Sunday, August 23, 2009

New shelf

There had always been unused space where the former owner had his stereo and switchboard. As I have removed those the space had been empty. Now I have made a new shelf where the stereo once had been. I used half an old washboard I had kept as a reserve, and ten screws. Easy job...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer cruise 2009 - Part III

(If you have missed the earlier parts you may want to start reading from Part I) The day my father arrived I sailed the boat to Finnhamn, only a short distance from where I was moored. It still took quite some time, in blazing sunshine and with almost no wind. When I finally was moored up I had to take a swim at once. I was moored at Idholmen a 20 minutes walk from the ferry landing, but my Dad likes walking in the forest so I thought it wouldn't be a problem. Shortly after I arrived, a big Bavaria 36 moored closely next to me. But this is to be expected here, where it is quite deep everywhere and there is a shop and a restaurant as well. Still, the crew was nice and offered me a whiskey for compensation, which I accepted, of course. An hour and a half later I started to walk to the ferry landing. When I got half way there I realized that I had forgotten my wallet, so no beer at the pub while waiting for the ferry... Anyway, my Dad finally arrived on this slightly less ugly ferry. Photobucket

In real "Riddle of the Sands"-style he had not only a rucksack but a hard suitcase which may not have been the best choice of things one would like to carry through a forest - or onboard a boat. But we managed nonetheless. I had offered my Dad two choices as for destination for the next day: a pittoresque fishing village with a pub or a deserted island with a view of the horizon. Knowing my Dad I was quite sure he would pick the fishing village. So we sailed to Möja. Winds were very light and we managed to sail about halfway until they died down completely. We then motored the rest of the way, taking the shortcut through the Möjaström passage, which I had never done before. At the entrance to the channel someone was restoring this beautiful vessel. Photobucket

And here is a short clip from the passage. At Möja we went to the restaurant in order to book a table for the evening, only to discover that it was closed for restauration until 2010. Instad we had a hamburger at a grill at the ferry landing. Later we discovered that the café which only used to sell breakfast and danish pastry now had expanded and even served food. So we went there again in the evening and had very nice steaks... Before that, we visited the little church. I had never been inside before, despite having been to Möja several times earlier. It is really nice. From the roof hangs a big model ship. Unfortunately I only had the camera in my mobile phone at the time and the light inside was too bad. When I got back the next morning with the proper camera, the church was closed...Oh well, another time. Photobucket

Möja also has a new harbourmaster. Photobucket

The next day we sailed in a little more wind to Lådna. It's a place I have visited many times and it is always nice to come here and have a swim. My Dad enjoying the water. Photobucket

Afterwards he told me that this cruise was the best he had yet. Mainly, I think because of the much warmer weather (it did not rain even once!), but he also liked the food on board better. (Although I cannot remember the food having been worse last year...). From Lådna we sailed on to Gällnö, another known place from my reports. On the last leg back to town it is a bit difficult to find new anchorages. This time, it being a week-end and very sunny and warm, the achorage was so crowded I did not find a suitable rock to moor at first. Instead I sailed the boat until the keels touched the mud and we could jump into the water and wade ashore. Coming back aboard wasn't as easy though... We moved to a proper rock later. Via a short hop to Hästholmen south of Grinda (which my Dad did not like at all as we were moored in shadow from trees most of the time), we sailed on to Getfoten. This time, however we took another route, through Lindalssundet. It's a shortcut, but usually much frequented by wash-making mobos, so I try to avoid it. This time it wasn't so bad and we could sail all the way through. Only the last part, through Vaxholm itself we had to motor against strong winds in an area with much traffic. Shortly before entering Lindalssundet we met this survey vessel, moving some buoys. Photobucket

And this nice Dutch boat. Photobucket

At Getfoten we arrived at the same time as the garbage nice smell... Photobucket

And the boat next to us, a mobo from Uppsala with engine trouble had fixed a tow to a boatyard that would arrive at 0600 the next day. Photobucket

With rain (finally) in the forecast, I thought it was just as well for us to make an early start as well. And so we did, arriving at home just before it started to rain! After all, this cruise was definitely one of the nicer ones. We did not have to sail in rain once. In the beginning, the winds were a little on the strong side, but as they were from the right direction we could sail anyway. The engine did us good service, and with the old Honda we might not have been able to make good the distace from Söderarm to Blidö in one day, so there is something to be said for a little more horsepower sometimes. Still we did not use much more than six litres of petrol for the whole trip. As for improvements on the boat, I don't really think there were any this time, although I got a little better at reefing. Finally the tracks for the last leg. First Finhamn - Möja - Lådna - Gällnö. Photobucket And Gällnö - Hästholmen - Getfoten - Home. Photobucket

Summer cruise 2009 - Part II

After the horrors of Fejan nightlife, we needed two quiet days to rest. This was beautifully accomplished at Långskär, one of those coves that are far too shallow for big boats. Thus we were essentially alone, except for two other sailboats on the other side of the cove. Those were great entertainment though as they had cats onboard, two on each boat. The smaller boat had two white Turkish Van cats which were running around ashore all the time, and mewing like crazy. The other boat had two black cats, which were quite the opposite. Almost never ashore and not saying a word. Unfortunately I do not have fotage of the cats, nor the boats. In fact, I did take almost no photos on that island, too busy relaxing I guess. Here is one though. Photobucket

On Monday we had officially abandoned our plans to go to Åland. With still unstable weather and time running out we decided to sail into the Söderarm archipelago instead. This part of the Stockholm archipelago had been a prohibited military area for decades and only been open for leasure craft a few years. There are still some military installations, but almost no private houses and it is currently discussed to have the Archipelago foundation take charge of the whole area in order to prevent exploatation. The downside of the area being relatively new to boaters revealed itself as we reached our anchorage. There were quite a few boats, and additionally no shore facilities at all. As we already had two garbage bags from our previous cove we felt a bit like a litter transport. Anyway, the place is well worth a visit. Photobucket

On the way there, one has once again to cross the ferry lane to Finland. But then there are no navigational marks anymore except to a few military ones which purpose one has to guess. The island we visited, Inra Hamnskär, lies exactly opposite the one with the main military installation, a tall mast with a radar dome on top (at least this is my guess of its purpose). Inra Hamnskär itself is very nice with tons of this mossy stuff they sell at quite a price to model railway enthusiasts, who paint it and make fake bushes of it. (Yes, yes, I once did that as well...). Photobucket

Later, a British boat entered the anchorage anchoring in the middle of it. It had an interesting rig, with two unstayed masts, almost like a junk rig but not quite. Behind it the radar mast can be seen. Photobucket

From the highest point of the island the view is spectacular. Photobucket


The anchorage was even visited by a mink and I managed to catch it on video. We stayed here two days, hoping in vain that there would be some east in the wind so we could get South without having to tack too much. But this was not to be. So we left anyway, with a SW wind more or less on the nose. In order to be able to get some southing in, we decided to sail straight through the islands, in an area with no navigational marks at all. I picked a course that would be reasonably easy to pilot, with most shallows being near visible islands or rocks. However, the wind did not really allow us to keep to that course. Once through the worst of it without incident, we emerged in relatively open water, with quite a chop. But we could sail for some miles with the wind from at least a reasonable angle. After an hour or so of this, however we had to turn more westerly and the wind came right on the nose. So in the end, we used the engine for about half the distance to Blidö. Still after five hours of sometimes quite wet sailing (in fact the motoring into the chop was really the wettest part), we enjoyed a meal at the restaurant at Blidö. When we finally got it. The staff was really unorganized and sloppy at the least. We had been at Blidö before and while the restaurant has expanded its business a little, the food store had closed, which was a disappointment. There is a very nice old barge there, taking tourist out for day trips. Photobucket

The next day we left Blidö for another island we have visited on an earlier cruise, Själbottna. However, this time we moored in another cove, one that is referred to as more difficult to get into and also shallower that the other one. It was indeed shallow, but we found a perfect spot all the way in that was easily defended against bigger boats. In fact, while there were about five other boats the first night, the second there was none at all. Photobucket

As proof of the difficult pilotage into the cove, we clearly heard the bang of a fin keel hitting a rock once. But the boat was alright, except maybe some gelcoat work next winter... Oh, and the second night we had the place completely to our own. The island was completely overgrown by blueberries and I actually picked some which I had in my scrambled eggs the next morning. By now the first two weeks were nearing an end and it was time to think of a place to change crew. After some checking of ferry timetables we decided to drop off my wife at Södra Ingmarsö. The weather had now improved and it was warm and sunny with light winds. We still could sail all the way. This one was out as well. Photobucket

According to the pilot book there was a new marina there, only 400m from the ferry dock. And so it was, the marina was very nice, but the 400m were not by foot but right across the bay! As we do not carry a dinghy this was a bit of a problem until I discovered that the marina has rowing boats that can be borrowed for the purpose. Very smart indeed! Photobucket

In the marina. That evening we had a meal at the dockside restaurant. Not being a week-end it was nice and quiet and there was even some live jazz! The next morning my wife left on this quite ugly ferry. Photobucket

For my own part I sailed the same day to a quite little spot called Stora Kalholmen. It's a small cove where the water gets quite warm and I stayed there two days, swimming, relaxing and preparing the boat for the week with my father. Photobucket

That story will be told in the third part, but before, as usual some Google-tracks. First Långskär - Söderarm - Blidö. Photobucket And Blidö - Själbottna - Södra Ingmarsö - Stora Kalholmen. Photobucket To Part III

Summer cruise 2009 - Part I

(July 20 - Aug 11) Finally another year of work, winter and cold had passed and Discovery set out for her annual summer cruise. The setup was similar to the one of last year: first two weeks together with my wife, then after a few days alone, my father would join me for another week. This year we set out North, vaguely having in mind that there was a Small Boat Club meeting planned on Åland. If we would get there, we also would be able to visit my wife's uncle who has a summer house there. However, to say it at once, there never was a crossing to Åland, and no boat meeting either. For our own part, the weather in the beginning of the cruise was very unstable, with strong winds, albeit from the right direction. So we still made it farther North than ever before and would have been only a day sail from Åland. However, when the weather finally was right for the crossing we would not have been able to get back in time to meet my father. We set out from our home port a day later than planned, even this due to bad weather. When we finally left, it had stopped raining, but the winds were in the 24 knots range. As they were from the Southwest we could use them though, for a fast ride of about 25 nautical miles, through the inside passage called Furusundsleden all the way up to Siaröfortet. This took us about six hours and we were sailing with jib alone in the beginning, later with the addition of a reefed mainsail. During our ride up Furusundsleden we met some ferries, as this is the route out to to Finland for the biggies. Our first stop, Siaröfortet is a place I have wanted to visit for quite some time. It is a small island that is basically an underground fort from the First World War. Its construction was started in 1916 and it was finished in 1928, by which time it was more or less outdated already. Still it was in use until 1939, right in time for the Second World War. Luckily Sweden was neutral during both wars, so the fort wasn't needed really. Photobucket

The fort is completely built under the rocks, using quite a lot of Alfred Nobel's dynamite, I guess. On top there are only two big gun turrets, some smaller ones and covered walkways for the crew. Photobucket

Under ground the crew had their quarters and command posts. There were even big searchlights that could be hoisted up from below and rolled around above on small railway tracks. Photobucket




While this is all very interesting, it is unfortunately practically a ruin. So much more could have been done to make it more living, with exhibitions and wax soldiers or maybe even real people in costumes. Or at least they could have turned on the heating. But I guess it would have been too expensive, after all there were not that many visitors. The island has a small dock for boats that visit overnight. Unfortunately it is not very protected if there are strong winds from the SW. The chop in the harbour was horrendous. Still, at least there were moorings so we did not have to worry about the anchor dragging. Photobucket

The night was thus very rough and we did not sleep that well. As the winds were the same, or even stronger the next day, we decided to make a short but fast run to Ängsö, an island with a good natural harbour in this wind as well as a reputation for great nature. Getting out of the harbour, however, was a bit of a challenge. After watching a big German boat only getting out by a daring dash backwards while leaving a crewmember with a long line marooned ashore (they picked him up later though), I thought about maybe warping the boat out instead. But then a guy apperad and offered to help, so I placed him in a strategic spot for fending off if we would not be able to make the turn qick enough and went for it, succeeding as well! This is the German boat, sailing happily with only a partly rolled out genny. Photobucket

We arrived at Ängsö two and a half hours later. It's really a nice spot, with some traditional farm cottages and a great forest. Photobucket


The sign in the forest says that it's a bird protection zone, but I am quite sure it's a cover up. In fact, they are protecting vampires. Just have a look at these mossy trees! It's just like in "Twilight". Photobucket

Talking about vampires, this cruise was the worst yet as far as ticks are concerned. I got at least five, one of which between my toes! We stayed at Ängsö another night in order to recover from the choppy night at Siarö. The anchorage was not very crowded, however it got close once when suddenly twelve black IF-boats sailed through. They chose another bay to anchor in though. Photobucket

With the wind still strong from the SW we left on Thursday in order to make another dash North. This time we sailed with reefed main and small jib, except for a few miles when we motored into a choppy headwind in order to save some time (and be more comfortable). After four hours we arrived at Lidö, the most northerly point of our cruises yet. According to the original plan we would wait here (or on islands near here) until the weather improved enough for the crossing to Åland. On the way to Lidö we saw this interesting catamaran, with an a-frame mast. Photobucket

In fact, the wind was not so bad for a crossing to Åland the day after we arrived at Lidö. Unfortunately there was a dense fog that did not lift before well after lunch and then it was too late for the crossing. Photobucket

Here it has almost lifted... Instead, we decided to sail to Fejan, another place we wanted to visit for a long time. It has a restaurant, which wasn't a bad thing by this time either. What we did not consider, though, was that it was Friday. And Friday night at one of the archipelago pubs is nothing to recommend if you want a quiet night. When we arrived the dock was already full of boats, but an Alacrity has it's advantages. So we could moor on the inside of the dock. Photobucket

Fejan was used in former times to quarateen refugees from the Baltic countries. There are still some old, derelict and almost overgrown buildings. Photobucket

While taking a walk I found this interesting vessel. Photobucket

And an old ice cream lorry. Photobucket

As well as dinner. Photobucket

No, we did not have duck, but we ate at the restaurant and it was one of the better ones in the archipelago. At least until the loud music and all the rest of the Friday night life started. At about two in the morning I had to go up to prevent a leaving mobo from untying my docklines instead of his own. Twice! So we did not get too much sleep here either. I the morning we had breakfast at the café and left for another quiet anchorage only a few miles away, Långskär. Photobucket

Before we move to part II, here are the Google Earth tracks, first for the leg from home to Siarö. Photobucket

And second from Siarö - Ängsö, Lidö, Fejan and Långskär. Photobucket

Go to part II.