During the summer season 2016 three TSC boats were in the Baltic. Two (Hoppetosse and Airborne) had made their way during the 2015 season and over-wintered there and the third (Charmary) made their way there during the season starting from Amsterdam. The aim was for all three boats to take part in a TSC Rally heading up the east coast of Sweden. As Robert Burns would have put it “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft a-gley” – a loose translation of which tells you we didn’t quite achieve that!
Neverthless, the Commodore’s boat Hoppetosse and Charmary spent over a week taking part in a Cruising Association rally from Ystad in Southern Sweden around to Kalmar on the east coast. The crew of Charmary for the rally also included club members Roger and Sue Palmer. Around 15 boats took part in the rally, so you could say that TSC, as a club, made up the largest single group on the CA rally. From Ystad, the rally visited Simrishamn and then Karlskrona – the Swedish Naval base. Karlskrona was originally founded in 1680. King Karl XI ordered a survey of southern Sweden to find a new naval base. Up until that point the navy had been based around Stockholm, but they discovered that while they were still iced up in Stockholm in the Spring, the Danish could create havoc as they were less prone to being frozen over the winter. So, Karlskrona was chosen as the spot for a new naval base as it was further south and less prone to icing up. It was even named in honour of King Karl – the name literally means Karl’s crown. The town is now the only naval base in Sweden and much of it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
From Karlskrona we headed to one of the most unique places we have ever visited. Utklippan is basically two rocky islands around 15 miles offshore. The harbour was blasted out of the rock in the 1930s and 40s to provide an emergency harbour for the local fishermen. It is a place to avoid if you don’t like rocks. In fact, even if you do like rocks, it has the sort of entrance where it is handy to have a change of trousers close by. Once in, it is an incredibly sheltered harbour, but the state of inebriation of many on the rally that evening may have reflected the relief at all getting in safely. This is more than a German visitor managed. He strayed a tiny bit to starboard of the entry line and was brought up sharply as he hit a rock and stopped dead ….
At Utklippan, the Commodore sadly had a change of plan for personal reasons and had to head back to Fehmarn, so Charmary carried on to Kalmar and joined Airborne (Pat and Stephen Crook) for the second part of the TSC Rally. We carried on north in company from Kalmar up to Nykoping (just south of Stockholm) over the course of 10 days. We were relieved to be able to follow Airborne through much of the archipelago as they knew their way. We found a good strategy in these rocky areas is to closely follow a boat with a similar draft. If you hear a load bang and they stop suddenly, then you know to go rapidly into astern!
However, neither of us hit anything and Airborne took us to some beautiful and secluded anchorages. The first – Alo – had a very narrow entrance between the rocks, but once in, opened up into a beautiful bay. The plan was, given it is an anchorage, to anchor – an ambition which was slightly frustrated by the fact that the anchor pin had bent, holding the anchor firmly onto the bow roller. Presumably we nudged a quay somewhere without realising and bent the anchor pin. Twenty minutes of persuasion (of the brute force and ignorance variety) finally got the pin out thanks to the crew’s tenacity, while the rest of us were just relieved not to get dizzy any longer from going round and round in circles while we waited.
From Alo, we went on to Boko, Harstena and Arkosund, making our way gradually to Nykoping where Airborne picked up some new crew. Nykoping is a great place to change crew as it is where Ryanair think Stockholm is, even though it is some 30 miles south of Stockholm. Sadly, on Charmary, we had to head a few miles south to Oxelosund where we were planning to winter the boat, but we will be back next season and will hopefully meet up as a club again to cruise the Baltic.