North to Stockholm

The island of Gubbø in the southern archipelago has a wonderful natural harbour with a rock shaped like a jetty. So sheer is the face and regular are its features that quite big vessels can tie up alongside. We had the place to ourselves to begin with ( this southern archipelago is relatively deserted , especially before midsummer) but towards evening were joined by an entertaining character called Torbjorn Lundquist who came alongside the rock under engine – completely silently! He had an electric engine in his yacht and it wasnt long before I was on board pouring over the installation. He joined us that night for supper and told us of winter skating trips around the archipelago , and also about a perfect little bay at the North end of the archipelago where he had renovated a little jetty jutting out over a rock to make mooring easier.
Up to now we had chickened out of mooring Swedish style , bows to a rock , but this was the perfect time and place to practice our technique, so after our stay in Harstena we tracked the bay down and nervously laid out our stern anchor in the approved Swedish style , and I hopped onto his jetty to tie up. We appeared to have got it right as later on one of Torbjorns friends arrived and moored alongside us , commenting that we were moored perfectly.

It was now time to sail the 30 odd miles to the Stockholm archipelago, so next day we set off under spinnaker well clear of all the islands and headed North . The wind was due to increase and just as we decided that it was time to take the kite down , the autopilot went on the blink. Lynda steered whilst I wrestled the kite down ( its a doddle with two of you if the autopilot can steer – but less so with one of you fighting with the helm in a rapidly increasing wind ).This was our second adventure with the kite this trip. On our first night out from Hamble the kite had got jammed and Lynda had had to hoist me up the mast at dusk , at sea , in order to clear it. Compared with that this was a doddle and we were soon going downwind under poled out genny. Initially the windvane was happy steering whilst I rewired the spare course computer into place , but we soon had much too much sail and Lynda had to take over once again until I had finished the job and we could reef down.

Are we getting too old for all this excitement? We sat down with a cup of tea and metaphorically mopped our brows and reflected that it had all turned out OK , the spare course computer was working a treat , the sun was shining and the wind fair – so what was all the fuss about?

We did sleep well that night though!


  1. Hi, Noticed you mentioned a Windvane in your blog. Do you have any pictures of how you mounted yours? We have a Sigma 38 out in Greece and it came with (old) wind vane gear. We are trying to get ideas on how best to mount it as we think it would be good to have instead of the autopilot and incase our autopilot breaks.



  2. Hi
    Just found your question.( had a year off sailing last year) You have probably long since sorted this out , but in case you haven’t feel free to e mail me on For info we have the (Hydrovane ) wind vane system as a back up . It carried us across the Atlantic when our charging system failed, but we tend to only use it when offshore as it alters course with every change in wind direction and velocity so is a bit of a trial in intricate pilotage.
    Sorry to be so tardy!

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