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Last Trip

Date: 6th to 11th September

Distance : 104 miles

Weather : Glorious.

We had a quick break in the UK for Bank Holiday weekend. Nyköping is an ideal place to leave the boat as the marina is just ten minutes from Skavsta (which Ryanair still call Stockholm). We left the house in the UK at 11am and were sitting on the boat by 3 in the afternoon.

We spent the next week ambling down through the largely by now deserted southern archipelago towards where we lay the boat up. This time however we eschewed nature harbours in favour of places with some electricity. We figured it was going to be cold and dark so lighting and heating figured high on our agenda. In fact, the weather was glorious. The winds were (generally) modest and favourable, the weather fine and surprisingly warm.

The week was largely uneventful. We had a good sail down from Nyköping to Arko and tied up in the guest berths at Nordanskog. We prefer this as it's prettier and the only place at Arko with electricity. After 3 years we've finally plucked up the courage to beat through these areas.

After Arko, the wind shifted due south - on the nose - and blew a little harder, so we eschewed sailing that part of the trip and motored down the 'M25', the narrow buoyed channel from Arko to Fyrudden. We watched a couple of locals struggling, but even they gave up after a while. We decided to try Gryts, a boatyard and conference centre that's had some considerable investment in recent years. Its a bit off the beaten track by boat (and literally in the middle of nowhere by road) but it has a pleasant little hotel with a good restaurant. The hotel also has a Sauna and plunge pool, which you can rent for yourselves - it was a glorious treat. The wind stayed where it was, so we stayed an extra day.

The marine railway at GrytsGrtys boasts the largest boat hall in Sweden - the sheds certainly are huge. They also now make the concrete wavebreak pontoons on behalf of Pontana - every few days they roll out and launch another one. The marina is consequently filling up with pontoons. (Incidentally look at the pontoon that is the guest harbour - its a continuous concrete one about 50 yards long. How did they make that? And how did they launch it?) I was fascinated by the launching ramp - I spent days trying to work out how it worked as it seemed to be supported in mid-air. On the last day I found out - as usual far more straightforward than I suspected - it was simply a (rather large) marine railway. I still don't know how they maintain the thing as most of its permanently underwater

Next day we left Gryts by the (unmarked) southern entrance and sailed south in a dying breeze the thirty odd miles to Vastervik. This time we sailed all the way from Gryts to Vastervik marina - almost like a local! Talking of locals, on the way we were passed by a couple shouting at us, and flying the Australian flag from the crosstrees. It turned out to be the yacht Fiona, (you can read their log here).

The Skipper leaving the shipVastervik was deserted and the electricity locked up. I panicked for a minute, but fortunately the harbourmaster came along and unlocked it. He passed the rest of the afternoon hosing guano of his pontoons. (The local tourist office have a lovely way of putting things. In the magazine they produce, they report that the marina had been taken over by a new owner and was being improved - not before time, they said!)

Vastervik, even out of season, has a few reasonable restaurants. We recommend Smugglaren. Its in a wooden hut in an alley, but the food is superb.

We finally left Kissen laid up in her shed. The skipper left by breeches buoy (See photo). And so, another year over...

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