Ex­pert on board: How to moor a boat to rocks

Chris Bee­son demon­strates a use­ful skill for ad­ven­tur­ous cruis­ers

Yachting Monthly - - INSIDE THIS MONTH -

If you’ve never sailed in the Swedish or Fin­nish archipela­goes, start mak­ing plans for next sum­mer. These unique cruis­ing grounds must be on ev­ery sailor’s bucket list.

Each has thou­sands of is­lands, some forested and pop­u­lated with sum­mer houses, roads, bridges and fer­ries buzzing in and out, some with noth­ing more than flat gran­ite, a sauna, a bin and a loo. The is­lands to weather cut down the fetch so there’s hardly ever any sea run­ning and, re­gard­less of the con­di­tions, you will al­ways be able to find a shel­tered spot to stop for lunch or overnight. The strangest thing is that, de­spite a very real feel­ing of be­ing in the wilder­ness, none of them is more than a day­sail away from a city. It is a sen­sa­tional place to go sail­ing and, if you’re pru­dent enough with your pi­lotage to avoid the many mostly-charted rocks, you will have an ex­pe­ri­ence like no other. Ask any­one who’s sailed there.

The sum­mer sail­ing sea­son isn’t a long one, June to Septem­ber, but the long ‘white nights’ let you wring the most out of ev­ery day. Winds tend to be light and vari­able dur­ing the sea­son but you won’t have to wait too long for a de­cent sail­ing breeze as the weather here is dic­tated, like ours, by the Azores High.

Many of the larger is­lands have mari­nas or har­bours if you need sup­plies or elec­tric­ity, or to pump out your hold­ing tank (you can’t dis­charge over­board) but the real treat about sail­ing here is find­ing a quiet, shel­tered lit­tle spot that you can call your own. To en­joy this tran­quil­ity though, you will need to mas­ter the pe­cu­liarly Baltic tech­nique of moor­ing to rocks. It’s not ex­clu­sively Baltic – it’s used in parts of Ire­land and the Med, and can be use­ful any­where with­out a sig­nif­i­cant ti­dal range or strong cur­rents – but up here it’s de rigueur.

Like box berthing, which we looked at in the Au­gust is­sue, it’s not ex­actly dif­fi­cult (with two or more peo­ple on board) but you need to un­der­stand the tech­nique and you can learn a lot by see­ing how the lo­cals do it. Of course you need to prac­tise it too, and you’re likely to mess it up a cou­ple of times. For­tu­nately this is a very low-speed ma­noeu­vre so the chances of se­ri­ously dam­ag­ing any­thing are much re­duced.

‘You can learn a lot by see­ing how the lo­cals do it’

RYA Yacht­mas­ter Chris Bee­son has raced and cruised over 40,000 ocean miles in his 37 years as a sailor

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.