The main sailing journey of 2012 took Dolphin Dance first to High Coast in northeastearn coast of Sweden and later in July to Stockholm. During the journey to Sweden, Dolphin Dance logged total of 792 nautical miles in 30 sailing days. Thus, our average distance travelled was 26,4 nm per day and average speed 4,6 knots. Thus, we had a bit more relaxed schedule than on the previous season.
The High Coast is located in the western shore of Gulf of Bothnia, in the northeastern coast of Sweden. The area is located between N 62° 36´ and N 63° 16´ latitudes and roughly inside the triangle Härnösand-Kramfors-Örnsköldsvik. Actually, the scenery in the mainland continues high almost as far as Gävle in the south, but it is the high islands and coastline, that make the High Coast so unique in this part of the eastern coast of Sweden.
The High Coast is located in the western shore of Gulf of Bothnia, in the northeastern coast of Sweden.
The nature in this area has been affected by the latest glacial period, when the land masses were depressed by the weight of a huge glacier. After the ice age, the land started rebounding and is now rising at rates that are among the highest in the world. On top of the Skuleberget mountain, there are marks of the highest historical marine level in the world, 286 meters over the current sea level. Thus most of the High coast has previously been sea bottom. The Skuleberget also offers the best views over the High Coast coastline and archipelago. The waterway leading to Docksta, which we used as a base camp for visiting Skuleberget, is very beautiful and resembles Norwegian fjords with hills rising from the sea to over 200 meters. Read more about the High Coast from here.
Bad weather was probably the no 1. topic in discussions among boaters in 2012 in Baltic Sea. Indeed, this was one the wettest summer for years in Sweden and Finland. We definitely had our share of the rain, but also enjoyed sunny weather during the trip. In the end, one tends to remember the sunniest moments…
Our first week was rainy: we had at least rain showers every day. The second week that we spent cruising in High coast was very good – only temperatures could have been higher. When we were coming back from High coast, the weather changed again to variable, and we got rain showers every day during the following eight days’ period. Only when we were approaching Stockholm, the weather turned sunnier.
Also the winds have been stronger than normally during July in Baltic Sea. During this season we also experienced thunder storm at sea, but fortunately it passed quite quickly. Also the strong northerly winds experienced outside Kuggören taught us a couple of valuable lessons on preparation and weather forecasts.
In terms of sailing, we had some ups and downs during the journey. The engine logged 84,5 hours and we travelled about 88 hours under sail. I wished that we could have sailed more, but the wind was not always on our side. And when on a journey with somewhat fixed schedule, one has to make progress even if the wind is calm or blowing on your face. When coming back from the High Coast, we had to keep travelling about 30 to 50 nm per day. Our initial plan was to make a longer overnight passage, if favourable weather window would have opened, but it never did.
Our journey started in favourable winds as we started off with a 154 nautical miles crossing of Gulf of Bothnia. This leg was longer in terms of distance than any of the legs that we sailed during the previous season when we sailed to Norway and back. The wind was very good and we could sail most of the leg at good speed, but persistent rain that lasted half of this 28 hours leg made the sailing less enjoyable.
In the High coast, we enjoyed some nice and relaxed sailing, but when coming south from the High coast, our luck changed and we had either no wind at all or strong headwinds. We basically had to motor through most of the Stockholm Archipelago, since we had headwind both ways. In the end, when crossing the Sea of Åland and the Southern Sea of Bothnia from Åland to Kustavi, the winds turned southerly (where they should be at this time of the year) and we enjoyed the best sailing weather during this season.
/Antti & Minna