Nav­i­ga­tion and weather

Yachting Monthly - - ADVENTURE -

The Baltic Sea by the RCC Pilotage Foun­da­tion (Im­ray, £40) is an es­sen­tial com­pan­ion when cruis­ing in the Baltic. It con­tains an en­thu­si­as­tic and ex­cel­lent sec­tion on the Åland Is­lands, in­clud­ing sug­ges­tions for routes through the is­lands de­pend­ing on the time avail­able, one’s de­sire for the soli­tude of the wa­ters of the north­ern skärgård (sk­er­ries), and whether in­tend­ing to con­tinue to Fin­land or not.

Åland is not the place to skimp on charts. Both up-to-date elec­tronic charts and the Nau­ti­cal chart se­ries Merikart­tasarja C – Ahve­nan­maa, (Li­iken­nevi­rasto, €45) are, in our opin­ion, es­sen­tial. Nav­i­ga­tion needs to be im­me­di­ate; it takes place in the cock­pit rather than be­low at the chart ta­ble. There is no sub­sti­tute for the com­bi­na­tion of a chart­plot­ter match­ing a pa­per chart and, most im­por­tantly,

match­ing the Mark 1 eye­ball.

Weather in the Baltic in the main sail­ing season, early July to mid-Au­gust, is usu­ally warm and set­tled. We ex­pe­ri­enced more un­set­tled con­di­tions than nor­mal. We mostly used the Swedish weather app, SMHI (www. smhi.se), which we found both de­tailed and re­li­able. It gives de­tailed fore­casts for two days in­clud­ing wind in me­tres per sec­ond, and the amount of rain, ex­tended fore­casts for 10 days ahead, radar pic­tures of what has hap­pened over the pre­vi­ous num­ber of hours which is help­ful in track­ing any thun­der­storms, and weather warn­ings. It is in Swedish but it is very graphic and easy to fol­low.

Up-to-date charts and pi­lot books are es­sen­tial for Åland

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