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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.
The slowest 'Passage' ever...?
08/07/2008, Dirham - Estonian mainland

Since we had a headwind out of harbour, the crew of the Finnish flagged Delphia named 'Dealatis' that we got aquainted with under the 30-35 knotter these last days, gave us a tow the first mile. The first time ever I've had to accept a tow.

Soon enough we realized that this would be an endurance exercise. The wind decreased early on and was just about enough to provide steerage. In addition to this, we had to tack a few times to clear the numerous reefs the first 6-7 miles to the north and the east.

To make a looong story short, we just about made it. The 30 miles sailed included the tacks took us 24 hours more or less. And for an hour just after sunset, we made 4-4,5 knots close-hauled. Thus we mad an average of 1,5 knots or therabout.

When we arrived at the entrance (170 degrees and 60 meters wide between reefs, remember?) at 3 in the morning, the little remaining wind veered to South and made any attempt to sail in there impossible. Since we were far from in distress, nor wanting to call on the VHF at this early hour, I simply hoisted the mizzen, sheeted it hard to heave-to and then we slept until the morning.

We must have been tired, since we slept until 8, when a very light breeze came back....from the South, obviously.

The next three hours we were beating too windward to gain those 3 miles we had drifted while at sleep.

Back at teh entrence - still no way to sail into port, I called the Harbour office on the VHF twice with a few minutes in between. No answer. Then I called 'all stations' . even though there were a couple of sailing boats within eyesight, no one answered. Then the Estonian Coast Guard answered. I told them that we were not in an emergency of any sort, but needed a tow to get into harbour due to serious engine failure. After a mnute they called back and told me they were coming.

In the meantime, a man with a distinct accent of an English Gentleman, called from his yacht 'Arctic Tern' and told me he was further East but heading my way. I said the CG were already on their way but thanked him nevertheless.

So, we made landfall in the wake of an old Finnsih-built CG vessel from 1961, well maintained, and with tthe dual mission to break ice at winter. A 300 hp engine and an extremely thick steel hull saw to that.

Decided to Sail to Dirham to gain some time... - and Money
08/05/2008, Lehtma

Later in the afternoon, The Yanmar agent called Ekstrm BTW, and i branch office of an old Finnish company, and spread some light over the situation. When I first told him a suspected the engine to be filled with water he spontaneously said -'Oh, shit!'. Now he said, that the positive side of the mishap, was that I never ran the engine after the cooiling water made entry to the cylinders. Instead of bent valves and maybe more, he now suggested that it just might be the head gaxket and a few more minor seals that needed replacement.

He were to order the necessary parts from Holland (the European warehouse for Yanmar parts), recieve those on Thursday, (today is Monday) and be able to send a machanic over on Friday.

Now I got an idea, that I thought would be very bright.

For the mechanic to get frm Tallinn to Lehtma, he would first have to drive for an hour and a half, then take a ferry for another hour or more and lastly drive an hour more. That would obviously take the major part of his working day, and as a result cost me a lot of gold, so this is what came to my mind:

The forecast is ''promising us ' a Notherly wind 2-10 knots tomorrow then decreasing and veering to south the day after. Since it is 25 miles to Dirham port on the mainland, and the heading to get there approx. 80 degrees, we should be able to sail there. Upon a look in a *Pilot book for Estonia' the harbour looked pretty easy to sail into and even dock under sail only. A leading line into the harbour of 170 degrees, then turn SB round the head of the breakwater and simly going alongside it on the sheltered southern side.

So, we went to bed early to get going in the morning

Waiting for the diagnosis
08/04/2008, Lehtma

I met the Tug Boat Guy as soon as I stepped up on the dock. The yard had no time for my little vessel and he advised me to 'sail back home' and do repairs there. That is obviously ONE option. Labour are cheaper here than in Sweden or Finland though, and since I am not skilled enough to do this repair myself, I think it could as well be done here ASAP.

Phoned my insurance company in Sweden, and as I already knew, the engine is not covered, and since it is built in '82 this could never be the case anyway. The insurence, however, does cover the expense for a tow to the nearest Authorized Yanmar workshop, and they helped me finding the name of it. This turned out to be a company in the capital of Tallinn, some 70 miles from here.

After a phone convesation with them - and thank G-D they spoke English - and to be 100 % sure of the magnitude of the damage, I disassembled the injectors and turned the ignition key. A solid and sad fountain of water from them.

What more to say, except the mood on board Rde Orm actually HAS been better.

Bad news! - Engine breakdown
08/03/2008, Lehtma

The high pressure system is now leaving us for Ukraine or wherever at Southeast from here. Grey skies and drizzling rain was discovered upon opening of the hatch.

Variable weak winds during the day, increasing a bit at night and then a blow from East and Northeast during Tuesday and Wednesday with winds uo to 3o knots. We wanted to sail 45 M to North during the night when the winds was supposed to picka up a bit and well before the blow. Otherwise, we would get stuck here for 3-4 days to come. Not an appealing proposition. We were promised to buy 50 liters of diesel from the Tug boat Captain and had to move the boat some 50 meters to the 'big boat dock at the pier. After filling diesel, while we had lunch, there was a strange sound of pouring water in the boat. Horror!

Quickly I got the stairs covering the engine away and saw water pouring from the tray under the engine and down the bilge! HOLY G-D! For a second, I must have looked like a fish on land with my mouth open, staring like an idiot on the scene. Every sailors worst fear.... a leaking boat.

Then to action. Pumped the bilges dry, bailed the tray under the engine and saw no signs of a leak. Took every thing out of the cockpit lockers and the compartment under the aft deck to check all seacocks and valves and hoses. No leaks, everything in perfect working order. Unfortunately this left me with the nagging feeling I got right away.... THE REAL HORROR! The engine filled with water.... With a heavy heart I tried to crank the engine by hand, no success, I even heard water when I tried it but couldn't turn the flywheel of course. Then I got the final proof when I turned the ignition and nothing happened. DEAD: I am no expert in diesel engines, but I do recall reading somewhere that this means bent valves and a removal of the engine head. This is the best scenario.... the worst is of course, to toss the old iron genny and buy a new one. A quite hefty investment for sure. I remember getting a qoute in Sweden a year ago for ?'? 8000 for a new 3cylinder Yanmaar including installation.

Such bad news.

The tug boat Guy helped me with the diagnosis, and promised to call a yard here on the island tomorrow morning, to see if they could help me.

A day of flying the Iron Genny
08/02/2008, Lehtma port; Hiiumaa (Dag) Estonia

A sunny, hot day almost calm. Seven hours of motoring added with 2,5 hours of fine fore-reaching in the evening
made it possible to get into the little port of Lehtma at the N point of Hiiumaa. A long breakwater stretching to SE is wat it is. Coastal freighters alongside at the outer part of the pier, than a Pilot boat, one or two fishing vessels, two Coast Guard boats, and then closest to shore 10 mooring bouys for pleasure boats. A Beneteau 50 flying a Latvian ensign and apparently a charter boat was docked here when we arrived. Aparrt from the sevice building with shower and toilet, there is nothing. 13 km to the nearest village and provisioning facilities.

Well, we are still carrying enough provisons for weeks, and intended to get a 'fresh' weather forecast here and then take off for Finland. In all honesty, I must confess to being fed up with this cruising ground by now. Some 20?'? in Harbour fee every night drains our kitty, obviously, but we are also missing the sweet life among the anchorqges that are so common in Finland and Sweden. The shallow and rocky waters along the shores combined with quite poor charts makes anchorages few and far between. A couple of Finnish sailors who has been cruising in Estonia several times verified that there is difficult to find a good anchorage here.

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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