Anchoring and island of Pirttisaari 5.8. – 7.8.

  • Posted on: 23 August 2011
  • By: Eve

We felt magnificent to turn the key in Suwena's door lock after the working week. The long nine weeks summer cruise felt more like living aboard than a summer holiday and being back from Oulu it felt like being back at home.

We bunkered the weekend's food and spend some time in Helsinki yacht chandlers. The stores are conveniently located next to the HSK harbour. In the afternoon we started exploring the maps with the intent to find a nice quiet anchorage for the weekend.

The weather forecast promised wind from south-east and we had in mind to towards the east from Helsinki. Our search for anchorage narrowed down to the neighbourhood of Pirttisaari, Ounas and Emäsalo islands. We left in a nice warm weather with shorts and short sleeve shirts being our attire. After leaving the marina we turned our bow towards the east and possibly the most eastern waypoint during this summer cruise. There were a lot of yachts and boats going in every possible direction. In a same direction with us sailed about a dozen yachts and they continued still more east as we turned to the nice bay called Svartviken on the east side of the Pirttisaari.
Suwena anchored in the bay of Svartviken by Pirttisaari island
At the bottom of the Svartviken is a Finnish coastguard station and a small dock for guest yachts. We wanted to spend this weekend by anchoring and started to look for a place to drop the hook. Recommended anchoring spot is marked into the middle of the bay on a chart, but there the depth is 10 to 13 metres. There is a nice looking, well protected shelf on the south side of the bay which is about one cable wide and 3 metres deep. Unfortunately we weren’t the only ones who have found this place. The fishermen had put out several nets and there were no room for us to swing around. Later a few smaller motorboats zigzagged around the nets and used stern anchors for the cliff mooring. We wanted to test our Rocna and we have a 100 metres of chain so we decided to lower the anchor to the middle of the bay.

Saturday morning dawned with overcast clouds and the wind increased to 11 m/s. The wind also turned to south and some swell entered to the bay from the south-east corner of Pirttisaari island. Our quiet anchorage turned into restless swing. Suwena started to make a wide swings around the anchoring point. The movement is harmless but the constant change in direction is not comfortable.

For some time we thought about leaving. As the wind turned more the swell got so bad that it become difficult to read inside. Andrus proposed to open the mizzen sail and use it as a riding sail. So we unfurled our mizzen sail to about half-way and Suwena stopped swing at once. Also it felt more comfortable inside.

Attn, only for engineers: The riding sail in mizzen mast changes the yachts aerodynamics by moving the boats aerodynamic centre point to the aft of the boats mass centre. Modern blunt stern yachts are aerodynamically unstable without sails and therefore they swing from side to side around the anchor even if the wind direction is stable.

This time we also used first time our anchor line snubber. Our ground tackle system consists of the anchor windlass in addition to the Rocna anchor itself. The important feature on the windlass is the chain lock. With the chain lock it is possible to fix the chain to the windlass. This way the whole windlass will take the weight of the yacht. The chain lock however does not help with the noises from anchor chain or jolts made by the swell. To protect from these an anchor snubber is required.
Anchor snubber
The anchor snubber is easily put in place once the anchor itself is lowered and well set. In our snubber first the chain shackle in the middle is made fast to the anchor chain link. Then the two lines at the same length are made fast to the bow cleats on the opposite sides of the bow. After the snubber is fixed in place the chain is lowered until the snubber lines take the load away from anchor chain. The lines stretch and dampen the boat movement.
Anchor snubber in use
Anchor snubber lines
Saturday was a windy and rainy day and we stayed mostly on yacht. Of course we lowered the dinghy and made a small trip to the Pirttisaari, but longer hiking trips we skipped this time. Instead of hiking it was refreshing to have a evening swim around Suwena.

We were a little disappointed that the Saturday had a bad weather but on Sunday the sun was again shining. Our schedule back to Oulu dictated that we should leave back towards the HSK. This time we had in the beginning wind straight from the bow. Later we turned and were reaching towards the HSK. We enjoyed fully by being at sea because Suwena will stay for three weeks in Helsinki waiting for us. Then our voyage will continue towards the west and Archipelago Sea.