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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.
Sailing with a sister boat
09/07/2007, Houtskr - Finland

29 August

The sail to Jurmo worked out fine. First 8-10 miles South running and reaching to a 18-25 knot breeze. Beautiful! Then I experienced one of those fabulous squalls again. It all started with a rainfall of tropical magnitude, then a gust of storm force winds came howling through the rigging of Rde Orm. I never had the time to take the mainsail down, just let go the sheet to luff the sail. We did some amazing 9 knots for a while and there was sea spray allover the place. After about twenty minutes it ended as suddenly as it hit. I hardly had the time to catch my breath before the wind piped up again, this time from a clear blue sky. I realized that this gale was to go on for a few hours, and quickly got the main down and lashed it to the boom. Now the real ride came about. Winds of 35-40 knots kept Rde Orm moving at 7 knots with her jib and mizzen only! The seas grew quickly to around two meters and there was spray allover again. A fantastic sail nevertheless. Rde Orm rides so smoothly on the waves, even close-hauled as the last 3-4 miles to Jurmo. At arrival I could round up into the wind on the leeward side of Huvudskr, a smaller island just North of Jurmo. Heaved to on the mizzen only while I sorted out the jib, and arranged docking lines before entering the harbour. This is a fantastic feature of a ketch-rigged boat, being able to literay 'park' flying only the mizzen sail. Nina and Hans took some really great pic's of Rde Orm approaching Jurmo (among them the one above) and met me at the dock.
We had dinner together and relaxed in the sauna with a couple of beers later on.

30 August

The Northwestern wind kept blowing, gusting at gale force all day. We explored the island walking and spent the remains of the day just talking and hanging around. Jurmo is very beautiful, seven people live here around the year. The island is an outpost to the south within the ?.bo Archipelago, and is very low, and trees are sparse here. Geologically interesting, the island is mostly 'constructed' from rocks and gravel that the inland ice left here at the edge of it during a temprary stop in it's withdrawal from the area.

31 August

Sunny. Northwesterly winds 14-22 knots predicted today, and we all felt it was time to move on. After breakfast, the wind died out though, and then came back from Southeast. We were fast to respond to this opportunity, and both Rde Orm and Zappolina left Jurmo heading 300 degrees towards Houtskr, approximately 35 miles to Northeast. A lovely day sail, mostly in following wind. An hour or two before arrival, we experienced one more of those mandatory(?) thunderstorms. All three of us had dinner together at a restaurant right at the waterfront.

1 September

The first day of this first autumn month really showed us it's force by sending us yet another squall early in the morning. After this the day was mostly sunny though with just an occassional shower.
Since the amounts of edible perishables were now virtually none on our ships we spent a couple of hours in the morning at the nearby store. Here we met an interesting character who lived on his power boat in the harbour we moored. He had been doing so for the last five years all over Europe, but was now to settle down here in Houtskr. The boat was originally built in northern Norway where it was used for whale safaris. After two years, they needed larger vessels for the 'whale spotting' and thus the boat found a new use as a crusing boat and floating home. Once again I was given evidence of how small the boating community in fact is. The man mentioned above had met Arne with his home built concrete ketch last year. I met Arne at Pite Rnnskr as told here before.
A museum telling the story of the people living here in the old days, and showing some beautiful examples of the wooden boats of the past, kept us busy during the afternoon together with a look at the church built in the early 18th century.
In the evening we all had dinner together in Rde Orm's cabin. Nina surprised us with a 'crme caramel' made from some ready-to-bake mix. Tasted great.
The met's office is warning about another gale to hit from the Southwest during the night and foremost tomorrow. It seems as we will get stuck here just a little while longer.

2 September

Well, have I told you this before? The night was quite calm -given that we are at a sheltered spot - but this morning they still claim that we will experience wind speeds up to 35 knots during the day.
I spent the morning programming different routes back home on my laptop. All in all I have got approximately 450 miles to go. Mostly in a direction of 190-220 degrees. Now this doesn't sound too hard, but given that the prevailing wind this time of year is Southwesterly, and that the gales and neargales usually follows one another, it could be difficult within a few weeks. I don't reckon I will be able to sail more than one day out of three at most. Anyway, as soon as the wind is favorable, I must take the opportunity to sail as much as I possibly can. The first step on the way is to move to a SW outpost of the ?.land Archipelago 50 miles away, where I can wait for the right wind to come. Yes, Southwest, exactly head on winds right now...

3 September

Southwest 13-20 knots predicted for today and it came true. Zappolina were to head Northeast to the island of Vrd, passing Kumlinge Island on the way. I had my mind set on tacking my way to SW over Skiftet, a larger open sea stretch between all these islands. But after a second look at the chart, I decided to make them company yet another day. It simply made more sense to make 'one long tack to Vrd and then another long tack south to Rdhamn, a good place to leave ?.land from. Otherwise I would have to shorttack all day and probably tomorrow too. Hence the two Laurin kosterboats left Houtskr together.
We werent going together for so long though. Motoring our way through the narrow strait between Houtskr and the next island, it seems as my friends on Zappolina studied the charts a bit more carefully than I did. A little while later on, when I had a glance over my shoulder to see them following in Rde Orm's wake, they had made a BB turn to go along another route more to the south. When checking the chart, it immediately came clear to me that they made a 'winning' tactical move there. Nina and Hans would be able to hoist sails a lot sooner than me, plus, they would gain height to the wind, allowing them to make a loooong tack while I would have to shorttack further on. Well, sometimes you make your decisions, or others make them for you, so I decided to stick to the original plan and see what would happen.
After a few hours, Zappolina was almost at the horizon in front of me. A tiny white sail, passing Kumlinge and then going for some shorttacking among a few islands and reefs on the passage west to Vrd. Here I saw a possibility to play them a practical joke. While they were barely noticeable, tacking northwest, I fired up the engine (needed to tp off the batteries anyway, right ;-/ )and for an hour I mtorsailed at a much mre favorable course. As I was later told from Zappolina's crew, since the wind had piped up a bit, they were astonished how fast I could sail with my main only. LoL. A while later I hoisted the jib when I had an island between the two of us, and came out from behind that island sooome distance ahead of them. I guess their faces were looong for a while, until they figured out my, ehrr, tactical move.
To get to the port on the west side of Vrd, one has to pass under a road bridge that is only 7,5 meters high. Imposible for us. Since Sanna and I came this same route just after midsummer, I should really remember...
Anyhow, both of us found ourselves with looong faces at this obstacle. Plans obviously needed to be quickly revised. Thus we decided to stay for the night at the ferry/fishing harbour at Hummelvik at the Eastern side of Vrd.
We had a kinda' pot-luck dinner together before going to sleep that night.

The Storm that never showed up
09/06/2007, Houtskr - Finland

24 August

I had a faboulous hangover, didnt wake up until 11 am actually. Anyway, after a couple of aspirins
and a triple espresso, life kinda' returned to my poor body. Made it to town, where Dave took the bus to ?.bo while I did some provisioning. Back at the boat I made an oil change in the engine compartment. Not the funniest task to perform on a day like this. Sitting head down in the cramped engine department in a hot day getting oil all over up to my elbows... well,now it's done and it feels good not having to consider this chore for another 100 hours of motoring. Next summer that is. I decided not to leave the dock today, mostly due to my condition. Went to town in the evening to have a steak with french fries. Not my favorite dish normally, but after several weeks on 'boat diet' and with this hangover it felt as the right thing to do. After sailing with crew for the latest four weeks, I must admit that it is a weird feeling to be on my own again.

At 'Captains's Makasiini' the bar/restaurant we were in yesterday (not too many to choose from here, remember?) I had the much sought after steak, and together with it, I was involved in a surrealistic conversation. A Finn in his early sixties came over to sit at my table. He had a kinda' cowboy hat with the text -'fantastic Thailand'- written on it. So what's so surrealistic about it, then?

Well, it soon was revealed to me that he knew approximately 4 words of english, 4 words of spanish, and about 3 words swedish. Nedless to say this fact severely limited our possibilities to enjoy a meaningful conversation(since I do not speak a word of finnish myself). Much to Seppo's credit though, he did not let this fact at all distract him from making a serious attempt to tell me his life story. If I got it right - 'would surprise me if so - he lived in spain since 11 years and was married to a Thai woman who were presently in Thailand to renew her visa. Anyway, I am deeply impressed that he had managed to pull away all this, given his, 'ehrr', limited knowledge of language.

Speaking of language, a few of you might have noticed that my written english has improved significantly during Dave's stay onboard. Yes, you got it right. Obviously I took advantage of having the opportunity to make him edit my texts. From today, however, I must rely on my own capabilities again.

25 August

Since there were no sailing yesterday, I opted to be an early bird today, and left the dock at 5.30am.

The forecast of last night promised a SW wind gusting to gale force, later in the afternoon veering to W or NW. Hence my tactic was to motor the first 6-8 miles at a course of approximately SW then turn to SE and eventually almost Eastward. This tactic came out quite nice. Since all today's sailing was to be within the ?.bo/Turku Archipelago I reckoned I would not have to deal with any large seas. When I took off in the early morning light, there were a very light Easterly breeze, probably the landbreeze from the night,slowly decreasing. All according to Murphy's Law, the gale force winds came exactly when I had a five mile stretch in the open sea, before turning port to 140 degrees. Needless to say, the wind was head on too. I was really content with the offshore oilskins(foulweather gear) originally for the Swedish participants in the VOR Race a few years ago, that a friend gave me before this trip. (Thank you Hans!) A superb, lightweight and durable goretex outfit that came on really handy now. The seastate was weird. The waves had a long stretch obviously and when they came in on the shallow water(5-10 meters) where I was, they soon grew to about 2,5 meters, very steep and only about 4-6 meters long. This gave me an extremely uncomfortable ride, with spray allover the place and green water regularly flushing the deck all the way to the companionway hatch. Anyway, I won't have to wash the decks for a couple of days now, and Rde Orm rode extremely well, as always, on the choppy seas. This little fight only lasted for a couple of hours though, then I couldturn to 145 degrees, and by then I was on the leeward side of a large island. Now I had the sailing experience of this trip! Close-hauled on the starboard track, with a nearly flat sea and gale force wind. Rde Orm healed to the rail and plowed her way through the water, on her hull speed for hours on end. There was absolutely nothing that could stop me from sailing on now. This was way too fun. Quite similar to dinghy sailing, but in a boat displacing almost 8 tonnes. I forgot all about my planned destination and just kept sailing at a course that let me go n enjoying the ride. At 2 pm I was completely exhausted, since I only had some fruit and water, and I could do with some decent food by now.
Thus I anchored in a bay for some lunch and a nap. When I set sail again, the wind had veered as predicted but also decreased to 15-20 knots. Too bad. Anyway a quite nice reach, but after the sailing I had this morning, it felt as though we hardly made any speed at all. A glance at the GPS told me otherwise though, 5-6 knots steady.

Anchored again in yet another sheltered bay at 8 pm and had a late dinner and a glass of red wine before a fell asleep, exhausted but completely happy.

26 August

Slept until 10. A quick swim helped me to really wake up, then breakfast and a double espresso gave me my strength back. Grey skies and showers, perhaps thunderstorms predicted for today. Thus I felt no hurry. Fully content with yesterday's sailing, I wouldn't mind reading and relaxing under decks for a few hours. I am planning to go to a small port at Nagu, a few miles from here, but since it is Sunday today , all the weekend sailors from the area are probably filling the harbour up. Later in the afternoon they will have been gone again to their home port.
After rowing the crew dog to shore in the inflatable, I took on the job to brush and clean all the teak trim on Rde Orm, expecting the predicted rain showers to help me with the final rinse. This tactic worked a treat, a sudden squall really washed the decks. A minor incident was that during the squall the anchor dragged. Obviously I must have been a bit sloppy (or too tired) yesterday not to asure myself that the anchor was properly set. I don't really know what made me react, but just as I was writing yesterday's entry, some unfamiliar sound made me take a look through the hatch. The stern of the boat was just a few meters away from the rocks on shore! I probably set a new inofficial world record getting into the oilskins, firing up the engine, and winding the anchor chain. All went fine, though, and as a reward for his fast action, the skipper was served yet another double espresso. Nothing much more worthy of a report happened today. The remains of the day was spent below decks, with a good book and an occasional cup of... you know what. ;-)

27 August

Finlands Met Office hit me with a storm warning this morning. Dead calm, sunny morning with my brekfast in the cockpit... The Finn's call for a full storm from windspeeds of 43 knots, in Sweden they do from 48 knots, but anyway... definitely a serious gale. Hence, after finishing my morning coffee, I studied the chart within a radius of 15 miles from my present position to see if there were any ports that I could tell from the chart only, they should be 'idiot-proof' stormholes. Since I could not find any, I decided to stay where I was. Very sheltered from all directions, but I had my doubts as to the holding power of the seafloor. When I winded the anchor up yesterday there were very little mud on it, suggesting that the bottom here is rocky. Hereafter I undertook a rowing excursion in the dinghy, to explore what was hidden on the other side of the island to my north. An even more sheltered 'lagoon', with a bouy that looked sturdy enough. Obviously it was private, but no one was in sight, and a Finnish storm warning must be taken seriously, so I moved Rde Orm over to the bouy, and kept the main anchor and it's chain ready, should the bouy show any tendencies to move.
Satisfied with these precautions, I enjoyed a formidable thunderstorm for an hour or so. Really strong wind for 20-30 minutes. The center of the squall passed a couple of miles away. And then guess what? Almost dead calm for the rest of the day...and the night too! Was this it? The Storm with capital S.
In the evening I got a phone call from Nina and Hans on Zappolina, (the Laurin 28 - smaller sistership) that we partied with near Stockholm in mid June. They were now cruising this part of the ?.bo archipelago, and had arrived Jurmo today. That's just 30 miles south of here, very close to the southern outpost, Finnish Ut, of the archipelago. If this predicted northerly severe gale, would decrease tomorrow, I will definetely make the sail down there to join them. According to them, Jurmo offered a very interesting and beautiful landscape, reminding of the mountains, even if that may sound weird.

28 August

The night was calm as I said already. I slept very well and felt a bit surprised that it was completely quiet when I awoke. Rowed the crew-dog ashore and did some exercise/work-out on the cliff. Then a swim, the personal hygiene scheme, right ;-) and breakfast. I just love these mornings! The forecast had now diminished to mere 18-30 knots Northwesterly, to be seen later during the day. They keep postponing it over and over again. I am getting a BIT tired of staying at the same spot now. Anyhow, it could have been a lot worse, this is a very NICE spot to be stuck at. Phoned Nina again, and we agreed that tomorrow I will have a go at the 30 miles South to Jurmo to meet her and Hans on this favorable wind.
Well, the wind didn't show up during all day. At 19pm it was still predicted, but now during the night. Well see about that, I sure hope I can leave in the morning.

Farewell Party
09/02/2007, Nystad/Uusikaupunki

20 August

This day was spent just hanging around in the guest harbour really. The wind were still Southerly but were supposed to veer Easterly at night. Since Dave expressed some interest in sailing overnight we came up with the plan to leave at 10 pm. Hence we spent the day doing some laundry, filling the boat's tank with water, spending forever on the internet in the library and then in the evening we went to the pub for a couple of bears(Karhu, a local beer has a brown bear as logo) and a game of pool. Sadly I have to admit, that Dave beat me at pool, after going for the mean tactic of getting me drunk first.

At 10 pm we left harbour as scheduled, motoring for the first few hours in a dead calm sea. At midnight Dave took the first 3-hour watch while I slept off the beer.

21 August

When Dave woke me up for my watch at 3am, the wind was finally coming as predicted, and I hoisted the sails. At 5am I sat in the cockpit watching a spectacular sunrise, before I installed Dave at his next watch at 6 am. When he woke me the next time,at 9, he was just wild with the sun and the sight of an endless sea horizon, it did look beautiful though. So much for trying to get him to all the nice islands and different sights of this archipelago. The wind was light during the morning hours, then increasing in the afternoon providing us with a superb sailing experience. Throughout the day we could hear fighter jets and firing from military vessels, we thought that they were performing manouvers, however we also learned that a Russian jet plane entered Finnish airspace during the day. Later in the evening when we were heading into Katokari Maa-Ihamo we saw two war ships, maybe they were exercising, or fighting Russians? 'Maybe we will both get killed?! We made it to dock just before the light completely faded. A german guy, living further north in Raumo, invited us to a campfire for a chat and a beer. He gave us a sausage each!

22 August

In the morning Dave got talking with an english couple (from Southampton) in the next boat and Gerhard, the german guy, expressed his interest in crewing for me some other time. The English couple informed Dave that what we call 'pricks'(swedish) are in English called buoys or cardinal markers (this ruined all my efforts - Dave had been 'prick spotting' until now since he didn't have a clue what the english word was and neither did I). We left this fishing port where industrial noise reined. A fresh Northerly breeze allowed us to enjoy a fine broad reach at first and then a run dead downwind towards Nystad. We couldnt find a good reason to get into Nystad harbour one day earlier than necessary, so we anchored at a gorgious place @ N 6048.971' - E 02112.999'. Kuusisto. A completely sheltered bay 8 miles West of Nystad. During the remains of the day we cleaned the entire boat. Another fabulous sunset was celebrated with a late cup of tea.

23 August

An early morning swim! At last! It' s weeks since the weather was decent enough to support this, one of my favorite habits while at sea. The water was a nice temperature too, since the bay is not very deep. As this was to be a fantastic late summer day (maybe even one of the very last?), and it was completely calm, we opted for a few lazy hours on shore. Sunbathing on a cliff that was warmed by the sun. At 2pm the seabreeze came quite suddenly, we sat sails fast enough and got another fabulous sailing trip, Dave's last during his stay onboard. A couple of hours later we tied up to a mooring at Nystad (Uusikaupunki). Dave booked the ferry for tomorrow's trip to Stockholm, after a check-up on the bus schedule from Nystad to ?.bo (Turku) where the ferries depart from.

Since a proper celabration was called for, this last day of Dave's participation in my cruise, we dressed up as properly as we could and 'set sail' to the town-centre in search of life (girls) and the now infamous Finnish 'teddybeers'. The number of bars/pubs were indeed limited in this town (15000 inhabitants, and according to the large number of yachts in the harbour,they all seem to own their own?!) but nevertheless we found one to have a couple of bears and a game of pool again. This time a could proudly beat Mr Gore, possibly he got a bit drunk this time...

Then we went to the smartest bar in town. It lived in a rebuilt old wearhouse at the harbour. Much to my content they had the Belgian bear, Leffe, a strong dark brew. A while later, a bunch of Finnish guys, on a company congress or simailar, entered the establishment and started buying us a number of GTs and vodka/redbull. Obviously we all ended up quite hammered, but as far as any of us can recall, we all had a good time.

Thank you guys!

neverending tacking...?
08/20/2007, 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!

heading south again
08/05/2007, Lulea

23 July
Today a historical event took place. First i crossed the 64-th degree north for the first time on my
own keel,then the vessel log passed 1000 miles since I took off June 4. The distance however, if I
had gone the shortest way here, would not have been more than around 650 miles.
24 July
A light SE breeze and mostly sunny. Relaxed sail in speeds between 3,5 and 5 knots. Course 40
degrees. Went to Skelleftehamn, 16 km east of the town of Skelleftea. Industrial area and a large
commercial harbour. A smallish but very nice and sheltered club harbour at Kurjoviken. I was the
only guest boat here tonight. A very nice attribute here is that they are lending bicycles to guesting
sailors. A tried out a trike and had a ride to nearest grocery store to stok up on perishables. A sauna
in the evening with a tremedous view at the fjord outside the club-house.
25 July
Warm and sunny and a light NE breeze, brought out the laziness in my personality and made me
stay here a day more. Did a few small jobs n the boat and chatted a while with an English couple
who were on there second year cruising the Baltic. They had laid the boat up for winter in Sweden
and then continued the trip next spring. The local people, sailors and others, were very nice as
usual. The further north, the nicer people.
26 July
Sunny today too. Dead calm in the morning. A light breeze was seen on the fjord at 10 am though,
and I got busy getting under way. Motored for half an hour before the breeze filled the sails and
gave me a decent reach for Pite Ronnskaer. This is an old pilot-and light-house and fishermanvillage.
Pite Ronnskaer is also the island of this archipelago that faces south. A low windswept,
sandy island. Charming red, small fisherman's cottages from the past, now used as summer houses
and a beautiful light-house in steel, constructed by the famous Gustav von Heidenstam makes this
island a very special place to arrive to on yur own keel.
Evert Anderssn, the old light-house master(!) showed us around and afterwards he and his wife
offered a cup of coffee in there well-kept cottage. I met Arne, on another sailing yacht in this tiny
harbour. He built his 37' ferrocement yacht himself during five years. Now he is a full time
livaaboard, cruising the Baltic from May til October and spending the winters at port not far from
where I live.
27 July
A few minutes after I left Pite Ronnskaer, the fog came seeping in. I have not seen much fog before
during this trip, but now I got a good opportunity to practice radar navigation for about an hour,
before the fog lightened. A quite long day sail, winding among the islands led me to the town of
Lulea. Lulea is known for a steel mill, the harbour to serve it and a technical university. A large
guest harbour with all facilities and accomodations for seafarers of all kinds. Tomorrow, my loved
one, Sanna will come here by train to join me for the next couple of weeks.
28 July
Rain showers all day. Sanna and I had lunch at a Thai restaurant down town, and then we did some
29 July
Rainy and cold. Headwind. In the afternoon we motored for three hours to Kluntarna SE of Lulea.
Among other things to explore is 'Kluntgubben' (Klunt Man) a rock naturally formed as a man's
head as seen from the side.
30 July
We had a long walk around the island to see the 'old man' and the fishing village at the other end of
it. Labyrints made by people here 3000 years ago fascinates us today. Were they used for religious
purposes, or were they the 'dance halls' of their time?
In the afternoon we had a few hours sail to next island f our choice, Fjuksoen.
31 July
Another low pressure system with lots of rain and quite hard winds gusting at 30 knots from NE
made us bide our time in the cabin most of the day. In the afternoon, when the wind lightened for a
while, we moved a couple of miles to the next island. Just to get a new 'view' from hour 'window'. I
tinker with the generator and it's related gear. I am not satisfied with the charging current on the
house batteries.
1 August
Lets face it. This summer will not go to history as one of the best to remember. Weather-wise that
is. I will definetely remember it as very special. Being able to sail for four months in a row is a
luxury, and it's just great!
Heavy rain, and hardly any wind at all. Five hours of motoring north in the fjord leading to the tiny
town of Toere. Toere is the most northerly place you can go to with a keel boat in the Gulf f Botnia.
A big, yellow steel bouy says 65 degrees 54 minutes North. If you go to this bouy, you can put a
paper with your name and adress and the name of the boat into a letter box (!) on the bouy. The boat
club of Toere will then send you a diploma showing yu were here.
So this we did, and then, as magic, the wind came from W and we had a beautiful sail during the
rest of the day. We sailed S through the fjord again and then took E to get to see Haparanda
Archpelago before heading back south. Anchored for the night E of Halsoe.
2 August
I woke up at 6. Sunny. Went back to sleep. At eight clouds were taking over. We motored a couple
of hours to charge the batteries (yes, I did it!) to Seskaroe, a quite large island with a bridge to the
mainland and a big saw-mill at the waterfront. Do I need to say that it was raining heavy? We saw
a Finnish yacht that had grounded on a marked ground just outside the route to Seskaroe. We
slowly manouvered to get close enough to ask them if we could be of any assistance. They told us
they had phoned for a rescue boat, and it came just a few minutes later. Later, when they too,
moored in Seskaroe, they came buy to say thanks for our offer. We don't see many yachts r
commercial vessels around here, so it seems very obvious to try and help eachother out. The skipper
later told me the were busy talking with eachother onboard for a few minutes and steered
completely wrong as a result.
A new front passage with winds up to the 30 knot range predicted for the night. But then, cross my
fingers, a high is predicted. Temperatures reaching well over 20 degrees C and sunny weather for
the weekend. That could definetely be nice for a change. In the evening we fired up our diesel
heater to try and dry out all wet clothes and other gear.

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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