Mystic's first cruise (ca. 250 nm)

Updated Aug. 24. 2006.

Old charts showing the whole southern coast are found here.

The name of the boat is "Gryningen" (swedish which means Dawn). For practical reasons I use the type of the boat "Mystic" in the text below because this is what the designer Ted Brewer calls the boat.

After having to postpone part of my vacation I set sail, together with my son Sebastian, from Esbo (close to Helsinki) towards Korpo in the Turku archipelago. We started Aug. 11 in the afternoon. This was mainly coastal sailing even if two places on the route are open to the baltic sea. The first afternoon had weak wind from the east starting at perhaps 10 knots but slowly increasing. We motored for some 20 minutes towards the open sea and set full sails close to Kytö.

We had a very nice and uneventful run to Porkala. The only bigger event was to make sure that we stayed at the edge of the 13 m deep shipping lane when the ferry to Stockholm starting at around 17:50 was passing. The area to the west of Porkala is open vith a single island in the center. The stretch of open sea is wide enough to make it impossible to see the opposite shore sitting in the boat.

We had to sail against the clock. At this time of the year the sun sets around 22 and it is fairly dark at 22:30. This was our preferred time to find a sheltered place to stay for the night. Originally we had planned to go either to Ingå (Inkoo in Finnish, north east of Barösund) or further through Barösund towards the west but the late start made this impossible.

The sun had already set and we had lit our kerosene lights (see picture further below). We sought out a narrow sound sheltered from winds from the east between "Villholm" and the small island WNW of Villholm. We set two anchors close to the shore and lit the anchor light. After that we had a good cup of tea plus sandwitches and went to bed. It was the first time to sleep in the boat so sleeping was initially difficult with lots of new sounds. The bunks are fairly narrow but they are wide enough.

The next morning we started towards Hangö (Hanko in Finnish). There was a strong wind from the east so we decided to only use the jib and the mizzen. Most of the sail to Hangö was a plain and fast run. We arrived in Hangö half an hour before our initial estimated arrival time. We had a slight problem about one nautical mile outside the yacht harbour. We started the engine and pointed the boat into the wind and suddenly realized that there was a very strong wind. We had not realized that it blew ca. 30 knots due to the run. My son went to the fore deck to take the jib down and was unable to do so because the boomed jib fluttered so violently that he was unable to get a grip. I asked him to steer and was able to get the sail down after some effort. The wind was so violent that loosing ones grip of the sail even for a moment ment that the sail blew up along the fore stay! We immediately decided that we needed a design modification with a separate down haul line (this was fixed a few days later). The down haul is shown in the picture below. The blue-red line goes from the top of the jib down through the small block to a cleat on the main mast.

Arrival was ca. 14:30 in the afternoon.

We stayed in Hangö only to have a pizza and we were positively surprised to find that there was no charge for a short stop (2 ... 3 hours)! Start by motor from Hangö ca. 17.

Due to strong winds and an expected difficult initial leg (30 knots wind directly from the front) we decided to motor from Hangö towards Hitis in the west. Due to limited experience we decided to use the main shipping lane going initially NNE for a few nm before turning to the west. We knew that we would have some pounding because the flat bottom of the sharpi is not especially well suited to go directly towards steep seas. We didn't realize that if we had dared to take the small boat's lane (mainly WNW) we would have had shelter from most of the seas. Going towards the seas tought us that the beautiful varnished wooden top of the centre board trunk isn't purely cosmetic. When pounding in the sea water was pressed through the narrow gap between the trunk and the top. We had to put towels over the trunk to avoid getting the bunks wet! We marked in the log book that the centre board top side should be sealed with Sikaflex before continuing the jurney after our stay in Korpo. After the initial pounding we got a nice run with maximum speeds when surfing (according to GPS) exceeding 9 knots. The rig seemed to increase the speed by ca. 1.5 knots. We calculated that we got some 30 liters of water into the boatduring less than 30 minutes of pounding.

We stayed for the night at the island "Hamnholmen" (harbour island) which has a very sheltered and deep inner bay. Hamnholmen is in the right hand side of the picture below. We found a very good mooring on the upper right hand side of the bay (opposite "4".

In the morning there was fairly little wind from the east. We decided to set all sails but put one reef into the main. We followed the marked 5.5 m deep lane going WNW in the picture above. The indicated depth btw. is the allowable maximum draft at extreme low water. If ones boat has a draft of 5.5 m then the route can be used. Observe that there are no tides in the baltic. When going over the open area "Gullkrona fjärd" the wind continously increased as did the size of the waves. With the wind directly from behind we didn't initially experience any problems. The speed was very high with surfing speed under sail reaching ca. 9 knots and sustainded speed close to 7 knots. When passin Grötö (Porrige island) we had to jybe. We were not able to get the mizzen out fast enough after the jybe so the power of the sail in combination with big seas from the rear made us loose stearing and the boat turned with the side towards the seas with an inclination of 35 ... 40 degrees (scary!). We started the engine and turned into the wind and took the main down after which the boat was controllable again and we could continue sailing.

One problem with a sharpie is it's shallow draft. Especially the rudder is very shallow and in big following seas the rudder may lift out of the water occasionally. Because the "Mystic" is double ended it tends to be very well balanced which means that even if the rudder occasionally becomes ineffective the boat continues it's course without problems. When running with too big sails and in big seas (like using a spinnaker with an ordinary boat) the boat gets increasingly difficult to control (goes like a pendulum). Decreasing sails immediately corrected the behaviour. The speed stayed essentially the same after taking the main down!

We arrived in Korpo around noon on Sunday 13 of Aug. We were allowed to use my parent's place in the harbour (they have a rowing boat). Looking at the picture it is clear that the mooring wasnt meant for boats of the size of "Mystic". The harbour is in "Långviken" (the long bay) that is several kilometers long but very narrow (200 m?).

I had to go to home Sunday evening to handle some byrocratical matters on monday. I was able to buy a suitable small block for down haul of the jib and Sikaflex for sealing the trunk lid. I took the bus back to Korpo on Tuesday morning arriving 11:20. Due to hard winds we used Tuesday to do improvements to the boat. We also had time to eat at a local restaurant called "Buffalo" in the "Verkan" marina. There was also time for a very short tournament of chess.

On wednesday morning we started from Korpo towards Nagu going north of both Korpo and Nagu. According to the morning's weather report strong winds were expected why we set out without the main sail. The solution not to use the main seems ok if no tacking is expected. Tacking against the wind is very inefficient with only jibb and mizzen.

About one nm from the inlet to "Långviken" we spotted a beautiful traditional "Storbåt" (big boat).

Slightly further on we passed "Kistholmarna" (Trunk islands) were we used to go for picnics in my youth. As can be seen from the picture there are warm, sometimes hot, cliffs polished by the ice. Because the water is fairly shallow it can occasionally be fairly warm. It is perfectly possible to swim in the sea in july/aug if 20 deg C is acceptable. Usually children don't care even if they turn slightly blue :) due to the cold.

We stopped in Nagu for a few hours to eat a good Pizza, play a round of mini golf and do some shopping. We bought some food stuff in "Nagu korv och spik" (Nagu sausage and nail). We selected this shop due to the name! The shop sells food stuff and different tools and of course nails. Looking at the boat in the picture below it is interesting to see how relative size is. When building the "Mystic" it felt very big. When mooring in Korpo (third picture from the top) the boat looked very big. When moored among other boats it looked small. It is interesting to see how the size of boats has gone up during the last decade. Where do people find the money and how do they manage to sail those big boats?

Very close to the Nagu marina (ca. 2 nm) there is a bridge connecting the Nagu mainland to Lillnagu (Small nagu). I have experienced the view from the bridge many times when going to Korpo by car. Now we had the opportunity to see the bridge from another perspective. It is interesting to go under a bridge by a sailing boat because estimating the distance between the mast top and the bridge usually is difficult. From the charts we knew that there isn't any problem because the bridges free height is 15 m and the main mast is only 9.5 m .

The area NE of Nagu before the ferry between Lillnagu and Pargas (Parainen in finnish) is interesting. There are a number of very steep islands with narrow very deep sounds. The picture shows an interesting island that is split in two. I would like to have a look at the top of the island, but there aren't many suitable places to start climbing. This climbing exercise had to be left for the future though.

Motoring we passed the ferry between Lillnagu and Pargas. The ferries are going back and forth (two ferries) all the time so one had to stay alert passing the ferry site. The marked shipping lane now turns towards SE and later S. The sounds between islands are fairly narrow which means that waves are small in spite of a strong wind from the south. Looking at the clock dictated that we should go through "Pargas port" (the gate of pargas) and then over "Gullkrona fjärd" towards either "Hamnholmen" (the same as on the out bound leg) or some of the nearby islands. Again we knew that we had to find a sheltered place before darkeness (estimated 22:00 at the latest). Passing "Pargas port" would mean some 45 minutes of rough going because it blew hard from South and there is a large open stretch of water to the south with no protection. At "Pargas port" the world seems to end. Is there anything outside or do we see the edge of the world...

Outside "Pargas port" it got rough with big steep waves from the south. We had to look carefully too see the markers and simultanously make sure we had a good offing to the lee shore if something happened to the engine and we had to set sail. Ted Brewer's plans for the center board trunk shows rubber flaps over the highest part of the trunk. These are missing in my boat because I have planned to make a table top with wooden flaps for this part. Again one can see that Ted Brewer knows what he has drawn on the plans. Sebastian suddenly laughed and asked me to look at the house inside ceiling. Our sealing of the forward part of the trunk was efficient and we got no water into the boat from this part. On the other hand we could see small amounts of water being forced up the back end of the trunk and hit the ceiling. We tried to use our previous system of keeping the water contained by hanging a towel over the opening. This dindn't work though because when the boat slammed down water and air was forced upwards with such a force that the towel blew away! We got only a few liter of water into the boat this time so this was really no big issue. Again a small detail that I have to take care of. The picture below shows the author as seen from inside the house.

There was a large military activity in the "Hitis" area. I think there had been some possible submarine observation in the are and the finnish marine investigated the area thoroughly (more about that below). Finland doesn't have submarines so this would for sure mean that it was a foreign craft breaking the finnish border. The picture shows a finnish warship going towards "Pargas port".

The picture shows a view from our mooring at "Hamnholmen". We moored some 20 m from the place used during our outward leg on the other side of a very small island at the inner end of the bay. The bottom provided a very good grip for anchoring (sand and clay). The weather was interesting with some very heavy localized clouds and blue sky in between. Some time around midnight we had a short thunderstorm with a few very bright lightnings. I connected automobile starting cables to the stays of both masts to ground them and provide shelter against lightnings.

In the morning we listened to the weather report in the area which promised decreasing wind later during the day. We decided to go on to the archipelago to the west of "Hangö västra fjärd" (the open waters to the west of Hangö). We found a very nice sheltered place close to the shipping lane going to "Dalsbruk". The picture below shows "Gryningen" mored in a typical finnish manner direct to the rocks using an anchor to avoid having the boat touching the rocks.

We paused for a few hours allowing us to explore the island and hopefully allow the wind to go down. The two pictures below show the scenery towards Hangö. The scenery is fairly typical for the outher SW archipelago. Closer to the main land the islands are greener with more lush vegetation.

Observe how it is possible to easily find shelter from winds and waves from any direction. Generally when sailing in the archipelago shelter is available at most a few nm away.

The military continued measurements. The boat shown in the picture below went back and forth a number of times in front of us. My guess is that it used side scanning sonar to look at the sea floor.

We made some food and coffee :) . Observe the screw driver used to stir the food because we didn't have a suitable spoon. You can't remember everything can you?

After having food and some rest we realized that the promised decreasing wind would not materialize. It still blew hard from the SW.

After some discussion we decided to try the 2.5 m marked lane towards Hangö that we avoided going in the other direction. We reasoned that small islands and rocks would give us some shelter from waves and the general direction would allow us to take waves some 45 deg from the starboard side. Finding the first markers for the entrance was slightly problematic partly due to significant waves. When the inlet was found it was easy to go on from marker to marker. We realized that we ought to have taken this route on the outward leg because then we would have had no pounding. It was interesting to observe the boat in the big waves (estimated 1 ... 1.5 meters). The pounding wasn't bad this time generally but sometimes pounding could not be avoided. When the boat fell down into a wave trough one could see the back of the center board move upwards some 10 mm. The center board trunk is glued to routed slots in substantial keel timbers but in spite of this there is some slight movement. I have seen the same kind of movement in a 747 jumbojet when flying to Korea some years ago. There were free standing toilet modules standing on the floor and not connected to the ceiling. When there was turbulence one could see the top of the modules move several centimeters in relation to the ceiling! My guess is that this kind of slight movement is normal for a stressed plywood design. I thorough visual check later showed no problems, no cracks ... nothing! The center board is connected to the deck in the front part and to the house ceiling at the rear This means that the ceiling probably also flexed the same amount but it wasn't visible.

We arrived in Hangö around 17:00 in the afternoon. We only stayed long enough to have a steak at one of the marinas restaurants and to fill our water canister. Just before leaving a big Russian yacht (small ship) arrived.

We continued towards the east around 18:30 in the evening and estimated that we could reach the archipelago to east of the "Tvärminne" are and south of the town "Ekenäs". We found a nice and sheltered place to spend the night just outside the marked route. The exact place was in the sound between "Hästö" (Horse island) and the biggest of the three closest islands to the NE of "Hästö".

After connecting the fore line to a small tree in land it was almost dark. The light output from the kerosene running lights seems OK. We don't at present have a real top running light when motoring so we had to improvize. The picture was taken around 22:15 which shows how late (still in august) it gets dark.

In the morning on friday aug. 18 we motored to "Barösund" because there was very little wind. After a short stay for coffee and filling our reserve fuel tank we continued towards "Porkala". After a short while we set sails and had a pleasant reach over "Porkala fjärd" at around 6 knots. Passing Porkala we could se big thunderstorm clouds in front of us. Close to the small island/rock "Röda kon" we took the sails down because we were afraid of a sudden thunder storm with sudden hard wind. We even connected the lightning conductors to the stays for a short moment. The picture below shows a heavily leaking cloud in the background. My son Sebastian is stearing.

The biggest thunder storm passed in front of us out to sea and we didn't even get wet. The picture is taken close to the islands "Kaparen" and "Rövaren" in the Espoo archipelago. These islands are open for general recreational use with cooking places built by the town even providing some shelter against rain.

We were back at home around 19:00 in the evening aug 18.


The maps are in different scales and intended only to give a general feeling for the area in question. Maps can be ordered from most Finnish chandlers with a presense on the web and from Karttakeskus.

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