Sailing to Åland and Finland - 2022
This summer we sailed to Åland and the Finnish archipelago. Our friends joined us on the leg till Åland, from where they took the ferry back home and we continued the journey till Turku (Åbo) and back.
The first stop was Spillersboda, which is 50Nm from our home port. The weather was pretty cold, 10-15 degrees with gusty headwind, so lots of motoring. Spillersboda is a small village with a boat club and a few longside mooring places that are free of charge. There is a small grocery store, toilet and a fuel station.
The reason we chose to stop at Spillersboda is that it's one of farthest places from where you can still reach Stockholm by bus and unfortunately it was needed as we realized that we left our passports at home. Luckily it could be fixed with a few hours bus ride and the next morning our papers were in order.
From Spillersboda we sailed 42Nm directly to Mariehamn (Åland). 15 knots of fresh wind in the beginning, we were making 6kts of speed. Nice sunny weather, but in the evening on the last few miles the wind died off completely and we had to motor in to Mariehamn.
There are plenty of free spots in the guest harbor on the west side of Mariehamn (ÅSS), but the fee is high, 32 Euros per night. As we arrived late we had to stay two nights to be able to explore the small town of Mariehamn and it's main attraction, the Maritime museum of the sailing ship Pommern.
Ålands archipelago (Rödhamn, Möholm, Bomarsund, Kastelholm)
The next few days we spent exploring the islands around Åland. Rödhamn is a very cozy place just 10Nm away from Mariehamn, with red rocks. There is both free archoring in the natural harbor and mooring places for a fee with access to solar showers and composting toilets (the cleanest we've ever seen). A small sandy beach for small kids and a restaurant with fresh bakery.
The water temperature went up from 9 degrees (in Mariehamn) to 18 degrees in Rödhamn and Möholm, so we could enjoy the water too. We spent the night on anchor in Möholm and had a very nice downwind sail with our old gennakker to Bomarsund.
There is a small kemping with a shower, but hot water costs extra (per minute). The bay has steep cliffs and Bomarsund is famous for it's fortress ruins. We also found lots of currant and gooseberry bushes full of tasty berries. It was probably the hottest day of the summer, reaching 30 degrees.
13Nm from Bomarsund is Kastelholm, a medium sized boat club with full services and lots of attractions nearby. A castle from the 14th century (Kastelholms slott), a prison (Vita Björn Fängelsemuseet), an open skanzen and Ålands distillery. The slip fee is very expensive, 45 euros a night for a boat with 6 people, but the attractions worth the visit.
We took the way back to Mariehamn through the Lemströms kanal's swinging bridge, which is an attraction in itself. An old (mainly american) car show was happening in Mariehamn when we arrived, which was a lot of fun to watch. We also explored the town's fishing port, which was the faviourite part of Mariehamn for most of us.
The next day our friends took the ferry back to Stockholm, while we continued the journey towards Finland.
Skarpskär, Sandviken (Kökar)
We wanted to visit Kökar on the way towards Turku, but the Åland guide book we bought didn't recommend the more direct southern route as it was badly charted, so we took the northern route towards Skarpskär, a very nice and quiet anchorage, where were were the only boat. Magical night.
The next day the wind shifted to a headwind and became pretty strong (18-23knots), so it was pretty unfavourable to reach Kökar, but we thought to try it anyway as Sandviken is a protected bay and the forecast was warning for a big storm in the next day. It took us 5 hours to reach Sandviken which was 20Nm away.
Sandviken is a small harbor with only one pier which is sadly not in a good shape either. The whole place looked in a need for some care, but despite this there is a small shop, a restaurant and a service house with showers, toilets, indoor kitchen, ping-pong, which was very nice to have on the coming rainy days.
The storm arrived with winds reaching up to 30knots even in the protected bay of Sandviken, probably 40-50knots on the open water. After the storm it was summer again, so we took a walk (5km) to Karlby, the "capital" of the Kökar islands.
54Nm downwind sailing to Turku, with the speed of 6-7knots. Great sailing, despite having caught in some rain on the way, but at least we could try our foul weather gear, which worked very well and kept us dry. We arrived to Turku's guest harbor ni the city center and stayed there for a two nights to explore the city. If you like second hand stores, comic books and pop culture, Alfa Antikva is an absolute gem to visit.
Korpo / Näsudden
Beam reach and a gusty wind between 7-20knots till Korpo island (30Nm) where we anchored in the bay of Näsudden. Quiet and protected, but also pretty shallow. We went aground at 1.4m when we went too far into the bay. Luckily it's a sandy/muddy bottom and we were going very slow and careful, so nothing really happened, we could back out without a problem.
The next day we got a broadcast on VHF from a US Navy warship which was doing an exercise with live weapons on the Baltic Sea. Good that it was farther out!
Utö (Fi), Källskär (Kökar)
24Nm of sailing till Utö, a small and southernmost inhabited island in Finland. It has a lighthouse and a nice village with a temple, cemetery, a grocery store and crystal clear water in the bay. There is also a military base and a hotel on the other side of the island. Utö was the first rescue station of the Estonia disaster.
Beautiful sailing the next day in 7-8knots of downwind towards the southern island of Kökar, Källskär. After evaluating the route on Navionics more carefully, there was a narrow passage which was charted and considered safe, so we decided to take the southern route to Kökar we didn't before. The weather was nice, and it was a relaxed sailing.
Källskär's bay is unfortunately uncharted, but there are user soundings on Navionics and also the guidebook considered it a safe entry. We managed fine and tied to the rocky shores with an aft anchor along two boats.
Källskär is a magical place, one of the best experiences on the whole trip. It has so much to offer! Gorgeous views, narrow wooden walktrails on the cliffs, unique rock formations and a mediterranean house designed by the Finnish architect Reima Pietilä with a greek garden. It was built by a really dedicated man, Göran Åkerhielms, with his own hands, in 18 years.
On the way back (113Nm) we stopped at Rödhamn on the Åland side and Gällnö on the Swedish side to empty the waste and have some rest. Close reach and increasing winds to 20knots on the way back. In the Swedish archipelago at Furusund we got headwind and had to motor the last few miles. The new autopilot worked very well and steered the boat many times.
Overall we sailied 443Nm and spent three weeks living aboard the boat. It was a wonderful summer with lots of great experiences.