· Suur-Saimaa · Sarastus · 28 M

My youngest daughter and I went for a day sailing trip on Lake Saimaa. We chose Taka-Ruuho as our destination, where we planned to have sauna.

We set off from Sarviniemi around ten o’clock. At Mäntyniemenselkä the wind was blowing at about ten knots giving us a good speed. However, we noticed that the first block of the mainsail sheet had lost its shackle and the sheet line was straining the hose fixed to the boom. We lowered the mainsail and made a temporary fix from a reefing rope. These allowed us teach Taka-Ruuho without further issues.

Temporary fix for missing shackles
Ship dog took it all in stride

On Taka-Ruuho island we started heating up the picnic and preparing the sauna. However, neither of us could get the wood to light without a dry lighter, so we decided to cancel our sauna shift. As we ate, we discovered that half of our picnic had been left at home. Well, at least we had some with us, and we made it through the rest of the day. During the meal, the boat’s stern line had come loose, which was mainly an embarrassment, but still one more hardship to add to the misfortune of the day.

A small floatplane flew low over the island. After a while it appeared in Taka-Ruuho bay and throttled onto the sand. We chatted a bit with the couple who owned the plane. They were from Mikkeli, from where the flight to Taka-Ruuho had taken 25 minutes. The furthest place they had visited was Lake Inari in the north. I have to say that they do have a rather interesting way of travelling.

Floatplane in Taka-Ruuho

We went for a swim in the 19 degree water, and then analyzed our sackle problem in more detail. On the floor we found another of the missing shackles. The other one was replaced with another less significant shackle temporarily. I’ll have to buy a new jackel for the boom and a few for the spare. It is probably better in future to go through all the shackles just before launching.

We weighed anchor after three and continued sailing east. We had decided to sail around the Kyläniemi. It started in a nice headwind on Myhkiönselkä.

Swimming in Taka-Ruuho bay
Tähti on Myhkiönselkä

We passed Rehusaari and then sailed through the Kutvelee canal to Huuhanselkä. There we headed south and beated between Peräsaari and Surmanluoto to Lamposaarenselkä.

Kutvele canal

Near Iso-Vitsa island it started to feel like the wind was dying down, but next to Suuren Jänkäsalo we got a good wind again, which carried us towards Sarviniemi at over five knots. It was a nice experience, during which we practised the secrets of sailing close-hauled.

Murky water
Shower of rain in the distance

We tack past Pirunroikka (lit. Devil’s Troika) to the slipway at Sarviniemi (lit. Cape Horn). I wonder who comes up with these Finnish place names?

Pirunroikka, "Devil's Troika"

Our original plan was to go to the Gulf of Finland, but the weather window, our tight schedule and the open sea section on Kirkonmaanselkä seemed too precarious an equation, so I had changed our destination to Saimaa the night before. In the evening, after sailing, I looked at the wind history data from the Haapasaari measuring station, and it showed that the prevailing wind had been 18 knots in the afternoon and 24 knots in gusts, which was bit more than the forecast had predicted. I wouldn’t have wanted to be sailing on the edge of the open sea in such conditions, so the decision to go to Saimaa was definitely the right one.

The day was full of hardships, but also of great experiences. But the most important thing was that the trip was safe. The trip to Taka-Ruuho and around Kyläniemi will remain part of our fond memories on board Sarastus.

Sarviniemi → Taka-Ruuho → Sarviniemi