Day 42-45 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Touring on the Sea

Ok, I won't count it as a proper leg of the tour as a matter of km, but since the bike was with me and after all I have been also in duty for steering the boat, I'd say that it should be counted at least as a part of the tour. A big sailing boat is not very fast, it is more or less comparable with the speed of a bicycle, actually a bit less. The scenery is however quite different and also the feeling when you stay on board.

So, what happened in the last days? The last Monday, after I got to the Port of Raisio, next to Turku, we started sailing immediately. The distance from Turku to Helsinki by sea is around 105 nautical miles (a bit less than 200 km), which means about 24 hours of sailing. The first evening we left around 8 for a short trip to Airisto in the Turku Archipelago, where we stayed overnight. Not too much wind, so we went with the motor. Moreover it was raining every now and then, so it would have meant to get quite wet if we wanted to stay on the deck too long.

The next morning we left towards Hanko. The weather was still cloudy but the rain had stopped. And a good wind. Which meant engine off and sails up. That was fun! The area of the archipelago of Turku is full of island and rocks, so you have to be really careful in checking the sea chart all the time and crosscheck it with the position given by the GPS plotter.

We approached Hanko in the early evening, so we also had time to stroll around the town. Very nice wooden building area in the city centre, although in Tuesday night there was not too much life around. Actually the whole town was completely empty except for the harbour area. As we are getting towards the middle of August, you can notice that the holiday period here in the north is almost over.

After a good night sleep we started the journey again. Sails up and there we go. The day didn't go that well for me, however. I just went in the lower deck to get some coffee, and standing for a few minutes in a small sailing boat without watching the horizon made me feel immediately seasick. Not a nice feeling. On top of it I felt really sorry as I wasn't really able to do anything on board. I tried to get some sleep as the only way to feel better was just to lie on the couch. Well, that's a plus for cycling: not too much rolling 🙂

The distance to Helsinki was still quite big, so we planned to have a stop in Porkkala, just in time to have a good swim (we didn't go to the harbour, just dropped the anchor and have a nice swim in front of a small island). The water, even in the sea, is still impressively warm. Finally, yesterday morning we did the last three hours to reach the guest harbour of Katajanokka. It's great to come by boat in Helsinki: the guest harbour is exactly in downtown, at the end of Aleksanterinkatu, there's no better place where to stay!

Today we left once again back to Turku, as the sailing trip will continues back to the starting point. However, I have taken part only to today's leg up to the small island of Barösund, from where I'll continue the journey tomorrow with my traditional means of transport. But these days have been unforgettable: it was like a short sailing course: at least now I know how to read sea charts and find the way through the archipelago. More or less, that is, fortunately I don't have a boat of my own 🙂

Day 42-45 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Raisio – Airisto – Hanko – Porkkala – Helsinki – Barösund (by sailing boat)

Trip distance: 142 nautical miles (263 km)