Wetstuff

Wetstuff

2009-01-29

Sailing on the west coast of Sweden

After the Gold Cup regatta there is an excellent opportunity to spend some more time sailing in Sweden. Folkboat sailing is so much more then just racing and these waters are particularly well suited for Folkboat cruising. With small islands everywhere there are so many new potential natural harbours to explore. Keeping in mind that there are also lots of opportunities to fill up your supplies with fresh food in most villages, you do not need to plan all details of your trip ahead or carry boring groceries just because they can take long storage. Just go where the wind blows, the sun shines or where ever you think you find something of interest and you will have lots of fun.

Pic: MåseskärFrom Marstrand I would recommend to go north, assuming you are enthusiastic, filled up with groceries from Marstrand and still have many days vacation left. A good days sailing can take you a long distance today. If you already spent most of the day waking up after the regatta dinner yesterday, do not worry there are lots of options close as well, just look in the charts. If you prefer to stay in a harbour there are several fishing villages in a comfortable distance from Marstrand. Mollösund, Käringön and Gullholmen are all very nice and popular. All three have small shops for groceries and also one or two restaurants each. SW from Käringön you can see Måseskär lighthouse and the traditional lighthouse keepers buildings. If you plan for a night in a natural harbour some nice places is Slubbersholmen outside Mollön or Fågelskär outside Käringön. But of course there are many more options.

Between Gullholmen and Lysekil are one of my absolute favourite areas located, it seems as one can find a new favourite place in this small area every year...All the small islands around Gåsö and Storön seems to have endless opportunities and since some years there is a special chart available in well equipped stores to make navigation easier. (GPS is cheating...) Some also claim charts are cheating and that you can manage with a trained eye, so called ocular navigation, watch the seabirds, seabird navigation (standing seabirds in the water is a clear sign) and in worst case use your jib pole to feel the depth in front of your Folkboat, jib pole navigation.

When you pass Lysekil you will notice that the colour of the islands is now changing a bit. You will also see that there are bits and pieces missing from many islands, I think you will find stone from this area all over Europe. Malmön was one of the centres for this industry, passing Malmön on the west side you will see this very clearly.

Next recommended stop is Hållö, small natural harbour between Hållö and Hamnskär. This is the old pilot harbour and you might need some jib pole navigation to get in here, but here you will be rewarded with a fantastic atmosphere, old lighthouse keeper’s buildings and rocks perfectly polished by the sea. This is the perfect place for an evening meal on the polished rocks and some wine in the sunset. If you are more in a party mode Smögen is the place to go. It is also possible to take a small ferry from Smögen to Hållö if you want to combine these two. Leaving Smögen/Hållö you can take the inner route Sotenkanalen or sailing on the outside, sailing is not allowed in the channel even if you have downwind. This is a very nice passage anyway and a very good option if the winds are strong. In the middle of the channel there is a bridge that sailing boats can not pass, the bridge will open often and normally you do not need to wait more then 10 minutes. However this bridge is closed during the night.

Just north of the channel you will find Hunnebostrand, a little bit further Bovallstrand and in between some islands with excellent opportunities for staying overnight. Aspholmen, Kålö, Flatskär provides several good options for different wind directions.

Now we are getting close to favourite place 2: When you pass Hamburgö, it does not matter if you pass on west or east side, both are beautiful. There is a line ferry on the inside route, similar to the one at Marstrand but yellow instead of blue. Sailing is not allowed when you pass this ferry. (If you think I repeat this with sailing not allowed it’s because I did most of my Folkboat sailing with unreliable outboard engines). Anyway: North of Hamburgö starts the beautiful archipelago of Fjällbacka, you could easily spend a week here, when you come here you will understand why. Vedholmen is a true favourite but there many alternatives. The most interesting one is perhaps Väderöarna where you can find a good place to stay over night in the channel west of Storö or in the old pilot harbour on the south side.

If you now decide to continue for a day or two North I think you have practiced enough and will do just fine without my advice.

One thing to remember is that after Grebbestad there are no more shops for groceries until Strömstad (if you do not count the gas station at Havstenssund...) Normally I try to catch some Makrell here and most of the times I get enough.

Now some other tips:

Whether forecasts are at Swedish radio P1 in the morning and evening, of course it is in Swedish. If they say Kattegat Kuling there will be lots of wind, do not be afraid to ask a boat neighbour. If you hear some religious music a quarter to ten in the evening it is your boat neighbour getting ready to listen to the whether forecast. (There is always a religious program just before)

bild: bergskilar Most Folkboats are well equipped with a good anchor, perhaps due to the class rule, but you will also need some good wedges and a hammer. I was brought up using these wedges but I’m not sure if they are commonly used all over the Folkboat world so I’ll make a short description: The wedges are driven down into cracks in the rock and are equipped with a ring for you mooring line, the harder you drive them down the better you sleep at night...but you must take them up again when you leave. It is best if the person responsible for driving them down is not same person as the one who will take them out again...

I wish you all a fantastic sailing experience on the Swedish west coast!

Per Börjesson

1 kommentarer:

jacs sa...

May i add that there is a very well stocked grocery store at Resö as well as one of the best restaurants of the northern coast - "Panget". The guest harbour can be crowded at times but there is usually space for a Folkboat. And there is a temporary mooring for the guests of the restaurant and the shop.

Jan CS