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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.
An Out of Season Weekend Sail and how we 'won' the Race
09/16/2007, Vstervik

14 September

A gray and drizzling morning welcomed me when I looked out of the companionway hatch. Well,
no gale force winds anyway. I was quick to get underway, by motor, to get to the Town Guest Harbour ( a busy one during summer, with 500 guest moorings available). After more than a week the hot shower and a shave was sooo enjoyable. After that, most of the day was spent washing sheets, towels and clothes.
During this time I had a walk with the dog in the surroundings, including two more yacht harbours. A handwritten sheet of paper on the wall of the clubhouse caught my attention. It advertized a second hand, but never used(!), inflatable dinghy. Since my present dink, in reality more of an enlarged bathing toy than a serious dinghy, I called the phone number on the ad. The man answering came to pick me up in his car just ten minutes later. I recognized him immediately, Tony Wrdig, a retired navy officer, who has been giving lectures to my fellow nav. teachers and myself at the beginning of this year. This sure is a small world after all!
The dink was defintely 'as new' and we made a deal. Upon return to Rde Orm with this new 'sibling', it was time to pick up Sanna at the train station. A happy reunion...

15 September

When I arrived to the Guest Harbour yesterday, I soon found out that there was a sailing race taking place here this weekend. 112 starting yachts was to sail to Byxelkrok on ?-land today, and back tomorrow. Approximately a distance of 32 miles one way. They all took off at 8am, before we woke up for sure. Pretty rough conditions, with winds in the 25-40 knots range predicted for today from NW and decrasing and veering to W or SW for tomorrow.
Sanna wanted to have a look at the town before taking off, I stayed in the boat due to a sore foot. Thus we did not leave harbour until 2pm. The wind was hard and gusting a lot. Since we were only going some 12 miles south to find a nice island to anchor at for the night, I thught it was a splendid occassion to try the storm jib for the first time. Hence, we left harbour with only this tiny, red sail hoisted. In all honesty, it left the boat a bit under-canvassed. But in the gusts we made 5,5 knots and 4-4,5 in between. Since we found this to be sooo comfy, we were just to indolent to bother with hoisting the mizzen too. Broad-reaching like this a couple of hours took us to our chosen spot for the night, ?-stra Ekn.
During this short sail, we met some 25 boats heading the opposite way. All participants of the race, whom apparently had had mishaps or simply given up the race. The weirdest thing was that most of them motored against waves and gale force wind. I am never going to understand those guys... Anyway we were fine, without any drama whatsoever we kept sailing at our mderate speed, never having to worry about anything breaking or so. Upn arrival we enjoyed a supper of fried salmon with rice and aioli, mmmm.

16 September

Gray skies again today and believe it or not, very light wind from SW. We did not experience more than 15 knots at most today. We got under sail around 10 in the morning and broad-reached back north, needless to say with full sails. Just before the narrow strait at Spr Bk a small powerboat slowly approached us. The man in it observed us very thoroughly for a little while, after which he steered up to us and wondered how things where going. -Just fine, I said a bit surprised. -Are you fishing? I wondered. -No, just taking a little trip,he answered. -Might be the last trip this year, he went on. Then he drove off. As we wondered about this curiosity from his side, we happened to take a look over our shoulder. There came all the racing boats on the same course as we, but a couple of miles behind. The coin fell down. This guy in the powerboat thought we were actually leading the race! We had a good laugh. Then we were quick to go to Skansholmen to tie up to a mooring. We justabout had time to prepare a picnic basket with our lunch. We then sat at the terrace of the clubhouse, lunching, while all the participants rounded some 100 meters away hoisting their spinnakers in front of our table. Grand ending of an out of season weekend sail,don't you agree?
The wind piped up during the evening and night, gusting at gale force again from time to time. Didn't bother us much, though. We contently spent the remains of the day in the cabin with the diesel heater making it warm and comfy...

On top of the Hill
09/13/2007, Spr

13 September

14 degrees in the cabin when I woke up today. Sunny again, fine. Got under sail at 10 and had another day of grand sailing. One could wish for the water to be 10 degrees warmer and the air 15 degrees, but then I would be the King of Tonga, and this a quite different story. A lazy broad-reach some 25-30 miles south. The wind was a bit lighter than predicted, and when isn't it? 14-22knots, almost flat sea and gusty. I dropped anchor at 2pm in a small bay on the SE side of Spr, where the Bk is on top of this quite high island. The bk is/was seen from long distances out at sea, showing where the entrance to the town of Vstervik is found. I reckon it's 25 years since the last time I walked to the bk. Therefore I did that now, and documented it in pic's for you to see. Nice place, or? After having dinner, and discovering that the altitude of this island hide the evening sun from me, I decided to make a neat little move of 2,5 miles closer to town. Thus I anchored at Skansholmen, Westerviks SegelSllskaps club island right in the middle of the channel that forms the entrance. King Karl XII decided in 1717 that the town should have an armament here to protect it from enemy attacks. When this did no more seem plausible, the sailing society of Vstervik made it their summer home.
The plan is to get into the town's guest harbour early tomorrow morning, get some washing done and then pick up Sanna at the train station at 6pm. Oh, and there's yet another gale warning issued for tomorrow and they day after. We'll see...

Eagles in the Sky and Terrific Sailing

11 September

Northeast 9-18 knots predicted. Perfect for the jump to Harstena (where I also spent a night on my way north, definetely one of my favorite islands...) To take a shortcut I steered out to the open sea instead of following the inshore route. The only problem being that the forecasted winds was nowhere to be seen. I was awake early and hauled the anchor before 9am. The wind, after I had made good the first few miles on the leward side of the islands, turned ut to be a mere 4-9 knots. Dead running the boat speed was just 2,5-3,5 knots. Not too bad, but definetely not what I had expected. Course 180 degrees a couple of hours to the Gustav Dahln lighthouse that marks the entrance to Oxelsund and it's huge steelmill. Once at G.Dahln, a 20 degrees starboard turn towards Sandsnkans Lighthouse, from which there is 4 miles left to Harstena.
Another thing to really make this day was a tiny bit of mist and a drizzling rain. Then with three hours still to go, the wind died out completely and there wasnt much else to do than to fire up the engine again. Arrived to Flisfjrden at Harstena at 7pm as darkness was just beginning to fall. Not a sailing day for the history books...

12 September

It was not more than 15 degrees C in Rde Orm's cabin when I woke up this morning. A clear night and the chilliest I have experienced since I left home port. I was just fine under my warm duvet though and since I could see that it was sunny outside, it was not too hard to get up anyway. After breakfast I took the crewdog and rowed to shore. A few plastic bags in my rugsack, since I wanted to search for mushrooms and perhaps some lingonberries. Thus I spent a couple of morning hours in the forest. No mushrooms found though, and hardly the right type of terrain for lingonberries either. I did find quite a few black berries though. I cannot remember what they are called in english, but it's the ones that look like black raspberries and have thorns. Bjrnbr (=bearberries) in swedish. Must admit that they found there way right down to my stomach and not to the bags I brought to carry them in.
Anyway, both the crew dog and myself enjoyed the walk and the beautiful surroundings. On our way back from the village to the boat, we met a charming elderly woman leading a bycicle. She had been picking blueberries despite the fact they should be finished by now. I learned from talking to her that she was married to one of the men, born on this island, and that they had lived 6 months out of every year here since 1963 and the other 6 months of each year at the island on the west coast of Sweden where she was born. Some people get it all, don't they? A lovely personality anyway and it was nice to get some input on life here.
Upon return to the mother ship, a much needed hygienic effort then took place in form of a short swim. Yes short, the water temp did not admit the planned dive to inspect the through-hulls and propeller for barnacles. Apparently this summer is colder than usual, the temp in the sea is 4-5 degrees lower than a normal summer.
At 2 pm the anchor was hauled in and I set sail. By God, the forecast came out to be spot on today. SW 18-26 knots, from the afternoon veering to W and then NW and decreasing during the night. Hence I enjoyed a perfect inshore sail. Fore-reaching but I didnt have to tack even once. The boat did 6-7 knots most of the time on a flat sea due to the wind blowing from land. It was gusty as always with a land-to-sea breeze and I enjoyed every minute of it. At 7 pm I could drop anchor at Lng/Trss in perfect solitude at this otherwise so popular anchorage. I've got 25-30 miles left to the town of Vstervik, where I plan to pick up Sanna(who is arriving there by train to join me for the weekend) and get some much wanted laundry done.
Almost forgot; I saw an eagle again today, it's the forth or fifth time.

Close Encounter with a Submarine

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.

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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