Sailing Adventures - Sailing Sweden
Could Sweden be the Ultimate Cruising Destination in
Although to some, Sweden may seem to be both
remote, and random when it comes to thinking about cruising
destinations, nothing could be farther from the truth. Sweden
has the 2nd highest sailing population per capita in the world
(after New Zealand), and if you go sailing in Sweden, you'll
Sweden is blessed with a plethora of small islands carved
out by a glacial past. While islands abound all along both
the east and west coasts of Sweden, the archipelago around
Stockholm is perhaps the most highly regarded cruising ground.
It boasts thousands of small islands that are either uninhabited,
or contain just a few small summer cottages. The Stockholm
archipelago creates a small microcosm of sailing activity,
picnics, and swimming during the summer months.
Most of the Swedish shoreline is rocky, with very few sandy
beaches. In this regard, it is quite similar to the Maine
coast. The water is typically quite deep, even right up to
the rocky shore. This unique shoreline allows sailboats (even
with fairly deep keels) to nose right up to islands, and literally
step off onto land. By throwing out a stern anchor on the
way in, boats can actually tie up to land in this manner.
Indeed, this is the dominant method of visiting an island
in Sweden. Although it takes some courage to attempt it, when
in Sweden, you must do as Swedes do!
When one first crosses from the North Atlantic into the Baltic
Sea that surrounds Sweden, a distinct difference will be noticed
in the composition of the sea water. In fact, the Baltic Sea
is not very salty at all, which means that a shower is hardly
necessary after taking a dip in the water. It also means that
the wind will have a tendency to whip up "square"
waves that are shorter wavelength and "choppier"
than traditional salt water waves. If you decide to do some
sailing offshore, and you encounter some rough weather, this
can make the ride significantly more uncomfortable. However,
protection in the lee of an island is never too far away.
The most important sailboat race in Sweden is the annually
held Gotland Runt, which means "Round Gotland".
Gotland is a larger island off the east coast. The race begins
at the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) in Sandhamn which is
in the Stockholm archipelago, and North of Gotland. The course
can vary, but typically runs from Sandhamn around the southern
tip of Gotland in a clockwise fashion, and then back to the
Sandhamn. Depending on wind conditions and boat speed, the
race usually takes 1.5-2.5 days. Upon completion of the race,
a lavish celebratory dinner awaits the participants. If at
all possible, every effort should be made to participate in
the Gotland Runt. It is certainly the most important race
in Sweden, and it also gets a lot of attention from the rest
Island dining is another fairly unique amenity that is available
to yachtsmen sailing in Sweden. While restaurants on islands
are certainly nothing new, these restaurants can be a little
different. Sometimes looking more like a family dining room
than a restaurant, these establishments can be on very small
islands. The cozy atmosphere makes for a very pleasant dining
Overall, cruising in Sweden should certainly be considered
some of the best in the world. The geography is fantastic,
the people are friendly, and almost everybody in Sweden (all
9 million people) get out on the water in the summer. If you
find yourself in the neighborhood, you should definitely consider