Well it must be spring now, the snow has gone and all things ‘boaty’ seems to have woken up. Suddenly it feels like we will be soon setting out on our travels again. Firstly, our new pilot book arrived – The Baltic Sea and Approaches, it is the definitive guide to Baltic ports and harbours with absence of just enough of the essential sailing instructions so as to cause anxiety! This is the first update since 2010 and has 438 pages of possibilies and four new opportunities for berthing chaos:
1. Lazy lines.
2. Mooring buoys.
3. Finger beams.
4. Mooring to rocks.
………..And just when we were getting the hang of box moorings!
Our new pilot book
Then Anders from the boatyard in Austenborg got in touch to find out when we want Grace back in the water so he can schedule the repairs and improvements. From mid-May, the weather should be good enough for us to sail across Denmark and up the Swedish East Coast to the Gulf of Bothnia, Helsinki and on to St Petersburg! We have booked our flights back to Sonderborg, in time to view the view the boat and sign off the maintenance and then we have planned 4 days of proving and sea trials before we set off again! We are having rust on the keel treated before antifouling – apparently it is normal for Bavaria keels. As it is a 2 tonne lump of cast iron I’m sure a few rust spots here and there are not going to be a problem!
Rust on Grace’s keel!
To help reduce damage this season, Anders has sourced a ‘bumperline’ for us – basically it is a thick rope that runs along the fat bit of Grace’s beam to allow us to squish our way into tight spaces! He is also sourcing a mooring hook – you can’t buy them in the UK but they are a big steel hook on a line with which you hope to pick up the big rings on top of mooring buoys as you breeze past!
Bumperline ready for fitting!
Mooring hooks in action!
Next there was the ‘Swedish Seminar’ at the Cruising Association in the Limehouse Basin. The basic message here was that it would be a good idea to join the Swedish Lifeboat Association so they will come and rescue you first! I can’t help feel that there is so much to see in Sweden and beyond and that is before our return trip through the Gota Kanal and Lake Vattern (the second largest lake in Europe!) to Goteborg, which is an absolute must…… I don’t see how we will get Grace back to Chichester before 2019!!
The Cruising Association at Limehouse Basin