Lulea - Ratan (26-27/7)
The end of the trip for most youngsters on board, replaced only
by the author of these lines. Appointment was given "near the
ice-breakers". Lulea is one of the place where Swedish ice-breakers
are stationed over the summer. The
Atle, Frej and Ymer
were easily visible from the plane, awaiting
the next winter with serious ice conditions, if any ...
It was Lisa's birthday. Since the final episode of Harry Potter
had been published just a day earlier, I more or less expected
she would want a copy, but no, she had asked for a ... Reblochon
cheese. I duely obliged and was treated to the scene of seeing
a Reblochon as well as nearly a kilogram of Jura cheese vanish
in little more than 15 mins. I later understood why: she had spent
a month in Sweden and Finland, countries where excellent berries
and fish abound, but where cheese worthy of the name is apparently
a rare commodity.
Peter had spent the day repainting the cockpit floor. It looked
superb, even if for a couple of days we would have to fly above
the floor while hoisting the sails. All in vain, as we were to
discovered a few days later: the paint refused to stick, someting
several other users of the same paint had painfully discovered.
Refueling exercise, dinner and departure in the evening for Ratan
under peaceful conditions.
former customs post for the Bottenviken (Bay of Bothnia): ships
were unloaded, the load taxed and the the ships were reloaded
with their timber, iron etc..., an exercise which at the time
delighted the crews as much as it would today. Some remainders
of the infrastructure are still to be seen on the island, including
on the positive side, abundant blueberries and some mazes which
were either made by the crews of passing cargo ships to kill the
waiting time at the customs, or by local fishermen in effort to
improve their luck.
On the mainland, there are monuments to 2 soldiers out of several
1000 who where wounded or killed here and in Sävar in the battle
of Aug 1809 between Sweden and Russia. At Sävar, Sweden had lost
a battle against Russia, but a day later in Ratan, Sweden was
more lucky. In the aftermath, Sweden lost what is now Finland,
but as a result of the battle of Ratan, the border was considerably
further to the North, leaving an area to Sweden that would later
prove rich in mineral resources.
Ratan - Ulvön (29-30/7)
The menu of the day was the passage of the Quark, the string of
islands which separates the Bay of Bothnia from the Sea of Bothnia.
We had delayed our departure by a day to have the time to visit,
but also to await more settled weather. When we got underway,
there still was a fresh breeze, on average 6 Bf, and needless
to say that the wind was exactly aligned with the passage. The
result was an impressive number of tacks, mostly in 2nd reef and
thus with 120° tacking angles. Peter at some point observed with
wry smiles that the VMG was barely reaching 2 knots, inspite of
a boat speed regularly exceeding 7 knots! After the Quark, we
could set course to Ulvön without need for further tacks, and
by the end of the day we had done 125 nm to cover the net distance
of 85 nm between Ratan and Ulvön.
Ulvön is actually 2 islands, separated by a narrow and well sheltered
passage, with a peaceful village and a swimming pool. Good occasion
to pratice mooring with a bow-anchor, a fairly common technique
in this region (an also in the Mediterranean), but all harbours
we were to visit later had in fact buoys.
Ulvön - Härnösand (30/7)
We had experienced serious problems finding crew to sail from
Lulea to Helsinki, but at last moment Yvonne found Gunnar, the
grandfather of her godson, willing to join, which saved the 2007
tour. One wonders what makes the Baltic so little popular. Later
on we were to meet a few groups from countries that do not border
the Baltic: two Swiss, several Brits and one French, but their
numbers really do no justice to this remarkable sailing region.
In addition, the welcome one receives here can simply not be compared
with the Mediterranean.
At any rate, whe we arrived in the harbour of Härnösand, Gunnar
was already there waiting for us!
Härnösand - Söderhamn (31/7)
With an average speed of 7.4 knots, one of the faster legs in
Imram history: constantly at a reach in winds of 6-7 Bf, the boat
speed regularly exceeded 10 knots, and consistently in the correct
direction. Not exactly a quiet leg to get acquainted with the
boat, but Gunnar was more surprised that the youngsters on board
weren't in the least impressed ...