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Old 30-05-2015, 06:48   #1
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Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

The current pilot book says that there is no berthing for yachts except out in the Olympic harbor of Pirita, built for the 1980 Olympics, very Soviet, and far out of town (and costing 45 euros a night).

But this is false. There is a new City Marina in the Old Harbor, and it is lovely. Most expensive place we've been in the whole Baltic (65 euros!), but unlike Sandhamn (outside of Stockholm, and only slightly cheaper) this is really worth it. First of all, a first class facility, second -- right in the middle of the lovely Tallinn old town.

People should know -- because it's not in the pilot book.
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Old 01-06-2015, 16:13   #2
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

Tallinn is a premier destination in the Baltic, which is really saying something in this sea jam-packed with fascinating places.

Tallinn is an ancient walled city, built originally by the Teutonic Knights and part of the Hanseatic League. It's amazingly intact, and is somewhat reminiscent of Prague, except it's smaller and much more concentrated. It's been fixed up amazingly since I first came here in 1991, but has not quite been turned into disneyland yet.

Tallinn is an interesting mix of Russian and Baltic cultures, with a lot of Russian influence still, despite the almost 25 years which have gone by since the fall of the Soviet Union. Young people tend to speak English, but you are still better off with Russian, which even the young people apparently still learn (to my surprise). Anyone over about 40 is unlikely to speak English.

One mark of Russian culture in Tallinn is the prevalence of theater as the main form of entertainment -- I must have walked by a couple dozen dramatic theaters, in this town of less than half a million people. I actually tried to go to one of the Russian language theaters, but missed the end of the season by one day, and three weeks too early for a big Estonian-Russian theater festival with the Moscow Art Theater in residence -- damn.

Tallinn has successfully positioned itself as a tourist destination with hordes of tourists roaming around, and with all of the restaurants and bars and other infrastructure needed to serve that clientele, very cheap and very good indeed. It's an absolutely fantastic place to spend a few days wandering around, walking through the museums, eating, and drinking.

The new Old City Marina is perfectly located, just 15 minutes walk or so from the old main square. An excellent modern facility with every service and convenience -- at a price, but worth it. Berthing to booms or thin fingers, rather than buoys -- much easier than the traditional Baltic mooring. From the point of view of physical infrastructure, easily the best marina I have seen in the Baltic, even better than the excellent marina at Karlskrona.

One reason why hordes of Finns come over every day on the multiple ferries from Helsinki is that food and alcohol is roughly half the price compared to Finnish prices. So for the cruiser, this is an ideal provisioning stop, especially for booze. Which is more expensive than duty-free Helgoland, but cheaper than any place inside the Baltic, even cheaper than Russia. On top of the prices, Estonian supermarkets are absolutely superb -- state of the art, large, with everything -- such as don't exist yet in Finland or Sweden, ironically (same is true of Russian supermarkets, by the way). There is a big one about 5 minutes walk from the marina. For booze, you have your choice of alco-marts which cater specifically to Finns coming over on the ferries. I paid 18 euros for a liter of Beefeater's, compared to 9.50 in Helgoland, but about 40 in Finland. I did not buy fuel, but apparently that is a good bit cheaper than Finland or Sweden as well.


So in short, a must stop in the Eastern Baltic -- great place for R&R, great place for provisioning.
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Old 02-06-2015, 00:05   #3
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

Thank you Dockhead. We plan to sail to Tallin in July and will certainly give this marina a try
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:38   #4
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

Is it raining there today You guys have really got me excited about cruising the Baltic and I've bought many pilot books already. I've also been watching youtube videos and looking at pictures on Google Earth. They all show people in rain jackets and cloudy skies. Is it ever sunny there?

I'm half joking but the other half wonders about spending three summers in rain compared to the Med, where it never rains.
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Old 03-06-2015, 13:31   #5
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

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Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
Is it raining there today You guys have really got me excited about cruising the Baltic and I've bought many pilot books already. I've also been watching youtube videos and looking at pictures on Google Earth. They all show people in rain jackets and cloudy skies. Is it ever sunny there?

I'm half joking but the other half wonders about spending three summers in rain compared to the Med, where it never rains.
It's not all that rainy here. We've had only a couple days of rain in the month we've been in the Baltic, and lots of clear, sunny days.

At this latitude, there's more sun than in the Med, at least more light. The sun never sets -- there is no real night anymore until late July. This is one of the best things about this region, and makes for magical evenings with endlessly protracted dusk blending seamlessly into dawn, perfect for lying at anchor or wandering about a new city all night.

Last year we had a terrible June -- rained every day and no sun, and even snow (!). Not a single sunny day. That was in Finland above 60N; different parts of the Baltic have very different climates (Kiel is only 53N). But then in July, not a single cloudy day and above 30 degrees most days. That was an orgy of sunlight since the sun never really sets -- two or three months worth of Mediterranean sun.

This year it seems to be more normal with S and W winds, and sunshine most days. Cold, however, compared to the Med -- you can't get around the latitude. We have not had any weather above 20 yet; right now its 10. You definitely want good central heating on your boat for a Baltic cruise, and good clothes.
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Old 04-06-2015, 01:48   #6
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

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Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
Is it raining there today You guys have really got me excited about cruising the Baltic and I've bought many pilot books already. I've also been watching youtube videos and looking at pictures on Google Earth. They all show people in rain jackets and cloudy skies. Is it ever sunny there?

I'm half joking but the other half wonders about spending three summers in rain compared to the Med, where it never rains.
The sun is shining in Copenhagen today and the weather reprots for the coming week are looking up (read: sunshine and above 20 C) So summer will come - eventually.

But Dockhead is right - even at Copenhagen Lats, we're going inot hwat is known as "the light nights". It never really gets dark, just a bit dusky. A couple of weeks ago we sailed to Jutland and the sunset/sunrise was a mix - the sky got billiant scarlet as it set, remained scarlet and then started getting lighter as the sun rose.

Quite an experience. We also had the northern lights a few weeks ago - which if you've never seen them are quite an experience

But yes - sailing here does require some warm clothing and central heating is definitely a plus.

On the other hand - there's no place like it anywhere in the world
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:42   #7
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

Actually, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Helsinki are among the 10 driest cities in Europe. When I say it doesn't rain all that much here, it really doesn't.

10 driest cities
Avg annual precipitation in inches

1. Athens, Greece 14.8
2. Madrid, Spain 18.0
3. Prague, Czech Republic 18.8
4. Stockholm, Sweden 21.7
5. Berlin, Germany 23.1
6. London, England 23.3
7. Paris, France 23.8
8. Helsinki, Finland 24.9
9. Vienna, Austria 25.3
10. Copenhagen, Denmark 25.4

Interesting European Weather Facts and Extremes

And Baltic cities also rate highly in terms of average annual sunshine:

Avg number of hours of actual sunlight per day

Annual Dec Jun
1. Lisbon, Portugal 8.3 5 15
2. Madrid, Spain 7.8 5 11
3. Athens, Greece 7.6 4 9
4. Rome, Italy 6.6 4 9
5. Stockholm, Sweden 5.4 1 11
6. Prague, Czech Republic 5.2 1 9
7. Vienna, Austria 5.1 1 8
8. Helsinki, Finland 5.0 1 10
9. Paris, France 4.9 2 8
10. Berlin, Germany 4.8 2 8


Thread drift, but a lot of our stereotypes about European weather are false. London, and even more the South Coast of the UK, are not rainy and foggy as we think of them. There is very little fog and quite little precipitation compared to most other European cities. There is a hell of a lot of wind, and frequent storms (often a few F8's every month, and usually a F12 at least once or twice a year), creating challenging conditions for sailing, but otherwise the English Channel is a fabulous place to sail -- year round. That's why I migrate back there in the winter every year so I can keep sailing through the winter, while the Baltic is frozen over. Palm trees grow in Southampton, and lemons on the Scilly Islands.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:22   #8
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

see all experienced sailors here (many stars) so must be something i dont know.

From google pics i can see lots of churches,ussr leftovers, permanent night or day.

if one is not into that, what is attraction there ?
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:42   #9
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Re: Tallinn, Estonia Cruise Report & Marina Recommendation

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see all experienced sailors here (many stars) so must be something i dont know.

From google pics i can see lots of churches,ussr leftovers, permanent night or day.

if one is not into that, what is attraction there ?
There are other threads on this -- have a look in the archives.

But in a very compact nutshell:

1. Millions (!) of islands, unlimited places to anchor.
2. Incredibly beautiful, incredibly wild nature.
3. "Everyman's Law" -- everyone has the right to wander around on private property (like private islands) as long as you don't disturb the owners.
4. 10 different countries -- so huge variety of cultures and history to see.
5. Excellent infrastructure -- thousands of friendly "guest harbors", many costing only 10 euros or 15 euros a night.
6. Zero crime.
7. Midnight sun.
8. Friendly people.
9. Beautiful girls.

What more attraction do you need? I don't know any place to sail which is quite as nice as the Baltic.

On the minus side:

1. Cold
2. Short season
3. Expensive food, fuel, and booze
4. Baltic mooring (bows to the quay or pontoon -- bleh)
5. Rocky, hazardous, difficult pilotage and lack of accurate charts in areas too shallow for ships
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