Lindisfarne – Forgus 37 – 7,5t ( over 9t fully equipped)
Summary from five months sailing, Gothenburg, Sweden to Turkey
June – November 2002
From Sweden in June
Our voyage started as planned June 15, but the first trip was only to the service dock where we continued to fill up the yacht. 11 am the next day we left Gothenburg and sailed the whole day and through the night, arriving Helsingborg at 3 am June 17.
We were met with the first warm weather for the season with a magnificent thunderstorm. Unfortunately the warm weather didn’t last very long. Instead we got a period of grey skies with strong winds lasting for the next couple of weeks. The wind was of course southerly!
Already in Denmark we got the first contact with strong winds together with a strong current. We were somewhat prepared to meet bad weather and headwind by having brought the charts and pilots for the canals in Holland. This turned out to be a good investment. We had strong headwinds when we left Cuxhafen. We sailed and motored east of the East-Friesian islands, here we really had an advantage of our shallow wing keel and entered the canals in river Ems.
After three memorable days in the canals we were out in the North Sea again south of Amsterdam. The wind was still unfavourable but we tacked down to Zeebrygge, a quite exciting trip for 14 ours over the sand banks west of the Belgian coast.
We stayed on the east side of the Channel, following recommendations from English yacht magazines. -the French side of the Channel is double the fun, double the taste and half the price! – It turned out to be a good advice. We met quite a number of sailors who had chosen the English coast, and they confirmed that impression.
The only British harbour we visited was St Peter Port on Guernsey, which gave us a small pre taste what we could expect in the future regarding warm and beautiful weather. It turned out to be one of the first warm and sunny days on Guernsey for almost 6 week. It’s not the best summer we have had!
The warm weather didn’t last, but instead we got a good forecast for the Biscay so we took of and reach Brittany early next morning just in time for the tide to change. We slept five hours and left for Biscay with the south going tide. We were lucky to start with tailwinds and gennaker but we got very dense fog which was a bit of a problem as we had the ships route to the channel just on starboard side. After meeting some ships we got used to see the ships on the radar coming right in front of us, and then passing us about 1 mile to starboard. They didn’t actually turn, it is the effect of our radar. The big sweeping angel has that effect when an echo is in quite a distance. A little bit scaring before getting used to it.
We had tailwinds as long as we were over the continental shelf, meaning that we had no sign of the big waves you normally see in this part when the wind is westerly. The second part of the crossing offered us some strong north-easterly winds, which put us rapidly closer to the Spanish coast in the dark. We decided to skip La Coruna and continue south along the Spanish west coast and made landfall in the early morning in Portosin in almost no wind.
From here we day hopped south along the Spanish and Portuguese coast, mainly because of the amount of fishing nets which you could not see in the dark. The weather was still cold and foggy.
Reaching Portugal, the paperwork, which we almost hadn’t noticed before, was one of the most important tasks when arriving to a harbour.
South of Figuera do Foz we got the Portuguese northerly winds, the sky cleared and we got the steady sunny summer weather that we had been waiting for since we left Sweden.
The Portuguese and Spanish south coast west of Gibraltar offer a lot of really nice anchorages. We enjoyed some of them in the warm and sunny weather for over a week before we left for Gibraltar. There were no problems with either tide or waves when we passed the strait.
We had expecting low prices on yacht supplies but it turned out to be wrong. Our experience from prices in Gothenburg was far better than in Gibraltar!
The voyaged continued now, two month from departure Gothenburg, along the Spanish south coast and stopped at Cartagena continuing up to Alicante where we left the mainland for the Balearic Islands with Formentera as the first landfall. Clear blue warm water…
Now we really felt that we where in the Med and that we could slow down and enjoy. We spent two weeks in the Balearics ending in the famous bay of Mahon on Menorca, an extremely well sheltered anchorage. Alternatively there are options for berthing or buoy moorings. The Mahon town is a wonderful experience, not as crowded with tourists as the cities on the other islands.
From the Balearics we had a wonderful sailing with steady moderate quarter wind the whole way to Sardinia, something very unusual for the Med. After a day stop in Carloforte we continued with the intension to visit Sicily. Reaching Sicily around midnight, we decided to continue to Malta, where we arrived the next night.
Arriving Malta after midnight was a nice experience, normally yacht are forbidden into the Grand harbour, but during night you are obliged to check in there. So one hour before arrival we called the coastguard on VHF and were told to call them closer to the harbour. Next time we called they told us to follow the high speed catamaran ferry approaching from north. Very well, but turning around the pier and into Grand harbour there where not a sign of the catamaran. It was a good thought to follow somebody, but they where making 10 knots and we only 6….We saw the catamaran in a distance passing the pier but that was it. We had to call them again to have guidance where to go in the harbour. The harbour, actually the fortress/castles surrounding the harbour, where magnificent illuminated. This was one reason for having difficulties to find our way on the black water in the harbour. We spent three days on Malta biking around in the historical city, very interesting and educating.
We left Malta and once again we tried to go to Sicily. This time it was a strong headwind that forced us directly to Greece and Paxos where we made landfall a late evening in Lakka, a bay at the northern tip of Paxos, companioned by a beautiful thunder and lightning over the mainland. So we missed Sicily this time too, but it’s still there and we had sailed Sicily and climbed Etna in 1986 during our sailing trip from Turkey to the Balearic in another boat.
In the Ionia Islands we met a lot of people living in there yachts all year around, of whom some were from Sweden. We spent almost three weeks in Ionia and Annika had three girls from Gothenburg as guest while Bjorn spent a week working in London. The weather was during these three weeks very unsettled, with lots of small thunderstorms, especially during night.
When Bjorn was back and the yacht “restored” after the guests had left, we moved quickly east. Quickly was the right word! We got 40-50 knots of tailwind along the Gulf of Korint, and had to do a very spectacular stop turn behind the small piers at the mouth of the Corinth canal. We had to wait 15 minutes until a cargo ship went into the canal. That was exciting. The waves come flushing over the piers and the swell in the “harbour” was quite heavy and the wind where still up to 40 knots.
100 m into the cliff in the narrow and deep canal the wind disappeared, it was almost like closing a door behind you. One hour and 118 € later we where out in the Aegean Sea.
We where to meet friends in Lavrion on the east side of the mainland, closest to the new airport of Athens, so a day after the Corinth canal we moored in the harbour of Lavrion in the early morning and our friends arrived by a 30 min taxi drive from the airport late the same evening. The next day, after a quite substantial shopping, we left for the northern Aegean. The route included Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Ikaros, and Samos and then south down in the Dodecanese islands to Kos and Simi, which became our last Greek island.
We entered Turkey in Marmaris, which was the first time we really had to do the complete paperwork. Finally, after meeting four different officials and paying 40€, we got our sailing permit which was valid for one year. But if you leave your yacht in a marina over the winter, the time in the marina is not counted. So you can actually sail here several summers, as long as the counted time out of your winter marina doesn’t overcome 12 month.
The coast of Turkey is really something. There are areas with a great archipelago and there are parts with open coast with only a harbour or a bay to anchor in. Sometimes when the wind is strong onto the shore you would like to anchor at one of the Greek islands just south/west of the Turkish mainland. But it’s not allowed to enter Greece without doing all the paperwork and have your passport stamped out of Turkey. On top of that the Greek charge you for a cruising permit. Then of course you have to do it all around again when coming back to Turkey. The only way to avoid this paperwork and costs is to have two passports and change courtesy flag now and then…
Our friends left us in Fethie and we continued east, spending some lovely days in Kekova roads. This is a fine little archipelago, especially in late October, just west of Fineke almost not accessible by car.
In spite we are in the month of October, this has been the best month regarding the weather since we started from Gothenburg in June.
After four and a half months and 4700 nm of sailing we arrived in Kemer on the 31st of October. The yacht and all our extras had worked just fine all the time. The booking of the berth in Kemer matched in every detail our expectations, and all pre information from friends and advertisement about Kemer marina turned out not to be overestimated. We spent two weeks in this perfect marina preparing Lindisfarne for a winter on the hard.
It was when we hauled out we were hit by a very strong feeling that this really was the END. This lovely summer had finally come to an end and we had to leave her alone and go back to work in Sweden.
Total 4700 nm 4,5 months
1998-2002= 14 280 nm
See – Album – some pictures from 2002
Annika & Björn