It’s exciting to arrive to a new place in the middle of the night, not knowing what you will see as you wake up the next morning. We had arrived on an island called Jussarö, in the archipelago of southern Finland, about 50 nm west of Helsinki. It was raining, and the whole landscape around us was like a grey watercolour painting. On our morning walk, we found a café, a sauna, a small passenger ferry tied up to its pier – all locked up and abandoned for the winter to come. We were still on our summer holiday, but it sure didn’t feel like it anymore! But we seemed to have this large island all to ourselves, so we might as well make the most of it!
After the westerly storm had blown over Haapsalu the weather forecast showed a 12 hour window of no wind at all. Then it would start blowing heavily from the opposite direction. This was our best chance to leave, so we set off in the morning of August the 28th. The sea was calm, so we motored on. Many times along the way we would check the weather, each time getting a different forecast for the not-so-much wanted wind to pick up. I know, we have a sailboat and sailboats are meant to sail. They need wind to do that, but too much wind is not that nice in my Beginner’s Book of Sailing. Particularly if it catches you in the open sea. I felt like I had experienced enough strong winds for one holiday. I had nothing against a moderate wind, but as it was not on the menu, I didn’t really mind motoring in the dead calm.
When I set foot on a sailboat for the first time, it was a calm, sunny day. The sea was perfectly flat, and a light, warm breeze made the boat move ever so slowly under sail. I swallowed the bait and was hooked on sailing from the very first minute.
It was already the last week of August when we arrived in Haapsalu, but the place still seemed busy with tourists. The weather was warm and sunny. This beautiful old town was full of people sitting on the streetside terraces, cafes and restaurants, walking along the waterfront in the shady parks, visiting the old castle and enjoying the town’s many spas.
I must admit I felt a bit nervous as we headed out to the open sea from our safe haven in Hiiumaa. The wind was blowing and the waves were high, again, but this time they were behind us. What a difference it will make! No rocking or bucking, just gentle swaying of the boat’s rear end as she slid down the big waves. We were making excellent speed with just our smaller headsail, travelling southeast into a wide strait between Hiiumaa and Vormsi.
Can you imagine what seafaring was like in the the year 1500?
Such a sad, wretched sight – a sailboat out of the water!