Seasons Greetings and Sailing South Sweden | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

Seasons Greetings and Sailing South Sweden

December 2010

Seasons Greetings & Notes on Sailing South Sweden

December 12, 2010

Sailboats in the small harbour at Utklippan off the south coast of Sweden

Seasons Greetings!

As I write to you today large puffy snowflakes are falling from the sky but we are warm and cosy. A yule log is crackling in the fireplace and Paul and I are decorating our tree to the sound of Christmas carols. Yes, we're back ashore in Canada for The Holidays as well as Boat Show Season. But I’m going to tell you more about cruising along the south coast of Sweden later on in my newsletter.

With all the travelling we do aboard our sailboat each year and all the accompanying excitement of constant change, new people, foods and languages, we find that being home for the Christmas Season it a pleasant and welcome pause. Being surrounded by familiar faces, carrying on family traditions with the people we love, and cooking and enjoying the comfort foods we miss while we're away makes us appreciate the all good things we have at home.

Travelling and living on a sailboat has taught us many things over the years. A few of the skills I am appreciating right now as the frenzy of this Festive Season starts to build is how to step back from chaos, simplify situations when you can, and take things slowly so you can arrive at your destination safely and comfortably. Whether the goal is reaching the far side of an ocean or getting the turkey on the table, the same things apply.

If you need to escape for a while and take a breather we have added some new things to the website to entertain and inform you:

December Newsletter
My Newsletter for December, which you'll find below, continues our cruising adventures with a story about sailing along the south coast of Sweden and east to the Danish island of Christiansö. NOTE: If you are a subscriber please add to your address book so that your spam filters do not block the mailings we send to you. Thanks.

New Boat Blog
Paul continues his Equipment Round-up with Part 2, the feature of the latest New Boat Blog discussing what worked and what didn't while cruising this year.

DVDs for Gift Giving – December Special
If you still need a gift for the sailor on your list we have an ULTRA SUPER DUPER CHRISTMAS SPECIAL for December – buy the Special Super Pack (includes all Distant Shores episodes Seasons 1 through 6 which is 14 DVDS) for just US $120 / CAD $120 and get our bestselling “Cruising with the Shards” DVD for free! This month only. Hours and hours of sailing fun! Need it fast? We can ship by courier. Order today on our new store...

It is our most sincere wish that you and yours are able to enjoy Peace and Tranquility as well as All the Pleasures of The Holidays this year.

Paul and Sheryl Shard
SV Distant Shores II

December 2010 Newsletter
Baltic Sea Sailing - South Sweden and Christiansø

I last wrote about our travels in my September 10th newsletter where I finished in Copenhagen, Denmark, so will continue from there...

We set sail from Copenhagen on Saturday July 24 around 10:00 am after a fabulous week moored along the quay in the Nyhavn Canal right in the heart of this beautiful Danish city. It was a grey overcast day but being in good spirits we were excited about moving on and beginning new adventures in another new country – next stop Sweden!

It's really not far. From Copenhagen you can see Sweden. In fact there is an impressive bridge, the longest road and rail bridge in Europe, called the Øresund Bridge which links the two countries. It is a 7,845 metre (25,738 ft) combined twin-track railway and highway bridge-tunnel across the Øresund strait connecting the Danish capital city of Copenhagen and the major Swedish city of Malmö.

The Øresund Bridge overlooks a large wind farm in the strait and we sailed past both the wind farm and the bridge on our way to the Fasterbo Canal about a 2 ½ hour sail eastwards from Copenhagen.

Going through the canal saves a little time when you're heading along the Swedish coast. There is one bridge that raises on the hour. Call on VHF 73 to let them know you are waiting to pass. Just about everyone speaks English in Sweden so communication is rarely a problem. We went through on the 2:00 pm opening and were through the canal and back out into open water 15 minutes later.

After a great sail - a beam reach with offshore breezes on flat seas - we arrived at the small port of Gislöv Läge which is quite shallow. We had to raise the keel to go in and although there were only 2 other cruising boats here we had to raft up since most of the tiny harbour is used by the local fishing fleet. It's not particularly close to a town or attractions of any kind but there is a small cafe and we were just looking for a place to pull in for the night and possibly hole up for a couple of days since there was some bad weather in the forecast for the next few days. Our day sail from Copenhagen was a total of 36.5 nm.

We did get some very strong wind the next day but since it was offshore, meaning flat seas, and the harbour at Ystad 23 nm further along seemed like a more interesting place to stay for a few days, we decided to head out and practice heavy weather tactics with our new Southerly 49 for a few hours. Paul has written about that experience in his New Boat Blog entitled Force 8 Sailing written on 01/08/10.

Sailing to Ystad was a good move since we had a couple of nice days there despite the wet weather since the lovely old town was just across the road from the harbour with nice restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore including a great chandlery where we got some additional charts, cruising guides and boat bits for projects we could do onboard in the rain.

Tuesday July 27 dawned sunny and bright but unfortunately without wind. However by then we were ready to move on so continued eastwards motoring along the coast past picturesque harbours and impressive cliff top Viking burial mounds that reminded us of Stonehedge. We then headed out into open water leaving Sweden briefly to make landfall in the tiny Danish island of Christiansö, 48 nm from Ystad.

Christiansö is actually a small archipelago situated approximately 18 km northeast of the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. Its permanent population is 96 and its area is 39 hectares. This group of islands features Denmark's most eastern point. Christiansö is basically a fortress on a rock but is oh-so-pretty. The harbour is miniscule and by the end of the evening so many boats were rafted in you could almost walk across the harbour over boat decks. But Scandinavian sailors are the most considerate and tolerant travellers that we have met so it never seemed to be a problem if things got busy. We paid 36 Euros/night for our 14.9m sailboat.

On the morning of Wednesday July 28 the 5 boats in our raft peeled off and out of the harbour for another day of motor sailing. Our destination was the anchorage at Årpö within the Swedish archipelago near Karlkrona. Sweden has several large archipelagos made up of tiny rocky uninhabited islets called skerries great for cruising sailors.

Paul and I love to be at anchor and the islands here reminded us so much of the Muskokas at home in Canada. We hung out here for a few days exploring with the dinghy, hiking around the islands and catching up on writing and editing projects. I put Paul up the mast to check the rigging, much easier to do on Distant Shores II using the electric winch!

Although there was lots of room to drop the hook in the anchorage at Årpö the local boats always preferred to go bow to the little dock at the island and be close to their neighbours.

Sunday August 1st we sailed on to the town of Karlskrona to do a little grocery shopping. The town has an excellent Maritime Museum, chandleries and nice guest harbour. But we were keen to get back to wilderness places and headed back out into the Baltic the next day for the isolated archipelago of Utklippan which is basically a lighthouse and a few outbuildings perched on some offshore islets.

We arrived late in the afternoon to find a small harbour carved out of the rock.

Utlklippan is managed by harbourmaster Lennart Rovin. During the summer months his college-aged daughter Kajsa helps him greet sailors, maintain the harbour, the small youth hostel, a little shop and a small cafe.

The two are a great team and taught us a lot about the history of the island and the seal population that inhabits the outer islets.

Every night boats piled in to the tiny man-made harbour at Utlklippan and rafted up together. There isn't a lot of space to walk around but there's something really special about this isolated place and the sailors that seek it out. We made some good friends there!

Next time I'll tell you about great places we visited on the west coast of Sweden.

In the meantime, have a very enjoyable Holiday Season!

Sheryl and Paul
SV Distant Shores II
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