Ystad is a cute little place, feeling more Danish than Swedish with a nice little market square and houses reminiscent of the island of Bornholm, which is only 50 miles away, a distance the superfast (and super scary) ferries do in about ninety minutes.
We left Ystad into a headwind, with a high mackerel sky, which by now is a familiar story. Hours of battering into lumpy seas motor-sailing our way out of Sweden.
Sunshine and passing ships broke up the monotony, as ships were a rarity in the archipelago. Now we’re back in the main Baltic, right alongside the deep water channel, they’ve returned. Bulk carriers, container ships and the ubiquitous ferries.
Our departure from Swedish waters, into those of the Danish, meant our first changing over of our courtesy flags in somewhile. Andrew, as always, did the honours.
The journey meant we sailed close to the Cliffs of Mons – possibly the closest Denmark has to the white cliffs of Dover, and seemingly quite a tourist attraction on the island of Mons. It is perhaps the highest natural form we’d seen since leaving the UK.
Arriving in Klintholm, on the island of Møn entailed threading through fish stakes, a narrow shallow entrance and berthing alongside in the area reserved for 12-15m boats.
An alongside berth next to the electricity with the pontoon the same height as our deck. We paid at the self service machine beside the closed harbour office – which appeared to only open for an hour or so at the weekend.
A kiosk selling Magnum ice creams, late summer sun and fresh Danish pastry for breakfast tomorrow. We marvelled at the bravery of the lady in the small ‘mini brugsen’ shop who had to put her hand into the glass cabinet abuzz with wasps covering the jammy pastries.
Watching the sun go down, and the house martins swirling round, we caught up with some admin, and watched as the harbour slowly filled with boats.
Our daily stats
We made 57 nautical miles in 9 and a half hours, averaging 6 knots. We motor sailed the whole way, using 8 gallons of fuel.
We stopped at Utklippan because the weather was rubbish, the temperature about to drop to 8 degrees overnight and Andrew didn’t want to sit in the cockpit for 8hrs slamming into huge waves. It was a success. The weather had abated the next morning and we resumed our homeward journey, with a pre-dawn 5am start.
It is a beautiful time of day to be out sailing, as you watch the sun slowly rising over the horizon. Nature is truly stunning when you are surrounded by it.
Although not completely, as we were surrounded at one point, by water spouts. This was the first time we’ve ever come across this natural phenomena, and it was a little bit scary. We decided to err on the side of caution and to give them a wide berth. They were amazing to watch as the grew and faded, and then were replaced by another somewhere else.
Suzanne took a watch, fussing over the sails and trying to extract every fraction of knot from the boat, making for a fast close reach to our destination. Fast ferries leaving and entering the harbour meant a nerve-wracking quick nip across the main fairway between the comings and goings. Rounding up to drop the main she piloted us into the harbour for Andrew to berth, ably assisted by two Danish chaps delivering their newly acquired second-hand Moody 33 back to Denmark after a purchase in Sweden.
Ystad, apparently pronounced “oostad, is a lovely place, a nice little guest harbour with a machine to pay for your stay automatically, which gives you as little card to access the showers, electricity and other facilities. Wonderfully efficient, quick and convenient. It’s a wonder more UK marinas don’t adopt it…
We pottered up to town to get fresh supplies, dodging the purples trains, as we waited at the level crossing.
Our daily stats
78 nautical miles, 10hrs of motor-sailing and 4hrs of real sailing got us there in 14 hrs, averaging 5.6 knots, a creditable performance considering the wind didn’t play ball and there was still a residual swell from the day before. We used 9 gallons of fuel.
Day 30: Tuesday 13 August 2019 – sailing the swedish archipelago – fa
It was the 13 August, luckily not a Friday.
After putting, not enough at it turns out, water in our tanks, we squeezed our way out from between two other rally yachts. Unfortunately one of those yachts untied and then dropped one of their fenders, when trying to make our exit easier, which resulted in their captain putting her head down between our two boats to retrieve it – as we were reversing. Scary.
We then refuelled at possibly one of slickest fuels stops ever. A row of different pumps almost confused Andrew – and the two young men who came out to attach their lines made Angela and Suzanne redundant with their mid ships and stern lines in hand. Our first time sailing with crew, and our first berthing was a doddle. What service.
This all meant we left Stockholm a little later than anticipated. We pushed south into the archipelago. A really nice sail out of the city turned into an uneventful and grinding motorsail into the wind and a choppy sea even as we opted to stay on the inside as much as possible. Gradually we found the lee of some islands and wiggled through to Nynashamn, bypassing the anchorage and tieing up in the marina.
We chose the marina rather than anchoring due to a raw water pump that was doing it’s best to turn to spray seawater all over Crystelle Venture’s engine bay. A quick nip of the centre gland and engine check proved a new pump, strip down or repack wasn’t required.
Berthing was to booms, a strange invention that requires the boat to nose up to the pontoon while tieing to light floating booms either side. Not pontoons, as you can’t walk on them. The trick as we found is to pick booms only slightly wider than the boat. And these were only slightly wider, needing a firm push to wedge the boat in and then a firmer push to get fenders in. On leaving we needed to engine reverse out rather than drift back with the wind, as we were tightly held even without ropes in place…
A great marina, with clean facilities including a free sauna. Definitely somewhere we could have spent longer, although the town was fairly small and without too much character – although their church was light up like a candle and rang out hits bells pretty frequently.
Nynashamn also has a fantastic smoke house on the harbour front. Great selection of cheese and smoked fish – even had english Black Bomber cheddar cheese, which has to be one of the very best.
Smoked fish in hand we congregated in Crystelle Venture for wine, fish and salads. Together with “the boat following”, previously known as “the boat leading” we made plans to tackle the ominous Draget Kanal the next day, with an 0800 start and a non-spraying engine.
Our daily stats
We were underway for 6 hours, with the wind gusting 5 -6 at times, motor sailing for around 35 nautical miles with roughly 5 and half hours of engine time.
Leaving Kalmar was in some ways sad. We were nearly the last to leave, only outstayed by another Rally yacht who lost their mast on the final leg. Not lost as in mislaid, that would be careless. Lost as in it fell off, which actually sounds worse. Thankfully no one was hurt and in a happy ending they’re now ensconced in Copenhagen also working their way home.
We’re probably motoring just as much though. A consistent headwind has meant motorsailing. It was nice down the coast between Sweden and Oland, but once around the corner things got ugly. Short steep waves slowed our progress and made it distinctly uncomfortable.
Fortunately at the planning stage we’d identified a harbour every 50 miles or so for just such an eventuality. At 48 miles we had Utklippan, two islands fittings snugly together with a large lighthouse attached. Sometime in the middle of the last century Sweden decided to blast a hole in the middle of one island to make a haven for fisherman caught out in stormy seas. With perfect shelter (and no fisherman using it now) Utklippan Gasthavn was born.
You can enter from the East or West depending on which is the sheltered side, so we eased in through the East entrance and deftly berthed in nearly the last spot inside. Using the rowing boat casually left tethered for such eventualities we rowed over with a German couple and paid our harbour dues. By card. To a man in a wooden hut. Several miles offshore. The next time someone in the UK says they don’t take card, I’ll think of that moment.
The islands are fantastic, with rockpools, windswept views and a lighthouse to climb. A perfect little haven to break a journey that could’ve got tedious! We explored the island, which admittedly didn’t take much time and rowed back.
We were complemented on our berthing by the German lady, how calm we looked and how we managed to guide the boat gently to the side in such strong wind and a tiny space. I was amazed, and unused to such high praise, but compared to colliding with the harbour wall in Latvia, our hull only “protected” by old tractor tyres tied on with steel rope we did well.
Our daily stats
We made 57 nautical miles in 9 and a half hours, averaging 5.4 knots, although we did do about a mile twice! It was 9 hours of motor sailing, which took up 10 gallons of fuel.
The day didn’t start so well – with a bank of fog so thick we couldn’t see the Pommern or the boats on the next pontoon. So much for an early departure. Those who had set off early, had returned to port.
Finally around 0900 the fog lifted and we went to refuel at the self service pontoon. What a location, right behind the stern of the Pommern. With an extra 12 gallons on board, Suzanne steered us out and across the Gulf of Bothnia.
What’s it like? It’s a bit like crossing the channel. A traffic separation scheme to cross at 90 degrees and a stream of large ferries in both directions. Andrew went back for some sleep, tired after our late night and our continual days of sailing. We need a rest! Thankfully Stockholm is our next destination and we should have a day or two there.
The engine started to warm slightly, only 5 degrees more than usual, so Andrew altered the belt and turned off the external regulator. We kept a close watch on the temperature gauge for the rest of the journey.
With a southerly wind we were able to sail, and it was a reasonably swift passage across the Gulf. As our phones pinged to let us know we’d now arrived in Sweden, Andrew lowered the Aland flag and raised the Swedish one. Our clocks also went back an hour.
As early evening approached, and we started to weave through the Swedish islands the rain started to pour. The weather forecast was also for high winds, so we decided to go into a marina rather than to anchor.
We turned into Sandhamn Yacht Club, a sister club of the one we are to stay in Stockholm. A large substantial club house and busy pontoons, meant we had to search for a berth. Eventually we saw a blonde youth in a red uniform beckoning us to a spot.
And here it was again – another new way of berthing – a lazy line. This entails a line tied to a heavy weight, that leads back from the pontoon. The youth raised the line and Suzanne grabbed it with a boat hook, leading it back to Andrew to tie off on a stern cleat. Bow lines were thrown to the youth – and all was going well, until a look of horror indicated we’d done something wrong. We couldn’t work out what he was saying at first – and then Andrew realised – our lazy line had somehow also dragged up the water pipe for the club! Needless to say we were moved onto another berth – with a racing yacht one side and motorboat the other – and party boat on the opposite side of the pontoon.
Clearly this marina was party central – we’ve not seen marina information before where it says you’ll be fined 2 weeks berthing fees if you are noisy after 11pm. Lots of the boats were blasting out music while they could!
The rain was still coming down, but given the late night cooking debacle in Mariehamn, Suzanne insisted we ate out. We wandered into the nearest open eatery and had a veggie burger and crisps with sour cream and fish roe, 2 beers and a chocolate pudding – which came to a cool £70! Making those the most expensive burger and crisps we’ve ever had! Tasty though…
We walked back in a howling wind to find the boat beating its bow agains the pontoon. Andrew tightened the lazy line and Andrew tried to fend off the bow and put a fender down – helped by a crew member from the racing yacht. They turned out to be Finnish and they had just won the racing regatta at the club.
We went to bed, but were woken at 2 in the morning to hear the sound of frantic winching. The wind was throwing us around, and Andrew went out to investigate. Basically our boat was on top of the power boat, which was pushing it onto the pontoon. Rather too close and personal for the skipper of the other boat, who became Andrew’s cheer leader as he battled with the lines and winches.
Further tightening of the lazy line ensued, until a 30 cm gap appeared between the boats. The racing yacht was also struggling to stay off the pontoon. The storm was raging by this point and the noise of the ropes on masts and flags on boats was intense. There were 30 knots of winding rushing through the marina.
We woke to a different world. There was a huge gap between us and the powerboat – the water was calm and it looked as if nothing had happened the night before.
We were underway for 10 hours, making 67 nautical miles, we sailed for 2, motor sailed for 7 and moored for 1, using around 4 gallons of fuel.
After refuelling in anticipation of light winds and getting clearance from port control we sadly left Ronne at 0800. A close look at Hammershus castle on the North West coast during our transit past the island and Bornholm receded into the distance.
Bornholm is well worth a visit. It’s full of cute villages, nice people and it’s great for cycling. In Gudhjem on the north coast you are allowed to cycle up the hill through the main street, but not down the hill. Which is interesting, as in Bray, the main town on Alderney you are allowed to cycle down the hill, but not up. It’s an island thing…
Sail away, sail away, sail away
The forecast was for light, variable and generally unfavourable winds, so for the first four hours we motorsailed. As the wind backed we hoisted the cruising chute, which powered us along to an un-dieseled 5 knots, the sun shone and things generally looked good. Elixir another rally yacht caught us up and as we dropped our chute due to failing wind, they hoisted theirs, in bright pink.
We motorsailed away from them as they were off to Utklippan to spend the night en route but a dark and ominous grey cloud was in front of us. We heard the rumble of thunder and saw spectacular lightning in the distance. Visibility dropped, the temperature fell ten degrees and the rain started. Torrential rain, with a strengthening wind.
Andrew stayed outside as Suzanne went in to start cooking Swedish veggie meatballs in honour of our arrival in Swedish waters. The sails were drawing well but engine continued to be used to keep us ahead of the lightning flashes. Water gushed from the end of the boom as it ran down the sails.
It stopped as sudden as it had started, with blue skies and failing wind, and it was back to motor sailing as the speed dropped to 2-3 knots.
For the night watch Andrew opted to wear his immersion suit. Not because of any impending disaster but because it’s been cold at night, and sitting around in the cockpit watching for merchant ships with drunk, sleepy watchkeepers attempting to run you over doesn’t keep you warm. It does keep you awake though.
Light variable winds all night kept the engine on until 0620 when a bright and cheery Suzanne took the deck and let a cold and less cheery Andrew off to go and get some sleep.
Visby, Gotland, Sweden
By 1100 Andrew had “slept” for a couple of hours and we were back to motor sailing, into a short uncomfortable chop through the deep water shipping lane. This slowly subsided but with the wind remaining on the nose we motorsailed our way to Visby, alternatively sleeping and watchkeeping.
We motored past bird island where we could see no birds and inviting looking beaches which lay at the base of precipitous and crumbling cliffs.
Sailing towards Visby, the main city on the Swedish island of Gotland, you could make out the cathedral spires. We asked for permission to enter Visby harbour and after waiting around on channel 25 with no answer, decided to enter anyway, slowly and cautiously following a huge RoRo ferry.
Our final berth was rafted up against 2 other rally boats, both American, and more experienced rally sailors.
Our daily stats
It was a long 35 hours, with 27 motor sailing and only 8 sailing, consuming 17 gallons of fuel on a voyage of 204 miles
You can hear more in episode 20 of our podcast ‘2 in a boat’ – Sunshine on a cloudy day – due for release on 25 August 2019.
2 in a boat is our podcast that brings you the sailing and travel world of Suzanne and Andrew on their aged yacht Crystelle Venture.
You’ll join us along the way as we prepare for our longest sail yet, from Dartmouth, UK to St Petersburg, Russia. Our route takes us across the North Sea and around the Baltic this summer, a round trip of about 3000 nautical miles.
With a fab intro music written by our talented nephew, Joseph Turner, and artwork by our equally talented daughter, Jessica Caballero – it’s something of a family affair.
Warts and all live recording of our time sailing across Lyme Bay to Portland. Ever wondered what goes on during those long hours in a small cockpit on a yacht? Now’s your chance to eavesdrop and find out what Andrew and Suzanne get up to!
Just where have our 2 in a boat washed up now? They’ve spotted submarines, been boarded by the Dutch authorities, and now want to buy concrete sheep. Listen in to find out what on earth/on sea, has been going on.
At last our 2 intrepid sailors have made their way to the gateway to the river Elbe and the prospect of the Kiel canal looms. But what are our 2 in a boat talking about? Borkum, bikes and boys! Listen in to hear about their journey from Borkum to Cuxhaven, and all manner of other discussions.
Today is the day our 2 in a boat face one of their biggest fears, and most anticipated parts of their journey to the Baltic – going into the Keil canal (NOK). Find out how they got on in today’s episode.
Today we find our 2 in a boat preparing for the first official leg in their Baltic rally – from Warnemunde, Germany to Bornholm, Denmark. What have they done in the past few days and what are their thoughts on the rally? Join them on Crystelle Venture to catch up with our 2 in a boat.