Sunday, 29 July 2007

On the run...

Summer is short...and it pays to make the most of it, so it is only a few days after the last trip that Mata Hari is once again headig out from Karlslunds.

This time we are heading north, Karin & I, for a few days dancing and good company with 'Sailsalsa'. It's a fairly straight forward sail past Dalarö to Vindalsö - just short of Sandhamn - but at around 25nm quite a long day-trip. Today though the winds aregood - almost too good.

We have a strong tail wind pushing on, and although I start with the jib part furled I soon decide that justthe main is morethanenough - andwelose the aggravation of the genua flogging in the lee when a true run really is the best course. Strong winds however mean plenty of chop and rolling waves and we are obliged to keep an eye on the wind direction as the boat screws under the waves. A gybe in this would not be fun...

Waves though mean surfing on the run and speeds thatbreak with the usual rules of the gain. So much so that we hit 9.4 knots at one point (by the GPS) coming off a large wave in a gust.. A new record...

And with those good winds it is a quick four and half hours before we are heading in to greet old friends and new.
But - life being never so easy - that's just the time that we lose the wind in the lee of an island - and just the time that the ferry is wanting to back out and round us. It's a good job one of us was able to manoeuvre!

Still we've arrived. Let's dance!

29 July 2007
Karlslunds - Vindalsö: 23,0nm
Paul, Karin

Monday, 23 July 2007

Sunday drivers

Breakfast.. and the neighbours as usual are first off - though today they have an excuse with a long trip north.

We have a more casual start and see them in the distance as the wind dies and we make slow time across Mysingen's open waters. But the weather is fine so it's no real hardship.

Eventually the wind fills in with a bit of sea breeze and with a healthy four knots plus we cross into more familiar waters - Långgarn and the shores of Gålö. And not long after we head up from the last close reach to drop sail and motor in.

Journey's end...
..and a big thanks to the crew!!!

22 July 2007
Ängsholm to Karlslund: 13,38nm
Paul, Pål, Karin

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Back to Mysingen

St Anna's - Saturday
click to view

Karim was the early bird, but we were not so very far behind - saying farewell to our travelling companions before drawing out on the anchor to get under way.
We motored out from between the islands and sighting Karims reefed main in the distance set a course for Landsort. The winds are fair and it's a pleasant reach across open water - without the light winds of last year.

Gradually we catch up on Karim until , past Landsorts southern cape, we wave cheerio for the present as he heads in to Nynäshamn for a change of crew.
We head on for Ängsholm, breaking the trip up Mysingen at the same stop as on the outbound leg. We arrive as another boat leaves and have more or less the same place as before... to be joined just a bit later by Karim & Malin.

And just as on the first night the barbeque is lit out on the headland and we enjoy another fine skärgård evening. The last for this trip.

21 July 2007
St Brännskär to Ängsholm: 28,75nm
Paul, Pål, Karin

Friday, 20 July 2007

Lazing on a Friday afternoon

St Anna's - Friday
click to view

After two days of cloud and high winds our homeward trip was blessed with clear skies, pleasant winds and sunshine. By lunchtime we had made it back to Tvären and met up with Blå again for just a short sail before lunch. In light winds between the islands it took a while to pick a spot to anchor, but at last we threw in the hook and drew up to the shore - Lena' boat coming in after the now customary later start...

We are on holiday.. and with sunshine comes a strange desire for swimming and sunbathing and any thought of further travel is abandoned. Well almost. The forecast is for more wind in the night so after a recce on foot we motor round to the other side of the island and anchor again in a sheltered niche between the islands...

It's the last night we're all assembled, and out comes the guitar and flute for a memorable evening of song and good company crammed into the cockpit (but not ours!)

20 July 2007
Lt Trassö to St Brännskär: 16,3nm
Paul, Pål, Karin

X marks the spot

St Anna's - Thursday
click to view

No sooner have we arrived than it's time to start back again. The weather is not kind and in the blustery morning light we don't see St Anna's in it's best light. But here we are, and before we go about and head north we want at least to see something of the Archipelago.. so the day's plan includes a bit of a pleasure cruise around the islands.

There are two main channels through the islands and we plan to head south on the first and then cross to head back up further out among the islands. The only choice is what route to pick to cross between?

Choice made we head south on a reach.. skudding along between the islands and looking for the buoy that marks the turn.

How does this work again? When we reach the buoy we turn off towards this waypoint by this cob - and when we get there we turn between the cob and that underwater stone. Easy...

So which one was the cob you wanted??

Now on a broad reach, rocks, skerries and small islands rush towards us. The compass looks good and the waypoint is dead ahead... That one.
...and the underwater stone???

On the chart it looks like plenty of room, but out on the water - and not wishing to guess when the last proper survey was done - things don't seem to have so much margin. But better the devil you know.

We hold course on the cob and head up as late as prudence allows, slipping past looking at the darker water of it's sunken shores, but never once seeing that stone.

And so we find ourselves homeward bound.. As the channel bends the close reach becomes a beat, judging the legs to avoid the dots and x's scattering the island shores. And then a narrow gap, between a cob and reef to head into more open water towards Arkösund. We thread the gap between two islands, creeping through the lee, to avoid a more buffeting detour - and shake free onto a fine reach towards Arkösund and lunch.

With good tailwinds the afternoon sailing is more relaxed as we trail Karim across the open waters of Bråviken. Arriving outside Oxelösund with perfect timing the wind dies away just as we nose out across the shipping lane. We are obliged to veer away as the speck in the distance rapidly becomes a freighter bearing down on us.
Woow! But from there it's a quiet and leisurely sail to tie up at Liten Trassö, a popular anchoring spot just off the main channel.

19 July 2007
Verkholm to Lt Trassö: 27,4nm
Paul, Pål, Karin
W 7-11 m/s

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Full reefed

The wind in the night has passed over but not left us, and we are well reefed as we head south towards Arkösund and St Anna's. We drop back into the main channel and follow the navigation markers between the islands. It's good reaching weather and keep a good pace despite the reefs, and are glad of them when squalls come in with rain and winds up around 30 knots.

Around Arkösund the wind eases back a bit and we are back to playing the old game of making the mark... close hauled and really not wanting to tack off in the narrow channel - but make it we do and we can set off into St Anna's Skärgård. It's more compact than the Stockholm Archipelago, and that means less open water and more things to keep an eye out for.

The sun is out (sometimes) but the sky is filled with big boulders of cloud that darken the sky and bring whistling winds to whip up the white horses. Close hauled we crab our way to windward, with the wind direction swinging widely on the gusts.

Quite a short days sailing.. but we are all happy when the time comes to drop sail. We are not the only boats here and we end up in a small cove almost under the trees. Quiet, but not the most picturesque stop on the trip.

But... we've arrived!

18 July 2007
Venholmen: 11,5nm
Paul, Pål, Karin
SW-W 9-13 m/s

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Cold Harbour

St Anna's - Tuesday
click to view
From our island night-stop it is soon back in the main channel heading south, weaving between the islands and the reefs with a queue of boats behind and in front. The sailing is pleasant and we are soon turning the bow to head in to Oxelösund for lunch and restocking. A nice guest harbour with a restaurant behind - even a dance floor on the green! It's a fair walk to town to get provisions, and then a pleasant lunch in the sunshine - only a little concerned by the forecast for rising winds...

Heading out from Oxelösund we cut southward between two islands and soon find ourselves bobbing in the chop with only fluky winds pushing us nowhere - but time solves most problems and eventually we pick up speed and head off. We have charted a route across the sound between the many rocks and skerries to bring us to what looks like a good overnight prospect - but having the waypoint and knowing just which rock is which aren't entirely the same thing!

Lena's boat has gone another way, and so it's just ourselves with Karim following as our goal comes in sight. Kallhamn - a smallish island, but with a good deep bay on what tonight is the lee side. We give wide berth to an area charted with underwater rocks and glide slower and slower towards the goal until in the end we give up and finish the trip by motor - black clouds menace on the horizon and lightning flickers in the distance. Great atmosphere!.. but nice to have arrived and be moored up against the cliffs.

17 July 2007
Oxelösund to Kallhamn: 17,1nm
Paul, Pål, Karin
SW 8-12 m/s (at least on the forecast!)

Monday, 16 July 2007

Through the Stone Door

St Anna's Semester - Monday
After a day in port it was nice to be out sailing again... even if the winds continued to be fresh and largely in the wrong direction - at least the sun was shining. We took the direct route from Landsort heading west to cross to the archipelago south of Trosa.

By lunchtime we sailed through the narrow sound giving entrance to Tvären. The wind had dropped off and was fluky behind the tree-clad promontory so we ended up beating in no wind just feet from the quayside... holding on for the traffic to pass us and give us chance to tack off.

Soon after we met up with Åsa and the other boats for lunch in the sun.. and a very nice lunch it was too. From there it was time to turn southwest passing through Stendörren (The Stone Door) and following the navigation channel between the islands, sometimes sailing and sometimes turning the engine on as we headed upwind through narrow passages.

As evening approached we stated looking for shelter for the night and eventually settled on an island right on the edge of the archipelago. The open approach was deceptive, until with a little help from the shore we found the right line to come through the shoals off shore. Sheltered from the wind, and with the sun low in the west.. it must be time to share a 'sun-downer'?

We are on holiday after all..

18 July 2007
Landsort to Kallhamn: 22,9nm
Paul, Pål, Karin
SW-W 9-13m/s

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Blow the man down

St Anna's - Sunday
click to view
It was a lumpy night, with the wind veering west and the swell breaking into the harbour entrance. I was up several times in the night to check fenders, and the anchor line.

Daybreak showed galloping seas covered with white horses. We've a long way to go to St Anna's, we should be moving on, but there's not much enthusiasm to head out. Karim wants to sail, and sets a reef and noses out - but is back in port inside an hour when a reefing point blows out. So we are in port for the day.

But port is no comfy place with the broken sea that chops up from the entrance - so one by one, as space comes free, we move berth to further in, until we're all together in the farthest corner, the flapping flags the biggest reminder of the choppy conditions round the corner.

Landsort is nice - even when it blows. Take a walk to the clifftops. Watch the surf breaking on the shoals off to the west... or walk down to the pilotboat harbour, sit and take a beer on the quay. ..or best, after dinner, set a little music on, and dance salsa on the jetty.

15 July 2007
Paul, Pål & Karin
W 13 m/s

And then we were three...

St Anna's Semester - Saturday
It was a bright and early start - well, nine o'clock at least - as we left Ängsholm for the next leg. Still with headwinds we beat down Mysingen with fresher winds and more swell as we passed Örnsgrund and tacked towards the open Baltic.

We stuck it out with the genoa for a lumpy and somewhat exhillerating stretch before cutting west and dropping sail to motor into the narrow passage through to Nynäsviken, and lunch with Saul & Cissie - salsa friends of Karims. They have a beautiful summer cottage - and a wee small jetty - tucked into an inlet in this enclosed bay. Here we enjoyed lunch in the sun, talked dance, and listened to salsa. Great!

But we're not there yet. We are meeting Lena on Landsort and have some sailing to do. We go by motor through the remarkable Dragetskanal, just 2.5 m wide - dug by prisoners of war in the 1600s to providing a sheltered exit from Nynäsvik to the west. And from there set sail southward, weaving through the islands towards Öja. The wind is strengthening, and with only part of the jib unfurled it takes a while to get the sheeting position right and get her pointing.

It's a short stretch, and we are soon bucketing in the swell outside the guest harbour, sails down and the outboard complaining, now too deep, now sucking air..
How nice to slide into the lee of the headland and motor into smoother waters.

Lena is already here and we find space rafted alongside... just as well as the small harbour is more or less full. 26 knot winds are forecast for tonight.

14 July 2007
Ängsholmen to Landsort: 25.25 nm
Paul, Pål & Karin
SW 5-9 m/s

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Southward Bound

St Anna's Semester - Friday
Holidays have to begin somewhere... and for us it was standing in the rain at Karlslunds Marina unloading the car. A fine start for a week on the boat. But, packed up and ready to go the rain stopped, and beating out into Mysingen the sky cleared.
Somewhere up ahead was Karim, who'd been sailing all day from Bullandö, and Ängsholmen, our evening rendezvous. Past Mysingeholm both came into view as Karim's more southerly track converged on ours, and so we followed them in the last stretch to our evening's mooring, close in to the cliffs in a sheltered bay around half way down Mysingen.
Anders, crew for the day, jumped ship to join Karim & Patrik whilst we all gathered on the headland for dinner ...and to watch the sun set over the sound.

13 July 2007
Karlslunds to Ängsholmen: 16,5nm
Paul, Pål, Karin & Anders
SW 3-7 m/s

Sunday, 1 July 2007


Midsommar 2007
Midsummer is not the time to be in the city - unless of course you like being on your own. In cottages and villages around the country family and friends gather to celebrate the longest day, with dancing and feasting .. and having a good time.

And what you can do in a cottage in the woods, you can just as well do on an island out in the archipelago. Which is why on midsummer's eve Mata Hari pointed her bows south west and in company of Ander's Misil we set sail for the southern end of Ornö, for a party with some likeminded salseros.

It's a short and familiar trip - apart from the last part, gliding into Björkosund in the wind shadow from the island. We turned up just in time to be pipped for a place on the quay by Karim's Albin Express - so, most unusually for Sweden, we ended up rafted on the outside.

With a genial host, good company, an enormous barbecue, music, and a broad verandah for a dancing... well you can imagine how that is can't you?

Morning dawned bright and early (I must fix a curtain for the window in the washboard) and breakfast was followed by a morning stroll through the woods and along the shore. The forecast - 80% risk for winds over 10m/s (20knots)- was not inviting, and the winds over the bay were enough to hint at how it could be out in open water. Plenty of time for more herring (and just a little nubbe). But the winds are due to drop later...

Much later, around four o'clock, the wind seemed much the same, but it's time to be on our way. But, good fortune or good planning, by the time we were ready to leave the wind had shifted towards the south and dropped a point and in the lee of Ornö the homeward trip was easy sailing.

22/23 June 2007
Karlslunds to Björkösund: 12,6nm round trip.
Paul, Karin
Outbound E 4-7 m/s
Inbound SE 5-8 m/s

See it on the map...

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Lunch on the rocks

Another weekend and another sunny sunday. why waste it?
Pack the barbie and we're off to the islands!

The forecasts as usual disagreed on the wind which turned out to be a good breeze as we reached out to Havstornsudden, and then turned to beat up towards Långgarn. Somewhat wiggly tacks mind, as Eugen is getting the feel of the helm.

Our goal - the island of Långgarnsholm, lies just off the island of Långgarn - itself just off Gålö. Together they form a long sheltered inlet open in the east. Approaching, the wind dies away and it's one of those fluky close reaches to creep up towards lunch. Keep clear of the wind shadow from Långgarn - but not too close inshore...

Soon we are decamped to the rocks and the BBQ is lit. Lie back... crack a beer - and enjoy.

Afternoons are never as long as you'd like, so after a scant two hours it's time to head home. Of course, beating here means running back... A very pleasant - and warm - experience in afternoon sun, not least for the strawberry dessert and coffee and pastries on the way back..

10 June 2007
Karlslunds to Långgarnsholmen: 11,3nm round trip.
Paul, Pål & Eugen
Winds: SW 1-5 m/s

See it on the map...

Monday, 4 June 2007

Lazy daze...

Mörbyfjärd: click for album
When the motor stops and the sheets tighten that other world slips away. The boat heels and the water gurgles under the bow as she picks up speed, and life is new and fresh again.

It is the finest and loveliest of days. Bright sunshine and a fresh breeze, and we are soon reaching out from Karlslunds at six knots heading out to explore. Where shall we go?

Mörbyfjärd is another of those spots that I'm always sailing past on the way to somewhere else.. yet with sheltered waters and a scattering of small islands there should be a few good spots to anchor. It's not a long trip, and with good winds it almost seems a shame to drop sail and motor in. But, we have a full lunchbox and a blanket and the sun is shining...

After a certain amount of dithering I plumped for a sheltered cliff on the southern shore, and managed to set Caroline on the rocks without quite running out of anchorline. Good, but we are soon nudging bottom on the shallows, and a little adjustment is needed before Mata Hari is sitting pretty with water under the keel. Done. Lunch?

How does tomato and basil flan sound? With melon, ham, grilled peppers, bread, olives, and a nice white wine? Probably not at all like the sound you get when you sit on the aioli. Ooops.

But the sun is shining and the cliffs are warm and comfortable, and do we have to sail back just yet?

2 June 2007
Karlslunds to Mörbyfjärd: 10,9nm round trip.
Paul, Caroline
Winds: E 5-7 m/s

See it on the map...

Sunday, 20 May 2007

In the swim!

Runmaren: click for album

There is this magic with the weather, that when you get away from the land the sun shines...

The forecast for Saturday was winds gusting over 20m/s so we opted for the short tour to be home on Friday; and a trip to Runmaren . Not an island we've visited before although we've sailed past many times.

The trip there was around three and a half hours, mostly close hauled or reaching. After checking out the smaller bay on east Runmaren and finding three boats already moored in the 'best' spot we motored round to West Runmaren and the more open bay there. There was just one other IF for company as we came in to the cliffs. Good deep water close in - but not too many spots where it's easy to step ashore. ... and as I later found - not the best holding for the anchor. ( I was a bit stingy with the anchor line)

It was lovely, with the stern pointed west for the sunset.. and still calm water all around. In May the evenings are still chilly, but there are far fewer boats around so you get these lovely islands almost to yourself. The island itself is part of the Utö nature reserve stewarded by Skärgårdstiftelsen - and it's easy to understand why as eider swim in rafts off the cliffs, and oystercatchers wing past piping.

Supper was beef, pan-fried on the BBQ (I left the rack at home), and grilled bananas doused in Grand Marnier. Which, with a little red wine, is just the thing to leave you feeling relaxed and mellow as the horizon darkens and the stars come out...


Morning, still and sunny, saw the first dip of the year. We stretch the mainsheet back to the backstay when we're moored for more room in the cockpit - and oops!... that was the shackle going over the side as I loosened it to move it back. No spare on board - and I think I can see it down there... and a weight and a line to mark where it is, 3m down...
Splash! ...and brrrrr... it's cold!

Sadly I didn't manage to find the shackle - but the water was actually a lot warmer than I'd feared. It won't be long before swimming is back on the agenda for real. :-)

And the mainsheet? We robbed Peter to pay Paul and swapped out a shackle on the boom downhaul for a smaller one...

17/18 May 2007
Karlslunds to Runmaren: 19.6nm round trip.
Paul, Pål
Thurs: Variable S-SE 2-4 m/s
Fri: SW 0-2 rising W 5-6 m/s
See it on the map...

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Obscured from view

After a grey morning it was nice to find sunshine as we headed out from Karlslunds. The wind was light and on the nose... just nice a gentle sail for the season's premier.

It turned fluky as we beat up to Havtornsudde and the main channel, but steadied for a comfortable close reach all the way across the sound. The sun is warm, but the wind is chilly on the fingers.

West towards Mysingen the horizon was grey... fog on the way, creeping closer, swathing the islands and swallowing them up.
But it was still clear and fine as we furled the jib, and dropped the main to motor in to the narrow entrance.

Inside there were just four boats, all moored to shore on the south side in the late afternoon sun. So we were alone as we dropped the anchor and nosed in to the shaded shore on the other side...

The boat is soon shipshape and we decamp to the shore laden with the grill & all the essentials. Experience says it's a short walk through the woods to the sunny side - and fine views out over the sound.

As the coals got started we watched terns fishing from the rocks as the sun slowly set into the fog still spreading out towards us. ..and to the east more fog coming, from over Ornö behind us. As the lamb cooked the far shore disappeared and then island after island -until, as the fruit kebabs sizzled, even the horizon was gone.

Still, silent, calm... the glassy water indistinguishable from the grey sky beyond. Far from Stockholm in another world, obscured from view...
12/13 May 2007
Karlslunds to Kolnäsvik: 9.5nm round trip.
Variable S-SE 3-5 m/s
Check where we went on the map...

Saturday, 5 May 2007

101 things to do after breakfast.

Getting the mast down is the first step. Untie everything and wash it down. Refit the spreaders and the outer stays.. and then sort out the mess so everything will arrive in the right place when it gets upright. A bottlescrew that has a damaged thread and a trip to the chandelry at the shop. Not forgetting a new Windex (how many is that now?).
Lift over the mast to a trolley and carefully wheel 9m of mast out past the parked cars to bag a spot on the quay.

What sort of idiot moors a thirty-five footer on the quay half blocking the mast crane? We squeeze Mata Hari in to lie alongside and practise that peculiar ballet of getting the mast into position and the stays fastened on... and if someone can tell me a cast-iron technique for keeping the windex out of the mast-crane then do, please!

A spectator - great! .. stood impatiently watching with a mast on the roofrack of his Volvo, sticking out a good eight feet in both directions. A triumph of ingenuity over road safety! It turned out to be the mizzen for a (different ) 35 footer. Nuff said.

Just let's get the backstay in place and we can be off back to the berth to tension up everything. Boom, topping lift, main-sheet, kicker, downhaul, cunningham - hoist the genoa onto the roller reefing - Fit the the mains'l, boom cover, sprayhood.

..and refit the refurbished connector for the mast navlight. (Thanks Micke!)

All done :-)
Almost. The lamp's still open circuit. no.. yes.. ermm.. oh. an intermittent connection in the switch.

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.. and we're ready to sail!

Refreshing the parts...

Despite the rather snazzy tackle to lift the mast up and down in the mast shed it's still not the easiest thing in the world to get just your mast to the outside and ready to lift down. Halyards and stays, despite being well tied in, seem determined to snag at every opportunity. Which would be ok, but clinging onto the edge of an RSJ five feet up it's a little tricky to deal with a snag over THERE...

"Can't we take that one instead? It looks like it's from an IF."
Sadly no.

But we get there in the end, and I step down to terra firma ..accompanied by an ominous ripping sound. My jeans, wearing thin, are unexpectedly sporting new ventilation (!)

Friday, 4 May 2007


Friday, and all those last minute jobs have run out of minutes. Sjösättning has come!

Karlsunds has it well sorted. On time the crane arrives and with it the trailer that will carry her down to the water. I've seen a bit on tying the strops together to stop them slipping, but here they just get on with it. Strops on, slacken the bottle screws on the cradle and lift. Be careful with her.. as two tonnes swings in to the air.

But no worries. Once on the trailer the supports close to grip her and it's off through the rows of boats to the slipway. So many boats with the covers stlll on, work barely started. It's nice instead to be putting her back into her element.

Despite having tested the sea-cock was water-tight once we'd changed it there's still a small apprehension lingering as she glides off the trailer to lie by the quay. Small and fortunately unfounded.

And so I whisper sweet words to the outboard and smile as it sputters to life on the second pull. Cast off! ...and we back slowly away from the quayside before swing the bow round to face away. Slip her into gear and head off to find the berth, the sun shining and ripples gurgling under the bow.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Go South! Young Man

With the boat almost ready to slip it seemed about time to think about the season ahead. All dressed up with nowhere to go? Well not quite...

The plan was that we would sail to Gotland somewhen under the summer and spend a few days cruising there before heading back. Two boats, for company and added safety, and a little summer sailing adventure. But - talking it over round the table in Tullkrogen there was a more conservative tone from the assembled ship companies. Ah well... night sailing.. weather .. need more crew .. ferries? It's a long way... (about 100nm). So, by consensus - in the best swedish tradition - we are haeding south in the summer. Västervik is nice, if we make it that far.

Gotland? Maybe next year.

Monday, 9 April 2007

That sinking feeling...

The seacock under the sink has not been working... it doesn't shut off. When we changed the old tatty plastic sink for a stainless one we found that the plughole is not so very far above the waterline, so it's comforting to be able to shut off the seacock when we're under way...
So I thought I'd have a look. ..and yes the seacock's kaput. So we just screw it loose from the hull fitting and..
..and it's too close to the bulkhead to screw off! And that's when you get that sinking feeling.

So now it's either loosen the hull fitting - which I'm loathe to do - or add some ventilation to the locker under the berth.
Pass the saw Pål!

Painted and fine

Easter and work starts in earnest... sanding and repainting the anti-fouling, and the annual challenge to get the hull looking it's best.
The blue colour matts out under the summer, and the finish gets streaky and uneven - so every year it's a once over with rubbing paste, and then polish and wax. It works, and gets easier year by year. She looks fine afterwards, but I'd love to find a way to keep her looking that way all year round!
..and someday I will get some gelcoat in the right colour and get rid of all those marks where the anchor has kissed the sides on the way up.

This album is powered by BubbleShare - Add to my blog

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Covers Off!

Last year at this time the snow was still piled high around the covers, and the bay was thick with ice (...actually not thick enough, but that's another story!). Today though the sun shone and spring is definitely in the air. Time to get started. Covers Off!

It's more symbolic than a big step on the way - but taking down the winter covers at least means we get to check her over before we go to the chandlers. And she will get a little air before we start with the rubbing and painting.

Strange that we're the only ones...

Thursday, 8 March 2007


The snow is still lying round about, but thoughts turn to spring and getting the boat ready for 'sjösättning'. It is after all spring proper in more southerly climes.

Yesterday, to give a sailing jolt to the system, it was a visit to 'Allt på Sjön' - the annual sailing exhibition here in Stockholm. Amongst all the motorboats and enormous outboards there were sails flying to whet the appetite: A new range of boats from RS - new to me at least - had me yearning for a bit of dinghy sailing, and the small collection of traditional boats reminds me that I really ought to have a boat at home. Something to potter with in the evenings. Living on a lake shore ought to have some benefits!

But... we didn't buy a boat... not even a shiny new kayak. But one thing did open the purse-strings. A new chart - a large scale chart of some of the islands out round Huvudskär - and so we have the beginnings of a plan, for one of those weekend trips...

Friday, 2 February 2007

The world's best grill dessert

Grilled Ananas and Punsch
Take your pineapple and cut it into slices...
Lay on the grill for a few minutes each side until nicely golden.
Remove and cut into wedges
Pour over punsch..

Bite into the pineapple, the caramel outside and the warm pineapple juice inside - all with an aromatic aftertaste. Mmmmmm....

But with thoughts of summer (as the snow lies round the door) the search is on... what's this years grill dessert sensation???

Friday, 12 January 2007

The Summer of 2006

A quick.. no.. very quick snapshot of the summer of 2006 -
Huvudskär, Utö, Trosa skärgård - and not forgetting Sailsalsa...

On Mata Hari

Mata Hari is an International Folkboat, or IF båt if you prefer. Built in 1974 she's been with us eleven years now, a lithesome thirtysomething that still loves to get out and play amongst the waves. This is her online log.

Homewaters are the Stockholm Archipelago - a beautiful stretch of coastline on Sweden's Baltic coast - but we will call it the skärgård... because that's what it is.
With 20 000 islands liberally scattered around both the views and the sailing are great - and nothing beats sitting on a sun warmed outcrop (with a glass of red) watching the sun slowly set.

The IF is a classic long keeled design a tad under 8 meters long. She sails well but can be tricky manouvring at slow speed - or maybe that's just me and our venerable old outboard?
Four berths - but quite cosy with it, and no chance of standing upright inside. A spirit stove and a cranky Wallas heater. Luxurious it is not but where's the charm in that? And on the other hand we do have a rather good wine cellar...