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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.
A Sleigh ride in the Gale
10/01/2007, 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.

Back at a Favorite Place
09/26/2007, Skiftesn

25 September

Weather forecast said rain all day and variable winds. I woke up to a sunny and crispy morning without any dew at all. I had my cabin heater on all through the night. When I got up on deck it became very clear that it doesn't like being run at low flame at all. Everything on deck was black and sooty! Well, sometimes one has to swab the decks anyway, right? This was the day, apparently.
This kept me busy most part of the morning and I got underway at 1pm. A very light breeze made Rde Orm barely make way south to a cardinal bouy, then I could easen the sheets, turning west. The plan was to move the convenient distance of 12 miles to one of my favourite places around here. Skiftn, just half a mile suth of the well known island of Tjr. Nearly as soon as I could easen the sheets turning west, the wind died completely. After 10 minutes, I gave up and fired up the cast iron genny. Then what? Exactly! The wind came back from west, with a couple of rain showers and some fog to keep it company. Great. I considered wether I should turn back, but decided I really wanted to spend a night at Skiftn, since it would definetely be the last time in the foreseeable future. Thus I mtored an hour and a half, then found myself anchored for the night at the much desired spot. An other little mishap to lighten me up was that my radar refused to work when called upon in the showers... will call the supplier tomorrow... Even, when sailing, some days are a bit less great than others... A much more enjoyable incident was my trial of the new dinghy. A pleasure to row, I offloaded all frustrations circumnavigating this island powered by oars!

26 September

We all make mistakes, but a wise man don't repeat the same one twice. I remember once reading this someplace, and I did run the cabin heater for a couple of hours n high flame yeasterday night and turned it off before going to sleep. This payed off, no sooty mess on deck to deal with. A calm and foggy morning it was and I went for a row to shore with Myra the crew dog after breakfast. It came out to be a half a mile trip to Tjr, where be both had a nice walk before returning to the mother ship. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the sun, with a short break to clean the bilge area of the yacht. I am resting for the ride south, since gale force or near gale force NE winds are predicted for tomorrow. This means I will make hull speed at least.

A little leap to the Blekinge Archipelago
09/24/2007, Arp

23 September

A Sunday with beautiful weather and hardly any wind, made all the 'landlubbers' invade the port. Bikers, icecream-eaters of all kinds etcetera. I almost began walking around with my hat to collect entrance, like a I was an ape at a zoo or something. Then in the afternoon a 60 ft schooner came and tied up to the dock. Believe me or not, but about 20 kids singing religious songs invaded the dock. Discreetely, I took shelter below decks and an hour later they were all gone, much to everyone's relief. I invited Sven-Erik for a whisky in the early evening. This is about how exciting (very pleasent though!) this day was. I'd really like to leave tomorrow. NE winds 22-32 knots are predictedfor Wednesday-Friday. This could provide me with a perfect ride south around 'cape' Sandhammaren and then west to the Falsterbo canal.

24 September

I untied those dock lines (admit it can be hard at times...) at 8.30am and motored in the calm, quiet and sunny morning for an hour. The predicted light southerly breeze came, and I was eager to set sail again. It came out luckily. I just managed to steer 220 degrees close-hauled, which was the exact heading to Ungskr,where I turned west in the route between this island and Utlngan, further south. A lazy broad reach in 15 knots of wind pushed me on to the island of Arp, where I stayed for the night. I intend to enjoy a cuple of days in this little archipelago, while I wait for the NE wind to arrive. I consider this day as a lovely bonus, sailing in sun and light winds.

Waiting for the Wind to Veer
09/22/2007, Kristianopel

21 September

A bit of rain, a bit of sunshine, a couple of doggy walks on shore, nothing much happened today as yu can see. Have a look at the newly shot pics and you'll agree that this is a fine place to take a breath and wait for the SW to decrease and then hopefully to veer.

22 September

I could carbon copy the lines above, except there actually was sunny, and even quite warm, all afternoon. Indian summer? I undertook a few of those hard works a cruising sailor has to do as I have previously informed you. The vane for the selfsteering system (wind vane) made of plywood broke a couple of days ago due to an uncontrolled jibe. As you can see on a picture, I drilled a new hole and turned it upside down. That will do for the rest of the trip. During the winter, I will make a few more of those to carry as spares. Sinc it's made ut of 6 mm ply it doesn't take mych force to break it.
I discovered that couple of the halyards had been fouled with the deck light on the mast and then got tangled up with each other. This must have happened when I motored the last half mile or so to this port. The seas were quite high as the wind speed, so the halyards were flying around a fair bit. With the mast steps though, it's an easy task to climb the mast and fix this. All in all these chores kept me busy for half an hour or thereabout. This sure is a tough job. As a bonus I was invited for a Calvados to a neighbouring yacht here afterwards. Do I really want to leave this place at all?

A Wet Ride to Kristianopel

20 September

Autumn, really. It never even got to full daylight today. A kind of dark gray dusk all day. Low skies, threatening to offload all their containts in form of rain any minute. Had a walk with the crew dog after the usual morning routines. The night had been very windy, and the SW winds sort of blew right through this entire harbour, causing the boat's movements jerky and uncomfy. The small industrial harbour here, was a bit noisy, and smelled of timber and saw dust. Another, very familiar smell was that of pig urine, as the farmers fertilized their land with it. Autumn. The rural smell reminds me of 'home' ( I am living in a farming district) and how close I actually am now. Approximately 150 miles left. The fact that this wonderful trip is soon coming to an end really fills me with mixed emotions.
All this made me not want to stay in this port. Period. The forecast was near gale force winds from SW. The worst direction obviously, a direct headwind. In the morning hours the wind speed was more like 14-20 knots, and the meteorologists have been wrong before so I decided to take the short leap to Kristianopel further south. That is a nice place where I can comfortably wait for the winds to change to more favourable direction.
Hence I left at 11.30 for a few hours tacking along this shallow coastline with lots of reefs making it a necessity to stay at least a couple of miles to the east of shore.
All went well, as usual, the wind increased gradually though, and the tacking under reduced sail was a very wet business.Everyuthing from stem to stern, including myself was saoking wet from spray when I reached port at 3pm. Sven-Erik, the harbour captain here showed up shortly after my arrival, and kindly enough he offered me a cup of coffee and a chat in his cosy office. The first time I met him here was in 1982, so it's a kinda' 25 year Jubilee now. Sven-Erik is one of the few men still alive who has been working on the sailing ships of the 'old days'. It's alway interesting to hear him tell a tale or two from his experience.
Kristianopel is a very interesting little town in itself. Very picturesque with old wooden houses and a church built in 1624, it was once the fortification of the Danish here at the former borderline between Denmark and Sweden. City walls and towers are still visible dispite several battles held here in the 17th century. In 1657 however, Sweden finally beat Denmark, and at the peace treaty held here, Denmark lost all it's provinces at the mainland Sweden. I guess this was the starting point for Sweden's ambitionsto expand it's territories and power throughout Europe.
At this spot I will stay until I get following winds for the last leg round the southern coast of Sweden to the city of Malm, where Rde Orm is planned to be berthed for the winter.

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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