Cruise B – Early Season Archipelago Cruise

It’ll still be quite cool, but it’s nice to get into the islands before the summer crowds arrive.  No specific plans, but we may get to Noto, Brannskar, Vano, Jurmo and possibly Kokar.

The Turku archipelago is an amazing collections of islands (large and small), originally inhabited solely by fishermen and farmers, but now more dependent on the summer sailing visitors.  Somewhat reminiscent of the crofting life in the Outer Hebrides, but a rather more benign climate in summer (and fewer biting insects)

Warning – Out in the islands there is generally no mains drainage, all the toilets are simple earth toilets.  Showers are rare, but saunas often offer a shower as well.  Some islands will have basic shopping facilities, but we try and make sure we’re well-stocked before we start.

There’s no formal plan for this cruise, it’s intended to be a relaxed cruise with the route dictated by wind and weather, but we would hope to visit several of the following islands.  Here are some of the possible stopping points:

  • Helsingholm – http://www.vikingislands.com/helsingholmen.htm a well-sheltered harbour which can get really full in July
  • Noto – notable for Highland cattle and a lovely old wooden church. Shop, shower and a washing machine here.
  • Aspo – close to Noto, and with a small number of moorings
  • Brännskär – https://www.brannskar.fi/kopia-pa-kotisivu a busy little harbour with lots of events during the summer.
  • Vänö – http://www.vano.fi/welcome/ a lovely and friendly little island. We aim to be here for Vänö Tree-boat Day, a small celebration of the local wooden boats, with a picnic and an evening party.
  • Österskär – one of the more remote islands, with an active fishing community.
  • Borstö – a very friendly island with a well-sheltered harbour, but beware of snakes, the island has hundreds of adders.
  • Utö – http://www.uto.fi/2.0/main.php?lang=en formerly a military island, but now very welcoming of visitors, and with a fascinating tour of the lighthouse.
  • Jurmo – http://www.jurmoby.fi/?lang=en a well-sheltered harbour with a small shop, excellent sauna and some interesting walks. Jurmo used to be the home of wreckers, but it’s far more civilised now.
  • Berghamn – https://marinas.com/view/marina/13218_Berghamn_Yacht_Harbour_Berghamn_Finland
    a small but very sheltered harbour, with few facilities but very friendly islanders.
  • Rosala, quite a big marina with shop, showers. About a mile away is the Viking Centre (which we’ve never visited)

There are lots more, each with their own special features. The challenge in the archipelago is to tie up before the harbours get full, and to find somewhere to shop and shower every 2-3 days.  Saunas are quite easy to find.

This is intended to be a relaxed cruise with no time pressures.  The exact route will depend on wind and weather; we’ll be aiming to do no more than 20 miles of sailing a day, and often less.