The first days





To crack the nut right away. The moral of this edition of Coconut News is that talking about the trip is one thing, actually doing it is another. The reality of our new lifestyle is gradually sinking in as the family battles it's way down the Swedish coast. Looking like a caravan - sporting extra fuel tanks (bright red), oversized wind generator (that humms) and wind vane (hidden behind the rest).
So yes we did finally leave Son, a small fishing village turned holiday resort on the Oslo Fjord, Thursday the 7. July. A couple of days later than planned. Everything looked good. Hot beautiful weather, calm seas. Sun tanning on deck. In spite of hectic frantic work the last two weeks a lot was left to do on the boat. But what the heck. We where only going down the coast to Strømstad in Sweden. A 37 nm journey. And you have to leave some day, right? Departure was set at 0800.
Our dear friend Ross Lewis, from the old days in Antigua, arrived early in the morning with his boat. He had left 2 o'clock in the morning to come and say goodbye to us. What a nice thing to do! Casting off we also got a pleasant surprise when Claus and Hanne Landmark (Sjøboden Son - chandlery) waved flags at us from their balcony. A great send off! My dad joined us for the journey which was supposed to be a slow pleasant sail. Good to have an extra hand and some company. Ross followed us in his motor boat, joined us for lunch and gave the kids a kick by offering them a high speed boating experience.
After motoring happily down the coast for about 5 hours in very light winds our engine decided to stop. We just spend a fortune on it making sure it would not do that! I could not for all my effort make it start again. No fuel was making it's way to the injectors. The Diesel pump was shot. So as the wind died out completely we had a problem. My dad needed to get ashore where my Mum was waiting. So I jumped into the dinghy and set off into the distance to make contact with a friendly sailing boat that could offer us a tow. It does not happen often in this parts of the world that a squall comes along with a lot of wind. But by the time we had secured our tow we where hit however by a 40 knot squall. We saw it coming and got the lines off in a hurry. The boat handled it all fine. She was not too bothered by the wind and hardly any water came over deck. Down below however things where flying about a bit. We ended up safely moored in Strømstad, waiting for an electrician and a mechanic to come and fix our problems. In the middle of July, this is rather hard. Norwegians of different skill levels boat down here to drink, be merry and bring all the booze their boat can handle back to the homeport.  We where rescued however by a very helpful Electrician that came down from Soon, and an equally fantastic mechanic who jumped in his car and drove to Sweden to help us out. By pure luck the local Volvo Penta dealer had the right Diesel pump. So after a few days work, and some late nights we had rewired the engine and put a new Diesel pump in. We where mobile again!  I have to admit we did hit a low when the extent of the repair became clear for us. A lot of work, a lot of money and a lot of waiting! But it's all part of cruising life I gather. We used to wait around for all sorts of things on the charter boats in the old days too. I guess it is also a result of trying to do too many things at the same time. Something I have done a bit too much in my life. Working and studying at the same time, being a consultant and working full time in the army..... All the books say you need at least a season with your boat before setting off on a journey, and a year to get it all right. Believe me, they are right!
We all quite enjoyed Strømstad though, apart from the obvious stresses. Strømstad is a quaint little town with a little for everyone. The swimming pool is great for the kids and the chandlery is well stocked. We also meet up with SY Nordavind. A cat on her way to join the ARC fleet with two kids onboard. We had a great time together. Our kids enjoying the company of other children and the vast stock of computers with games onboard Nordavind. They left a day before us and we will meet up a bit further down the coast.
Finally leaving Strømstad we happily set our bearings due south and headed for Smøgen. A quaint fishing village in the south West Sweden. Good sailing and happy motoring among the many islands and rocks that makes this part of the world so beautiful. In Smøgen we met up with Camilla's best friend Maria and her brother Magnus. They enjoyed a week in a cottage here with their grandparents. They all came onboard for tea and a look around.
Our engine is still not our favourite. We do sigh with relief every time it stars. It runs well, but we got a scare sailing south from Smøgen. After heeling over at a fine angle it was time to start the engine, as we needed to motor through a narrow part between islands and rocks. It was blowing 20 to 25 knots But the engine did not start. No fuel made it's way to the cylinders. It turned out that the tanks where getting empty so the engine drew air when heeled. I guess I only have myself to blame for this one! So while Lesley sailed the boat back again towards where we came from, I got my tools out too bleed the engine. It was a great feeling when it did start and we could motor towards the shelter of Fiskebeck kil.
We have never been here before but it is a beautiful place and very well organised. A dinghy with the port captain met us at the marina entrance and escorted us to our berth. As the weather forecast for today is not good (25 knots from the south and rain) but great for tomorrow (15 knots from the North east) we will stay put. The kids are eager to experience school onboard. Believe it or not but something they really have been looking forward to. So at one a clock we where having our first lessons onboard. Of cause be Navigation was the theme. A lot of maths, geography and reading in one go. The kids got to set the course for Læsø in Denmark.
So what are the plans now for the SY Coconut?  Hopefully we will leave Sweden tomorrow and head for Denmark. Not a large jump being only 70 nm (app 12 hours), but the chances of meeting your neighbour does diminish (hey, aren't you guys off on a circumnavigation? When do you leave? You have left...) Læsø, the island between DK mainland and Sweden is tempting. Horseback riding, sandy beaches and someone we now in the harbour that offers to be guides. We will see.....
Stay tuned,


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This site was last updated 09/02/07