On Sunday evening we had Suwena’s first sail of this season. We spent few hours sailing on Airisto and testing Suwena’s rig together with a new propeller. Everything worked flawlessly. Most of all the foldable Flex-o-fold propeller is a great upgrade. The wind was four metres per second. We tried different points of sail and the result was a smooth sailing in all the directions.
On Monday I lifted Andrus first time aloft because we had a bad reception of some radio and TV channels and some were missing altogether. Andrus went to check that the antenna is properly connected to the cable on the mizzen mast. Just as he had disconnected the cable he shouted from the heights. “Could it be that our antenna amplifier is powered off?” For sure it was offline. Anyhow the connection is now well checked and the cable is properly secured again. TV operates as well after powering on the signal amplifier.
The good thing was I had a training in windless conditions how to lift skipper aloft and not forgetting the more important how smoothly lowering him down. At the same time we noticed that the climbing harness of the Topclimber bosun’s chair was difficult to use. Also it did not feel safe to use it. It looks like the climbing clips bite into the rope and can cause a damage to the rope. The chair itself is rather good. Of course for using a chair only there is a need for another crew member to winching aloft.
Suwena was nearly ready for the voyage. Next task was to fill cupboards and freezers with food. We’ll need to be the first week self sufficient as most marinas and small shops in the archipelago are still closed before the summer season starts.
It is unbelievable how much food is onboard a liveboard boat when counting dry ingredients, spices, canned food, vegetables and of course meet and fish. We have two cold boxes. The bigger is used as a freezer and smaller for vegetables. Matchbox sized battery operated thermometers that we bought in Clas Ohlson have been very handy in monitoring the cold boxes’ temperature.
One of this winter’s upgrades were storm fixtures for food storage cabinets. All shelves have good lipping but still our things do not stay on the shelves while sailing. Especially a four shelf cabinet on a starboard side of a pentry was a real project to open on a starboard tack. Now the shelves are protected by a thick teak board that can be lifted from its U-fixtures for better access. The canned food is surprisingly heavy. We have been storing cans in a plastic box and the total weight of the box is quite a big. Now the box is securely on place. The boat swinging on the waves will give quite a push to both light and heavy items.
On Wednesday the feeling reached the sky as Suwena was getting ready for departure. Suwena’s multiyear world tour started on 23rd of May 2012. We will see where she will take us and what kind of adventures we’ll experience with her. The lines were casted off at 14:25 and the voyage towards the city of Kappeln in Northern Germany started.
The departure was surprisingly wistful because the home waters will be now left behind for some time. Of course this year we are still sailing in the familiar Baltic Sea. Next year the North Sea and the English Channel will be awaiting Suwena.
Now it is however time to focus on this summer. Ahead of us are Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Germany. The unbelievably beautiful scenery of Turku archipelago passed us and our bow was turned towards Verkan in Korpoo Island. On Airisto the wind picked up and we raised the sails. Our route took us to the south-west and later to the west. It was exciting as the wind turned together with us and our point of sail remained same throughout most of the leg.
We sailed almost half of the first leg and Suwena’s top speed was 7.8 knots. The sun was shining, we were happy and she cut smoothly through the water. This is just what we have been waiting for!