As the wind was very light we already had decided to attempt a 20 miles' tow job right up into the northern part of the archipelago, which is the part I like the most and has the nicest anchorages. However, when I got up the next day, I realised there would be no early start and I could as well have stayed in bed. Fog. In the beginning we could not even see the island on the other side. However, the sun soon burned the fog away and we left Härsö and started up north.

The tow job went perfect. In fact it went much better than I had thought. We towed mostly at a little more than 5 knots and it felt very comfortable even when we encountered swell. Before we set off we had given Nigel a series of waypoints he had entered into his GPS. Due to a misunderstanding between me taking them out of the chart (in decimals) and Björn writing them down (in minutes and seconds) most of them were quite some way off so after discovering this I reverted to giving Nigel courses via the VHF. In fact, I felt like an admiral giving the fleet orders for course changes "Due West, if you please"! I was a great feeling. Shortly we entered the traffic lane though, and Nigel could just follow the blue line on his plotter for a while. So the fun stopped for me. We boiled some water and had coffee and cakes instead. What Nigel and Edgar had in their glasses up front I do not know, but someway I doubt it was coffee... After a 12 miles or so we entered into a bigger stretch of water named Kanholmsfjärden. Our course was now due north and the wind was from the Northwest, so it was time to cast off the tow and try some sailing.

At first I started with main and the little hankerchief-jib (Nigels term). Nigel had warned me that his boat was awfully slow so I thought that would probably be enough. It wasn't really, at least in this light wind, so after a while I took the jib down again and pulled up the genny. The result was positive.

We sailed for two hours or so, then it was time to move between the islands again. The wind would drop and again be dead ahead. By now we were quite hungry so we were eager to reach our first destination, the little village of Norra Stavsudda. So we resumed the tow. Again we were doing the navigation from Discovery while Nigel and Edgar were mostly occupied with watching girls in rowboats through powerful binoculars. After a very good piece of beef and a beer at the pub at Norra Stavsudda we were off for Lådna, about three miles away, where we would stay the night. As it was not far, sunny and there was a little breeze we decided to sail all the way. Again I marveled at being the faster boat for once (never happens otherwise) so I lead the way, Nigel trustfully following. According to my log we arrived at Lådna 1915, tied up to a rock and settled down.

Now, if he had been fascinated by all the rocks at Härsö already, Edgar now became really crazy. He would just jump around from rock to rock, patting them with his hands and stating "fantastic!". He even collected some smaller ones to bring back to Latvia. I guess Nigel must be glad to have Edgar for crew, he was really enthusiastic about the boat and even voluntarily jumped into the water to try to clean the topsides (unsuccessfully though).

The next morning was bringing light winds and overcast skies. Soon enough we would get even some rain showers. We decided to sail quite a short distance to Gällnö, the same place I was almost alone in with my wife earlier this summer. After Nigels comment "make it interesting", we decided to take the narrow inside passage. With a following wind it was still possible to sail.

The previous day Nigel had tried to get some diesel at Norra Stavsudda but for some reason the fuel dock closed at 1700 so we missed that. Instead he filled up at the Shell station at Lådna while Björn and I were tacking back and forth outside wondering why this would take so much time. Later we got the answer from Nigel, who first had to find the owner of a motorboat which was moored in front of the diesel pump. He finally found the culprit at the pub. Anyway that Shell station is probably to be avoided, as it very well could have sold bad diesel to Nigel. I guess he will comment this in his own report later.

Once filled up, we continued our sail, now in the rain. When we finally got to Gällnö the place was full of boats. The better weather had definitely woken up the lightweather boaters. Still we found a rock quite far in which I had moored to before and which proved to have water deep enough even for Super Anne. Arriving already at 1300 we had a lazy afternoon swimming and talking. Then we took the 2 km walk to the village of Gällnö where there is a café and a shop. I then continued with Björn to the ferry dock on the other side of the island, as he was needed at work the day after and was taking the evening ferry back to town. Back at the anchorage we had dinner and then met for some wine and another chat. The next day Nigel would leave, so we spent some time putting waypoints into his GPS leading him out of the archipelago.

The next morning they left. I found Nigel good company and easy to cruise with and already miss Super Annes big diesel clouds and the sound of the Perkins. We don't have those here. Anyway I think he will be back and then I'll try to find some really small and tricky anchorages for him. There might even be a decent breeze. Now single handed I spent another day att Gällnö, enjoying the warm weather, taking a swim and reading my book. I got some other company though.

On Friday it rained heavily during the morning and the boat now wrongly trimmed without crew took in some rainwater through the port cockpit locker which I had to bail out. I now had to decide when and how to get home. I decided to try it in two legs in order to arrive sunday evening as the wind was forecast to veer into the west on monday which would have forced me on a long beat the last bit home. It went all without any problems. I left Gällnö under sail for 20 meters (just showing I could do it), but then the wind died and I motored for anther few cables until I was properly out of the anchorage. Then I sailed in light following winds all the way to Getfoten near Waxholm. That took me 6 hours and I was quite tired once I got there. The sailing was not tiring in itself, but there was a lot of wash from powerboats and in light winds this is quite stressful as the boom always swings around in the swells and needs to be held fast.

The sunset at Getfoten was very nice though. Next morning I started for the last leg home, which took me another five hours, mostly light following winds, making never more than three knots, except for the last two hours when the sea breeze had gotten up and I hade a nice beat at 4 knots or more. Finally at home after three weeks on the boat. You wonder what the third record was? Know what? I don't remember anymore.