We left Switzerland on July 5 with all of the equipment and clothing we would need for the summer of 2015. 22 Ikea moving boxes of it.
Some of the “stuff” we’ve been buying for the boat for the past 4 years.
Loading the van
Launch day dawned relatively sunny and we arrived at the Discovery yard to find Freja ready to be lifted onto the trailer that was to take her to Saxon Wharf in Southampton. One person was waxing and buffing the parts of the hull that had been in contact with the supports and another was applying anti-fouling paint to the bottom of the keel.
Applying the finishing touches to the wax
The first thing we had to do was to place all of our boxes into a storage container at the yard. Since Discovery were going to have to check all the installations and do a couple of shake-down sails during the next 3-4 weeks, we couldn’t put all of our stuff in the boat yet.
Taking our boxes to the storage container
The sensation that we were actually owners of a sailboat had finally and really sunk in, as we admired her in the sunlight.
Beginning to lift the boat to transfer it to the trailer.
Freja being lowered into the cradle on the trailer
Freja was gently and meticulously placed into the cradle on the trailer and attached. We then followed the “convoi exceptionnel” (oversize load) from Marchwood, through Southampton, and then on to Saxon Wharf. At Saxon Wharf we saw the hull of an Oyster 115 being built — it made Freja look like a Soling in comparison.
Freja leaving home
Driving through Southampton
Arriving at Saxon Wharf in Southampton
Freja being transported by the 200 tonne travel lift.
Freja approaching her true element.
And she floats!
After being lowered into the water at Saxon Wharf, she was then tied up to the pontoon to be rigged. Two days later, Freja was driven to her temporary berth at Ocean Village Marina in Southampton.
Freja at her temporary berth, waiting to be rigged.
Winter to Spring, 2015
Spring 2015 arrived, and Freja was on the last straight away to being a finished boat. We visited the Discovery yard for four days in late March to finalise details such as the colours for the blinds, cushions., spray hood and other deck canvas. We also changed our minds concerning two items we had ordered as “pre-installs.” We had the opportunity to have a day sail on the western Solent on Discovery 55 Kiloran. And finally, we met the couple who ordered Discovery 55 nr. 49 (we have number 48) — and they live 10 km away from us !
Choosing cushion and canvas colours with John and Sarah from Discovery Owner Care Management.
We had originally ordered four items as pre-installs (wiring, etc installed, but not the item itself). These were : SSB radio, camera up the mast, water-maker, and air conditioning.
Deck installations are almost completed
The reasoning behind this was that we’d be spending the seasons 2016 through 2018 in northern Europe, and would not really need the above. We are still not sure if we will ever install an SSB (we have Iridium). The camera on the mast would come in handy if we sail to the Bahamas (easier to see the shoals from higher up).
Our oversized 55 kg Spade Anchor in place on the specially-built stemhead (for Spade)
We decided to go for the complete installation of the water-maker because we noticed that our friend and coach Leon was making water during our springtime sail to Norway on Regina Laska the previous year. It turns out that some marinas turn off the water and the electricity supply during the off-season in Scandinavia. In return, it is free of charge to use the marina during this period. Water would not always be available during the early spring and the autumn. Finally, it’s always cheaper and easier to install things during the build than afterwards.
Discovery suggested the Dessalator 24 v model, which they said got great reviews from recent Discovery owners. It sounded like a good idea to have the option of running the water maker from 24 v DC power if the generator stops working. We have a total of 5 ways to make electricity: solar, wind (Superwind), water (Watt&Sea), engine, and the Onan generator, so if the generator is dead, we could still make water. The other advantages of this french-manufactured water maker are that it’s very small and it’s easy to use and maintain.
John and Sarah going through the final build checklists with Kathy
We also opted to do the full installation of the air conditioner because it’s something that’s really expensive to install after the boat is finished. While we won’t be needing it very much for cooling down the boat in Scandinavia, the heat option on the air con will enable us to dry out the boat. It’s a dehumidifier — something that will come in handy during the sometimes cold and raw Scandinavian spring. Hey, it can snow on the last day of April in Sweden.
We know it’s really a luxury item, but it will definitely be appreciated when we finally find ourselves in the tropics. We chartered an un-airconditioned boat in the B.V.I.s and it was so hot and humid we could not sleep. At all. We can chose which areas of the boat to cool with our system, so we can run the unit in our cabin only. The idea is to run it perhaps an hour before bedtime and then turn it off for the night.
Our navigation table instruments have now been installed.
The Seajet Speed foul-release (non-biocide, silicon-based) paint has been applied.
Sailing on the Western Solent on Discovery 55 “Kiloran”
We were given the opportunity to sail the western Solent on Kiloran, a Scottish Discovery 55, that you can see on this video. It was not only an great day of sailing, it was interesting to see the differences between various Discovery 55s.
John Eustace taking us out of Lymington Harbour
Isle of Wight on the port side
Approaching The Needles on the western side of the Isle of Wight
Running with the current in the western Solent
Our lunch anchorage in Studland Bay
Old Harry Rocks in Studland Bay
Kiloran has, for example, maple and bird’s eye maple instead of the cherrywood on Freja. Cameron, Kiloran’s owner, decided that that they would not need a hot tub in the Caribbean, so you see that the cockpit does not have a hot tub area in the video. They opted for Lewmar winches and we liked the Andersen. Kiloran has bunk beds in the third cabin (as usual), whereas we asked for the creation of a workshop instead.
The navigation table on Kiloran is totally flat, whereas on Freja, there’s a section designed especially for us that houses some of our Furuno instruments. You see Furled electric furlers on Kiloran, on Freja, we opted for the Rechmann furlers. Kiloran’s owners chose Raymarine, and we chose Furuno. Our friends from Geneva chose B&G for Knotty Girl.
Each Discovery is different, so it’s fascinating to be able to look at several of them – and sometimes steal some good ideas!
Day 9: Kullavik to Ellös, Sweden
It was the first night of the cruise with no sailing, no wind, no thunder, and no swell. We all slept like logs.
I finally had access to Swedish breakfast food after yesterday’s supermarket run. As I giddily opened the jars of Swedish herring called Varbergs Drömsill and Fjällbaka Kräftgravadsill, the others just turned away, saying “ugh, how can you eat fish at breakfast?” I replied “you should try it. If you just knew how delicious it was!”
Joakim arrived after breakfast to join us for the morning’s test sail. He brought along his wife, Emma, and presented us with two of the anchorage/marina guides called Havneguiden (Norwegian for Harbour Guide). He and Emma wrote and photographed the Swedish guides called Hamnguiden number 8 and 9. We were thrilled and hugely grateful because they are superb guidebooks loaded with high-quality overhead photos and diagrams showing where underwater rocks and shallows are located. They also show the best anchoring places and the location of facilities such as recycling and trash containers, toilets, and access to fresh water.
We sadly left Kullavik marina (it’s a delightful place and we heartily recommend it) and set off for an island with a dock to let Jacques and Joakim off so that they could take photos of Freja.
Sailing out of Kullavik with Joakim at the helm.
One of the photos taken during the “photo session”.
After the photo session, we continued to sail up past the mouth of the Göta Älv, the river that flows out of Gothenburg, through a gorgeous archipelago landscape through to Marstrand.
Sailing past the island of Kalvsund, near Gothenburg.
Marstrand is known as the Cowes or Newport of Sweden. The Volvo Ocean Race had a leg end/beginning from here during the 2008-09 race and we saw the VO 70 Telefonica Blue go aground on an underwater rock just minutes after the start.
Sailing towards Marstrand
We sailed to Marstrand using the inner fairways instead of approaching from offshore. It’s so much more interesting to sail past one little seaside village after the other. Instead of just seeing water, sky and the coast and islands in the distance, you see children and dogs playing, people having coffee on their patios, kayakers paddling, and fisherman preparing nets or arranging their lobster pots. You can even smell the coffee and cinnamon buns as you pass yet another café in a narrow passage.
Kalvholmen – fishing huts painted in the typical Swedish red, called Faluröd, with white trim.
The easiest way to sail the inner passages in an archipelago is use the paper charts (in Sweden, the Båtsportkort) together with the plotter. The paper chart gives you a quick overview of the next few miles and you can keep the electronic chart zoomed in to your immediate position so you can see the underwater rocks or shallows coming up in the next mile.
I know there are sailors who say that paper charts are obsolete these days, but using both kinds of charts means you don’t have to zoom in and out all the time on your plotter. You could have two chart plotters of course, one with a raster chart zoomed out for the overview and one with vector chart zoomed in, like we saw on a Flemming motor yacht. But I’m still quite attached to my paper charts. Even if you don’t like to use them, they’re a back-up if you lose power to your electronics.
Entering the Albrechtssunds Canal on the way to Marstrand
We had actually never been to the island of Marstrand and I don’t have a good reason why. Perhaps it’s because when you visit from land, you have to leave your car/motorcycle/the bus on the Koön (Cow Island) side of the harbour and take the ferry over. We had imagined it being a long ferry ride (it isn’t). Anyway, it’s a shame that we’d skipped it, because it’s an awesome place with a real summer/yachting vibe.
Freja moored in Marstrand
We moored just in front of the Marstrands Wärdshus, and Mark snagged the last table on the sunny deck. We ate a delicious west-coast seafood lunch and had a fantastic view of all the boat traffic through the harbour. Joakim showed me “inner way” to get to Ellös on the charts which I’d brought with me to the restaurant.
Sailing through the Jungfruhålet passage
We wanted to get to Ellös by 17.00 so we said good-bye to Joakim and cast off our lines for the last part of our journey. We passed through some very narrow fairways that seemed only just wide enough for two boats to pass each other – something that one doesn’t see very often in the world. One passage, called Jungfruhålet, has a part that seemed only wide enough for us, with our almost 5 meters of beam, to pass through. I was grateful we didn’t have a boat coming through from the other direction!
We continued north past the the towns of Skärhamn and Mollösund, old fishing villages that have become mostly summer house towns for people in Gothenburg.
Another view of Mollösund. The windmill is still standing.
Sailing through Kyrkesund
We arrived at the Hallberg-Rassy harbour at about 17.00 and had just enough time to “check-in” with the boatshow organisers, and get our berth, name tags and other papers for the show. Tomorrow was going to be a long day as we had to thoroughly clean the boat, inside and out, to be presentable for the 3-day show. After our more than 1,000 mile trip from Southampton, we though we deserved a glass of Champagne. Skål for Freja and her crew for making it to Ellös in time!
The End of Our Cruise – Moored in Ellös