Heading north to Fårö

Wednesday 15 July 2009
From Flundreviken harbour to Lauterhorn (Fårösund)

After visiting the beautiful wall enclosed city of Visby we set sail to the North. Along the coast of Gotland a shallow shelf runs about 200 – 300 m out from the shoreline. Outside the shelf the water becomes very deep >100 m, but on the shelf the depth is less than 6 m for the most. The currents with upwelling deep cold water often cause dense fog along the western Gotland shore. So we experience a very thick fog today. We have very low winds from the SW and slowly pace through the fog. At no more than a few hundred meters another yacht passes us running on the engine. Scary! They come from out of nowhere and disappear just as swiftly. After a few miles out we have reached clear weather, the sun comes out and is hot. We see a search and rescue helicopter searching for something (don´t know what). In the afternoon the wind dies out alltogether and we start the engine and run closer to shore to try and catch the sea-breeze. No luck! But at 1630 UTC wind comes back and we have it from the SE this time. After another two hours we reach lauterhorn harbour, which is packed with big yachts. So we find a small cove just SE of the harbour and drop anchor there. We are now at position 57*56,30 N 019*05,08 E.
Tomorrow we intend to go through the sound between Fårö and Gotland toward East. Hoping for good winds we fall asleep. Goodnight.

Gotland, here we come!

Monday 13 July 2009 Byxelkrok (Oland) – Visby (Gotland)
Ships position 0730 UTC
57*19.68N 017* 00.37E
The big day has come. We are going across to the island of Gotland today… Exciting. We get ready and sail at 0800 UTC. The wind is still slow, but should pick up some during this fine day. Sunny and clear visibility. Barometer slowly rising. What more can we wish for. Ok, to get to the other side maybe?

After two hours at sea, the wind gets a little better, between 5-6 ms. We average 4.7 knots SOG according to the log. Good enough. We see several large vessels in the shipping lane. But we have them on AIS and keep far away from the lanes. At lunchtime we cross a thick layer of algal soup, a token of the pollution in the Baltic. It looks bright yellow in the otherwhise grey green seawater.

At 1715 we get outside the port of Visby with heavy shipping traffic all aroud us. We nearly get run over by a large container vessel. As I call them on VHF they answer and notice us, a spot on the waves, nothing for them to just run across. But they let us off the hook and go around behind us, 150 m distant. Huge shadow tearing past.
We have decided not to go into Visby, a big commersial marina, but look for a very small fishing harbour that we have seen in a book about Gotland (Gotland by Kryssarklubben). We finally find it and after some debate we slowly go through the very VERY narrow harbour entrance that luckily is well marked. But we are scraping the marking buoys on either side. The harbour is nice and almost empty, quiet and friendly. Flundraviken 57* 40.07N 018*19.50E. From here we have walking distance to the town Visby. Feels good to be here!


Sunday 12 July 2009
Position at 730 UTC Sandvik marina
57*04.3 N 16*51,4 E
We take it easy this Sunday morning. Go around the town of Sandvik, buy some food at the local ICA and get ready to sail around noontime. At 1130 UTC we cast off and are on our way. The batteries are fully loaded and I have fixed all the wiring so no problems with the electricity on-board today. Good! The weather has cleared up as well and it is a nice day with SW winds between 6 and 10 ms. Barometer is going up!

After a very nice sailing leg we get closer and closer to the island Blue Jungfrun in Kalmarsund strait. We see it from about 18 NM distance and it grows bigger and bigger from the sea. This island is where all the uggly and bitchy women meet at Easter according to Swedish belief. As a matter of fact, there are no houses on it. It is a national park and a very interesting geological formation. See picture!

At 1545 UTC we go into the port at Byxelkrok. Many holiday yachts crowd this very popular harbour. It is still sunny, so after tying in to the dock between two Finnish boats we take a walk in the town and have a barbeque on the beach. So nice to enjoy the warmth of the sun after a few days of rain and hard wind… Lovely. We get Isabell in ship-shape for the long leg across to Gotland tomorrow. Then it is an early night. Hope the weather continues to get better.

Kalmar-Sandvik (Öland)

Saturday 11 July, 2009.

We get up early and are ready to slip our moorings at 0730 a.m. Goodbye Kalmar! With just the genua out about a third of the way we make good speed out and under the Kalmarsund bridge (Ölandsbron).

We have southerly winds (nice!) with an average of 6-10 ms strengths. Our destination is Byxelkrok on the northern tip of the island Oland. The barometer is still very low and it rains a few times. At 1425 we drop anchor north of the town of Bornholm on the island Oland. Lunch and some planning details. We still have a long way to Byxelkrok.
An hour later we are on our way again, now with both sails up. But it does not last long. We have a problem. Our instruments are not working anymore. Due to some shorting in the battery circuit everything went black. In these narrow waters with many vessels and very bad visibility we decide it is too dangerous to continue our way north. Therefore we first try and run on the engine for a while so that we at least can have navigation light on. But the weather gets worse during the afternoon and we head into the port of Sandvik, a small marina (very nice) on the Oland side of Kalmarsund.

In port I try and fix the electricity and we connect to the electricity in port to make sure the batteries are filled. Solar panel is not doing so much good in this weather. Dark and misty!

But we eat a good meal and enjoy strolling around the town. There is a windmill right across from the marina, and we look right at it. Where have we seen this view before? Yes, now we know. It is the picture on the cover of the Swedish harbour guide (Hamnguiden 2009). Funny, to see it in real life size.


Thursday 9 July 2009.

The wind has turned from NW-W to SW during the night. It is still windy. Between 12 and 14 ms with gusts of up to 17 ms. But we decide to go out and sail toward Kalmar and on to Borgholm on Öland. At about 10 a.m. we are ready and leave the harbour of Bergkvara. In the first part out there are many shallows and we have to take a sidewind for a while. Luckily we are a little protected by rocky islands. Well out at sea, we get the wind in from behind and roll northwards. Only very few boats are sailing today. Wonder why?

After 4 hours we are entering the narrow canal outside Kalmar city. We see the citadel (Kalmar slott) and decide to go into port. It is raining and we are a little tired of the choppy waves in this shallow draught hole of Kalmarsund. So we try and find a spot in the marina, which is filled to the brim. So we sail into the commersial harbour. Full. Then into the inner harbour in the old town. There we find a spot to park Isabell along a high quay with tires hanging off the side. The wind is whipping through the harbour, and we do not have the best spot. But good enough!

To celebrate our arrival in Kalmar (one of my favorite towns) we go to the marina and buy ice creams. A newspaper reporter takes our picture and does an interview about the weather and sailing to Kalmar. We end up on the front page of the local newspaper. Picture and all! Then we go into town to hide for the weather. We run into Lineke and Tjeerd again. They are just as surprised as we are to see them again. We go to the local bookstore and buy some nautical charts together. Then we each go to our own boats again.

In the evening the sun comes out and it is warm and nice outside. Christinas cousin Marita and her boyfriend come to visit and we sit in the cockpit with good food and some wine late into the evening. Goodnight!

Bergkvara in the storm

Wednesday 8 July 2009

In the early morning Lange Orm sails away to Kalmar. A heavy thunderstorm pours gallons of rain over us. We decide to stay a day in Bergkvara and just enjoy this little town on the Kalmar coast. The wind has turned to the NW and become stronger, now between 10 and 15 ms. We lay low and enjoy just being in port.

As we sailed yesterday, autolina, my Autopilot did some of the steering… smiley


Tuesday 7 July 2009
position 1200 UTC 56*03.29N 15*51.25E

Lifted the dinghy at 10 a.m. and filled water and diesel.

After filling up the fridge and all possible food containers aboard I untied from the buoy in Mocklo outside Senoren and sailed for the city of Karlskrona to get Christina from the train station. At 12.10 I arrived in the port of Karlskrona and waited for Christina. There she was, now we would be off for a trip around the Baltic Sea islands of Oland and Gotland. We decided to sail inside the archipelago of Eastern Blekinge and then out into the Baltic at Langoren, past the town of Torhamn. We have a good SW wind (6-7ms) and get into the open sea at 1425 UTC. Off we are toward the north, into the Strait of Kalmar (Kalmarsund). We go into the port of Bergkvara on the mainland Sweden at 1830 UTC. Go for a walk and fix some stuff around Isabell. A dutch twomaster called Lange ORM is our neighbour in port. In the evening we meet Lineke and Tjeerd, the couple aboard, and their little shipsdog. We drink hot coffee in their very roomy ship and finish off some wine and cheese. Very nice. We give them some instructions about how and where to sail along the Swedish eastcoast. They plan to sail up to Gota Kanaal and go through the canal to Gothenburg, before they sail home to the Netherlands again. We say goodnight quite late and they have a quick look inside Isabell. They had always wondered how a REAL Hallberg-Rassy looked inside… We have a bit less space than them, but it is good enough. Goodnight! Today we sailed about 33 NM.