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Stockholm


Date: August 22nd to 31st 2004

Distance: 168 miles

Weather : Mixed. Mostly sun and showers, but one SE Gale!

Stockholm is a great place at the weekend. Unlike the rest of Sweden, it’s actually open! Restaurants however, remain indecently expensive, as we found out when we picked a pavement cafe at random.

After a few days of retail therapy, and a quick ‘fill-up’ at the worlds smallest supermarket – Konsum in Gamla Stan – we left. Sod’s law dictated that we’d moored with the brisk south-westerly wind up our bum expecting it to go round north-easterly by the time we left, but of course it hadn’t, which meant exiting Wasahamnen was a bit fun.

BaggensstaketAbout five miles outside Stockholm is a narrow, picturesque gorge called Skurusundet, which is the start of a ‘back door’ route out to the archipelago. The gorge is lined with boathouses and posh summer houses. A couple of miles down the gorge, and under a high bridge, you emerge into a small pool with a few marinas. At the other end of this, seemingly a dead end, is a short, narrow and shallow ‘canal’ cut. This is the famous Baggenstaket. I would hate to be here on a busy weekend in high season, but for us, it was deserted. The canal emerges at the top end of Baggensfjärden, a glorious open and pretty fjiord, which provides a route down to Dalarö.

We sailed down this fjord, past Saltsjöbaden, home of the KSS, to Ägnö. Here is Napoleonviken, another popular Nature Harbour. Fortunately, being mid week, it was not busy, and we managed to get our own personal rock to tie up to. It’s a great spot, and were on our own for some time, sheltered from the south-west breeze, until another boat finally tied up to the rock next door. I thought the water was rather too cold for swimming until a lady on the boat next door put me to shame, so in I went. It was, er, 'refreshing'.

The forecast the following day forecast gales, despite the day being warn, sunny, and windless. We motored down to Dalarö past the historic Dalarö Skans, until we eventually ended up for lunch at Rånöhamn. After a short stop at anchor, we pressed on back to Nynashamn, to ride out the gale. When we were last here in a blow, the marina was heaving, so we wondered if it would be this time - in fact we were one of only seven boats in the marina. In any event, the real reason I wanted to go to Nynashamn was for the restaurant at Nynas Rokerie. Their smoked, shell-on prawns, are worth travelling fifty miles for.

In the event, as is typical, the gale was delayed and arrived the following night, allowing us to get some much needed washing done. Swedish marinas are not as sheltered as those in the UK and it was a bouncy, noisy and unpleasant night. We apparently lost a fender at some point as we found it tied to the pulpit by some helpful person, and two boats near us had ropes which parted, fortunately with no damage.

FifangIt still blew on the Thursday, but we got bored waiting and had a bumpy, head-to-wind motor round Landsort. We then decided to sail so eased off our course and tied up in Fifang, near Sodertalje, for the night. In the grey overcast conditions, we found difficulty tying up, as the rocks all seemed to be at the wrong height to easily to get off the boat. We managed it however, and ended up alone all night. The pool was peaceful except for the twice when the local pilot boat went past, throwing us up in the air.

The following day the sky was clear and we motored most of the way through the archipelago to Oxelosund and out towards Arko. One Swedish boat, not much smaller than us, was making an exceptional job of tacking through the narrow channels, and put us to shame, but the wind was fairly light.

Rainbow over BokoThe nature harbours in the Southern Archipelago tend not to be as all-round sheltered as those in the Stockholm part. We had planned to find a nature harbour on Lundarna, but we couldn’t find a suitably sheltered spot, that we felt would be OK with the predicted wind shift coming, so in the end we decided to tie up in the marina at Arkosund. We then sat there, along with a neighboring German, whilst the entire population of Stockholm came down to the marina, got in their boats, and left….

It was blowy the following day, but sunny, and we managed to get just enough of a lift to get ourselves a sail down the main drag south towards Fyrudden. This time we decided not to stop there but to go on to be nearer Loftahammar, so we stopped, as we had on the way up, in Bokö – tied up to the same rock. This time, however, we were alone – and we stayed alone all night. No sooner had we cooked on the barbeque than the rain poured down.

The day was so nice following, even though the water was too cold to swim, that we stayed until lunchtime. On the way south we poked our nose into Långholmen, on the south side of Bokö, and scared ourselves witless. On the chartlet, between Grytsholmen and Stora Runnskär is a narrow, but 5 meters deep cut, from one pool into another. The water was down to 2.2 meters and dropping when we paniced and reversed out – not the easiest manoeuvre in the circumstances.

See you next year!


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