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Waterspout Near a SailboatSailing Adventures


Sailing Adventures - Sailing Sweden

Could Sweden be the Ultimate Cruising Destination in the World?

Although to some, Sweden may seem to be both remote, and random when it comes to thinking about cruising destinations, nothing could be farther from the truth. Sweden has the 2nd highest sailing population per capita in the world (after New Zealand), and if you go sailing in Sweden, you'll see why.

Sweden is blessed with a plethora of small islands carved out by a glacial past. While islands abound all along both the east and west coasts of Sweden, the archipelago around Stockholm is perhaps the most highly regarded cruising ground. It boasts thousands of small islands that are either uninhabited, or contain just a few small summer cottages. The Stockholm archipelago creates a small microcosm of sailing activity, picnics, and swimming during the summer months.

Most of the Swedish shoreline is rocky, with very few sandy beaches. In this regard, it is quite similar to the Maine coast. The water is typically quite deep, even right up to the rocky shore. This unique shoreline allows sailboats (even with fairly deep keels) to nose right up to islands, and literally step off onto land. By throwing out a stern anchor on the way in, boats can actually tie up to land in this manner. Indeed, this is the dominant method of visiting an island in Sweden. Although it takes some courage to attempt it, when in Sweden, you must do as Swedes do!

When one first crosses from the North Atlantic into the Baltic Sea that surrounds Sweden, a distinct difference will be noticed in the composition of the sea water. In fact, the Baltic Sea is not very salty at all, which means that a shower is hardly necessary after taking a dip in the water. It also means that the wind will have a tendency to whip up "square" waves that are shorter wavelength and "choppier" than traditional salt water waves. If you decide to do some sailing offshore, and you encounter some rough weather, this can make the ride significantly more uncomfortable. However, protection in the lee of an island is never too far away.

The most important sailboat race in Sweden is the annually held Gotland Runt, which means "Round Gotland". Gotland is a larger island off the east coast. The race begins at the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) in Sandhamn which is in the Stockholm archipelago, and North of Gotland. The course can vary, but typically runs from Sandhamn around the southern tip of Gotland in a clockwise fashion, and then back to the Sandhamn. Depending on wind conditions and boat speed, the race usually takes 1.5-2.5 days. Upon completion of the race, a lavish celebratory dinner awaits the participants. If at all possible, every effort should be made to participate in the Gotland Runt. It is certainly the most important race in Sweden, and it also gets a lot of attention from the rest of Europe.

Island dining is another fairly unique amenity that is available to yachtsmen sailing in Sweden. While restaurants on islands are certainly nothing new, these restaurants can be a little different. Sometimes looking more like a family dining room than a restaurant, these establishments can be on very small islands. The cozy atmosphere makes for a very pleasant dining experience.

Overall, cruising in Sweden should certainly be considered some of the best in the world. The geography is fantastic, the people are friendly, and almost everybody in Sweden (all 9 million people) get out on the water in the summer. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, you should definitely consider visiting.

Sailing In Sweden, Tied Up to an Island

 

 

 

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