Saturday, May 15, 2021

Sailing again

A four day weekend had me go on a 65 NM overnighter trip with the sail boat.

The Ascension Day is a national holiday in Finland, and in conjunction with that I took a vacation day, giving me a four day weekend. The weather look excellent for sailing during Thursday and Friday, with warm weather and reasonable wind. After that quite a bit of rain was forecasted. Both of these forecasts were wrong.

I arrived at the home harbour on Thursday and got started at eleven. After getting out of the harbour, a lot easier than getting in, a 2 NM stretch on motor follows. With the right wind this is of course possible to sail, but it is a bit narrow and there is a bit of boat traffic there, so I expect to do this mainly by motor. In the picture I'm using the autopilot while stowing away fenders and ropes.

Hmm. Not too encouraging at Airisto, the first larger open sea area.

I did put up the sails and occasionally the wind filled them.

The wind was between 0 and 2 m/s, according to the weather station in the area, so the going was very slow, but with the autopilot I got from a collegue (thanks, Sami) I could do something useful, like making myself a cup of coffee, while still keeping watch all the time.

According to the weather forecast the wind was supposed to be 4-6 m/s, but it was barely moving.

After an hour or so of hardly moving at all I started the engine. The cruising speed with the engine is under 5 knots, i.e slower than by sails if the wind is over 4 m/s, and it is a bit boring.

While I do assume that the boat, being designed for British conditions, is under rigged for the slowest of winds, like under 3 m/ s, I noticed that the other boats didn't use sails either.

I did a few tries, raised and took down the sails seven times during the day, but after Stormälö the wind came back. As is visible from the picture, the sails still need reefing lines, but I have to figure out how they go first.

The bigger boat is clearly faster, but I'm going a bit too much into the wind to give it space in the fairly narrow lane ahead.

And just east of Sandö the wind died completely again, so I went by motor a little past Pensar. Now in the open Gullkrona Bay I had hoped for wind again, and the forecast agreed, so I put up the sails immediately when I felt a little wind, totally in vain, though. The weather was really nice and calm.

Time to start the engine, set up the autopilot and make some coffee again.

After Mellanlandet the wind came back, and the final 10 NM to Kråkskär went mostly almost against hull speed. Probably around 6-8 m/s wind, with a lot more in the gusts. I think my initial thought when I sailed the boat home was correct: Over 10 m/s is too much for the genoa, it already dipped into the water a few times and for that the jib is a better choice. The genoa is on a furler, but it is (probably) a cheaper version that doesn't allow reefing. It is easy to switch out the foresail on it, though.

The autopilot makes life so much easier when going single handed. I'm closing in on the destination and can prepare for it with getting anchor and ropes out without any hurry,

I've rolled in the genua and continue with the mail sail only the last bit. Kråkskär ahead.

After 32 NM I managed to dock without too much trouble, though it isn't really that easy to do alone with a long keeled boat that doesn't turn well. I first went close to check out a place, found a place not to shallow under water and not too steep above water and went out again to deploy the anchor. After that I slowly drove ahead towards the cliff, trying to have just enough speed to have to boat glide close enough for me to jump ashore. The boat weighs a little over 3000 kg, so there is some mass to take into account. After the autopilot taking the hassle out of raising and lowering sails, I think this is and will remain the most difficult part of sailing single handed for me. The place was nice, though, and had a few iron rings bolted into the cliff.

The evening is nice, and while the boat has a two flame propane kitchen, having a separate stove is still needed to be able to enjoy eating a nice meal outside the boat a nice evening.

The sunset was a bit after ten in the evening, but it doesn't really get dark at this time of the year anymore, so I still had time for a stroll around the island.

The boat is still a bit of a mess inside and out, there are lots of details to fix, but it does have the potential to be quite cozy during darker evenings.

I slept for almost eight hours and woke up to a nice morning. Coffee and fresh baked croissants on the Omnia oven (an excellent piece of equipment) followed.

The morning walk.

The spring has sprung.

Having a draft of only 1.2 m, the boat should have a plenty of possibilites in the archipelago. The easy places, like this one, might be a bit crowded during the summer, and there was one other boat there even now. I do need to get a working sonar, though, since you only want to do that much friction navigation even with a long keeled boat.

The weather forecast was again nice when I started the return trip. as was the wind.

I had arrived going outside the lanes just west of Mellanlandet when I came, and the plan was now to take another route just east of Gullkrona going back, but the wind did'nt allow it. Instead I went east of Mellanlandet and just at that point the wind died out completely againt, despite several forecasts from different agencies of 5 m/s wind from east.

And then it started to rain.

I didn't think much of it when I bought the boat, but having a (hopefully) reliable inboard engine is actually quite nice. Though it's not much fun going by engine, it does allow you a whole lot more possibilities. It probably consumes a little over 1 liter of diesel per hour, so it's not like you have to refuel all the time anyway.

Just south of Erikvalla the wind returned and I got around 30 minutes of sailing before motoring the last part to the harbour.

33 NM was the saldo of the day, but too much of it was by motor. The forecasts, from several different providers, had between 4 and 6 m/s wind in them for the entire period, except the night, but it didn't really happen like that. In retrospect a sea kayak trip could have been more suitable, but I have one of those planned for next weekend

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