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Nature Harbours

One of the main attractions of sailing in Sweden is staying in one of the many Nature Harbours. These staggeringly attractive rock pools are havens of peace and tranquility, and provide a wonderful place to stop and be sheltered from the elements. Once there, you can bathe from the back of the boat, have picnics and barbeques on the rocks or just go exploring.

There are thousands of places in the archipelago to tie up to a rock or drop the anchor. The more popular places actually have litter bins and occasionally earth toilets, and some have rings set into the rocks to tie up to.

The easiest way to find the more pretty harbours is to look on the Batsportkort charts. The litter bins are overprinted in red, and a collection of these on an apparent 'out of the way' island is a dead giveaway. However to make the most of them you will need a good book or high resolution chart. The most popular recent book is the Nautiska Forlaget publication by Lars Granneth, but the Swedish Cruising Club also does a good set, especially for the West Coast. The Lars Granneth books have highly accurate colour chartlets which are essential for getting into the more obsure harbours.

Most harbours have a muddy bottom so holding is excellent, but the Swedes prefer to tie up to a rock or a tree. They nudge up to a suitable rock very, very, slowly, throwing a stern anchor over about 100 yards out. If a suitable tree isnt within tieing-up distance (you'll need some very long ropes), many locals carry metal pins which they can hammer into the rocks to hold the boat. Its a good idea to put some fenders over - some evenings the more popular spots can be as busy as the marinas - but as Swedes respect each others privacy, there is rarely any noise or disturbance.

Although barbeques are popular, you are warned not to light a fire directly on the rocks - they can crack! Climbing can also be hazadous, and unlike the UK, there are no safety barriers.

Useful resources
North Sea Passage Pilot

Landsort - Skanor Excellent guide to marinas and nature harbours - in Swedish

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