Under this tag all our blog posts related to sailing in the Stockholm archipelago can be found. In the blog posts we mention different islands we visit and pictures of when we explore them.
As we live in Stockholm the Stockholm archipelago is familiar grounds for us and an area we have good knowledge of.
The Stockholm archipelago stretches 80 nm along Sweden’s east coast with approximately 24’000 islands to explore. In the archipelago you can explore islands closer to the mainland with forest and a lot of green to the outermost islands with bare rock. The most famous islands are: Sandön (with the village Sandhamn), Möja, Öja (with the lighthouse Landsort), Huvudskär, Ljusterö. There are a lot of islands t explore and we have not been everywhere in the archipelago and still have a lot of islands to explore.
There are some smaller challenges but the entire Baltic Sea is barely affected by tides and during the summer months storms and really bad weather is pretty uncommon.
The challenges of sailing in the Stockholm archipelago are:
Many underwater rocks or rocks just above the waterline, so it is important to keep a close eye on the sea charts.
The visibilty in the water isn’t specially good, which makes underwater rocks hard to see until they are right in front of you.
Many narrow passages.
A lot of traffic and boats during the summer months.
Gusty winds that turns around every island
The best time for sailing in the Stockholm archipelago is the summer months; June, July and August. During the summer months the temperature is around 20-30 degrees Celsius (68 -86 Fahrenheit), with some rain once in a while.
On Wednesday 26th of August we were finally ready for our departure 🙂 Before lunch we worked hard getting everything ready and by 3pm we were ready to leave central Stockholm.
On our way out of Stockholm our ship friends on Skeppsholmen honked, really cool! The wind was against us this day and we had plans to eat dinner with Thomas parents at their country house so we only went by engine the first day. We arrived at Vindö later in the evening and had a nice dinner.
The following day we set course south through the archipelago accompanied for a while by Thomas parents and some neighbors in their boats. We set the sails and this was the first time we tested our “new” genoa and main. They both felt really good and a real improvement compared to the old sails.
We sailed most of the day, but in the afternoon the wind died and we started the engine. Pretty late in the evening we arrived to Nåttarö where we anchored for the night. We didn’t go ashore to explore the island but we really need to get back to this island again sometime in the future. Early in the morning on Friday the 28th we left Nåttarö and started to head out of Stockholm archipelago. In the morning we sailed but when we reached Landsort (the lighthouse at the southern tip of Stockholm archipelago) we started the engine to be able to make it to Harstena in Gryt archipelago. It was sunny at least and on the way we were able to do some small work, for example sorting screws:
We anchored at the bay Flisfjärden in Harstena and took our dinghy ashore to walk around the island.
Saturday was extremely rainy and windy with gale warnings in the Baltic sea so we stayed at anchor in Flisfjärden which turned out to be a terrible idea. The night towards Sunday the wind turned with almost gale forces that hit our anchorage. We were up late to watch the anchor, ready to turn on the engine if something should happen. Fortunately nothing happened, our anchor and everything lasted the night.
On Sunday morning we went up really early and started our journey to the island Öland. But more about that in our next blog post 🙂
During the weekend we went sailing for the last time this year, which was sailing back to Stockholm city for the winter. We have had her further out in the archipelago during the summer so that we didn’t have to sail the long distance from the city every time we wanted to go sailing. It is approximately 20-25 NM to sail from central Stockholm to reach the first nice archipelago islands. There are some places in between, but they are not as good as the ones you find further out.
But the summer is definitely over now and during the winter we want the boat closer so that we can finish everything we need to do before our departure.
We started on Saturday by taking the bus to Anne-Mon together with one of our new sails, a furling genoa we found second hand. We bought two furling head sails, one genoa and one jib, and a cover for the furler for 450 SEK (47 USD, 42 EUR). They are all in good shape as well, so we were really lucky to find them! 🙂
We tried the new furling genoa on the furler, and after some time we were ready to set sail. The new sail immediately proved to be way much better than our old one. Both this one and the old one are still to small for us, so we have another genoa that we plan to buy which is bigger. Then we will use the one we just bought as a reserve and probably throw away the old one.
It was pretty late when we left, and the sun sets early this time of the year. We had chosen a spot where we wanted to stay for the night, some islands just north of Vaxholm and west of Vårholma. We have been here before with the ship twice so we had a pretty okay feeling of the surroundings, therefore we decided to continue even though it got dark. It was our first time sailing with Anne-Mon in the dark, and it was pretty exiting to sail with the help from lighthouses and the dark contours of nearby islands. As we were close to the city we also saw some cruise ships on their way to Finland and Tallinn, but no one passed close to us during the evening.
We navigated in between the islands and managed to anchor towards land even though we had a really hard time seeing where we went. We ate dinner, watched a movie and went to bed.
We woke up the next day to grey weather but beautiful autumn colors.
It ate breakfast and left right after, just when it started to rain…
It was a slow sail on Sunday, barely no wind and a lot of tacking. But we sailed almost the entire way to the city, we took the sails down half an hour before sunset when we only had 1 NM to go. We were hungry and quite cold at that point after 7.5 hours of sailing, the first hours in autumn rain.
Eventually we reached our final destination. Now we will empty the boat and focus on boatwork! We have some exiting things ahead, just yesterday we bought an autopilot drive unit. Instead of buying a finished autopilot package, we buy components separately and write our own code for the control system. Perfect winter activity! We will write more about this later on, so stay tuned 🙂
If you want to read more about our previous boatwork, mostly plastic repair, rig preparations all blog post about our renovation can be found under the category Sailboat Renovation and to read about our engine overhaul, those blogposts can be found under the category Engine.
During the weekend we decided to take a weekend sail to Stora Nassa, an island group in Stockholm archipelago. The weather was kind of cold and northerly winds around 7-9 m/s (14-18 knots) gusting up to 11-12 m/s (21-23 knots). We left work early on Friday and headed out to the boat and left as soon as possible.
We have had a damage in our furling genoa, which we got fixed this week. We took the genoa and two other small headsails to Björn, a sailmaker in central Stockholm. He repaired the sails and took a look at them. We also got a lot of tips regarding sail care and sail theory in general. Can really recommend Björn if you need to repair your sails, link to his website can be found by clicking HERE.
Anyway, we set sail and departed to find a good place to stay for the night.
We ended up in the protected anchorage Säck, even though it was northerly winds we found a spot that was pretty protected. We were all alone there, which is quite uncommon. Usually you have to fight for a spot in this very popular anchorage.
We anchored and started preparing dinner and starting our diesel heater, but not without trouble. After a while we got it working and let it run for a while during dinner.
We turned the diesel heater off during the night since we haven’t used it that much before. When we woke up on Saturday we had 8ºC (46ºF) inside the boat. We turned on the diesel heater and prepared breakfast.
We didn’t hurry Saturday morning and did some small jobs before we left for Stora Nassa, like changing the halyard for the cutter stay, which we were gonna try out.
Finally we we were on our way to Stora Nassa, the wind was quite strong and there was the occasional rain and even some hail at one point. We had set the biggest of our jibs (we have three in total at the moment) on the cutter stay, and we made an average 5 knots on the way in 9 m/s (14 knots) winds. We took the northern route around Möja to reach Björkskärsfjärden, and here it is really important to keep an eye on the navigation as it is a maze of small islands and underwater rocks, as seen in the picture below.
We arrived at Stora Nassa and anchored at a very sheltered bay, even though the winds were strong outside it was completely calm where we were. There was no other boats in position. We anchored and ate a well deserved late lunch.
We took a tour around the little island we anchored at, the weather was quite dramatic and we spotted the wild Mouflon sheep that lives at Stora Nassa.
After our tour around the island we relaxed inside the sailboat and did some small boatwork, working with connecting the VHF antenna was one thing we did.
Sunday arrived and it was time to head home, we ate breakfast and set sail shortly after. On Björkskärsfjärden it was still quite windy so we tried our middle jib, which Björn, the sailmaker, had gone over, on the cutter stay. With that sail and a reefed main we sailed approximately 5-6 knots without cringing to much.
When we reached the bigger islands around Möja the wind died a bit so we un-reefed the main and took down the cutter stay jib and furled out the genoa instead. It last part was quite slower than the first, but the sun was shining. At one point when sailing downwind we tried the whisker pole for the first time, not for long, though, since the wind is constantly changing direction in Stockholm archipelago.
Soon we will sail back Anne-Mon to the city for the winter, which means we will focus more on the final preparations before our big sail. It also means that there will be more frequent blog posts here, since we have the boat closer.
This weekend the weather was kind of promising so we set out sailing towards Lådna in Stockholm archipelago. Petra’s parents and their dog Felix were visiting and they needed to leave early on Sunday so Lådna was perfect since it is pretty close to where we have Anne-Mon right now. We also wanted to find some mushrooms and last year we visited Lådna with our ship and found a lot of chanterelles.
It was a pretty calm sail on Saturday morning and we got to try the new mail sheet traveler we added a while back. The behavior of the main sail was much better and it was also easier to handle the main sheet.
We arrived to Lådna, had some lunch and went on a hunt for chanterelles.
And we found a lot of mushrooms, yellow chanterelles, autumn chanterelle and some other mushrooms. So now we will have mushrooms to eat for the entire autumn 🙂
After the mushroom hunt we had some work to do cleaning the mushrooms and preserve them. Some of them we cooked so that the water in them disappeared and left in the freezer and some we will dry.
We also had to look for tics, and all of us had some that stuck. There aren’t a lot of dangerous animals in Sweden and the tic is one of the worst. It carries diseases, which could be quite serious if infected.
We prepared some dinner and went to bed quite early, tired after sailing and mushroom hunting.
The day after it was cold and cloudy. We prepared a nice breakfast and got ready to leave.
The sail back was much colder and the rain was close. Fortunately for us, it started raining when we were back.
Petra’s parents left as soon as we docked, but we stayed a while and worked with Anne-Mon for a while, but more about that in next blog post.
Next part of our sailing/boatwork week, we sail to Björkskär, install a solar panel, celebrate Petra’s birthday and get the sea water pump working. We left Horsholmen and started sailing towards Björkskär in the outer archipelago. The winds where still strong and we started by setting the furling head sail and sailed with it until we arrived to Björkskärsfjärden where we hoisted the main sail as well (we had taken the furling head sail down before to pass through a narrow strait). The wind where still quite strong, 18-20 knots gusting around 22 knots. Our initial plan was to head for Stora Nassa so we set a course so that we sailed close reach. We didn’t make that much speed since close reach is not one of Anne-Mon’s strengths. There where also some waves, which didn’t help us sail faster.
The Baltic Sea has not higher waves than other seas but the waves are usually choppy , which means that they are short, steep waves.
While we where close to Björkskär we decided to skip Stora Nassa and go to Björkskär instead. We could then sail the final part on a beam reach, and at one point we reached a speed of 7.6 knots, a new record for us!
The strait north of Björkskäret is usually very crowded during the summer months, but when we arrived there were no other boat there, due to the weather, and we could chose whichever spot we wanted.
We had arrived quite early and started with some boatwork, to install the first solar panel.
We have chosen flexible solar panels to have on the roof. We have bought 5, each gives 60 W, they are rough and you can walk on them without problem. We also chose to have small solar panels to get the most electricity out of them. The cells in the solar panels are connected in series, and if one part of the panel is shadowed the capacity of the solar panel is significantly decreasing. Having a large solar panel increases the risk of having a part of the panel shadowed, while having many small ones there will almost always be at least 1 or 2 that are not shadowed and will deliver maximum amount of electricity.
The following day the weather was much better and a lot more boats arrived. We woke up and took a swim, together with a grass snake, which are quite common in the archipelago. During these two sailing trips we have seen unusually many grass snakes and one viper, the only poisonous snake in Sweden but despite that, not very poisonous.
When the electricity for the solar panels where in place we could try one of them out and the panel charged with 45 W, really good! We didn’t have enough Sikaflex (or weights, for that matter) to install the remaining four solar panels, so we will have to do that another time.
After some time we finally had sea water connected to the galley. Makes dishing so much easier! 🙂 After some hours of working on the boat it was time to get back to birthday celebration.
We ate a nice dinner and fell asleep. The following day it was time to head back. Our summer vacation was over and it was time to get back to work.
It is soon weekend and we will head out to the boat. Maybe do some sailing but mostly focusing on getting stuff done. The forecast says there’s gonna be a lot of rain so might focus working on the boat.