Stockholm Archipelago: Known mostly only to Swedes as a sailing region.
After just a few days of sailing on a sailing yacht across the endless Stockholm archipelago, Chris Beeson understood why Swedish sailors rarely venture outside the Baltic Sea.
30,000 islands are part of the Stockholm archipelago, which is why a lifetime is not enough to explore them, although almost all of them are located within a one-day journey from the center of Stockholm.
I have been lucky in my life to travel under sail in different parts of the world and I have always wondered why among the many nations on the water it is so rare to meet Swedes. How is this possible? Historically, the Swedes are a nation of sailors and fearless adventurers.
Could the North Sea be such an insurmountable barrier for these pirates? The answer is definitely no. This is because Sweden's coastal waters are lavishly strewn with endless islands that are so attractive that Swedes simply do not need to sail anywhere else. Everything a true adventurer needs is scattered generously a few miles from the Swedish coast.
Our 3-day itinerary around Stockholms Skärgård
Stockholms Skärgård, or Stockholm Archipelago, can be compared to a box of delicious chocolate, 30,000 enchanting granite islands, each with its own character, history and wildlife. They all form the center of a vast archipelago of over 100,000 islands - the largest archipelago in the world. The air temperature in summer can reach 25 - 29 degrees Celsius, the weather is generally similar to what we can find in the northern states of the United States, mainly formed by the Azores anticyclones. In the summer there is a 25 % probability that the wind will blow with a force of five, but the surface of the water remains almost flat without waves, in the event of a storm, a shelter is always nearby. There is no ebb and flow thanks to the very narrow entrance to the Baltic Sea. The current that carries almost that fresh water out of the sea arises from the large amount of melt water that accumulates in the northern part of the sea. Salt water is carried into the Baltic from the North Sea by underwater currents.
It is no secret that the granite archipelago had many different dangerous places, which were known mainly to local fishermen and ferry captains. It was only with the advent of GPS navigation that Skärgård opened up to most Swedes. Almost all rocks and shoals are well marked on maps, turn on the sonar buzzer louder and you are out of danger. Do not risk in vain, set the minimum depth level on the echo sounder with a margin, because due to fluctuations in atmospheric pressure, the water level can change by a meter.
Winds of sufficient strength, flat water surface and comfortable air temperature create almost heavenly conditions for yachtsmen.
The central islands of Skärgård, those that are closer to the mainland, are much larger, higher, fertile enough for dense forest to grow on them and summer cottages for Stockholm residents were built. The outer islands of the Skärgård archipelago are more open to the elements and have a wilder appearance. These islands are smaller and lower. The impact of the ancient glacier left some remnants of soil on these rocks, and only the most resistant and hardy plants were able to take root on these rocks. It is very rare to find red summer houses or public saunas on them, but most of these islands remain untouched.
Skärgård is usually entered through Sandhamn in the east, Söderarm in the north or Dalarö in the south, ending with a lighthouse at Svenska Högarna, the easternmost island of the archipelago, which is only 45 miles from the center of Stockholm, Arholma island in the north is about 80 miles from the southernmost island of Landsort. Less than a day's hike, this breathtaking wilderness is less than a day's hike, but you can explore it a lifetime and never land on the same island twice.
We met on our yacht Arcona 380, near the headquarters of the Arcona shipyard, which is located in the town of Gustavsberg on the island of Värmdö, just twelve miles east of central Stockholm. Torgny After and Ewa Jansson, our hosts and guides prepared food supplies and we drove west through a narrow passage from Gustavsberg towards the wider Baggensfjärden.
Small gusts of wind came, we raised the mainsail. Very low, surprisingly flat, like pancakes, granite stones were left on the port side, we put down the staysail and turned south before a flurry suddenly hit us. The Swedes had a very poor midsummer celebration in 2014, with cold northerly winds dropping temperatures in half to 11 degrees Celsius. We walked past the luxurious building of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club Royal Swedish Yacht Club's (KSSS) in Saltsjöbaden.
Further to the southeast is the island Ingarö Fjärden, which houses many of the summer houses of Stockholm residents, they are scattered in dense forest along the steep coast of Ingarö Island to the very entrance to the harbor. These houses are very different - from the masterpieces of modern architecture with their own saunas and piers near which the yacht sways, to the characteristic houses built of edged boards with white windows, almost all of these houses are rusty-red painted with traditional Swedish paint, from copper oxides and iron ore ...
Arcona chef and our archipelago guide, Torgny Jansson leads us along Ingarö Fjärden
In Nämdöfjärden, we had to take two reefs because the wind increased to five points, then we turned northeast and waited for gusts of up to eight points that could blow from the left between the islands. Squeezing through the narrow passage between Hasselö and Skarprunmaren, we entered the well-protected guest harbor of Sandhamn on Sandön Island, where we moored right on the waterfront.
Impressive Royal Swedish Yacht Club building dominates Sandhamn's harbor
Sandhamn as popular with boaters in Sweden as Cowes Island near Melbourne in Australia. We came here at the end of June on the island, there were only about 30 guest yachts. But in July, when all of industrial Sweden closes down for the holiday season, Sandhamn becomes the site of an endless festival with a huge number of holidaymakers, during this time of year ferries operate like water taxis non-stop. Directly to the building of the Royal Yacht Club there are three branches of berths covered with blackened boards, these berths can accommodate 240 yachts, the imposing building of the yacht club, built in 1897, dominates the bay. Electricity and water are available, fuel is also available. There is a bakery, several restaurants, a shop and a bar, all directly on the waterfront. Ornate summer cottages are also ready to receive guests, but most of the locals live a little further inland in small houses fenced with low fences that are scattered along narrow, winding streets.
Sandhamn's Värdshus, the most popular place to eat for sailors since 1672.
The rain and wind died down in the evening and in the morning we woke up in a much more comfortable environment. After a quick walk along the coast, we had breakfast on board and stretched out on the bow mooring out of the harbor. Having skirted the island of Sanden, we headed southwest at a decent speed of 8-9 knots, gliding past granite cushions that not only protect against the rough seas but can also be an invisible obstacle to the keel underwater Ten miles southeast we walked very quickly to Bullerö Island, after we entered a narrow winding strait we removed the sails and started the engine.
While Ewa was preparing the ends and ladder for going ashore, Torgny was trying to find a suitable place for the anchor, moving under the engine, the first attempt was unsuccessful, the anchor fell to the granite bottom, having determined the place of disembarkation, we found a suitable section of the bottom where the anchor was well hooked on the silt. Having put the anchor end on the mainsail winch, Torgny handed over control to Eva Ewa and jumped from the bow to the shore.
Mooring at the bow to the magical island of Bullerö, the jewel of the outer part of Skärgård
Torgny started the mooring line from the windward side, then adjusted the length of the stern and bow ends in such a way that it would be convenient to disembark without damaging the bow of the yacht against the rock. Having secured an additional end 50 meters long behind the eye on the shore and having set the fourth mooring line from the opposite side, we securely fixed the yacht and after that we disembarked to explore the island.
Bullerö deciduous forest in the sea, a unique island for the area and for the Åland archipelago. Beginning in 1653, farmers settled on the island who grew vegetables and potatoes, they themselves dragged wooden plows because they could not feed the horses during the winter, the settlers fished and shot seals and seabirds. However, with the development of industry on the mainland, life on the island became very unattractive and at the beginning of the twentieth century the island was deserted.
Anchored from the leeward of Bullerö Island with two bow ends, one end in the middle and a stern anchor
In 1908, the famous Swedish landscape painter Bruno Liljefors bought Bullerö Island and 300 more islands around it, he built a hunting lodge and several workshops on the island. In 1923, Liljefors sold the archipelago to his friend, newspaper magnate and seasoned yachtsman Torsten Krüger, who expanded the property with 600 more islands. He was also the impresario of Hollywood stars Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn and Mary Pickford, all of whom have visited Bullerö Island. The part of the island's history associated with the Kruger is full of unexpected turns and exciting stories, but it is too large and bright for our essay.
The harbor of Hemviken on Bullerö is the island's most important business district with five buildings including a youth hostel.
Kruger's son Krüger, Bjorn Björn, turned out to be a passionate lover of nature, he protested against the barbaric destruction of bird nests, in those days bird eggs were considered quite a traditional food. He bred very rare sea eagles and eagle owls on the island, as well as other endangered species of native birds. It so happened by itself that his private property turned into a nature reserve. When Bjorn Kruger decided to sell his islands to Shell in 1967, he offered him SEK80m (£ 5.5m), but instead sold all 900 of the islands to the Swedish state for SEK 3.8m (£ 260) thousand pounds) on the condition that the islands retain their protected status. In 1976, a state reserve was established, and part of the islands from February to August are closed to the public for the protection of bird nests.
After exploring this little piece of paradise on foot, we decided to have lunch.
Writer and artist Albert Engström Albert Engström, one of the representatives of the cultural community Liljefors, talked about the unprecedented concentration of happiness on the untouched and reserved piece of land, which is Bullerö Island, I really understand what he meant. It is possible that the protected status creates this feeling of security and pristine purity that I felt here. This island is like a kingdom for children; the island is from end to end only a mile and a half with small hills from the top of which you can view the fringe of the forest, miniature meadows and tiny bays, everything is available for discoverers, all the time I was on the island I did not stop smiling.
We followed the Skerry cruising yacht Beatrice Aurore with a sail area of 150 square meters to the natural harbor of Koxviken on the island of Biskopsön
Back on board, we continued our journey further southwest to the natural harbor of Koxviken on the island of Biskopsön until we saw a very rare vintage yacht: Beatrice Aurore. This is a typical skerry cruising yacht built in 1920 according to the 150 square meters sailing rules that were developed in Stockholm in 1908. Several years ago, a crane accidentally crushed her during an unsuccessful launch. A syndicate of ten vintage yacht enthusiasts have completely restored this twenty-two-meter classic beauty and now she entertains her new owners all summer long, each taking turns sailing on the yacht for one week.
Every yachtsman in these parts should have the skills of a mountaineer, a bag of iron pegs and a hammer in order to drive the peg into the crevice to create a point for attaching the mooring end
Having decided on the place of anchorage, Torgny dropped a reliable anchor, then hammered into the rocks on the shore several steel crutches with loops for attaching the mooring lines, Ewa put things in order on the bow. Having securely moored the yacht, we enjoyed admiring the beauty of our overnight stay.
Starving crew on yacht Beatrice Aurore watch Chris and photographer Stefan grill
After a short walk around the island, during which I have not had the chance to meet any of the 50 deer that have flooded the island since they settled on it in the 1920s. I returned to the yacht to taste the Swedish grilled meat. They began to marinate it on a yacht, then grill it on the shore and eat it on board. The food that is cooked on the grill is always much tastier than the one that is cooked on the stove, especially in the wild. We ate well, drank and watched the sun go down, but the night didn’t come. At midnight it was light enough to read. White Nights is an additional and very rare pleasure available in summer in these latitudes.
We knew we would be back in the UK today, but we still couldn't believe it was possible. After breakfast we removed the bow mooring lines. Torgny knocked back the crutches and we glided along our final 30 mile stretch, at the end of which Torgny promised to land us in town.
With a favorable northerly wind, we went back into the Skärgård archipelago, passed Ingarö Fjärden and left Saltsjöbaden overboard. I thought that further we would enter Baggensfjärden and walk along the Gustavsberg, then get into the car on the bank. But as it turned out, I was wrong.
After passing the narrow strait Baggensstäket under the motor, small vessels can find themselves right in the center of Stockholm on a short journey
We removed the sails and went under the engine, I was worried that we would fly straight into the coast, but as it turned out, around the bend, an entrance to a beautiful strait called Baggensstäket opened, on both sides of this strait there are small summer houses lined up in a row that cost astronomical money. Baggensstäket is the oldest entrance to Stockholm: it was used by merchant ships to enter the city; as well as the plague, which was brought into the city from Estonia in 1710; also through this strait, the city received the news of the Swedes' victory over the Russians in 1719.
Sailing in the middle of medieval Stockholm on the Norrström River Old Town, Gamla Stan, just aft
A narrow channel led us into Lännerstasundet before turning north at Skurusundet, the steep banks of which are built up with luxurious houses, each with its own pier and storage space for boats in winter when the water freezes. We then entered the fairway used by the huge cruise ships that call in Stockholm and went straight east along the Norrström river to the medieval part of Stockholm called Gamla stan... Our last mooring was at the temporary pier which was specially set up for the participants of the race around the island of Gotland Round Gotland Race, directly opposite was the Royal Palace and the Royal Opera House. Torgny said: "I promised I would drop you off in the city."
This is why most Swedes don't have to travel far. Half a day before, we had been moored in the middle of rocky wilderness, feeling like we were on the edge of civilization. And now we are right in the center of the luxurious European capital. I thought that all Swedes are very lucky to have such a wonderful place to relax right outside their doorstep, this is not found anywhere else in the entire world: Cozy, stunning and almost endless beauty. What else can be added, they know this well, they love nature, value and protect it, and what is more important, they allow others to enjoy such beauty.
What you need to know to travel the Stockholm archipelago
Graham fay cattell, are jointly secretaries of the Cruise Association Baltic Section Baltic Section, they have over 17 years of experience sailing the archipelago. (Note: this information is current at the time of this writing in: 2014)
You need a bag of crutches and a hammer to hammer them into the rocks
• Nasal ladder (open on the bow rail, almost always, landing and disembarkation passes through the nose)
• 50 meters of mooring line and several carabiners
• Stern anchor and 30 meters of additional bow mooring lines with which you can tie boats to trees or crutches driven into the rock
• Several iron pegs that act as mooring points
• Additional fenders for passage in narrow channels
• Small grill (you cannot make a fire directly on the rock because it can crack)
• Swedish courtesy flag
• Solar panels or wind generator that will charge your battery while you are not in the marina
Mainly north and south-west winds prevail during the season. The English weather forecast can be heard at 08:00 and 20:00 VHF. Choose a channel based on your location: Väddö (ch78), Svenska Högarna (ch84), Nacka (ch26), Södertälje (ch66), Torö (ch24).
Bring your insurance policy, your tax number and proof of your qualifications. For the captain of a charter boat, a RYA Yachtmaster captain's diploma or an ICC ticket is required.
In general, prices are lower than on the UK's south coast. All yacht club harbors are generally cheaper and have guest berths, see the Gästhamn sign. Conditions may vary, but generally you can count on water, electricity, toilet facilities, garbage disposal, fuel, and often a beach sauna.
Allemansrätt (Sweden) allows you to anchor wherever you like, but you don't need to anchor near someone else's house - respect local residents' privacy.
This is the best collection of maps for local sailing directions. It has not been published for several years now - and there are no plans to resume publication of these maps. Buy on the secondary market or learn Swedish.
You need to buy a map pack locally or order a kit from the UK. It is necessary to clearly follow the directions laid on the maps and on the ground, all passages are marked with buoys, beacons and beacons. Use GPS as a safety net, but visual navigation is the most important in these places, you need to constantly mark the location of your yacht on the map.
The best sailing direction in English, Arholma-Landsort and the island of Gotland, is no longer published.
Waste handling rules
Foreign-flagged yachts do not have to be equipped with a drain tank, but since April 2015, the discharge of untreated water overboard is prohibited in Swedish waters. Already, discharge is prohibited in rivers, canals and ports. Everywhere there is an opportunity to hand over dirty water to special ships or even to the points of reception of dirty water that are anchored. Many islands have toilets ashore.
Swedish Yachting Association
It makes sense to buy a season ticket for a member of the Swedish Cruising Association (SXK, www.sxk.se) (family fee is only SEK640, or £ 55). Members have the right to moor at SXK berths and discount rates at SXK-owned harbors.
Mobile operator Telia covers the entire archipelago very well. If you are expecting calls from your Swedish friends, a local sim card will save them a lot of money. If you only plan to make calls, the new roaming rates are such that it makes no sense to buy a local SIM card.
Wi-fi is available in many marinas. British 3G also operates in Sweden.
Diesel fuel in marinas does not contain biodiesel, unless it is a universal filling station where cars are also refueled.
Camping gas cylinders can be changed, but you need a Swedish gas cylinder, which is only used in Sweden and nowhere else. It is possible to replace your cylinder in Denmark or Germany. It is theoretically possible to fill a British cylinder in Sweden with the correct adapter.
Beer with an alcohol content of 3.5% is sold in grocery stores. Anything stronger is sold in specialized state-owned Systembolaget stores. Strong alcohol is very expensive, but good wine costs about the same as in British stores. If you are passing through Germany it is best to stockpile in that country.
Mosquitoes can be a big problem, bring mosquito repellent or buy locally. If possible, prepare nets to fit over your boat's hatches and windows. Ticks can carry encyphalitis or Lyme disease.
Routes to the Baltic
From southern England you need to go to the North Sea or walk in Germany to Brunsbüttel and then through the Kiel Canal.
From North UK, pass Skagerrak and Kattegat. Some boats will be able to pass through Limfjord but beware of the shallow waters off the Danish coast, the leeward coast can be very dangerous.
You can also go through all of Sweden from west to east and go straight into the Stockholm archipelago along the Göta canal created by Thomas Telford - Gotha. There are actually two canals, old and new (Trollhätte and Göta) and also rivers and huge lakes. Transit Fee - SEK 6,510 (approx £ 560) one way for yachts 9-12m (30-39ft), with SEK500 (£ 43) surcharge for oversized beam over 3.3m (10ft 10in). This price includes parking for up to five nights at any of twenty one marinas along the way.
Author: Chris Beeson
A source: Yachting Monthly
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