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North to Nynashamn

Date: July 17th to 22nd 2004

Distance : 117 miles

Weather : Mixed. Mainly cloudy with some rain.

Somewhere on this website I talk about how it is ‘always Sunny in Sweden’. What do I know? It now appears that we’ve chosen the worst summer since 1860 to experience the delights of the Stockholm archipelago…. The locals (and ourselves) are wondering where summer has gone?

It all started reasonably well. We arrived (by car) at Loftahammar late on Friday night, travelling on deserted roads, and never seeing another human being. By 10:00 AM on Saturday we were standing in the world’s longest checkout queue in the local supermarket.

After lengthy provisioning, we trucked north through the islands to a small nature harbour called Bokö about 25 miles north of Loftahammar, to meet our Swedish friends on board their Hallberg Rassy 'Sir Francis'. (Technically Alfred comes from Austria, and Hilkka from Finland, but they live and work locally and their dog, Smilla, is properly Swedish). On arrival (carefully skirting the rocks), we were immediately introduced to the local custom of Manöverschluck (drinks following harbour activities like tie-ing up). For a country which only sells booze from government owned shops, I never cease to marvel at the different excuses Swedes can find to get pissed. Somewhat oddly, Manöverschluck seems to apply whenever anyone moves in the harbour, not just yourselves...

Part of the standard Swedish equipment for cruising in the islands is the Weber barbeque, so shortly after Manöverschluck, were were instructed in the operation of this critical piece of equipment. Instruction was accompanied by some drinks. Shortly after, we had a memorable meal on board Sir Francis, accompanied by some more drinks (I forget exactly how many at this stage)

Next day, the weather was still fair and we set sail together for Strysö, another nature harbour about 20 miles further north. We arrived here and tied up on a rock so steep I was in danger of slipping and plunging headlong into the water. After a precarious few minutes we managed to relocate to a more sheltered and marginally less steep rocks a few hundred yards away.

This time (after more Manöverschluck) we had the advanced course on Weber Barbeque technique (barbequing in strong winds and pouring rain). It rained all evening, so to pass the time we had a few more drinks.

After a fairly quiet, if wet, night, we all had to leave for Nyköping. We’d arranged for the local harbour master to buy us an Ankaralina, and were due to collect it, and Alfred and Hilkka had to leave their boat as their booze was running low. By the time we reached Nykoping it was absolutely pouring down. We passed one British boat going the other way with their cockpit enclosure still up. The windows were completely steamed up so how they saw out is anyone’s guess. Nyköping was full, so we squeezed in along the quay. We ended the day with a great meal in the local Rökeri (smoke house), along with some more drinks…

Tuesday morning saw us puzzling over how to fit the Ankoralina. All Swedish boats are fitted with an easily accessible stern anchor, and the Ankorolina is a flat line on a spool that pays out from the stern as you nudge up to those rocks. Somehow, none of the fixing holes seemed to line up (why do they make them like that?) Eventually we got it fixed somehow. We also added some fittings to the pushpit to hold the anchor. Having got it all fitted, I took one bit back off to straighten it up – and dropped it straight into the water. This meant a quick trip to the local Watski to get another…

Wednseday, and we set out (alone and fairly sober) for Nynashamn, at the southern end of the Stockholm Archipelago proper. We stayed that night in Ringsoen, but moved rapidly in the morning when we woke up to discover the main anchor dragging. We arrived at Nynashamn in mid afternoon to find the place heaving. We had a nervous moment when Pat, who does most of the driving, hit reverse by accident just as we came up to the quay and we found ourselves back out in the middle of the pool, but now securely attached by the stern to the bouy by our new Ankarolina.

Nynashamn is useful as it has a direct train into Stockholm, and is a suitable place to leave the boat, but as a town, it’s not a great deal. Its main attraction is Nynas Rökeri, the delicatessen and smokehouse on the quay. If you don’t fancy a take away, the restaurant is a must.

After all this we needed a day's retail therapy in Stockholm.

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