Last week, we sailed from Kalmar, Sweden
, towards Karlskrona, taking advantage of a few hours of Easterly winds and trying to get to that lovely, interesting city to spend a couple of days waiting for a vicious weather
system to blow through. We left at 07:00 in order to capture the best of the Easterly blow. As usual the wind
was stronger than forecast
, and we soared down the Kalmarsund, the sound between Oland island and the Swedish mainland, making 9 - 9.5 knots, flying past two Beneteau
Firsts with Swedish racing
numbers, limited by their hull speed
We arrived a couple of hours early off Torhamns Udde and finally got through to the Karlskrona harbormaster, who told us that the harbor was completely full. That they would make space for us somewhere if we couldn't get further before the storm, but that it would be better if we would go elsewhere.
It was still early, and the wind
was good, and the sailing exhilarating, so although I had been looking forward to hanging out in Karlskrona, I really didn't mind the prospect of more sailing, so we set a course for Simrishamn, across the Hanobukten, the "Swedish Bay of Biscay", and continued pounding through the water
. We arrived before dark, having run 110 miles altogether, and surfed through the terrifyingly narrow entrance as the storm gathered strength.
The harbormaster of Simrishamn had told us that he was also full, but just raft up to the biggest boat on "E" pontoon.
When we attempted to do this, rather tired and with the wind rising and darkness falling, an angry Swedish person came out of his blue hulled Contest to wave us away. But why? The harbormaster told us to do exactly this. "The harbor office is closed and I can't check this." "What, you think we're lying about this? And anyway, what's the problem?". His ugly wife came out to add to the complaining, and at this point my cruising code kicked in (never allow anyone, anywhere, to spoil your mood when on the water), and so we left and tied up in the fishing
When the harbormaster came by the next day to find out why we hadn't done as he instructed, and found out the answer, he went over and spoiled the mood of the Contest sailor. Meanwhile we didn't really care; we had plenty of water
and don't really care all that much about shore power
and had had a lovely evening after we got tied up.
* * * *
A few days later, we found ourselves in beautiful Ystad, Sweden
, on the South Coast. The jolly Vikingesque harbormaster there found us a lovely spot alongside right under the harbor office, although Ystad was also completely full. The next day, a giant Grand Banks trawler
maneuvers to raft up to us. We are hanging on our lines with 25 knots of wind blowing us off the quay, but what the hell -- I have never once in my entire life refused to welcome a rafter-upper -- it's just wrong, and probably bad luck, too.
I am often rafted up to, because boats looking for a place to go usually look for the biggest and sturdiest looking vessel they can find. I usually leave out "welcome fenders" on the off side. Being rafted up to often results in pleasant acquaintanceships; I have actually made a few friends this way over the years. Sometimes of course it is unpleasant -- when it's a charter
boat with 12 non-sailors on board, for example, in port only for a pub crawl, and tramping in herds back and forth over your foredeck all night. Thank God for aft cabins. Occasionally a much bigger boat does seem just unsuitable in strong weather
, but in that case, I simply cast off and let the other boat go inside, and raft up myself. I would never, ever, ever, just send someone away, who needs to raft up.
The giant Grand Banks
couldn't get lines to shore because of the angles and other boats, and so it's mass and windage added a lot of force on my lines. So what? Would you deny a fellow sailor the use of your lines? Are they too weak? I doubled them up and everything was fine.
The owner turned out to be a really interesting person. He was sailing alone all the way from Latvia. It turns out -- he was with his wife, and she died suddenly during the cruise
. He was a former sailor and had made epic trips under sail to South Africa
and other places all over the North and South Atlantic. I had very interesting conversations with him.
So would you really want to deny a fellow sailor in need a raft-up? I always thought -- what goes around, comes around.