Day 26 – Baring all in Baro

We didn’t end up where we had intended at the end of the day, but were glad we changed our minds.

We had flip flopped over where to stay the night before, and had eventually settled on an island in the middle of the Archipelago sea.    We slipped our berth on a misty morning about 0930 in Turku, and retraced our steps back down the river towards the archipelago.

By late morning our sails were back up and we were making around 5.5 knots – Suzanne had slipped back to bed, still full of cold.

Around this time another yacht said they would be going to the island of Baro, which had an excellent restaurant and a barrel wood sauna – would anyone like to join them.  So at just before 4pm we altered course to head up to meet them.  In doing so we got to see another pair of sea eagles.

Dinner was booked for 7pm, and our sauna for 10pm – so to make sure we were there just in time, we washed and changed as we motor sailed along.

Berthing was a bit of a cockup – Suzanne trying to catch the stern buoy with the wrong side of the hook (she blames her cold), the guy in the boat next door wanting to engage in conversation, and the stern buoy rope getting caught on a cleat and stopping our approach to the pontoon rather abruptly.  With the other yacht watching…. why is no one ever there when you boss it??  Still no-one was hurt and we arrived with 15 minutes to spare for dinner.

Dinner was delightful, the usual fish and vegetable fare we have come to love and enjoy during our time in Finland.  We also paid our berthing fee of 30 euros and sauna fee of 20 euros at the restaurant.  The normal sauna was free, as was the laundry.

After dinner, we pottered across to our barrel sauna.  A small ante chamber to change out of your clothes and then into the sauna proper where a small stove blazed with a wood fire, heating the stones on the top.  We then spent a blissful hour, over heating in the sauna and then popping out onto the verandah, to dip our toes in the sea.  And dodge the mosquitos.  

Andrew, as ever, got bitten – and the bites blew up to the size of small golf balls.  So big, the other yacht could see them the next morning from about 40 feet away!

Needless to say we both slept like logs that night.

Daily stats

No image of our track, we forgot! We took just over 9 hours to make 55 nautical miles, with an average speed of 5.9 knots.  We sailed for 2 and a half hours, and used 5 gallons of fuel.

If you’d like to hear more, check out our podcast ‘Two in a Boat’

Day 24 – Touching bottom in Helsingholmen

By 0730 we had raised both our anchors and retraced our steps to rejoin the fairway.  A grey and cloudy morning, but lifted by the stunning scenery of the national park we seem to have all to ourselves.  We saw seals, great flocks of cormorants and perhaps even more rare a sighting, Suzanne steering.

Around 0930 we were able to start sailing, make a good 6 knots and a for a brief period we even put up the cruising chute – although that didn’t last long.  Throughout the day military launches swiftly passed us.  

Mid afternoon, just past Hanko, we caught up with another rally yacht – who attempted to offer us scones it turns out – though we couldn’t make it out at the time!  The wind had picked up a little and we were making up to 7.5 knots under sail.

Hanko

Andrew had found our berth for a night on a website called viking islands.  It sounded promising, with a kiosk, sauna, showers and fresh fish.  We arrived about 4.30pm, and slowly motored into a sheltered bay on the island of Helsingholmen.  

Our first attempt to moor was rebuffed by another yacht – who said it was too shallow and directed us to the other side of a pontoon.  However when we got there, the boats were too close together and there was no room at the inn.  We spotted a gap further down, and slowly nudged our way in, until we slowly touched bottom.  Nope that was no good.

We reversed back and ended up tying up on the rubbish pontoon in a space reserved for the refuse ship.  Unfortunately Suzanne had just started to cook dinner when the said ship arrived in the harbour.  It had a small crane and was busy working on the round waste containers that were moored in the centre of the small bay.  Everyone watched intently as they made a lot of noise and put in a lot of effort into doing quite what, no-one knew.  

The boat then put across towards us, and Andrew asked if they wanted us to move – no they were ok on the end.  They let their dog off to pee and then they were off again.  Bin men of the waters still working at 7pm at night.  

We had a similar non event with the harbour office.  It was 10 euros to stay, another 5 euros if we wanted electric.  However no shower without the sauna, and that was booked until 1am.  There appeared to be nothing for sale in the small kiosk.  Armed with only a card, Suzanne slunk back to the boat, and we spent the following half hour rummaging through drawers and clothes pockets to scrape together enough coinage to pay the 10 euros.

Nevertheless it was a peaceful spot – with an amazing display of fish jumping out of the water.  It also, inevitably had a similarly large number of flying insects to tempt the fish…

Our daily stats

We made 51 nautical miles in 9 hours averaging 5.6 knots.  We sailed for 4 and used 4.5 gallons of fuel.

If you’d like to hear more, why not check out our podcast – Two in a Boat?

Day 23 – anchoring in the archipelago

Helsinki to Sundskar anchorage

We set off around 9.30am, put up our sails and were soon sailing the inshore route behind the islands, moving into beautiful clear waters and clear skies.  We were sad to say goodbye to Helsinki.  We’d enjoyed a fabulous crew meal at the yacht club the night before – as well as a sauna, and a shed load of washing.  

Unfortunately the tumble dryer couldn’t match the washing machine, and we left with our saloon looking like a chinese laundry – a makeshift line hung up to try and dry the last load of washing.

Our trip to the island of the street of chandlries had been interesting and fruitful. It’s not often you get asked to leave a chandlery at 3pm on a  Saturday afternoon because they are closing.  But yep, they all did.  We had lunch of the local delicacy of fish soup – basically salmon and potato – very delicious, in a restaurant overlooking another marina.  Bit of a busman’s holiday…

Mid morning we caught a glimpse of our first sea eagles, as we wove our way carefully through the guide poles between small islands.  

Beware the gusts that come between islands!  These are strong and can almost knock you over.  We were caught out – and Andrew’s full glass of squash went tumbling down the companion way, over the newly washed clothes – of course!

Others from the rally had taken the outside route, and appeared to be battling against a strong headwind and rain.  Around lunchtime they started to move into the inner route and we met and past a number of the other boats.  

Barosund had been one of the recommendations of the speaker at the crew dinner.  He said it would be like sailing in a swimming pool.  Not sure that some of the other yachts would quite have agreed with that on the outer route – but here as we drifted through the islands, we understood exactly what he meant.

Having learnt the lesson the hard way on arrival in Finland – we knew we would want to find our anchorage in day light.  Andrew had earmarked a few on the chart – and we discounted the first – as too small and possibly also belonging to someone – there was a buoy.   

It was getting close to 6pm, the wind was picking up and our swimming pool was becoming quite choppy.  Luckily our next choice proved just the ticket – some carefully following of guide sticks, and we were hunkered down in an anchorage made for one.  The small island of Sundskar was to be our berth for the night.  

We dropped both bow and stern anchors, and settled down to some mushroom risotto for dinner.

Our daily stats

We made 51 nautical miles in 8 and a half hours, averaging 6 knots.  We sailed for an hour, motor sailed for 7 and used 7 gallons of fuel.

You can hear more of our thoughts about Helsinki and our time there in our podcast Episode 28 – In search of vikings.

Day 22: Where the devil does his washing up

We pottered in the morning and set off about 0930 – the other rally yacht had left earlier as they had crew to pick up in Helsinki.

We slowly motored our way back down the channel out of Porvoo, where the depth at times dropped to as little as 0.9 metres under our keel.  We had hoped to take a sneaky short cut and follow a lead all the way to Helsinki, but the bridge was deemed too low for our mast.

What’s a lead?  Sailing the archipelago they are a must.  They are lines on the chart which show you the way to go from one point to another – show the depth of the water under the keel, and so help you avoid going aground!  It’s a new and different way of sailing for us, and takes up far more energy, nerves and time than we had anticipated.  It is also thrilling, exhilarating, and achingly beautiful.  

Opportunities to sail have to be chosen with care, but even within the archipelago there are wide open expanses of water deep enough to sail, as long as you keep a close eye on the buoys and the transit lines.  

Today we were lucky, with a combination of wind, direction and expanse of water.  We sailed, with the westerly breeze pushing us around 4 -5 knots as we made our way towards Helsinki.

On the lead up to Helsinki, the wind was gusting, getting us to over 7.5 knots under sail, and putting us in the mix with some 5.5 yachts who were racing out of the sailing club we were heading for.  We even over took a ketch.

Around 4pm we let rally control know that we were making our approach and were told to enter close to the stern of another rally yacht.  Unbeknown to us at that stage, that yacht had hit a rock on the entry to the harbour, so we were all now being guided in over known safe water.

We bossed the stern buoy berthing and took the opportunity to take in the stunning setting that we were so privileged to enjoy.  The NJK marina is an island that belongs to the oldest yacht club in Finland.  Its club house is an Edwardian treasure, with the backdrop of the city skyline behind it.  The facilities were perfect, with showers, sauna and laundry.  And a half hourly ferry to take you to the main land.  

We enjoyed the next couple of days exploring Helsinki – travelling out on the tube to the street with 4 chandleries and eating and drinking with other crews.  

Our daily stats

A short day’s run of 38 miles, took us 6 hours and a half hours, we sailed for 3 and made an average of 5.8 knots, using 1 gallon of fuel.

You can hear more in our podcast, Episode 27 – where the devil does his washing up