The Voyage of 'S/V Röde Orm' - Sweden

Come on board and take part in our adventures while exploring the world at the slow pace of a sailing boat. We left in June 2009, heading south to escape the northern winter... to start with. Currently in Algarve/Portugal taking it one day at a time.

13 September 2010
11 September 2010 | Nantes, Bretagne-France
07 September 2010 | Bretagne (or Normandie?)
02 September 2010 | still the same...
31 August 2010 | Rezè- Bretagne (boat in Rio Guadiana)
09 August 2010 | Rezé//Bretagne//France
18 July 2010 | Clisson/La Sèvre
15 July 2010 | Nantes/ Brittany
14 July 2010 | Nantes/Bretagne/France
25 June 2010 | Gamleby- Sweden
05 June 2010 | Mértola// Minas San Domingo
27 May 2010 | Alcoutim
24 May 2010 | of the River
21 May 2010 | Alcoutim/Sanlucar
21 May 2010 | Alcoutim/Sanlucar
16 May 2010 | Alcoutim
10 May 2010 | Alcoutim/Sanlucar
30 April 2010 | Alcoutim-PT// Sanlucar- ES
24 April 2010 | Ayamonte - Andalucia - Spain

neverending tacking...?

20 August 2007 | Kask-Finland
3 August

Everything kinda' went wrong today. Our initial plans were to visit Haparanda Sandskaer National Park, a flat sandy island that lies to the South of Haparanda on the Finnish border. To visit you have to anchor on the E side of the island, however as the wind prevails from the south we would have had to tack (really tack) to get there, so we passed on that one.

Instead of a day of tacking we chose to visit Renskaer. Our voyage there included an initial two hours of motoring against wind and waves. The waves had a long fetch and (because of this distance) they had grown, this coupled with the shallow waters along the coastline made the seastate very choppy and unpleasant. Eventually, on changing our heading, we were able to sail close-hauled for a short time before the wind dropped. The waves measuring 1 meter coupled with very shallow depths made me long for tranquilizers.

The island of Renskaer was beautiful, boasting a couple of picturesque fishing villages. We had reindeer meat for dinner and afterwards retired to the wood-burning (not electric) sauna, this made up for a lousy beginning of the day.

4 August

Today we explored the island on foot consuming many freshly picked blueberries 'en route'. On returning to Rde Orm the other boats that had been moored were gone leaving us alone in the harbour.

That afternoon we tacked in a light breeze to another picturesque old fishing village called Brndskr, part of Pite skrgrd, SW of Renskr. An 18th century chapel made of logs sat on the top of the island, its floor boards were almost 2ft wide!

Unfortunately a pesky Southerly wind is predicted for the next few days, so our tacking business is going to continue for a while longer. In other news a mighty high pressure system is coming our way, obviously we dont mind that.
5 -6 August

Sunny sailing today back North to the town of Lule, where we took on provisions and tended to some work related matters.

Our voyage continued in the afternoon when we left Lule heading for Antns-Brstskr. A Southerly wind forced us to motor for a couple of hours. Upon our arrival we anchored in a sheltered bay for the night. That evening we sat in the cockpit of the boat and watched the sunset, the whole sky appeared to be on fire and moved through a dizzying erray of colours. I slowly sipped my way through a 2 litre bottle of home brewed beer that was given to me before leaving home. Evidently the beer had benefitted from stowage in a locker, underneath my bunk, for a couple of months. Thank you Aron!

7 August

We didn't really touch land on Antns-Brstskr, remaining on the boat for the duration of our stay. Today we had a headwind, as usual, forcing us to tack all day long before reaching Pite-Rnnskr, a beautiful place I dearly wanted to show Sanna.

We dropped anchor in a bay on the Northern side of the island and had a three mile walk to the village. On our arrival the village was deserted, compared to the bedlam of July 27th when I was last here, alone. However now that the vacation period is over, summer houses and ports are empty, leaving attractions desolate and eerie.

Looking forward, Sanna is due to leave from Ume on August 10th, upon which date an English chap by the name of David Gore (esq) or Dave, is joining me for a fortnightly escapade. I think it will be a struggle to reach Ume in time now due to the neverending headwinds. I imagine 105 miles of tacking will be time consuming and probably boring, as it will be, in most parts, a rhum' sea from here on. Technically the archipelago ends here, the coast further south is rocky and full of reefs.

8 August

Today there was a light Southerly breeze and we tacked all day to reach Bjurklubb at 8pm, Bjurklubb is home to a light-house and old pilot watch station. Later that evening Marianne and Roger, whom I met at Axmar earlier this summer during a gale, came to visit us for a cup of tea and a chat. They had an hours car drive from their home to this harbour, so it was very nice of them to drop by.

9 August

I told Roger about our predicament with the time schedule and he phoned an old friend in Ratan who offered us a car ride to Ume, if need be. The people up here in the north are really marvelous. The Southerly wind was an issue today and we cast off at 8am for a full day of beating the wind. We arrived at Ratan just before midnight and fell asleep, exhausted. We didnt see a single boat during this whole day, 'all the sea to ourselves'.

10 August

Synopsis, sunny and warm and hardly no wind at all. Rogers friend, Folke, was a really nice guy and was also quite interesting. A mechanical wizard, he converted old Range Rovers to diesel, installing new engines.

Odd jobs, cleaning and some laundry occupied most of the day. Folke drove me to Ume in the afternoon (in his home-made Folkeswagon lol) to meet Dave . I took the opportunity to go shopping at the same time for some much needed provisions.

Dave turned out to be an interesting character. He is studying medicine in England and has just completed some exams, previously he spent time in China studying Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sanna, Dave and I had dinner together before Sanna took the bus to Ume in the evening, catching the night train back to Stockholm. It was sad to see her leave and I will miss her lots.

11 August

At last! No more Southerly wind. An East to North Easterly 15 -25 knot wind was predicted.

Although Dave had little previous sailing experience, he opted for a Baptism of Fire and we decided to head directly across to Finland's side of the gulf. Needless to say, Dave's first aid box was well stocked up with seasickness pills and patches, should he feel the need to vomit en route.

We had an amazing day of sailing, making 6-7 knots COG all the way with the wind on the beam. As a bonus to Dave the seasickness pills were not required.

That evening we anchored for the night at Malskr, on the old route the mail boats used to take across the Kvarken in ancient times. Two finnish power-boats were also moored here, their occupants taking a keen interest in a large smokey camp fire on shore. We could not tie up to shore as the sea transpired to be to shallow. Thus we anchored off the coastline and inflated the dinghy so that we may row to shore and explore. Hords of mosquitoes expressed their keen interest in our blood, and the terrain was both bushy and rocky making staying on two feet a challenge.

We had dinner onboard and discussed life, death and medicine til midnight. That evening, when going to bed I accidentally stood on my doggys tail. Doggy must have thought it was Dave who had committed this attrocity and proceeded to nip his feet whenever he passed.

12 August

The mets had promised a light North Easterly breeze, but unfortunately it was nowhere to be seen. Dead calm, and a bit foggy all day. We motored for 8 whole hours (record of the year) to the city of Vaasa (Wasa in swedish). Mooring at Wasa Segelforenings (sailing society) well kept club harbour opposite the town center and enjoying a sauna in the club house.

This afternoon we learned about a 'flotilla' of yellow rubber ducks that are heading towards Europe. It was reported in English newspapers called the Daily Mail (June 27th) and the Times (June 28th). They have been travelling for 15 years now since they fell out of a ship in a container, during a storm. There were 29'000 of them. I'm sure it would be great to see! Plus apparently you can make 500 if you find one. ( (,,999371,00.html) (

13 August

We took a walk to the town center today. On the way there we saw a lovely replica of an old mail boat from 1668(!) at the dock. Made from wood, in Estonia in 1996, currently serving as a charter boat.

We had lunch and a beer or two in town. Dave kept searching for an english drink called Pimms, that no one here, the skipper included, had ever heard of (exclaiming "Pimm's O'Clock" at every oppertunity). It would appear the weather Gods have turned their face away from us again. A weak Southerly breeze is predicted for the whole week. Definetely not what we are dreaming of, when we are to go south in narrow finnish waters. The waters here laced with rocks making tacking or any sort of excursions outside the routes unadvisable.

Later that evening an odd smell was detected by the nostrils of Dave and myself, upon exploration of this aroma we chose to partake in some laundry activities. Washing the dog and her rug, clothes and the footwear of both Dave and myself. Later that evening the cabin smelt like an alpine pine forest in the spring morning dew.

14 August

Wind South Westerly 8-15 knots. We need to move on, hence we motor for 6 hours to Molpe, another old pilots watch on an island facing the open sea to the West. It appeared deserted when we tied up to the dock. The sparse buildings on the island were locked and not very well kept, we saw a sign telling us that this is a part of a World Heritage Area, it was a weird place. The level of weirdness was compounded when we took a walk on a path leading round the southern part of the island. The signs, along the path, informed us that the area was used as grazing for sheep. However that must have been a while ago as the place resembled a jungle, full of mosquitos and spider webs.

Later that evening, back at the boat, two swedish speaking finnish guys (who arrived in a power boat), invited us to party by the camp fire, so we did. A minority of approximately 300 000 people along the coast of Finland have swedish as their mother tongue. This dates back to the time when Finland was a part of Sweden. We lost Finland to the Russians in 1809, after the battle of Ratan, as described earlier in this blog.

15 August

Wind South Westerly 10-15 knots. Today believe it or not, we motored for another 5 hours (adding up to almost 20% of this years motoring and all since Dave arrived) and then tacked for five hours to arrive at the island of Gshllan at 7pm. The weather predicted a gale later this evening continuing into tomorrow. This picturesque island boasts a lighthouse and a small fishing village of the past. It was very well kept and much to our delight had a perfect wood burning finnish sauna. That evening we decided we would: 1) explore the island. 2) chop some wood. 3) Light the sauna. 4) prepare and eat dinner whilst the sauna was warming. 5) have a sauna then sleep.

Part 1 passed without event, however part 2, chopping wood with a bent saw and an old axe was quite amusing, both Dave and myself suffered some minor cuts. Part 3 - lighting the sauna turned out to be one of the funniest moments ever on my trip. Whilst lighting the sauna I decided to recruit my old friend denaturated alchohol fuel (used for my stove) confusing it with parrafin I sprayed it into the lit sauna causing a fire ball to shoot out setting Dave's right foot on fire. I have never seen anyone move so fast to put his foot in cold water from the well. Dave also found this very amusing and suffered from hair loss on top of one toe, so no serious injury. 'I must now figure out some other way of killing him.'
Part 4 went well and part 5, the sauna, was perfect.

We both agreed that this was a perfect place to stay during the gale. During the night the wind was howling in the rigging and the rain started at the latter part of it. Unfortunately the gale is from the South, otherwise we could have sailed on.

16 August

I woke up once during the night, and lay in my bunk, listening to the howling sound in the rigging caused by the ever increasing wind. The gale and the rain it brought along with it really got going during the late morning hours. After lunch, we took a walk to the windward side of this island, and took some spectacular pictures of the breakers. When we came back to Rde Orm, we had visitors. A couple in a Vega, named 'La Loba', that moored a little further south on the island, came round for a chat. They were on their way home to Rne after a 5 week cruise to ?.land and then up the coast of Finland. They went back to their boat, saying that they would come back for a sauna with us later that evening.

Dave took on the chore of chopping some wood for the sauna, undertaking this task he somehow chopped his leg with the axe and came back to the boat, where I was busy in the galley. Dave asked for his first aid kit and sat in the cockpit. A quick glance revealed a clean cut approximately 2 centimeters long and quite deep on his right shin. Although nothing too serious it came in handy, that he just finished some medical exams and had that huge First Aid kit with him. Together we pulled the gash together and butterfly stitched it closed. After the initial 'shock' he came out fine and joined the rest of us for the sauna. 'Perhaps he will get himself killed?'

17 August

This morning a tremendous thunderstorm woke me early, whilst it was passing the wind speed increased dramatically. Next time we arose from our slumber the sky had cleared, although the barometric pressure kept dropping and the wind showed no sign of easing off.
We were hoping the wind would shift direction so we could leave the island of Dave's 'cursed' leg.
Unfortunately this was not to be and we spent a pleasant afternoon with Maria and Kjell in 'La Loba' drinking coffee and cocktails. Later in the evening, we all occupied the sauna as usual, after Dave and I chopped more wood. (Needless to say Dave kept well clear of the axe, perhaps to avoid another 'axeident'?)
A single malt in the cabin of Rde Orm rounded the evening off at 2am.

18 August

Still stranded here in this neverending gale, we 'seriously' considered starting to cultivate the land to maintain our provisions over the years we feel we'll be stuck here. After breakfast Rde Orm presented me with a special treat when the toilet fell apart, filling my morning with true delight. After an hour with my spanners, occupying the most confined compartment on board, the ordeal was over, for this time.
Today's forecast said the wind will decrease during the night but maintain the same direction. Eventually we may get to leave tomorrow. 'La Loba' left in the afternoon heading North with a tail wind, luckily for them. We will have to continue tacking tomorrow. It may not be too enjoyable, but at least we will get on with our voyage.

19 August

Finally, this morning we got underway! However, almost immediately the curse of Gshllan struck again. After a mere 20 meters of motoring off the dock, I managed to ground the boat in the mud two meters from the safe channel. (Although I would technically refer to it as an unscheduled surprise keel-cleaning.)

After trying in vane to free Rde Orm from these cursed waters, a finnish angel came to our rescue in a mini power boat with a 60 hp outboard. We hung our heads in shame, much to our surprise the remainder of the day passed without incident.

After 7 hours of the now too familiar tacking, we arrived at Kask (claimed to be the smallest city of Finland, population 1500) Wooden houses from the late 19th century line the parallel streets of this tranquil 'hamlet'. It didnt take us long to sniff out the pub and sample the local brew.

I went to bed sad that evening as Dave didn't celebrate my 'Name's Day'. In fact, Dave had no idea what a name day was. In Sweden each day of the year is attributed to a name and Magnus day is August 19th. I had become accustomed to presents galore - but not this day.

Dave's axe wound (now known as 'the scratch') appears to be healing well by the way, we had been worried about infection but it seems fine. Now he will be tortured with the itch!
Vessel Name: Röde Orm
Vessel Make/Model: Laurin 32 ketch built in 1965
Hailing Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
Crew: Magnus & Isabelle
MAGNUS, Swedish skipper. Navigation teacher and a Commercial Yachtmaster. After many years of dreaming, recently sold off his business since over 20 years. Left swedish waters in June 2009 and hasn't yet looked back ISABELLE, Born in Brittany/France & First Mate. [...]
During 2008 we cruised during two and a half months in the Baltic Sea as covered in the older posts on this blog together with Magnus's 2007 cruise to 66 degrees North in the Baltic Sea. During this spring of 2009 we completed an extensive exterior refit of Röde Orm, and untied the docking [...]
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