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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.
Close Encounter with a Submarine
09/10/2007



9 September

The low had passed by now. The wind had veered to NE 10-18 knots. At 2pm I left the jetty here and sailed south. Yes, I must admit having a hard fight with myself before closing my web browser down and getting underway.
A decent sail, wind on the beam, but lots of swell since last night. The wind was just about to weak to keep the sails filled on this course. Thus a lot of flapping and the the boat was rolling quite violently on and off. I passed Landsort's lighthouse and turned west. My target was Rings, and those of you with good memory knows that I spent a night there on my way north too, in mid June.
Happiness is not a permanent condition however, and shortly after passing ?-ja, the island that hosts Landsort' lighthouse, the wind died completely. After a while I had to give up and fire up the iron genny. Almost three hours later, in complete darkness I slowly motored into the sheltered 'lagoon' between Rings and it's neighbor islands. All went well, and I was quite fast to hit the bunk.
The weirdest thing of my whole trip, happened just before Landsort. First one of the navy's ships came quite close to me while heading the opposite way. Considering the nearby navy base, it was not such a big surprise. A while later, a navy airplane crossed my path on low altitude. I reckon this made me make the mistake of my life. Straight in my course line, I saw a strange subject. At first a took it for a small powerboat at a distance. The wake didn't seem right though. When it came closer I suddenly realized it was a submarine! The tower above the surface, the swell breaking over it's hull and causing all that odd looking spray and wake.
It was a bit creepy that it did seem to slow down, and just laid there right ahead of
me. I wasn't more than 40-50 meters away from it when the cold reality hit me. It was not a sub,it was a shoal with one of those rounded rock constructions on top of it. Jesus! ...and here I was steering right at it.
A quick glance at the chart revealed the embarrasing truth, and quickly I steered away from this potential little boat-killer. (Above this text you can see a picture of it, doesnt look to bad for a submarine does it?) By the way, a couple of years ago we met a sub,in exactly this position,with the tower above surface, just outside the harbour of Kalmar, a bit creepy it is...

10 September

This is not a day for the history books. A Southerly 16-27 knots predicted, in conjunction with- yes, another low passing by - veering to East and decreasing during he night. OK, that means I will sail tomorrow, and stay in the bunk reading most of today. Oh, yes,almost forgot to mention that I did some deadly important maintenance work on the boat too. A lightbulb in the aft lantern needed to be changed. Over and out ;-D

Nynshamn - the End of Stockholm Archipelago
09/08/2007, Nynshamn

7 September

Weird enough, I awoke early today again. Grey sky, quite chilly. North-Northwesterly light breeze predicted.
So, time to follow the birds and continue south. The grey skies cleared almost completely during the day, but the wind was very light and came from West. Thus, back to the tacking business. Long-short , long-short the course line mostly 220 degrees. I thought of different ports for the night, when the wind died completely in the late afternoon. A new forecast warned about a front passage with heavy rain and near gale force winds from Southwest. Not exactly my dream scenario of a pleasent sail.
Much to my convenience, it ocurred to me right then, that I really needed to provision soon enough and that I hadnt made a blog entry since Dave left.
Nynshamn has a guest harbour with some 300 berths and just a couple of hundred meters to the town centre with it's shops and other tempting features of the civilization. Tempting? Yup, after a couple of weeks among the remote islands, a wifi, a piece of fresh meet and some fruit can be VERY tempting.

This harbour is a lively place. Huge ferrries to Gotland and Poland. Minor feriries and passenger ships to some of the larger islands nearby. The yacht harbour was f course less lively. Just a handful of sailing boats, among them a Rassy 35 flying the german flag.

Despite the traffic and the wake it creates I slept like a baby during the night.

8 September

Mostly sat in front of my laptop, getting updated on 'the real world' including tonnes of e-mails.
I did restock on food also, and I can proudly present that today's dinner consisted of a fresh crab fish from Donegal, Ireland and tomorrow I will enjoy lamb chops. Ehrr, yes I did have a couple of Guinness together with the crab. A superb contrast to the menu of the last few weeks .
A decision was anonymously taken to stay put here until tomorrow. Haven't seen much of the near gale winds today, just an occassional shower really, although the clouds move by at at very fast pace... and the near gale is now predicted to come from North to Northeast during the night, and continue for most part of tomorrow. Hence it seems lie a brilliant idea to sale south tomorrow. Rde Orm loves a strong to hard breeze and I consider it refreshing too.







new pic's
09/07/2007

- a bunch of them - here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9218039@N06/

On my own- in the true sense of the word
09/07/2007, Nynshamn

4 September

This harbour was very unpleasant to spend the night in. The swell and wake from passing vessels managed to create a standing wave behind the docks in the basin, causing the yachts to roll violently and to move up and down along the dockside. At 5.30 in the morning the ferry left harbour. Unable was I to get back to sleep after that, and decided to get ready for an early start. Said goodby to Nina and Hans for the second time and sailed south to Rdskr. Northerly wind increasing during the day to near gale force in the afternoon. Then slowly decreasing during the night, veering towards West in the morning. This forecast sounded like music to my ears, and I decided to perform the jump back to Sweden. 20 miles to Rdhamn, arrived at 3pm, and then 70 miles mostly South to Sandhamn. Sandhamn is the home of the Royal Sailing Society in Stockholm and the place where many regattas start from, among them Gotland Runt(circumnavigating the island of Gotland) Since I am without crew for the moment, the route via ?-zel, and Latvia and then to the eastern coast of Gotland was left to another year. The route along the swedish coast with it's many archipelagos and nice spots to spend the 'bad weather' days is a much more enjoyable option.
Rde Orm and I left Rdskr at 6 pm. I prepared some food for the next 24 hours, and hoisted the radar reflector again and hanked the trysail to it's track at the mast. Just in case.
This overnighter came out to be one of the most enjoyable I have ever made. I left Rdskr on course 230 degrees, a broad reach with jib and reefed main in winds of 22-30 knots. Helmer steered perfectly all the way to Sandhamn and the boat speed was 6-7knots until just after midninght, when the wind slowly decreased. I had the whole route programmed in the gps, and changed course 4 times during the night, including two gibes. The sunset was all dressed in red, the moon rised slowly after and the sky was clear and starry all night. There was quite a lot of commercial shipping though, since my route lay along the edge of the shipping lane most of the way. In the latter stages of the night, when the boat speed fell to 4 knots I hoisted the jib again. I took it down at sunset, since it was blanketed behind the reefed main anyway. A while later I shook the reef out and sailed close-hauled the last hour, due to the veering wind. Arrived at Lkholmen (Sandhamn) at 8am and fell asleep for a couple of hours.

5 September

Warm and sunny, the most of the day was spent just enjoying being completely on my own here. In July, there's difficult finding a free space to moor your boat here and now desoleted and quiet. A wonderful day, could be the last one this summer, wam enough to allow me to relax in the sun for a couple of hours. The chores of today consisted of washing a couple of t-shirts and underwear and to move the boat a little more than a mile to a natural harbour. A crusing sailor's life is hard, remember? ;-) Anchored in a protected 'hole' between some islands, under the interesting name of Vildgrytan (Savage Pot) Needless to mention, I hit the bunk early and slept like a dead oxe.

6 September

Lazy morning. Overcast sky. Stayed in bed looong this morning, reading and listening to weather forecasts. SW light breeze veering to NW during night. No hurry then. It seems as Niklas (my nav teacher colleage) will be coming to crew for me in a week or more. I decide to enjoy the solitude until then just slowly cruising south from one sweet spot to the next. But with a steady, favorable breeze I will take some longer jumps.
Yesterday,when grabbing a beer from under the florboard in the forecabin, I noticed that there was milk powder all over the not-so-deep bilge in that area. Thus, the chore today, was to clean this little mess up. I can here proudly announce that so I did.

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.

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