Winter is a good time to plan for next summer. It is great fun to make big and daring plans, but the recipe for success, I believe, is to be very relaxed about actually sticking to the plans. So, we might end up boldly going where we intend to, but— and maybe even more likely— we might happily end up somewhere else completely.
Keeping this in mind, here is draft number one of our sailing summer 2020!
When we started our first summer out on the water (with most of us never having sailed before!), it was completely unclear whether we’d want to it ever again. (I actually had significant doubts after the first few days.)
In the end, though, it all turned out great. When I talked to the children, all of them wanted to go again, without any doubt. Charlotte did, as well!
Before getting the boat we had three dreams.
- That we’ll actually like being out on the boat together. (Doesn’t matter where we go.) If we do like it, then:
- Sail together via wonderful Copenhagen to eventually reach a beautiful fjord in Norway. If we manage to do that, then:
- Keep at it until we one day get to turquoise water and white sands. (We are thinking the Bahamas here.)
So, with the first dream realized, time for number two: off to Norway!
Going by sailboat to the west side of Norway isn’t a small undertaking, though. The shortest route from Turku to Bergen is about 950 nautical miles, so sailing at a decent six knots of average boat speed, it would take almost seven days of nonstop sailing!
We have about four weeks of summer vacation. The weather in summer is quite variable, and going from Turku westward usually means going against the wind. This can be both slow and unpleasant, so there is a significant chance we won’t be able to go where we want to.
It really, honestly doesn’t matter, though.
We’ll just have to see what happens and make sure we enjoy what we’re doing, no matter which direction we take and where we eventually end up.
Here’s a reality check itinerary with some possible stops. (Just to see if we should abandon the whole idea right now, before getting too attached to it.)
Day 1 – We’re leaving from Turku! I wanted to go at dawn, but Charlotte was still sleeping 😄 It’s Midsummer in Finland, 21th of June 2020.
Days 2-3 – Sailing from Turku to Visby, Gotland (215 nm)
Days 4-5 – In Visby.
Days 6-8 – Sailing from Visby to Copenhagen (290 nm)
Days 9-12 – In Copenhagen.
Days 13-14 – Sailing from Copenhagen to Skagen (148 nm)
Day 15 – In Skagen.
Day 16 – Sailing from Skagen over to Norway (98 nm)
Day 17 – In Norway! (Cheers! Toast!)
Days 18-19 Sailing to Haugesund (161 nm)
Day 20 – Some rest in Haugesund.
Days 21-22 – Sailing from Haugesund into Eidfjord, with at least one stop (92 nm)
Days 23-25 – In Eidfjord! 25 days into our vacation, it should be about the 16th of July.
A lot of sailing! But ideally, we could get from Turku to Eidfjord in about 25 days. In theory, of course. In real life anything can happen. Maybe the winds will be too high and too much against us for the first ten days of our vacation, and that’s it then.
If we do get there, however, we have one other big problem. There is only about one week of our vacation left, and no way we could get back home in that time!
Lucky for us, we have had the pleasure meet Bjørn, who lives in Norway and bought a Hanse 388 the same spring we did.
I told Bjørn about our plans and he thought they were fantastic. “Of course you should come to Norway!”
So what about the fact that once we get there, we won’t have the time to get back?
“No problem!” Bjørn said. “You can leave the boat in Norway, in boblehavn!”
Wonderful thing! And in about a day’s time, Bjørn had contacted a marina near Bergen and received an offer to take care of our boat for the winter. (For a really terrific price!)
And boblehavn, what on earth is that?
It’s a winter harbour with added equipment to keep the water from freezing. Boble is a norwegian for bubble, and they use (at least some of them) air compressors that drive bubbles through the water to prevent freezing.
Problem solved, then! Cheers, Bjørn!
It’s nice to know that on paper, our Norwegian trip might well be doable. But a million things can happen, and if the going gets too tough, then obviously we will adjust and do something else.
The absolute main point of this whole sailing thing is to be with the family, and to experience new things together— safely and having (for the most part) fun while doing it.
Challenges are good too, of course, if they are the right size and not overwhelmingly big.
Anyway, now is not the time to worry. It will all go nicely, and no matter what happens, I’m sure it will be quite the adventure for all of us!
As I think I mentioned before, overwintering somewhere makes much sense, especially if you don’t get much sailing opportunity after your summer cruise.
Your trip to Norway sounds fantastic. Of the 3.5 years I spent in the Baltic, my favourite area was between Gothenburg and Oslo. I hope you get a chance to explore this area. Lots of alternative passages inside or outside the islands depending on weather. And lots of anchoring opportunities too.
My regular crew (who has sailed 3,000Nm with me over the last 8 years) also rates this as his favourite area.
How nice to hear!
A question about anchoring: I’m a bit anxious about the fjords with enormous depths and steeply rising mountains. How easy is it really to find good anchorages? And what are the bottoms like usually? Any tips?