Helsinki to Haapassare

Al Shaheen
John & Jenny Franklin
Sat 5 Jul 2014 05:17
N60:16.97 E027:12.08
We embarked Jenny's grandchildren late on Wednesday night; Alex from Vancouver and Jamie from Johannesburg, so didn't get to bed until 0200 and that precluded an early start to sail for Haapassari. This was to be our first experience of sailing though the myriad of Islands along Finland's south coast and the charts looked quite frightening.

We left at 1000 and elected to take the "deep water" 9.6m route to start with until we got used to things. Wind was SW 15-20 knots so we sailed with only the genoa and later, the jib and made about 6 knots.

The "route" was very well marked, mainly with cardinal marks, but it twisted and turned so required constant attention to pilotage and we developed a system of checking off every buoy as we passed it. After nearly 50 miles we were mentally exhausted.

Three other OCC boats had found a delightfully sheltered anchorage at the east end of Haston Island - Lille Andholmen so we joined them for a quiet night in beautiful surroundings.

Next morning we elected to sail south of the main channels in relatively clear and deep water, just dodging the occasional shoal which made for much more relaxed sailing. This time we had the main up and when the track turned into a dead run we set the jib on a pole. This track just skirted the Finnish/Russian border but we saw no evidence of border patrols.

On reaching Haapasarri we anchored in the main anchorage with 5 other OCC boats.