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The Stockholm Skärgård


Date: July 24th to 30th 2004

Distance : 82 miles

Weather : Mixed. Some glorious sun but also cloudy. Winds NE

The Stockholm Archipelago proper starts at Nynasham in the south and stretches to Arlanda in the north. Between there lies about 150 miles of islands and rocks with sheltered sailing. We set out from Nynashamn to experience the delights.

We had been recommended that one place we must visit was Utö, about 12 miles north of Nynashamn and described in the guide books as ‘the ultimate destination’. You’d think therefore that arriving mid Saturday in peak season would be somewhat shortsighted.

In fact, it was busy, but we got a place in the southern marina, and the island does have much to recommend it. The famous restaurant (Utö Värdshus) was full as was the Bakery (Bageri) but the walks around the island were interesting and the views at sunset, stunning.

After so many people we fancied a quiet time so we motored the few miles to Dyviken, an easy nature harbour on the next island of Ornö. We spent the rest of the day in some peace and solitude.

The following day it rained, so we stayed put. This allowed Sir Francis, now restocked with food and booze, to catch up with us. An intensive Manöverschluck session followed their arrival.

 

Alfred was suffering from a computer handicap (his last ipaq had blown up) so arranged to collect a new one from a restaurant in Sandhamn (don’t ask). This meant that we had to visit the ‘ Cowes of the north’.

Actually, after all we’d heard, it was rather different. Yes it was run by the equivalent of the Royal Yacht Squadron (KSSS), so it was full of boat boys in posh polo shirts and cool shades, and has a ‘race village’, but behind that, the infrastructure is deliberately undeveloped, with dirt roads, and very little commerciality. Apparently the Swedes prefer it that way. There was an outcry a few years ago when the firm that owns the island built a hotel, but it seems to have been tastefully done so it doesn’t clash or scream at you.

We didn’t stay in the main marina but in Lokholmen, a very sheltered marina on the island opposite. Facilities were minimal but there was a free ferry to Sandhamn itself. We had a truly excellent meal in the Sandhamns Värdshus, which boasts that it has been open every day since it opened in 1920.

We left Sandham and wanted to visit Möja, a very pretty island to the north. The trip there was exceptionally pretty, via some narrow fjords, but the island itself was over subscribed, so instead we visited Finnhamn (Paradiset). This is reputedly the archipelago’s most beautiful, (and most popular) nature harbour. We counted approaching 200 boats tied up or anchored in the bay, but despite that, it somehow didn’t seem overcrowded. There is a good walk to Finhamm Krog, which did an excellent Caesar salad, and we liked it so much we stayed for two days.

Eventually, we waved goodbye to Sir Francis, who sailed back south and we made our way North. We stopped at Furosund, a ‘truck stop’ on the main Stockholm waterway. It’s strange to see the huge ferries making their way up the narrow fjord. The marina itself is subject to wash from these and (more particularly) to the wash from motorboats using the adjacent fuel jetty. Avoid if at all possible.


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