Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Wednesday and Thursday 13th and 14th May, Rano to Rodloga and Rodloga to Mariehamn


Tall ships tacking north

Log 111 miles. Sally, Simon & Carol

Clear blue skies and light northerlies. We left early and sailed a little before being headed and forced to motor. We were shown up by a couple of classic boats who were determined to short tack all the way but we pressed on with the engine on as we were keen to get to the Aland Islands which were still over 100 miles upwind.

We did, however, find time for an idyllic lunch stop at Grisselholmen (page 194 of the Pilot). A very picturesque anchorage full of duck, swans, terns and gulls.

                                                                    Grisselholmen

Our evening anchorage was at Rodloga and by now the wind was strengthening so we dug the anchor in very hard as one forecast predicted winds to 50 km/h through the night. Though it blew it never got anywhere near that but we did hesitate the next morning when a near gale warning was issued for the Aland Sea and sure enough it was to come from exactly the direction we wanted to go. Identifying a raft of Tufted Duck delayed us somewhat too. We did, eventually, decide to go for it and Sally and Carol duly downed their sea sickness tablets and remain comatose as I write this (about 12 hours later)! The wind turned out to be a “fresh northerly” which, at this latitude in the Baltic means it was cold. The sea too was cold as I found out when I took a Baltic wave down my neck. Very fortunately, after motoring for an hour or so up through the last of the Stockholm Archipelago, we were able to bear off to the north east and sail close hauled direct for the southern approach to Mariehamn. Reefed heavily we bounced along at 8 knots most of the way and made light work of the “near gale in the Aland Sea”. I did, however, regret leaving the tender on its davits as, with the chop and the angle of heel, there were a couple of occasions when we were dragging one of the floats sideways through the water at great speed.

We passed south of the wind farm at Nyhamn and headed up to the narrow entrance that leads to Mariehamn’s Eastern harbour. By now the wind had built and so we motored the last few miles directly into the wind. With the combination of strong winds, a strange harbour and no pilot book we decided to anchor off the guest harbour for the night and visit by tender. That was the plan but now I find that my crew are in an Avomine induced stupor and cannot be budged. I have had to resort to typing up the blog and trying to log onto WiFi. Anyway it’s great to be in Finland and at our most northerly latitude on this cruise (60 degrees 05 minutes north and 19 degrees 58minutes East). The forecast is for more northerlies so let’s hope that we have finished the upwind sailing!

Wind farm and old iron mines at Nynham