Logs from Lille Ø
Lille Ø is our cruising sailboat, a 1979 Amigo 40. A Swedish-built boat with a Danish name, a Finnish crew, and sailing under the German flag. Follow our adventures as we explore the coasts of the Baltic Sea!
Since coming back we took the boat up, washed the hull and patched the minor dents in the keel and started what we anticipated to be a couple week teak deck removal and painting of the deck.
That teak removal project quickly turned out to be a complete deck rebuild as we found out that our entire deck core was soaking wet and partially delaminated. The teak had hidden the underlaying faults well.
So the quick project became a mountain of work. With the help of the excellent book This old boat, the deck replacing project by Mads in the YouTube channel SailLife and all the tips tricks and wisdom shared at the club terasse we set forth on this mammoth project.
I have never heard “Ach du Scheisse!” repeated at me so many times and with such profound intonation when I explained what we had found and what we were about to do. Armed with determination and conviction and help from our friends we planned out the project and set to work. We kept the boat in the water, put a tarp on top of the mastless deck and hoped for suitably warm weather to aid us in finishing the project.
The warmest october in Germany since records began helped us push through what ended up being 5 weeks of hard work. It became our tradition to give a small progress report at the Sunday breakfast club table. Those warm words of encouragement from the breakfast club were at times the only thing keeping us going.
So what did we do?
- Cut the deck open in sections with a circular saw
- Cut and scratch out the old foam
- Let the section dry and opened up the next one
- Shape the new foam core to fit the hole
- Epoxy it to its place
- Epoxy the cleaned up old deck surface back on
- Weight it all down with bags of sand
- …and repeat the process until we were done with the rest of the deck.
- When the new core was in, we took the angle grinder to the whole deck and cut a 1:12 bevel into the ‘seams’ we had cut.
- After grinding we vacuum cleaned the deck and as final preparation wiped the deck down with acetone.
- Then it was time to fill the bevels with both woven and chop strand glassfiber mats.
- When the deck was again at its full thickness it got sanded, faired and painted (interpotect, perfection under and overcoat + kiwigrip at the top).
The end result was a shiny white deck ready for the next 20 years of sailing!
Thank you so much Anatol, Andy, Bernhardt, Daniel, Martin and Philip!
Wake up call at 5:30, safety coffee and onwards with the journey towards home port. With the early start came the joy of not having much traffic. When we reached the part of the canal under construction, we again radioed the various tug boats to ask for a suitable moment to pass. At one point we were requested to wait for a bit, so we did 2 donuts before given the permission to pass. Cheerful Danke Schön and Bon Voyage were exchanged with the crew when we were at talking distance of them. Combination of transmitting AIS and a working radio also when the mast is down removes stress out of tricky traffic situations.
At Lehnitz locks we waited for an hour before we could enter. Towards Spandau we kept slightly higher travel speed as we wanted to cluster up with the cargo ship and the sailboat we had already shared both Niederfinow and Lehnitz locks with. The plan only semi worked as we all needed to wait at the Spandau locks. While still all lights red, the shipping police just ignored all of them and drove in, followed by the cargo ship and all of us small boats.
We arrived at Gothia at 17.
- Distance today: 43.3NM
- Total distance: 2511.8NM
- Engine hours: 9
- Lunch: cheese and bell pepper wraps
After breakfast it was time to leave Poland and the Baltic Sea behind. We motored to the notorious low railroad bridge at Podjuchy. Last time it had been closed for traffic, sending us on a long detour through the Szczecin city center. This time we had consulted the local Notices to Mariners and hence were able to time ourselves to a bridge opening. Six meters of clearance instead of three is a big difference!
When we reached the German border we replaced the lone Polish courtesy flag with a string of all countries visited on this five month trip. Then we continued along the scenic Oder valley nature park, watching eagles and beavers at their work.
The water was quite low. You could see long stretches of beaches that along the canal that are usually submerged. Especially north of Schwedt the canal was also unusually shallow, with depth sounder giving readings around 2m. The lowest we saw was 1.7m, but that was slightly off the side when passing a slow-moving barge. The notorious dead fish of Oder were thankfully absent most of the way, except right when we got to Hohensaaten when there were masses of them floating and on shore, with the accompanying stench.
Early on the trip we encountered a barge heading the same way and nearly the same speed, and tagged along. This made handling oncoming traffic a lot easier, and eventually enabled us to get straight through both the Hohensaaten West locks and the Niederfinow ship elevator.
Now we’re parked for the night on the elevator’s upper sport boat waiting area. There were two other boats planning to spend the night there. As the one that had arrived earlier had parked in the middle hogging the whole space, fitting in required some tight manoeuvres.
- Distance today: 51.8NM
- Total distance: 2468.5NM
- Engine hours: 11.8
- Lunch: Miisa’s couscous salad
We left the marina at Świnoujście in the morning under heavy rain. Then it was time to navigate the channel dodging various tankers and cargo ships. Luckily the skies cleared a bit.
At the Szczecin lagoon we were able to set sail. Wind was on the beam, and with that we made good speed across the lagoon even though we could only use the 2nd reef due to the missing batten car.
After the lagoon we continued motoring through the huge industrial harbour. We finally arrived to the Szczecin academic sailing club, found a box for the boat, and booked mast crane for the following morning.
- Distance today: 37.2NM
- Total distance: 2416.7NM
- Engine hours: 6.8
- Lunch: feta avocado salad
Weather window. That was the topic of the week as we were intensively looking at weather and waves of the southern Baltic Sea. The scheduled 1 month long closing of the Hohensaaten West locks is happening in 2 weeks. As Suski is now limited to only sailing the weekends, we decided to take the half good slow or no wind option now.
The trip was exactly that. Slow going with fairly big waves and annoyingly waves from 2 different directions. During the passage we had some very nice going with beam reach and also flopping along with dead down wind with only 5 knots of wind. The slow going meant that our sails were flapping alot and at times we successfully reduced the sail area for the off watch to be able to sleep. This time we ran 6-on-6-off system and we might stick to this as there is more uninterrupted sleep available.
The flapping of the sails eventually led to 2 cars of the mainsail to break. We took the sail down, added a replacement and repurposed a car from the bottom of the sail so we still had a properly attached sail, but only in 2nd reef. The lesson here is that we should’ve replaced all the cars when one broke back in June.
At this point our going and wind slowed down significantly so we tried the Parasailor. It didn’t fill in properly either with the 6 knot winds and the confused swell. So with 50 NM left to go, we turned on the engine and motored the rest of the way to be able to leave at least some sleeping time before the working week.
We arrived in Świnoujście little after midnight on our second moonlit night. The marina has streetlights around it, so arriving at night is not a problem, at least now that there are fewer boats out sailing.
- Distance today: 185.4 NM
- Total distance: 2379.5 NM
- Motor hours: 14.1
- Lunch: pizza, shakshuka
With a forecast of wind increasing over the next two days, we decided to have an early start. Fortified by French omelette and coffee we hoisted anchor at 7:30 and headed to the southeast-bound fairway.
As we reached Kalmarsund proper, the wind did indeed increase. We were flying down the straits with 20-31kt on the beam and first reef.
With this fast passage we reached the Kalmar guest harbour already at 2pm. Now for some rest, sauna, and provisions. Tomorrow there is a gale in the forecast, so we’ll stay here.
- Distance today: 38.6 NM
- Total distance: 2194.1 NM
- Engine hours: 1
- Lunch: pea soup
Suski’s birthday meant starting the day with the party flags. Then breakfast and under way.
What a beautiful sailing day! Between 8 and 13kt on the port quarter. We started with a poled-out jib, but then seeing the conditions rerouted ourselves to the offshore way and hoisted the Parasailor.
Now we’re back in the southernmost nature harbour on the Swedish east coast. Here we started our Scandic mooring experience almost four months ago.
- Distance today: 25.6NM
- Total distance: 2155.5NM
- Engine hours: 0.8
- Lunch: feta avocado salad
Morning departure was easy enough: coffee, packing the FLINsail, detaching from buoy, and hoisting main.
The beginning of the trip was again slow going on a broad reach with minimal winds. That gave us ample time to watch the sea eagles (15 of them!) soaring on thermals from the sunny cliffs.
As the wind started filling out, it also turned southerly. This meant tacking. Passing Västervik we mostly did long leisurely tacks off shore, but then as the waves started building up we came back to the fairway and short-tacked the rest of the way.
- Distance today: 37 NM
- Total distance: 2129.9 NM
- Engine hours: 0.7
- Lunch: tofu curry with rice
The morning rain ended exactly when we wanted to start preparing the boat. A slow wind day, we left Harstena on a broad reach.
Just before lunch a seal popped up next to the boat, making Darth Vader sounds.
After a slow but nice sail we arrived to a SXK buoy on the rocky shores of Jungfruskär, right off the main fairway leading to Västervik. Time for a quick swim before sundowners.
- Distance today: 21.5NM
- Total distance: 2092.9NM
- Engine hours: 0.8
- Lunch: macaroni casserole
Rainy morning turned into a sunny afternoon while we sailed through the archipelago. Our route was taking us a bit on every course so we had everything between head wind to broad reach. We crossed the open water part from Oxelösund to St Annas archipelago.
In the St Annas archipelago we passed “kejsaren” again, and toasted to it as the local customs dictates. How Kejsaren became kejsaren there are many stories but passing it without a toast promises bad luck. Skål!
Getting close to the Harstena island we saw 2 sea eagles sitting on top of a rocky island. They truly are huge birds.
Along the way we watched the start for the Golden Globe Race 2022. Felt specially awesome to watch it under way. For us the most interesting boat is Olleanna, an OE32, which is a very similar boat to our dear Lille Ø. Not forgetting our countryman Tapio Lehtinen on his Asteria, a Gaia 36. Wishing fair winds to them all on their long and lonely passage.
- Distance today: 27.9NM
- Total distance: 2071.4NM
- Engine hours: 0.8
- Lunch: Miisa’s couscous salad