Our plan was to stay in Tallinn until Saturday but the weather forecast promised heavy thunderstorms and heavy rain. The weather radar forecast that the rain will start already on Friday evening. We made a decision to cross the Gulf of Finland a day earlier. Later we were happy about this decision as we followed the news from Tallinn about floods caused by torrential rain.
Two years ago we were nervous on our first crossing of Gulf of Finland when we travelled from Hanko to Dirhami. This time in addition to east-west direction shipping lines we would be sailing with the busy passenger traffic between the Tallinn and Helsinki. Some of the ships would blow around with the speeds in excess of 35 knots. Andrus admired again the good work of the crew aboard the passanger vessels. We thought that we left plenty of space between us and the other vessels. We still could see from AIS that they took a clear evasive action as they approached us.
The same could not be said about cargo vessels. Our course left a three mile gap between us and the tanker in the middle of the gulf. Suddenly Andrus noticed that the tanker had left the traffic separation scheme shipping lane towards the harbour of Muuga in Tallinn. The tanker was on full collision course with us. According to the COLREGs (Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea) we had a right of way. It did not help, we made quickly an evasive movement.
The wind blew 10 m/s from north-east and the sails pulled nicely. The waves swung Suwena but we noticed that we were already become accustomed to it. In the beginning of the summer both of us followed closely the movements of the boat and in the bigger seas a lot of energy went just to noticing yacht movements. Already for some time we could work with various things onboard despite of bigger wind and waves. As we approached the Finnish coast we felt wistful despite that our Baltic Circle will not end in Helsinki. Somehow it still felt that by being back in Finnish waters the voyage is about to finish. Actually the Baltic Circle will be closed when we’ll cross our wake in Archipelago Sea.
After crossing the Gulf of Finland we turned towards the HSK (Helsingfors Segelklubb) yacht club harbour. The wind turned against us but we continued stubbornly with sails only. We were in no hurry and wanted to make the journey a little longer.
Finally we arrived to the harbour and made Suwena fast to the homeland. It felt unbelievable that we really made it. We went around the Baltic Sea and our log showed 1119 nautical miles through five countries. It was time to celebrate and we rushed to the heat of Helsinki to award ourselves with good food and some more.
The Baltic Circle will continue during the August and September. We’ll sail from Helsinki to the Archipelago Sea where we’ll meet our wake that we made this spring.
We have also used extensively our video camera during the voyage and we’ll now have a lot of post processing to do. Video clips will be published in this yachting blog and in YouTube during this fall.