DO YOU ONLY HAVE A WEEK TO SPARE?
For those of us who are time poor but who want to seize the moment, either on our own boat or on a charter, it is reassuring to know that there are plenty of cruising hubs from where we can enjoy some of the best of the region in only a few days. This series, A Week Afloat, commissioned by Yachting Monthly and Imray, visits some ideal destinations and suggests a one-week itinerary. Each article, complete with expanded information about cruising each area, will be available as a PDF download via Imray’s website or Google Play Books.
The Stockholm archipelago or Skärgård (pronounced shair-gord) is a fabulous cruising ground. It consists of no fewer than 30,000 islands scattered along nearly 100 miles of coastline, and all within a day’s sail of the mainland. The inner islands are heavily wooded and are dotted with many small gästhamnen, ‘guest harbours’, ideal for visitors, as well as numerous sheltered ‘nature harbours’ where you can swing to your anchor or moor to the rocks. The outer islands offer a bit more of a pilotage challenge but have their own wild beauty.
The great luxuries of the Baltic are the absence of any appreciable tide and long daylight hours in summer. Summer winds don’t normally exceed Force 5, and within the archipelago the water is flat and there is always somewhere to find a sheltered spot. The summer weather is surprisingly warm, with swimming and barbecues very much the order of the day. Everywhere you go you will find a sauna, some just a little hut on the edge of the water.
The area is well charted, and navigation is relatively straightforward, but you do need to keep a constant track of your position as you will often be sailing much closer to rocks than you are used to. You also need to keep a close eye open for the huge ferries, which can appear very unexpectedly around an island and always have right of way!
Several charter companies are dotted around the outskirts of Stockholm, but most are based in or near to Saltsjöbaden, about half an hour’s train ride from the city centre. Saltsjöbaden has long been an elegant spa and summer resort and the harbour is dominated by the palatial Grand Hotel.
DAY 1: SALTSJÖBADEN TO GRÖNSKÄRSFLADEN, JUNGFRUSKÄR
It is an easy day’s sail from the relative bustle of Saltsjöbaden to one of the beautiful ‘nature harbours’ in the heart of the Skärgård - first recommended to us by a local sailor and now a firm favourite.
Sail southeast down the Baggensfjärden, one of several ‘fjärdens’, or channels, which are often named after the adjoining islands. The channel will take you north of the islands of Älgö and Ägnö and into the Ingaröfjärden. The steep wooded shores are dotted with fine summerhouses, complete with private docks and saunas.
Continue across the main channel, the Nämdöfjärden, towards the conspicuous islet of Mörtöklubb, and then head towards the anchorage of Grönskärsfladen which is an almost landlocked lagoon between the islands of Grönskär and Jungfruskär. The narrow dog-legged entrance takes you very close to the rocks, but all will be well if you take it slowly and stick to the well-marked transits. There is good holding, or you can tie up to the rocks. There are no facilities except two self-composting toilets ashore, but the surroundings are stunning.
DAY 2: GRÖNSKÄRSFLADEN TO SANDHAMN (16 MILES)
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