Aug 29, 2011

Tall Ships Regatta in Turku

On Friday and Saturday we went to see the tall ships that arrived in Turku for the weekend. The Culture 2011 Tall Ships Regatta highlighted Turku's European Capital of Culture year. Event was organized by Sailing Training International. The ships had sailed to Turku from Klaipeda, Lithuania. On Sunday the fleet left Turku and on Monday there was an official start for the leg bound for Gdynia, Poland, where the race ends.  

We had planned to go see the parade of sails at sea on Sunday, but due to the bad weather we decided to stay on ground. Here are some pictures of the tall ships in Turku:
/Antti & Minna

The bow figure of Russian Shtandart, which is a replica of the 1703 frigate. 

Aug 24, 2011

Sailing to Bastholm plus lifting the boat up

After eight days of adapting to living on a dry land, we decided to go back to sea and went sailing on Sunday. The weather was warm and wind mostly light so it was relaxed sailing to Bastholm, which is an island owned by the yachting club Stormy Fellows. We are not members of this sailing club, but were invited by Antti's friend to visit the island. We enjoyed seeing friends, having a sauna and swimming on a warm August day.

On Monday it was time to take the boat up for inspection. As mentioned earlier, we hit an underwater rock in Norway at a speed of about three knots, so we did not expect to find anything too serious. However, our insurance company suggested to take the boat up for estimating the repair costs. Thus, on way back to Turku, we sailed to nearby boatyard to take the boat up for inspecting the keel and taking some photographs for the insurance company.

The operation did not go quite as planned since the small tractor had difficulties in pulling the Dolphin Dance, weighing about 5 tons, out of the water. Furthermore, the longish keel of HR29 makes it difficult to find good place for the lifting lines. There is only a small space between the back of the keel and the S-drive and caution is required with the S-drive. After many attempts Dolphin Dance was successfully lifted and I was able to check the keel. There were no structural damages, but three scratches of about 5 to 10 cm diameter. The keel structure of HR29 is such, that the ballast keel is iron and moulded in GPR. The problem with this structure is that when the gelcoat gets deeper scratches, it absorbs water. Thus, when the boat is lifted out of the water later in the autumn, the scratches are opened and left to dry over the winter before applying new gelcoat surface on spring.

After inspection, we continued back to our home port in Turku. This weekend there is a Culture Tall Ships Regatta coming to Turku so if weather permits, we are going to see the Parade of Sails at sea on Sunday. Thus, there are pictures of tall ships coming later.

Aug 19, 2011

Minna's summary of the sailing journey

When Antti wrote his summary, he asked if I could write one too, from my point of view. So here we go...

In the beginning of this summer, I was still a total beginner with sailing. Okay, not a complete beginner, since I had taken the basic navigation course with my father one and a half years earlier - I had generally been interested in boating and the sea. However, I had not dreamed about sailing, but when I had met Antti and he was planning to sail to Norway, I decided not to stay in Finland the whole summer, but to join him and learn to cope with living in a rather small boat. I had heard a lot of scary stories about seasickness, but hoped that I would not be one of them who gets easily ill.

When I had decided to join Antti for the sailing journey, I started mentally preparing for the journey - read other peoples' stories from the seas. I really liked the idea of travelling with a home - I had been travelling a lot earlier and knew how it was to travel with a backpack and move from one ho(s)tel room to another. I thought it great to visit the other Nordic countries and their small but idyllic towns by the sea, the beautiful nature and of course, to experience sailing.

We made two short weekend trips in the archipelago near Turku, one to my parents' summer house and one to Airisto marina, but my third sailing journey ever was this journey towards Norway. My first leg was 10 days long and during that time, I had already experienced a lot. On the first day, we had the rough start - and it was a little bit rough also for me, because I got seasick in the strong wind when the boat kept heeling. Afterwards, I started taking the medication I had got against seasickness, and luckily it helped. I made the stupid mistake of thinking that I would not get seasick that close home.


In the beginning of the trip, the weather was quite cold, but when we had reached Sweden, I remember spending one afternoon on the sun deck sunbathing when we motored through the Stockholm archipelago. When we reached Öland, the feeling was great - I had experienced my first night sailing and had been able to even sleep, when Antti was on watch. My watchkeeping turn was in the morning and it felt quite absurd to be in the middle of the sea and see nothing else but water - and then I finally started seeing Öland. The sun was shining and Byxelkrog showed us its best.

A couple of days later, it was Monday and it was time to fly back home to Finland to work a little. I work as an entrepreneur and had promised to work those three weeks in June, so I had to get home. It was quite sad - Antti was left alone to sail towards Copenhagen and I had to go home alone. Well, after three weeks, I flew to Stavanger and took the train to Egersund to find Antti and s/y Dolphin Dance there again.

The first days in Norway were really rainy. The boat stayed in Egersund but we rented a car to drive around a little. When the winds calmed down and it did not rain that much anymore, we set sail towards Berefjord. It was the first wild anchorage I saw in Norway, and what a beautiful sight it was. The following day, we saw the scenic Kirkehamn and the idyllic Rasvåg and the sun was even shining! We climbed to the hill next to Ytre Kalvekilen and saw the beautiful views from there. We had then time to visit also the idyllic towns of southern Norway - Farsund, Mandal and Lillesand - before we started really moving back towards Finland. We had passed the dangerous sea areas in south-western Norway, Lista and Lindesnes, surprisingly easily and also crossing the Skagerrak went well.

Passing Lindesnes - I am knitting in the sunshine!

The scenic Ytre Kalvekilen

When we were travelling towards Finland, we saw many different kind of places. First of all, the high mountains and fjords in Norway. Secondly, the sand dunes in northern Denmark. Thirdly, the archipelago on the Swedish west coast and afterwards the southern Sweden and its picturesque towns. We also visited the wonderful Bornholm and came back to Öland - to the island we had loved when we visited it earlier. It had been pouring rain for a couple of days, but when we reached Kalmar, the sun was shining again and the summer was back.

Öland <3

The rest of the journey went really well, there was enough wind and even the sun was shining pretty often. When we reached Finland, we both started feeling quite sad - the journey of this summer was coming to its end. We decided to visit both our parents before getting home, to be able to take a smooth transition from living in the boat to getting back to the land.

This journey was a great experience. Antti already mentioned some numbers, so I must point out some too: My first and second sailing journeys were 32 nm and 34 nm long, the third one was 376 nm long and my fourth one was 1007 nm long. This summer, I have thus sailed totally 1449 nm - I think that I can not anymore call myself a beginner with sailing - especially considering how good I have become at making hanks and knots from the ropes ;) We have great memories from this journey and are already waiting for our next sailing trips. Luckily, we have this blog, a lot of photos and our memories, so we can think back to the summer smiling and plan what will happen next summer.

Aug 16, 2011

Antti's summary of the sailing journey

A few days have passed since we arrived back home after spending eleven weeks on our journey from Finland to Norway and back. It has been interesting to go through the logbook, think back to our sailing journey and calculate some key figures of this trip. During the 11 weeks, s/y Dolphin Dance travelled the total of 1972 nm in 60 sailing days. This makes an average of 33 nm per day. We spent totally 422 hours at sea and our average speed was about 4,7 kn. The engine logged 200 hours and thus we travelled about 220 hours under sail. When going southwest along the east coast of Norway, we had to use the engine quite a lot since the wind was mostly against us.

Our initial plan was to sail up to Stavanger and Bergen in western Norway. However, the weather conditions in mid-June were not on our side and there was about two weeks period of strong westerly winds. We had planned to go via Limfjorden in Denmark, but due to the winds, we chose to head for the Swedish west coast instead. In fact, during these two weeks, there was only one day when the Skagerrak crossing could be made without beating against +10 m/s winds: on 22nd of June wind turned to south-southwest and we could make a fast and rather comfortable crossing to the Norwegian side of Skagerrak. However, we were late from our initial schedule so we decided that it is better to leave Stavanger area for the future expeditions and spent the time exploring the southern Norway instead.

Thus, Egersund was our turning point and furthest place that we visited in Norway by boat. We spent four days there waiting for the strong winds to calm down. In the beginning of July, when coming back from Egersund, there was a period of mostly light winds and this gave us a good opportunity to explore the area around Hidra island in the exposed south coast of Norway.

Our return journey from Lillesand to Copenhagen was mostly good sailing in fresh winds. After Copenhagen winds got more variable and we had to rely on our Volvo Penta more often. The most tiring leg was probably from Bornholm to Utklippan; although it was only 9 hours of sailing at good speed, it felt a lot longer due to the pouring rain. In Kalmarsund winds turned to north and then calmed for many days, and thus we had to motor again quite a lot. The longest leg from Öland to Nynäshamn was mostly motoring, but after that we enjoyed many days of the best sailing weather during this trip.

Our actual route from Finland to Norway and back. Blue line is our route to Norway and the red line is for the return journey (when there was difference). 

In general everything worked well and Dolphin Dance took good care of us. We had the biggest drama already on the first day of the journey, when the rudder shaft box started leaking. Fortunately, after adding petroleum jelly (vaseline), it remained watertight for the rest of the journey. I also added vaseline into the stuffing box a few times during the journey. We also found an underwater rock in Norway when leaving a wild anchorage in Blindleia. Next week the boat will be lifted up for an inspection so more information on that later.

In general, HR 29, having been designed for the conditions of the North Sea, performed very well. Although being a rather small boat, she grows bigger at sea. With a displacement of about 5 tons and deep v-shaped hull, she takes waves very gently and the movement, in general, is comfortable. The hull is cleverly designed so that the spray from waves rarely reaches cockpit. Also the sprayhood gives good protection and often the cockpit remains completely dry when sailing. Not once was the cockpit flooded with seawater, but in Norway this was pretty close as at one time we heeled heavily due to a gusty wind. Fortunately, high cockpit coamings kept the seawater away from the cockpit. Skeg hung rudder is large and has a very good holding. I have never broached with this boat and this is one of the things that I most like in HR 29: you feel that the boat is under control even in stronger gusts and high seas. However, we always tried to reef down rather earlier than later and did not push the boat to her limits. 

Things are slowly getting back to normal and I had my first work day on Saturday. Although it feels good to be at home and working again, my thoughts frequently wander to some beautiful place visited during the trip. And I tend to wake up at least once during the night to check that the boat is safely moored... 

Aug 13, 2011

S/Y Dolphin Dance is at home

On Thursday, as mentioned, we visited Minna's parents at the summer house and on Friday, we continued our journey to S/Y Dolphin Dance's home harbour in Pansio, Turku. That is where the boat is at the moment, and there it will stay until our next sailing journey, which we hopefully will make soon. Now there are a lot of things to do: we are seeing friends and family, working a little and trying to adapt to our normal life. Luckily, we have this blog where we can keep updating about sailing and keep telling how great our journey was! We have a lot of photos and a lot of video material that we will also edit when we have time and energy, so there will be a lot more updates coming up. We will also write a summary of our journey to and from Norway. We are also planning a couple of smaller scale sailing trips in Turku archipelago still during this autumn, so the season is not yet over!
/Minna & Antti

At summer house

We hoisted all the courtesy flags

Arriving in Pansio 

 Writing the logbook

Aug 11, 2011

Through the Finnish Archipelago: Mariehamn-Kustavi

On Monday afternoon we continued with a short leg from Mariehamn to Bomarsund in Åland. Southwesterly wind was gusting about 15-16 m/s so we enjoyed fast downwind sailing across the Lumparn, a large bay devoid of islands in the Main Island of Åland. Luckily, Bomarsund guest harbour was very sheltered so there were no problems to get there even the wind was so strong.

Sailing at Lumparn

Bomarsund in the evening

On Tuesday we continued with a long leg from Bomarsund to Jurmo in northern Åland archipelago. There were some thunderclouds passing over the area, but luckily we managed to get pass them. One of them was actually pretty close. We had a good wind for about five hours and during the rest of the day we motored through the archipelago. We had still a few days before we should return to Turku so we decided to make a twist towards north and visit Antti´s parents at their summerhouse in Kustavi. In the evening we enjoyed swimming in the sea and having a first real Finnish sauna (heated with wood). Now we still have two days left so we are heading now to Masku to see Minna's family and then back home to Turku for Friday.
/Antti & Minna

The thunderstorm approaching


In Jurmo


Aug 8, 2011

Perfect sailing from Nynäshamn to Mariehamn

The leg from Öland to Nynäshamn was long and frustrating due to the lack of wind and long hours of motoring. But what often happens with sailing is that when you start to feel tired with the whole thing the nature treats you with some of the most beautiful sailing weather. This happened to us since during the last three days we have had probably the best sailing conditions during this trip: southerly wind of about 6-9 m/s, +24 degrees and mostly sunshine. We were able to sail all the way from Nynäshamn through the Stockholm archipelago and across the Åland sea to Mariehamn. After having burnt quite a lot of diesel since southern Kalmarsund, it felt good to be sailing again.

After leaving Nynäshamn we first sailed to Malma Kvarn, which is a small and cosy guest harbour, owned by Svenska Kryssarklubben. It was Friday and Stockholm archipelago was full of boats in the afternoon. The following day we woke up early, hoisted the sails and sailed through the beautiful archipelago towards north. We decided to spend the night in wild anchorage in Kulkan, which is a small island near Kapellskär. Antti knew the place already since he had stayed there last summer. It is located close to the shipping lane but it is on other side of the island that gives protection from the waves.

On Sunday we crossed the Åland sea to Mariehamn in perfect wind conditions. It was almost ten weeks ago since we had crossed the Åland sea in the other direction on our way towards Norway. It felt a little bit strange to be coming back to Finland and although we still have five days left before getting back home, it feels like being really close now.
/Antti & Minna

Malma Kvarn 

Sunny Saturday in Stockholm Archipelago 

Wild anchorage in Kulkan 

Arriving in Åland

Aug 5, 2011

A long sailing leg from Sandvik to Nynäshamn

On Wednesday, we set for a long leg from Öland towards Nynäshamn. This 120 nm and 30 hours leg was the longest and hottest one during this journey. The Sun was shining and the temperature was above 25 degrees both on Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately, there was less wind than forecasted so our Volvo Penta had to make long hours to get us to Nynäshamn for Thursday evening. We sailed about 17 hours of this leg mostly under gennaker. During the night, the wind faded and our progress was really slow. However, this allowed us both to get some sleep during the night. We were away from busy shipping lanes, but once during the night we woke up to the loud sound of the AIS alarm: there was a one cargo ship passing us in about two miles' distance. Otherwise the leg was uneventful: motoring and sailing at the calm sea. We cooked salmon for food and read our books since there is a lot of time to spend when sailing. And when the weather is this gentle, one can actually do other things when sailing.
/Antti & Minna

The moment just before the sunrise

Aug 4, 2011

Sandvik - a beautiful and idyllic harbour in Öland

On Tuesday, we left Borgholm behind and headed for Sandvik. There was no wind so we motored three hours in the sunshine. We arrived in Sandvik at noon, swam a little and started cooking. In the afternoon, we decided to rent bicycles. We started our trip by riding towards north to see the Gillberga rauks. Then we headed for the eastern coast of Öland island since we wanted to see the other side of this long island. We rode to Vikegård beach and ate some ice cream. The coastline on this side of Öland is very shallow and it is thus ubderstandable that here are not that many harbours. Consequently, many prefer sailing in the western side of Öland, i.e. via Kalmarsund.

Our feeling of Sandvik was actually pretty similar to the feeling we got in Byxelkrok in northern Öland, visited already in the beginning of the summer. Sandvik village was beautiful with its old wind mill and rocky beaches. During our stay in Öland  we really fell in love with this island and can heartly recommend these both small harbour villages.
/Minna & Antti

Gillberga rauks

East coast of Öland