Some days ago, we arrived safely back in Turku, having spent about six weeks’ worth of summer vacation aboard our Hanse sailboat. Here are some reflections (mostly) about the sailing stuff along the way.
20.6 – Short Hop Turku – Seili (Själö)
|Upwind / reaching / downwind||96% / 2% / 1%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||4.03 kt / 7.65 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||4.07 m/s / 8.16 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||5.61 nm (135 nm)|
It’s good to start small, and so did we, by tacking upwind a short hop south to begin our summer vacation.
The sailing felt a bit rusty, though. It’s funny how much you can forget during a cold winter!
While trying to remember how to do it, and how to get a good upwind groove, I was also calibrating the wind sensor. This resulted in mostly bad tacking angles < 90 degrees.
There were some bends in the wind, of course as well, due to the surrounding islands. (And other excuses, for sure!)
Pitstop in Dalsbruk
We left Seili, setting course for Gotska sandön, but as we were tacking south through the Archipelago Sea, I noticed something strange. The boom vang pin securing the connection between the boom vang and the Furlerboom wasn’t properly secured. It wasn’t all the way through, just sticking out on one side of the connection.
I tried banging on it for a couple of hours myself (first as we were sailing, later anchored nearby), but couldn’t get it to move. I would have needed a much bigger hammer— and maybe also some courage to just put more force into it—, so instead of heading directly onwards, we took a short detour to our boatyard to seek a helping hand with a bigger tool.
“It’s better that I break it than that you do,” our friend at the yard stated and grinned, and then he started banging on the pin with the younger sibling of a sledgehammer, and a surprisingly wild and crazy look in his eyes.
“It’s moving! It’s moving!” I cheered after he had been at it for a few explosive blows.
And then it was done.
“We have to do something about that next winter,” he said, “it absolutely shouldn’t be that stuck.”
25.6 – 26.6 Dalsbruk – Gotska Sandön
|Up / reach / down||14% / 68% / 18%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||5.64 kt / 9.33 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||4.72 m/s / 9.56 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||8.50 nm (204 nm)|
|Max distance 6h (➝ 24h)||45.74 nm (183 nm)|
|Max distance 12h (➝ 24h)||84.86 nm (170 nm)|
|Max distance 24h||143 nm|
Our first real sail was a nice overnight reach from Finland to Gotska sandön in Sweden.
We used just the mainsail and jib, although some of the wind conditions would have been great for the gennaker. (“We’re just at the start of this,” I thought to myself. “Let’s not make it too complicated.”)
27.6 – 29.6 Gotska sandön – Rönne (Bornholm)
|Up / reach / down||33% / 29% / 38%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||6.23 kt / 9.15 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||6.52 m/s / 10.7 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||7.91 nm (190 nm)|
|Max distance 6h (➝ 24h)||42.41 nm (170 nm)|
|Max distance 12h (➝ 24h)||79.58 nm (159 nm)|
|Max distance 24h||154 nm|
6.7 – 10.7 Rønne – Stavanger
|Up / reach / down||19% / 22% / 59%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||5.47 kt / 11.0 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||4.36 m/s / 11.8 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||9.86 nm (237 nm)|
|Max distance 6h (➝ 24h)||50.59 nm (202 nm)|
|Max distance 12h (➝ 24h)||87.75 nm (175 nm)|
|Max distance 24h||159 nm|
12.7 – 17.7 Lysefjorden
After a couple of days in Stavanger we sailed off towards our main destination: our first Norwegian fjord, Lysefjorden.
It was truly an amazing experience! (But more motoring than sailing, so no interesting sailing statistics.)
21.7 Stavanger – Loshavn
|Up / reach / down||7% / 45% / 47%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||5.32 kt / 8.89 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||5.67 m/s / 11.5 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||7.27 nm (174 nm)|
|Max distance 6h (➝ 24h)||37.71 nm (151 nm)|
|Max distance 12h (➝ 24h)||66.18 nm (132 nm)|
|Max distance 24h||–|
After our week and a half in Norway, we planned to start our sail back to Finland by sailing all the way from Stavanger to Kalmar in Sweden.
What would have been (by far) our longest sail yet, however, was not to be.
Some hours into the trip, I checked a new weather forecast for the Skagerack crossing (from Norway to Sweden). The winds had increased substantially, and if the forecasts were correct, we were heading towards a rainy night crossing with winds up to thirty knots. That would be too much for us, I thought.
So, without further ado, we decided to check in at a nearby anchorage next to Loshavn and delay the Skagerack crossing by twelve hours or so.
22.7 – 26.7 Loshavn – Kalmar
|Up / reach / down||26% / 39% / 35%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||5.90 kt / 11.0 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||7.04 m/s / 14.2 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||9.34 nm (224 nm)|
|Max distance 6h (➝ 24h)||48.71 nm (195 nm)|
|Max distance 12h (➝ 24h)||92.40 nm (185 nm)|
|Max distance 24h||169 nm|
Our longest sail to date!
It was a bit of a struggle at times, though. Cold, rainy, windy. And we lost our flag and flagpole!
The first part, crossing Skagerack, started nicely, but ended up being an uphill battle (in the dark, with rain) in 20 kt TWS without a mainsail.
Why no mainsail? Well, as the wind against us grew stronger, I wanted to do some reefing practices, so we rolled in a part of the sail into the Furlerboom just as instructed. But— we couldn’t get it to stay furled!
Although the main halyard seemed tight at first, a short while later the sail had unfurled itself a bit so that it was loose again. We tried it a few times but to no avail. The furling control lines didn’t slip, but the mandrel (around which the sail was wrapped) seemed to turn anyway. For some strange, mysterious reason.
Heading into increasing upwind, I was left with no better choice than to furl all of the mainsail and continue with just the jib. Oh well.
Getting around the Skagen, while avoiding the traffic separation scheme, against the wind, and against the tide, with just the jib— quite excruciating!
The rest of the sail was relatively easygoing reaching and downwind sailing. Even more so after having left the busy Öresund (“the Sound”) behind.
And eventually, two nights and a morning later, we finished our first five-hundred-mile sail as we arrived in beautiful Kalmar. Cool.
28.7 – 29.7 Kalmar – Kökar (🇫🇮)
|Up / reach / down||17% / 15% / 68%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||7.02 kt / 12.6 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||7.41 m/s / 15.5 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||8.87 nm (213 nm)|
|Max distance 6h (➝ 24h)||51.50 nm (206 nm)|
|Max distance 12h (➝ 24h)||101.27 nm (203 nm)|
|Max distance 24h||186 nm|
“Let’s go home!”
This was our fastest sail ever with a new record of 186 nautical miles during the quickest twenty-four-hour window. And a twelve-hour window of 101 nautical miles, meaning half a day of 200+ miles daily speed!
Gennaker Joys and Woes
We used the ~200 square meters gennaker for the first time of the summer and it was great! Well, until the wind during the night slowly increased to ~20 knots, which (of course) was about thirty percent more than forecasted.
Although the additional pressure could be well felt, the sailing wasn’t that much of a problem. Taking the thing down would be, so at first sunlight I started the slow and tedious process of getting it down. Due to several factors (waves, gybe risk of having the autopilot drive too much downwind, no way to “spike” the gennaker from the bow, being extremely careful myself) it took about an hour to pull the sock down over it, and to finally get it safely secured.
Thoughts on the Autopilot
As the wind built up to a steady 23-24 knots, the following seas kept building up as well. Our (Raymarine) autopilot, unfortunately, was not terribly good at driving in these following seas, wallowing from one wave to another.
Considering the accompanying gybe risk, we were sailing about ten degrees higher than we could have with hand steering … or with a better autopilot? I’m a bit tempted to look into changing the current Raymarine to B&G’s H5000.
Change of Destination
Our original plan was to sail directly from Kalmar to Turku, entering the Archipelago Sea via Utö. The slowly shifting wind combined with our a-bit-too-high course (due to the autopilot) has a better idea: go via Kökar instead.
“When do you think we will get to Kökar, then?” Charlotte asked.
“Oh, we’re going fast,” I said. “Sometimes late in the evening, I’d say.”
“Ok, so why don’t we anchor there, then?” she said. “And instead of sailing home through the archipelago in the night, we can have a nice daysail tomorrow?” she added.
“That’s a great idea!” I replied.
30.7 Kökar – Turku
|Up / reach / down||1% / 23% / 76%|
|Average SOG / Max SOG||5.90 kt / 9.46 kt|
|Average TWS / Max TWS||6.40 m/s / 10.30 m/s|
|Max distance 1h (➝ 24h)||7.09 nm (170 nm)|
|Max distance 6h (➝ 24h)||37.99 nm (152 nm)|
|Max distance 12h (➝ 24h)||–|
|Max distance 24h||–|
What better way to end our sailing vacation than sailing through the wonderfully beautiful Archipelago Sea!
Just as Charlotte had predicted, we had a warm and sunny last day of sailing.
In the evening, we were home.
In all, we sailed about 2000 nautical miles. From Turku to our very first (and beautiful) fjord in Norway, Lysefjorden, and back again. It was quite the trip!
Performance-wise, we took it very easy on the way there, and pushed it just a tad more on the way back. Even so, our average speeds were (except for the very first short leg) quite good with the second to last long sail topping out at 7.02 knots average for 253 miles.
With a good amount of wind, it was relatively effortless to do long stints > 8 knots (the pink segments of the track lines). With even more wind, we were frequently over 9 knots (the thicker blue rings on the pink lines). When we motored, I tried to keep the speed at about 5.5 – 6.0 knots. Partly to save fuel, partly to not raise the bar of when sailing is faster.
And how did our Hanse 531 from 2005-2006 hold together? Beautifully.
After the first small rigging issue (which wasn’t the boat’s fault), the only other problem we had was with one of the shower pumps malfunctioning. That was an easy fix as well.
So, a deep bow and thank you to Kiko at DB Marina for all the maintenance work you did last winter. And the same to Björn for meticulously installing all our new navigation systems (and the mast lights! ❤️) Thank you both (and your crew) for helping us get there and back again safely!
Finally, a huge thank you and good job! to the crew of our boat: Little L, M, O, J, and Charlotte. What an adventure to remember.
Thank you! Love you! And where are we going next summer?