Eventually the weather relented. We enjoyed a northwesterly wind to take us the 60 nm from Klintholm to Ystad, on the south coast of Sweden, famous for the Kurt Wallander mysteries.
Thus in early June began our cruise of the Baltic. We have sailed on the West Coast four times now and thoroughly enjoyed it but never had the opportunity to sail the east coast towards Stockholm, its archipelagos, or venture further east. As Bob says, the Baltic is ‘unfinished business’ and 2018 is the year to explore!
After one night in Ystad we continued towards Karlskrona, via the delightfully welcoming small marina on the island of Hanö, where we had reserved a berth by telephone. VHF is used very little in Scandinavia we’ve found.
Interesting for us is that between 1810 and 1812 the Royal Navy used Hanö as its base during its operations in the Baltic. Here we found the English Seaman’s Graveyard. In 1972 the Royal Navy constructed a big wooden cross on the site. Still today British warships visit the island occasionally to pay tribute to the fifteen sailors’ graves.
Karlskrona has a rich history. Stockholm is ice bound during the winter, so being further south and well protected, Karlskrona became the prime naval port in the 17th century, and has an excellent museum telling the story. Sweden was also a dominant power in the Baltic from the 16th century onwards, with major battles being fought against other Baltic countries. The Kungsholm Fortress, with its own circular harbour, and Drottningskärs Citadel have guarded the entrance to the city for centuries.
Our next stop was Kalmar, a major port on the mainland with a large marina and the island of Öland to the east.
An imposing castle protecting the harbour in the 17th and 18th centuries has been extremely well preserved. This and the city were well worth the visit.
The next anchorage at Kiddeh island came highly recommended by another English cruiser. For the first time the Navionics chart on our Android Tablet differed from the Navionics chart on his iPhone, to the extent that soundings in the narrow entrance were not shown on the Tablet. Navionics provided some help by email, but it did not solve the problem, but we successfully navigated the entrance in 3m of water. Not a big margin for error as we draw 2.2m! But what a stunning spot, especially after the busy marina of Kalmar.
We continued sailing almost every day in favourable winds from the south, stopping in idyllic, protected anchorages, with good holding in mud. That is, until we stopped just short of Nynäshamn, in Valsviken Bay, where a Navionics user had left a mark on the chart inside the 3m contour stating there was an unmarked sea cable going from the shore, straight out to sea. So we carefully anchored some way clear of where we thought the cable might be, but come the morning and weighing anchor, there was the cable! We managed to get a rope around it and then clear the anchor, releasing the cable. In Sweden we have now read many reports of others who have also caught unmarked sea cables in their anchors.
Nynäshamn was a pleasant marina break where we lay alongside on a visitors’ pontoon, with the southerly wind pushing us off, and making our departure easy. Again we found enjoyable walks to the south along the coastline.
Having missed the CA rally which had started in Nynashamn, we decided to visit the different islands anyway. Our first stop was Utö, anchoring in a delightful position between a beautiful church and the small local ferry terminal. Using the dinghy to visit the village further up the channel, we walked to the windmill built by a Dutchman in 1791 from where the views over islands in the Stockholm archipelago are magnificent on a clear day. We also walked to the south coast, and admired the beautiful inlets, even in the cold northerly wind! We were incredibly fortunate to meet Lars Goran Karlsson, whose family has a summer house on the island, and had moored his Omega 42 yacht close to us. He was following in our wake to Stockholm to take part in the AF Offshore Race the following weekend from Stockholm, around Gotland and back to Sandhamn.
We had been in touch with another Lars, Lars Lemby, a longstanding member of the Offshore Cruising Club (Overlord). He lives just behind the Laennersta Baatklub on the outskirts of Stockholm and was leaving on the 23rd June to join John Porter on White Eagle in Oban. So we cut short exploration of other islands and spent a very pleasant 24 hours with him and his wife Anna-Maria, having berthed Pipistrelle on the hammerhead at the Boat Club. Our next stop was the Navishamnen Marina in Stockholm, from where we were able to spend a week exploring Stockholm over Midsummer.