Jun 28, 2015

New harbours: Örö island

For this season, the most interesting new destination in the Finnish Archipelago Sea is definitely the Örö island. Being a closed military area for a hundred years, the island has now been opened for public. The island was fortified by the Russians in the 1915-1917, but since Finland's independence in 1917, Örö was used as a fortress by the Finnish Defence Forces, which left the island in 2014.

I had visited this island once before: that was during my military service in the navy twelve years ago and also for this reason it was interesting to come back. Although, the harbour looked familiar, the two pontoons for guest boats, quays and terraces are brand new and everything looks to be made up to the high standards.

There is no official waterway to Örö in the chart, but there are old leading lines and sea marks, used by the Defence Forces, along the whole route. Their locations can be seen in an unofficial chart which can be downloaded from the harbour's website.

On Wednesday evening, we went to the sauna which was in one of those old army buildings. Almost next to that building is a bigger red house, where there is a restaurant that has been opened only a couple of weeks ago. We tested it out, got good food and very friendly service there.

On Thursday, we rented old army bicycles from the harbour office and drove to the southern tip of the island, which offers great views to the open sea and up to Bengtskär, which is the highest lighthouse in the Nordic countries.

The names of the roads in Örö remind about the island's military history

Jun 26, 2015

Finally on the way

We started the main summer journey on Monday evening after everything was packed. As always on the day one, we were late from the initial schedule and as it was getting late, we decided to drop the anchor in a natural harbour in southern Airisto, located close to our homeport.

Moment of food (Ekholm anchorage)

On the following day we continued towards southern part of the Archipealago Sea. After motoring for two hours, we hoisted the sails and started beating towards Tunhamn in light wind. However, the wind increased and veered to east during the day, so we got a good sailing day in the end. The weather continued to be variable as the day started as sunny and warm, but it started to rain about 15 minutes before arrival to Tunhamn. Also the wind increased to about 12-13 m/s (26 kts), but fortunately the harbour of Tunhamn was very sheltered for this wind.

In the evening, we toured the island along the beautiful nature trail, which would have offered great views to the sea, but unfortunately the weather was grey and rainy.

We left Tunhamn on Wednesday morning with a bit mixed feelings. The nature on the island is very beautiful and the small 'village' of two houses is idyllic as well. On the other hand the surroundings of the nearby fishing harbour are untidy and full of random junk.

Jun 14, 2015

New video from last summer and the photo on På Kryss magazine

The season 2015 has officially begun, but here is a flashback - in the form of a YouTube video - from previous season 2014. The video was filmed during the summer cruise 2014 while sailing in Archipelago of Turku, Stockholm Archipelago and Åland.

Photo of Dolphin Dance was on the cover of latest issue (5/2015) of Swedish På Kryss sailing magazine. The photo was taken last September (with a drone) at Airisto, Finland. The magazine is published by Svenska Kryssarklubben and is also available at App Store or Google Play.

Jun 7, 2015

The launch and start of the season 2015

We had a bit late start this year as Dolphin Dance was launched on 26th of May. Initially the launch was booked already for Friday the 22nd, but just fifteen minutes before the time, I noticed that the sail drive was leaking oil. Apparently I had tightened the oil plug too much after the oil change and consequently damaged the threads. It was impossible to do a quick fix so the launch had to be postponed.

We started the first trip of the season late on Thursday evening - after everything was packed. We spent the first night on nearby Vepsä island just about 7 miles from our wintering boatyard.

On the following day we continued to Helsingholmen, which is perhaps our favourite island in the whole archipelago. Having a sauna in Helsingholmen is almost a must (especially after a cold day at sea) and during the off-season, there is better chance to book the sauna time even if arriving late in the evening.

Reibas Skäriman, the beautiful white horse living on Helsingholmen island. 

On Saturday we continued with a 35 nautical miles leg to Korppoo Verkan. We slept late and had a slow start, so we were in a bit of a hurry. Therefore, we hoisted the gennaker to give us some more speed. The wind increased during the day and was blowing around 10-12 m/s (20-24 kts) and this started to be a bit too much wind for sailing with the gennaker. However, we were in the open part of the leg, so we decided to continue with the gennaker until we got some shelter from the islands to lower the downwind sail. During the gusts Dolphin Dance logged 7,8 kts which is probably her two-year record speed. 

On Sunday we continued to wild anchorage near Iso-Kuusinen island, which we had briefly visited a year ago. We noted then that the anchorage had good shelter in southerly winds and indeed, the night was totally calm despite the wind was blowing around 14 m/s (26-30 kts) through the night.

On Monday, we had only 15 nm left to homeport, but we started early to get there before the rain and high winds. The stronger rain started right after we had arrived and 30 minutes later the highest gusts in a nearby station were close to 20 m/s (40 kts), so for once the timing was rather perfect.

DD logged 96 nm during the long-weekend trip.