1. Best large guest harbour
Mariehamn (E) – A visit to this Åland's capital city is almost a must for each season. It's location is especially good, if going to or coming from Sweden. This year (like most of the other seasons) we stayed in the eastern harbour, which has good facilities: plenty of berths, good showers/saunas and shopping areas nearby. Thus, it is a good place to stop for provisions. The city of Mariehamn is cosy little town, which has a nice buzz to it during the high season.
2. Best small village harbour
Sandvik, Kökar – This is our favourite of the three harbours on Kökar island in Åland Archipelago. We visited the island in late June, before the high-season, so the harbour was about half-full. It was still preparing for the main season. The facilities are pretty good for a small harbour, there is a nice sauna with a chance to go for a swim and perhaps the smallest ever grocery store in the small hut, where the harbour office is located. There is about two kilometres walk to the church, from which a great view opens to the barren Archipelago.
3. Best wild anchorage
The scenery on the island is not very Baltic – it almost felt like coming to a tropical island when rowing the dinghy to the deserted sand beach. The warm and sunny weather did not do bad either! Kilometers long sand beaches round the whole island and there is a lush pine forrest in the middle.
Sandön, Finland – The visit to Sandön, located in the southern Archipelago Sea, in September was particularly memorable. Especially as the mid-Septmember weather was so great. With sandy beaches around the island, it resembled of our visit to Gotska Sandön. However, the anchorage was much calmer thanks to the sheltering archipelago. Similar to its sibling in the middle of the Baltic, Sandön cannot be landed with a sail boat, so one needs to have a dinghy. Furthermore, it is always possible to swim ashore.
4. Best sauna
5. Best sail
From Nynäshamn to Visby – this 80 nautical miles leg was the longest one during the last season. We departed from Nynäshamn in the evening and we got headwind for the first couple of hours, but the wind veered to west before midnight and strengthened. Thus, we got a pretty fast beam reach through the night to Visby, where we arrived at 10 o'clock in the following morning after a 15 hours sail. The weather was clear and the dog shift was treated with a nice sunrise.
From Gotska to Stockholm Archipelago – The wind was calm during the day so we spent the day touring the island, and raised the anchor in the late afternoon. Soon the wind picked up, and we got a nice reach with gennaker to Stockholm Archipelago. We looked for a suitable anchorage in the outer Stockholm Archipelago that could be accessed safely during the night. We found one from the pilot book and dropped the anchor at the sheltered bay on Finnskär at 2.30 am after a 9,5 hours and 50 nm leg. One did not have to wait for sleep for too long.
So much for the year 2013. We would like to wish you all a happy New Year 2014!