Jun 30, 2014

Summer holiday finally began: Kaskis & Nauvo

To be honest, the Finnish summer has not begun in the best possible way: the weather has not been as good as one could hope for. It has been raining, we have had less than 15 °C all the time and have not seen that much sunshine. Now they forecast that the end of summer should be better, but we really hope that the actual summer weather would come up as soon as possible, since our summer holiday and thus this summer's sailing trip has just begun!

On Saturday we did the huge effort that has to be done once a year: preparing for the summer holiday. There are lots of things to remember to take with you, and you always forget something. Also a lot of food is needed so that one is not too dependent on the small groceries one can find in the archipelago. We were packing and fixing for the whole Saturday and finally quite late in the evening we were able to start our trip. Thus, we decided to head for an anchorage and not for a guest harbor - as in general, we tend to spend every second night in an anchorage and every second night in a guest harbour. Our first anchorage for the trip was Kaskinen, which Antti actually also visited a couple of weeks earlier during a short sailing trip with his father. This time the weather conditions were perfect for a late night photo shoot with the quadcopter.

Already during the night, the wind woke up and Sunday was quite rainy and windy. Thus we decided to head for a nearby guesthamn Nauvo. There we ate some pizza at the Najaden Boat Restaurant (one of the best pizza places in the Turku archipelago!) and of course, continued to watch the Fifa World Cup 2014 knockout games. Our tv does not work that perfectly in the archipelago, so god 3G internet connection on the iPad is much appreciated...
/Minna & Antti

Jun 12, 2014

The First Test Day with Dji Phantom 2 Quadcopter

In this year´s Helsinki Boat Show, one of the most interesting things was not actually a boat, but a RC quadcopter (or drone). After seeing this famous KiteCam sailing video many years ago, I have dreamed of filming and photographing sailing from the bird perspective. I actually bought a kite and a small waterproof pocket camera many years ago, but did not manage to film anything worth publishing. I am not sure whether it was the cheap market kite or my flying skills that were to blame – probably both. Nevertheless, I gave up this dream for many years.

Since then a lot has happened in terms of technology. First of all, the pocket sized action cameras have become lighter, less expensive and have an improved image and video quality, especially if you compare that to the clumsy camcorders, that dominated the market just a few years ago. The speed of progress has just been amazingly quick.

The whole another thing are these RC multi- or quadcopters, which make smooth flying so much easier compared to a traditional RC helicopter. Anymore, you do not have to practice flying the copter for months and/or to wreck a couple of training copters before buying an expensive one, since they can practically fly themselves. The four propellors make the drone very stable and the intelligent flight computer interprets what you want to do with the quadcopter. If you let go of the controller, the drone hovers over the ground maintaining its position and altitude.

Here are a couple of photos and a video clip from the first test day with the Dji Phantom 2 quadcopter. The drone is equipped with GoPro Hero3 camera, which is stabilized with the Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal. I am nowhere near in mastering all the finesses of the drone, the camera or the gimbal, so there are still a lot of things to learn. I will make a follow-up post, after I have gained some more flying experience.

The feeling after the first test day is positive, since the drone felt stable and easy to fly. The first couple of flights felt actually so good, that I became too confident and almost wrecked the bloody thing...

Kuuskari island


Airisto Marina

Helicopter landing zone 

Jun 9, 2014

New anchorages

We started on Saturday evening from Airisto Marina, where I had sailed the boat on Thursday. As it was getting late, we looked for sheltered anchorages from the Harbour Book by the Sea Scouts and found an island called Kuuskari, which should be sheltered from the southwesterly winds. Thus, we decided to head there for the night which was a good choice: the rocky shores are deep, the bay on this beautiful anchorage was mirror calm and the anchor seemed to grip well. We do not yet have the inflatable dinghy onboard so we decided to drop the stern anchor and tie the bow on the rings, which we found from the rocks.

Finding new anchorages seemed to be the theme for the weekend, as on Sunday we motored the two miles distance to the nearby Kuusinen island, which was an equally beautiful anchorage. This time we dropped the bow anchor and had a lunch break in the middle of the bay. After that it was time to head back to Airisto for the evening.

Lunch break at Kuusinen island