May 31, 2011

Nature trail in Jungfruskär

Yesterday in Jungfruskär, we also walked around the nature trail where different features of the island where described. The route was around three kilometres long so it was a good way to walk around the island on a sunny day.

Here a couple of pictures we took:

May 30, 2011


We are now spending this sunny day at Jungfruskär and there is a surprisingly good 3G connection - it is a lot faster than we had at Houtskär yesterday! We had breakfast outside on a table which was protected from the wind. Now we are planning to take a walk around the island. Then we will also see how windy it actually is at sea since here the wind is not that strong. The wind should calm down a little bit during the afternoon, so we are planning to continue sailing. Fresh SE wind is forecasted for Tuesday so our plan is to start early in the morning to cross the Åland Sea to the Swedish side.
/Minna & Antti

Here are some pictures of yesterday's sailing:

May 29, 2011

Interior design @ S/Y Dolphin Dance

Antti wrote earlier about the interior of the boat, but now I will focus on how we have improved S/Y Dolphin Dance's interior space lately with interior design! One could say that I have added some female touch with the details: there are new pillows and other stuff that will make the space even better. Now it shall be more comfortable to live at S/Y Dolphin Dance during this summer.

Sailors usually have a lot of fabrics and cutlery with sailing-related themes - in traditional blue and white. We also have some that kind of accessories. For example, all the cutlery is white with pictures of navy blue anchors and text: navigare vivere est.

Since the berths / settees in the saloon are light blue, I additionally chose to freshen up the looks of the interior space with some light blue and turquoise. I began by knitting the potholders of turquoise yarn. Those ones you can see in the picture above. Underneath, you can see my next purchase - a couple of turquoise pillows for the saloon!

When I brought the pillows to the boat, I immediately noticed that those would not be enough since they are two small pillows and one might need pillows for reading or watching television - to be able to sit comfortably in the saloon. This is why I bought a couple of more pillows, this time a bit bigger ones and with slightly different shade of turquoise. Those ones you can see here underneath.

The fitted carpet in S/Y Dolphin Dance is light blue but actually, the color was more grey than blue. That's why one of my projects before we started sailing was to wash the carpet. I took it with me to our summer house and there it was easily washed at our terrace with traditional Finnish pine soap and hot water. Then it took almost one day to get it dry but now it is back in the boat and it looks cleaner than ever!

This fitted carpet covers almost the whole boat but not the toilet area. There has been a separate carpet for the toilet but it was in bad shape so we came up with a new solution - a regular toilet / bathroom carpet in circular shape would do well. Here you can see our new turquoise toilet carpet in action. In the picture, you can also notice that my lovely Emu sheepskin boots have found their way to the boat - I decided that their home should be at the boat for now since the Nordic evenings might be cold and these lovely, soft, woolen boots are going to warm up my feet very well indeed!

I also wanted to make it easier to do the dishes on the boat. There is namely only two tiny sinks in the galley. This is why I was really excited to find the dish drainer you can see underneath - especially because of its turquoise shade! Now it is easier to dry up the dishes. Well, one needs to use a kitchen towel or a bowl underneath the drainer but anyway, I was happy to find this one!

Surprisingly, we have some turquoise food savers!

Another one of my latest projects was to knit a nest tote to store some veggies. I got some help from Purlbee's patterns but I adjusted it just a little. I knitted an elongated version of the bag to make it able to hold tomatoes well enough. When we are sailing, I will surely keep on knitting more - we would need another one of these to give good storage space for our fruits and veggies. This kind of bag I can easily hang up without worrying that all the tomatoes will be around the boat. I will probably knit more of these bags and I will keep you updated with my new interior design projects!

May 28, 2011

Rough start for the journey

First day of our journey did not go quite as well as planned. We had about 10-14 m/s headwind and after about three hours of beating we discovered that cabin floor was wet. Antti started to look for the cause and found out that rudder shaft stuffing box was leaking. It was not much but still enough so that quick decision was made to head for a nearby harbour where repair facilities were also close. We managed to get a mechanician to look for rudder box the following day. At first, we were quite disappointed, but then we realised it was good to notice the problem early and not somewhere in middle of the North Sea for example.

Apparently, the maintenance of rudder box was neglected for too many years and needed some vaseline to get squeezed in. Larger renovation would have required taking the boat up so we decided to test the rudder at sea on Saturday. It seemed to be ok so we continued towards Houtskär. The sailing weather was pretty nice - we had about 7 m/s wind and only around 12°C but in the beginning it was quite sunny. Later, the clouds appeared and the wind got stronger and we were able to sail to Houtskär in around five hours. Luckily, in the evening the clouds faded and we got a nice sunset at Houtskär.

Here we are now sitting in the boat blogging. Our mobile internet connection is really slow but we are trying to download a couple of photos too. The weather forecast for the next couple of days is not very promising: headwind of about 15 m/s (30kts) and rain. Thus our plans are quite open - we will see what happens tomorrow!
/Antti & Minna

Minna steering in the sunshine

Sunny evening in Houtskär

May 26, 2011

Ready, set, SAILS UP!

This week has again been very busy working at the boat so that everything would be ready for tomorrow since we will start sailing towards Norway. S/Y Dolphin Dance passed Class 2 (offshore sailing) inspection on Monday. It was carried out by the sailing club inspector. Basically the inspection was about checking that all the required equipment are on board. New rescue sling, a pair of safety flares and rockets and fire extinguisher among other things were bought just before the inspection. Furthermore, life vests were checked by filling them for 24 hours and led-pulps were aquired for all the navigation lights.

There has been a lot of preparations to do to be able to set sail on Friday morning. We are going to need a lot of stuff - especially warm clothes, groceries and beverages. We do not want to start looking for the shops that are actually open in the archipelago at the moment so we need to store a lot of stuff at the boat even though there is not that much space there. Additionally, Minna has been busy decorating S/Y Dolphin Dance by purchasing some new interior design features and conveniences. Next week, when we will be sailing, she is going to post a couple of blog posts about the interior design and about all the food we have packed and how we have stored it all at the boat.

We have been monitoring weather forecast quite closely for coming weekend. The forecast has changed quite a lot every day. Variable weather is supposed to continue, so we will probably have some rain showers during the weekend and day temperature around 15 °C. Tomorrow we should have strong SE breeze of about 10-14 m/s, but on Saturday wind is supposed to turn back to S-SW - right where we should be going to. Winds have been quite strong for many days now and beating against SW-winds at the cold Northern Baltic Sea is not very tempting. Thus, our current plan is to sail first to Åland and then over to Sweden and to the Archipelago of Stockholm but we are open to route changes if some favorable weather window opens.
/Antti & Minna

May 24, 2011

Airisto last weekend

Last weekend we visited Airisto Marina in Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland. It is a marina situated in Stormalö island. It is a well sheltered harbor but there might be some noise problems occasionally since it is one of the marinas situated in a short distance from Turku and pretty many motor boats seemed to already be going around the archipelago. However, this early in May Airisto seemed like a good opportunity since we wanted to make a not-too-long two day trip. Here some sunny photos!

 When sailing, Antti was playing with one of his newest toys: an anemometer.

 In Airisto, we walked around a bit and prepared some pasta.

Then we decided to climb the rocks around the island.

A beautiful evening and some others were still sailing.

The following day, on our way back, we saw pretty many ships - here is one of them. It was so close! Antti was excited about trying how his Nasa Marine AIS Radar functions. It seems very practical to be able to see where and how fast those large ships come and go.

May 22, 2011

Hallberg-Rassy 29 nr. 483 - Interiors and Engine

The boat is now cleaned inside out so it was good time to take some photos while it is still clean and empty. Here is some  information about interiors and engine of the HR29 nr. 483. More infomation about Dolphin Dance can be found here.

The layout is traditional - two cabins separated by a toilet and a hanging locker. There are folding doors so the toilet compartment can be closed from both cabins. Our boat has four berths: double in forepeak and two single berths in the saloon. Some versions have also a quarter berth on a starboard side, in which case the navigation table is removable. Our boat has a large, fixed navigation station with chart locker and there is also an additional cockpit locker. I prefer this layout since this gives more locker space and good working place for navigator.

Navigation station with spacious chart locker

Settees in the saloon are wide and very comfortable when the backrest is raised. They make also excellent seaberths right in the center of the boat. The double V-bed in the forepeak is also comfortable and full lenght (2m). However the bed is placed quite high due to the water tank just under the bed. Thus one must do some stretching to get into to the bed and also the headroom is quite low. The headroom in the main saloon is typical 1,80m and just enough for us. The L-shaped galley is equipped with stove/oven and 50 litres fridge. There is additional galley space behind the step (on top of the engine). However problem is that the space in the galley is flat so it may be difficult to find solid place to rest plates, mugs etc. while cooking at sea. There is good locker space in galley as there is throughout the boat.

Three burner gas stove/oven 

The toilet is faced sideways which can be inconvenient when heeling

Layout in general is very seagoing and there are good handrails in the saloon. Woodwork is typical Hallberg-Rassy: beautiful solid mahogany and first class workmanship.   

Very comfortable saloon berth with night lamp behind the backrest. 

Dolphin Dance is powered by 18hp Volvo MD2020C diesel engine. The original Volvo 2002 engine was replaced about ten years ago by one of her previous owner. This 18hp engine gives about 5,5 kn cruising speed.

One of the excellent features of the HR29 is really large engine room and there is good access to important maintenance parts of the engine: the front can be accessed from saloon and the back of the engine and the S-drive from cockpit.

Engine room under the cockpit floor

May 19, 2011

Plans for this weekend's sailing: Airisto

This weekend is going to be the last weekend we spend in Finland before our travel towards Norway begins! Thus, we have had a lot to do lately. Antti has been teaching his students but additionally he has been polishing and fixing at Dolphin Dance for the rest of they days. And I have been doing a lot of planning besides working normally. Antti has actually worked like 13 hours every day! It seems a lot and it is, for sure, hard to do, but it also seems to be necessary - everything has to be ready before we start travelling next week.

This weekend we are planning to do a two-day trip to Airisto in Turku Archipelago. Airisto is known as a well sheltered harbor. The popular port is Airisto Stormälö and it offers good facilities for everyone. I am looking forward to visiting Airisto! This weekend, we will also use the new Webasto heater for the first time. Let's hope that it works well so that we will not be freezing when trying to sleep! The weather for the coming weekend seems okay, 15-20°C and it should not be raining. Let's keep fingers crossed!

Photo from this website.

May 17, 2011

Bad weather plus gas issues

Last weekend was cold (again) and rainy so we decided not to go out to the sea this time. Instead, we used the time to clean and organize the interiors. We bought a variety of storage boxes and went through our stuff to get rid of all the unnecessary things. On Saturday we drove to my parents' summerhouse in Kustavi to (among other things) pick up our inflatable dinghy from its winter storage. 

Gas bottle troubles
Dolphin Dance was bought last year from Denmark, and it has two German Campingaz-bottles (2,8 kg each) for oven. So this was first time that I had to get bottles filled or changed. It was frustrating to learn that Campingaz-bottles are not widely changed or filled in Finland. Different standards of gas bottles give you a headache, when you are sailing in different countries. In Finland the AGA propane cylinder is the standard one, and the problem is, that it requires significantly larger height than Campingaz or Primus cylinder due to the size of the regulator. Thus the Finnish bottles would not fit straight into the boat's gas bottle place in the anchor box.

Since we did not have time for larger modification, options were to use either Primus or Campingaz-bottles. Problem with the Primus was that changing the system would cost a lot since new bottles and the regulator would have to be bought and Primus cylinders are also more expensive than AGA bottles. Furthermore, there are fewer places where you can change them in Finland - especially in the archipelago.

Finally (after many phone calls) I found a company Wilhtom in Espoo that is changing Campingaz. Another one was Kaasuvalo, but they did not have full bottles at the moment. So four hours of driving to Espoo and back just to get a bottle of gas changed! I do not know how widely Campingaz is changed in Norway so we have to fill our gas reserves in Denmark. Last season I used less than one and half bottles of gas so two bottles should be enough for Norway.

Campingaz gas bottle

May 11, 2011

What's new for season 2011?

This spring I have been very busy working with the boat so that everything would be ready at the end of May. Next I will present you some of the most important new equipment and modifications for this season.

Preparations for this trip begun already last summer when the decision about sailing to Norway was made. I made a list of all the necessary gear and repairs. I thought that I started working through the list early, but still there are too many things that need to be done. And like always with boats new problems come up as old ones are resolved.

One of the biggest jobs was the renovation of Volvo S120-drive; this project was started already in November and was finished in April when weather allowed working at the boat again. At the end of the last summer I discovered that the S-drive oil looked like milk. Apparently, sea water was getting inside the S-drive somehow. The S-drive was completely removed, damaged shaft was fixed and all the sealing-rings were changed. Furthermore, the Volvo S-drive rubber seal was changed, because it was about ten years old. This job was done by H&H Venepalvelu. I can recommend their services.

For sailing in Scandinavia, a reliable heater is almost a must. Dolphin Dance did not have one, so Webasto ST2000 Air Top was installed for this season. Webasto was chosen because it could be easily installed in the cockpit locker thanks to its dimensions. Also it was competitive in terms of price, power consumption and heat output. It takes diesel from boat's main fuel tank which is practical. During winter lay-up fuel tank was also emptied and cleaned of all the microbes. The heater was installed also by H&H Venepalvelu.

Seago Offshore Liferaft was ordered from Jimmy Green Marine (UK). It was difficult to find a web store, that would be willing to send a liferaft overseas. However, the effort was worth making because the same liferaft is 500 € more expensive when purchased in Finland. The raft will be stored in cockpit locker so valise model was ordered. The Seago Liferaft was ranked best in Practical Boat Owners´ test (May 2007).

Nasa Marine AIS Radar was also added to the boat's navigational gear for this season. Despite its name, the AIS Radar will not replace real radar, but it is a cost-effective tool for collision avoidance with AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitting vessels. All vessels of gross tonnage of 300 tons or more and all passenger ships are required to have transmitting AIS on board. This will increase safety at sea, because one can easily monitor movement of ships and also set alarm if a ship comes within some predetermined distance. However, one must be aware of this system's limitations, since AIS radar will not show smaller vessels or other objects, like sea marks.

Standard Horizon handheld VHF was also acquired and it will be stored in Grab Bag together with flares, safety rockets, PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), first aid kit and personal belongings.

Self-tailing Lewmar winch was ordered to replace standard reef winch, which is mounted to the mast, to make it easier to reef and lift a dinghy to and from deck. Replacing the winch is still on my to-do list. Additionally, a third reef was added to main sail.

Leisure batteries were also changed so Dolphin Dance has now two 80Ah batteries for leisure use and one 80Ah battery for start motor. There could be more battery capacity, but fitting larger batteries would have required larger renovation. Consequently, this is what we have to settle for.

Navionics charts were downloaded for Minna's iPad. Also a new camera, Panasonic Lumix G2 was ordered. We will cover those later.


All the old rigging screws were changed to Selden's bronze rigging screws.

Spare HST tiller

Upper rudder shaft bearing was replaced with a new one.

 New tapings ordered from HR Parts and Accessories.

New registration numbers.