From Vaxholm to Stockholm 9.6. - 12.6.

  • Posted on: 16 June 2011
  • By: Eve

Starting from 16th century onwards Vaxholm has been a part of the Stockholm’s defence so we decided to stop there for a few days to explore the gatekeeper.

According to the harbour book Vaxholm marina has stern buoys so we prepared the bowlines and aft buoy line. Suddenly we were however in a new situation because in harbour the buoys have been changed into med mooring lines. Luckily we have been exploring the med mooring techniques last time in Barcelona in May. Then we pondered about when would be the Suwena's first time to moor in Mediterranean style and of course we thought that it would be in distant future and more close to Mediterranean Sea. This was not what happened.

The unlucky part was that we had a side wind and in harbour was an unpleasant swell from passing ships. I made the port side line fast and started to pull out the med mooring line. Everything happened so quickly that we had no time to bring out rubber gloves we have acquired for handling the slimy mooring lines. Fortunately the harbour has just been renovated and the lines were still clean without any slime.

Vaxholm marina is meant for maximum 12 meter yachts but we decided to take the risk. In the end the med mooring line were too upright after I pulled it with all of my force up. The wind pushed us badly sideways. Even if Andrus used stern thruster to drive the stern left my hand-power was barely enough to tighten the line. After sweaty pulling I got the med mooring line tight enough.

In med mooring, every boat has its own mooring line. The line is made fast to the bottom of the harbour and the other end is fixed to the dock. The line is picked up from the dock and made fast to the stern cleat. The rest of the mooring line is let back to the bottom of the water. The bow is then fixed with regular bowlines to the dock.
Vaxholm fortress
No wonder the marina is not recommended for yachts over 12 meters. The harbour basin is so small that there would not be enough space for manoeuvring if there would be large boats just on opposite side of each other. It might be quite a hassle in July during the high season when the marina is full of yachts and everybody tries not to hit the others.

We liked a lot about the atmosphere in Vaxholm. It felt like a nice summer city and many other thought likewise. On the beach road was several restaurants where the ferries brought tourists from Stockholm.
Vaxholm's beach view
Andrus enjoying the afternoon in Vaxholm
Vaxholm's fortress can be accessed by a ferry trip lasting just a few minutes. The ferry makes a round tour around the fortress island and then its possible to wander on the island with own pace. We started the exploration by climbing the 130 steps to the top of the guard tower. From up there was a magnificient view over the Stockholm Archipelago. The boat traffic was unimaginable. Continuous strip of boats started to go towards the archipelago on Friday afternoon and the queue continued until Saturday afternoon. Andrus counted that with the one sight he can see a total of 45 boats underway and this was just a moment in the middle of Saturday afternoon.
Weekend's rush-hour in Vaxholm
We skipped the Vaxholm museum and went for a walk around the island. We saw many people coming to the island for just having a picnic. Sparkling wine bottles were popping and people enjoyed lunch with their friends. Our picnic provisions were on Suwena so we focused on growing hunger by spending time in fresh air.
Eve enjoying dinner in Suwena's cockpit in Vaxholm
Close by the harbour is also a grocery store and we bunkered Suwena again in Vaxholm. We suspected that there might not be any food stores close to Wasahamn in Stockholm. And the best was that the store in Vaxholm was very well stocked and we were again able to fill our freezer. Most important we found some delicious ice creams and sorbets. The previous freezer meltdown did not feel bad any more. A couple days later Andrus was displeased that we only bought one package of blueberry ice cream :-)

On Sunday we got visitors. Our friends Anders, Lotta and their sun Gustav arrived from Stockholm. After having some snacks and exchanging the latest news the five person crew cast off the lines and turned toward Stockholm's Wasahamn. All our guests were experienced sailors and we got many good tips for trimming the sails from them. Suwena sailed very well beating the wind tightly. Our speed was between the 5.5 and 6 knots while the wind angle was up to 30 degrees. We tacked often until on the entrance fairway to Stockholm the wind started to shift rapidly and we moved to use the horsepower.
Anders tightening the leech line
Lotta, Anders and Gustav sailing the Suwena
While we approached the Wasahamn Anders called the harbour master if there is a suitable place for Suwena. The maximum length allowed inside the inner harbour was 44 feet. We moored Suwena first to the outside dock where swell from passing ships was really bad. Andrus and Anders went walking to see if there would be any place suitable for Suwena. There were only a few stern buoys far enough. In the end we got a really good spot next to the harbour office as we planned to stay in Stockholm several days.
Tight entrance to Wasahamn harbour