During the darkest and coldest time of the year, it is nice make some hot beverage, grab a chart book (or an iPad), and start planning for the coming season. Since our work schedule for the next summer is still bit open, we don’t want to have too fixed schedule for this year. And as the weather plays such an important role in this business, we are open to adjust our plans.

Sailing around Gotland

Last year, we took a course towards north from our homeport, so this year it is time to head towards south for a change. According to the preliminary plan, we will start in the end of June and take a course towards Gotland, which is the second largest island in the Baltic Sea (after Danish Sjælland).

I have previously visited Gotland in 2010, but due to the tight schedule then, I only stopped in two harbours: Visby and Fårösund. Since then I have wanted to come back and sail around this great island. And by that I do not mean the way the contestants in the famous Gotland Runt sailing competition do it (i.e. non-stop), but merely stopping at various harbours and fishing villages on the island.

The medieval city of Visby is the ’capital’ of Gotland, and almost a must destination for a visitor. Minna has not been there before, so she is looking forward to seeing this great little city, which I have been telling about probably too many times. In addition to Visby, we would like to especially visit Lickershamn, some 15 nm north of Visby, and Lauterhorn on the island of Fårö (NE from Gotland).

The route which we are planning to sail to Gotland is still pretty much open. And it probably remains open until the last couple of days before the start. The options are basically to go there directly from Finland, via Stockholm Archipelago or via Saaremaa (Estonia). The direct route has the longest offshore leg as the distance between the Finnish Utö and Visby is about 160 nautical miles. The distance from Landsort,  an island in the southern part of the Stockholm Archipelago, to Visby is about 70 nautical miles. The distance between Saaremaa and Lauterhorn is about 110 nm. We are planning to take the direct route either on outward or return journey — depending on the weather conditions — to have some more time to spend on Gotland.

Visby and Fårö were also discussed in my earlier two part article/blog post:
Top 10 sailing destinations in the Baltic”.

During the journey to/from Gotland, it would be interesting to visit Gotska Sandön, which is an uninhabited island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, about 20 nautical miles north from Fårö. It is surrounded by sandy beaches, which give the island its name (which translates as the ”Gotlandic Sand Island”). There is no harbour so visiting boats anchor in the lee of the island. Therefore, the weather conditions should be benign for visiting Gotska Sandön.

Do you have suggestions on good harbours on Gotland or have you visited Gotska Sandön? It would be interesting to hear about your experiences.

The busy inner harbour of Visby

 Dolphin Dance in Visby (in 2010). The berths at the breakwater are less congested and this area is more quiet compared to the inner harbour at the heart of the city.

Langhammar’s rauks on Fårö
Sailing past Gotska Sandön