Sailing Is the Most Terrible Thing Ever!!!

Charlotte and I woke up at about four in the morning to the sunrise and the wind changing. We both looked out the window and gasped. Out on the sky, there was this beautiful rainbow painted onto an equally beautiful archipelago background, all colored with redish morning sunrise.

The rainbow seemed to end just about where we wanted to sail that day. (How convenient!) The weather was changing, though, and the weather forecasts had talked about twenty or so knots of wind.

Hang On!

We motored the first hour, mostly to charge the batteries, a bit because we were going dead upwind in a quite narrow channel. (“A bit” because tacking with our Hanse really works like a dream! Self-tacking for the win! 🤘)

I kept eyeing the wind meter. A bit nervously, since our true wind seemed to steadily crawl upward. If we hoisted the sails, the boat would be fine, but I really did not want the children to hang on for dear life and get so scared that they’d never want to sail again.

We arrived at a wider channel and turned slightly down from the wind. The channel seemed to offer some wind protection so now was the time. (“It is a sailboat, after all,” I said to myself, again, maybe trying to reassure myself a bit, this time.)

We hoisted the main, with one reef, and on we went. The true wind speed was at about eighteen knots and everything felt nice and balanced.

Out with the furling jib. Ok, much more power, and maybe a bit too much heeling for our comfort, but let’s try to flatten it.

“Whoooaaa!” O shouted. “We’re really tilted now!”

“Eeeeeeek!” M shouted. “Eeeeeeeeeeek!”

And then the wind rapidly increased, first to twenty knots, then to twenty-two, then to twenty-four.

All children (except for maybe J) were screaming now. Not because of positive excitement but because things were very much too scary for them.

I let out the mainsail a bit and quickly rolled in the jib. As we straightened out, everyone let out a shared sigh of relief.

M looked at me all red in her face with anger and fright. “Sailing is the most terrible thing ever!” she screamed at me “I want to go home now!!!”

A Bit Exciting After All

After a while of sailing against the wind, our route turned down off the wind and we were able to sail the final few miles in more gentle conditions. (The true wind speed showed twenty-six knots then, so I think the truth was somewhere in between.)

The children had calmed down now. Actually, it only took a few minutes for the sheer terror to turn into happy laughter. It’s a bit like in an amusement park, I was thinking to myself. First, you think you’re not going to survive, then you are giggling with your friends at your near-death experience. (I hate all scary rides at amusement parks, btw. Fun fact.)

Berghamn Fumble

The fumble of the day came when mooring at our destination, the beautiful island of Berghamn.

We did a perfect approach (with quite a lot of wind blowing us away from the dock), got the lines perfectly ashore. But managed to turn it into “seconds before disaster” when two of my knots slipped (oh, how very embarrassing). Suddenly we were hanging there with just a stern line, the rest of the boat drifting fast away from the dock.

Lucky for us, a few hairy moments later, and with the help of some nice persons on the dock, the situation was resolved. (Thank you again, if you happen to read this! 🙏)

A bird eye’s view of the Archipelago Sea. Sailing yacht Charlotte there, in the middle.

A View to Remember

The children were very excited to visit this strange place and they jumped (over each other) ashore immediately when they could.

“When we were sailing, first there were only rocks and then suddenly there came a small village!” O exclaimed, and I saw that adventurous fire lit inside him, that lovely fire that children have, and that we adults also have, but sometimes (needlessly) a bit more tucked away.

“Let’s go exploring!” O and J demanded.

We walked around on the island for a while until we found a path marked with stones painted in white.

The path led us through some dense vegetation of grass, bushes, and trees, and then suddenly the vegetation ended, and we were standing at the foot of a small hill. We continued to follow the painted rocks up the hill until we reached the top. I looked around, and felt quite speechless.

“It’s so beautiful. They should have sent a poet,” Jodie Foster said in the brilliant movie Contact. And they really should have, over here to Berghamn’s highest point, as well. Looking out over the vast sea, filled with small rocky islands, just like the one we were standing on, it was so beautiful that I actually shed a few tears.

Little L and O walking up towards our breathtaking view.

A Dream Come True

The children had a wonderful time. Exploring, collecting rocks, playing with each other. This was exactly what I had hoped would happen, and looking at them being happy, made me happy as well.

M came up to me. “Are we in another country now?” she asked.

“No, not really,” I said and smiled to her, but I think both of us knew, that we really were.


  1. With experience comes confidence, whether you’re captain, first mate or crew. In addition to experience, there may be value in giving a simple explanation or demonstration to your crew on righting moment and how the sails (aerofoils) work in conjunction with the keel (hydrofoil). This should give an understanding of not only the forces that drive the boat forward, but also to keep it from turning turtle. Getting good wind predictions is also key. Beginning with having a reef in your main was a prudent move on your part. Given the apparent wind speed and comfort (experience) level of your family, putting a second reef into the reef when apparent wind speeds approached 20-knots when sailing to weather, may have been helpful in adding to the comfort of all involved. Enjoy your adventure on your beautiful boat.

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