A long, hot summer has graced the north of Sweden, but there are always reminders that the weather can change at any moment into a fusion of elemental pulses. This week have seen two low pressure systems camped over Norway, birthing some wild and unpredictable winds plus some welcome rain.
Changes are rapid up here on the Jungfrukusten (Maiden’s Coast) and one has to adapt with philosophy by preparing the living space of a boat with enough domestic comfort to allay the sudden arrival of damp, challenging climatic conditions.
Many of you who have ‘sailed’ with me on the ‘Viking Saga’ over the past few years will be aware of the struggle I have had trying to adapt Free to a heating system that promotes as much comfortable living as is possible on a battered old motor sailer! Much of this may be of interest for potential live-aboard sailors and I would caution you to pay close attention as to how you intend to survive severe conditions before buying an appropriate vessel.
When I bought Free she was equipped with an awful, unreliable Eberspacher hot air blower which barely worked, despite having recently been overhauled, and had the unpleasant habit of trying to gas me every time it started. Solution… watery grave in Marmaris Bay!
Next I tried Harry, the Dutch Heatpol diesel, gravity drip-feed heater, which I had to purchase due to my lovely solid fuel fire, Bilbo (I know, you must be questioning if I am even sane… But I have to talk to someone during my long solo periods afloat!) being out of bounds during a bitterly cold winter in Sixhaven Marina, Amsterdam. Those in command were insistent that diesel fumes are more healthy than wood smoke, so like it or lump it. I needed to spend yet more money for something I never really wanted.
Poor old Harry did his best but alas, burned a huge amount of fuel for very little heat. Now he has been bought by someone down in Gävle thanks to my friend Roger selling him for me.
Finally, I decided on a Wallas system that hails from Finland, which has similarities with the Eberspacher, although allegedly much better for marine use. Time will tell, I suppose. Needless to say a new name is needed and what better than Willie, after the great Scottish and Celtic footballer, Willie Wallace? (Wallas… Wallace. Get it? Sorry!)
Hopefully, some of the great man’s panache will rub off on the chilly nights and warm me up, with great memories of footballing glory! Let’s not consider the alternative…
Soon the Autumn will arrive. The Rowan tree in Kjell-Arne’s garden is pregnant with berries foretelling of a bitterly cold winter to come. Who knows? A really cold one is due though. Free will hopefully return to her natural element next May and then it really must be time to sail again, but this time south towards Poland, a final departure.
As usual, I will go with the spontaneity of the freedom that is my blessing and whatever comes will be as it should be. I care nothing for the future and very little for the past, except to carry the special, memories of my Scandinavian sojourn in my heart and give thanks for the special folk left in my wake.