Jun 30, 2011

Kristiansand-Egersund

On Sunday Timo had to catch an early bus from Kristiansand to Oslo so we woke up also early and motored 33 nm leg to the scenic nature harbour of Imsøysundet. Our initial plan was to go past the Lindesnes cape if weather conditions permit, but southwesterly wind picked up during the day and thus we decided to overnight at Imsøysundet, 5 nm northeast from Lindesnes. There is a public recreational area in the southern part of the island with some mooring buoys, a toilet and a garbage bin, but otherwise the island is uninhabited.

On Monday morning we planned to start early, but there was a thick fog over the Imsøysundet so we decided to go back to sleep and try again a few hours later. Luckily, the visibility improved so that we were able to continue to Egersund. We rounded the Lindesnes cape in light winds and fairly easy swell. The wind started to pick up during the day and we were able to sail the last 7 hours from Lista cape to Egersund. Also the waves increased after Lista and there was some nasty cross swell as wind was now blowing from SE and a swell was coming from SW.
/Antti

 It is interesting to see how scenery becomes higher when sailing towards southwest.

 The sheltered harbour of Imsøysundet is located in a long sound between two islands



 
Typical Norwegian scenery with mountains covered by clouds

A lonely goat watching as we left Imsøy

 Lindesnes lighthouse


SW-coast of Norway is exposed and can be a nasty place on strong winds.

Jun 29, 2011

Photos from Lillesand

Dolphin Dance has now arrived at Egersund where we are going to stay for a few days. The weather is not that great - it has been raining a lot during these two days we have been here. On Monday, were arrived here and on Tuesday evening also Minna came. Almost at the same time, Pertti left back to Finland to spend the summer in a bit more sunny weather conditions - we heard that there is almost 30 degrees and sunshine in Finland! Well, they forecast sunshine and 20 degrees also for Egersund for Thursday and Friday, but the winds are going to be strong so Dolphin Dance is probably going to stay in Egersund. We might instead rent a car and start exploring this area further. Our plan at the moment is, that we would not continue further by sailing but turn back to explore the southern and southeastern Norway.

There is pretty good WiFi-connection here in Egersund gestehavn so I am able to download some pictures of places that we have visited earlier and Lillesand is the first one. It is a picturesque, small town of 9000 inhabitants. It is a popular turist resort and was very lively on Saturday evening. It is part of the traditional district of Sørlandet, that consists of the area of Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder in Southern Norway. The landscape in the area is really beautiful.


Beautiful architecture in the Archipelago


Lillesand is a typical coastal town in Sørlandet with white wooden buildings.





 Many Norwegians have summer houses in the Archipelago

Jun 27, 2011

A practical hint: thermo mugs

When we were preparing for our sailing journey, we tried to read hints from books and other blogs on how one should prepare for the sailing journey. I tried to find particular tips especially when it comes to food and eating since I am mostly responsible for those! I read a cooking book focusing on cooking on a sailing boat from cover to cover (Merikokin messissä, unfortunately only in Finnish). The book is written by experienced sailors and it is really useful since it provides a lot of information on how one cooks aboard and what one should take with oneself to the boat when preparing for a longer journey. In our case, it was not possible to come back home and get what one forgot to take, since we were preparing for a longer journey towards Norway. In such a case, it was wise to prepare and pack carefully.

Reading the book and other blogs was on all counts very useful. One of the most practical hints we got were thermos travel mugs. Antti had mentioned a couple of times that coffee is something one needs most on the boat - caffeine will keep one going when one is tired. He also mentioned that one can not pour too much coffee on a cup since it easily spills all over the cockpit and then one needs to start cleaning - to keep the teak deck from suffering. When I then read on one Finnish sailing blog (Kuinka purjehtijaksi tullaan) that they had bought new thermos mugs, I got the idea that we also needed those.


When I was shopping at Stockmann in Turku, I bought a pair of these Sagaform mugs. They have been one of the most practical solutions that we have come up with lately. When one prepares for a day of sailing in the morning, one can boil the water and pour it in a thermos bottle. One can add some instant coffee (yes, that is what one drinks aboard) in the mug and put them aside to wait. When one wants coffee during sailing, it is easy to prepare it, even if the angle of the heel is really extreme.

Pictures of mugs are linked from Gourmet Kitchenware.

Jun 25, 2011

Relaxed sailing from Grimstad to Kristiansand

On Friday and Saturday, we continued relaxed cruising in southeastern Norway. Timo is flying back to Finland on Sunday, so our schedule was to be in Kristiansand on Saturday evening at the latest. On Friday, we sailed and motored a short leg from Grimstad to Lillesand. Wind was pretty strong and gusting about 15 m/s (stiv kuling in Norwegian). However the skaergård and land gives protection from westerly winds in this part of Norway.

On Saturday, we motored in light winds to Kristiansand, and that was the final leg for Timo. From here on, I will continue sailing together with my father towards Stavanger. On Tuesday evening, Minna is arriving in Stavanger and on Wednesday my father will travel home. We will see how far we can sail by Tuesday, but we will try to make it to Stavanger to make travelling easier. If it is not possible, then Egersund has to be far enough and trains can be used. Fairly light winds, compared to last two weeks, are forecasted for the next couple of days, which is good since the area around Lindesnes and Lista capes can be dangerous on strong SW-W winds. Namely, there are many "coastal danger areas" near Lindeness and Lista marked in the sea chart. Dangerous waves can be built up in the area, when strong SW-W-winds blow against SW-going current and depth suddenly shoals from 400 meters to just about 10-30 meters. Passing the Lindesnes and Lista during nightime or early in the morning can be a great idea, since the sea breeze regularly reaches 10-12 m/s in the afternoon in Norway.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures in this blog post because the internet connection here in Kristiansand sucks even though it is quite expensive. I will add pictures later, at least from Lillesand, because it was a pretty idyllic and beautiful place.
/Antti

Jun 24, 2011

Midsummer in Grimstad

On Thursday we had a relaxed 4 hours motoring through the Norwegian east coast skjærgård from Dalskilen to Grimstad. It was interesting to see that, compared to the rocky landscape of Swedish west coast, the Norwegian east coast resembles more Finnish archipelago because of its forestry islands. There are also a lot of summerhouses in the area. The skjærgård provides protection from the waves of Skagerrak on this part of coastline. 

When approaching Grimstad we were stopped by Norwegian Coast Guard and an officer came on board. Our strange flag caught their attention and they wanted to know if we were coming from another Schengen-country. A Finnish speciality is that a boat registered in a yachting club, may use different kind of national ensign with a smaller white cross over the blue cross. This flag, although totally valid for international use, is not so well known outside the Baltic Sea region, and this seems to cause confusion. The officer also wanted to know how much alcohol we had on board; only small amount may be brought into the country without paying high amounts of duty. Luckily, we did not have too much alcohol on board and were allowed to continue to Grimstad.

In Norway, the Midsummer celebration is held already on Thursday (in Finland it is only on Friday) so we arrived in Grimstad just in time, before the big celebrations started. In the early evening, the harbour started to fill of boats decorated with birchs and balloons, and the town was full of people. It was interesting to see, how Midsummer is celebrated in Norway. Later in the evening the harbour become quiet when most of the people left city to see the bonfires in the skjærgård.
/Antti

 Scenery in east coast is very similar to Finnish archipelago.


 We hoisted the Norwegian courtesy flag

 Norwegian sea mark with finger pointing to direction of safe water (see the Coast Guard coming to get us)

Warm welcome by Norwegian Coast Guard

Grimstad is idyllic and very harmonic little city with about 20 000 inhabitants


Boats were decorated with various ways for Midsummer celebratio and there was also a competition for best decoration.

 

Jun 23, 2011

Finally in Norway!

We spent Tuesday in beautiful Malmön Fiskehamn preparing the boat for Skagerrak crossing. New seals were changed to leaking cockpit lockers and a few teak deck seams had to be fixed. Fresh SW wind was forecasted for Wednesday so we expected the crossing to be fairly bumpy. Weather turn out to be as good as it can be when sailing from east to west. Wind veered to south-southwest during the day so we were able to sail close hauled to the west at decent speed. We started early at 5 am and travelled most of the 80 nm leg from Sweden to Norway under sail. The wind was perfect 7-8 m/s (14-16 kts) during most of the day but increased to 10-11 m/s (20-22 kts) in the afternoon. Waves got bigger when approaching the Norwegian coast, but Dolphin Dance, having been designed for the conditions of Skagerrak, performed very well and only a few times spray of waves reached the cockpit. We took a first reef in mainsail when the wind got stronger in the afternoon and furled the genoa a bit. After 15 hours of sailing we moored in sheltered natural harbour in Dalskilen.
/Antti

Beating at Skagerrak




Norway in sight!

 Dalskilen is the protected nature harbour in the SW corner of Flostaøy

Jun 21, 2011

Marstrand-Ellös-Malmön

Sunday was grey, rainy and wind was light so we motored most of the day from Marstrand to Ellös. For Dolphin Dance this was like coming back home since here in the island of Orust she was built 21 years ago. Orust is silicon valley of Swedish boat building since Hallberg-Rassys, Najads, Malös  and Nord West Yachts are all built in Orust. Ellös, where Hallberg-Rassy Varv is located, was quiet on Sunday evening and only few other boats stayed in the guest harbour. The archipelago is really beutiful here in the west coast, water is clear and it is also interesting to see, that the landscape is becoming higher when sailing north from Gothenburg. One can easily see that the conditions are harsh here in the coast of Skagerrak since there are very little trees on the rocky islands.  

 Marstrand seen from the sea

  Rocky landscape of Orust



Ellös marina

Hallberg-Rassy Varv is located in Ellös, south from guest harbour.

Evening in Ellös

Lysekil-Malmön Fiskehamnen
On Monday we had a relaxed sailing day since we are waiting for better weather conditions to cross to the Norwegian side of Skagerrak. We first sailed about 7 nm north to Lysekil to fill our food reserves. And for the evening we continued other 7 miles to Malmön Fiskehamn which is a beautiful fishing harbour protected by the surrounding hills.
/Antti

 Malmön Fiskehamn 



 

Jun 19, 2011

Gothenburg to Marstrand

On Friday evening we continued with a short leg from Gothenburg to Källö-Knippla, which is an island north west from Gothenburg. During the afternoon the wind increased to about 10-13 m/s and for the first seven miles, it was frustrating motoring headwind. The waves in the mouth of Göta älv were sharp and consequently, our progress very slow. After turning our course to north west, we were able to sail the remaining 6 miles under a partly furled genoa.

Sheltered harbour of Källö-Knippla 

The archipelago around Gothenburg resembles Finnish outer archipelago, but it is much more densely populated

Various architectural styles can be found in the islands near Gothenburg.


To Marstrand
On Saturday we sailed a three hours leg to Marstrand. Southeasterly wind was light, but we were still able to sail the whole leg with gennaker. It is nice to do some more relaxed sailing for a change now. Earlier we have been sailing really long legs - now we have some time to explore the harbours better. Strong southwesterly winds have been forecasted for the next few days so we are cruising along the west coast of Sweden and looking for a suitable weather window to cross to east coast of Norway. It seems that this is the best time to explore the archipelago of the west coast, since in July this place is full of boats. Unfortunately, the weather is not very good at the moment since it has been raining for the last 24 hours now.

Marstrand is an island with about 1400 inhabitants. However, it has a city privliges due to the historical background and is thus the smallest city in the Bohuslän. For sailors, it is best known as a host venue of sailing competions like the Match Cup Sweden. It was also a stopover port in Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009.
/Antti


View of Marstrand is dominated by Carlstens Fortress