Åland Archipelago 1987

Örebro-Stockholm-Åland and the Archipelago

1987 was the year when I was going to meet Tove. I sailed deep into the Åland Archipelago to visit a meeting for Guyline boats and on my way back I stopped to visit relatives in their summer house. Tove happened to be there and she followed me back over the Sea of Åland where we had an exiting experience with the Cruising ship Birka Princess. One year later we were married.


Stockholm

This year I started from Örebro first week in July and took the usual route through Hjälmaren, the Canal and Mälaren to Stockholm. In Stockholm I met Saga from Örebro with Sven-Gunnar and Annika. We agreed to try to find a mooring on Skeppsholmen together. We had to search for some time, there is no marina here, but finally we found an empty spot close to the bridge that connects Skeppsholmen with the mainland. With our anchors in the stern and lines to land we managed to stay here four days without anybody asking us to leave or pay.

A long time ago Skeppsholmen was farmland but in 1634 it was decided to establish Skeppsholmen as Stockholms naval base and shipyard and so it was for a very long time, the last military left 1968. Today Skeppsholmen is a cultural centre with institutions like the museum of Modern Art, The East Asia Museum, The Royal Academy of Art, the Modern Dance Theatre, the House of Photography, the annual Stockholm Jazz Festival and so on.

A new sailing ship was built on Skeppsholmen and launched in 2005. The Swedish Crown princess named her Tre Kronor af Stockholm and she is a replica of Gladan, a Brig that was built for the navy in Karlskrona 1857. Ship master builder was Gustaf Dillner who also issued the tonnage certificate for Bird of Passage many years later. The project was financed on a private and voluntary basis and Tre Kronor is now sailing in the Baltic as an ambassador for culture and commerse. She also participates in the Tall Ships Race.

Another ship at Skeppsholmen is the clipper Af Chapman built 1888 in England. Her name was originally Dunboyne but was changed to Chapman when she was aquired by the Swedish navy in 1923. Mr Chapman himself was a famous Swedish ship builder active in Karlskrona during the 18:th century. You can read more about him in the Cruising Log Book from 1983.

Today she is owned by the city of Stockholm and used by the STF (Swedish tourist organization) as a stationary hostel with 136 beds, restaurant and cafe. During my days on Skeppsholmen 1987 I went here several times for breakfast.


Marihamn-Rödhamn-Degerby

After a few days in Stockholm my friends Tommy and Kerstin arrived in their C34 Hannah. They were on their way to Åland so we decided to make company. We sailed the ususal route from Stockholm, past Vaxholm and up north in Furusundsleden all the way up to Sea of Åland which we crossed and arrived to Mariehamn two days after we left Stockholm.

Many harbours honour their history by keeping an old ship alive. I mentioned Chapman in Stockholm above but I have also mentioned Viking in Göteborg 1982 and Joutsen in Åbo 1981 and there are many others. In Mariehamn it´s Pommern, you see her in the background above. (There is more about her in the Cruising Log Book from 2009). In the foreground is Lynx with me aboard (apparently inside). Tommy took the picture 1987 from Hannah and I scanned it 2014.

Hannah and I continued together, first to Rödhamn, then to Degerby. Rödhamn is an old pilot station and also used to have a good radio beacon which I often used when I crossed the Sea of Åland. Today there is a marina in Rödhamn and many sailors stop here before they continue to Sweden and vice versa. Artist Anette Gustafsson works in the marina during the summer season. I like her watercolors, see below...

Degerby belongs to Föglö which is the gate to the great archipelago between Åland and Finland. Föglö is also the largest community in the archipelago with 572 inhabitants 2014 according to Wikipedia.

During the summer 2010 divers from Åland and Sweden found an old ship wreck in the waters of Föglö. To their surprise the cargo was untouched and among other things they managed to salvage 145 bottles of champagne of which 79 were fully intact. After some investigation it stood clear that this was the oldest champagne in the world, almost 200 years old and of good quality, Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and Juglar. In 2011 one of the bottles were sold on an auction to the price of 30.000€, a world record in itself. A new auction was held in 2012, all according to the official website Visit Åland.


The Sea of Archipelago

The water between Åland and Finland consists of thousands of islands, the biggest archipelago in the Baltic Sea. The Swedish name is Skärgårdshavet which translates to The Sea of Archipelago.

It was now only two days left until the Guyline boat meet so I left Degerby and headed for the island of Kökar. This is one of the bigger islands in the archipelago with more than 200 inhabitants but relatively isolated and there are many stories about Kökar from old times. Tove´s grand mother was born here. The picture above shows the St. Anna church which is built on the ruins of a Franciscan monastery from the 15:th century.

Good winds made me change my mind and continue past Kökar to Aspö and I anchored for the night close to Tärskär. Next day was the Guyline meet. The information I had was that the meeting would be on Hummelskär but there were no boats there so I sailed around the islands north of Aspö for some time and finally found two Guyline 95´s on Håkonskär! Soon more boats arrived including Guy-Christer Lönngren and his wife Agnes. Next day they arranged a sailrace and a quiz walk. I won the quiz ! In the evening we had a great party on the shore. Thank´s Guy for arranging these nice meetings!

Tove took the pictures above when we visited the Gyline meet again in 1989. To the left is a Guyline 3800 and two Guline 822. To the right you can see how some owners mounted stern extensions on their Guylines. We became inspired by this and did the same a few years later. You can read more about that in 1992 years Construction Log Book.


How I met Tove

I returned to Mariehamn the same way I came and picked up my parents and my brother to make me company. Together we were going to visit the family of my fathers uncle Bengt and his wife Ulla who had their summer house in Saltvik on the north side of Åland.

The shortest way to get there is to use Lemströms Canal and then cross Lumparen to Bomarsund and past Vårdö before you turn west for a few NM and then south again when you see the opening to the bay of Tengsöda (Tengsödavik).

Tengsödavik is a beautiful bay, deep and narrow, with mountains of red granite on one side and forest on the other. We found their house only 25 meters from the shore deep inside the bay and anchored outside. I knew they had a daughter and according to my parents I had met her once as a small boy but of this I had only a faint memory. To my surprise she was now there on the shore with her parents. Her name was Tove and she said she liked sailing.

After a days visit we continued west around Åland, back to Mariehamn. My parents were going to leave the next day with Birka Princess, one of the big ferryboats and at the same time my brother was going to make me company on Lynx back to Stockholm. In the evening Tove showed up to say goodbye. I asked her if she would like to sail with us to Stockholm the next day and she said yes.

We left Mariehamn in rainy and cold weather. The wind turned against us and we understood that we would be delayed. We had promised to contact our parents when we arrived to Furusund but we still had many hours to go. I knew they would be worried and I then remembered that I had heard a story about a sail boat calling a ferryboat on VHF radio asking to speak with one of the passengers. We knew our parents at this moment would be on Birka Princess so I called her on channel 16. Birka Princess, Birka Princess, Birka Princess from sail boat Lynx, and she answered!

I informed Birka Princess about our situation and they asked me to stand by. After a few minutes I heard my fathers voice on the radio and I could tell him that we were delayed. This was an interesting experience. I think it was good seamanship from the big ship to help the small boat even if there was no immediate danger and it also shows how stupid it is to think that you know how long time it will take to reach your destination in a sail boat. Further on, there is also an incredible ending to this story. When I came back to Örebro my father told me that when we called him on Birka Princess he and my mother were having dinner together with a couple who had just told them a similar story about someone calling them on a ferry boat from a sail boat. They were truly surprised when the speaker system on Birka Princess called out for my father to come to the information desk and even more surprised to hear when he came back that he had spoken to his son in a sail boat over the radio.

(In 2006 Birka princess was sold to Greece and her name was changed to Sea Diamond. One year later she sank close to San Torini.)

We sailed on with Lynx all day and arrived late to Furusund, wet and tired. Crossing the Sea of Åland against the wind in rainy weather was not the kind of conditions I had hoped for, specially not for Tove but to my surprise she seemed to enjoy the trip. I now had to leave my crew in Stockholm and go back to Örebro and my job but before I left Tove we agreed that she would come to Örebro soon to sail with me on lake Hjälmaren for a weekend.

She did that, not only one weekend and we had lots of fun. As usual on Hjälmaren we met many of my old friends in their boats and I think they saw that we were fit for each other even before we were quite sure ourselves. We continued to see each other during the winter and one day as I was dreaming about next summer I asked Tove if she would sail with me to Iceland. She said yes immediately and then I knew I had to ask her if she would marry me !

Well, she said yes again and we did sail to Iceland the next summer and when we came back we sailed to Åland where Tove´s parents arragend a fantastic wedding in the beginning of September. That is how I met Tove.

Finally I just want to add that this year I sailed Lynx 1340 NM and that if you are interested in Åland, you can read more in the Cruising Log Books of 1981, 1991 and 1993.

The End