Here comes summer!

Better late than never I suppose, at least that is probably what most Swedish folk are feeling right now. I am genuinely happy for them and it has been pleasant to witness some of the high energy they put into partying, and indulgence in all manner of water-sports. Having put into Öregrund again to finally buy some most welcome victuals, I arrived during a water fest involving huge, high-powered craft screaming around the vicinity. Rather than protest, I just let it wash over me and allowed myself to be a tourist for the next few days. The sun is hot and a blue sky without a rain cloud in sight, and nothing in the forecast either. Mind you, in my experience, this is when one has to be really careful up here in Scandinavia, for the hotter it gets, the more likely it is for a huge, violent thunderstorm.

This chart gives one an idea  of where the Åland islands are and the extent of the Jungfrukusten. The blue circle is my present location

This chart gives one an idea of where the Åland islands are and the extent of the Jungfrukusten. The blue circle is my present location

My sacred wind for the Åland Sea crossing arrived and I was blessed with a beautiful strong breeze that saw Free make her fastest ever passage over thirty eight miles. The crossing had everything: half of it under full sail with a moderate sea, and the second, a huge side swell causing Free to almost leap over the wave crests. I was forced to hove-to after passing the Märket lighthouse thirteen nautical miles out from my starting place, Finbo Island, on the north west of the Åland chain, just over half way across to Sweden. This was necessary to enable me to reduce sail, as she was definitely over-pressed, despite a spunky sailing performance.

Märket light, almost half way across the Åland Sea.

Märket light, almost half way across the Åland Sea.

Free is an old vessel and I would hate to damage the rigging by sailing her too hard in these challenging conditions; so lowering the stays’l was enough for her to maintain a speed of over five knots until the Öregrund channel, where the islands shielded us from the full extent of the breeze.

There is good news and bad news…

The bad news is that the engine has to be started by bypassing the normal ignition system and a new spare ignition switch failed to repair the problem. The good news is that I have been able to sail with the battery fully charged due to the realisation that my solar panels, ‘the twins’, have been dormant all this time. Whilst testing my electrical system with the voltmeter, I discovered that there was nearly twenty volts coming from ‘the twins’, failing to reach the batteries.

'Wendy' and 'the twins', my alternative energy source, allowing me to live off the anchor.

‘Wendy’ and ‘the twins’, my alternative energy source, allowing me to live off the anchor.

In theory the combination of this and the wind generator (Wendy) should keep the batteries fully charged so that the autopilot can steer Free while I do other tasks. Eventually I located the fault; it was the voltage regulator unit, which stops the solar panels over charging the batteries and literally cooking them. This rather expensive piece of kit has only lasted since 2012, which is disgraceful. What’s the point of investing in something to save energy when it costs you more than using expensive fossil fuels to replace it? Alternative energy sources have to be viable or folk will never take them seriously and who can blame them?

It ain't pretty, but it works! Bypassing the wretched voltage regulator that 'protects' the batteries.

It ain’t pretty, but it works! Bypassing the wretched voltage regulator (the top unit) that ‘protects’ the batteries.

So what is a girl to do? She must rig up a switch to engage the panels, and remember to turn it off when the batteries are charged, to avoid an unwanted barbecue! Still, better that than yet another expensive replacement. This woman’s war against consumerism continues unabashed!

Tomorrow I aim to pick up a mooring buoy off Björn (bear) Island, a favourite of mine for its sheer aloneness and elemental power and then a slow, laid back, meander up the Jungfrukusten (Maiden’s coast) towards Söderhamn, just south of Borka.

The blue circle shows my location now. It indicates the Gävle Bight and the southern stretch of the Jungfrukusten, which stretches north from Gävle to Sundsvall.

The blue circle shows my location now. It indicates the Gävle Bight and the southern stretch of the Jungfrukusten, which stretches north from Gävle to Sundsvall.

This nice little town has a useful marine workshop and the moorings are almost in the town so it is a valuable chance to bypass the endless need for lifts and relying on the goodwill of local folk to procure equipment for repairs. This is the main problem with sailing up in the north of Scandinavia, unfortunately.

The sheer ecstasy of living on the anchor. Enjoy!

The sheer ecstasy of living on the anchor. Enjoy!

Until then, I hope for some kind winds and beautiful sunsets to relax and sustain me, and hopefully, my friends, you too.

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About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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12 Responses to Here comes summer!

  1. bob palmerslodge says:

    Nice travel reports of your experiences. Sounds wonderful.I will keep reading.Goodluck, bon journey and save travels

  2. Hariod Brawn says:

    Yes, summer has been late arriving here too on the Somerset Levels Poppy, and pretty much all across Britain I gather. July was marked by an almost perpetual grey canopy, and a chill more appropriate for March. Still, the warmth is here now and I’ve been out walking in the nature reserves which are situated on what was once the sea bed and salt marshes. Today, I walked The Sweet track and around its watery environs; it is the second oldest man-made timber trackway in Europe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Track

    May you have safe sailing and many more exquisite sunsets.

    • Viking Queen says:

      That sounds exquisite, Hariod. You can’t be too far away from Glastonbury, is that correct? That’s a very sacred part of England, I believe. I’m glad you are also receiving the glorious warmth of the sun… It sounds needed!

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Yes Poppy, Glastonbury is very nearby. I live just over the hill from the festival site which you may have seen on TV at some point, and I look out upon Glastonbury Tor as I laze in the bath playing with my little boat – MiniFree. 😉

      • Viking Queen says:

        Now you’re just teasing me!😉it sounds idyllic though! A bath? Oh that’s just a distant memory!

  3. costenoble christian says:

    kiss sister biz ecris moi bon voyage biz

  4. Thanks again! I’ve just been in Norway and can appreciate the weather in Sweden!
    Here’ to the next saga ! Ruth

  5. Hi again Poppy. Lucky you being around Gavle region. As always, the sunset photos belie all the hard work you constantly have to contend with in order to live ‘off your anchor. I mentioned you today on my blog post. I have been wondering what you would make of a bit of a philosophical discussion, I was having (comments with another blogger) and I felt the need for your sage-like advice. Therefore, I linked your blog (not sure if it worked) on one of my comments. If you have time whilst waiting for repairs to be effected, have enough wifi acces and you are interested enough, to participate, I would be glad to hear your comments. In the meantime, enjoy the lovely weather while it lasts!!! August is the best time in Scandinavia, I think!!!

  6. Viking Queen says:

    Hi Amanda. Being the classic techno fool, I don’t really understand what I’m supposed to do! I’d love to help out. Maybe you can enlighten me? Gävle has surprised me as I lovely place, quite different from the way many folk have described it. I must admit, that it isn’t pretty on approach from the sea, but once up the river, it is a real revelation! Last August was scary for me on the coast of northern Finland, due to a succession of storms, but the end of July was scorching. The long awaited high pressure system has arrived at last, calming everything down climatically, but as the heat builds then so do those awful violent thunderstorms too; this can be a perilous time for the unwary sailor!

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