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

A Sleigh ride in the Gale

01 October 2007 | Falsterbo Canal
28 September

Now's the time! The forecast this morning says NE 12-24 knots increasing in the afternoon to 24-32 knots. This would make a fast and fine ride south, around the 'corner' at Sandhammaren and then due west to Falsterbo. Around 110 miles, thus I have a decent chance of arriving Falsterbo just after sunrise tomorrow morning.
I set sail at 10am when the fog lightened up. Nearly no breeze at all, I had to hoist the booster (large lightwind headsail in thin nylon cloth- an early sort of gennaker)to make any headway at all. At noon I could take it down again and broad reached, course 210 degrees under main and storm jib. At 2.30 I reefed the main, then the second reef at 3.30. I passed by the town of Simrishamn, some 6-7 miles away out at sea, at sunset 6.30 and by then I took the main down and lashed it thoroughly to the boom. It felt like the boat made too little speed through the water so I decided to hoist the mizzen sail with the storm jib. The forecast at 3.50 predicted the wind to increase to 35-45 knots during the night. I didn't want to have to take the main down during the dark hours, hence I wanted to hoist the mizzen, which is far more easy to get down in a hurry, when need would be.
The reason for this gale is a high north of me, and a low further south. These weather systems kind of cooperates to strenghten the NE winds to gale force. No falling pressure on my barometer and no rain with the hard wind.
Anyway, back to the manouever of hoisting the mizzen. To do it, I would need to make the boat go to windward, thus avoiding the battens to interfere with the shrouds as I am hoisting the sail. Flying the storm jib only, the boat is not willing to point at windward though, a beam reach was as high as it could be. Hence I had had quite a hard job to get that mizzen sail up. When I eventually succeeded in this, it was only to find out that this was a bit too much sail area under the present circumstances, plus it made the boat wanting to round up in every gust. OK, lesson learned, got the darn sail down again and lashed it too the boom. This was a 10 minutes wrestle, as the boat rolled violently in the following seas, which was growing quickly in size. From now and until arrival at Falsterbo I preceeded under the tiny storm jib alone, and we made 5-6 knots boat speed during the evening, then 7-7,5 (!) knots during the later part of the night. The boat balanced perfectly, and Helmer , the wind vane, steered so fine allowing me to spend most of the night hours resting/dozing off on my bunk. Every 20 minutes I had a thorough look around the horizon for commercial shipping and then I went back to the bunk again. This is a quite busy shipping lane so there were a few ships to avoid close encounter with, but I had set my waypoints a bit closer to the shoreline to stay away from them. This meant shallower water and the corresponding larger seas. It's always a trade off...
Rde Orm rode fantastically well to the seas. Every 10-15 minutes there came a couple of waves about twice the average size, and the sound when the boat rode on the breakers reminded me of standing under a water-fall.
At 10.30pm I jibed as I passed Sandhammaren's Lighthouse and steered due west for the rest of the night. It was exhilirating and refreshing to spend the night on the bunk, just enjoying the motion of the boat, and the wind howling through the rigging. The only mishap, was when I woke up and took a GPS reading as of 187 degrees. It took me a couple of seconds to realise it read 187 instead of 287. Christ! The boat had jibed by itself and was now heading towards Poland! When I got out into the cockpit the cause of this soon became clear to me. One of the lines from the vane to the tiller had broken, so a nightly repair was called upon. This was actually a lot easier than it may sound and soon the yacht was back on the correct course again.
At 4.30am Sanna gave me a phone call. She was on her way to work, and volunteered to drive by the entrance to the Falsterbo Canal to have a look at the seastate and to see if the spot I had in mind for berthing was free. Much to my content it was, and despite the incredible boat speed during the night hours, I figured that it should be almost full daylight before I arrived. A cup of hot chocolate and some raisins provided a boost in my level of blood sugar, and then I returned to the bunk to get all the rest I could.
As always, the sailing itself does not bother me, but entering harbours in hard weather, without crew, always do. As mostly, those worries turned out to be unnecessary, the entering between the piers and the manouevers of berthing was no problem at all. It was something else that bothered me this time.
When I had 2 miles left to the piers giving shelter to the basin, it was time to steer 355 degrees. This was not possible under the storm jib as I have described previously. I took it down to motor the last stretch heading 50 degrees from the wind. Due to shelter from the coastline, the seastate was much less severe now, but the wind speed was still at it's high. The 30 hp engine could hardly provide speed over ground, just 1-1,5 knots and the boat healed 15-20 degrees solely due to the windage caused by the rigging. This was nothing to be bothered about, but the 'hollow' sound from the engine exhaust gave me a hint that it was not getting enough cooling water. Time for some logical thinking and then a fast decision.

To the Bb side (leeward) there were shoals all over the place and no more than 50-100 meters away. Thus, If the engine would fail, my only possibilty to save my boat from grounding would be to set the storm jib again and head due south, away from the shore line. Then I could heave to, and wait for calmer weather to sort the cooling problem out and then head for port again. I decided to have a go at port right away. Running the engine on low revs just enough to make headway. If the temperature alarm would start beeping, I would have to switch to the plan above. If the alarm would start while I was entering the basin, I figured that I could still run the engine the few minutes it would take to the dock without any serious damage being done to it...
It all worked out fine, apparently the engine got just about enough cooling to not sound the alarm. I must admit that it was quite a relief to tie the docklines this time.
It took me an hour or so to get the boat shipshape again (including tensioning the belt driving the water pump and trying it out) after which I celebrated with my last beer. Then I was 'unconsious' for three hours until Sanna came to pick me up on her return from work.

This led to my first night spent in a bed in a house for four months.

P.S. Later in the afternoon I checked with the Met office and they reported wind speeds during the night of 32-40 knots, gusting at 45 on and off. Quite a blow!
As long as the day light allowed me yesterday, I could see lots of migrating birds heading the same way as me. One exhausted little fellow was a passenger on Rde Orm for a few hours. I fed him some cheese and I want to think that he did well and had a lucky voyage south when he finally left.. The picture above shows him sitting on the mizzen sheet. D.S.
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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Röde Orm's Photos -

Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden