The Picks of the Season 2019

The past summer was our sixth Wayfarer sailing season. There were many great moments once again, and we gained some sailing experience too. In the following post I have analyzed the highlights of the season.

Weather

For weather the summer provided versatile experiences. There were cool and hot days. From the perspective of shallow draft sailor the surface water temperature is crucial because capsizing in cold water increases the risks. Usually each of our trips has both calm and fresh breeze. Overall, the best weather during this season was when we sailed to Lanskeri island because wind direction optimization was fairly successful, although it must be brought up that landing was the most difficult I have ever experienced.

The poorest conditions were when heading for Värrätsaari island, as we had to beat in cold fresh northerly breeze towards the destination. On the way back we were able to beam reach comfortably.

On Lanskeri island

The Best Destination

Choosing the best new destination isn’t easy as all of them were great by their own way, but one of them stood out slightly. I think Halsskär was the grandest destination this year. Seppo and I sailed there in August. The island has a shallow sandy bay bordered by rock capes which is an ideal mooring place for a dinghy with centerboard, as long as the bay is sheltered. If you love nature the island has a lot to offer because its vegetation and landscape is quite versatile.

Of the old destinations, Hietasaari was the most memorable one because it offered a very nice swimming conditions in July. The sandy beach and warm water are ideal combination for a family with small children. Also Suuri Lintusaari was a magnificent destination to visit again.

Halsskär island

The Best Water

This year I choose Suur-Saimaa as the best water because of its many sandy beaches that make landing easy. Also, its warm fresh water is comfortable for swimming, whether you are on beach or in middle of open water. Both the waves and the winds are easier than at sea, but gusts are relatively stronger. I would say that Suur-Saimaa area is the most children-friendy waters to sail in Finland.

Suuri Lintusaari in Suur-Saimaa

The Best Experience

Without doubt, the most impressive experience was returning from Peräsaari island with my oldest daughter in the strong breeze during a twilight. There was a true feel of adventure when the beautiful sunset turned into darkness. We noticed how reefing before heading off was a very wise decision. It would also have been a wise decision to have a second flashlight because the primary one died, but perhaps absence of it increased the adventure dimension of the trip…

Beam reaching reefed near Kenkäsaaren

The Most Challening Conditions

During the trip to The Archipelago Sea we were aware of the chance that wind conditions could turn tricky. That’s why we chose the launching site so that we could have tailwind when returning. That turned out to be a sound decision because the wind built up next day. Sailing was manageable as we were running and broad reaching all the time.

Strong westerly breeze near Hamnholms gloppet

The Best New Gear

I replaced the blocks of the sheet because the bearings of the old ones didn’t work well anymore. The old Harkens were replaced with new Seldens:

  • Selden BBB30 Single swivel block
  • Selden BBB30 Single becket swivel block

Also the Windex was replaced because the old one was damaged accidentially. I ordered Hawk Windex from the UK.

New Windex when sailing to Lanskeri island

The Most Useful New Skill

No special sailing skill was learned during the season. Naturally the existing skills were deepened as more experience was gained. I feel anchoring is already pretty straight-forward both at sandy and stony beaches.

However, on the boat building front, many new skills were gained when learning to use router, gluing with epoxy and casting lead. In November and December hardly any progress was made because of the “strengthened gravity effect” which is typical for that time of the year (some call it as mild seasonal depression). I believe things are getting better as we passed the winter solstice already. I would like to get the project ready finally.

Centerboard cavity of Scamp

Looking Forward

The next summer will be our seventh sailing season on Sarastus. We are excited to see what kind of weather will be provided for us, but I’m sure we will get most of it! The overall goal of the next season is to conquer new waters and to go on a longer trip to the sea.

See also: The Picks of the Season 2018
The Picks of the Season 2020