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...