We started the journey towards Gotland in the end of the June. One could say, that we were unlucky with the winds, since during the first week of July the winds were mostly blowing from south and when coming back home they changed to north. Thus, we changed our route plan accordingly and sailed through the Stockholm Archipelago on both ways. However, I would say that in the end we were also quite lucky and managed to benefit from the rather narrow weather windows and mostly avoid stronger headwinds. If the wind was unfavourable, we stayed an extra day in the harbour or made just short legs. On the other hand, when the wind turned favourable, we sailed longer legs.
We got a good wind for all the five offshore legs. Actually, the longest motoring leg was already on the second day, when motoring from Korppoo to Kökar at calm sea. The engine logged 58 hours during the summer.
During the trip, Dolphin Dance logged 644 nautical miles in 23 sailing days. Our average distance travelled was 28 nautical miles per day and average speed 4,8 knots. Thus, iur mileage has been declining, but average speed slightly increasing compared to the two previous years.
Visby – the capital of Gotland
Visby, the ’capital’ city of Gotland is one of the top sailing destinations in the Northern Europe, a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site and also probably the best-preserved medieval town in the Nordic countries. It is amazing how uniform the old town, located inside Ringmuren (the city wall) is. At many places, it felt like being thrown straight into the middle age.
Fårö and Gotska Sandön – the paradise islands of the Baltic Sea
During the journey, we have been talking a lot about how different and interesting landscapes and places one can find from the Baltic Sea within just a few hundred miles. From Visby we continued to the Fårö island, located just a mile north from Gotland. I had visited this island in 2010, and instantly fell in love with its beautiful beaches, tranquil athmosphere and many amazing limestone formations, which are called rauks. This year, we visited the island first by car, and later in July, stayed also two nights on the island in Lauterhorn harbour. During our stay in Lauterhorn, we rented bicycles and drove to see the Gamle Hamn rauks in the evening. The weather turned cloudy in the evening, so we missed the famous sunset of Gamle Hamn (the sun setting through arch of the Coffeepot rauk) that we were looking for. However, an approaching weather front gave a dramatic scenery for the place.
From Fårö we continued to Gotska Sandön which was one of the highlights during the summer. This uninhabited and most isolated island in the Baltic Sea does not have a harbour, so boats are anchoring in the lee side of the island. During our stay, the island gave a relatively good shelter from the wind, but there was a nasty swell, which was rounding the island and at times was coming from 90 degrees direction to the wind. This made the anchorage rather bumpy and the night mostly sleepless. For a moment we were discussing about raising the anchor and taking a course towards calmer anchorages of the Stockholm Archipelago. However, afterwards it is easy to say, that the decision to stay was the right one: the following day on the island and walking along its deserted sand beaches made us to forget the miserable night on the anchorage.
Stockholm Archipelago and Åland
From Gotska Sandön we continued to Finnskär in outer Stockholm Archipelago. Strong northerly winds were forecasted for the following six days, so we made short legs in the archipelago and also stayed one night in Stockholm Wasahamn, while waiting for better conditions for sailing to Åland. We were late from our schedule, so we had to leave Dolphin Dance to Mariehamn for four nights, while we took a ferry back home for a long working weekend.
We were looking forward the last days of sailing through the beautiful Åland Archipelago, but unfortunately, the weather turned grey, cold and rainy as we started, and the sun only came out on the last day of the journey. Thus, we do not have many images from the last days.
So here it was, a (relatively) short summary of Dolphin Dance’s summer trip to Gotland in 2013. But luckily the season is not over yet, and we are looking forward to the second best season of the year – the Autumn.