Hyvässä slöörissä · sailing dinghy cruising

The Picks of the Season 2015

Writing this post the temperatures at the lake start to be at same level as the Barents Sea temperatures in summer, that makes it wiser for us to stay ashore. Washed and cleaned Sarastus is waiting for the next spring. We have explored several new waters during the summer and gained new experiences. Now it’s time to look back, to have an overview of the sailing season.

Weather

Lintusalo in July

Both June and July were a big disappointment in all the Nordic Countries. There were some fine days, that were lived at the fullest. Likely the most memorable of them was the trip to Laajahiekka, which was started late on Friday evening and ended on Saturday. During the trip we were able to enjoy of both the warm wind and the beautiful sunset.

Many Finns felt, that this year the true summer started in August. There were several good sailing days, although we as a family had other commitments limiting the boating.

The Best Destination

Peräsaari in June

There are plenty of wonderful destinations in Lake Saimaa, but during this summer we found Peräsaari island as the most fascinating one. At the southern Lake Saimaa Satamosaari with the saunas and lagoons is a nice place to stay.

The biggest disappointment was Kaito, whose non-existent hiking paths, missing toilet and small flies staining the sails made the visit that less perfect.

The Best Waters

Rudder in the clear waters of Puruvesi

We got familiar with both Haukivesi and Puruvesi waters this summer. The both areas have their special appeals, but the clear water of Puruvesi offered many great experiences during the trip to Petri Island. Also, because of the wonderful scenery the waters of Lough Derg were impressive, but still it can’t beat the beauty of Lake Saimaa with all its islands and sandy beaches.

None of the waters visited was a negative experience for us.

The Best Experience

Night sailing on Puruvedellä

During the Puruvesi trip sailing under the starry sky was a very impressive experience for the whole family, even if the wind died eventually. Admiring the Milky Way and listening to the sounds of the night while sipping hot chocolate was a quite an experience!

The least delightful experience in the summer was the return from Peräsaari when the wind died and it rained lightly. Despite of that we managed to keep up the good mood.

The Most Challenging Conditions

At Kesäranta after a tough passage

The return trip from Satamosaari to the continent is the most challenging in our whole dinghy sailing history on the lake. During that trip the strong breeze and big waves increased the difficulty of sailing. Reefing the mainsail made things significantly easier. When I visited in Lough Derg, the conditions at the end of the week were even worse, as the wind speed was F6 and even more, in front of an approaching rain. Still, it’s not counted here, because it wasn’t a family sailing trip.

The Best New Gear

Buoyant head patch at top of the sail

In sailing many kinds of pieces of equipment are handy, and some of them even improve safety. During this season the best new thing was the new mainsail with reefing lines. Replacing the metal halyard with a dyneema one was required by that change. On top of the sail there is a buoyancy bag, which makes capsizing safer.

Also the new waterproof flashlight made sailing in the dark easier and was a good solution to meet the requirements of the Finnish legislation concerning dinghy navigational lights. A waterproof smart phone with a rugged case and external battery made electronic navigation more reliable. The Wayfarer Book, which I bought in Ireland, has been the most useful out of the recently bought books.

As we didn’t have a chance to visit at the sea, the radar reflector and handheld VHF radio phone weren’t that useful. Still, considering the future plans they aren’t needless.

The Most Useful New Skill

Reefing the mainsail is probably the most useful skill, which I learning in practice this summer. Also, in Ireland I gained experience in many other things, like lengthwise weight distribution optimization, beating in gusts, sailing in heavy weather, usage of different kind of bailers, greasing trailer wheel bearings, etc. Still, reefing is one of the most crucial skills in bad conditions.

View from Haukvuori hiking trip

The summer is irreversibly over and the winter is at the doors soon. During the long winter you have plenty of time to learn new theoretic sailing skills, gather ideas for the next season and concentrate on other hobbies. At the dark nights of the north you can even try see auroras, that was perfectly possible at our latitudes some days ago.

Auroras over the southeastern Finland