We have just experienced our first day with no noticeable problems. There was that one point were the engine cut out just as the wind picked up making us sail instead – that was just awesome. The reason was that we are still running on our old diesel-filters – but apart from this tiny winy problem and the hour were the bilge-pump stopped working because of our very much dirty bilge.
We are of course counting on having a fair deal of problems with a wooden boat from 1957, and an engine even older. The old Bedford has been dry-docked for years, so no wonders that it require som love and care from four inexperienced sailors on their journey south. Apart from these two problems and the fact that I couldn’t catch anything but a nice pile of sea-weed – the day started with some of the calmest waters we’ve experienced, warm sunny weather and perfect conditions for anything but sailing. It was so calm that the engine was the only way to go.
Lucky for us the fix we had been working on to stop exhaust filling up the cockpit proved to be working. For the first day in forever we reached our goal and have transported ourselves a fair bit south of Nynäshamn and into the guest harbour of Öxelösund.
The day has been as perfect as perfect can be on the water this time of the year. When the engine stopped and we raised the sail we made a whole 3,5 knots in only 3 ms wind. That was awesome. Starting at 10, we arrived at our destination exactly at the time we had planned out.
Last week felt mostly like a training-week with all the crap that happened but I am proud to say that this crew stood positive through the whole thing. We are really coming together as the crew we set out to be – which of course is essential for our mission for the coming months.
Right now it’s so foggy around us that we can’t see the other boat around us, this is the weather for the night – but tomorrow is supposed to be just as good as what we’ve seen today. We feel we are finally making progress. Captain Simen has even got the diesel-heater that caught on fire the other day back in order. There was quite i bit of water there going into the system when we flooded the engine. We are waiting for dinner made by first-mate David tonight, enjoying some rest after a completely perfect day in the beginning of this adventure. We have officially left Stockholm county.
We were just about to maneuver our very much smoking ship into the guest harbour of Nynäshamn when then engine stopped working again. The newly fixed exhaust pipe, that new crew member David spent hours to fix, had totally stopped sending the exhaust through the system and filled the whole ship with headache-bringing thick smog into the cockpit instead.
The last two hours we had spent driving through darkness, navigating by the help of costal lighthouses and flashing red and green lights. We had calculated our journey down to the last nautical mile when it came to diesel. But then, 40 meters from the dock, we ran out and had to drift the last bit. We waited in silence all begging not to hit other boats in the harbour. But with the skills of experienced Captain Simen we docked perfectly in between two other sleeping ships.
At the dock we met up with our fourth crew-member that had went ahead to make some private arrangements, leaving us with the task of fixing up the newly rescued ship in Dalarö. Conny was in good health waiting for us at the dock. We hadn’t had the chance of speaking too much with him about our arrival since David dropped his cellphone in the only puddle onboard the boat a few hours earlier while we rode the waves between our destinations. There was of course only one thing to do – celebrate the crew-reunion.
I woke up the next morning hearing Conny scream something about water. A short look around the ship was all that was needed to activate the general alarm onboard. We were knee-high in water. The ship was sinking. We quickly got the big pump and both bilges running and managed to drain a few ton of water within ten-fifteen minutes. Now, everything was wet and miserable. We saved what we could and left the rest to dry while we spent a few hours away from our very much problematic floating home.
When we got back in the afternoon the same freaking shit had happened again. The water was high above the maximum waterlevel the engine can take. Still below the air-vents but the oil was once again compromised. This time it was our own fault, we had turned of the power without thinking about tha fact that our pumps where running. But what can we do.. Life must go on, we turned the big pump back on and started the work of draining the oil for salty water.
Captain Simen and Conny took the long ride into a place with cheaper stores to get new impellers and a new exhaust-pipe. We simply can’t continue breathing diesel-smog as we continue down the coast. Everything should be in order now, we will keep moving on our journey south tomorrow morning. If we can find the money for diesel.
You wouldn’t think we were about to spend several days in Dalarö as we were passing through the other day. Since then we have tried to leave several times, but it seems that this little place of an island has caught us pretty good. Once we fix one problem – another one is pushing through. At times we are about to give up and when everything is looking good we try – and fail again.
We’ve got to remember that this ship is something like 70 years old. We are in theory running a nursing-home, having to medicate the old lady – treating her for all the symptoms. To make it easier for you to understand I have made this list of problems we’ve dealt with since we were last rescued:
Nobody told us that there was supposed to be oil in the gear-box. Maybe too obvious to most, we didn’t get the memo. By help of a local we discovered this (hopefully just in time) and filled it with oil that now have to be drained cause it proved to be water in there.
The exhaust has been leaking inside the cockpit – making it a bit of a foggy dream to navigate the beast, but we have managed so far. The leaks have been located.
The diesel-filters are not working. Probably being the reason for our engine-fail that lead to us having to be rescued the other day. They’ll have to be changed in order for us to continue. We are currently waiting for our friend, the Norwegian pirate, to deliver these after he have fixed his own ship back in Spillersboda.
After the fire we’ve had to clean out the kamin in order to stay warm. This should however be back in order.
All the water had to be carried all across the harbour since the people running this place have not installed water to the guest harbour.
The air-filter has seen better days, it is basically dead – but we have got a new one ready to install.
There is still water coming in. We will have to plaster the ship from the inside in places we can reach. It’s totally under control, but we need to keep an eye out for the leaks.
There was a hole in the saltwater-cooling system that brought in water. This was solved yesterday.
Other problems are not listed here because we want to keep some of them to ourselves.
We are currently 3 crew-members onboard. The fourth left us yesterday to eat veal in Nyneshamn – The harbour we’ve been trying to get to the last week or so. His name is Conny, one of the guys we met on our journey to Finland and back last week. He is an awesome chain smoker with history in hospitality and life. Born in Sweden and previous citizen of Nyneshamn he went to take care of some business until the rest of us can get there.
We tried to make a go for it a couple of mornings ago and made it one-third of the way before the engine let us down. Making us having to sail into the night back to Dalarö. If the winds would go south we might have made it. But that’s not our luck.. not that the winds were strong in the other direction either. We had barely wind in the sails and moved in approximately 1 knot all the way back. When the wind left us drifting we had David, the other new guy onboard, paddle with a homemade paddle we made of a fender and a stick. David has proven to be a great asset onboard – making protein-rich meals and second Captain Simen with the engine. His history of years in the American army gave him, in addition to speaking arabic, the skill set we needed right now.
It’s another day. We are trying again. Maybe we’ll get there tonight. Maybe not. But we know for sure that snow is coming. The next week, however, is supposed to be pretty warm.
The weight of towing FF Harry was a bit too much for poor Harry Louella. The engine overheated and stopped about fifty meters from a guest harbour, the winds slowly took us the rest of the way and in a mysterious way FF Harry found his own little pocket by crashing gently into his own space right next to our new ship. We decided that this would have to be his last stop on our journey with him and took a walk to see if we could find someone who wanted him for free. We had just given up and had decided to just let him rest in his place when a father with two kids parked next to us. After a few minutes of convincing we signed a contract of giving it to him for free and took off before he would change his mind. Besides, we left them a case of chocolate sticks under the bed.
Not having a tow made our new ship behave in a totally different way. We made a pleasant sailing rehearsal by rising the sails for the first time ever – a first for all of us! Learning by doing has gotten a whole new meaning so far on this journey. Once again we have found ourselves in a position of a steep learning-curve. At the end of the day we found ourselves in a very nice marina where we got to have dinner and rest out for a while. According to the weather the next day should be some piece of work for all of us.
The lines and cables from the hundreds of sailboats around us in the marina were smashing and singing through the night and as we woke up I could swear they were singing to us about storms and hard weather to come. We packed our stuff and set out to sea with our heads high and ready for anything.
When the winds hit 15 meters a second and the waves are trying to reach higher than my own hight, there is no better feeling of being alive. Harry Louella is squeaking and dancing over every top and smacking down flushing water – taking care of the ship-cleaning we were planning to do the same night. This is also of course a bit hard for our mind and body to take like this the first day in rough sea. We therefore made it short day and found our own little nature harbour where we spent about half an hour figuring how the freaking anchor actually works.
Since we took to harbour early in the day, we made time to make a nice big fire to grill our giant marshmallows and have both lunch and dinner. We also made an attempt on fishing but weren’t lucky cause there was this sea-lion that superswam into the bay and scared away all the fishy’s.
Today when we woke up, we decided to get an early start, packed everything and waited for Simen to top off the hydraulic oil. As we got ready we tried to start the engine, it snarled for a second and went dead. We were all out of power. Battery: Dead. We tried everything and we do of course have our solar panels, but there was no way the sun was going to show up anytime soon. Besides, our ship is still taking in water and we need power to run the pumps. Of course, somehow the exhoust-pipe had burned a hole or five in the pipe for the hand pump (explaining the smoke we’ve had in the cockpit the last few days)… In other words, we needed help as we were kind of stranded out in nowhere.
We somehow got a hold of the sea rescue and they promised to send a boat within a few hours. And so they did! We spent the time trying to fix the hand-pump in case the power went all out. It was of course quick-fix for the guys who had the right equipment and we were leaving within minutes of them taking of into the horizon.
The seas were good, only a few waves splashing over deck as we navigated perfectly in direction of our first actually planned port of call, Nyneshamn. We didn’t get that far. About an hour before we could reach our destination, after having had a great lunch of potatoes and macaronies with sild, just as the wind was starting to peak – the engined stopped.
Drifting toward a reef and with only forty meters to go before crashing badly, the anchor finally got hold to something down at the bottom. We were safe for the time being. But as we saw no way out and with the chain being the most rusty pile of shit I’ve seen in a long time we made use of our VHF and called out our first Mayday. The four crew members onboard worked as best as we could as the sea rescue sent out not only one ship, but two, and then another military vessel from further south. Ten minute later we could see they come toward us and without too much trouble got a rope tied too our slightly non-cooperative ship. Problem was, the anchor was stuck. Problems seldom come alone I guess, we had of course in the middle of everything got ourselves stuck to one of those cables you are not supposed to anchor close to. Only option was to lose the anchor and in the try of giving us the tool needed their ship crashed into our ship cracking our handrail and breaking the Norwegian flag, we all watched it disappear into nothing in the waves.
But we were at least free and they took us into the guest harbour to fix our engine and sleep through the little storm that was building. Little did they know that we were about to start a fire in our boat creating another crisis when first at it. But since great teamwork was already established this day – we ended the fire within minutes and spent half an hour airing out smoke and cleaning up the crap from the fire-extinguisher.
That’s all. I don’t remember where we are, but we are connected to land-power and will not need help to get started tomorrow.
It’s been busy for a few days. We’ve had to train two new crewmembers onboard, an American and a Swedish man we happend to find while cruising to Turku, Finland. They were going south toward France and were sitting in the cigar-bar debating wether to get airplane-tickets when we got chatting. After 20 minutes of sharing our stories we decided to travel south together. They left all their belongings, only bringing whatever they were carrying, in Stockholm and came along to Spillersboda where we started our venture south the next morning.
There was of course a lot to organize before we were able to actually see if the engine would actually take us anywhere. And then there is the case of our old ship. There was this man came to see the boat an hour before we left the shipyard in Spillersboda, paid for it – but didn’t actually take it.. meaning we are now towing it with us toward the Swedish capital. Today will probably be our last day doing this. Straining our new engine towing another boat seems a bit over the top, but we have the nicest convoy around. We’re trying to give it away to friends of friends we have met from Stockholm.
We did 13 nautical miles yesterday, going pretty slow for about five hours. We are heading for our first port of call; Nyneshavn where will probably stock up, wait out some wind and for another Norwegian pirate that is going to escort us over some parts with open water.
Since the engine started to smoke a lot last night we decided to dock at some Swedish millionairs private island. We needed a place to fix the problem it turned out to be our best solution. It was an easy fix, we just needed to change the totally worn down impeller, but had to wait till the morning for the engine to cool down. The owner of course came speeding toward us, but proved to be a very nice guy and even let us use his bathroom while we were there.
Todays mission is to get rid of FF Harry. We have been debating options, but it looks like we will leave it for whoever is in need of a free boat. Contact us if you want the coordinates!
That’s it for this short update. There is too much to learn onboard and we are rising the sails for the first time in a few hours. Write you soon.
Around midnight last night we had an alarm go off in the ship. It beeped for a whole minute – notifying us that we have reached the point of zero degree celsius outside. Lucky for us there was no ice but it’s really getting a bit to cold for us around here. There will still be another week before we can actually start our journey, it all depends on the engine, if it runs smoothly you will most likely see us head south within next saturday.
One of the neighbours, a couple with two kids invited us over for dinner the other night. It was a warming experience spending an evening with them. He is a former world traveller, now a carpenter with a side job of marking baby eagles in the area. She was until the end of December a stay-at-home mom with their two adorable kids, one at the age of three, the other just learning to walk at the age of one. A very nice little family focusing on living sustainable in a modern Sweden. We were served self-shot Bambi with creamed potatoes from the garden. Thank you for a perfect evening!
Yesterday we took the time needed to install our sails. We hadn’t actually checked them out yet, just taking for good that they were both in a sailing condition. Since none of us had even touched a sail in our lives until yesterday, there was a need to scratch our heads a few times before we could figure out the basics. But in a couple of hours we had made up a pretty good understanding of how they’re supposed to work and I’m proud to announce that the ship is now able to sail. In theory.
There is no way to steer this ship without having to run the engines. The steering is sadly running on a hydraulic system, which we are hoping also is in a working condition. We will have to find a solution for this little problem. But if we could do it on FF Harry we can do it with Harry Louella. First step now is either way to fuel up with oil and make sure the engine is running. We haven’t had it started in the water yet, only on land, so this should be interesting. We should all have our little projects for the weekends!
FF Harry and the trailer is still out for sale. We’ve had no luck so far getting them sold, can you imagine? The old boat is selling to the highest bidder, you can litterary get a perfectly working pirate-ship for nada..! What we did get sold was the pile of free materials used to hold Harry Louella dry during the last four years. Not much cash in those though, we sold them for a six-pack of light beer. If you don’t feel like buying a ship but still feel like supporting our mission you can use the paypal-function below.
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That will be the blog of the day! Thank you for reading, keep following our journey and please share with your friends using the icons below! We appreciate all our new and old readers and can happily annonce that since this blog started we have surpassed the previous number of readers every single month! 10 points for sharing!
It’s storming again. I woke up this morning to strong winds stretching the ropes and hard rain drumming on deck. The plan of the day was actually to flush the teak-decks before giving it the first of many coats with varnish. Seems like nature took care of the washing and left for me to wait out the storm. Things are suddenly moving forward in a much more satisfying manner, it looks like we are actually getting out of Spillersboda before the snow arrives.
The rivers of water have stopped using our new pirate-ship as an amusement ride. When upon checking status this morning, it is my pleasure to announce that Harry Louella is close to completely sealed up! I did throw some sawdust into the water around the ship yesterday, and in combination with what’s coming up on three weeks of soaking have made some magic happen. One of the biggest challenges about buying this ship is overcome.
The next big challenge is of course the engine. We have had it started a couple of minutes, but not had it drive the propeller yet. Captain Simen have spent some time the last days making sure that at least one of our dieseltanks are clean and in working condition. He have hand-pumped out the rest of the old oil and changed all the filters. The electric systems seem to be working fine. We should be able to power our three batteries between a combination of two solar panels and a generator.
Yesterday we put FF Harry out for sale. It will sell to the highest bidder on blocket.se. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in bidding. We are also selling the old trailer that Harry Louella have been sitting on. These two things is what we have to get rid of, somehow, before we leave town.
Another magical thing happened last night. I had spent a few hours prepping the mast. It needed to be fitted with spreaders and to have installed a world-famous Windex wind direction indicator. When Hasse had finished his dinner he was ready to help us lifting the mast into place – and hurray! Our built-to-be a fishing boat, made over to be a motor-boat, is now ready to have it’s sails attached. This of course is impossible to do today due to the wind, but the mast is ready!
This must be the most positive update on our fleet of ships in a long time. It feels great when things are moving forward in the right direction. As soon as the winds calm down – and the rain gives us a break, we’ll make a try on the sails and to varnish the deck. No one likes a grey teak-deck especially when it lets water sink through and fill up the boat. Our goal must be to have no water what so ever coming in unless we want it to. There’s no worries about bad weather when everything else blows in our direction.
The full moon had just taken over the sky. It was luckily still some daylight to work with for this next critical step. Over the horizon we could make out the planet Mars as we lowered Harry Louella into the murky shipyard-water. There was this magical little moment as we watched our new pirate-ship float by itself for the first time in four years.
Earlier in the day we spent hours filling in the cracks in between the boards with a fitting substance. We had the ship lifted from its trailer in the water with the crane of the shipyards rig. In some strange way the trailer had got stuck on the wrong side of the metal boat ramp. This meant we couldn’t just drag the boat back on land – it had to be lifted. So we did. Hasse was nice enough to use his truck as a temporary working-platform for a few hours.
It was a dirty job that just had to be done. And man did it help! We are still on red alert and have to watch the water all the time. We thought there would be a lot more water right now, but it seems fine. Meaning; we only have the two installed bilge-pumps running constantly. The big electric pump we got the other day is set to start by itself if the water-level rises over a certain point. But for now it looks good. We are afloat!
Now starts a whole new set of stuff to take care of onboard. We need to have another real go-through of the engine, easier said then done when none of us are really born as mechanic-wonderchilds, but I’m sure we can figure out the basics. We also have to install a wind-indicator, a weather-station and run another full check of the older than us-electrical system.
There is also a whole bunch of stuff to take care of regarding the FF Harry. In short – we need to figure out a solution on how to get rid of it in a respectable way. The same goes for the trailer and som excess gear we can’t take with us whenever we are ready to venture on. Then of course, there is the case of rigging the mast, checking the sails and probably learn how to use them.
Yes, there is tons of stuff to do. We have spent two weeks in Spillersboda now, and we are still looking at least on another week before we can be ready. But that is no problem, not when we can optimistically start this week off with our new home tied to the dock.
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Today, I promise, we are lowering the ship to stand on its keel before the waiting makes us totally crazy. This will be our second to last step before our new home is supposedly going to float by itself. It’s sunday and this weekend we had a visit from my geocatching pirate-mother and brother Morten. It’s always nice to have family over, and it was totally great if we’re not counting the fact that all four of us have been feeling a little shabby.
A little regular sickness won’t stop our mission of getting this ship afloat. We will make it happen at any cost, and since we really are spending absolutely every little penny to make it happen, I assure you it will. We are actually being optimistic about getting the whole boat afloat within next sunday. We are still not in a bad position time wise, but the sooner we can get our asses to warmer countries – the easier it will be to make a safe sailing.
Since we’ve had visitors these last days, we finally got a couple of days off from fixing big and small things on the ship. There was originally a plan of making a the trip to Stockholm, but since all four of us felt a bit sicky – we mostly ate food, drove around our whole new neighbourhood going geocatching instead. They have a great Thai-reataurant in Norrtälje.. If you don’t know about geocatching, you should probably check it out on geocatching.com and get just as hooked as my mother and husband have been for the last five years or so. It’s a great sport with an amazing fan base all around the world. They spend all their free time traveling the world to explore hidden forgotten places. They are actually one of the most active catchers of Norway, and if your into the community you probably know them as Teamvesla. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found their first real old forgotten pirate-treasure before the pirates onboard Harry Louella will.
I think all we are going to do today is lifting the ship and seal it up with another layer of Ettan, a grease, fat-like substance in between all the boards below the waterline. We are then going to remove the trailor it now stays on and lower it as much as possible – making all our pumps prove they’ve been worth whatever we paid for them. At the moment we are running two pumps and it’s going just fine. So fine that the next step is imminent within the next few hours. At this moment, either the tide is higher than it has been in all our time here or we are actually, slowly, being dragged toward the ocean. Come on big ship, get your ship together – we are ready!
It’s about to become a new week. Again. Along with our visit this weekend, we have also had a small storm in the area. The weather has been a hazzle. Having a boat staying on pilars sticking out from a trailer in waves will hurt your boat. We would be better off sailing the open water.
Time is passing slower for every day we have to wait here in Spillersboda. There is nothing to complain about in this little pearl of a Swedish village – but we are ready to move on, to get this ship sailing and go treasure-hunting southward. There is of course great things happening all the time. Like today, my mother and brother is coming to visit all the way from the distant Norway and before I could wash my face this morning this guy knocked on the window inviting us to dinner next week.
When I say, ‘before I could wash my face’ (something I don’t usually do every morning) it probably should’ve happened today. You see, yesterday we went to Norrtälje to get an antenna for the new VHF we was gifted this week. And at the same time got a wind-indicator to put at the top of our mast before we put it up. But not stopping there, we got a weather-station and kept our promise of singing karaoke with people met last Wednesday. It seems that Wednesdays are our new Norrtälje-day. Anyways, before we could return safely to the shipyard, after having spent a whole day and night in society – we had some trouble with the wind in the pitch dark and crashed into the dock by accident.
Everything went well of course, not counting the Captains ending up in a brawl over spilt milk. Waiting for something to happen can’t be good for anyone – And let me assure you that although we all love each other, it is for the best if the new ship get’s floating as soon as possible. Apart from the fact that autumn is rapidly approaching, thereby also harder weather – we are still going for our goal of hitting the mediterranean by the time of new year.
Also we happened to cover a whole page in the local newspaper yesterday. It seems like the swedes find it extremely interesting that we are stuck, waiting for our new pirate-ship to float. We too, of course, but like we talk to other sailors and previous sailors about – slipping, is the worst part of the cake. We had a reporter visiting us, her name was Britta, which of had been tipped off about pirates being in town. True stories are worth telling I suppose, which is the reason we couldn’t walk through town yesterday without being recognized by many.
The ship is getting there. I don’t dare writing about when we will actually get to sail away from here, but my best guess is within october first. We’ll probably take the chance of lowering the ship another notch or two within the next few days. We did after all get a new pump yesterday, my hope is that we can cover most of the bottom with seawater as soon as possible. It just takes time – and we are no good at waiting.