Prior to Bentley (VP Marketing for Sabre) and Brenda Collins joining us in Stromstad, we had done some exploring of this area. Over dinner one night we met Amanda who told us of restaurant she worked called Strandskanten, a must see.
After a quick tour of Stromstad, we headed off to find Strandskanten on the island of Nordkaster, well worth the trip and Amanda served us lunch. We then continued on down to Smorgen for the night. These are some of the best cruising waters on the Baltic with many islands and interesting passages.
Our next stop was Marstrand, the Newport of Sweden. Here we found a dozen classic J Boats that had spend the day racing docked with us. On the docks, we all pitched in to help the magnificent 75′ sailboat Braveheart of Sark get tied up with strong winds. Dan and owner Tim Aitkins enjoyed some time together taking classics.
Next stop was Goteborg, Sweden’s second largest city. Dan and Marcia had visited here previously on the ferry from Denmark and had scoped out the marina. Bentley and Brenda left us here, while Dan and Marcia took a quick side trip to Madrid to deal with visa issues.
The boating season in this part of the world seems to stop about August 15th as the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. In order to transit the Gota Canal, we needed a reservation and would be traveling in convoy thru the 54 locks and numerous draw bridges. From Goteborg, it took two days to go up the Gota River, thru the Trollhatten locks and then across Lake Vanern. At Sjotorp we were met with our first keeper who would stay with us for the day as we transited 19 locks covering only 9 miles along with a wonderful German couple on their sailboat. Verna was on maternity leave, 12 months and Dirk also had 10 month of maternity leave….sure not like the US.
For the next four days, we were a convoy of one as we basically crossed Sweden from West to East. The last two days we were in the step locks, many of them hand operated by our keepers for the trip. Given the amount of coastline, the number of islands and the number of lakes, we concluded that it would be easy for each Swede to have a mile of waterfront property.
Our plan was to winter the boat at Navekvarn, about 100 miles south of Stockholm. On arrival, we changed our minds given the remote location and the limited facilities….bad research on Dan’s part. A little better research found us an alternative boatyard on the Soder Canal much closer to Stockholm and better equipped. Headed north we stopped at Nykoping and Trosa. Trosa is a gem of small city were we lingered for a day wandering along the canal.
After stopping to introduce ourselves to Wasa Yachts, True East’s winter home, we proceed up the Soder Canal into Lake Malaren then on to Stockholm were we locked out of the lake. Much to our surprise, the marina facilities for visitors was very limited…..not up to the guesthaven facilities we had come to expect. However, we were right in front of the Wasa Museum and walking distance to a number of other museum and a ferry and tram stops. The remains of Dorian, which we missed in Florida, caught up with us here. After a rough night on the outer dock, we were able to move inside on a finger about a third the length of the boat.
Stockholm is a big city separated by many waterways and covering a number of islands. Unlike Copenhagen and Oslo, this city takes more time to explore with it’s many districts. After four days, the weather was really turning to late fall so we decided to take the boat back to Wasa Yachts for the winter and head back to Barcelona.