9. Home again 2020
The Kiel Canal ends in Holtenau. Many Scandinavian sailors remember the old Ship Chandlery of Herman Tiessen on the Tiessen Kai where you could bye taxfree liquor. The chandlery is now a restaurant but sailing ships still use the quay.
Holtenau lies close to Kiel and the weather was not suitable for sailing our way, so we took a local bus into the city.
Kiel was heavyli bombed during WW2 so there are not many old buildings left in the city. To the left above is the City Hall and the Opera. Today, Kiel is an important harbour for the passenger traffic on the Baltic. It even has a dedicated quai for the traffic to Sweden, the Schwedenkai.
We were now in the Baltic, our home waters, and waiting for good weather to proceed up north. We left Holtenau on the 27:th of June and sailed past Denmark and the south part of Sweden to Gotland Island where we had friends to visit in Slite.
We spent the first night on Gotland in Vendburg, then another night in Herrvik and on the third day we arrived to Slite where we stayed for a few days.
In Slite we were well taken care of by Claes och Yvonne who we met for the first time on their boat in Las Palmas five years ago. We had a great time together, with excursions to Enholmen, Kyllaj, Valleviken and Lergrav.
Then it was time for the last leg of our long circumnavigation, from Slite to Aland, 180 NM due north. We had good sailing through the night and the next day we could finally anchor at home. A welcoming committee had gathered on the shore and glasses of champagne were waiting for us. That was nice. Thank's to all our wonderful neighbours.
We tied up the boat to our jetty and made a quick inspection of our property. Houses were ok but nature had took over the garden. Nobody had been there for 8 months except roe deers who had eaten most of our plants and flowers. The grass on our lawn had grown one meter high while we sailed home from Malaysia.
During our circumnavigation we visited 30 countries. Sweden, Finland,
Germany, Holland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Panama, Equador, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, USA, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Sri-Lanka, India, Yemen, Djibouti, Sudan, Egypt, Greece, Italy.
Many places we visited were islands with some degree of autonomy. Åland (Finland), Helgoland (Germany), Isle of Man (Great Britain), North Ireland (Great Britain), Canary Islands (Spain), Martinique (France), Galapagos (Equador),
Marquesas (France), Tuamotos (France), Tahiti (France), Guam (USA), Socotra (Yemen),
Gibraltar (Great Britain).
Bird of Passage left Sweden 2011 and came back 9 years later. We spent 6-8 months every year sailing but left her in different places to also spend time at home. First time we left her in Dover marina, UK. Next time she was on the hard in Povoa de Varzim, Portugal. After that she spent 2 years in the Canary Islands and then we left her on the hard again in Clark's court Marina on Grenada. In 2017 we left Bird of Passage for 4 months in Papete Marina on Tahiti and next summer she was on the hard in Holiday Ocean View marina on Samal Island in the Philippines. Last time we left her was during summer 2019 when she satyed in Sebana Cove Marina in Malaysia. During the 9 years that Bird of Passage was on her way we spent about 5 years on the boat in total. Rest of the time we spent at home, first in Sweden and then in Aland where we moved 2014.
Here are some distances that I have taken directly from the routes we sailed on our electronic charts.
From Sweden around UK to Portugal, 3234 NM.
From Portugal to Gran Canaria, 1056 NM.
From Gran Canaria to Grenada, 3020 NM.
From Grenada to Tahiti 6634 NM.
From Tahiti to the Philippines, 6093 NM
From the Philippines to Malaysia, 2188 NM
From Malaysia to Aland, 9988 NM.
Total distance around the world, 32.213 NM.
Bird of Passage is a wonderful boat for this kind of sailing. Comfortable, safe and fast. As with all boats she has needed continous service of course, but probably less than many others, I would say. The most expensive reparation I can remember is probably the autopilot computer that needed a new circuit board in 2012. The price for that was around 1.000 Euro. Rig, sails and engines are the same as when we left Sweden. Engines are in very good condition. So is the rig. The main sail still has several years to go but the foresail needs service or replacement. I have replaced many many small pieces of equipment that have stopped working, mostly pumps. Everything related to toilets is often a problem on a sailing boat.
So, how much did it all cost? Our expenses fall in three categories. First of all the fees for marinas where we left the boat and airplane tickets to travel back home every year. In many marinas we have paied around 350 euros per month but some places are much more expensive. Airplane tickets have vaired between 100 and 1.000 Euros/person one way.
The next category is the cost of visas, sailing permits and canals. The Panama Canal was about 2.500 Euros. Sailing permit to Galapagos about the same. Suez canal was about 1.500 Euros. Many countries charge around 150 Euros per person for a one month visa. This sums up to quite a lot of money if you sail around the world and there is nothing you can do about it.
The last category is boat maintenance. Fuel, cooking gas, antifouling and spare parts. I'm not sure how much fuel we have used. I guess somwhere between 4 and 6 thousand liters. We have painted the bottom 3 times to a cost of about 500 Euros/time and I guess we have used about 5.000 Euros on spare parts and other maintenance (engine oil, impellers, batteries etc.). We have had an extended travelers insurance for our personal healt care that costs about 300 Euros/person for six months. The boat has only had third party insurance, approx. 100 Euros/year.
When we left Sweden we brought pennants from our boat club to be used as presents when we visited boat clubs in other countries. The SVF-pennant is now hanging in Den Helder Holland, in Ramsgate England, in Calais France and....
...Isle of Man, Fakarava in French Polynesia, Marianas Yacht Club in Guam and...
...Micronesia. We left a pennat with Smith Sigrah, grandson of the last king on Kosrae.
Four months later
We have now been home four months. During that time we have been interviewd by Aland radio and one of the Aland newspapers. Also by a Swedish newspaper that did a follow up on a previous article from 2009 when Bird of Passage was first launched. We have also been awarded with the special flag and plaque from our boat club JRSK (Jorden Runt Seglar Klubben). Finally of course we have had many likes and comments on Facebook from hundreds of friends all over the world. A lot of attention but it's difficult to realize that we are home for good and probably never will make any long voyages again.
Our life is now on a new path. We don't need Bird of Passage longer so we are emptying her on all our personal stuff and preparing her to be sold. Until then she will stay on her anchorage here at home so we can keep an eye on her. She needs some service of course. I have ordered a new wind sensor for the mast top, new fenders, and a few other parts that needs to be replaced. There is job to be done but that will have to wait until the beginning of next summer. Meanwhile I have an unfinished house that needs attention.
End of Home again 2020