Sailing back to Stockholm city

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.

Sailing towards Stockholm
Sailing back to Stockholm.

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.

The spot we chose for the night.

It ate breakfast and left right after, just when it started to rain…

Time to leave for the last leg. As you can see on the water we had some 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.

sailing stockholm
Passing the castle outside Vaxholm.
sailing stockholm
When getting closer to the city it is common with close encounters with the cruise ships. Not so fun while tacking!
Just outside the headland Blockhusudden on Djurgården close to the city. The sun finally breached through the thick clouds.
Sunset sailing towards Stockholm.

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.


Birthday celebration and boat work at Björkskär

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.

Sailing through the waves across Björkskärsfjärden.

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.

Trying out how to position all the solar panels.

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.

Glue, in the form of Sikaflex, for the first solar panel in place.
Using all kind of weights to fix the solar panel.

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.

Anchored at Björkskär. The following day more boats arrived.
It was Petra’s birthday so we had a wonderful shrimp sandwich for lunch.
We also worked with installing the electricity for the solar panels so that they are able to charge the batteries and the electricity for the sea water pump.

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.

Installing the sea water pump.

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.

Beers in the cockpit.

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.

Sailing vacation in Stockholm archipelago – part two

Time for the part two of our little sailing vacation in Stockholm archipelago. To read part one click HERE. The route for our little sailing vacation, the red part is part one and the purple is part two.

Day 4

We woke up at Svartskär and before continuing north we decided to dive in the boat to check how she looks below waterline and to remove the worst growing. She has a lot on the hull which we will remove later when we take her up on land.

sailing vacation stockholm archipelago
Removing the worst part of the sea grass growing on the hull.
How it looked before…
… and after. We still need to take her up on land to get rid of all of it and re-paint the hull.

After cleaning and the dishes where done it was time to set sail for the next island. It was a downwind/broad reach sail so we decided to hoist our mizzen stay sail for the first time. The mizzen stay sail is kind of a gennaker but for the mizzen mast. For this first time we fixed the sail at the bottom of the main mast, hoisted it in the mizzen mast and hauled it in the cockpit. We are not sure if this was the best way to do it and will try different ways of setting this sail later. After hoisting the sail upside down first we managed to hoist it correctly. It definitely made a difference setting the mizzen stay sail. We gained 0.5 knots in the light wind compared to only having the headsail up.

The mizzen stay sail and headsail seen from the cockpit.
sailing vacation stockholm archipelago
Mizzen stay sail seen from the bow.
sailing vacation stockholm archipelago
Trying wing on wing with headsail and mizzen stay sail. It worked really well until one of them started flapping, them both of them where flapping very much and it was hard to get them back. But it took a while for them to start flapping.

We arrived to the island of Bullerö and our first mission was to walk across the island to get some water. We haven’t installed our water systems yet or cleaned the water tanks so for this trip we brought freshwater in cans and bottles but they where almost empty so we had to fill them up.

Walking across Bullerö to find some water.
sailing vacation stockholm archipelago
On the south side of Bullerö, where we found water. On the picture is the sauna on Bullerö. There is quite common to find saunas in the archipelago and really nice way to enjoy a evening.

We carried the water all the way back to the boat and fixing the fresh water system will definitely be highly prioritized after the summer vacation.

We fixed dinner and then we walked back to the south side of Buller to watch a Jazz concert. It was way to idyllic sitting on the rocks listening to jazz with the sunset, beautiful red houses and sheep grazing on the fields close by. Stockholm archipelago at its finest.

sailing vacation stockholm archipelago bullerö
Idyllic evening at Bullerö.
sailing vacation stockholm archipelago
Beautiful sunset on our walk back to the boat.
Day 5

We woke up early the following day and left the bay. We had decided to sail towards Björkskär and that would take a while so we wanted to be on our way early. We set sails and ate breakfast on the go. This day we finally had some wind and we where able to get some speed. We approximately sailed at 5-6 knots and topped at 7 knots, with a really dirty hull. Even though it is quite windy Anne-Mon, due to being long-keeled, is stable and doesn’t lean that much.

sailing vacation stockholm archipelago

When we where close to Björkskär and it was time to take down the sails the engine wouldn’t start. We continued with the sails up and in the meantime we tried to find the reason why it wouldn’t start, and did not find it. We looked at the charts to find a spot we could sail into and anchor to investigate the engine and started sail towards the main land. And then we found the issue, which was that shut off leaver had got stuck in shut off position.

We started the engine and headed towards Björkskär again. We anchored, took a swim and ate dinner. It was raining during the evening and almost all night. The anchorage we choose was not very protected so we didn’t get much hours of sleep since we worried that our anchor would drag, but fortunately it didn’t.

Comfy evening inside with candles and wine due to the rain. Perfect with our big windows and the position of our sofa.
Day 6

We woke up a bit tired but didn’t linger at Björkskär to long. It was time to head for islands closer to Stockholm since we only where to be out one more night. We crossed Björkskärsfjärden to head towards the island of Ostholmen, where we both been a couple of times before. On our way there we practiced narrow passage sailing, quite scary but went really good.

Practiced some narrow passage sailing trough this strait, which is approx. 50 meters across (164 ft).
sailing vacation stockholm archipelago
Anchored at Ostholmen.
sailing vacation stockholm archipelago ostholmen
The sauna at Ostholmen.

While at Ostholmen we decided to take a look at our sails once more. We have only done that once before and that was indoors. We realized now that we been wrong about some of the sails we have. We realized we have another main sail, which looks much fresher and the one we have set on the mast now. We will probably change to the newer one and have the old one as a spare. We also had a third main sail but it is way to small for our main mast and to big for the mizzen mast. With this second look at our sails we concluded that we have:

  • 2 Main sails
  • 1 smaller main sail
  • 1 Furling genua
  • 1 genua (probably the old one before  they added the furler)
  • 3 sails for the cutter stay in 3 different sizes.
  • 1 mizzen sail
  • 1 spinnaker
  • 1 mizzen stay sail

Now we only have to try all the sails. We would also like to buy a new furling genua since the one we are using now is old. We keep watch if something comes up second hand that fits our boat.

The new main sail that we realized we had.
Day 7

Time to head back. We didn’t need to sail all the way into Stockholm, we got a spot at Vindö and will leave he there for a while. We cleaned the boat and left her there.

We took some days of from the sailboat but now we will go on a little sailing trip again, This time we might be sailing in the northern part of Stockholm archipelago and if the winds are good we might head towards Åland.



Sailing vacation in Stockholm archipelago – part one

We had finally finished the preparations necessary for a summer sail, so it was time to go on our sailing vacation in Stockholm archipelago 🙂 our plan was to sail a little bit more south than we usually go with our ship.

On the map below the first part of our sailing trip can be seen. We will add part two shortly.

Day one

We woke up and finished the final preparations before we set off. The first part we motored towards Fjäderholmarna where we stopped to fill up some diesel and buy a ice cream. It was very little wind but we set sail anyway, the mizzen sail, main sail and the furling genua and then we started tack towards Skurusundet. Since there was almost no wind and since Skurusundet is a pretty narrow strait we took down the sails and continued by motor. After driving a while we arrived to Baggenstäket, a very narrow but beautiful strait.

Driving through Baggenstäket, beautiful and narrow.

After we passed through this narrow inlet we had more space in Baggensfjärden and it was time to hoist the sails once more, but there was no wind so we only made 0.5-1 knots, we met some friends who took a picture of us.

ketch rigged sailboat
Anne-Mon with all sails hoisted on Baggensfjärden.

Since we had no wind we took the sails down once more and started the engine for a while. The wind later picked up and we started tacking all the way to the island of Kymmendö. We choose to anchor in the bay on the northern side of the island, which had a lot of places to anchor. In Sweden it is common to anchor towards the rock with an anchor in the stern. We have a 10 kg anchor in the stern (and 15 kg in the bow) but no chain for the stern anchor. When we first dropped the anchor it dragged since the line holding the anchor was floating. We then attached a normal rope to it and it stuck but we will buy a short chain for this anchor for our next sailing trip next week.

One good thing that we noticed that we really liked with Anne-Mon is that the sofa is located pretty high (since we have all the tanks and engine below the sofa) and that means that we are able to sit in the sofa with perfect view of the outside. It makes the galley light and you don’t feels as shut in as you might do in other sailboats.

A good thing about Anne-Mon is that we are able to sit in the sofa inside and still be able to enjoy the sunset.
Day Two

We woke up pretty early after a good first night sleep in the boat. We did the dishes on the shoreline since we don’t have either sea water or fresh water connected yet. We also stopped at the shop at Kymmendö to buy some bottles of water and to fill up our water can.

Then we set sail towards Huvudskär. As yesterday it was tacking all the way and we set the mizzen, main and genua. It was pretty little wind so we didn’t go very fast.

sailing stockholm archipelago
On our way to Huvudskär.

sailing stockholm archipelago

Since there was little wind we arrived to Huvudskär pretty late. Huvudskär is a pretty popular island and many of the anchorage spots where already taken, but after a while we got a spot on the main island. We went on a tour to look at the lighthouse and the beautiful red houses on the island.

The lighthouse on Huvudskär.
sailing stockholm archipelago Huvudskär
Beautiful red houses on Huvudskär.
sailing stockholm archipelago
Anne-Mon anchored at Huvudskär.

The sunset at Huvudskär was very beautiful this evening. Also, at 9pm the boats got notified by a trumpet, time to take the flags down. In Sweden it is good manners to take the flag down at sunset or at 9pm if the sun is up longer and then to take it up at sunrise, or 9 am if the sun rises earlier. It is not followed by all but we took down our flag and some other boats got the hint as well. After we enjoyed Auld Lang Syne on trumpet.

Day three

We woke up early once more and took a morning swim at Huvudskär before continuing north. Further sailing south we will do next year when we set sail for the Caribbean (!!). We set sails early after leaving Huvudskär and today it was no need for tacking, it was downwind sailing almost all the way. We tried having the sails wing on wing, which worked okey but will probably work better if we are able to set up a whisker pole.

sailing stockholm archipelago
Tried setting the sails wing on wing.

It was a slow sail, with very little wind. We enjoyed sitting out in the cockpit in the sun. We arrived to the islands close to Biskopsön and spent a while looking for a good spot. Finally we decided on a spot on the northern side of Svartskär. We anchored and went out to explore the island.

sailing stockholm archipelago
Exploring Svartskär.
sailing stockholm archipelago
Anne-Mon anchored at Svartskär.

Thomas also spent some time in the afternoon to go over the electric system on the boat. Apart from our main electrical panel we have a relay box in the bathroom. It controls all electrical stuff in the front of the boat and in the main mast.

Boatwork during the sailing vacation.

This was the first three days of our little sailing vacation in Stockholm archipelago, part two will be up soon. 🙂

All blog post we have about sailing in Stockholm archipelago can be found under the tag Stockholm archipelago and all blog posts about Northern Europe under the category Northern Europe.

Hoisting the sails and first sailing

While working with the cockpit we also decided it was time for hoisting the sails for the first time. First one was the furling head sail. We hoisted the furling head sail a calm evening.

Adding the furling head sail to the furling head stay.

We noticed that the sail was to short, so we needed a extensing on the halyard.

The head sail was to short for the furling system, like the second picture so we added an pennant like the one in the third picture to compensate.
First sail in position and furling system seems to work fine as well.

The following day we decided to hoist the main sail and try sailing our boat for the first time.

Preparing to hoist the main sail.
Both sails up and we are sailing!

We sailed around in central Stockholm for a while. It was Petras first sail ever  and Thomas first sail in a couple of years. The wind wasn’t very strong which was perfect for our first sail. Our sailboat isn’t exactly a racer but we moved forward pretty okay even though we have a lot of things growing on the keel and we weren’t able haul the sails properly since our winches needed some service.

First sail, much to learn about sailing.
Inside our winch handles, not much left of the old spring, just rust.
Our winches have the gripping functionality in the handle. We removed the old feather and added a new one, but we will need to do a full overhaul of the winches someday.

We hadn’t hoisted the mizzen sail yet, since we had noticed a damage on one of the lower shrouds for the mizzen mast.

The damage on one of the lower shrouds for the mizzen mast.

We ordered a new shroud and when it arrived we mounted it and could hoist the mizzen sail.

The mizzen sail hoisted.

It will be exiting to test sailing next time with the mizzen sail. Apparently the mizzen sail is really good hoisting first to set the sailboat in irons and then the rest of the sails can be hoisted.

Finally we added the boom covers for both the main mast and the mizzen mast, which made the boat look like  a proper sailboat!

Boom cover for the main mast.

Otherwise we have started painting the cockpit and will soon be able to show some before and after pictures of the cockpit! We are also working with renovating the cabin door and will add a blog post about that soon. But this weekend we will take a break from working with the sailboat to celebrate Swedish Midsummer, in our opinion the best holiday in Sweden. If you don’t know what holiday this is, just google Swedish Midsummer.