|The circumnavigation starts in Sweden.|
Our mast had been away for a technical inspection for almost a month, the workshop has had too much to do - it's high season now. But we finally got to know that the mast is OK! However, we would like to strengthen up some of the rigs. Nothing's wrong with the old stuff, we just want to have heavier rigs before the rough seas. This will take a few days, so we had time to sail around without the mast.
The first day of June finished off with a nice barbeque night on the island of Amundö with an old friend Findus that came over to visit with some warm words and a cake. We sat around the fire, the sunset was wonderful, actually the first time this summer I bbq:ed out in the wild (but definitely not the last). A good moment to sit back and enjoy.
The next day was spent at IKEA, a lot of space-saving storage solutions were bought. Back to the boat, finish up all the last touches, a friend who is planning to visit us later on came in the evening to say hi and look at the boat. Then, I headed to a friend to take a warm shower (finally!!) and eat some home-made food, which was great.
In the morning of 3th of June, Mare Liberum was finally set to sea! She was celebrated by pouring some first-class Russian vodka on it, the captain and the first mate taking a sip each as well, as the tradition calls. We stayed nearby for some preparations and I started tinkering with the engine, while more boats were set to sea. The one after us went well, but the larger boat that went after that resulted in a disaster. It was dropped by the lifting device, so the keel hit the asphalt, and continued slipping with the risk of smashing a couple of people. To get it up straight it had to be pushed upright by a forklift truck and the port side did not look too well after it. It was a complete nightmare for a boat owner. That's one of the moments when you really are thankful this is not you.
Upon getting the boat into the wet, we decided to move to Eriksberg where a friend lives, and do a run around Hisingen while we were waiting for the mast. On the way from Amundsö to Eriksberg, just before we reached Gothenburg's marine regiment, the motor started losing revs and finally died. After filling it up with some gas it was cooperative for a while, but then it died again. Bad place to die - just in front of a military area, with a Russian onboard. (Jokes aside, I've been to Amf4 a lot of times taking military courses, but still I don't think our emergency landing there would be much appreciated). We started the outboard engine and continued a bit, until it also died. I couldn't find the spare fuel, it turned out that Mark threw the petrol can away because there was a crack in it. So we moored the boat near Nya Varvet, had a quick snack, filled up the engine and hit it. We made it to Eriksberg and it was a much-enjoyed stop, with company of friends and red wine. But more work would have to be done.
|The views of the Swedish West Coast waters.|
In Göteborg near Wieselgrensplatsen, Sweden's largest fishing store can be found. I got great help by Martin who had fished in most cool places in Central America, Asia etc, and also by Björn - very helpful and nice guide who guided me through a forest of fishing rods, a tingle-tangle of fishing lines and a whole surrealistic zoo of different baits. And all the stuff that comes with it. And all the other stuff you need to fix the stuff that comes with it. And all of the good-to-know stuff, the tips and tricks and the big-game fishing stories. It was a Christmas eve, I love fishing.
During the whole of June, I would be doing a lot of work on the engine. I did some reparations in the carburator but needed to visit a workshop to get some spare parts and advise; sometimes it's not as easy to put things back together than to disassemble them ;) I did recieve some really competent help in the end. In Fiskebäck, beside the sailing shop called Viking, there is an Albin workshop, with Stefan The Boat Doctor who is an incredible person and mechanic, as well as the only place for Albin spare parts in the world. I got a consultation and a lot of good advice.
Some more tinkering on the engine - now the carburator is OK, after changing the float, the float chamber gasket, throttle gasket, needle valve, rearranging the choke settings. I also cleaned and double-checked all of the engine piping, the gas filter, the tank air valve, fixed new gaskets and drained the tank of the dirt. Nothing leaks gas now, and the fuel supply to the carburetor is free and constant. But still we were losing revs, and the engine died after leaving the harbor every time we made a test run. To say it was ennerving is not to say anything.
"Mark", I said to the boat owner. "Are you sure that the fuel tap is opened in the horisontal position?"
"Yes, sure it is".
"Mark... I'm just asking to doublecheck. Are you really really sure that it's opened?"
"Yes, definitely sure".
But since when does the mechanic listen to the simple mortals who do not know anything about gasoline engines? ;) A turn of the lever, a fuel deliverance check, our troubles were over.
So now, with Albin motor purring like a happy cat, we shot for Nordre Älv. Passing Kungälv and turning West, we took it easy, were anchored at a couple of places (one of them was near the large cookie and cake factory in Göteborg, with its splendid outlet!) and rounded the Isle of Hisingen during a few days. There was breakfast in bed, listening to the radio (no internet...), testing the inflatable dinghy in the river, walking around an uninhabited island, fishing (the year's first perch! However, we ended up losing the fishing rod into the water), and grilling during the evenings. No mosquitoes. No tourist crowds. Good weather.
In the evening of the 13th, we went off from Eriksberg to Björlanda harbour to get our mast. Tobbe was onboard, with a bottle of Amarone. The wind blew in our faces, we were going against the current, and Albin gave up already at Eriksberg, once again failing to start at all. Very happy to have a spare engine, we we making only 2-3 knots. Soon, the gas ran out and we had to fill it up while riding the waves, a tricky procedure probably best done accompanied with circus music. The motor started and we continued, and just minutes later the coast guards caught up with us. They must have been puzzled by our sudden maneuver (or maybe they saw a wine glass or two on board and wanted to double-check if we weren't dead drunk all of us) but no matter what the reason was, they were nice and wished us a pleasant journey. We arrived to Björlanda by the time the night fell.
The dramatic mast setting incident is described here.
Finally, we sailed northwards from Göteborg Area and reached the small island where captain's father has a summer house - on the West coast of Sweden, just near the Norwegian border, near Grebbestad. This took two days of sailing with a stop just outside Lysekil.
|View from Havstensund, last outpost of civilization before hitting the archipelago|
|View from the Bohuslän island we were on|
|Even the cows are happy, calm and relaxed|
|Opening up some freshly caught oysters|
|This is what summer sailing on the Swedish West Coast may look like.|