From Fin­land to the Kiel Canal

Yachting Monthly - - CRUISING LOG -

Clive Brit­ten re­calls a sum­mer yacht de­liv­ery from Åland to Kiel.

The early Baltic sum­mer had been un­set­tled, with the oc­ca­sional sunny day. We were sail­ing Even­tu­ally, a brand new Nord­baelt 50, on her maiden voy­age home from Tallinn to Ramsholt. Fam­ily and friends had al­ready booked flights to join the boat, and we needed to be in Stock­holm in two days’ time.

We left Mariehamn on Åland in the far south-west of Fin­land on an over­cast day, in 25 knots of wind, bound for Rödlöga in the outer Stock­holm Ar­chi­pel­ago, a pas­sage of 25 miles. We put in a reef and en­joyed an ex­hil­a­rat­ing sail at 10 knots.

We en­tered the skärgård (sk­er­ries) north of Tjär­ven, but as the har­bour at Rödlöga is very ex­posed, we car­ried on to find more shel­tered wa­ters. At mid­day, we came across the small har­bour of Fu­rusund and moored bows to, with views across the chan­nel to the is­land of Yxlan.

After a leisurely morn­ing, we left for Sand­hamn in the outer skärgård. We rounded the north­ern tip of Yxlan and weaved our way through this en­chant­ing land­scape of rocks and wooded is­lands. The ar­chi­pel­ago is beau­ti­ful, but more shel­tered and man­i­cured than the wilds of Fin­land.

Sand­hamn is the ocean rac­ing base of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club and was busy with vis­it­ing yachts. The next morn­ing was bright and cold and we mo­tor-sailed from Sand­hamn, bound for Salt­sjöbaden, where crew were join­ing us. The chan­nel to the south of In­garö, with its steep gran­ite cliffs, was our first taste of a Nordic fjord. From there we mo­tor­sailed on to Napoleon­viken on Ägnö where we moored Nordic style, bow to the rocks, and en­joyed a mem­o­rable bar­be­cue pic­nic ashore.

We left early for Got­land, 80 miles away across open sea. Stock­holm Week was in full swing and Visby was rock­ing; the ma­rina had been trans­formed into a gi­ant out­door disco. We spent a day ex­plor­ing the medieval city of Visby, a UNESCO World Her­itage Site.

Leav­ing Visby after lunch, we overnighted in Byx­elkrok on the north-east cor­ner of Öland, be­fore mak­ing for Kal­mar, on the main­land. We were keen to visit Chris­tiansø, a tiny jewel of a Dan­ish is­land north­east of Born­holm, but knew that the har­bour was very small. We de­cided to sail overnight for an early ar­rival, to boost our chance of get­ting a moor­ing. We left Kal­mar at 1800, weav­ing be­tween the off­shore wind tur­bines on both sides. As we came south and the light faded, we picked up the Utlän­gan and Utk­lip­pan lights to star­board. There was enough dark­ness to en­joy the shoot­ing stars and enough light to see the hori­zon.

Chris­tiansø is dom­i­nated by its 17th Cen­tury fort and re­doubtable walls, with can­nons still in place. We left Chris­tiansø, bound for Ys­tad on the Swedish main­land. The sun shone, the wind was favourable and we were mak­ing good speed, so we con­tin­ued west, even­tu­ally putting into Gis­lövs Läge.

The next day we made for Klintholm, pass­ing the im­pres­sive chalk cliffs of Møn, be­fore a long pas­sage to Kiel, in warm sun­shine, where we ar­rived just be­fore the storm rolled in the next day.

The Grand Ho­tel at Salt­sjöbaden, one of many his­tor­i­cal build­ings to visit

Kal­mar cas­tle in Swe­den faces the is­land of Öland

Even­tu­ally at sea, mak­ing good speed de­spite light winds

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