Baltic Circle

Baltic Circle

Season 2011 brought to us again new experiences and seamanship skills. The fourth boating year started with the excitement of launching the brand new Nauticat 441 Suwena. Familiarization with the new boat type and sailing brought additional challenge to this summer season.

We fulfilled our target to make with Suwena a circle around the Baltic Sea through Åland, Stockholm archipelago, Gotland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia back to Finland. The length of our voyage was 1348 nautical miles and we spent unforgettable 89 days aboard her.

On our trip we saw very different destinations. In Åland and in Stockholm archipelago we felt like home. Of course we visited many fabulous places which we liked a lot. However Sweden and Finland are culturally so close that it felt like being at home.

We found Gotland to be one of the most fascinating places of this season. There were a unique atmosphere and we were very satisfied that we chose Visby as a place to spend the Midsummer celebration. The feeling in the marina was very international because there were at the same time cruisers from all Baltic Sea countries. Some of them were cruising around the Baltic like us and others were on their way to the Seven Seas of the World. Some planned Atlantic crossing with the ARC and others were just on their way to Canary Islands, a few were on return leg from Mediterranean Sea. We also met Dutch and British cruisers exploring the Baltic Sea.

Each of the Baltic countries were very different cruising destinations. Their independence is still young and the infrastructure is not as advanced as in the Scandinavian countries. We are very pleased with visiting these countries. The people were fantastic and we felt warmly welcome and safe everywhere. There were also a plenty to see and experience. Especially the sand dunes in Lithuania were unbelievable. The Baltic coast speciality is over 150 miles long sand beach which accompanied us on the starboard side the whole passage on the western coast of Lithuania and Latvia.

In Lithuania and Latvia the boating is an emerging hobby. In Estonia the keen yachtsmen participated actively in various competitions. Estonian yachting infrastructure has been developing so fast that cruising guide and harbour book publishers have trouble keeping up. The marina of Lõunaranna is a good example. Everybody who has visited Lõunaranna marina gives thumbs up and we discovered it from other local sailors in Roomassaare harbour.

Suwena crew learned several new skills of seamanship during the season. We improved our sailing techniques over the season. Together we pondered in different wind and wave combinations on how to trim our sails. Through trial and error we learned a lot but there are still many things to master in upcoming summers as well.

Of course we have sailed at dusk and dawn but one of the new experiences this year is the night sailing. Our legs were longer as well and we needed to consider several new things while planning the departure, sailing and arrival. There are only a few safe havens on the Baltic coast and arriving to an unknown place with rough seas in darkness is not something we would like to do. In addition in Klaipeda we needed to announce ourselves by VHF to the coast guard both on arrival and depature from the country. Otherwise cruising on Baltic Sea area is very free.

The new Suwena displaces 19 metric tons and that is almost two and half times compared to our previous boat. Both at sea and in harbour manoeuvres we need to pay attention to her mass more carefully. For example it is not possible to move Suwena by hand any more. At moorings we need to consider both her weight and berth’s suitability for a 14.5 metre yacht.

The Baltic circle consisted of 35 travel days and 54 harbour days. We increased the number of harbour days compared to the last season because for us it is important to explore our cruising destinations throughout and also spend some time on a yacht. Some of the harbour days were consumed by our company and work as well.

All Baltic circle blog entries can be read from the 2011 blog archive and we’ve made also a seasons ranking list

Log summary of Suwena 2011

  • Nautical miles: 1348 nm, from where 20 % sailing, 30 % motorsailing and 50 % motoring
  • Engine hours: 202 h
  • Generator hours: 24 h
  • Fuel used incl. engine, generator and heater: 1090 l
  • Fresh water: 6700 l
  • Ports 30 + anchorages 3: 33
  • Overnight stays: 89 nights, from which 4 in anchor
  • Longest leg: 125 nm Vändburg, Gotland – Klaipeda, Lithuania
  • The great-circle distance to the farthest point from home port: 599 nm Oulu – Nida, Lithuania
  • Southernmost point: 55N18.1 Nida, Lithuania
  • Westernmost point: 17E57.2 Nynäshamn, Sweden
  • Easternmost point: 25E27.5 East side of the Pirttisaari island in Porvoo
  • Northernmost point: 60N25.9 Hirvensalo boatyard, Turku
  • Dinghy fuel consumption: 4 l

The map of Suwena’s year 2011 harbours and summer voyage. Click here to enlarge the map or enlarge map to full screen.

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