Dec 9, 2017

Sailing boots review: Lizard Spin deck boot by Lizard Footwear

I have been looking for new sailing boots for some time now and I recently came across a new brand for me: that is Lizard Footwear from Italy. The boots (Lizard Spin) arrived in late-September and I was happy to be able to test them during the Autumn in three different sailing trips and in three totally different weather conditions.



Overall, I have been very pleased with Lizard Spin sailing boots as they are so versatile. My old traditional rubber boots were mainly used in rainy conditions in order to keep one's feet dry, but you did not really want to use those rubber boots any more than you had to. The opposite is true for Spin deck boots, which are extremely light to wear, so that they feel almost the same as wearing the normal sailing shoes. Furthermore, the long sleeves help you to keep your feet warm compared to the traditional sailing shoes.

On the late September, the weather was still summer-like as the temperature climbed around 20 degrees. On mid-October, we had more traditional Autumn weather with constant rain. On November on the other hand, the temperature was close to zero degrees so I was able to test how well the boots perform in cold weather conditions.

Perhaps the best thing about the Spin boots is their breathability. They are very comfortable to wear; I used the boots through the day in relatively warm September weather without noticing any problem with feet getting sweaty. On the other hand, in November I used the boots with my a bit thicker skiing socks which were just enough to keep my feet warm and dry in temperature close to zero degrees. The boots are actually adjustable (thanks to the cleaver tightening system) which allows you to wear thin or thick socks so the boots work well both in colder and warmer conditions.

During the rainy test day in October, the boots worked as they should (i.e. kept my feets dry) and I did not notice any problem with the watertightness. However, I realize that there is 'rain' and then there is rain. So based on this fairly limited test, I cannot comment too much about their waterproofness in really heavy weather.

In short, these boots are definitely among the best sailing footwear that I have ever tried and can't wait to be able to use them more during the next season.
/Antti

This blog post was made in collaboration with Lizard Footwear


Lizard Spin deck boot is a good looking sailing boot from Italian brand Lizard Footwear

The boots worked also with shorts in about +15 degrees Autumn weather 


The boot gives a good grip on the deck 

The second test day was in more traditional Autumn conditions.

Dec 6, 2017

Finland - 100 years of independence

Today celebrating Finland's 100 years of independence! What a beautiful country this is...

Nov 23, 2017

Sailing in November

Dolphin Dance's sailing season 2017 ended in November as I made the last trip of the year on 1st of November. Actually this was a record long season for Dolphin Dance as she was launched in early April and lift out was on 10th of November. This was also the first time for me to sail and overnight at the boat in November.

The last day of October was sunny and relatively warm as the temperature climbed to about 4 degrees celsius. At the same time last year it was -10 degrees, so years are not brothers.

The sun sets early at this time of the year so I decided to head for the nearby archipelago. I spent the night at the harbour of Seili island, which I had not visited for three years.

If the end of October was beautiful and clear, the first November morning was more typical for the time of the year: that means... grey and grey. The wind picked up during the day so I got a good sail after all for the last day of the season.
/Antti



The last day of October ended with colourful sunset

The first day of November opened as grey and calm


I got a good wind for the last sail of the season

Season over...Dolphin Dance is now lifted out for winter

Oct 14, 2017

Indian summer in late September

In the late September, Northern Europe got a period of warm Autumn weather. Thus, I decided to take an advantage of the Indian summer, and head for one-night trip to the nearby archipelago on Sunday the 24th of September. There were a lot of boats at the sea on Sunday afternoon as the weather was so good. I took a course to Kaskis island, which is one of my favourite anchorages in Airisto.

The wind faded towards the evening and the night was peaceful under thousands of stars. Hard to think for a better way to charge the batteries for the coming winter! 










 Sun rose at 7.30 on Monday morning. Time to head back to work...



Sep 19, 2017

Weekend trip to Turku Guest Harbour

On Friday the 15th of September we cast-off for a short weekend trip to Turku. This was actually the first time for us that we stayed in our hometown's guest harbour. Located on the western bank of River Aura, the guest harbour has a great location within a walking distance from the city centre. The guest harbour has gone through a facelift during the recent years and that includes the new NOOA Restaurant in the heart of the harbour.

Nice Friday evening sail at Airisto

Route to the River Aura goes past the cruising ship terminal

 Turku Guest Harbour is located on the western bank of River Aura

 Sunday the 17th of September was Turku Day and the celebrations ended up 
with traditional fireworks show



Sep 11, 2017

The first weekend of September 2017

We cast off on the first day of September for a long-weekend trip in the southern part of the Archipelago Sea. The westerly wind was blowing around 20 knots on Friday, so we got a pretty fast reaching leg to Helsingholm, which is our favourite harbours in the Finnish Archipelago.

Autumn has definitely it's own charm in the Archipelago. There is definitely some melancholy in the air as the summer is (almost) over. On the other hand, it is nice to go swimming under the stars (if you happen to get the late sauna booking), as the sea water and evenings are still relatively warm. Furthermore, the Archipelago is great for watching the stars, as you are pretty far away from the big cities.

On Saturday, the weather turned cloudy and grey, and also the wind was light during the day, so we motored about two thirds of the 15 nautical miles leg to our cruising club's island base located in the southern Hitis Archipelago.

The wind strengthened and turned to east on Sunday and it was blowing around 20-25 knots, as we cast off around noon for our return journey back to north. We had a calm lunch break in a nice ancorage called Södra Benskär, but after that we had to put the second reef in the main, as the wind had increased to about 25 to 30 knots.

On Monday we had only a short leg from Airisto Marina to our homeport in Turku. The easterly wind was blowing around 25 to 35 knots, and although the was blowing over land, there was a couple of more open areas, where the nasty steep waves gave the deck a good wash.

Dolphin Dance logged about 90 nautical miles during the weekend.

/Antti


Friday evening on Helsingholm


Saturday evening in Hitis Archipelago 

On Sunday, the wind increased during the day, so we had second reef on the main sail
for the first time this season. 

 On Monday, the wind was gusting 35 knots, so we were sailing only with a partly furled genoa  

Aug 6, 2017

Sailing on Lake Mälaren


In terms of sailing grounds, Sweden and Finland are probably best known for their Baltic Sea Archipelagos. However, both of these countries have also thousands of lakes and most of the largest ones can be visited with a sailing boat. This season we sailed to Lake Mälaren, which is the third largest lake in Sweden.

We only spent two nights at Mälaren, so we cannot really say that we would know this 120 kilometres long lake area inside out. However, during the two days we got taste of fresh water sailing.

From the Baltic Sea, Lake Mälaren can be accessed in two ways: via southerly Södertälje canal, where the lock is located at the center of Södertälje city. Another way to come to Mälaren with your own boat is via Hammarby lock, which is located in Stockholm. Both the canals have only one lock, and as the average water level difference between Baltic Sea and Mälaren is only about 0,6 m, the locking is fairly easy and the rise or fall of water level is barely noticeable.

These two waterways to Mälaren mean that you can make a nice ring route and have a new landscape all the time. There is quite a lot of motoring expected especially when going to / from the lake, but the changing scenery makes also these legs interesting. For example, we have been in Stockholm many times before, but it was interesting to approach this large capital city from the Mälaren side for the first time.

The winds were light during our stay so we had to motor both the days when on the lake. We did not find information on official wild anchorages, but as the wind was light on the first night, we ended up dropping the anchor just close to the shore and had a nice and peaceful evening and night with great views over to the lake.

Is the Lake Mälaren worth the visit for a cruising sailor?

Well, I guess that the answer depends. The history of the area is long so there is definitely interesting places to visit and see. We only stopped at Birka Viking village and in the idyllic Mariefred town, but there probably would have been many more places to see. On the other hand, for those who are looking for staying in a wild postcard anchorages by the rocks, Stockholm Archipelago, Åland Islands and the Archipelago of Turku offer much more options for this kind of cruising.

For someone who have sailed in Stockholm Archipelago for many years, route via Lake Mälaren offers a nice alternative, as you can go south from Stockholm via the lake and then come back north via the Stockholm archipelago (or the other way around as we did). On the other hand, if you are first-timer in the Baltic Sea Archipelagos or planning to sail here from further away, in my opionin these great archipelagos offer so many beautiful harbours and anchorages, that one or two months is not going to be enough to even scratch the surface of this area.
/Antti


Trees are growing over the lake like in a jungle. Lush forests look nice, but are difficult to walk!


Unlike in Stockholm Archipelago, even the small islets are full of trees

Hammarby lock 

Opening bridge at the lock

Södertälje canal

Locking is easy and rise of water is barely noticeable

Trosa is a nice picturesque city in the east coast of Sweden (Baltic Sea). Located about 30 nm away 
from the Lake Mälaren, it is a good stopover place to / from the Södertälje canal route.

Trosa

The Birka Viking village (Björkö) has an interesting history. The actual village is nicely reacreated, but apart from that, there's not that much to see. Also the facilities were not that great so we only paid a short visit.  

We really liked the idyllic small town of Mariefred

Gripsholm's Castle, Mariefred

The castle is located close to the harbour

Approaching Stockholm



Harbour under the bridge. Västerbrohamnen is located in the Mälaren side of Stockholm, and is a good option to crowded Wasahamn or Navishamnen. The harbour has some guest berths.