Another reason for the stop at Härsö was that my wife was to leave the boat and return back to town and work. This is very convenient for her to do by bus from Trinntorp, on the mainland opposite Härsö. So on Sunday I motored over to drop her off at the bus and get some supplies. I was now alone for a few days, socialising with the other club members at Härsö (there weren't that many once the week-end was over, though) and waiting for my father to arrive. He would then join me for another week of sailing. The weather actually was quite nice those days and I got in a fair amount of swimming (with some help of the sauna at times). The rain and wind had also effectively done away with the algae and the water was now clear as in spring.
My Dad was to arrive on Wednesday, at the same time as another, less severe gale was forecast, this time from the southwest. So I decided to meet him at the posh marina at Saltsjöbaden, head base of the Royal Swedish Sailing Association, which mainly reflects in lots of average white boats and really high harbour fees. Much shelter against the wind the place did not have. It was safe enough hanging on the dock with the bows, wind and spray coming right over the pontoon, but there are more comfortable places. Over all I find marinas often quite badly sheltered, it may be better to sit out those gales in small sheltered bays instead. However, then there are no pubs to get out of the rain into.
This is the place, with the famous hotel just visible in the background. In fact there were quite a few brits around, one big converted fishing boat from Jersey even. It's visible to the right in the pic above.
In the evening there was a regatta outside the harbour.
The next day the wind picked up.
Then my father arrived. At least it did not rain. Still the wind was a bit too much and also I had planned the next leg to be quite long so we started the cruise in the pub.
The next day the weather was fine, with light winds and only some clouds. I wanted to move the boat up into the northern part of the archipelago again, in order to be able to get home without having to lower the mast under that brigde. Also with the more powerful engine I wanted to take the opportunity to sail through Strömma canal, basically a shortcut to get from Saltsjöbaden to Sandhamn without having to go around the outer, less sheltered part of the skerries. Usually trying to sail as much as possible and with my wife liking open horizons more than narrow canals I never had sailed through there before. I am sure that, having seen the following pictures, Nigel will have to take his Super Anne through there next year as well.
The canal starts as a natural sound which eventually narrows. There are two bridges as well, the first is high enough for most sailboats.
Once under it suddenly a dockyard appears.
Then the inlet narrows yet more.
In fact, there are much nicer spots, but I had no time to take pictures as I was too busy navigating through. After a while the water opens into a lake-like inlet that can be sailed again. At it's end is the small village of Strömma. Here is a gas station, a restaurant and according to the pilot book even a food store. That, however had been closed for three years so we did not get any provisions there. We had a hamburger though.
In Strömma the short man made canal starts. Here also is the second bridge which has to be opened for sailboats to pass. Once again, sorrily enough no pictures, we simply forgot to take any until we were through already.
Shortly after the canal, the water opens again. From here we could sail comfortably in increasing winds all the way to our destination, Gällnö. Well, not all the way, as we had to make a little detour. About one hour before we normally would have arrived at Gällnö we were hailed by a small motorboat with engine trouble and occupied by a woman and her child. She asked us for a lift to the next harbour and I accepted, provided that it was OK we would tow them under sail, which is something I secretly dreamt of for years.
We towed them under sail at 3 knots for a while but when we neared the next headland the wind dropped and in order to reach our destination i reasonable time despite the 4 nm detour we had to ask Tohatsu-San for help. After having dropped her off outside the village of Sollenkroka where there is a dockyard and repair facilities, we set sail again and had a nice evening sail towards Gällnö. We arrived there at 1800 after almost 9 hours altogether (including the lunch stop at Strömma).
We felt a little tired so we stayed at Gällnö a few days to rest.
My Dad doing his best to lighten the boat by drinking the admiral's left-over white wine. The stay at Gällnö also was prolonged by persistent rain during the second day. Still, poor father walked the 2 km distance through the dripping forest to the store in order to buy a newspaper and get his football results. Of course I did not go with him! He brought some Danish and nice bread for breakfast though so there was some advantage in it.
Our next stop was Ekholmen, a private club which does accept visting boats. We had a nice sail there and the rain did not start until we were right outside the harbour. We were now in waters previously covered by my reports, so I did not take so many pictures. We then sailed in quite some winds, tacking most of the way to Getfoten. There, again is a restaurant where we had a nice meal and celebrated the last evening of the cruise.
The next morning a rescue helicopter was about early waking up people by hovering around for half an hour, probably not finding a good spot to land.
Getfoten also is very near the main shipping line into Stockholm and from it the big ship parade can be seen.
Our final leg home was some kind of anti-climax as we had to motor almost all the way due to light or no winds at all. It was sunny and warm though.
As every cruise even this one brought some improvements. The first one was a footstep I made during our first stop at Härsö. I probably am getting older, but this year I found the step up from the cabin to the bridgedeck a bit high...
The second one was roast bread. I cannot understand why I never before had the idea to just put slices of bread into a frying pan. It's quite obvious isn't it?
Gladly, even this year nothing on the boat broke. However, the flag pole has swelled tight in his base so I cannot get it out again...oh well.