Jul 30, 2011

Food inspiration - part 2

When there is time and good ingredients, one can cook good food onboard.

 And when there are not too high waves, even Minna can cook during sailing!


The leg from Hammerhavn to Utklippan was perhaps one of the hardest so far, because it was raining heavily almost during the whole day. Furthermore, the route crossed a busy shipping lane and that required some extra caution. At one time, when visibility was low due to the rain, I saw a large cargo ship appearing from the grey and coming right towards us. I checked from the AIS screen that the distance to nearest ship was about two miles. However, this ship seemed to be closer than that. I do not have total confidence in the AIS since a few times the targets have appeared quite late on the screen so I changed our course to let the ship go ahead of us. However, the AIS turned out to be right and the ship was further away than it had seemed. Lesson learned: estimating distances at sea especially at low visibility is difficult.

In terms of sailing the leg was good since we could sail beam reached most of this 55 nm and over 9 hours leg and our speed was between 6-7 knots most of the time. Wind was about 7-10 m/s from NW. Only in the end the wind eased and we motored the last hour to get to the Utklippan island to dry our clothes and get something to eat.

Utklippan harbour

The Utklippan lighthouse was under some construction 

From Utklippan we continued to Kristianopel in rainy conditions. During the first hours the wind was very good and we sailed at good speed towards Kalmar. After noon, the wind changed to north and started increasing. About 10-14 m/s wind raised quite nasty sea at Kalmarsund and that slowed us down. Therefore, we decided to head for nearby Kristianopel which was almost full of boats sheltering from nasty weather; we managed to get the last free buoy. Later in the afternoon, a large motor boat that had some engine problems arrived. Gusty wind pushed the boat against buoys and it ended up getting a rope folded around its propellor. It took about two hours to get the heavy boat safely docked.

At the moment the wind is howling in the rigging and it is raining. The strongest gust that the anemometre captured, was about 19 m/s. It feels good to be in the harbour and not at sea.
/Antti & Minna

Jul 27, 2011

Hammerhavn - a small harbour in northern Bornholm

On Wednesday morning, we woke up early at 4.20 am. The wind had picked up a little so we decided to hoist the sails and take a course towards Bornholm. Antti has already earlier visited Allinge in the northern tip of Bornholm, so we headed for Hammershavn, which is a small harbour located in the northwestern corner of Bornholm. We were able to sail about three hours, but the rest of the seven hours' leg was motoring in light winds. The sun was shining!

Swedish coastline early in the morning

Arriving in Bornholm. Hammerhus castle ruins are on the hill

We arrived in Bornholm at noon. There was enough room in the harbour and we got a good place. The day was sunny so we prepared some lunch and then decided to climb up the hill to see Hammerhus castle ruins. There is a beautiful nature trail from the harbour to the castle ruins. The sights from the trail and from the castle ruin were amazing.
/Minna & Antti

Hammerhavn seen from the nature trail

Hammerhus castle ruins

They organize boat trips from Hammerhavn

Jul 26, 2011

Sunny and beautiful Ystad

On Monday, we left from Kastrup and were planning to sail towards Bornholm. After passing the Falsterbo canal in the evening, we kept sailing for three hours but then decided to sleep the night at Gislövs läge. On Tuesday, we started off early in the morning, but because the wind died totally, we decided to head for Ystad instead of Bornholm. It turned out to be an excellent choice, since Tuesday was a sunny and warm day in southern Sweden! We walked around the picturesque town that Antti already visited on the way towards Norway. This time, we had downloaded the Wallander application for Minna's iPhone so we were able to get some information on the places we visited in Ystad.

The weather forecasts we have seen for tomorrow do not agree if it is going to be windy or not, so we have not yet decided whether we will sail towards Bornholm or continue towards north along the Swedish coast. Thus, we will make the decision only tomorrow...
/Minna & Antti

Jul 24, 2011

Always so rainy Copenhagen

Late on Friday evening, we arrived in Copenhagen. First we went to see if we found a place for the boat at Copenhagen Langelinie harbour, which is situated just next to the Little Mermaid. It was already late in the evening and as one might quess, the harbour was full. We took a couple of pictures of the Mermaid and continued towards south - Antti had stayed in Kastrup Strandpark also the last time he was in Copenhagen and we guessed rightly, there was a good place for us.

Since this weekend has been rainy and very windy (kuling  ie. near gale all the time!) the boat has stayed in the harbour and we have been enjoying the rainy Copenhagen. On Saturday, we visited Carlsberg's museum and went shopping a little. We also went to see Nyhavn because we wanted to check the other possible harbours in Copenhagen. In Nyhavn, we found a cosy italian restaurant and had really good bruschetta and pizza for dinner.


We had also plans to visit Malmö on Sunday, but since the weather was really windy and rainy (yes we know, it is still almost 30 degrees in Finland all the time, why are we here in the middle of autumn?!) so we decided not to visit Malmö finally. Instead, we took the metro to Christianshavn to go see the harbour there, and to buy groceries. We bought a lot of bread and some pastries from Lagkagehuset - a really good bakery we found the day before. Then we found one supermarket that was open and bought more groceries to fill our food storage - food is so cheap here in Denmark when we still remember the prices we had to pay in Norway!


Now Minna is preparing some lasagne for dinner and we are making plans for sailing towards Finland. We still have three weeks time until we have to be at home, but since the weather is not that sunny here, we are planning on sailing pretty soon towards Sweden's east coast and then towards Finland. Our next destinations are probably Bornholm and Gotland.
/Minna & Antti

Jul 22, 2011

From Gothenburg to Mölle

Good northerly winds were forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday so we made the decision to take the southern route back home (and not go through the Göta canal). We decided to leave Gothenburg on Wednesday evening and sail through the night towards south. After two hours of motoring we hoisted the gennaker and sailed first four hours very comfortably downwind at almost flat sea. After midnight the wind started picking up and our speed went up from about 4,5 kn to 6-7 kn. Our windvane did not steer very well under just gennaker so hand-steering was required. Thus we decided to take the gennaker down and sail under genoa instead to make the night passage more comfortable.

On Thursday noon we arrived at Mölle, which is a small village about 15 nm north from Helsingborg. Unfortunately the day was grey and rainy so we did not have the chance to walk around the town. Mölle is
a small town set in spectacular isolation on the dramatic headland of the Kulla Peninsula. Unfortunately, we could not make the walk up to the historic Kullen Lighthouse, which is said to be the brightest one in Sweden. Instead, we did laundry, cooked and took naps to be ready to keep on sailing again.
/Antti & Minna

Jul 21, 2011

Navionics app for iPad

We have been using Apple's iPad with Navionics charts for one season. Actually iPad was our primary source of information during the whole Kalmarsund, since paper charts ordered from UK did not arrive in time and our Garmin plotter did not cover this area. We had also a PC laptop with Swedish and Danish charts as a backup. I have also previously used minilaptop as a chart plotter, but I feel that the iPad outperforms minilaptops in many ways:
1) iPad 3G model has a built-in GPS so it can be used as a chart plotter without any external GPS input. GPS seems to be very accurate since we have not noticed any discrepancy with our Garmin GPS.
2) Navionics Marine HD charts are very inexpensive for iPad, compared to cost of the charts for normal chart plotter. The charts are comparable to Navionics Gold charts, which are used in plotters.
3) iPad uses less power than a normal laptop and has a battery capacity of about 10 hours. What I most like about iPad is that it can be switched on from the standby mode within a few seconds. However finding the GPS signal can take some time. Often one needs the plotter to check some details so it is switched on only for about a minute or so at a time.
4) Using the touchpad for zooming and moving through the chart is very handy. iPad is portable, so it can be used anywhere. For example, during the off-watch skipper can use it to check the position, speed and course of the vessel.

Weak points
iPad has not been designed for maritime use so obviously, it has its weak points compared to the chart plotter:
1) First of all it is not water- or shockfproof so one must be cautious when using it in a moving boat. It would be good idea to have some kind of stand or special case where iPad could be mounted when not in use. We have it in its normal storage case in the cockpit in good weather. In bad weather it can only be used indoors.
2) iPad has a glossy screen and thus it can be difficult to see the chart in bright sunlight.
3) The Navionics software crashes occasionally. It happens usually when scrolling through the map too fast. However, iPad usually recovers quickly and the software can be restarted immediatelly.
4) The Navionics mobile interface is stripped down. For example routes cannot be saved and there are no waypoint or MOB-functions.

We have Navionics Europe HD -application which costs around 50 € for iPad. However, sea areas of Denmark and UK are excluded from this application, so they need to be purchased separately. Maps are downloaded to the iPad's memory so there is no need for internet connection when using the application.
/Antti & Minna

Cover photo:  Press image from Navionics
Navionics/Google Overlay -picture from here

By the way, we have written a blog post on waterproof tablets as well!

Jul 20, 2011

Crossing Kattegat to the Swedish side and arriving in Gothenburg

On Monday morning, we left Skagen behind and headed for Sweden. Strong southerly breeze of 13 m/s was forecasted for the afternoon so we decided to take the first reef in the main sail. In the beginning the current was in our favour and as the wind increased during the day, we were able to maintain really good speed through the day.

Källö-Knippla, Sweden

We arrived at around 5 pm in Källö-Knippla island, that Antti had already visited when he was sailing towards Norway in June. On Tuesday, we sailed and motored a short leg from Källö-Knippla to Gothenburg. We chose to stay in Långedrag harbour, which is located 5 nm outside the city. The harbour was a good choice - the tram goes in the city in 20 minutes but the harbour itself is not as busy as the one in the center. Additionally, the facilities are pretty good: we were happily surprised that this harbour has a sauna, even though it is Swedish one (ie. cold). Anyway, in the afternoon, we took the tram and went to the city to do some shopping and sightseeing and afterwards, we were happy to take a sauna bath since we had not found a sauna in many weeks now. As a Finn, it seems weird that there are no saunas here or in Norway - the water is so cold that one would not like to go swimming without the possibility to go to the sauna afterwards. It seems like waste not to go swimming in the sea at all!
/Antti & Minna

A view from Gothenburg Långedrag by night

Jul 18, 2011

Crossing Skagerrak and arriving in Skagen, Denmark

On Friday evening we left Lillesand and took a course towards Denmark. On the coast of Norway there was strong SW-going current which pushed us too much south. The wind and the current eased during the evening and we motored about three hours in quite large swell. Later, around 10 pm, the wind changed to SW and increased so we could start sailing again. However, we decided to reef the main sail for the night just in case, but the wind stayed around 6-10 m/s and we were able to sail comfortably through the night. Following day, the wind increased to about 13 m/s and the final part from the northern tip of Denmark to Skagen harbour was motoring against strong wind and current.

On Saturday afternoon we rented bicycles and went to see the long beaches. Compared to Norway, Skagen was quite the opposite: almost flat landscape, straight roads and long sandy beaches. Also the food and alcohol is substantially cheaper than in Norway. We stayed in Skagen for two nights since on Sunday the weather was windy and rainy.

/Antti & Minna

Last glimpse of Norway

 Sunrise at Skagerrak

The busy Skagen harbour