Southern Baltic Sea '12

Heiligenhafen 27.7. – 29.7.

  • Posted on: 1 September 2012
  • By: Eve

From a 90 nautical mile leg from Stralsund to Heiligenhafen we sailed 60 miles. Warm weather continued and sailing was wonderful. We were also joined by a herd of harbour porpoises who played with Suwena. They swam around the boat and at a times dived under our keel trying to get Suwena to join their joy. First we thought they were dolphins but their triangular dorsal fin and round head suggest that their species are a porpoise instead. The Baltic Sea features a harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) one of six species of porpoise. It was exciting to see how porpoises get fresh air the same way as humans do during the swimming butterfly. Suwena sailed in complete silence under gennaker and spotting our little friends was easy from the sound of breathing. One and a half metre long porpoises were staying with us for half an hour but then they got tired of a boring playmate who did not join their playing.
Harbour porpoise playing with Suwena on the Baltic Sea
This was our first encounter with porpoises. In Finnish waters the porpoises have been declared extinct because they don't reproduce in Finnish waters any more. Luckily we can still spot them on the Southern Baltic Sea and in addition their population can be found in cooler coastal waters of the North Atlantic, the North Pacific and the Black Sea.

While planning a day's route we noticed a German submarine test area directly on our path. We did some heavy thinking about crossing that area and concluded that there should be some patrol ships if there are any exercises going on. On a way through the test area Andrus followed our depth sounder closely if the seabed sharply rises from 20 metres? It looked like German's were on holiday as well because we did not spot a single submarine under Suwena.
Eve is steering Suwena
Andrus at the helm of Suwena
In the middle of leisurely sailing of seven knots a VHF suddenly became live around 6pm and Lyngby radio warned about near gale force winds on the Southern Baltic Sea. During the summer we have noticed that Danish weather reports are really accurate and their warnings are spot on with timing. Swedish forecasts on other hand are usually more careful and the wind forecast is too low. In the Baltic Sea the Swedish wind forecast is relayed to Navtex and we always consider it to be too low. Therefore as the Danish promised strong winds we believed that the wind will rise in a few hours.

And so it happened. At about 9 in the evening the wind started to pick up. When the wind was 10 m/s we lowered the gennaker to prevent it tearing apart and raised the genoa instead.

Passing the Fehrman bridge was jet another milestone in our sailing voyages. Last time we passed over the bridge in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Island and we got stuck in Düsseldorf. As it was finally clear that we could not fly home we took a train and travelled for three days to reach our home in Oulu. While the train was passing over the bridge of Fehmarn we did not think about sailing with Suwena on the Southern Baltic Sea. So much can happen in few years and dreams to sail even further only grow with the time we are spending aboard.
Fehmarn bridge in Northern Germany
The water level markings in the bridge of Fehmarn were made very cleverly. The markings are painted into the bridge piles at one metre intervals and we could accurately read the free height under the bridge with current water level.
Height marks of Fehmarn bridge
The wind kept raising and it blew 13 m/s when we made her fast in pitch black Heiligenhafen marina. There was also a thunderstorm and we were soaking wet when it was time to turn off Suwena's navigation lights.

On Saturday morning we noticed that we had moored Suwena into a red berth. While paying a harbour fee we asked from harbour master where could we move her? He just nodded that we could choose any berth marked with the green. Just opposite of our current place was an empty berth with green sign and we quickly moved her into new position and prepared ourselves to spend a Saturday in Heiligenhafen.

To our annoyance this is not the end of the story. One hour later a local guy came rattling to our boat, turned green sign red in front of us and told "This is my place, move your boat!" We were quite surprised. He could have done this much more politely. We understand that there are a lot of boats in Heiligenhafen who's owners live far away and they need access to their own berth before returning home. At the same time there are still berths available for visitors. Here is clearly a place for improvement for both boaters and harbour master. Why don’t they make a system like in other harbours where the boat leaving or returning notifies harbour master and he will arrange berths red/green signs accordingly. This way there would not be embarrassing situations. We moved Suwena to a third berth during the same day and hoped indeed that the owner will not return before our departure on Sunday morning.

Heiligenhafen is one of the biggest marinas we have been. There are four pontoons reserved only for charter yachts. We can easily see when the boat is chartered from the behaviour of the crew. Usually during arrival and departure the deck of charter yacht is a busy place. As they have rented the boat for a week, everybody wants to pull from at least one rope during every manoeuvre and get to the feeling of sailing before rental time is over.

On Saturday we spent a lovely evening with a crew of Weeki Wachee. We met Norbert and Hildegard during our sailing on the Göta canal. Norbert knew a cozy family restaurant and the evening passed quickly by chatting and joking while enjoying the fish from the Baltic Sea. One of the best sides of the cruising is to meet new people and find same minded friends.
The crew of Weeki Wachee and Suwena having a dinner in Heiligenhafen
On Sunday it was time to prepare for a next leg towards the marina in Kappeln. Norbert had suggested for a morning a visit to a bakery in the vicinity of marina. When we got a delicious aroma of a fresh croissants to our noses from a next boat there was no choice. Andrus ran into the bakery and brought us delicious cream puffs with fresh cherries and whipped cream in addition to croissants. They were absolutely fantastic. A good bakery close to marina is a friend to many sailors.

The 10 weeks aboard Suwena was almost over and we become wistful. For Suwena there is a berth and winter storage reserved in Kappeln. Now it was time to sail to Kappeln and start planning autumn sailings before the winter.

Kappeln 29.7. – 31.7.

  • Posted on: 3 September 2012
  • By: Eve

The last leg of our summer cruise was from Heiligenhafen to Kappeln. We enjoyed every mile of this trip because only after a few weeks we will be able to return to boat.

While crossing the bay of Kiel it felt staggering to pass Kiel and the Kiel canal entrance. Most of the yachts leaving Finland for sailing the Seven Seas of the world pass through Kiel canal. Now we have ourselves travelled across the Baltic from our home port until here. Oulu is located in the north-eastern corner of the Baltic Sea and Kiel is just at opposite end of Baltic in the south-western corner. During our passage we have sailed in all nine countries of Baltic Sea. However during this year Kiel has to wait for us because during next spring our plan is to pass Kiel canal and sail on the North Sea.

Now we still have time to enjoy the Baltic Sea and wait on what kind of winter home we have selected for Suwena. After entering the inlet of Schlei we noticed it was full of boats going in every possible direction despite of already being a late Sunday evening. There are at least a dozen marinas in Schlei area. Only in the city of Kappeln we counted four and one of them is our chosen Ancker Yachting.
Entrance to the inlet of Schlei
The view to Kappeln from Schlei
We had booked a berth for a few month so we could still come for sailing during the autumn before winter lift-up. The marina was full when we arrived but we got lucky and were able to moor her outside pontoons for a night.

On Monday the first thing was to search harbourmaster and discuss about berth reservation. We only had two days to prepare everything before flying home on Tuesday evening.
Ancker Yachting in Kappeln
We were surprised about Kappeln. There are about ten boating related companies in the vicinity of marina. So we have found a really good place where the winter storage and all maintenance tasks will go smoothly for sure.

For example Andrus had planned for some time that we make an upgrade to our diesel system. Only two houses from Ancker marina there is a diesel service company where we were able to quickly arrange mechanic visiting Suwena. Andrus and mechanic studied together our engine diesel supply into which Andrus wants to add an electric fuel polishing system. With Andrus’s drawings and active English and German mixed discussion we agreed about what needs to be done and the work will be done when we get back to boat in the end of August.

On Monday evening when both the freezers and refrigerator were defrosted we felt that we have deserved a good restaurant meal. When our boating friends Manfred and Gigi heard that we will come to Kappeln they warmly recommended the restaurant of Mr Stark. We got lucky about getting a free table. Usually the reservation should be made a week ahead. The speciality of this restaurant is that there is no menu at all. Every customer gets an invitation to the kitchen and the meal is planned together with the cook. We of course wanted seafood. First thing was to select the fish from a large selection and then we discussed with cook about preparing the meal. We got excited about the house speciality that has four different kind of fish grilled and spiced with herbs in Italian style. We were really full when we got back to Suwena for spending the last, no 77, night of the summer voyage aboard Suwena.
Kitchen of the restaurant Stark in Kappeln
On Tuesday it was wistful to leave Suwena so far from home. This is not definitely a place to jump for a evening sail. But I guess we must get used to this as she travels further every year. Suwena stayed in the harbour while we flyed home. In the airplane we were laughing that we had been sailing for ten weeks on the Baltic Sea to get to Kappeln but getting home took only a few hours. But the peaceful sailing wins always a jet plane.
Suwena waiting for her crew in Kappeln

Repairs in Kappeln 28.8. – 30.8.

  • Posted on: 10 September 2012
  • By: Eve

Just like previously the August passed quickly by doing long days at work. When after four weeks we stepped out from Hamburg airport terminal we waited eagerly for a taxi to get back to Kappeln and Suwena. In Schlei area has an excellent long distance taxi service with fixed prices to airport. Of course from Hambrug it is possible to get to Kappeln by train-bus-bus combination but with big bags this option did not seam appealing to us.

Now that we were in taxi and going back to Suwena we got a little nervous about her condition. For example we had not been able to adjust her lines according to the weather. We worried for nothing. The lines had been set by the harbourmaster and everything was well. The Ancker Yachting marina has been a good choice for us. Also overall she looked in good condition despite of lying in marina for a month. Maybe there was less dirt because Kappeln is a small town compared to Helsinki or Turku. In both of these cities after keeping Suwena for one month she was in quite a filthy condition when we arrived back to the harbour.
Suwena in Ancker Yachting marina in Germany
Tuesday afternoon passed quickly. We were getting her ready for living aboard again and confirming the upcoming plans. We had agreed previously with Kiesow diesel engine maintenance company that they will start making modifications to our engine fuel supply on Wednesday. It occurred however that some parts were still missing and we agreed that the work will begin next Monday. So our plans were altered immediately. Anyhow we decided that Andrus will investigate our problems with solar panels and fix them before we leave for the last sail during this fall.

Next thing was to confirm with Ancker Yachting that we could lower the rig and lift the boat during the following week. Already in July we asked from harbourmaster if they could really lift Suwena because their crane is only 16 tons. We had already during the winter informed them that Suwena is weighting almost 20 tons. However they had checked the Nauticat website tells that the weight of average Nauticat 441 yacht and thought their crane can lift her up. Our Suwena has however many extras and she is heavier than usual Nauticat 441. During the August Ancker has searched for another solution. They proposed that we would dismantle the rig in their marina and leave it there for a winter storage. During the spring they would put the rig back up. Ancker Yacting is the regional reseller of Selden and rigging is their bread and butter. They also proposed that we would take Suwena for a winter storage in another boatyard because they have a 45 ton crane. Harbourmaster of Ancker Mr Ulrich handled everything excellently. After having a discussion with us he asked a quotation for a winter storage from another yard. We could also use a company car to visit Schrader Marina for agreeing all the details. At first it felt strange to leave the rig at one place and the boat at other. On the other hand it is benefit for both to us and to marina that Suwena would be lifted up with the crane that can handle her.
Boats in Ancker Yachting harbour in Kappeln
The drive to Schrader Marina took half an hour. We saw the boatyard, warm storage shed and also a pontoons where we would be arriving during the next week. The place seemed good, we finalized the deal and returned to Suwena. Next week we will drive about three hours by boat from Kappeln to Schrader Marina.

Last winter we installed two 135 W Kyocera solar panels to the salon’s roof of Suwena. Along the summer Andrus has wondered why we only get 0.5 amps of current from these panels. He has investigated function of panels and it looked like the charging controller is the problem. He also discussed both with Nauticat and Finnish importer for a Morningstar MPPT controller. Finally we brought the controller back to Finland in the end of July and sent it to local importer for testing.

Andrus also searched internet extensively and there were some discussions about problems with this charger and AGM batteries because the voltage on AGM is a little higher compared to the regular lead batteries. In addition the web page of Morningstar recommended software update for the controller. Software update requires a special programming adapter but to our surprise Finnish importer did not have one and also they were not knowledgeable about possibility to program the controller. Luckily there is a thing called internet and Andrus ordered the adapter from online store from UK.

The controller was returned from importer with the note that there were no faults found. We were extremely suspicious because where else the problem can be? Andrus reinstalled the controller and there wasn’t any proper charging. Finally there was no other option than to start tracing the electric system wire-by-wire. He checked all wires leaving the circuit breakers and comparing them to the electrical diagram. Also for solar panels we do not even have a diagram so the work took several hours. At last he solved the puzzle. The controller was connected to charge the start battery, not the domestic battery. At the same time he noticed some other mistakes as well like for example with bilge pumps. Pumps were connected to the main switch, they should be connected directly to batteries so that the automatic bilge pumps work when the boat is left for a longer time to water with the power turned off from main switch.

He switched the wires so that solar panels are charging the domestic battery and everything worked at once. On one hand we were relieved that he found the error and there were no fault in solar panels but it has been a lot of worry during the summer and now an additional work of several hours. On Wednesday evening we had a tired but not happy man aboard Suwena.

On Thursday the repairs continued. In the end of July when we shut off all equipment for a month Andrus noticed that one of bilge pumps did not work. He tested already then that the pump had electricity and it is possible to empty the bilge by using the manual override switch. That meant we had a broken bilge pump switch. We ordered a new Quick EBSN20 bilge switch and now Andrus replaced the broken one. With the new switch there were no more problems. It looks like there is water inside the bilge switch. This is somehow special because the switch is designed to be functioning in water.

While changing the bilge pump switch Andrus also improved the pump's electrical circuit. Suwena's deep bilge is divided into two parts. In the aft part there is a shower bilge connected to shower drainage. In the fore part there is the actual bilge well. Both compartments have their own bilge pumps together with automatic switches. The wall between compartments is low enough that if one pump develops a fault the water will spill over to the other compartment. This way they act as a backup to each other. In addition there is a high water bilge switch installed a little higher. The shower bilge pump was originally connected correctly into the main switch. At the same time as Andrus moved the actual bilge pump connection directly to batteries we decided that he'll also move the shower pump there. Otherwise they would not be able to function as each other’s backup then the main switch is turned off.

It was already noon on Thursday and we had done enough boat maintenance for some time. Diesel mechanic would arrive only on Monday so we run quickly to shop to bunker Suwena for the weekend. Then we quickly cast off the lines and raised sails on the sea!

Flensburg 30.8. - 2.9.

  • Posted on: 16 September 2012
  • By: Eve

To finalize this great sailing season we went for one more long weekend on the water. The departure on Thursday was rather late and we decided to go forward until the sun sets and look for an anchorage for dropping the hook for one more time during this season. On Friday then we can continue onwards to Flensburg. In Finland the weather was already starting to get chilly and therefore we enjoyed every minute of being on the sea at more than 20 degrees centigrade.

The bay of Høruphav is located on Danish side and seemed well protected. We arrived just at the dawn and were greeted by a swarm of anchor lights swinging in the darkness. It looked like others have thought about this place as well. To our surprise some boats didn’t have anchor lights turned on at all but Andrus could see them well on the radar screen. We thought it is better to drive a little further into the bay. At the bottom of the bay there were a plenty of space for us. After couple of busy days it was wonderful to relax and enjoy being in peaceful nature aboard.
Suwena anchored on the bay of Høruphav in Denmark
Scenery of Danish countryside at Høruphav bay
On Friday the journey continued towards Flensburg. The sailing conditions were perfect and the sea was full of boats with crew enjoying the last hot days of the season.
Dense boat traffic on the fjord of Flensburger Förde
The route to Flensburg passes along the narrow twisty strait. On the north shore is Denmark and Germany is located on the southern side. The skipper tried hard to propose to the ship's cat that after every tack the courtesy flag should be changed because we were changing country between Germany and Denmark on each tack. Maybe I was enjoying too much the sound of water playing on the bow but anyhow I neglected my duties ruthlessly.
German Naval Academy at Mürwik in Flensburg
Funny apartments at the breakwater of marina Sonwik in Flensburg
While entering the marina of Flensburg the boat in front of us took the last free berth. We stopped circling for a while thinking about where to go as also the places outside pontoons were full. At the same time Andrus noticed that the former boat had stuck between the piles.

The boxes made of piles are approximately four metres wide. Nowadays however boats are getting wider and seeing a yacht with the beam over four metres is the norm. Usually the piles are made of wood and sea bottom is soft, thus it is a common practice for boats to give a little kiss to the piles on both sides while entering the box. A small nudge with the throttle is all that is needed. This wasn’t however what happened to this yacht. She got stuck. They pushed and pulled, throttled both forward and backwards but nothing helped. The piles in Flensburg were made of plastic pipes and filled with concrete. Pushing through them did not work at all.

The harbourmaster shouted to us that we could wait and enter the berth after the other boat manages to release itself. We waited for some time because their efforts to release the boat were not successful. Just as we were approaching them to offer a tow out from the box they got free and relieved skipper backed his boat out from the tight space.

When it was our turn to enter between the same piles I had to tease Andrus: what Suwena's skipper is thinking, will we fit into the box? It would be really embarrassing if a second boat in a row would get stuck between the same piles. Of course we knew we would fit because Suwena's beam is 3.7 metres. As a precautionary measure we raised fenders to the deck, this way they don't get stuck between the boat and the pile. Suwena slid nicely into the box and we had arrived again in a new harbour.

A late arrival and a long wait to get the other boat released took some time and it was already past 7pm when she was made fast. That meant the harbour office was already closed for a day. A keycard is needed to enter the pontoon. I stayed at the gate and Andrus went to see if there is any possibility to get the card even if the office is already closed. It would be boring to stay only on the pontoon for a Friday evening. Fortunately there was a note at the harbour office that keycards are available at the restaurant next door and soon Andrus arrived with the card. Unfortunately the card did not work. After getting back to the restaurant he found out the card works only until 7pm on the last day of the month which happened to be just now. We did get lucky thou. The harbourmaster was having a pint to celebrate the Friday at the same restaurant and he was kind enough to fetch us a working card. Now we were free to move around.

On Saturday we explored Flensburg. We were sitting at cosy coffee shops and enjoyed excellent German pastries. The long walking street was full of shops, restaurants and many people bustling around. Flensburg is an exciting mix of German and Danish cultures. While Heiligenhafen and Kappeln feel distinctively German cities, in Flensburg the Danish influence is clearly seen. After all Flensburg was part of Denmark for 600 years and at a time it was the second biggest port of Denmark after Copenhagen. There are still a considerable Danish minority in the city.
Suwena in Flensburg
Walking street of Flensburg
We left to the return trip towards Kappeln on Sunday. Again there were a lot of boat traffic and steering the boat takes a constant lookout. Already before departure we decided to sail as much as possible. No matter if the wind is with us or against we will try to maximize the sailing experience on the last sail of the year. The wind was really pampering us because our route turned 180 degrees and at the same time the wind together with us from Flensburg towards Schlei. We were amazed because we sailed the whole 36 nautical miles on a starboard tack until the entrance of Schlei. It was just beautiful to surf forward with the speed of 7.5 knots. Then it was time to moor Suwena at Ancker Yachting marina waiting for the maintenance work and winter preparations starting on Monday.

Winter preparation of Suwena 3.9. - 7.9.

  • Posted on: 28 September 2012
  • By: Eve

The first week of September was fast-paced when we prepared Suwena for winter storage. At the same time with our ongoing chores on various maintenance items and dismantling of rig Mr Schmidt from Kiesow built a fuel polishing system for Suwena.

We checked the condition of sails while we folded them into sail bags. All three sails were in good condition, only in genoa there were a few open stitches. These will be patched with sailing tape during the next spring. The folding of 48.5 square metre genoa was a formidable task. We could not help wondering what kind of effort it would be to lower our genoa in heavy seas. For our two person crew this would be a challenging operation. The full sail bag looked hefty and Andrus had to weigh it. The weight of our genoa is 30 kilos.

Despite of working throughout all day it felt the list of chores did not shorten at all. Here is just a couple of examples. Both main engine and generator were serviced. The black water tanks were emptied and washed for the winter. Rig was lowered. Bilges were cleaned and at the same time we noticed that the switch to the grey water bilge was broken. This was already the second faulty Quick EBSN20 bilge switch during the short time. This device can’t be recommended aboard any boat!

During this summer sailings Andrus noticed that lee side shrouds of the main mast were loose. We decided that the professional rigger should check our rig. Ancker Yachting is conveniently a reseller of Selden masts and we asked from them an offer about checking our rig. Mr Ulrich inspected the rig and he commented that just tightening shrouds would not be a good solution because then spreaders bend downwards. After lowering the rig he measured shrouds and they were too long. We need to get new shrouds for next summer.
Harbourmaster Ulrich is inspecting the rig of Suwena
While dismantling the rig we found another surprising mistake from under our electric furling genoa foil. We have an electric furling genoa which needs to be installed with a bottom toggle withstanding a torque of an electric motor. However our rig was assembled with the toggle meant to be used with furling done by a line and this toggle is not strong enough to support the torque of the electric motor. Luckily we have always handled genoa rather gently and not pounded it with the full force of electric furler. It would have been disasterous if the toggle had snapped on the sea.
Derigging Suwena's mizzen at Ancker Yachting marina
Suwena's mizzen on the way to winter storage
We also ordered some upgrades from Ancker. They will add a gas spring to the rod kicker that will push the boom upwards. This way there is no need to adjust the topping lift separately. We will also add a few cleats to both of the masts as it seems there are quite a few lines to store. They will also check the running rigging and all blocks. After all now we have been sailing on Suwena for two years and it is a good seamanship to check the rig before entering the treacherous North Sea.

Also the new fuel polishing system was finalized. We have four tanks and we can plan our routes rather freely and also choose refueling places. On the other hand the fuel circulates slowly and there is a possibility of having a dirt at the bottom of tanks. We wanted to add a fuel polishing system so that the fuel can be cleaned both when the engine is running and also when we are sailing in waves. The sludge at the bottom of tanks should lift up while the fuel is stirred on the sea.

Immediately after the new fuel system was tested it was time to cast off lines from Ancker marina and head towards Suwena's winter storage in Schrader Marina at the end of Schlei.
The bridge over Schlei in Kappeln
On the way to Schrader there are two bascule bridges that are opened once every hour. The distance between bridges is seven miles and we should have reached the other bridge well in time. However the sun was setting and it was already a twilight when a yacht in front of us took a shortcut to the marina and got stuck from the keel. There were two distressed-looking men aboard and we rushed to help them. Near the town of Arnis Schlei gets very shallow very quickly outside the marked fairways. Suwena's depth sounder is near the bow and Andrus followed intensely the readings about water depth. "If there is still two meters of water under the bow, there must be enough water for the keel." said skipper as he steered towards the yacht stuck in sand. Suwena's draught is 1.9 metres.

The current on Schlei was about one knot and on first approach we did not get close enough. But on the second attempt we got close enough for throwing a line without getting stuck ourselves. Andrus put gear in reverse and pushed the throttle level while the other yacht used their own engine in addition. The German boat floated free from the shoal and there were two relieved men aboard their yacht on Schlei.

We continued towards Suwena's winter home and waited for almost an hour for bridge opening. We just missed the previous opening time. The more important was however to help guys out from the shoal before the night. We ourselves had to travel in dark night for the last hour. The special thing was that we were motoring on a boat without the mast. This means our radar was resting peacefully at Ancker Yacting and Andrus navigated with only the chartplotter and flashlight. We were relieved when Suwena was finally moored without making any groundings. Fortunately all sea marks were located exactly at the places where chartplotter showed them to be and Andrus was able to confirm their position by the flashlight reflextion from buoy's reflectors. The night was pitch black and there was no fog. We were lucky the fog arrived just on Friday morning.

On Friday the last tasks were to empty the seawater and freshwater hoses, put the antifreeze into the engine and generator and finally lift her from the water. 50 ton travel lift arrived to fetch Suwena. It only took a moment for the boat to be raised up and transported to the bottom washing station.
Lifting Suwena for winter storage in Schrader Marina
Transporting Suwena to bottom washing station in Schrader Marina
We settled the last things with Schrader marina and Suwena was ready to enter the warm hall for winter storage. We took our luggage and jumped to taxi towards the airport. Sniff, Suwena has to stay behind and wait eight months for her crew.

Suwena's Boating Season 2012 Summary

  • Posted on: 31 October 2012
  • By: Eve

Again it is time to compile a summary about a number of events and experiences from last cruising season. For almost three months Suwena was our summer home during which we sailed 1215 nautical miles from Finland, through Sweden, Denmark and Poland to Germany.

This season was special because in May we were casting off Suwena’s lines in Turku and she started sailing towards new seas. The upcoming seasons will show where she will carry her crew. Our intent is to sail every year further away from home port and seek out new places for exploring.

During the previous winter Suwena's fixed blade propeller was changed into Flex-o-fold folding propeller. The change was so significant that the character of the boat changed. Suwena's sailing ability increased substantially and her fuel consumption while motoring decreased as well. Thus, it is easy to guess that during the first legs from Finland through Åland to Göta canal in Sweden brought a wide smile to the face of skipper. Due to changing the propeller now we can raise sails already during the light winds. Of course if we look at annual total the engine hours are significant but this is due to mandatory motoring on Göta and Trollhätte canals and windless days while crossing big lakes of Sweden, Vättern and Vänern.

Göta canal was the biggest challenge of the summer. Beforehand we were excited about 58 locks on Göta canal and 6 locks on Trollhätte canal. How would we cope by just two of us? Andrus drives Suwena and I handle mooring lines. I was needlessly worried because we quickly developed a routine for locks and the whole lockage process is much simpler than I thought beforehand. Friendly lock keepers did their job well. They were always nearby if there would be a need for help on any of the boats in the lock.

We passed Göta canal from east to west. This direction is more labour intensive as we were ascending 38 out from 58 locks and descended 20 locks. The canal trip is anyhow worthwhile experience. During the trip we enjoyed beautiful scenery and idyllic small villages on Swedish countryside. Göta canal as an experience is very different from sailing on the sea or motorboating in archipelago. Maybe it is best described as continuous small undertakings on a boat in a very safe environment. After all there are no worries about the wind or waves. Additionally it is possible to get new friends from boats travelling in same direction. Spending time together with new acquaintances both in locks and during the evenings in harbours makes the passage pass quickly. We are glad that we decided to travel through Göta canal. The whole experience was fun and we are still married despite of the canal’s other famous name, a divorce ditch.

The weather at the beginning of the summer was rather cold. Even in the local newspapers were stories about the coldest June ever in southern Sweden. I guess we maybe got a glimpse of what to expect in Caledonian canal of Scotland where we would like to go some day by boat.

The highlight of summer was the island of Marstrand. We spent on the island the Midsummer celebration and enjoyed its summery atmosphere and rugged nature. There were also a lot to see and do on the island. Of course the harbour and the town were charming as well. We were taken by surprise about diversity of sights on the island.

Three weeks passed quickly in different parts of Denmark. We sailed from Skagen in Denmark's north-east corner over the Kattegat to Copenhagen and then further forward to the island of Bornholm. The most memorable places from Denmark were the islands we visited, Anholt and Bornholm. In addition the small Swedish island Ven in the middle of Sound was a surprising discovery.

The biggest surprise of summer was offered to us by Poland. The hospitality and friendly atmosphere of Polish people felt cosy after Danish stiffness. We were downright annoyed about being stuck in Denmark for extra week because of the weather. For this reason our visit to Poland lasted only one week. Especially the city of Kołobrzeg turned out to be a popular Polish holiday town where people walked around enjoying the beach and numerous seafood restaurants.

Most sailors only get a small glimpse of the coast of northern Germany on the Baltic Sea during a transfer sailing to Kiel canal. We had an opportunity to explore the boating culture in northern Germany for three weeks which was really rewarding. We could easily spend two weeks on the island of Rügen solely if the timetable would not limit our stay. There is a laid-back attitude to life in northern Germany and we felt right at home. So leaving Suwena for winter on Schlei area seemed natural to us.

During the season we participated in two sea rescue operations. First we helped to search for a missing motorboat on Kattegat south from the isalnd of Anholt and later on Schlei we helped a German sailboat to get free from a sand shoal.

The best sails of summer were several 50 to 60 mile legs on the southern Baltic Sea. We had a few unbelievable gennaker sailings and also the voyage from Rønne to Kołobrzeg while broad reaching the whole way is memorable. Even if the season is now already behind these sailings still bring warmth to our hearts. We also used our new whisker pole a couple of times for trimming the genoa. The first impression is that the whisker pole is a good investment for downwind sailing.

Rafting up the boats in harbour is a lesser-known mooring practice for Finnish boaters. We however got used to rafting during this summer. Summer's funniest mooring was at the island of Ven where we had another boat rafted up to Suwena even if we were still making fast our first line ashore. It seemed that rafting with other boats was self-evident always when harbour is full. The only clear rule was that in rafts the other boats should be crossed to shore by the bows.

Now we have sailed in all nine countries of the Baltic Sea. We have seen many interesting and memorable locations on a shores of our own Baltic Sea. Despite that there are still an enormous number of coves and inlets to seek out and explore. During the next winter we will be thinking back about the Baltic Sea and planning for upcoming summer. Next sea and new countries are waiting for us. Likewise Suwena, she is waiting for us near the entrance of Kiel canal ready for the challenges of next summer.

All the Southern Baltic Sea blog entries can be read from the 2012 blog archive and we've made also a seasons ranking list

Log summary of Suwena 2012

  • Nautical miles: 1215 M, from where 36 % sailing, 3 % motor sailing and 61 % motoring
  • Engine hours: 168 h
  • Generator hours: 20 h
  • Fuel used incl. engine, generator and heater: 766 l
  • Fresh water: 7400 l
  • Ports 33 + anchorages 3: 36 pcs
  • Overnight stays: 87 nights, from which 5 in anchor
  • Lockage: 64 locks with total height of 188 m
  • Longest leg: 80 M Stralsund – Heiligenhafen, Germany
  • The great-circle distance to the farthest point from home port: 789 nm Oulu – Schrader Marina, Germany
  • Southernmost point: 53N54.7 Świnoujście, Poland
  • Westernmost point: 9E26.2 Flensburg, Germany
  • Easternmost point: 22E13.5 Hirvensalo boatyard, Turku, Finland
  • Northernmost point: 60N25.9 Hirvensalo boatyard, Turku, Finland
  • Dinghy fuel consumption: 2 l

The map of Suwena’s year 2012 harbours and summer voyage..

Suwena's Season 2012 Ranking List

  • Posted on: 31 October 2012
  • By: Eve

During the season 2012 we visited in 33 different harbours and three anchorages from which we rank the following places.

Top five marinas

  • Langelinie, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Vadstena, Lake Vättern, Sweden
  • Lilla Bommens, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Kołobrzeg, Poland
  • Ancker Yachting, Kappeln, Germany

Top five cruising destinations

  • Marstrand, Västkustan, Sweden
  • Kołobrzeg, Poland
  • Seedorf, Rügen, Germany
  • Ven island, Sound, Sweden
  • Motala, Göta canal, Sweden

Top anchorage

  • Lådna, Stockholm archipelago, Sweden

Top four delicious dishes in restaurants

  • Restaurant Kajutan, Sjötorp, Sweden: Delicious pike-perch
  • Restaurant Stark, Kappeln, Germany: Fish selected by customer cooked to his liking
  • Restaurant Toscana, Świnoujście, Poland: Turbot filled with plums
  • Restaurant Pakhuset, Skagen, Denmark: Hake

Special mentions about food

  • This summer we were cooking quite a lot by ourselves and we got familiar with the grocery stores in every visited country. We would like to give a special mention about high food quality and wide selection in Swedish grocery stores. We were especially surprised about ample selection of different meats. Also the vegetable selection was wide in all shops.
  • We would also like to give a special mention to all restaurants on the coast of northern Germany serving the freshly caught cod. It was delicious everywhere.

Top five attractions

  • Nature trail in Marstrand and its various exploration locations, Sweden
  • Göta canal, Sweden
  • Castle of Kronborg, Helsingør, Denmark
  • Working mill of Aarsdale, Bornholm, Denmark
  • Motormuseum, Motala, Sweden

Sailing Video in Turku Archipelago in Finland

5 November 2012 -- Eve

During the last summer we were sailing on the southern Baltic Sea and we were shooting very many nice video shots. This autumn has been so busy that our first video just get ready for publishing and many others will follow later during this winter.

All our summer 2012 sailing blog stories you can find from our blog archive.

Come back to the sunny days of early summer with our video.

Anchoring at Lådna lagoon in Sweden

19 November 2012 -- Andrus

The most fabulous anchorage in the summer 2012 was the idyllic lagoon on the southern side of Lådna island in Stockholm archipelago. It is wonderful that this kind of beauty can be found from our own Baltic Sea.

Come and enjoy about the beauty of Lådna with our video. Have a look to our story of Lådna from our blog entry where you can see more photos and find the coordinates for your own sailing voyage.