Sailing season 2016 was special for us. At the beginning of June we started our journey from Helsinki, Finland, towards south. With no specific plan or final destination, after sailing 2864 nautical miles, we settled for couple of months to Gibraltar.
The current plan is to continue to Mediterrainean Sea in Q1/2017. Stay tuned!
DAY 159, 9.11.2016 – Epic finish for the sailing season 2016
From: Barbate, Spain
To: Gibraltar, Marina Bay, UK
Lenght: 36.7 nm
This leg was just epic. We left Barbate before sunrise, sailed in the darkness just enjoying the moment & the coffee. When the sun came up, it revealed the Strain of Gibraltar (picture) in front of: Spain on port side and the continent of Africa on the starboard side. It felt amazing to be sailing this Strait that we’ve always looked at on the maps.
We had nearly 4 knots of current and we sailed with max speed of 8.7 knots. There where some shallow point and currents to look out for but no traffic. We checked Tarifa with the binoculars at the narrowest point of the Gibraltar Strait and waited for the Rock of Gibraltar to appear in the distance. See Gibraltar from the sea pictures in the Facebook.
At the time, we did not know that this was going to be our last sailing leg of the year. One could not hope for a better finishing leg for a challenging but amazing sailing season 2016.
DAY 158, 8.11.2016 – Today we will see Africa!
From: Cadiz, Spain
To: Barbate, Spain
Lenght: 40.1 nm
Lots of excitement in the air when we took of from Cadiz. It had been 8 days since we sailed the last time but it felt like we had stayed still for much longer. Do we even know how to sail anymore?!
The experienced some headwind when rounding Cadiz which then turned to side wind that took us nicely to Barbate. At 1300 hours we finally saw it in the distance: Africa! On the way with had a little issue: the pirates took over our boat…
DAY 150, 31.10.2016 – Across the Bay of Cadiz
From: Rota, Spain
To: Cadiz, Puerto America, Spain (picture)
Lenght: 7.3 nm
Short leg from Rota to Cadiz. Some headwind but not too bad. We needed to cross the bay because Sanna had flights booked from the Jerez airport. On the way to Cadiz, a Nato ship passes us right in front. It was massive. In Cadiz, we enjoyed the atmosphere of the old town and met another sailboat with Finnish crew. Puerto Marina was windy and the facilities would need some improvement. Nice place to have a city break but note that the marina is not at the city center, you will need a bike.
DAY 147, 28.10.2016 -28 knots of wind
From: Chipiona, Spain
To: Rota, Spain (picture)
Lenght: 16.4 nm
Short leg to Rota in strong wind. When we arrived to Rota, the boat was wet and so where we! We used the Nato naval base breakwater to give us some shelter when taking the main sail down before motoring to Rota marina. The wind meter at the Rota marina said that the meanwind was 28 knots but it surely was more at the open sea and in gusts. The wind was so unusually strong that the ferry line from Rota to Cadiz was cancelled and replaced with a bus.
We waited for an hours or so at the waiting pontoon if the wind would calm down but it didn’t. We then moved to our berth within the marina in strong wind. We had more ropes ready and different landing strategy then normally. It was not the best landing we have done but we got to our berth safely and without breaking anything. After a day like this you really feel that you have earned your “laituriryyppy” (arriving drink.)
DAY 146, 27.10.2016 – When headwind forces us to Chipiona
From: Mazagon, Spain
To: Chipiona, Spain (picture)
Lenght: 34.5 nm
We left Mazagon the following morning already before the sunrise. We got some decent sidewind until midday but then the forecasted headwind arrived and the fun was over. We fought our way to Chipiona in unpleasent conditions evethough the plan was to sail to Rota.
During the day we talked about getting our sails maintened over the winter. At Chipiona, Anton noticed that small peace of the blue fabric (don’t know the official name of it) in our genoa was ripped and hanging loose.
DAY 145, 26.10.2016 – Hello ocean, we missed you!
From: Ayamonte, Spain
To: Mazagon, Spain (picture)
Lenght: 35.4 nm
After spending 19 days without sailing, a sailor longs for the seas. First, we revisited the wonderful Ayamonte, then, we were happy to set sails before the sunrise on 26th of October and head towards Cadiz. We left before sunset to catch the sidewind that was perdicted turn to headwind later in the afternoon. The day was just what we needed – some wind, no waves and warm sunshine – oh we were so happy! But where were all others? We saw no other sailboats at sea. It was a hot day and we enjoyed a lazy afternoon at the Mazagon beach next to the harbor. The beach is nice with beautiful seashells but there’s very little else to tell about Mazagon.
DAY 141, 22.10.2016 – Down the river on a rainy day
From: Sanlucar de Guadiana, Spain
To: Ayamonte, Spain
Lenght: 19.3 nm
When our fridge (and the candy box!) got empty, we left Alcoutim/Sanlucar and motored with the tide down the river to Ayamonte. It was a grey and rainy day for a change. In the air we could sense how the nature needed the rainwater and how everything would soon turn green. This year the hot and dry summer has burned everything to golden yellow.
We left the up river without saying goodbye – instead we said “see you.” We have a feeling that eventhough we will now continue to explore a bit more, we will be back sooner or later. The atmosphere among the sailing community that floats in the river Guadiana between Spain and Portugal is somehow special – it has small town charm, community spirit and a hint of the old hippie times. We were warmly welcomed to the community and we thank everyone for their kindness.
Alcoutim/Sanlucar is a place that should not be missed if you sail these water but be aware: we heard many stories that began “I came here for 2 days in 2011…” :)
DAY 133, 14.10.2016 – River cruising up the Rio Guadiana
From: Ayamonte, Spain
To: Sanlucar de Guadiana, Spain or Alcoutim, Portugal – difficult to tell! (anchorage & marina)
Length: 19.3 nm
Interesting river cruising day up the Portugal-Spain boarder river. The river runs between nice hills in the country side and finally slithers to a spot where there’s a village on both sides of the river. This is the main anchorage in the river and we now share it with 30+ boats. The passage up here was very well marked even though the IMRAY pilot book tells you otherwise. We saw many foreign boats wintering in anchor along the river. Apparently it is safe to leave your boat here and go back home…
DAY 126, 7.10.2016 – Crossing the river over to Spain
From: Vila Real De Santo Antonio, Portugal
To: Ayamonte, Spain (picture)
Length: 1.4 nm
The stream was impressive when we arrived to the marina in Vila Real de Santo Antonio. The marina entrance is only 20m wide so be careful. Note that the stream continues inside the marina and makes manoeuvring in the difficult.
Unfortunately we cannot put in a good word for this marina. We stayed just as long as we could visit the boatyard on the Portugal side of the river and then motored across the river to Spain to the lovely Ayamonte marina. This was the shortest leg we’ve ever done? :)
DAY 125, 6.10.2016 – Swimsuit motoring
From: llha da Culatra, Faro, Portugal (anchorage)
To: Vila Real De Santo Antonio, Portugal (picture)
Length: 32 nm
We left Ilha da Culatra anchorage at 9am in the morning. It was mid-tide and the stream was pushing us out with the speed of approximately 1.5 knots. The stream coming from the river and the waves coming from the sea generated some rocky seas at the breakwater. It looked scarier than it actually was and the rocking lasted only couple of minutes. The rest of the day was easy motoring in no wind. Some dolphins visited us at lunchtime but unfortunately they didn’t stay to play with Stella Polaris. The sun was burning hot and we were wearing only swimsuits and sun hats – and it is October!
DAY 124, 5.10.2016 – Trust your eyes, not the weather forecast
From: Vilamoura, Portugal
To: Illa da Culatra, Faro, Portugal (anchorage) (picture)
Length: 18.4 nm
The forecast said wind from south-southwest but the flags at the marina entrance told otherwise. Would it be headwind? Since we didn’t like the Vilamoura marina so much we were eager to leave and we decided to try the wind. It was headwind as we predicted but so light that it made little difference.
We motored the short distance to Faro. The ride outside of Faro was rocky due to quickly deepening ocean bottom that was loaded with fishing nets. It was almost high tide when we entered the river and the stream gave us anextra speed of 2 knots. You could see the stream running, the ebbs on both sides of the breakwater, occasional areas with little sharp waves and calm areas where water was surfacing but these did not affect our progress in the river. We anchored among other boats at Ilha da Culatra. Even though we are already in low season there was over 30 boats anchored here. At Ilha da Culatra there are no cars or streets.
DAY 123, 4.10.2016 – Light wind sailing
From: Portimao, Portugal
T0: Vilamoura, Portugal (picture)
Length: 22.2 nm
Nice Algarve sailing weather. Light tailwind that calmed totally when the sunset.
The plan was to use the dry-out slip in Vilamoura Marina to change the shaft bearing in our motor and to clean the hull of the boat. The slip did not impress us, and when the harbour master told us that is has been used ones in his 13-year career, we abandoned the idea.
All in all the Vilamoura marina was not our favourite. It took forever (loads of paperwork!) to get a berth even though we were the only arriving boat. The marina is located in the middle of tourist restaurant area and there is very little value added for a travelling sailor. You might want to skip this marina – unless you have an urgent gravy for thai/japanese/indian/italian/chinese food or need brand clothing.
DAY 120, 1.10.2016 – Easy floating to Portimao
From: Alvor, Portugal
To: Portimão, Portugal (picture)
Length: 7.1 nm
Shortly before high tide we motored out of the Alvor lagoon. A route once navigated is always easier to take and we had no issues with the sand banks. S/Y Omaha with deeper draft followed us out. The short distance from Alvor to Portimao was a blizz: only the genoa was up and we sailed about 4 knots in hot afternoon sun sitting at the bow.
DAY 116, 27.9.2016 – Eyeball navigation to shallow anchorage lagoon
From: Lagos, Portugal
To: Alvor, Rio Alvor, Portugal (picture)
Length: 4.4 nm
Next high tide we motored a short distance to Alvor. The entrance to the lagoon is sandy and therefore subject to silting. One should enter mid-tide to have enough water but to see the shallow sandbanks. Our map showed a marked route to the lagoon but it did not match the reality. Once we had to halt and reverse back to where we were coming because the water got too shallow. Near by Local fisherman kindly guided us to the right direction. Saku was driving and Sanna was doing eyeball navigation at the bow – a task she really does not like. Slowly we made it to the lagoon and found enough space to anchor among several other boats.
Alvor is a tourist city (mostly Brittish) with tourist restaurants but not much else. However, the anchorage is beautiful. There’s no services for visiting yachts. Also be aware that the local fisherman have an irritating habit of driving (intentionally?) with the speed of 10 knots just few meters away from your boat.
Later in the week S/Y Omaha joins us and again two Finnish flags are flying in a same anchorage. The lagoon was also perfect to dinghy driving school, see video in Facebook.
DAY 115, 26.9.2016 – Extra long leg to south coast of Portugal
From: Sines, Portugal (anchorage & marina)
To: Lagos, Portugal (anchorage)
Length: 82.1 nm
Wake-up at 0340 am, cast off at 0420am. And we are on holiday!? Pitch dark, no moonlight. No morning fog – thank you for that. Some fishing vessels and pilot ships at the Sines commercial harbor when we gross it in good wind. Unfortunately the good wind dies outside the harbor and the forecasted strong breeze does not start until noon. We motorsailed in light tailwind the early morning hours in the Atlantic swell that made ⅔ crew members seasick.
There’s no harbors or safe anchorages between Sines and south coast of Portugal. At the end of this long leg waits Cape de Sao Vicente, the southern most point of Portugal, where the Atlantic swell hits the shore causing some cross-waves and quickly changing wind conditions. But after rounding the cape, a sailor can forget the Atlantic swell – a moment we have been waiting for. See a video “Rounding Cape de Sao Vicente” where the skipper talks about the wind and wave conditions at this cape.
Plan A was to anchor at Sagres, just around Cape Vicente, but the wind of 15-20 m/s made us continue towards Lagos. Plan B was to go to Lagos marina. But plan C was executed: there were sailboats anchored at the Lagos breakwater. Driving to a marina in strong headwind in a quickly darkening evening would be troublesome and take longer than anchoring. Also, at this hour, a pricy marina would not give any value added. We dropped the anchor at the Lagos bay by the famous Portuguese beaches with stone caves and pillars. After sunset, just when we have opened a bottle of sparkling, a fishing boat comes and asks 3 sailboats to move closer to the breakwater. Apparently we were anchored in their fishing area.
DAY 112, 23.9.2016 – Floating slowly next to a shooting exercise
From: Sesimbra, Portugal
To: Sines, Portugal (anchorage & marina)
Length: 33.4 nm
Change of plans: after breakfast we decide to sail today. The original plan was to move from the Sesimbra marina to anchor one more day in front of the Sesimbra beach. But today the wind is more favourable and we are off to Sines. On the way, Portugal warship Vasco Da Gama was having a shooting exercise just 7 nautical miles away from our route. We heard some bangs but didn’t see anything. In this leg we sailed over Setubal Canyon that is max 800m in depth. By looking at the ocean surface you cannot even tell.
Sines, the birth town of Vasco Da Gama, was a pleasant experience. We could have stayed longer. The guest harbour has the best showers! See pictures from Sines.
DAY 110, 21.9.2016 – Stuck to an old mooring line
From: Cascais, Portugal (anchorage)
To: Sesimbra, Portugal
Length: 26.8 nm
When winching the anchor up in the morning at Cascais, we find out that the supergood grip the anchor has had for the past 3 days is due to it being stuck to an old mooring line! Our anchor chain had rounded the mooring line 3 times. Some early morning exercise was required to solve the situation.
By noon, when we reached Cape Espichel, the typical strong breeze over the cape started and we sailed to Sesimbra with SOG over 6 knots – just with the main sail. Sesimbra was recommended to us as a possible wintering location and we can see why: pretty new harbor, beautiful beach scene, cafes, restaurants… A nice small town. But the tourist season has already ended and it was very quiet. We were the only visiting boat at the marina. See Sesimbra pictures from Facebook.
DAY 107, 18.9.2016 – Foggy and windy leg to get around yet another corner – Cape Da Roca
From: Penice, Portugal
To: Cascais, Portugal (anchorage)
Length: 45.9 nm
Early morning start is delayed by 45 minutes due to a very thick fog. When we leave the Penice harbor, we figure the sunrise will melt away the fog or that the fog is very local, hanging over the Penice bay. Both wrong. The fog does not clear until 1pm when we are almost at Cape Da Roca. We use the radar and blow the fog horn to find out that our audience is fishing nets, not fishing boats! :) There’s very little traffic in these waters – at least this time of the year.
The typical “cape effect” happened again at Cape Da Roca: after rounding the cape, the wind increases substantially. We sailed with the speed of 6.3 knots all the way to Cascais where we anchored in front of the city beach. The strong breeze continued to the early morning hours. The same breeze comes here every day, starting about 4pm. We got very little sleep when the wind was hauling Stella Polaris and she rocked strongly from side to side. If you wish to have a good night sleep in this bay, choose the (expensive) Cascais Marina.
Cascais is a good place to jump to a local train and visit Lisbon for a day if you don’t want to sail there. That’s what we did. See Lisbon pictures from Facebook.
DAY 106, 17.9.2016 – Short sailing leg and a visit to Peniche Fortaleza
From: Nazare, Portugal
To: Penice, Portugal
Length: 24.8 nm
Sunny but foggy morning start. Couple of magnificent waves gave us a joyride when we left the Nazare harbor. At sea, the tailwind was favourable: the main sail and genua gave us a solid speed of 5 knots. Be warned: plenty of fishing nets are lined up to the quickly deepening edge of Canyon of Nazare.
We made it to Penice early enough to visit the Peniche Fortaleza – a fortress that served as a political prison until 1974. In the evening, a local maritime police made a routine visit to our boat. The Penice harbor has no services and the harbour office was already closed on the time we arrived.
DAY 105, 16.9.2016 – Sailing over the Nazare canyon
From: Figueira da Foz, Portugal
To: Nazare, Portugal
Length: 39 nm
When leaving Figueira da Foz, we experienced difficult sailing conditions. The genua with a spinnaker bar did give us enough speed but the boat rocked heavily from side to side in the Atlantic swell. We added the main sail with reef 1 and got the boat steady enough. The wind came directly from the back.
During the day, Saku read out loud Heikki Herrala’s book “Korallisaarille” in the cockpick. We enjoyed the sunshine and hearing someone else telling about places we have visited this year.
The crew has some medical issues: Sanna has a broken toe and Anton’s eye was infected. Saku’s arm was hurting most probably because of the hull cleaning exercise in Muros.
Just when arriving to Nazare breakwater, we sailed over the Canal da Nazare – an underwater canyon that stretches all the way from the Atlantic to the shoreline. Nazare therefore is known for the record high waves: the world record of the highest wave recorded in here is 30m, unofficially 50m. Pictures of these gigantic waves are presented at the Nazare harbor. We would not like to be here with a sailboat in a winter storm! However, according to a pilot book, Nazare (and Leixoes) are the only safe harbors in the whole Portuguese west coast to enter in any wind condition. Hmm…
When arriving to Nazare Marina in strong evening breeze, we got help in clear Finnish language. Markku, living in S/Y Safa, has lived onboard in Nazare for 2 years.
Saku and Anton took a short evening walk but Sanna did not even leave the harbor. The guest harbor next to the fishing boats has lost its glory and the services are in condition that they are barely usable. The poor state of the harbor is not reflected in the visiting yacht harbor fee.
DAY 103, 14.9.2016 – Tidal streams in Portuguese rivers
From: Aveiro, Baia de Sao Jacinto, Portugal (anchorage)
To: Figueira da Foz, Portugal
Length: 37.8 nm
When leaving Aveiro, the tide was against us even though we have timed our departure according to it. We exited the river following a local fishing boat that clearly knew the best way out. At breakwater, the Atlantic swells greeted us again with majestic waves. Outside the harbor the wind was good and we sailed over 6 knots with our full sails – main, genua + staysail. The night falled before we make it to the Figueira da Fox marina. It did not matter since the entrance here is much easier than in Aveiro. Just 20 minutes before the marina we get an evening shower and everything was wet, including us.
DAY 102, 13.9.2016 – Night of sailing turns into a midnight anchoring
From: Porto, Douro Marina, Portugal
To: Aveiro, Baia de Sao Jacinto, Portugal (anchorage)
Length: 38.9 nm
The plan was to sail overnight from Porto to Figueira da Fox and, if the wind would be good, continue straight to Nazare the next afternoon. But we dropped the anchor to Aveiro, Baia de Sao Jacinto, at midnight because there was no wind and the Atlantic swell was insane.
The leg was also unfortunate in other ways: our better cane drops to the ocean when putting Gustav, our windpilot, to water. There’s no way of finding and getting it back in this swell with a full sailset on. Half an hour later we notice that we are missing one dorado vent. We have no idea where it went. Most probably also donated to the sea…
Aveiro entrance at midnight was scary. The tide was running in and pushing us with a speed of 3 knots. We tried to go as slowly as possibly to allow us time to navigate in the darkness. After turning to Sao Jacinto the stream ended and we anchored in front of the army buildings. Anton was already sound asleep in the salon sofa. We adults were happy to have arrived safely and that the insane rocking of the boat had stopped. Aveiro at San Jacinto did not attract us the following morning. We spend the morning in the boat before continuing to Figueira da Fox.
DAY 100, 11.9.2016 – 100. travel day in fog
From: Viana do Castelo, Portugal
To: Porto, Douro Marina, Portugal
Length: 39 nm
– 100 days since we left Finland
– 2240 nautical miles travelled
– 9 countries visited
We will remember day 100. as the day when we experienced 3 fogs. See Day 100 pictures from Facebook.
We chose to stay at the Porto Marina which we thought would be closer to the old city center. I guess it was but there was no way of getting there except with own bikes.
DAY 99, 10.9.2016 – Leaving the wonderful Galicia behind and heading to Portugal
From: Baiona, Spain (Puerto Deportivo Baiona)
To: Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Length: 35.2 nm
The Atlantic swell was impressive when we left Baiona but it looked worse than it actually was. The tailwind was gently after rounding Cabo Silleiro and we had to use the engine with sails. Some rain came during the day. We made pizza for lunch. The ocean was full of fishing nets and therefore a constant watch was required.
We have a good selection of courtesy flags onboard but for some reason had no Portugal flag. The new Portugal courtesy flag was purchased from Baiona and raised with a ceremony when crossing the border.
Viana de Castello harbour is behind a swing bridge. At first, we got no reply on VHF 9 but a bit later the busy harbor master opened the bridge and we got the last free spot from the harbor. Viana de Castello is a lovely small city with good services just walking distance from the harbour. The harbour master is very friendly and helpful. This marina is worth a visit.
DAY 97, 7.9.2016 – Strong wind takes us to Baiona
From: Isla Cies, Spain (anchorage)
To: Baiona, Spain (anchorage + marina)
Length: 8.5 nm
We left the beautiful Islas Cies behind us after two days of exploring this nature reserve.
A strong sidewind accompanied by a massive Atlantic swell took us a short distance to Baiona in no time. We only had the genua up. At the approach to Bay of Baiona, Islotes Serralleiras & Estelas rocks looked horrendous in these conditions but the bay was calm enough for anchoring. We anchored at the bay for the night and moved to Puerto Deportivo the following morning. Note: If you need a proper chandlery, go to Vigo.
DAY 96, 6.9.2016 – Moving to a paradise
From: Praia de Melide, Illa de Ons, Spain (anchorage)
To: Islas Cies, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 11.1 nm
With: S/Y Omaha
After an uncomfortable night at Illa de Ons, we motored a short distance to Islas Cies in a light morning fog so typical for this region.
The anchorage at the Islas Cies nature reserve is picturesque and there is several walking trails in the island to enjoy. The pictures (here and here) tell it the best. (You can view the pictures by clicking the link even if you don’t have a Facebook profile.)
DAY 95, 5.9.2016 – Sailing to a nature reserve and meeting a whale
From: Portosin, Spain
To: Praia de Melide, Illa de Ons, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 31.3 nm
With: S/Y Omaha
Sailing in light breeze with genua, main sail and engine. At noon, north-west from Illa de Salvora, we see a whale from the distance. Saku turns off the engine and a 3 meter whale slowly swims by just couple of meters away from Stella. We stand on deck trying to be quiet but jump up and down for the excitement!
When getting to Illa de Ons, we took a short walk to the commercial harbor from our anchorage at Praia de Melida. Not much to see on this island.
The anchorage at Praia de Melida wasn’t too good. We spend an uncomfortable night swinging from side to side in the bed while listening the waves hitting the rocks outside. In this kind of turbulence you get all kinds of crazy ideas: what if the anchor doesn’t hold? What if the waves grow larger? What if they push us to the rocks? By sunrise we were so ready to pick up the anchor and move on eventhough it was a bit foggy.
Note: A navigation permission and separate anchoring permission is required for Islas Cies and Illa de Ons. See www.iatlanticas.es.
DAY 93, 3.9.2016 – To a marina to rent a car and spend a day in Santiago de Compostela
From: Punta Carreiros, Freixo, Spain (anchorage)
To: Portosin, Spain
Length: 7.3 nm
With: S/Y Omaha
Saku picked-up the anchor and motored to Portosin Marina with S/Y Omaha while Anton and Sanna were still sleeping.
We left Stella Polaris and Omaha to the marina and rented a car with Miia and Aiski to visit Santiago De Compostela. It was a nice and hot day in historical city with a long lunch. Have a look at the Santiago De Compostela pictures in Facebook.
The Portosin Marina can be highly recommended: it probably is one of the best marinas we have been to. The staff is very helpful and for example a rental car was arranged in no time. The marina facilities are excellent including a computer room and reasonably priced boat lift, if you need such service. We used the rental car to get to a large supermarket that is a bit further away in Noia.
DAY 92, 3.9.2016 – To another anchorage in Ria de Muros
From: Muros, Spain (anchorage)
To: Punta Carreiros, Freixo, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 7.3 nm
With: S/Y Omaha (Finland)
We drove a short distance up the river Tambre with S/Y Omaha and anchored by the Punta Carreiroa for the night.
DAY 91, 2.9.2016 – Passing Capo Finisterre, the western most point of continental Europe
From: Camarinas, Spain (anchorage)
To: Muros, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 41.7 nm
With: S/Y Omaha (Finland) and S/Y Canace (Finland)
Camarinas anchorage was popular among Finns: there were 3 Finnish boats anchored at the bay. S/Y Omaha also got special motorcycling guests from Finland. That called for a beach party! Total of 9 Finns gathered for a barbeque at the beach.
The next day, after getting all the seaweed off the anchor, we sailed with a yankee and the main sail towards Cape Finisterre, a cape that is respected by the sailors and the final destination by the Atlantic ocean for pilgrims walking the El Camino. The cape caused no trouble to us except that the wind died. The wind really picked up only when entering Ria Muros. This is a typical phenomena here in the Galician rias.
At the time of passing Cape Finisterre, we thought this would be the western most point of our journey towards south but it wasn’t. Cape De Roca was (N 39:04.64, W9:28.13) on 18th of September.
DAY 88, 30.8.2016
From: La Coruna, Spain
To: Camarinas, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 44.8 nm
With: S/Y Omaha (Espoo, Finland)
We had planned to leave Coruna with S/Y Omaha but at the time we casted off, it seemed that the sleepyheads just kept on sleeping! So we left by ourselves. We motorsailed in light tailwind among the Atlantic swell. A strong evening breeze picked up by the time we reached Camarinas and it did’t calm down until the early hours of the night.
Soon after our arrival arrived also S/Y Omaha – they had their clocks still in UK time! We spend the evening with Miia and Aiski.
DAY 86, 28.8.2016
From: Cedeira, Spain (anchorage)
To: La Coruna, Spain
Length: 29.3 nm
We were happy to have selected a less foggy morning to leave Ria de Cedeira. Fog is a very typical phenomena in this region – see the video Fog entering Ria de Cedeira.
On the way to La Coruna Anton’s stomach was hurting but the dolphins we saw helped a little. When approaching La Coruna we watched a large cargo ship go against the Atlantic swell – the bow of the ship raised and falled like a massive rollercoaster splashing water all over. We were happy to have the large swell coming from behind.
We had planned to stay at the marina in the city center but changed our mind when we saw a Finnish flag flying at Marina Coruna. It was S/Y Omaha from Espoo, Finland, who we had met at the Kiel canal. Just few boats away was Veikko and Hanna with S/Y Canace from Helsinki, Finland. We met Veikko couple of times in Helsinki before we left. It was so nice to see familiar faces and exchange experiences in Finnish! We have met very few Finnish boats on our way south and often times we have been told that we are the first (and last?) Finnish boat in a marina for the season.
DAY 81-83 – Crossing the Bay of Biscay
From: Audierne, France
To: Cedeira, Spain (anchorage)
Length: 310 nm
Read the whole story at “Sailing the Bay of Biscay – Swell, waves, dolphins and thunderstorms“.
DAY 76, 18.8.2016 – Raz de Sein passage to Audierne
From: Camaret-sur-mer, France
To: Audierne, France
Length: 31.3 nm
Raz De Sein passage is an another strong current point at the north coast of Bay of Biscay. The lighthouse that guards this passage is famous from paintings and posters.
We were sailing perfectly in sidewind when suddenly the sea surface was full of little waves like pyramids. Our speed goes to 0.8 knots. Then the current takes us and we sail almost backwards towards the shoreline but you can only tell by looking at the plotter. This is sailing in waters where currents rule. We started to engine to make sure we stay at our planned route. See Pass De Raz video.
Audierne was a good place to wait for the right weather for Biscay crossing but note that the stream in the river – also at the guest pier- is really strong. See Audierne pictures from Facebook.
DAY 74, 16.8.2016 – Pitstop in Roscoff
From: Roscoff, France (picture)
To: Camaret-sur-mer, France
Length: 71 nm
With: S/Y Aurora Borealis (Estonia)
We left Roscoff at 11am to time our arrival to Channel du Four stream correctly. We didn’t dare to take Canal De Lile De Batz since it was not recommended by the Roscoff harbour office staff – but they might have just been overprotective. Looking back, we could have left an hour earlier because the spinnaker did not give us the speed we wanted even though we sailed further out to the sea than planned. We had to hurry to make it to the Channel at the right time.
To pass the time before Channel du Four, we went through our MOB procedure – what to do if one of us falls overboard, where the safety equipment are stored and how they are used.
Our first encounter with the Atlantic ocean was surreal: there was no wind, no waves and no swell. We calmly motored through Channel du Four watching the current make circles, bubbles and tiny cross-waves to the surface. Just at sunset, we were out of Channel du Four. Anton was sleeping in the salon sofa. At moonlight a first dolphin came to welcome us to the Atlantic ocean. It was a magical moment.
DAY 73, 15.8.2016 – Lazy day at sea
From: St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK
To: Roscoff, France
Length: 78 nm
With: S/Y Aurora Borealis (Estonia)
St Peter Port inner harbor has a sill that you can sail over only shortly before and after hightide. When entering the marina, we didn’t even notice it but luckily Saku did when were were calculating the departure time in the evening. The earlier planned departure time would have been too late and we would have missed both the tide and the favourable wind. It was a bitter decision to leave the Channel Islands so quickly since this was a destination that we all had been waiting for. But the wind forecast said it was time to go – there would be perfect wind for us the next 2 days after which a gail warning was issued for the region. And we still had Bay of Biscay ahead of us.
The day at sea was lazy sailing doing everything else than sailing. The spinnaker would have given us more speed but we were too lazy to hoist it. So we sailed just with the genua (+ spinnaker bar) and the main sail.
It was already dark by the time we arrived to Roscoff marina. By accident we parked only 5 boats away from S/Y Suwena, also member of our sailing club Oulun Merenkävijät. We said hi to Suwena the boat (nobody home) and went to bed. Therefore we cannot tell anything about Roscoff city itself – we didn’t see it. But the Roscoff marina was new and impressive.
DAY 72, 14.8.2016 – A too short visit to Channel Islands
From: Cherbourg, France
To: St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK
Length: 45 nm
Early morning start to time ourselves correct to the strong current “Race of Alderney”. About 15 other boats left the harbour at the same time. We needed plenty of coffee in the early morning hours when motoring towards the race. Anton was still sleeping in the bow. Before we reach the short but rocky Race of Alderney, we woke up Anton and make him eat breakfast so that he won’t get seasick. The waves look bad in Race of Alderney but it was pretty calm day and the rocking was heavy but too bad. In the stream, our speed over ground went to record high 9.7 knots.
After we have cleared the Race of Alderney, we hoisted the spinnaker and enjoyed the beautiful summer sailing weather. About an hour before St Peter Port we changed the spinnaker to a hammack and motored the rest of the way. In St Peter Port we waited for an hour to get to the inner harbour. In the evening we enjoyed the British atmosphere of the island and bought a reasonably priced IMRAY pilot book “Atlantic Spain and Portugal” from the local chandlery. The nature of the islands and all the anchorages around them looked lovely!
DAY 70-71, 12.-13.8.2016 – Overnight to Cherbourg under thousands of shooting starts!
From: Fecamp, France (picture)
To: Cherbourg, France
Length: 80 nm After exploring the historic sites around Fecamp and enjoying the company of other sailors in the welcoming party organised by the Fecamp Marina, we continued our journey towards south in the evening. During the day, the prevailing headwind was so strong that we decided to use the lighter breeze during the night. Well… I guess the breeze was lighter but the wind did not move to westwards as much as predicted. Around midnight, under hundreds of shooting stars, we crossed over to westerns hemisphere. In the afternoon we got to know Cherbourg a bit and met shortly a Finnish family on their way to Finland with their new sailboat. Fair winds S/Y Aurora!
DAY 67, 9.8.2016 – Sidewind for change
From: Boulogne-sur-mer, France (picture)
To: Fecamp, France
Length: 81.1 nm
The forecasted tailwind was too good to be true and we got sidewind instead on our way to Fecamp. The wind was still strong in the morning and the waves were not inviting at 0600 am just outside the harbor of Boulogne-sur-mer. We saw a boat turning back to the harbor but we were so happy to have sidewind for change that we decided to take what was given to us. The wind and the waves calmed down for the afternoon only to gain force and change direction (almost headwind) later in the evening. We arrived to Fecamp with max speed of 8.3 knots in mid-tide. The arrival to this harbor is not recommended during low tide because the entrance is said to be shallow. We had 6m of water – so no problem there. We spend couple of days exploring the history of the Normandian coastline – see pictures from Facebook.
DAY 64, 6.8.2016 – Dover Strait, the narrowest point of the English channel
From: Dunkerque, France
To: Boulogne-sur-mer, France
Length: 41.4 nm
Another early morning in a row and the exciting Dover Strait (picture) ! Saku did careful calculations and route planning the night before to make best use of the tidal waters and currents. The current in the Dover Strait is 3 knots and we didn’t want to fight against it. And of course we had headwind again, stronger than predicted, but at 0950 am our speed over ground was 8.7 knots! That made the crew happy. It was a clear & sunny day, and we were able to see France on the port side and England on the starboard side. We watched the cargo ships go through the Strait and made a logbook note when we sailed over the France-English tunnel. Saku’s calculations were exactly right: we were the first boat to arrive to the Boulogne-Sur-Mer harbor when the current was just turning against us and boat fleet going North exited the harbor.
DAY 63, 5.8.2016 – Careful coastal navigation
From: Blankenberge, Belgium (picture)
To: Dunkerque, France
Lenght: 35.7 nm
The friendly Harbor Master at the Blankenberge told us that you would simply have to be very lucky to get anything else than headwind in this part of the world at this time of the year. So after keeping strong headwind in Blankenberge for few more days than we actually wanted, we casted off towards France on day 63 at 0600 am to make use of the higher headwind of the morning and the current. And headwind it was. We were able to sail only few hours in the morning and the rest of the leg was motor sailing. We sailed along the shoreline and over three cargo ship passages so some careful navigation was required. We say seals and small dolphins again and Anton changed the courtesy flag which is always a nice ceremony. This was a short leg – we stopped at Dungerque when the current turned against us in 6 hours time.
DAY 59, 1.8.2016 – A day when wind couldn’t decide its’ force
From: The Hague, Holland
To: Blankenberge, Belgium
Lenght: 70.1 nm
Cast off at 0600am to catch the current. The morning was changing light or moderate headwind but we made progress with the help of the current. In the early afternoon the wind changed to perfect sidewind but it seemed it couldn’t decide whether to calm down or get stronger. For a while the wind was strong and the waves had white tops, in 15 minutes it looked like the wind would die. And this happened several times. We had full set of sails up: the main, genua and staysail. At lunchtime we saw a big seal looking at us and couple of small dolphins followed us from a distance for a short while. These animal encounters are always the highlights of the day! Halfway the current turned against us and our speed over ground was just over 3 knots for some hours before the current pushed us again to the right direction for the final hour. In the evening the wind finally made up its’ mind and gained stronger. All in all, a nice cruising day with other sailboats and busier than expected cargoship traffic. The entrance to Blankenberge harbor was too exciting for our taste after a long leg. Navionics warned about silting at the harbor approach and too shallow water for us in the harbor basin. But we had done our homework and knew that the harbor should be suitable for us, so in we went! At low tide the entrance looked scary with a long pillar corridor standing in sand. It all went well, there was 2-6 m of water everywhere.
DAY 57, 30.7.2016 – Comeback to the sea with awesome spinnaker sailing day
From: Sixhaven, Amsterdam
To: The Hague (picture)
Lenght: 41 nm
In the morning we said bye bye to Amsterdam and motored through the North Sea canal to the final lock and opening bridge before the open sea. We drove directly to the lock and there lifted up to sea level in 20 minutes. The North Sea reminded us of its’ force for the first couple of hours but calmed down to a spinnaker wind + sunshine during the day and the evening. We had lunch and dinner on water and just sat on the deck to admire our green sail and the sandy beaches of Holland.
DAYS 47-53, 20.-26.7.2016 – The Standing Mast Route in Holland
Route: (Borkum, Germany) – Delfzijl – Groningen* – Zoutkamp* – Leeuwarden* – Grown* – Heeg* – Stavoren – Enkhuizen – Amsterdam*
Length: 175 nm
* = stayed overnight. Picture blog coming!
DAY 47, 20.7.2016 – To the beginning of the Dutch Standing Mast Ruote (Staande Mastroute)
From: Borkum, Germany
To: Groningen, Netherland
Lenght: 35.6 nm
We were tired and decided to take the inner route via Delfzijl (picture) to the beginning of the Standing Mast Route instead of going to Lauwersmeer via the North Sea. This way we could sleep until 0800am instead of waking up at 0430am. S/Y Omaha left Borkum harbor without us in the early morning hours – Fair winds and see you in south, Aiski! The beginning of the Standing Mast Route travelled through the Dutch countryside. During the first day we took the Lock in Delfzijl and went through several opening bridges until stopping for a night at a harbor where even showers and toilets where on water. We have been waiting to get to Netherland and the first impression of the country was just as good as we expected.
DAY 46, 19.7.2016 – The sunny side of the North Sea
From: Helgoland, Germany
To: Borkum, Germany
Lenght: 70.4 nm
Sun, sun, sun and no waves but not much wind either. We left Helgoland together with S/Y Omaha and enjoyed the sunny day at sea. At the beginning of the leg Saku fixed the autopilot that went crazy the other day while Sanna was steering by hand. Before turning to Borkum, our paths crossed again with S/Y Omaha and we took pictures of each other at sea. The Borkum entrance was interesting… Tidal stream (1-2.5 knots) made a clear line into the water: other side was smooth water bubbling from below and next to it was something that looked more like a rabbit. It did not look inviting but driving through it was no problem. Borkum harbor cannot be recommended for anything else but a short overnight stopover but the island’s beaches looked nice. The friendly ducht at the harbor gave us good advice regarding Standing Mast Route and we even got a long waited guidebook of the canals from one of them – thank you!
DAY 43, 16.7.2016 – Engine gets air in the North Sea waves and we call a ride
From: Cuxhaven, Germany
To: Helgoland, Germany
Lenght: 41.7 nm
Our first day at the North sea. The day started in a perfect weather conditions. An escader of sailboats left Cuxhaven an hour after high tide. The river cruising down stream with cargo ships coming and going in the narrow passage required all of our attention. At the start of the Elbe river the wind turned against us and the waves grew high. We were fine to sail against headwind with the help of the engine and Elbe river stream – the stream gave us an extra 2 knots. Halfway to Helgoland the engine suddenly died. We made a decision to sail to Helgoland that was 15 nm away. Sanna kept on sailing while Saku tried to figure out the problem for 3 hours. As we reached the east side of Helgoland, we still had no engine and all natures forces agaist us: the wind, the waves and the current. In these condition it would take until the next day to sail the remaining 8.5 nm to Helgoland. At that time we decided to call for assistance. The local sea rescue arrived in 30 minutes and towed us (picture) the to Helgoland – thank you very much! The following day we were invited to visit a larger rescue boat at the Helgoland harbor, we toured the island – and Saku fixed the engine! :) In late afternoon we welcomed single-handed Finnish sailor Aiski (S/Y Omaha) to the Helgoland harbor and had dinner together. Helgoland is an island worth a visit if you sail the North Sea: bird watching, beaches, restaurants and duty free shopping. Diesel 0.85€/l !
DAY 41, 14.7.2016 – Everything else but easy river cruising
From: Brunsbuttel, Germany (a harbor right at the Kiel canal lock)
To: Cuxhaven, City Marina, Germany (picture)
Lenght: 17.6 nm
Speed record! It took us 19 minutes to leave the Brunsbuttel guest harbor, drive into the canal lock, tie up, come down to the Elbe river level, untie and leave the lock. All in 19 minutes. The rest of the day wasn’t easy river cruising with plenty of coffee like we imagined: strong headwind from the North Sea direction and the Elbe river stream raise significant waves to the river. However with the help of the stream (0-4 knots) we where able to fight our way to Cuxhaven. Our entrance to Cuxhaven harbor was impressive: it was a fast side slide to the outer harbor basin. The wind was 16 m/s, high waves and 4 knots of downs stream current at the entrance of the harbor where we practically steered Stella towards the harbor wall and let the stream take us to the entrance where we used significant engine power to motor in. There was no room for error and we mastered it perfectly! After that, the opening bridge that you have to pass to get into the inner harbor played a trick on us: it opened halfway up and come back down in front of us several times before finally letting us go through. Apparently there was a technical failure in the bridge mechanics. We were happy that this leg was short. At the Cuxhaven City Marina we were welcomed by the most kind and helpful Harbor Master we have met.
DAY 40, 13.7.2016 – Kiel canal, part 2/2
From: Rendsburg, Germany (picture)
To: Brunsbuttel, Germany (end of Kiel canal at North Sea)
Lenght: 36.4 nm
Not much to tell about the later part of the Kiel canal: maybe bit more traffic today but still much less than we expected. Some cargo ships followed us the whole day but from time to time you couldn’t see anybody -no more submarines either. During the day at the canal it rained, it was grey, it rained a little more, then it was sunny for a second and then some more rain. Just before the lock, a Finnish sailboat crossed our way and at the Brunsbuttel harbor we met the crew of S/Y Omaha. View also a picture blog – Kiel canal with a sailboat.
DAY 38, 11.7.2016 – Kiel canal, part ½ + a submarine
From: Laboe, Kiel, Germany
To: Rendsburg, Germany (halfway throught the Kiel Canal)
Lenght: 27 nm
We got a hint that it is good to be at the lock very early in the morning. And were the only ones there at 0600 am… We motored around in front of the lock for an hour drinking coffee and got into the lock with another sailboat at 0705 am. A submarine heading to the canal at the same time kept us entertained while we waited and followed us at the canal before taking us over. See pictures and video of the submarine. The Kiel canal traffic was suprisingly quiet and there was very little to see other than forest and fields along the way. We had strong headwind the whole day. Rendsburg was a lively town and good location to take a lunch break or get provisions. Rendsburg’s industrial pier right at the canal is good for a short stopover: there are large grocery stores in 100m and a nice cafe. However, you are not allowed to say there for the night. The guest harbor is on the other side of Rendsburg. We didn’t know this and for the first time we found ourselves in a situation that a harbor was not there where it was marked in our maps. No harm done: we went back few miles to get to the guest harbor. At Rendsburg, we biked all over the town and enjoyed the cozy harbor that was the first to have fellow sailors to exchange experiences and ask for good tips.
DAY 36, 9.7.2016 – Bye bye Denmark, hello Germany!
From: Onsevig, Lolland, Denmark
To: Laboe, Kiel, Germany
Lenght: 47.1 nm
The waves hit Stella occasionally badly and each of these blows heart our hearts. The wind was strong and gusty when heading south along the Langeland island. The wind and downstream made us fly. Our speed occasionally exceeded 8 knots. We went across a fairway and one of the cargo ships apparently thought we were in a way and honked the horn. Sailboats going north keep very close to the Langeland island which was wise because there was several fishing nets right next (or nearly at) the fairway. This caused some extra excitement. When Denmark was behind us in the horizon, we said goodbye to mobile data and went all of a sudden back to time when Wifi connection was a selling point. The wind stayed strong and waves kept on rolling the rest of the way only calming down in the Kiel Strait. We look at the harbors with binoculars and choose Laboe marina because of its’ location near the beach and cozy looking beach boulevard. And it was cozy and nice: plenty of restaurants to choose from, wine festival with live music, sandy beaches, warm water in the shower (!) and an impressive thunderstorm.
DAY 35, 8.7.2016 – Sunny and rainy, calm and windy
From: Stubbeköping, Falster, Denmark
To: Onsevig, Lolland, Denmark
Lenght: 38.2 nm
We left Stubbeköping without having a clear destination – there’s lots of harbors and anchorages to choose from in Denmark. The stream of the strait had turned to our favor and we enjoyed sailing in good speed under two bridges (see video). Finally we got some summer weather. After few hot sunny hours, the rain arrived. We chose a nearby harbor for the night because the forecast predicted strong wind and consistent rain for the following evening & night. The strong breeze started all of sudden at 9 pm and still continued the following morning with nearly the same strength. In the morning when we left the harbor in side wind we managed to break the port side navigation light. Onsevig harbor was small and rural but it’s worth a visit: there’s a sauna, a swimming pier (sand, suitable for kids), kitchen, a museum and nice locals who invited us for a beer as soon as we arrived.
DAY 34, 7.7.2016 – Wind + stream day
From: Klintholm, Mön, Denmark
To: Stubbeköping, Falster, Denmark
Lenght: 19.7 nm
After a day of strong wind (about 18 m/s), the wind calmed down to 12-13.5 m/s on the 7th and we were just and just able to make our way to Grönsund, the strait between the Danish islands Mön and Falster. At the end of the leg we motored the strait to Stubbeköping in headwind and upstream of 1 to 2 knots. The short distance took forever! We envied the sailboats passing us with tailwind and downstream power. One of them was S/Y Delight – the first Finnish boat we’ve seen since Kalmar, Sweden! Stubbeköping harbor was nice but the town itself was dead quiet and had very little to explore.
DAY 32, 5.7.2016 – Continuing our journey towards South: Next stop Denmark
From: Smygehamn, Sweden
To: Klintholm, Denmark (picture)
Length: 43.4 nm
Route map: Click to open
Nice and easy day at the sea: some breeze, sun and many cargo ships to keep an eye on. At our arrival to Cliffs of Mön, the nature decorated them with lightning: sails down, motor on, goretex on. The second we got this done the rain started giving us only a very short break to take pictures below the cliffs. The rest of the way was headwind in warm rain. Outside of the Klintholm harbor there are wooden pillars standing in the water – apparently they are some sort of fishing nets. Look out for them especially if poor visibility. The Klintholm harbor is cozy and we selected a sheltered corner to keep us safe from the forecasted strong breeze. The heavy rain lasted all evening but it was warm and cozy inside Stella. Cliffs of Mön are just a short buss ride away from this harbor. Find pictures in a blogpost: Sailing destination Klintholm – The Cliffs of Mön, Denmark.
DAY 21, 24.6.2016 – Midsummer break at the Southern most village of Sweden with family
From: Kåseberga, Sweden
To: Smygehamn, Sweden (picture)
Length: 26 nm
Route map: Click to open
We have now 561.4 nautical miles behind us. We’ve chosen routes and harbours that we didn’t visit in 2014 but somehow we feel that this has been a bit too familiar waters. We are now in the Southern most point of Sweden, Smygehamn, and taking a short break to fix few things in the boat and to be with the family living here. We’ll take it easy for a week or so and continue then our journey towards South through Denmark.
DAY 20, 23.6.2016 – Visiting the Stonehenge of Sweden
From: Skillinge, Sweden
To: Kåseberga, Sweden (picture)
Length: 12.4 nm
Route map: Not available
Skillinge was such a wonderful little town – beautiful old houses with gardens full of flowers. After a walk through the town and visit to a grocery store, we headed to see Ale’s Stenar, the Stonehenge of Sweden. We’ve remember visiting Ale’s Stenar with a car some years ago and now wanted to try the guest harbor that is located right next to them. After some beach time, we made hamburgers and at sunset walked up the hill to see the stones in the midsummer evening sun.
DAY 19, 22.6.2016 – Crossing of the Nordic mini-Biscay on a perfect sunny day
From: Utklippan, Sweden
To: Skillinge, Sweden
Length: 58.3 nm
Route map: Click to open
Having fought too many headwind legs lately, the leg from Utklippan to Skillinge was a bliss. Some good wind from the site, light waves and warm sunshine. This was just what we needed. See a short video.
DAY 18, 21.6.2016 – And some more headwind…
From: Bergkvara, Sweden
To: Utklippan, Sweden (picture)
Length: 31.4 nm
Route map: Click to open
The weatherman said moderate wind during the evening from southwest, turning to west during the evening and dying to no wind by sunset. We were so happy to have something else than headwind for a change! But no and no. Headwind again. And growing waves as we got closer to Utklippan. Anton went to sleep in the salon sea bed and were adults were entertained by the raising moon, cruise ship passing by and giving way to a cargo ship. We arrived to Utklippan at 2300h and had a drink sitting at the dark pier. The following day we ate breakfast in our private island, rowed with the dinghy to the lighthouse island and found out that there was nobody there: the nice cafe from 2014 was closed and the friendly harbor master was replaced with a paying machine. :( See Utklippan pictures in Facebook.
DAY 17, 20.6.2016 – C’mon! Enough with the headwind!
From: Kalmar, Sweden
To: Bergkvara, Sweden (picture)
Length: 21 nm
Route map: Click to open
Headwind kept us in Kalmar for an extra day. We left the harbor on the 19th of June but returned after 1.5 nm since it made no sense to fight the headwind and larger then expected waves. The following morning we left at 0535 am to avoid the waves that crow during the day and motored in light headwind towards south. Bergkvara guest harbor is next to a camping ground that has heated swimming pool – see the pictures in Facebook. Saku decided to use the day to fix few things at the boat.
DAY 14, 17.6.2016 – Going under the Ölandsbron on a grey day
From: Borgholm, Öland, Sweden
To: Kalmar, Sweden (picture)
Length: 17.8 nm
Route map: Click to open
No wind, cold, poor visibility and some rain. Grey and a bit boring sailing day with a highlight of going under the Ölandsbron (see video). We were all looking forward to Kalmar since we had such a nice time there in 2014. Kalmar guest harbor has the best facilities and services for sailors in this region!
DAY 13, 16.6.2016 – Dead quiet Bornholm
From: Byxelkrok, Öland, Sweden
To: Borgholm, Öland, Sweden (picture)
Length: 30 nm
Route map: Not available
We headed from Byxelkrok to Bornholm the following day to avoid having to motor the whole Kalmarsund in headwind during the following days when the wind would be from south. It was a grey day and Bornholm was dead quiet. The following morning we hiked to Solliden, the summer residence of the Swedish royal family, and enjoyed beautiful nature reserve around it. More pictures in Facebook.
DAY 12, 15.6.2016 – First summer sailing day
From: Visby, Gotland, Sweden
To: Byxelkrok, Öland, Sweden (picture)
Length: 41.8 nm
Route map: Click to open
Light tailwind took us from Gotland to Öland. This was the first day that it felt like summer. Byxelkrok harbor was the first harbor that had more than few visiting sailboats – it seemed to be popular place to visit. The harbor has an idyllic small village around it with services but the depth of the harbor basin is a mystery. Map says one thing, depth meter the other and sailboats were parked here and there. The Swedish guest harbours have no markings of water depth at entrance: you can only take your best guess and hope for the best. We are very happy to have a small draft.
DAY 11, 14.6.2016 – Exploring the historic Visby
From: Fårösund, Gotland, Sweden
To: Visby, Gotland, Sweden (picture)
Length: 38.1 nm
Route map: Click to open
Saku could not sleep and left Fårösund at 0420 am when others still slept. The wind started at breakfast time from east and build up during the day so that we “flew” to Visby in choppy wind with a speed of 8 knots. The Visby harbor had only handful of visiting boats. The harbor facilities dated back to the 60’s, were way over-priced and therefore we decided to go to the swimming hall instead. Later in the evening we got a private guided tour of Visby by a local Finnish couple who spotted us at the harbor. Thank you! See pictures in Facebook.
DAY 8-9, 11.-12.6.2016 – Sailing from Estonia to Gotland
From: Söru, Hiiumaa, Estonia
To: Fårösund, Gotland, Sweden (picture)
Length: 126.4 nm
Route map: Click to open
20h 56min of unpleasant sailing in strong wind and increasing waves. Read more from a blog post “Sailing from Estonia to Gotland – 20 hours of rock ‘n’ roll and an hour of magic” and see a video.
DAY 7, 10.6.2016 – A good sailing day with a drop of rain
From: Haapsalu, Estonia
To: Söru, Hiiumaa, Estonia
Length: 45.2 nm
Route map: Click to open
Good wind, good speed, good day! Dark clouds but we got only few drops of rain. Had lunch on the way to Söru and played a yatzy game. We were accompanies half way by S/Y Can Can II from Helsinki and we took pictures of each other when sailing – thank you! Outside the Söru harbour, the water was so clear that we could see the bottom. The Söru harbor was quiet and we were the only visiting boat. It was also a shallow harbor – the map said the depth is 2.5 m – and it mostly was – but when docked the depth meter said 1.50 m. Our draft is 1.50 m…
DAY 4, 7.6.2016 – Navigating the shallow waters to Haapsalu
From: Dirhami, Estonia
To: Haapsalu, Estonia (picture)
Length: 22 nm
Route map: Click to open
Another early morning start to avoid the increasing headwind. Up at 0600h, cast off at 0700h. Mild headwind rocked the boat, adults drank coffee in the cockpit in Coretex gear and Anton slept nearly the whole way to Haapsalu. The passage was shallow and surrounded by rocks – the depth gauge showed only 2.80 m of water in one point and only 1.70 m in the Haapsalu harbour. But we were fine – our draft is about 1.50 m. We are now enjoying the Haapsalu town and waiting for calmer winds with other sailors from Finland and Germany. Find pictures from Haapsalu in our Facebook page.
DAY 3, 6.6.2016 – Early morning start to catch some wind
From: Pirita, Tallinn, Estonia
To: Dirhami, Estonia (picture)
Length: 47 nm
Route map: Click to open
Up at 0530h, cast off at 0559h. Some good wind for 4 hours or so (speed up to 6.3 knots) but calming down as forecasted during the day. Anton slept for 12h and woke up halfway to Dirhami. Porridge for lunch and afternoon coffee. The Estonian coastline turned out to be more interesting that we expected: sandy cliffs and sandy beaches. Sadly the summer is not here today – today is Coretex weather (+ hat + cloves). Dirhami Harbour is new and partly still under construction. The location is rural and peaceful, the harbour services look nice & new but don’t function very well. See more pictures in Facebook.
DAY 1, 4.6.2016 – The journey towards South begins!
From: Hietalahti, Helsinki
To: Pirita, Tallinn, Estonia
Length: 44 nm
Route map: Click to open
Day 1 was a perfect sailing start to our journey: first some tailwind rocked the boat followed by couple of hours of very light wind and increasing wind towards the evening making as sail in good speed to Pirita in a 20 degree angle. We headed literally towards South! See pictures in Facebook.
2.6.2016 – Water, please.
From: Hietalahti, Helsinki
To: Suomenlinna (picture) and back to Hietalahti
Length: 4.0 nm
Route map: Click to open
Maintenance stop over at the wonderful Suomenlinna guest harbour. Now we have 250 litres of water, clean deck and freshened up crew.
28.5.2016 – Test sailing
From: Hietalahti, Helsinki
To: nowhere and back to Hietalahti
Length: 6.2 nm
Route: click to open a routemap
Engine – check.
VHF – check.
Genoa – check.
Main sail – check.
Gustav (the wind pilot) -check.
Electric autopilot – check.
Plotter – check.
OpenCPN – check.
Crew – bit rusty, room for improvement.
27.5.2016 – Afternoon in Pihlajasaari
From: Hietalahti, Helsinki
To: Pihlajasaari, Helsinki (picture) and back to Hietalahti
Length: 3.4 nm
Why stay in the city if you can go to Pihlajasaari?
Riitta, Saku and Anton explored the island while Sanna worked from the boat.
22.5.2016 – 1 weekend, 3 islands: Vallisaari
From: Suomenlinna, Helsinki
To: Hietalahti, Helsinki
Length: 3.2 nm
Visitors: Christian and Mervi with M/S Little-Ettrick
Baked bread in the oven for breakfast, lots of coffee and sunshine. After cleaning the deck and the dinghy, we motored to the Vallisaari island (picture) with Mervi and Christian. This island has been just recently opened for public. Picture gallery in the blog post: 1 weekend, 3 islands.
20.5.2016 – 1 weekend, 3 islands: lunchtime cruising to Suomenlinna
From: Pihlajasaari, Helsinki
To: Suomenlinna, Helsinki (picture)
Length: 2.0 nm
Visitor: Sanna V.
Short lunchtime cruise from Pihlajasaari to Suomenlinna in perfect sunshine. Ended the day with sauna and a fantastic dinner. On Saturday, we took it easy in the historic island of Suomenlinna. Anton rowed the dinghy for hours with girls from the next boat. We adults enjoyed the company of Sanna V. visiting us for the day. She also climbed to the mast and fixed our windex – thank you!
19.5.2016 – 1 weekend, 3 islands: grilling in Pihlasaari
From: Hietalahti, Helsinki
To: Pihlajasaari, Helsinki (picture)
Length: 1.7 nm
You don’t always have to cross oceans to reach a paradise. We have one just outside of Helsinki.
27.4.2016 – Sailing season 2016 has started!
From: Rajasaari, Helsinki (picture)
Via: Lauttasaari, Helsinki
To: Hietalahti, Helsinki
Length: 3 nm
Guest crew: Petri
S/Y Stella Polaris floats again! Into the water in Rajasaari, under the bridges to Lauttasaari, mast up and motoring to her new home harbour. Efficient afternoon that turned into a beautiful early summer evening with sun and indian food. See also a video of the launch. Thank you Petri for your help!