Over 300 nautical miles behind – All well on-board!

Greetings from Kristianopel, Sweden. We have now sailed 9 legs – total of 310.5 nautical miles and three countries (Germany, Denmark and Sweden). Things are finding their places on-board but still especially the food items something “disappear”. The toilet leak is history but the engine is causing us some worry. It refuses to start if used for extended time. Re-starting it requires taking off the covers (to cool it down) and giving it some hammer. Other than that, life on S/Y Stella Polaris is good!

DSCN0019Anton. His truly a sailor! Anton is very comfortable on-board and sometimes even refuses to get out of the boat to do something on land. During sailing, Anton sometimes sits in the cockpit but mostly spends his time inside listening to stories, playing with the iPad or watching movies from the computer. He also takes really long daytime naps that we adults envy! On calm legs, Anton enjoys sitting on the font deck. He gladly wears the life vest, would love to help all boats coming to the harbor with ropes and is an eager fisherman when ever possible.

The captain. The captain has handled the boat extremely well in all situations from hard wind to rush hour in a tiny marina. He’s a captain that you can trust without hesitation.

The first mate. For me, this trip has so far been an experience of a lifetime. As I’m only a novice in sailing, all practicalities of long distance sailing are new to me. The captain has praised my performance so far and I’m feeling positive about my learning curve. Unfortunately, I have been unexpectedly seasick during the first legs when we had stronger winds and higher waves.

Harbors. Even thought we only have visited 8 harbors so far, none of them have been the same. Plus that we have anchored overnight in the river Trave which was so peaceful and quiet even thought the large cargo ships passed us really close. Also a sheep herd on land entertained us with funny noises.

Steering. S/Y Stella Polaris is a slave ship! We have two slaves on-board and they are called Gustav and Robby. Gustav the wind pilot is our best friend on-board. He doesn’t eat anything and he takes no space because he hangs outside at the transom of the boat. He steers reliably to the intended direction in all conditions except direct tailwind and no wind. In these conditions Robby – the Simrad autopilot – takes over.

Navigation. Even though S/Y Stella Polaris is equipped with two independent GPS navigation systems we have also wanted to navigate traditional style. All legs are planned in advance with paper maps and the planned route is marked down to the map. Every hour or so, we mark down to the map and logbook our actual location and check that we are on route.

Electricity. I’ve always heard that electricity is an issue in sailboats. So far we have had no issues. Our wind generator and engine has generated much more power for us that we have been able to consume. The 3 batteries hidden underneath the salon berth provide us electricity while sailing or in anchorage. The only issue is that we haven’t found an USB charger for our MacBook but hopefully we will get it tomorrow from Kalmar.

Food. Happy crew is well fed! We eat well at home and planned not to change that on-board. We have had breakfast with beacon, eggs and beans and everyday we enjoy a proper dinner outside in the cockpit. The new cold box works very well and our kitchen is equipped with almost everything else but an oven. A used Taylor oven-cooker is currently located in the cockpit storage box waiting to be installed when we get home.

Off to the beach!


Getting to know the boat

Getting to know a new sailboat is a time consuming task. We have spend 6 days in Smygehamn harbour – the southern most harbour of Sweden – going through lockers and stuff in them, cleaning and scrubbing, fixing and adjusting this and that, searching and finding out how things work.

We have found useful things such as a collapsible bicycle, 3 power drills, 8 tool box sets, spear parts for nearly everything, kitchen appliances for baking and so much more. Thank you Heinz!

Saku has fixed the bicycle to working condition and done two major improvements in the boat that will make our everyday life on-board more comfortable. The old cold box situated in the legroom of the navigation table was said goodbye to when the fixed cold box under the berth got a new compressor unit. We now have more room for refrigeration but it was not an easy and fast fix. Saku got to experience at first hand how fixing things in sealed, closed space can make screwing two screws take 30 minutes! Also the minor but irritating leak in the toilet seat that kept the bathroom floor constantly wet got fixed. We will find our for sure tomorrow if the leak is history.

20140630_155804Today (Monday) was spent in Malmö Ikea (blankets, pillows etc.), ICA Max (provisions), Biltema (this and that) and Media Markt (waterproof digital camera).

While going through the boat, we have had the change to spend time with Saku’s family. At the end of the day today when all items we bought had found their places in the lockers of the boat, Ninni and Simon visited the boat.

We tested the sailing capabilities of S/Y Stella Polaris on the way from Germany to Sweden in some strong wind and we were very pleased with how she behaved under pressure. The journey with a boat that we now know a bit better continues tomorrow morning to Rönne, Island of Bornholm, Denmark. The weather forecast is predicting tailwind and the spinnaker is waiting to be tested!