Sometimes it’s easy to spot a perfect moment. Like this one – a small boat anchored in a calm bay, after a warm, sunny day and the first sail of the season. The air is full of beautiful smells of the sea and the pine forest, as the sun sets behind a campfire where a delicious dinner is cooking. And then a full moon rises over the little boat in the bay!
It actually felt good to be heading home. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great way of life to wake up in a boat, breath in the fresh air and enjoy the vast and ever changing landscape around you, go wherever the wind will take you, find an anchorage and watch the sunset that is never the same two nights in a row.
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.
The wind forecast showed slightly lighter winds for a very brief moment on Thursday morning. We had been stuck in Viinistu for three nights, but finally, just after 5 a.m. we managed to sneak out of the harbour and into the blue. As soon as we were a safe distance from the rocky shore we hoisted the genoa and headed towards the west. The wind was behind us, and so were the seas – the famous following seas, that you so often hear sailors wishing for each other. Well, it may be nicer having them follow you rather than come straight at you, but with a very short and extremely wide beamed boat I’d rather take the waves sideways, thank you! Our little lady sailed very well, like she always does, but she kept wagging her tail with every wave coming from behind. And the waves were big! Still, we enjoyed every moment, and never felt any fear or uneasiness, even though sitting on top of a big wave looking down to the bottom of the next one almost made us feel queasy!
On August 15th, a beautiful Monday, it was finally time to cast the lines and head off into the blue! We had motored west from our home marina the previous day in no wind at all. But at first light on Monday morning there was a steady breeze from the west, meaning a good beam reach – the kind of wind our boat loves the best. And so we were on our way – heading south!
The third member of our crew will have the honour of starting this very first post of our very first blog. When it comes to sailing, one of us at least has the right attitude!