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.

13 September 2010
11 September 2010 | Nantes, Bretagne-France
07 September 2010 | Bretagne (or Normandie?)
02 September 2010 | still the same...
31 August 2010 | Rezè- Bretagne (boat in Rio Guadiana)
09 August 2010 | Rezé//Bretagne//France
18 July 2010 | Clisson/La Sèvre
15 July 2010 | Nantes/ Brittany
14 July 2010 | Nantes/Bretagne/France
25 June 2010 | Gamleby- Sweden
05 June 2010 | Mértola// Minas San Domingo
27 May 2010 | Alcoutim
24 May 2010 | of the River
21 May 2010 | Alcoutim/Sanlucar
21 May 2010 | Alcoutim/Sanlucar
16 May 2010 | Alcoutim
10 May 2010 | Alcoutim/Sanlucar
30 April 2010 | Alcoutim-PT// Sanlucar- ES
24 April 2010 | Ayamonte - Andalucia - Spain

The Bay of Biscay - with Speed and a Smile

30 August 2009 | Ria Ribadeo N 43, 32 W 07,02 Spain
The Spell of motoring is over at last! We sailed every cablelength of this 300 miles passage. Starting at 4PM (yup, we were a bit slooow this morning) in a very light breeze we were close hauled all nigtht long in a Force 5 gusting to 6 from W. Needless to say, quite uncomfortable given the short and steep nature of the waves here.

The Bay of Biscay has a very bad reputation among sailors, which in a large portion is not because of worse weather than elsewhere - but the fact that the Atlantic with a depth of 4000 meters 'hits' the continental shelf (150 m deep) in just a couple of miles. Naturally this is resulting in dangerous sea state (Tsunami style) in rough conditions.

Thus, the not so comfortable seastate we experienced, due to the fact that we had 60 miles to go before leaving the continental shelf behind and reaching safer (yes, actually!) water where the depth plunges to 4 km.

I wonder how long it would take for something thrown overboard to travel all the way to the bottom ?

Anyway the sailing was awesome. We reached the deep atlantic water early in the morning which made our depth sounder announce 'zero feet' when it became out of range. The wind veered to NW during the early stage of the night, accordingly to the forecast, and it was very nice to ease the sheets a bit. Now fore-reaching instead of sailing hard on the wind. We made the first 150 miles in 19 hours which is the fastest passage I ever made in Röde Orm and very good for a heavy 32 feet cruising boat.

The wind decreased, still perfectly 'following' our forecast, and at Force 2-3 kept us moving on nicely during the day, when the swell came down from 2-2,5 meter successively. By now they were looong and nice though they made the lookout difficult. Since the boat is equipped with a radar, we mostly kept watches with the radar as it made them easier and safer too. Actually it 'sees' a lot better than the most active crew member on a small boat given that from it's height it 'sees' a lot longer. The radar, that sits at spreader hight in the mizzen mast on Röde Orm, gave us a perfect 'view' of up to 12 miles. I was positively surprised at how well it worked dispite the waves.

The last 90 miles became a new 'race' now with the wind on the beam, since it had veered to N and then further to NE and again gusting to force 6, before we entered Ria Ribadeo at 4AM on the 30th of August. 300 miles in 60 hours giving an average of 5 knots. Not bad at all.

Ria Ribadeo is the most Easterly of the 'HIgh Rias' of Galicia. Approximately 70 miles E of La Coruna. We choose it primarily because we realized early on that we would arrive at night, some 8 hours earlier than expected. Otherwise the original plan was to make landfall at Ria Vivero, 33 M to westward.

The entrance hear is wide and guarded by two conspicuous light-houses on each side of the entrance. It was pitch black when we slowly 'feeled' our way into the anchorage area marked on the chart. We dropped the hook in 18 feet of water, between high and low tide. The tidal range here, now at neap, is a 'modest' 2 meters so no big deal ;-)

No problems/ no worries. All is well with both the boat and the crew.

From here on we intend to do 30-40 mile 'jumps' along the coast using the tidal stream to our advantage most of the way down to LIsboa. Staying as long as we like to and moving along when the wind is favourable. (Northeasterlies are predominant here so that shouldn't be too difficult)

No time schedule whatsoever now, except we want to be in LIsboa before the end of September. Given that i'ts not more than 350 miles to go it's not exactly stressful.

BTW - 'RIA' is a spanish word that perhaps should be explained. The breton expression is 'Aber' as in l'Aber Wrach where we spent a couple of days. A river estuary, created by the tidal action of the sea and surrounded by a mountaineous landscape. At least this as I have understood the word.

As another aside, it's too bad we were delayed almost a month from leaving Falsterbo. Because of this we discarded our original plan to sail via Scotland and Ireland. If so, we would by now have ended a nice 'kelt' roundabout, with our 5 weeks in Bretagne and now Galicia, another part of the Celtic regions. So much more interesting since Isabelle is Bretonnne and was very involved in the folk music and dancing when she grew up. For me, I guess it's mostly a matter of enjoying the music heritage.
Vessel Name: Röde Orm
Vessel Make/Model: Laurin 32 ketch built in 1965
Hailing Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
Crew: Magnus & Isabelle
MAGNUS, Swedish skipper. Navigation teacher and a Commercial Yachtmaster. After many years of dreaming, recently sold off his business since over 20 years. Left swedish waters in June 2009 and hasn't yet looked back ISABELLE, Born in Brittany/France & First Mate. [...]
During 2008 we cruised during two and a half months in the Baltic Sea as covered in the older posts on this blog together with Magnus's 2007 cruise to 66 degrees North in the Baltic Sea. During this spring of 2009 we completed an extensive exterior refit of Röde Orm, and untied the docking [...]
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Röde Orm's Photos -

Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden