Seasickness-training in Stavern

We’ve been tossed around in our boat for a good 36 hours now and are finally seeing the last of this storm. You could’ve said that we should have been smarter with where we dock and that an opening straight out to the bay possibly wouldn’t be the best of choices. It has resulted in us losing much needed sleep and a couple of fenders. On top of this we’ve had a few scratches to the hull, but nothing critical. It does not look optimal and will require us to take the bat ashore at some point after our arrival at the final destination for this trip. It’s all cosmetic, except some exploded fenders and a need to invest in some new ropes. 

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Picture by NRK. Red area is red warning for flood.

We are luckily not in the hot zone for the coming super-flood and are currently tied to a floating bay that should keep us safe throughout the night. In some parts of Norway, somewhat in the area where we’d be next week are currently dealing with the largest spring-flood of the last hundred years. Best of luck to all of you out there, may you not obtain any lasting damage. Our plan will be to set sail at first daylight tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be good enough and we should be able to get quite a few miles done in a fairly short amount of days – if we push on before the next storm system is due to arrive in a weeks time.

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This storm did not come as a surprise on us and we should definitely have done a better job on where to dock our boat in a situation like this. But the experience has been archived with other files for steep learning-curves and will not happen again. On the other side, we’ve had plenty of time to discover Stavern. Ibby, the cadet, survived until Saturday afternoon before setting course for the city of Halden. Before this we had to check out the local pub and had the pleasure of meeting all of the towns originals in one night. This of course called for a great party that lasted to the early hours.

All of Sunday then went on with regularly checks in the powerful storm outside and making sure that everything was tied down. Our beloved stack of Jerry cans on deck need a new system, in short I suppose it’s time to install some more bolts on deck and to make sure there won’t be any unwanted leaks or loss of life essential fuels. We are in good spirit, have had visits from friends and families. The crew is mentally preparing and is getting ready for another great week of sailing; This time some of the most visited coastline in Norway. It’s a freakin’ summer paradise and we can’t wait to have it mostly to ourselves.

Captain Jack

Final port of call

We have arrived! Our beloved ship is safely tied to the dock up river from down town Fredrikstad. Our journey of somewhere around 1400 kilometers or just about 755 nautical miles have been completed. Some may say that we have won the prize for slowest passing of this distance ever. And that might just be, but we are extremely pleased with the trip in all aspects. Also, we are back in the exact spot where this blog was started a long long time ago. We are now settling in for a few slow weeks to plan out our future projects and let winter get a real grip on both us and the Norwegian landscape.

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In the days to come we are planning to see some good snow and maybe even climb some mountains, see friends and family. It has taken somewhere in the area of 3 months to complete this first journey with this wonderful boat – Ella, the boats name for now have really proven her value to us, she’s a solid ship and we’ll take great care of her in the months and years to come. We’ve had the pleasure of basically having the whole coastline to ourselves, Captain Simen say we have seen possibly 10 leisure boats throughout this adventure, the rest have been commercial ships and that sort. We have met some great people and seen the amazing landscape surrounding the Swedish Kingdom.

The engine drank 200 Euro worth of fuel and about 1 liter oil, we have spent 180 Euro on harbour fees. I have sown and mended the sails 5 times but other than that there have been amazingly few repairs and fixes. No fish has been caught since Valdemarsvik, we’ve ran through a whole box of salt and pepper. The statistics are endless, but the sum equals one of my life’s most interesting adventures. Including a few investments into equipment, a computer, a metal detector, a new battery, tools, food, drinks and everything that should now keep us afloat throughout the winter – The total amount spent is just over 3200 Euro, this results in about 15 Euro a day for each of us.

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We have many thank you’s to send. Thank you for the support and thank you for following our blog, reading and kind words on our way. Thanks for help, water, food, laughs and gifts. It’s all greatly appreciated. We will now go into hibernation for some time. We need to charge our batteries and get the boat ship shape – ready for our next adventure!

I have decided to make this post short and sweet. Thank you again for following the blog, I hope we’ve at least inspired you to be tiny-bit adventures in the future. Until next time – stay cool, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and I can’t wait to see you again in 2020!

Captain Jack

 

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Stuck in a storm

Once again we have been forced to move slowly. We haven’t come far since last post. As this is being written the wind hit the boat with storm force and we’ve had to make use of all available fenders. The gusts are supposed to hit 25 meters a second in an hour or so. This is within classification of a storm. Just a few moments ago the wind ripped off our solar panel and cracked the whole protective glass, we’ll take the damage report tomorrow. We have found ourselves a safe harbour in Fjellbacka and will wait out the storm here.

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Great weather earlier today

Due to rain we chose to spent a few days in Kungshamn, an rather large village to small town. It’s obvious that this part of the Swedish Kingdom is mostly built up around the summer part of the year, but that suits our budget well. We met an nice old happy Swedish camper covering up his boat for the season. He had flown in from Florida to take care of business. As we shared stories over a few drinks he offered it came out that he was the inventor of a special type of anchor. As patent owner, Hans gave us one of the prototypes. We are so thankful, meaning we have finally an anchor to use up front. Since our aft anchor is bolted to the railing in the back it’s hard to get a smooth anchorage in higher waves, but with another anchor in front we are positively inspired for the future. Hans of course had plenty of stories and we shared a good meal together on our last night in town.

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My mother with husband also came to visit. Although we are not really far from the border they decided to treat themselves to a Sunday drive, they also brought a nice bag of food. The result is of course that in the two days that have passed since we have eaten royal dinners onboard. It took them about an hour and a half to drive the way that will take us 3 active days. Part of the things to consider now is also the temperatures that are closing down toward zero. Plus an active windchill and rain we are only able to sail for a few hours a day.

Our sail today however was a good one. We enjoyed a beautiful mostly sunny voyage as the wind slowly increased to the howling now tormenting us from the side. We passed through a canal where we had a bridge opened for us and saw some beautiful summer houses all the way here. There was no need to sail on open water so we stayed in between the hundreds of islands an the area.

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I’m extremely happy we selected this spot and not the first we saw that would probably flush us out on open water and crash us into a rocky shore down the coast. I think sleep tonight will be quite an adventure – but it still looks good for us to reach our destination by the end of the week.

Captain Jack

Reaching another milestone

We have sailed quite a distance since last post. At the moment we are docked in Erikstad, part of the large port of Gothenburg. First we crossed Laholm bay which was quite a windy adventure with some pretty sharp waves making the passage pretty bumpy – but nothing good old, still unnamed sailboat, couldn’t handle. As for now we still sail her under her original name; ‘Ella’ and I suppose this will do just fine for 2019. When we had crossed the bay we arrived in Halmstad. Here we finally found a shower to cleanse our rather dirty corpus’s. It was a very nice guest harbour along the river to visit and since we got to take a good rest, showers and dealt with some rather cold rainy weather we decided to stay for a few days before continuing north. 

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From Halmstad there is not really any harbors deep enough for a sailboat until Falkenberg. We could of course anchor up on the way, but the landline is basically just one long slope bay unprotected from any wind or weather washing in from the unruly Kattegat. We therefore settled in for a long haul across. This time however we had the chance to wait for great conditions and on the day we sailed the wind was so perfect that we decided to sail throughout the night. When we anchored up in the first suitable place we had covered more than 60 nautical miles in 14 hours, a new personal record for us(!)

Night-sailing is great. We pulled up the laptop and watched an entire season of a Norwegian TV-drama and made great speed along the way. On the open water the dark is no problem at night, you basically just stick out the course and let the wind do the rest. As we however got closer to Gothenburg you’ll have to stay pretty far away from land to avoid the many reefs of the western archipelago of Sweden. Lucky for me I actually paid attention when learning how to navigate by night and even though it’s a bit more work to count seconds between light-flashes and double checking the plotter ever so often we found ourselves a quiet little trench between land and the island of Ockero to sleep through the forecasted morning rain.

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The view during our night-sail.

Next morning I grabbed some breakfast and set sail right away. Since most harbors have prepared for winter we had ran out of fresh water onboard, so I had to kiss my beloved morning coffee goodbye anyway. Besides, the last bit to reach Gothenburg was just a few hours sail. We arrived at about six o clock Friday evening and decided it was time to get a couple of anchor beers to celebrate that we have reached our last milestone before crossing the Norwegian border in a week or two. I guess, if we sailed nonstop from here we would make the trip in just a couple of days. This last bit of the way however, I think we’ll take nice and slow. After all, we don’t have any plans whatsoever when we complete this last bit.

If we had continued up the river toward Trollhettan we would now have cut out the lower part of the country away from the rest of the mainland. This of course counting the part we traveled with FF Harry through the inland canals last year. In a way the circle will be completed anyway when we arrive at our destination in Fredrikstad which is also where we started out in May, one and a half year ago. We then took FF Harry to Halden and loaded it on a truck, making our way through dense forest to reach the Swedish border. There have of course been plenty of distractions and detours, but it feels great to soon have completed this huge adventure. I wonder what comes next.

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For now we are enjoying a weekend in the second largest city of the Swedish kingdom. Our only real mission here is to fill the water tank and to go for a walk in the city center. Both of us have been in the area before, but never really had the time to check out what the city really looks like, so this could be a nice little stop for us.

Captain Jack

X-mas gift

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Northbound

We have started the last stretch on our journey to Norway. The break in Copenhagen was a much needed one and we have almost recharged our batteries. I learned yesterday that it is basically just five weeks until my mother have demanded our presence for Christmas eve. Unless the weather turn stormy or something radical happen on the way – we will make it, no problem. Over the Angelholm bay however, the strong wind ate our foresail and we are once again down for repairs. The problem is those damn seams that is supposed to hold the sheets of the sail together. Over the years these seams have loosened or rotted away. The result is that I’ll have to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 hours to now sow meters of sail by hand. 

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It’s all part of the game. I don’t really mind and so far it looks like we have found a protected harbour that is closed down for the season. That mean they have turned of the machine to pay and sadly also closed down the showers. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that the time has come to once again get ourselves cleaned up. This is harder than you would think actually. We have resigned to boiling water and wet-wipes. Living on a boat like this take away the everyday need to shower, but once in a while even hard-knocked free-living creatures have to wash up. We have high hopes for our next stop on the journey; Halmstad. If I can finish the sail-mending today, we should be there tomorrow afternoon. We’ll be coming in hot with 10 meter wind in our back and 1,5 meter waves.

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Arriving in Halmstad we’ll be a quarter of the way to reach our final destination for this voyage from Copenhagen to Fredrikstad, Norway. We are prepared to be a bit more limited in our movements as we get north, of course due to the winter weather. So far we have been lucky to stay out of the big storms or any snowfall, but this is bound to change in the coming weeks. Southern Norway is already snowed down and slushy yuk is covering the streets in the cities. I can’t wait. Last time I saw real snow, and not just flakes in the air, was two and a half year ago, so this is something I really look forward to!

One year ago exactly we landed in Malta. The plan then was to stay there for a couple of months only, this of course didn’t happen and we got sucked into the island-life before we knew it. Back in freedom we are coming up with plenty ideas for how to tackle 2020, but we haven’t 100% decided how to attack this yet. We have many great ideas and it will for sure be one of the most exciting years in my life. I don’t want to reveal any details in case things change or we get any other great ideas, so this will have to wait til later.

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I better get back to sowing, my morning coffee is starting to sink in. The forecast for today is rain rain rain, so in a way this happened on a good day. Please follow and share our journey! I’ll make sure to keep you updated on our progress the coming weeks. Until next time, stay safe and enjoy every day.

Captain Jack

Port of call: Kalmar

We are in preparations of a longer sail. It should take about 13-18 hours depending on the wind. Since it’s still a couple of days from now and the weather this time of year is a bit unpredictable we are finding ourselves awaiting the right time. For avid sailors this do probably not sound like a big thing, and it probably won’t be, but since this will be our first night-sail with our new ship we are pretty excited. For now we are enjoying the great city of Kalmar, which I would like to highly recommend a visit. 

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Kalmar have been on our list on ports of call since before we arrived in Sweden about a month ago. In the year 1397 the Kalmar Union was approved in Kalmar castle, and effectively unified all of Scandinavia as one union under the rule of one queen – Margrete I. This era lasted until it collapsed on 1523 and by that time this election-monarchy included the Scandinavian countries, Shetland, Greenland, Faeroe Islands and Iceland, counting about 3 million people.

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Today Kalmar is a big city with about 40 thousand people. It is very flat, making the bikes you can borrow for free at the tourist office an absolute pleasure. The whole city have a good vibe to it and offer a mix of old-town, modern buildings and great history. It is today, as of 2010, a university-city.

Rich on it’s history it has also provided us with a whole lot of things we needed on board. We have proudly added another battery, a huge one of 120 amp hours, and finally, the best thing so far, and a year overdue – a new laptop. I don’t ever have to write blogs on my phone again. This of course have dug deep into our treasure-chest but we live on 2019, a laptop is a necessity.

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The guest harbor in town is one of the higher priced one, but it also offer all the amenities we were looking for. We had our first good shower since Valdemarsvik and could do laundry. The tourist office had bikes we could use and of course the location is perfectly situated next to a shopping center and the old town. I finally got the foresail down to mend five minor holes in it. It took forever, so it better hold. I guess that new sails probably wouldn’t hurt, but we’ve got to work with what we have for now.

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The only things left on our list for our stay is to bunker diesel and stock up on some food items. A cleanup is also necessary, thinking back I have no idea how we fitted everything we own in our previous boats. It’s true what I’ve heard – you can never get enough storage in a boat. For now we will enjoy this sunny Saturday in town before we set sail tomorrow morning.

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One more thing, we have finally got a flag. This will be the first time we sail a Norwegian flag since the Swedish sea rescue crashed into us and broke ours off – pretty much exactly one year ago.

Captain Jack

Our sail broke in open water

Västervik is a cozy small city. It is home to about twenty thousands citizens and in the summer there is hundreds of boats visiting every day. It is also home and birthplace to both men from the a famous little group called ABBA. We were told by an old sailor, that is now retired from sailing for sixteen years in a boat much like ours, that one of them have basically bought the whole harbor-area and with this have build a floating hotel in town.

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In other news, we’ve got diesel! With some good winds we are now fully able to reach the southernmost point of Sweden without too much hassle. We’ll take our time, no worry and according to our logs we had just put our last boat in the water up in Spillersboda this time last year, so in a way we are way ahead of schedule. Except this time, of course, we are not really heading for the Mediterranean this time around. It’s too damn hot down there.

Speaking of hot. It’s not. The weatherman have promised us nights averaging about 5 degrees Celsius. It’s getting close to that time where we need to buy covers for our beds. We made a great hot vegetable-soup for dinner after the two trips to the gas-station. It was a great day of exercise and for the first time in along time I walked twenty thousands steps in one day.

 

The next morning, at about eleven, as I was enjoying my coffee our old retired sailor from the day before pulled up next to our boat on the dock and asked what we thought about some food. And food it was. He took us to a great restaurant serving real Swedish food, buffé-style. It was great and he told us some good stores from his time at sea. After the meal he showed us around town a bit before returning us to our sweet darling home.

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We the proceed ed with our plan, refiled the tank and motored out of the bay. Byebye Västervik. It was a wonderful day and we had a jolly time going 2,8 knots out toward the open sea. We wanted to find a well protected anchorage where we would be ready to ride the wind from north the next morning.

On the way out we had the time to make a pit-stop on one of the small Islands we passe. From distance we could see that the good old swedes had made an lighthouse there back in the 1777’s. Earlier too, but the building now triumphing the landscape was build only 246 years ago. They used to hang cages with burning coal for ships to make somewhat safer passages.

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We proceeded to find ourselves a good place to anchor up for the night. With a forecast of 10ms cold wind from north we found a good place on the south side of an Island called Händelöp, which was locate perfect ly for our coming passage to Ă–land the next day. We went on a walk around the island to fin a great little summer town that was now basically closed for the season. Only a couple of houses had light in them but I’m sure whoever lived there did it happily.

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We woke up bright and early at 10 in the morning and lighted some candles to heat up the boat a bit before breakfast. Without hanging around too much we sat course for today destinations at Ă–land. Faith wanted today to be another hard-ass day for the pirates onboard. We got about half an hour out before the foresail ripped in the seem. Not a big danger – this can easily be sowed in less than an hour. Our problem didn’t start until half an hour later as in when the old mainsail ripped all the way over. We had no choice but to motor back into shore. No Ă–land for us today. Instead we was kind of washed in by what the weather-people said would be 1,5 meter waves but in reality was 4, to a small bay with a settlement called KrĂĄkelund.

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There really wasn’t too many places we could go ashore but one dock that was deep enough for our beloved troublesome ship of the day. We were met by a girl named Olivia and Lucky for us she was not hard to ask when we explained our troubles. She invited us in for coffee an later for dinner as we were figuring out what sails we had available in our collection. We learned that instead of being equipped with two mainsail and two genoas, we had three genoas and only our ripped main. In horror we discussed our options until the solution appeared to us. All we had to do was cut away the bottom reef of the sail and tie it down. We are now officially sailing a much smaller sail. But we are coming into the wind season, so it’s probably for the better anyways.

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For dinner Olivia also invited her twin-sister Lisa and we had a great conversation and a vegetarian meal. Both of us struggled a bit with the land-sickness but survived perfectly. We are very Lucky when all comes to all. There is really great people everywhere and we are very happy that our broken sail was kind of fixable. Tonight we get to stay in a warm boat since the sisters happily helped out with land-power for the night. What a day..

Captain Jack

Real pirates will never give up!

There was ice this morning. It has been a very cold night onboard the Harry Louella. The three pirates left onboard to finish up the preparations for our wintering of the ship are sleeping with double covers, hats and jackets to keep out the cold. It is time for us to get moving, but before we can do that – the ship must come out of the water and we need to know where to sleep the next couple of days. Not to forget where in the world will we find our next ship?

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Waking up to slippery deck and frost all over.

Our fourth pirates for peace-pirate has once again taken off to Nynäshamn to take care of some business. We will go there one of the next days. Yesterday we were towed from Fyrudden to Gryt early in the morning and later in the day we detached our beautiful mast and sent it to storage. But for now, we are waiting for the people of the wharf to make the time of lifting our boat ashore so we can cover it up and prepare the engine for winter.

There are times where our adventure seem to be a hard nut to crack. But let it be said that this crew will never give up the journey toward world peace. We are not the first pirates to be temporary without a ship – and even in these dark times our crew is masters of keeping up hope and the fight for our cause and will once again, mark my words, soon be back at the sea!

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Being towed in early rainy mornings.

This said, we have lost the fight against the winter and will have to move ourselves in some other way down to a warmer climate. Where, how and when still has to be determined and this will be done within a few short days. The last of our tasks will be to pack whatever we can carry from Harry Louella but it look like there will be a lot of tools, equipment and other useful things left for the next lucky owners of this amazing boat. Let us know if you are interested in a cheap pirate-ship!

This also means that we will not be able to sail down through Europe in this turn around. This is very sad of course – since we have met a lot of great Europeans this summer that it would be a privilege to meet up with on our way south.

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The last voyage for us onboard Harry Louella.

For now however, feel free to check in on the blog for updates. I will keep you posted on our progress for better or worse, but know that we are pirates with great hope and this adventure will go on for a very long time into the future – until we reach our goal of world peace or longer.

Captain Jack

The pirates homeless-fund

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Harry Louella is afloat!

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.

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Harry Louella making touchdown.

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!

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Harry Louellas last time on the trailer.

 

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.

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Captain Simen giving the tractor a hand.

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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Thank you for reading! I challenge you to share our blog on whatever social media you prefer. We would also like to remind you about our fundraiser. As you can imagine this project does not come cheap and we can really use all the help we can get to put this ship back in a respectable shape. If you have the chance, don’t hesitate about supporting us either with a small donation or by sharing our adventures with your friends and family.

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Captain Jack