The way back home

The way back home

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.

Add crystal clear water of the right shade of turquoise, warm breeze, some dolphins, and a bright and airy sailboat interior with full standing headroom and a bed that is big enough to stretch your arms and legs in –  now we’re talking!

But we were sailing a very small boat in a very small puddle of dark grey water that was not even salty, and it was starting to feel like autumn.

We are people of the North, and in a sense we are a lot like the birds nesting in our country. Once they notice that the days are getting shorter and chillier, many of them set their compass to 180°, spread their wings and keep flying until it’s warm enough. The ones that decide to stay and brave the winter start fattening themselves up in order to survive. While our instinct tells us to follow the ones who fly away, we must choose the latter option, because we still have some minor obstacles to clear (that I’d rather not talk about) – such as work and a mortgage.

So, instead of sailing south, we sailed back north again. The rain stopped eventually, the sun came out, and the last days of our summer holiday we sailed under clear skies, and with the wind in our favour. It blew so briskly we felt like our little lady was flying! We were sailing with the smallest jib only, and doing an average speed of incredible 6 knots – that’s a lot for a 25 foot boat!

During our voyage we had encountered very few pleasure boats, except in Tallinn. Suddenly there were boats everywhere as we approached Helsinki. The weather was great, and it seemed like everyone wanted to get out there. These might well be the last real summer days of the year.

We spent a night at a marina just outside Helsinki, on an island fortress called Suomenlinna. It’s a real sailors hub, with rows and rows of beautiful classic boats, sail maker’s workshops, boatyards, nice cafés and restaurants – and all this in a wonderful historical setting of old stone walls and bastions, cobbled squares and garrison buildings. And even a church that doubles as a lighthouse!

The final leg home was dead downwind again, at the same excellent speed. While returning home from a great trip can sometimes be a real drag, this time we made it home so fast we hardly noticed it! Suddenly it was there: our home marina, our car, our driveway and the house that felt absolutely enormous! That night we washed our smelly selves and relaxed in the world’s best sauna – our own – and it felt great! But it also felt a little sad, because we knew the sailing season was over. The long, dark autumn was just around the corner, and then the even longer, darker winter. Time to haul out our boat – and start fattening ourselves up for the winter!

kartta-viro

You’ve reached the end of our summer trip to Estonia. Here’s our route (about 400 nautical miles altogether) as seen on the plotter screen: starting south at Porvoo, continuing west towards Tallinn, Hiiumaa and Haapsalu, then north to the coast of Finland and back home, northeast again.

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