FIRST THERE WAS THE DREAM 2017-04-01
First there was the dream. "EMBLA" of Switzerland should take us around the baltic sea. The 37 years old lady, a thirty foot sailing yacht with an overall length of 9.12 m, a width of 3.05 m and a draught of 1.45 m and winning Italien design was manufactured in Como by Cantiere G. Gilardoni in 1979. SHE has proven to be a reliable host on Lake Constace in all wind and weathers for two generations of sailors. Well known for the name "Caipirinha" she visited most harbors and landing places. The port of registry was the sailing harbor of the St. Gallischer Yachtclub in Rorschach until 2016. Upgraded with new sails, autopilot, electric toilet, diesel heating and new padding inside the ship participated the Bodensee Rundum Regatta twice in harshly weathers 2012 and 2013. Clearly, it would be ready for many nights at sea in succession with a crew that is ready to relinquish comfort and free moving space in return of a great sailing experience anywhere in this world.
ARRIVED IN NEUSTADT 2017-04-30
Anywhere in the world means the sailing journey from Neustadt in Holstein, Germany to Stockholm, Sweden this year, including detours on Skagerrak and Kattegat, the Götakanal and the archipelago between Kalmar Sund and Aland Islands.
But before that, however, the boat needed to become seaworthy in order to get a SWISS flag certificate. This included the acquisition of a new radio equipment inclusive new ID (MMSI) and call sign approved by BAKOM, the Swiss federal Office for communication, and a life raft with survival kit for > 24 hours. The nautical safety expert from Nautico experten GmbH in Mammern, CH, who supported us in the preparations, created a comprehensive list of the status of the boat and the equipment that was available or still missing. In autumn 2016, the bulkhead midship was then consolidated by Yachtwerft Wirz AG, our shipbuilder in Steinach, an additional electric bilge pump, new seacocks installed and a new navigation system with plotter and lifelines on deck were mounted.
Similarly important, we needed to renamed the ship from "Caipirinha" to "EMBLA". Caipirinha is too difficult and too long for spelling on radio communication and and may sound silly. People would perhaps think that we are thirsty if we say :"mayday, mayday, Caipirinha!"
Every ship under Swiss flag has to have its very unique name. In the Nordic mythology, EMBLA was the first woman. The song of Edda tells that Odin, Hönir and Lodur, three gods of the Vikings, created ASK (first man) and EMBLA (first woman) from two trunks of tree on the beach. According the scald Snorri Sturluson, mankind is derived from the first couple Ask and EMBLA. The information is derived from Wikipedia!
Hence, EMBLA seemed a very suitable name for our boat. SHE is and will be the fist and only ship on earth with this name and SWISS Flag.
QUO VADIS 2017-05-15
Meticulous turn planning is crucial for the comfort of the journey and the safety of ship and crew. What will the weather be like? Which route should we take? How will we bear wet, cold and discomfort and physical stress on the ship?
To meet all these questions, I have installed several APPs on my I phone including Windfinder, MeteoSwiss, SMHväder, igrip and Tides Planner. Moreover, I have ordered the relevant nautical chars from Delius, Klasing Co via internet and invested into a brand new Ipad pro 9.7 and downloaded from Navionics the App's Europe HD and Denmark HD together with the necessary updated electronic marine charts. Also, we went to Dornbirn in Austria last week to buy more warm clothes. Two extra winter coats, one extra rain coat, all bargain sales as the winter in our latitude on Lake Constance is passed. This, however, will not be necessarily the case in Neustadt in Holdstein, the staring point of our adventure. On the homepage of Booby Schenk, the world circumnavigator and book author, I found a list named "Bordapotheke für Küsten- und Langfahrt". This was very useful to complete my box of medicaments.
I have spent many nights over the charts planning, measuring and calculating. In addition, I checked the turn-advisor "Dänemark" by Jan Werner in order to figure out the best and most efficient way to bring EMBLA safely from Neustadt in Germany to Stockholm in Sweden. The distance will be 651 NM using the current track that wriggles through the Danish archipelago to Copenhagen, then takes us along the Swedisch west coast to Göteborg. From there we will pass the Göta-Kanal and then follow the east coast north until Stockholm. 28 sailing days and 8 resting days have been planned. I hope that "apostle Petrus" and "Poseidon" will be well-disposed.
EMBLA was launched today. The crane operator's comment, when he learned that I was a sweet water sailer from Bodensee (Lake Constance) was: "Mir tun gleich die Augen weh wenn ich im Glas den Boden seh" ..... Definitely North German Humor. :-) I like it and this made my day.
The pol ist set, all electrical devices have been tested, the engine runs like a sewing machine, the sails are attached. The day for sail is set for Sunday. The weather forecast promises sun and moderate winds from North West for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. This is our chance and we will leave one day earlier than planned.
DAY ONE AT SEA 2017-05-21
A beautiful day, sunshine, wind 8-12 knots from NE, calm sea. EMBLA slides through the water like a train. Steady run. We make coffee and sandwiches with cheese and smoked ham. Delicious.
After 25.6 NM we reach "Grossenbrodener Binnensee" where we fix the boat in the Marina of Jachtwerft Klemens, North of the lake. After a fish sandwich and a onion soup, we stroll around. Passing the hotel "AM WIND" we decide to stay in the hotel over night. Its more comfortable. The main reason, however is that we discovered that we forgot to pack blankets and duvets on the boat. Thus, we need to go to IKEA as soon as possible to fix appropriate covers and bed clothes, but to make some more miles tomorrow has priority.
DAY TWO AT SEA 2017-05-22 "PAN, PAN, PAN"
It all started so smoothly and perfectly today but ended in an distress situation where we required tug assistance from the danish sea rescue, for the first time in my life as a skipper.
We had an excellent night of sleep. The hotel "AM WIND" was beautifully situated in front of the beach in a garden with syringa, tulip beds and between apple trees the blue baltic sea was visible. After the breakfast with coffee, I had to solve the problem that I needed 15 l of extra diesel for the passage from Germany to Denmark. There was no petrol station in the harbor and the next service station was 5 km away. After some kind begging, the officer from the Marina fixed me a two cans that I could take along onto the boat. Through that we saved one hour at least. Therefore we rushed to cast off the ropes and set sails, although sails were actually never set until the end because of the only faint wind. Thus we powered through the baltic seat with our 15HP Volvo Penta. It was a beautiful ride and all went well until the battery recharger struck 54°31.69'N / 11°55,16'E which is just 3.5 NM in front of the planned final destination, GEDSER. A slight smell of burned plastic, the staring battery boiling hot, and an error signal indicating that the batteries were overloaded, but otherwise no signs of damage. Thus we decided to open all skylights and covers of motor and electric systems and take a halve an hour break. While we drifted towards more shallow water, EMBLA was suddenly accompanied by a school of harbor porpoise.
The second test of the engine did not show any improvements and we set the sails, but quickly realized that sailing into the harbor was too dangerous with the week wind and the hard traffic of ferry boats. Moreover the direction of the wind would have required cruising in the traffic channel. Not a great option. Hence the red flag was hoisted and we called the harbor master who send for tug assistance. Luckyly GEDSER has its own sea rescue base and the team met us already 30 minutes after our call.
I really enjoyed the final 3 NM being tugged by a 2X400 HP boat. The boat lays now well in the old harbor of GEDSER and a nautical electrician will be consulted as next step.
Waiting for the motor to be repaired we explored island Falster. The house of the Tsar "CZARENS HUS" situated in the centre of Nyköbing, is the oldest restaurant in Danmark, and personally the most yummy one as well. The inscription says: "Ihre Zarische Maiestät zu Moscovien, Peter Alerewitz hat hier gespeist Anno 1716 di 15. Juli". He was served rye bread, butter and cheese and beer schnaps and wine. Its said that the Tsar ate with elegance and licked the butter of the knife. :-) In line, our Fisk platter and the Pariser beef were superb!
On the second day in the harbor, Otto from L.F. Bodservice in Toreby exchanged the broken relay that controlled the output current from the engine. Moreover, we fixed blankets and duvets from JUSK (quality extra warm) and missing things.
DAY THREE AT SEA 2015-05-25 GREAT SAILING WITH 15-22 Knots of WIND
The tip from Gedser to Hesnaes was demanding, but fun. The winds increased steadily from 15 to 22 knots. Luckily we set off with a reff in the main sail already. EMBLA did great and took the waves with ease. It took us 5h04' for 23 NM including maneuvering in and out of the harbors.
DAY FOUR AT SEA 2017-05-26
Hesnaes - Stubbeköbing , 9,3 NM, 2H19', was only a short ride, but we needed some real food since we run out of camping gas in Hesnaes. The city has one main street with a bakery that does not sell coffee, a pizzeria that sells Kebab and a Thai restaurant. The THAI was our choice and we got a decent duck & chicken curry with rice for dinner. There was an other Swiss couple in the harbor. Fredi and Cornelia who chartered a Bavaria 33 from Heiligenhafen and who were waiting for a mechanic from Germany to repair their engine trouble. "FREDI and CORNELIA, thank you for the nice conversation with a brilliant bottle of chianti on your boat and good luck for your further journey".
DAY FIVE AT SEA 2017-05-28 MAKE WEST, MAKKE NORTH, AVOID THE LUV COAST
A mix of sailing and motoring from Stubbeköbing to Kalvehave trough Grönsund, Storström, Kavle Sröm and Ulvsund. High requirements on navigation skills. Partly very shallow water. Plentiful sea marks. Beautiful nature and gorgeous natural scenery and nice weather. This is the summary of the trip.
DAY SIX AT SEA 2017-05-20 SINGEL HANDED SAILING
There was storm in the night and we slept badly due to the constant sought of the wind, the beating of the ropes against the mast on the neighboring boat and the moving of the boat. In the morning, the westerly wind had brought cold weather. Hence, we decide that I should go single handed today while Lena would take the car and fix a hotel room in Rödvig, where we would meet, such that we would get a good rest, be able to shower and have a nice dinner before the next big leg over to Sweden.
DAY SEVEN AT SEA 2017-06-01 TEAM MODIFICATION AND A LONG LEG
The team was modified. LenaMaria left and Bruno came in. He is a tough and experienced sailor and the previous owner of the boat. Hence Bruno knows EMBLA to the very detail. We have run several regattas together both with EMBLA and with his Arcona 34 named Caipiringha II.
The plan of the next days would be to make long legs such that we reach Stockholm within 2 weeks and to do some necessary repairs on EMLA.
There was storm in the night and the the day started rather windy and heavy waves had build up during the night. Hence we decided to put up the main storm sail and ref the foresail to balance the pressure on the rudder. The result was astonishing an EMBLA rode on the waves like a young horse that is let out of the horse stable for the first time in spring. In sum, the trip was a mere joy. In the second half, when the wind became more abaft and decrease to 12-14 knots we put up the easy rider. What a powerful sail. The velocimeter partly showed values up to 8 knots!
Hence the 53,8 NM between Rödvig (Denmark) and Ystad (Sweden) were mastered 10H 32min.
DAY EIGHT AT SEA 2017-06-02 Motoring, motoring
Nothing spectacular on the way. Too little wind for sailing. It took us 6 H and 06 min for the 28,2 NM from Ystad to Simrishamn. Highlight of the day was the sighting of a Dehler 29 with SWISS FLAG. We exchanged some kind remarks with the owner. They were planning to go to Hanö the next day. I checked out Hanö on internet. The island is 2.2 km long and 1.3 km wide and has 33 inhabitants. It is well know for its trees and flora and is visited by 30'000 tourist every year! for its beauty. Remarkable are the wind forces on Hanö. On December 3rd 1999 they measured 43 m/s, a Swedish record outside the Swedish "fjäll" (mountain) areas. Hence, this would be our next target.
DAY NINE 2017-06-03 AT SEA - BIG WAVES
The crossing of the Hanö-bay was physically demanding. The temperature had dropped to 12 °C; The wind blew with 12 knots from SE and waves of >1 m had build up. The table in the restaurant tonight was still moving for me. However, Hanö is definitely a must for sailors. Nice restaurant, excellent services and stunning nature. The harbour was jam-packed with Swedish, German, Norwegen, Dutch, English and (2) Swiss boats on this first day of Pentecost weekend.
A new speed record of 9 knots was registered today! The 34 NM were managed in 7 H and 57 minutes.
DAY TEN AT SEA 2017-06-04 A WET AND RAINY AY
Begin of the sail from Hanö under motor. The wind comes exactly from the front. We can bear away 45° at Slänakullen but the rain starts. We decided not to put up the sails and take look-out turns. By the time of arrival in Karlskrona, the clothes and shoes a soaked with water. To avoid the water getting into our dry things, we decide to leave everything as it is on the boat and go to a nearby pizzeria to hang the up the wet rain coats and trousers in the entrance of the restaurant for "PRE-DRYING". This worked actually and we got pizza à discretion and coffee.
We motored the 32,5 NM between Hanö and Karlskrona in 7 H 15 min. Due to the rain, there is no Photo.
DAY ELEVEN AT SEA 2017-06-05 A LOT OF WIND
Today was a perfect sailing day. Winds up to 32 knots (Average 14-22). The waves were big. Brunos guess was two meter. White crest everywhere. The couple of the other Swiss boat "naradja" decided to stay in, too much wind.
After fighting one hour on the water we decided to exchange the reefed main sail by the lug sail. This was a good decision because the wind was gusty and we had enough trouble trimming the reefed fore sail such that it would not beat. Once all this was done, the ride on the water became a mere joy . New speed records for EMBLA was registered. In the surf we had up to 9.9 knots.
The 38.1 NM were covered under sails within 7 hours inclusive motoring out of the harbor of Karlskrona and into the harbor of Bergkkvara which is 20 NM south of Kalmar.
What a great day of sailing and the clothes that we hang along the reeling dried quickly as well, although I must confess that one mitten flew away in a gust.
DAY TWELVE AT SEA 2017-06-06 A QUIET NIGHT, A STORMY NIGHT AND A PERFECT DAY IN BETWEEN
Difficult to imagine that an other stormy day would follow such a quiet night. The sea lay like a mirror's face in Bergkkvarna reflecting the red, orange yellow and blue of the evening sky. There §was only a soft breeze and the intensive smell of the syringa and summer flowers hang in the air.
When I opened the hatchway in the morning, the sky was blue and no cloud was in sight, though the wind had come back. In the nearby shop of the camping, I bought freshly picked Swedish strawberries from a booth run by old age pensioner. To my question if he had picked the strawberries himself he confessed that he had bought it else where. Today, June 5th, was the Swedish national day. Hence, strawberries are a must.
In the logbook of the day we marked: "again, an other great day of sailing". The winds were similar to the day before, but we managed with a reef in the main sail. We sailed in a fleet with three other boats giving us some regatta feeling and we put up as much sail as the boat would stand such that we would stay ahead of the other boats.
A great feeling to surrounded the most south-eastern corner of Sweden and the wind and waves pushed us north further north until we reached Kalmar. 20.5 N n 3H and 45 minutes. 9.5 knots max speed. 5.5 knots average speed over ground.
DAY THIRTEEN AT SEE 2017-06-08 REGATTA-FEELING PURE
When we left the harbor, we were expecting strong winds again for the trip from Klamar to Oskarshamn which is why we reefed the main sail again. Later we would slack out the foresail to produce as much speed as the boat would bear out. Rightly, Oeland and the the main land formed a channel for the increasing wind and the northwards rolling waves. Most sailing boats were on their way only with foresail hoisted. We had departed later than many other boats from the harbor, but when we sighted a Swedish 38.5 footer Beneteau and a German 32 footer on the horizon after thwo hours, which we recognized from the night before, we decided to haul inboard them. The large genoa was rolled out maximally and Bruno got into position as steerman, and minute for minute, we got closer until we could send a friendly salute to the two boats we passed. What a great feeling! Needs to be said that later the Swedish 38.5 footer passed us again after he set full main sail, but hen when gusts blasts started and rain started pouring down we passed him again as we maintained full sails up while he took down his main sail because of a problem with his ropes, as he told us later in the harbor. Great speed and hum up was his comment when we passed them.
The 42.5 NM were covered in 7 h 55 min.
DAY FOURTEEN AT SEE 2017-06-09 GIANT SLALOM TROUGH THE ARCHIPELAGO
The planning of the journey through the archipelago between Oskarshamn and Västervik was so complicated that it required 64 way points. The way was laced with shallows and cliffs and red and green booms bordered the way. Beautiful but very demanding. We motored the 40.1 NM in 8 H 20 minutes. The were very calm for once.
We spent two extra days in Västervik using them for relaxing, hiking, shopping and fishing. 7 flatfishes were caught. Lenas Brother smoke-cured them for us. Västervik is a beautiful old town and the marina is fitted with a swimming pool and sauna. Great place to stop with a boat!
DAY FIFTEEN AT SEA 20017-06-12 Lümmelbeschlagbolzensicherung missing.
Shortly after we had started the sailing in Västervik, we had to return to the harbor as we discovered that a clip for the boom was missing and we did not have a spare one on board. The winds were strong which required the boat to be in perfect condition . To fix it cost us 2 hours, but we were soon off again after that. It was a good sailing day with winds between 20 and 22 knots from west.
Thus the 33.7 NM from Västervik to Grits Warf och Marina were covered in 8h 23 min including the time spent for repairing the boom.
Gryts is a very quiet place. No harbor master, restaurant closed, no shop, no nothing. Hence we had the self caught and smoked flatfish for dinner together wth pasta and beer.
DAY SIXTEEN AT SEA 2017-06-13 WHAT A DELICIOUS DINNER AFER A HARD DAY’S WORK
The winds were strong again, mostly around 20 knots, but sometimes up to 29 knots in blast. The islands and cliffs produced jets and blasts with instantly changing directions. Both of us needed to be on deck, one concerned with the sails and the other with navigation and rudder.
Finally we decided to skip Oxelösund as goal and land in „Arkösund Kajen“ which is 10 NM closer.
Arkösund Kajen is a modern harbor with a fantastic restaurant and the dinner (cauliflower soup with scallop, cold smoked salmon with fresh potatoes and rhubarb soufflé) and wine were superb.
The 23.9 NM from Gryts Marina to Arkösund were covered in 5 h 30 min.
DAY SEVENTEEN AT SEA 2017-06-14 THE FIRST SUMMER DAY
This was the first time that required shorts. It was a hot day. Bodensee like winds. Bruno set sails but did not get more speed than 3 knots at best. Lazy seals were sighted on the cliffs. The 14.4 NM from Arkösund to Oxelösund were managed in 3h 23min.
In the harbor, we met a team of 5 sailors that came in on a 36 footer (CB362). They had sailed 512 NM (from Göteborg to Oxelösund) in 90 hours without stop and were here to repair the bowsprit. The team was on their way to the Gotland runt race also known as AF Offshore Race. WOW!!!
DAY EIGHTEEN AT SEA 2017-06-15 EXAMINATION FOR THE MASTER CRAFTSMAN'S CERTIFICATE
An other Swedish summer day. Hot, sun, crystal clear blue sky. We left the harbor by motor. The way between Oxelösund and Trosa goes right through the inner archipelago and we must watch out as not to miss a boo or other see sign, flat water or cliff. Very tricky indeed. Close to lunch time we decide to drop anchor in the bay of Västra Stendörren. We cook potatoes, Falukorv (very tasty Swedish sausage) and bacon. In addition there was Knäckebröd, blue cheese and Fruit salad for desert.
I got really tired form lunch and needed a rest. Hence, Bruno took over the rudder and set sails. To motor through this area is difficult, but to sail the todays course really requires a master. While I was reading a book in the cabin, under deck I could hear the alternating tighting or slacking away of the sails. The was also the soft swoosh of the water and when I looked at the velocimeter I was surprised that we were making between 4 and 6 knots continously. Very well done.
The 27,1 NM from Oxelösund to Trosa were covered in 6h 45 min including 1 hour laying at anchor.
Trosa is a town that one should not miss. Its as Swedish as it can be.
DAY NINETEEN AT SEA 2017-06-16 LIGHT WINDS AND RELAXD SAILING
Light winds invited to a relaxed sailing. We enjoyed the peaceful nature. The 25.4 NM from Trosa to Södertälje took 6 h 35 min.
DAY TWENTY 2017-6-17 LAST LEG TO STOCKHOLM
There is only one thought in our mind. THIS IS OUR LAST LEG TO STOCKHOLM. We are closed to the goal. After the lock in Södertälje, we are on Mälaren, the sweet water lake system west of Stockholm. Bruno holds in his hand iinto the water and tastes, YES, its not salty any more, but too cold to take a swim. We continue. Slowly appear first signs of a big town. Expensive villas on the banks, big motor boats, Ferries with tourists. After passing several bridges we enter Stockholm. The waves from the motor boats become heavy, like on a Sunday on Bodensee. Bathing beaches are full of people. This was the first day of School holiday. When we came to the last lock, the bridge "Danviksbron" did not open. The bridge lifting system was overheated, but mechanics were at sight already looking at the problem, we were told. All sailing boats were requested to line up along the waiting dock. After one hour a special bridge opening for the sailing boats was organized. We rush to get the boat ready. 30 minutes later we are on salt water again and in the midst of Stockholm's big water system. Now ist only 30 minutes to the famous leisure boat harbor" WASA hamn" which is situated next to the leisure park Grönalund on the island called "Djurgarrden". Wen we arrive, a big Swiss Flag flies already between other nations on a 10 m flagpole. An other Swiss boat is in the harbor. It is called FENNA (www.fenna.ch) and inhabited by Therese and Christian Würgler. We greet and exchange words. Getting to Stockholm is like getting home for us.
DAY TWENTYONE 2017-06-18
We bring EMBLA to its summer residence. My son and I have hired a berth at Sticklinge on Lidingö for the season 2017 from where we plan more sailing adventures later this summer. This is the first time we need to cross against the wind wich blows up the 22 knots. We enjoy it fully. The sails are reefed.
The 17.0 NM from Stockholm to Sticklinge on Lidingö were managed in 4 h 5 min.