Ilkonsaaret and Peräsaari

· Suur-Saimaa · Sarastus · 34 M

Our objective was to sail to Peräsaari where we hadn’t been for a while. The weather service predicted wind of 1-9 knots which would strengthen to 9-17 knots by the evening. So, the conditions looked quite promising.

Tranquil outset

The crew consisted of my oldest daughter and me this time while the rest of the family was resting for flu. The first nautical mile was about using the always reliable rye-bread-powered auxiliary propulsion but soon the wind made us to move at five knots. It seemed the winds wouldn’t be an issue.

As we headed for Ilonsaaret in Kotiselkä (open water area) the wind died almost entirely and our speed dropped to 1-1.5 knots. That meant we could concentrate on enjoying of beautiful views and the warm weather. We decided to stop at Ilkonsaaret islands to have a lunch break there. Close to the islands light air turned into light breeze making us to move at four knots.

Power-driven vessels passed by

We had lunch, discussed about Wayfarers with couple of sailors and then had a look on peculiar stone cape which was above water level this time.

Picnic time on Ilkonsaari
Peculiar stone cape of Ilkonsaaret interests many

Soon we continued our journey to Peräsaari by passing Pieni-Vitsai island on its west side where we evaded rocks and fishing nets. Close to the shore something splashed couple of times. Was it a fish or a seal?

Barely avoided this net
Surmaluodot looked gorgeous

We passed Rokkaluodot (also known as Surmaluodot) and arrived at the northern bay of Peräsaari where we anchored. There was a big motor boat moored on the shore rocks but its crew was totally invisible. Perhaps they were having a nap in the boat.

At Peräsaari

I took a dip in 17°C water, and after that it was a dinner time. Suddenly wind built up significantly making plenty of white horses to start forming around the island. The Finnish Meteorological Institute measured wind of 14 knots on Hiekkapakka island. We concluded it was better to leave as long as there was light. We reefed the main, weighed the anchor and set off.

True sailors could be seen after wind built up

On the open waters around Mäntysaari island the conditions were pretty fresh. I estimated wind speed there was around 19 knots (the gusts excluded). The waves splattered water over us. I opened the starboard side self-bailer which sucked water from the bilge efficiently and loudly.

We had to tack around Karvasalo but after that we managed with only one board. Eventually the sun sank but the wind didn’t get any lighter. After passing Kenkäsaari island we were able to turn close reaching into beam reaching that made sailing more relaxed. At last there was time to shoot couple of pictures and send a message to home. Twilight getting darker and darker made us bit disconcert but fortunately our speed, which peaked at 6.5 knots, made the launching site to get close fast. Nevertheless, it was great to sail when the sky was colored beautifully behind and before us the waves reflected moonlight.

At five knots by Kenkäsaari island
It got darker and darker

We encountered two motor boats. I tried to use our electric torch as a navigation light (COLREGs rule 25 d i) but it simply refused to work. Well, the light of mobile phone worked. I have to say I felt quite embarrassed to show it to the other boats but there weren’t any other options left.

Close to the slipway we had to weave between tiny islands while our speed was five knots. We avoided the shallows relying completely on an electronic chart. If it had failed we would be in a serious trouble.

We arrived at the launching site at eleven o’clock and prepared the boat for towing. Then it was time to drive back to home and to get to bed. The day was pretty adventurous and we saw variable conditions. Despite of all it was a positive and memorable experience.