This is an idea which grew out of two cruises in Summer 2017, both with a couple of keen sauna fans (they were Finns, which comes to the same thing). One evening we were sitting in the cockpit after they’d shared a rather nice old sauna, and we were discussing how you’d decide which was the best sauna you’d ever been in. This then turned into the idea of setting out to visit as many saunas as possible in a 7-10 day cruise, and making brief notes on each.
In 2018 the same crew came on this cruise, with a brief to visit as many saunas as possible in 10 days.
There were some simple criteria for qualifying saunas, and a brief list of things which should be taken into account.
The sauna should be on an island, it should be wood-fired, not electric, and it should be reasonably private if possible.
- The general “feel” of the building. Is it well-maintained inside and out? Is there somewhere comfortable to sit inside and outside? Are there internal decorations that improve the experience (shelves of empty bottles seem popular).
- The environment. Does it have a good view of the sea? Is it overlooked by boats or houses?
- Swimming options. Is there easy access to the sea, with a good way of getting in and out of the water?
- The sauna itself. Last year someone described the sauna on Osterskar as “soft”, and I had to think about that, and then realised that one reason I rarely sauna is that electric ones can be quite harsh and aggressive. Soft seems much better.
- Cost. This can vary a lot, between €10 and €40, depending on where you are and how many will be using it.
There are probably more factors to consider, please email suggestions to add to both lists above.
The hope is that we’d write a brief report on each sauna, perhaps giving marks out of 10, with a photo or two, and an overall score that would let us publish a league table at the end for the benefit of other sailors. The end results would be included in the blog here.
This is a very provisional list, I haven’t visited all of them, and there must be others I should add:
Jurmo (the southern one)
If you can add to this list please email me, and if you think some of those don’t qualify please tel me too.