Charts and Postcards from Finland

A while back I wrote a new post in the Cruisers Forum (a discussion forum for people who like to talk about boats! a lot!) called Different Cultures of Sailing. Some of the replies where quite touching, but when people wanted to see some pictures of sailing here in Finland, I couldn’t find any. We don’t have a boat either (yet!), so here’s what I did instead.

Cheers! We’re going to visit my very good friend Ben today, at his summer home, and you’re dearly welcome to join!

(In Finland it’s common for people to have summer homes where they  spend summer weekends and summer vacations. For many, being at the summer home also means downshifting to a simpler lifestyle, sometimes getting along without running water and electricity. Anyway, a very common dream of a Finn is to have a nice summer home, close to water, and usually also a boat.)


The red dot is where we start, in a channel called Rävsund. (It’s called Kirjalansalmi in Finnish, and that’s another cool feature of Finland: we are officially bilingual so a lot of everything is in both Finnish and Swedish.) The chart coordinates are 60°21’57.4″N 22°21’30.6″E and if you click the link, it will open in Google Maps. Welcome aboard!
Here’s a closer look at our starting place. We’re heading west (to the left) and depth looks great with at least 15m/49ft under the keel!
And here’s what it really looks like! Lo and behold, ladies and gentlemen, it’s Finland! We’re seldom allowed to build right on the beach, so there on the right is what a typical summer home looks like from the water: a jetty and a boat. We’re sauna crazy here, though (well, I’m not, but others are! Charlotte is!), and this is reflected in the building code so that small saunas usually can be built closer to the water than other buildings. (None of those in this picture, however.)
More of the summer homes. And it’s autumn. Leaves are starting to get yellow and red before eventually leaving their branches as winter soon sets in.


Next stop, a channel called Sattmark at chart coordinates 60°15’06.5″N 22°14’21.9″E
Zoomed in. We’re heading west and the marked route is for boats with max draft of 2.1m/6.9ft, so we’re fine. Keep the greens on the left and reds on the right! 
And, again, here’s what it really looks like! Some boats parked to the left and the jetty and pennant of a summer home to the right. (And no, I’m not sailing here, just standing on a bridge taking a photo, but there’s nothing wrong with imagining it, right? :))


We’re momentarily out of narrow and shallow navigation as things widen up and depth goes down to over 60m/200ft at chart coordinates 60°14’01.2″N 22°06’21.8″E.
We have company! This is a Jonmeri 33, built in Finland in the 70-80s. The backdrop is typical Finnish archipelago: a rocky island with lots of trees. 
Ferries like these are quite common. Each year they take millions of people and cars between the islands for free. Some are run by cable (always a bit scary to cross the cable!), some by diesel, and the most modern partly or wholly by electricity. The one in the picture is a hybrid ferry named Elektra
A sector light standing on a rocky island. It’s very rare to find any white sand beaches here (unfortunately also rare to find warm water!) but rocks are cool as well. You can see the cliff going pretty straight down and depth is about 10m/32ft just a few meters out.


Getting close. Here we are at the ferry crossing between Nagu and Högsar, chart coordinates 60°10’07.0″N 21°52’46.1″E
To help us avoid running aground we have a lot of cardinal marks (for non-sailors: the sticks there a bit to the left of center with hats up and hats down on the top). Try to spot the north mark in the next picture!
These rocks drop into the water less steeply. Still it’s 15m/49ft where we are and 3m/11ft a bit out from the rocks. A bit further you can see the north cardinal mark, which means we should be on the north side of it to avoid the rocks if we’re going that way

Hello, Ben!

Almost there! This is shallow water, just a few feet below us. It’s very peaceful and beautiful, though. 
On the right side you can see another common feature of Finland, the Phragmites australis, a seagrass that keeps invading the shores and many summer home owners don’t particularly love. Some fish like it, though! 

But Wait, Where is Ben?

There he is! Hello, Ben! Thanks for inviting us! (On the bottom of the picture you can see another common feature of Finland, the IKEA bag. They make excellent bags and we use them for almost everything :)) 
Now let’s go flying! Ben flies his own ultralight airplane and this is what the archipelago looks like from some meters above the ground. I don’t know exactly where and when this photo was taken, but the further you go from mainland, the more barren it gets with fewer trees and more rocks.   

So there you are. Some postcards from Finland. Hopefully you like them and maybe someday you will want to visit! See you soon 🙂


  1. There is no finer sailing in the world than the Finnish archipelago in late summer. It has been 25 years since I have been there, but I miss it still.

    1. I think you should come back!

      Everything changes though, I guess, and magical memories are obviously magical, but there is always room for new ones.

      Best wishes,

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