Please select your home edition
Edition
Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - Leaderboard

OCC Roving Rear Commodore report from Scandinavia

by Andrew Curtain 27 Oct 05:58 UTC
Läckö Castle on Lake Vänern © Andrew Curtain

This year, the weather in Scandinavia was somewhat indifferent with a good spell for about three weeks in July.

The plan was to visit the Stockholm Archipelago, travelling from our base 70nm north of Gothenburg,. Because of 10 days of gales, we were stuck, not unpleasantly, in the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club (GKSS) marina. On one day of this battering, albeit in port, our OCC burgee was shredded. Tongue in cheek, it was suggested that club burgees should be fitted with reefing points.

Things really do happen in threes. Delayed by one crew needing surgery, another with a broken rib at sea and yours truly injuring a knee, we were short-handed so instead of going around the bottom of the country, we used the Gota canal both ways. This meant a total of 116 locks plus 12 in the Trollhatte canal system. Swedes call the canal "skilsmässodiket", the divorce ditch. We only saw happy faces.

I recommend using the Gota Canal early or late in the season. July is too crowded, with slow progress and a mix of craft, abilities and temperament. There is a late-season limited service after the second week in August. It will get one through quickly with boats kept in convoy but must be pre-booked. The second week in August is best. With so few boats, most of the time we had locks to ourselves.

Don't be fooled about a fast transit East to West late in the season. It might get one through the canal quickly, but there is still Lake Vanern to cross. It is notorious for its uncomfortable short sea in anything above a fresh breeze. With the prevailing winds southwest, Pilgrim Soul was virtually stopped, averaging 1.5 knots for 10 hours. "Never again".

Most yacht transits of the Gota Canal system are to get to the other side of the country as fast as possible. There are 5 lakes linked by the canal so en route to Stockholm and its archipelago, we took time exploring. We particularly had castles in mind, mooring close to or in their moats. Worth visiting are Vadstena Castle in Lake Vattern, Sweden's second-largest lake. Lacko Castle in Sweden's largest Lake Vanern is the most picturesque but anchor off because of the shallow depth at the pier. There are many quiet anchorages in all the lakes and the Hamnguiden guide (number 9 for the canal and lakes) has to be recommended. It can be bought online.

Later we moored close to a third castle at Marifred in Lake Malaren near Stockholm. The diversion is well worth it.

Allow two days to cross Lake Vanern. It is preferable to arrive at the other side in daylight. I recommend stopping at the fishing village of Spiken, close to Lacko Castle and if their small harbour is full, one can anchor close by. There, one can buy smoked lake fish and the smoked roe should not be missed.

In an earlier note, I strongly recommended membership of the Swedish lifeboat service. www.sjoraddning.se/information-english

Nearly everyone cruising in this region will sooner or later find a rock in the wrong place. We slid up on one near Mollosund on the West Coast on our final day and needed the local lifeboat to pull us off. Misinterpreting a mark, it was my fault, but we met absolute professionalism and courtesy. "You are not the first on that rock and won't be the last". Apparently, it is colloquially named after the local boatyard. The damage was minimal but emotionally severe to the self-esteem.

Amongst many others, we were delighted to meet OCC members Claire and Peter Bishton on their Rustler, Madrigal and of course, David Blackburn with family aboard his Halberg Rassy. A particular pleasure was meeting Associate member Anders Landro from Norway. He plans a transatlantic crossing next year on his Naiad, Albicilla. Whoever conceived Associate Member status should be congratulated.

For more information visit Hamnguiden guide.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

Related Articles

OCC Roving Rear Commodore report from Caribbean
Hitching a ride Northbound in the Windward Islands Sailing southbound in the Windward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean during the winter is our favourite direction; with the trades normally blowing from North of East a southbound direction is usually off the wind and sheets can be eased somewhat Posted on 30 Oct
OCC Roving Rear Commodore report from California
Cruising down the west coast of Vancouver Island, through to Southern California Our cruise down the west coast of Vancouver Island continued until mid-August. We then continued cruising through to Southern California. Posted on 29 Oct
OCC Roving Rear Commodore report from NW Europe
A full and interesting summer sailing season Toodle-oo! had a full and interesting summer sailing season this year, leaving Whitehaven, Cumbria and heading to Caernarfon to host the Celtic Cruise. Posted on 28 Oct
Randall Reeves completes Figure 8 Voyage
First person to solo-circumnavigate American Antarctic Continents in a Season Bluewater explorer, Randall Reeves, navigated his 45-foot aluminum sloop, Moli, under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the record books, becoming the first person to solo-circumnavigate both the American and Antarctic continents in one season. Posted on 20 Oct
OCC Challenge Grant recipients announced
Bert terHart and Jon Sanders have been selected Baxter Gillespie, Chair of the OCC Challenge Grant Review Committee remarked, "The Committee was very impressed with both candidates' initiatives, and we hope these grants will contribute to their success. Posted on 17 Oct
Randall on track to complete Figure 8 Voyage
Predicted October 19 return to San Francisco Bay, where 'Figure 8 Voyage' began over one year ago The route has taken him through all of the world's oceans, approaching both poles and rounding Cape Horn twice, in a world's-first feat known as The Figure 8 Voyage. No one has done this before—and the few previous attempts have met with failure. Posted on 14 Oct
Randall on track to complete Figure 8 Voyage
Around Antarctica and the Americas has never been done before OCC Member Randall Reeves and s/v Moli will have completed an historic circumnavigation of both Antarctica and the Americas in one season. Randall Reeves departed from San Francisco just over one year ago on what he called the Figure 8 Voyage. Posted on 9 Oct
OCC at the Southampton Boat Show 2019
New members, old friends and a change of guard all accomplished New members, old friends, a gathering, recognition, and a change of guard all accomplished in Southampton. Posted on 6 Oct
60th anniversary of first North Atlantic crossing
The first catamaran to have made this difficult West-to-East voyage On 30th September 1959, Rongo sailed into the Conway River in North Wales after crossing the North Atlantic from New York. Posted on 4 Oct
Randall and Mo have crossed the Arctic Circle!
Randall Reeves and s/v MOLI are on the final leg of their Figure 8 Voyage Randall Reeves and s/v MOLI are on the final leg of their Figure 8 Voyage around Antarctica and the Americas in one year - one season. The tracker shows them having arrived safely in Nome despite a thrashing in the Chukchi seas. Posted on 17 Sep
GJW Direct - Yacht 2019 - FooterSailing Holidays 2019 - BOTTOMVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 1