Day 36 – Dodging waterspouts

Leaving Utklippan

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.

You can hear more on our podcast – download episode 33 – Wiggling through Denmark.

Day 35 – Farewell to the rally

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.

You can hear more in our podcast Episode 32 – And so the end is near