Arrived in city harbour of Leiden

Wow! I made it to the city harbour right smack in the middle of Leiden city. I would never have found my way here without the help of my sister, who came aboard outside the city and helped me navigate the narrow channels and all the tiny bridges. But now I am here. Got lost twice on the Kaagerplassen, a place where I used to know my way around during childhood here. Weather horrible, hard wind, rain showers and grey. But being with family in familiar places makes it all worth it. Yesterday I had the company of my other twin sister, while we navigated from Hoorn down to Haarlem, 38 nm of canals, lakes, and rivers. We came straight through the city of Amsterdam on the way and followed the North Sea Canal (big shipping canal) through the seaport harbours of Amsterdam. It is still very big, even though Amsterdam plays a minor seaport role today.

Now I have started to mentally prepare for changing Isabell into a river boat, taking off the sails and taking down the mast. It is a bit scary, and also a lot of work. Will probably try to get the mast down around here, since I need helping hands and this is the place where I have most family and friends. I am not mentally ready for it yet. Takes a while getting used to the idea of not having a mast and sails to work with. Greetings to Karin from Hoorn who dropped me such a nice message after seeing Isabell in Hoorn. Now I need a rest and some good food. Sis is treating me on a dinner!

Reached the true Holland

Hello! I sailed across the IJsselmeer and into the Markermeer section of the big old Zuiderzee day before yesterday. Tried to enter a small harbour in the vicinity of Wijdenes, on the Westfrisian coast. My sister is at the moment at Studio the Church, my former brother in laws music studio, built inside an old church. The storm Poly has not only ripped tons of branches off the trees, but it had also sanded shut the harbour mouth. So I ran aground, tried at three places with same results. Hard sandy bottom. I was inside this harbour in 2020, without any problems. But it wasn’t meant to be. Called my sis and moved on to the city harbour of Hoorn. On the way I was accompanied by many boats, big and small. And I witnessed two other sailboats running aground. One just outside the harbour of Hoorn, tried to go outside the marker buoys channel… That didn’t work.

Okay, now I am in the province of Noord Holland, and can say that I am actually IN Holland. Visiting with my sister a few days. Tomorrow she will keep me company on my sail (probably last sail for a while) down through Amsterdam to the city of Haarlem. I will not stop at Amsterdam this time. From Haarlem I will motor the canals down to Leiden coming weekend. Weather is a bit dutch, occassional showers, warm and a bit muggy. When you are in the Netherlands, and moving around on a boat, you are called a PASSANT. Some harbours are primarily filled with passanten (plural for passant). Others, like the one here in Hoorn, are not. Meeting fun people is a bit harder in the non-passanten harbours. And it’s like ant hills in harbours… Bad weather, all the ants stay inside. Sun comes out, all the ants appear. So it is with boaters. Hoorn is truely a fabulous old town, with the typical Dutch tiny houses that lean over left and right. It’s very cosy. Now I have finally managed to fix my internet problems, and will try to keep this blog a bit more up to date. Greetings for now!

Waiting for fair winds to cross the IJsselmeer

Hello, now I am at the port of Lemmer. Just one lock and two bridges to go through and I am out on the big open IJsselmeer. Ready for some sailing again after all the canal motoring. But for the coming few days the weather is hot, muggy, thunderstorms and big winds. So I am enjoying good dutch food and the fabulous beer.
I have already gone under 48 bridge openings and through five locks in the northern part of the Netherlands. Most of the time the bridges open as you are approaching. Yesterday there was a bridge that did not want to open. The waiting time led to a long que of boats with masts or huge motor yachts. The bridge operator closed the road booms several times, all the traffic stopped.. But the bridge wouldn’t open. After a while three service cars appeared and a bunch of technicians went to work. It took another half hour, but they managed to get the bridge to work. Every boater was cheering as we passed through. Such a great service, and all for free in this country. Superb! I will sail from here to Enkhuizen on the other shore of the IJsselmeer. And then I will be in Holland for real. From there follow the other coastline down south towards Hoorn and Amsterdam. Stopping on the way to meet one of my sisters. I am very pleased with the progress made, and must admit that I miss the Baltic Sea and Swedish coast a bit. Here, although I have good charts, the size and depth of my boat make it almost impossible to go outside the ship channels. So very shallow everywhere. That’s one of the reasons I am looking forward to the IJsselmeer, where I can actually do some sailing off the channels. For now, I will just have to wait for better winds. But I am good! Enjoying every minute of the journey.

No internet outside Sweden

Hello to you all! I have not been able to log into this blog since I left Sweden. My internet access became totally useless. So now I have changed provider and also got a new phone number. My trip so far has been very much fun and sailing down to the German coast I had mostly fair, following winds. Since then, when I got to Germany, the winds have been a bit less in my favour. I sailed from Ystad to Klintholmen, DK. From there to Gedser, Denmark and on into Germany through the Fehnmarn sound. When I got to Kiel, it was just the end of Kieler Woche, big sail event with many square rigged ships… It was fabulous, and my last night in Holtenau, Kiel was celebrated with an amazing “over the top” fireworks show of the city of Kiel. Then on through the Kiel canal, where I met strong headwinds, had to drive the engine hard and hide under the leeward shores. When I made it out of the canal, sailed on to Cuxhaven, with following strong outgoing tide. 11 knots speed over ground at the Cuxhaven harbour entrance. Tricky to go in the right hole.

Then, as I sailed from Cuxhaven to Norderney it was very foggy, lots of merchant shipping and hit by two really heavy thunderstorms on the way. I had to heave to twice for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes. Then sailed on until I got to Norderney in the dark of night. While there, I stayed 5 days, hard westerly winds (no boats came in, none left the shelter of the harbour). And then I had decided to sail on Wednesday. No way, wednesday morning the storm Poly hit hard. It was near hurricane force 7 (55+ knots winds) and everybody got a beating, even in harbour. Isabell was not damaged, only one bolt of a solar panel went missing and some shaving on the lines (triple lines). Already fixed. But there were some boats that had slipped their moorings and were heavily damaged. I continued over the Waddensee to Delfzijl, The Netherlands, where I entered the Dutch standing mast route. That’s where I am now. From there I visited Groningen, Zoutkamp, Dokkum, Leeuwarden and am now in Sneek. It is hot and muggy, still windy fron the west or southwest, but I am well and enjoying the ride… Until next time.

Last port in Sweden – Ystad

I have been making progress on my way south, from leaving Visby on last Wednesday I have sailed to Byxelkrok, then to the nice little harbour of Bergkvara south of Kalmar in the Kalmar Sound, and hurried out of the sound swiftly. It was one of the choppiest seas I have sailed, almost like the Ijsselmeer in Netherlands. Then I needed diesel and decided to go to Karlskrona instead of Utklippan. In the Karlskrona archipelago I anchored at East Möcklö, a place I used to live by the water during 2008 and 2009. From there it was Karlskrona to get diesel filled and then sailed south again to Simrishamn on the Scanian coast where I arrived late last night. Up early and sailed on to the port of Ystad, on the Scanian south coast. Here I had the priviledge to meet with another esteemed Monsuner, Tor Melin. So good to have a chat with him and his wife. Makes my day! The past 6 hours were thick fog all along the coast, and it was a perfect opportunity to hone my navigation skills. Radar and AIS, visible checks, chart work (actually doing some dead reckoning) and I got the price… I sailed in to the port entrance, passing the first buoy by about 20 feet. Visibility as low as 30 or 40 meter (maybe a hundred feet). I am here, and now it’s time to visit with my oldest son. On Wednesday I will try to continue my sail south. Let’s hope the wind change doesn’t come too soon. I am happy and well after the first three weeks of my journey. Oh, and it rained like mad when I was in the Kalmarsund (the sound). So I checked for leaks, and of course found two small things that need fixing. No leaks allowed in my boat! Sailing on!

Goodbye Visby and family on Gotland

Today is the last of a couple of days visit in Visby. I got here after a record-breaking crossing from the Swedish mainland, 16 hours of beautiful night sailing. That was four days ago. Here I have visited with my family, and we have started the summer feeling. Picked lots of strawberries and made strawberry pie, strawberry jam and had a wonderful BBQ in the sun with my daughter and her family. Weather is fantastic. And the wind is blowing from the east or the north, so it is starting to itch in my sailing south soul. Tonight I got Isabell ready for an early departure tomorrow morning. Going to sail across to the northern tip of island Öland, to the harbour of Byxelkrok tomorrow.That’s only 47 NM, and with good wind it will take less than 12 hours from here. The high pressure area across Scandinavia right now keeps the wind in the right direction for my sailing plans south. The harbour has been quite empty, only very few boats coming in and going out. The major part of the visiting boats have definitely been Hallberg Rassys and Najads. Even a Malö was here yesterday. Orust standing high on the early sailing crowd… Well, being here has done me good and I am ready to continue south. So exiting!

While here I received the spare parts to my oven/cooker and now it is as new again. Since Rastaholm I have had only one burner working on the stove. Now it is easier to cook a full meal again. And I have no more deadlines waiting ahead, just the wind direction to worry about.

Waiting for a weather window for passage

So here I am, in the southern Stockholm archipelago. Sailed here with a good enough north, by northwest wind. But yesterday the weather gods commanded a break, time to rest and prepare for longer passage to Gotland (17 hours sail). The wind is B5 from south or southwest. So I am anchored in a small well-sheltered bay at the island of Fifång. Fixing with the wind vane steering (it squeeled and squicked), and doing some other maintenance jobs, meanwhile enjoying birds singing, sun shining, free anchorage… You get my point? Enjoying life on Isabell. Possibly tomorrow night the wind will change back to north for a spell, and if it does I have to make sure to follow it down to Visby. We’ll see how it goes. There are always things to do, if there are no places to go! Cheers!

Living on board full-time

Hello again! Finally I am done selling my home, moving out of it and finding a place for all the things I owned. And now I am living on Isabell full-time. There are still some things to take care of before I start sailing south, but I am very pleased with the good start of live-aboard life. The temperatures are summertime warm and the water is quickly starting to warm up as well. Still a bit cool during the nights, but I only used the new Webasto heater in the beginning of last week. Isabell is packed to the brim with food and stuff to make the trip down to the Med.

Next Tuesday I will drive my car down to my sons house in Lammhult, Sweden and from there take the train and bus back to the harbour where Isabell is sitting in the guest harbour. I am in Lake Malaren, and from here it is easy to reach the Baltic Sea through the locks (sluices) at Södertälje. Let’s see what the weather is like when it is time to start sailing. First, on Saturday there is a social gathering here in my former winter harbour. Time to say goodbye to all the friendly boat neighbours. And at the moment I am very busy eating freezer food that I cannot store aboard. So meat, meat and fish, fish three meals a day… Living the good life!

A new start coming up

The Spring has finally arrived. I am cleaning out my apartment and moving stuff onto boat. Trying to keep the amount of stuff to bring to a minimum, so that Isabell is still floating when everything is packed on board. Tested the new Webasto heater and it is fantastic, very nice and warm in no time. And it is very quiet, all you hear is a low whiz and the ticking of the fuel pump. Very pleased with it. It was such a lot of work installing it, so now all that pays off.

It is still cold on the water, and I have very little time to go sailing right now. Plan is to be done with apartment moving in a week or two. Then I will be living on board full time. Will look for weather window to start sailing to Visby on island of Gotland first thing in June. From there I will take it as the weather permits.

Leaving home, job and things behind to go sailing is both a scary experience and a feeling of freedom at its best. Isabell is ready for adventure and soon I will be there too. Exciting!

Back in the water on 18 April 2023

The past week has been summertime-like. Isabell went in the water as planned on April 18 and got polishes and waxed, new double coat of antifouling and a new home port name on the stern.
Early in the morning of the 18th a thin layer of ice covered the harbour at Rastaholm. By the time it was our turn to go in, the ice had melted away and the temperature went up to 16 degrees Celcius. Even the days following were warm and pleasant, and I had time to put up all the canvas and take a shakedown tour on Lake Malaren on the 19th. Two hours of slow sailing to trim all the rigging. Now we are ready to go sailing for real!!!

I have sold my home and will move on board Isabell in the middle of May. Then the plan to sail south will be set in motion by the end of May. We’ll see how it goes. Please check in here to follow the coming developments.