Our first weather reports for our last leg, Visby to Turku, showed 30+ knots of headwind, and that looked so very uncomfortable that we were seriously contemplating plans B and C, and even leaving the boat in Visby for a while. Reality, however, turned out differently.
When we plotted our route on PredictWind we were quite amazed to see some of the promised high winds both to the West and to the East of us, but right smack dab in the middle, going straight from Visby home to Turku, a wide corridor of almost no wind at all. Back to plan A (cheers! we’re getting home!), but with a lot of motor sailing (well, you can’t have it all, all of the time).
This is maybe a good place to reiterate how happy we were with how the boat had worked so far, and extremely happy that our dealer, BohusYachts, actually had done exactly what they promised: to deliver us a perfect boat quite ready for our 500 miles of cold-weather sailing.
There were just a couple of problems:
- The magic atmospheric lighting system worked beautifully except for the two lights in the kitchen (or pentry as some call it). These two lights just stayed on no matter what and we couldn’t find a way to turn them off. Emailing with Torbjörn we figured out it had to be some kind of wiring problem. Since Ben slept in the saloon, we had to shut off all lights from the master panel to get the kitchen lights off. This meant no USB charging and no lights in the toilet either, in case you wanted to make a visit in the middle of the night.
- The AIS range was terribly short. We could see the ships by eye long before they appeared on the AIS and only when they were quite near (a bit more than a mile away) they appeared on the chart plotter. We suspected it was some kind of antenna problem, but didn’t try to resolve it ourselves then and there. Our 4G radar worked nicely and we could get rough CPA (Closest Point of Approach) info from that as well. Our main worry was that if we didn’t see them (on the AIS), they probably didn’t see us either, and that’s a bummer.
Dinner in the Calm
“Instead of everyone just going inside to grab their own food, should we set a dinner time for us all?”, asked Mia. “I think it would be nice if we all eat together once.”
That was a wonderful idea.
We had motored for most of the day in very light winds. At 7 pm dinner was served and we all sat down in the cockpit to eat delicious ravioli by chef Mia.
“Hey, we didn’t try the music system yet”, I said and grinned.
“What, does it have speakers outside also?”, Pirjo asked.
We lowered the speed of the engine to almost idle. Spotify playlist “Summer 2019” (strangely, we still had good cell coverage although most land was far away). Very calm water, sunset, nice people and good food. There was something quite magical in this moment as well.
20% … no 19% Diesel Left
We had been motoring all night with the engine at quite high RPMs to complete the new-engine break-in cycle. We knew it would consume more fuel to do so, but figured we should be okay anyway.
“Oh, there’s only 35% diesel left now and we have quite a long way to go”, I shouted out to Ben who was behind the wheel.
It seemed our calculations hadn’t been that spot on. Still no wind, so diesel was, if not the dearest of friends, then a very necessary companion to us.
We reduced the power and I started digging around for a fuel consumption table (I knew I had seen one somewhere).
Turned out that by driving with more power we hadn’t consumed only somewhat more fuel but more like double the amount we had thought!
“Hey, it’s dropping quite quickly! It’s at 32% now!”
Also, to our slight disappointment, we figured out that the fuel level indicator probably measured only the fuel level in the tank, not taking into account that the tank wasn’t shaped the same from top to bottom. This meant it would stay relatively longer in the high percentages and drop much more rapidly in the low percentages.
“It’s at 29% now. We won’t make it to Turku, for sure. Any island close to our route with fuel?”
So, a couple of phone calls (“Are you open?” — “Yes, we are!”) and hours later, s/y Charlotte made her very first stop in Finland, at the island of Nötö, in the middle of the Archipelago Sea.
“Oh! We’ve never had this beautiful a boat here!”, said the lady running the place while we were trying to dock her in the very shallow water next to the small refueling jetty.
That felt nice!
We had been motoring over two hundred miles, all the way from Visby, but when we had only a few miles left we turned off the engine. We thought it better that a sailboat should arrive at her new home by sail.
The winds were extremely light, but this last hour or so of our trip, moving forward through the beautiful archipelago gently and quietly, even graciously, was for me undoubtedly the most beautiful part of our journey. And I do think our sailing yacht Charlotte appreciated it dearly as well.
A bit before sunset we arrived at our new home. (Or so we thought.)
Poles of Terror
“So our last challenge is the box berth”, I said to Ben. “We have to reverse into it and we should just fit in between the poles. Or that’s what I’ve been told, but I’m not sure, so we’re probably going to hit at least one if not both of them on the way in.”
“Good luck!”, said Ben.
He had this broad and empathetic smile on his face, probably secretly a bit happy that he wasn’t the one who had to do the delicate driving.
It was just as nerve-racking as I thought it would be.
We did fit in between the poles, just barely, but unfortunately not without a small scratch on the hull as we for a moment got stuck on the downwind pole.
I think our margin on each side was about 10-20 cm, so with some current and sidewind (and the leftover turbulences from a cruise ship that had just passed by), it was too difficult a challenge to slip in without touching anything. (Everyone voting for the rub rails earlier, here’s your chance to smile knowingly at me!)
It was a bit of a let down to finish our wonderful trip by getting a scratch in the boat, but well, I guess it had to happen eventually. Best just to sigh, move on, and at some point get it fixed. It’s not that visible anyway, much more a psychological thing (at least that’s what I tell to myself 😊).
What was a bit more troubling was that our home berth seemed much too difficult for our intended family sailing.
Now we had been four adults fending off the poles, but with me, Charlotte and the children, it would be quite hard not to cause more scratches on the boat. Unless of course, we’d go sailing only when there is absolutely no wind.
The Maiden Trip
After packing the boat and packing our stuff, we were all dead tired.
We said our thankyous and seeyous. Mia, Pirjo, and Ben left by car to their own homes (a couple of hours away), and I walked slowly toward mine.
We had sailed ourselves and our beautiful boat safely from Germany to Turku. On the whole, everything had gone extremely well.
A quite cool maiden trip, I’d say. Thank you 🙏
The next morning I woke up early, at about seven o’clock. That whole box berth was bothering me even more now and I really didn’t know what to do.
My phone sounded a message notification.
“Sorry, I didn’t see your message. Yes, it’s still free. Please call me anytime!”
A couple of weeks earlier, I had been offered the perfect berth for our boat. A place just a short walking distance away from where we live with pontoons and alongside docking. I really wanted to but couldn’t accept that then, though, since I already had committed to the sailing club berth.
That previous evening, when I realized the narrow box berth wasn’t really good for us, I (a bit desperately) sent a message to that same person, just in case his place was still available. And now he answered!
What a relief.
The very same morning, within an hour, I had sorted it out with the sailing club (they were quite okay with it) and had a new key in my keychain.
And just a few moments later Charlotte (who was out walking our new family member dog! — this is another story) happened to stumble across me and we decided to just immediately go and move the boat.
We didn’t hit any poles. Docking at her new home was easy as a breeze. Our first short boating trip together was terrific.
Finally, I was able to relax.
Next, two to three days of sleep. Good night.