Making our way to Ale’s Stones

We have made our longest passage so far in this boat. With an average of 4 knots we crossed the Hano-bay in about ten hours. The voyage was totally great and we had great conditions. I will admit that the last hour was one of the harder type. Mostly due to pitch-dark, fog with subtle rain and meter-high waves from the side and wind in an awkward direction. But our skill set is building quickly and we pulled through and found a safe harbour 3 nautical miles north of Simrishamn. We spent the night in this small village and got some good rest. The next day we only completed the journey southward to Simrishamn and found a dock to tie the boat safely enough to stay the two days of forecasted gale passing through the area. 

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Simrishamn is a beautiful little town. They obviously have a high-rise ban because all the houses are small and tightly packed together only separated by brick-laid streets. It’s history go back to the year 1123 and was in the hundreds of years after an important city for the connection between the mainland and the island of Bornholm which is today governed by Denmark. At the time, up until 1658 the mainland was also part of Denmark – but this changed with the visit of Frederik the 3rd the year ahead.

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We spent the days mostly onboard. There is plenty of stuff to take care of in the boat. We are battling things like moist and ways to stay warm on cold nights. The last not being a big problem since we are often connected to shore-power. Condensation is however becoming a bit of a fight. We are looking to keep mold away, but since we are often tightly packed it has become a job to air out the areas and then especially under mattresses and pillows. This have forced Captain Simen to start the everlasting job of drilling hundreds of holes in the bed-boards. Not an easy task when what we have to work with is a manual hand-drill. We have also installed netting in the ceiling to store all of our vegetables and secure other fresh food.

When the winds calmed down we could safely journey on. We made our way 20 miles down the coast to the harbour of Kåseberga. This is the mystical and historic site of Ale’s Stones. This being a powerful symbol of power and faith. The rocks on top of the cliffs was probably raised somewhere between of 1000 and 1500 years ago and was described by travelers in the 1600’s. Today the formation called a stone ship consist of 58 standing stones and one horizontal block. The formation represent a type of grave built during the late Iron age. It is the largest known Swedish stone ship, measuring 67 meters long and 19 meters wide.

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Ale’s Stones may have been a cult-center for sun-worshipers and we had the joy of having the best sun in weeks upon our visit. At midsummer the sun sets at the north-western apex and and at midwinter the opposite. Why and how it has gotten it’s name is unknown. There is no record of anyone named Ale, and many researchers claim that Ale is an ancient word for temple or sacred place.

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We are setting course for the southernmost point of Sweden today. It is a bit of a milestone for me. By the end of the week we are will with all luck be crossing over to the Kingdom of Denmark. We are also getting ready for some live-streaming and did our first test-run yesterday! Until next time, have a safe ride!

Captain Jack

Onboard we are strong supporters of #Teamtrees who are fundraising money to plant 20 million trees all across the planet. Please check it out if you haven’t already. LINK

Back in the Baltic sea!

Getting back in salty water have been one of our main goals since we came back to Sweden. When the boat was ready to rock we said goodbye to Södertälje and called on the bridge-master to open the gates. Since we are raging more than fifteen meters over water-level the bridge had to be opened. We then entered the single lock that lowered us 0.7 meters down and released us to the same water touching all the worlds oceans.

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It still took us about 4 hours to exit the long arm of a fjord leading out to the Baltic sea. But it was an amazing ride. The weather was magnificent, spoiling us with a 19 degree, sunny breeze. This might be the warmest day we’ll see of Scandinavia in 2019. Since it was so calm we let the sail, engine and autopilot do most of the work onboard and we ended up sailing almost double the distance from our original plan. This took us to the small lighthouse island of Hävringe which up until 1986 served as a pilot station for ships trying to master the Swedish archipelago.

IMG_20190922_090602.jpgManeuvering this part of the world is quite a task for any sailor out there. It is no way we would’ve followed the route we did if we didn’t have our digital equipment onboard, also we are getting quite familiar with this particular part of the coast. Not to forget that the weather this afternoon was just spectacular. There is shallows, islands and reefs just about everywhere you look and there is with no surprise you’ll find plenty of shipwrecks on the charts of these waters.

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We had a great night after a long tiring day of sailing and were expecting some pretty good winds the following day. True enough, and as always with these two Captains set of on adventure there is always a steep learning curve.. The forecast said it would be cloudy and somewhere around 0.7 meters waves. True enough was it cloudy, but we got to test the ships abilities in double the wave-size and quite a bit of wind. It was awesome. Our goal was to reach the wharf where our previous ship is resting and awaiting a patient, caring and handy new owner. It is also where our journey southbound by boat ended about 11 months ago.

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I must admit, it was quite a mess inside good old Harry Louella. We kind of lived onboard while it was hauled up on land awaiting our plans to come together back then. And the smell hadn’t changed a bit. Mostly diesel, but now also a pretty good stench of good old fashion mold after what must have been a pretty moist winter. Other than now also being in need of a complete change of curtains, mattresses and pillows she was in pretty good shape and I’m sure any potential owner will be thriller to take her on as a new project.

We spent a couple of hours cleaning out our salvageable belongings, it did after all almost sink twice, so things like books and some electrical stuff and tools and so on was nothing we would bring with us. Two things we really wanted was our solar panel and the weather station. Then of course there was our fishing gear and other items like spices, kitchen knives, the fly smacker and some other small things we even forgot we once possessed.

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When all this was done and we had carried everything back to our new home, it took us a few minutes to get organized and then karma decided we needed a little kick in the ass. Since we haven’t been connected to shore-power since Västerås – the start-battery decided this would be a great time to flat out die on us. This mean we are now stuck on the same place as our beloved Harry Louella until people here come back to work tomorrow morning and can lend us a hand once again.

I don’t care any more. At least we get to sneak ourselves to a free night at a dock and won’t have to drop anchor in unfamiliar waters in the dark. We’ll deal with this mess tomorrow.

Captain Jack

FF Harry the merchant

We are proud to present our new business. Earlier mentioned, we didn’t care too much about those canoeist. Now they are paying our bills and in addition giving jobs to the crew members. There are literary hundreds of canoe-people being shipped in from Germany by buses and it would be unfair to our cash-flow not to take advantage of this whole situation. The pirate-supermarket has been running for a week and it’s fair to say that the payoff is good. Of course, keeping a crew of 3 fed and diesel for the ship also has it’s costs. But then again, we are the only supermarket around. Meaning the canoeists would spend an entire day of their week-long journey just to get a case of beer or some snack, toilet paper, sunscreen or candy. 

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We should also mention that all cash coming in is essential for us sluice ourselves all the way to Stockholm in a month or so. We meet a lot of great people everyday and try not to disturb those who came to enjoy just the nature. Right now we have just finished a long day of work and are heading for Töcksfors to drop off our latest crew-member. He’s catching the bus to Oslo and then a flight to Alta. Like mentioned; the days pass by like they where never even there. The heat is controlling everything and lucky for us – that brings us a lots of thirsty Germans. Of course we see some other nationalities as well, but the German people really seem to like the idea of canoeing ((even though they seem to have a little trouble getting into the whole paddle-towards goes forward, paddle-away goes backwards. Then again they have to work together to make it all work out in then end. When they are finally back i  camp- FF Harry comes around with some snacks, beer, cigarettes and candy and we’ready for a new round tomorrow.

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Tonight we are staying in Tőcksfors. The town is alright, but has really nothing too it unless your a Norwegian looking for sweet deals on food, candy and tobacco. Which we will need for the coming days. We wish we had a way to store cold beverages, meat and that kind of stuff. Many has been asking us, for both cold drinks and meat, nothing we can do… sorry. Global warming is here…

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Thais will be the update of the week. We have stuff to take care of, mouths to feed and way too much to do before the big freeze comes around in a few months.

 

This said, we do accept donations.. as always. 😏

An all Norwegian boat

Moving onto a boat of 23 feet will never be an easy task when used to the comfort of showers, toilet, full kitchen, laundry-possibilities and so on. Just imagine trying to push all your belongings in a just a couple of boxes. then mashing these boxes down in the hull while making yourself believe that it should be as easy as THAT to get your stuff back up later.

Now – our boat was not that roomy when we got it. Especially on the inside. It soon became clear that we had to evolve this beast into something a little more of a mix between savage and comfortable. At the same time; more suitable for our ambition of living outside until King Winter or other climatic complications shut us down. More about our journey later, this post will be dedicated to our new home and proud ship – never before and soon to be christened – “FF HARRY”.

The Original

The boat was built in 1981, presumably on Onsøy, a peninsula and municipality that in 1968 merged with Fredrikstad. There is sadly little to no more information about the build or the builder. The materials used in the original is Norwegian wood wrapped around the iron engine-bars and aluminium top. We know that a large number of boats are built in Fredrikstad throughout time and therefore we credit our beautiful ship to the boat-builders from this part of the world.

The engine is a classic! I can’t find the exact year of this particular make, but was kicked to life by Damsgård Motorfabrikk  later named Sabb Motor established in Laksevåg, just outside Bergen in 1925. They first produced our engine in 1958. At the time; a four stroke 8 Hp, one cylinder diesel that later got upgraded to an 10 HP. They also made a bigger version; an 22 HP. Total make of the engines are about 20.000, and the makers are still in business! Even though the last engine at the factory was produced in 2001.

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ORIGINAL PROTOTYPE, BEFORE THEY ADDED SERIAL NUMBERS – Picture from Wikipedia: Av self – Eget verk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2575431

Necessary Mods

We had to make it our own. I can already smell the frustrated pirates lurking the marinas putting bad words to the new look of our proud ship. Understandable but luckily we are mostly carefree. The high culture of preserving the old and (must I say) awesome historical architecture of nautical wessels is very strong around the world. As should it be. Therefore we took our important steps not to damage the original structures while making our changes. Minus a couple of cuts and blisters it shouldn’t take more than about 45 minutes, two screws and some lifting to turn it back to it’s fainting glory.

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First we wanted more indoor space, we also wanted the ability to stand up. The amazing feeling of sitting aft navigating the sunset is romantic but sometimes very cold. Especially at night, bad weather or dirty rain. Besides – with our new addition to the boat it would be nearly impossible to keep a free sight of the water. The steering had to be moved – or we could dramatically die in a crash with an amazing superyacht – blinded by or own creativity..

The engine works for now. The starter does however not. We have to manually start the machinery. The dynamo is out too, meaning we don’t really have any way to make electricity. Bummer. Our solution was to get another battery and eventually we will buy a charger. For now we have borrowed the one of our Mister Fixit neighbor. Then there was all the other equipment.. Safety-stuff, ropes, oil, paint, diesel, lamps, heater and… of course new curtains.

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The previous owner made a box inside. He was also nice enough to leave us with something to sleep on. The electrical control board and wiring was outdated and we needed at least one new bilge-pump. The originally installed hand-pump seemed to only work if somebody used it.. There was no installed lights except from the port and starboard lanterns. A couple of the wooden boards were rotten, but nothing serious. We removed one of the benches outside which in turn gave room for our new cockpit.

A couple of chairs from a dinner table-set, some more free materials and parts from the internet, countless trips to a diverse selection of shops and boutiques, a couple of rounds with beer and a little help with painting from friends – and voila! You’ve got our boat!

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That was about what we have of story on “FF Harry” for now. We still have another full day of work on the boat. Then we’ll be free and happy go lucky! Depending on our ability to convince Simba, the cat, that boating can be a lot of fun.

Feel free to follow this blog. We’ll do our best to keep you in the loop!
Jack