Aug 28, 2013

Kustavi – Uusikaupunki – Katanpää – Turku

Last weekend, we started on Saturday afternoon from Kustavi, where we had left Dolphin Dance five days earlier. We were expecting calm weather for most of the day, but northwesterly wind picked up during the afternoon and was blowing steady 4–6 m/s, when we cast off from Kustavi. We were initially planning to sail to Isokari island for the evening, but beating into the headwind would have made the arrival time to Isokari a bit too late, especially as we had to cast off early on the following morning. Thus, we decided to take an advantage of the wind, and took a course to Uusikaupunki instead.

Uusikaupunki guest harbour 

On Sunday morning, it was time to continue back home, but we made an extended lunch and sauna break in the cottage in Kustavi, before doing so. 

Isokari on a calm Sunday morning

Sunday sailing back to Kustavi

For the Sunday evening we continued to Katanpää, which is an old fortress and harbour in northern Kustavi. For Minna this was her first visit to this place with very interesting history. My previous visit to Katanpää was about one year ago, when sailing also from Kustavi to Turku

The wind conditions were pretty similar to Saturday evening, so we got a nice evening sail to Katanpää where we arrived around 10 o'clock in the evening. 

Leaving from Kustavi

Quiet Sunday evening in Katanpää.

In the following morning, we walked to the old sea control tower in Katanpää, which gives great views over to the southern Sea of Bothnia. Then it was time to cast off and start the long leg back home across the quiet Archipelago. The weather continued to be as great as it had been during the weekend and it was really hard to believe that it was almost September. It felt more like normal July weather. 


Villa Sarvilinna

We arrived back to the homeport around 9.30 pm after the 10 hours' leg. One did not have to wait for sleep too long when back at home...

Back at Airisto 

Final stretch to the homeport 

Aug 21, 2013

Sailing to Kustavi

On Sunday it was time to get back to the sea for two days, this time together with my father. We sailed first to our boating club's island base, located about 15 nautical miles from our homeport. This was actually my fifth visit to the island, and every single time we have been the only boat in the harbour. Well, I guess that on Sunday evening, it starts to get quiet everywhere across the Archipelago sea at this time of the year.

 Four o'clock rush hour at Airisto on Sunday 

After a rainy night, a sunny Monday morning

On Monday, we decided to take the advantage of the good southwesterly breeze and take the course towards north and Kustavi. We had actually planned sailing to family's cottage in Kustavi on the next weekend, but decided to sail there a week earlier as the wind was so good. The distance to Kustavi was about thirty nautical miles via rather narrow strait between Kustavi and Taivassalo. This waterway is closed from larger sailboats by Kaitainen bridge, but fortunately Dolphin Dance's mast is slightly lower so we can use this shorter route.

Dolphin Dance was left to Kustavi for five days, while I had to get back to work for Tuesday. We will get back to the boat on Saturday, when we are planning to make a short trip either to Isokari or Uusikaupunki.

Approaching the Kaitainen bridge.  

Hoisted the gennaker for the last miles. Not perhaps the best choice 
for shifty winds of the archipelago after all. 

Found this old 15 kg 'Fisherman' anchor from the storage and decided to use it as a secondary anchor just for peace of mind. Let's see if we can get it back up...

Aug 15, 2013

A good way to start the week

Dolphin Dance arrived back to her homeport two weeks ago, and after that we have been busy in getting back to our daily work routines. Thus, after a two weeks' break, it felt good to be back at sea and sailing lifestyle on Tuesday/Wednesday this week – even if it was just for two days.

Actually, we arrived at the boat already in the Monday evening to get everything ready and packed, so that we would not have too much hurry on Tuesday morning. This is actually a quite nice way to start a trip, since there is not that normal hectic rush of getting everything packed and ready for casting off. One can just take a relaxed schedule, have an evening dinner onboard and at the same time prepare the boat for tomorrow's sailing. Furthermore, it feels that you are almost already sailing, when sleeping the night at the boat.

We got a good southwesterly breeze for Tuesday, so we sailed pretty much the whole leg. The wind was mostly against us, but we did not mind beating our way towards the south, since the distance to our boating club's island base on Heisala island was only 17 nm. We had not actually visited this harbour before, although this is our third year of membership in the club. Indeed, it was nice to find new places nearby.

On Wednesday, we both had a hurry of getting back to work, so we started already at 7 am. The wind was light, and it was raining all day, so we had a dull three hours' motoring back to homeport.
No rush at this time of year.  


A wood heated sauna – an essential feature of pretty much any Finnish club harbour 

Beautiful evening sky, and six hours' later it was raining... 

Aug 11, 2013

Summary of the sailing journey to Gotland

We started the journey towards Gotland in the end of the June. One could say, that we were unlucky with the winds, since during the first week of July the winds were mostly blowing from south and when coming back home they changed to north. Thus, we changed our route plan accordingly and sailed through the Stockholm Archipelago on both ways. However, I would say that in the end we were also quite lucky and managed to benefit from the rather narrow weather windows and mostly avoid stronger headwinds. If the wind was unfavourable, we stayed an extra day in the harbour or made just short legs. On the other hand, when the wind turned favourable, we sailed longer legs.

We got a good wind for all the five offshore legs. Actually, the longest motoring leg was already on the second day, when motoring from Korppoo to Kökar at calm sea. The engine logged 58 hours during the summer.

During the trip, Dolphin Dance logged 644 nautical miles in 23 sailing days. Our average distance travelled was 28 nautical miles per day and average speed 4,8 knots. Thus, iur mileage has been declining, but average speed slightly increasing compared to the two previous years.

The route/track of the season 2013

Visby – the capital of Gotland

Visby, the 'capital' city of Gotland is one of the top sailing destinations in the Northern Europe, a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site and also probably the best-preserved medieval town in the Nordic countries. It is amazing how uniform the old town, located inside Ringmuren (the city wall) is. At many places, it felt like being thrown straight into the middle age.

Sunset in Lickershamn, located about 15 nm north of Visby

Fårö and Gotska Sandön – the paradise islands of the Baltic Sea

During the journey, we have been talking a lot about how different and interesting landscapes and places one can find from the Baltic Sea within just a few hundred miles. From Visby we continued to the Fårö island, located just a mile north from Gotland. I had visited this island in 2010, and instantly fell in love with its beautiful beaches, tranquil athmosphere and many amazing limestone formations, which are called rauks. This year, we visited the island first by car, and later in July, stayed also two nights on the island in Lauterhorn harbour. During our stay in Lauterhorn, we rented bicycles and drove to see the Gamle Hamn rauks in the evening. The weather turned cloudy in the evening, so we missed the famous sunset of Gamle Hamn (the sun setting through arch of the Coffeepot rauk) that we were looking for. However, an approaching weather front gave a dramatic scenery for the place.

The famous 'Coffeepot rauk'

From Fårö we continued to Gotska Sandön which was one of the highlights during the summer. This uninhabited and most isolated island in the Baltic Sea does not have a harbour, so boats are anchoring in the lee side of the island. During our stay, the island gave a relatively good shelter from the wind, but there was a nasty swell, which was rounding the island and at times was coming from 90 degrees direction to the wind. This made the anchorage rather bumpy and the night mostly sleepless. For a moment we were discussing about raising the anchor and taking a course towards calmer anchorages of the Stockholm Archipelago. However, afterwards it is easy to say, that the decision to stay was the right one: the following day on the island and walking along its deserted sand beaches made us to forget the miserable night on the anchorage.

Stockholm Archipelago and Åland

From Gotska Sandön we continued to Finnskär in outer Stockholm Archipelago. Strong northerly winds were forecasted for the following six days, so we made short legs in the archipelago and also stayed one night in Stockholm Wasahamn, while waiting for better conditions for sailing to Åland. We were late from our schedule, so we had to leave Dolphin Dance to Mariehamn for four nights, while we took a ferry back home for a long working weekend.

We were looking forward the last days of sailing through the beautiful Åland Archipelago, but unfortunately, the weather turned grey, cold and rainy as we started, and the sun only came out on the last day of the journey. Thus, we do not have many images from the last days.

So here it was, a (relatively) short summary of Dolphin Dance's summer trip to Gotland in 2013. But luckily the season is not over yet, and we are looking forward to the second best season of the year – the Autumn.

Aug 4, 2013

Sailing photography with the GoPro camera

Photographing and filming sailing moments is something that I have always loved to do very much. This season, I have been using a GoPro action camera, which gives a lot of new possibilities for photographing/filming. First of all, the fact that the camera is waterproof (or more precisely comes with a waterproof case) means that one can shoot in the conditions in which using a normal camera wouldn't be very wise thing to do. Also the camera can be used close to the water, which gives interesting shooting angles.  

Secondly, the camera is of very compact size, so it can be easily mounted on the tip of the boathook for example, which gives possibility to shoot from outside of the boat.

The third good feature of the camera is the time-lapse mode, in which the camera takes photos at a predetermined interval (i.e. photo every 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds). This is very handy, when photographing from example from the top of the mast. The camera can be hoisted on the mast with a gennaker halyard or alternatively with a topping lift (dirk) if the mainsail halyard is in use. We experimented with shooting from the top of the mast on the last leg from Åland back to homeport.

edit 27/10/13: GoPro video added 

Video: Sailing in the Baltic Sea in 2013 – filmed with GoPro: