The Picks of the Season 2021

This year, travelling abroad was made difficult, but at least it is still easy to get out and about in the nature in Finland. In the summer, it was warm enough even further north. At the time of writing, both air and surface water temperatures have dropped well below 10 degrees Celsius, and weather forecasters are starting to talk about snow. In turn, the crop is beginning to run out in the vegetable garden. We harvested the last carrots early this week, but there is still plenty of kale left.

Weather

The summer grew rapidly warmer, and in July it appears that a few records were broken. Perhaps the most pleasant weather was on the trip to the island of Sandön, where both wind and temperature were at ideal levels throughout the trip. Also, the morning after a night’s sleep in a tent, there was no sign of any unpleasant dampness.

A July night descends over the sea off Sandön in the Archipelago Sea

The Best Destination

Ärjänsaari with its magnificent sandy beaches and beautiful sandy slopes was the absolute highlight of the summer. If I had to choose two of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen in Finland, Ärjänsaari and Jurmo would be a definite choice. The only downside with both of them is, of course, that they are so far away from our home. However, there are many great islands in Saimaa, and this summer, in all modesty, I would choose Kätkytsaari, where we spent a nice afternoon in a gentle breeze of June.

Ärjänsaari

The Best Water

This summer we visited three different water areas: Suur-Saimaa, Oulujärvi and Saaristomeri. Saimaa is always close by with its fresh waters and sandy beaches, but the other two bodies of water offer a certain domestic exoticism. Based on this summer’s experience, I would choose Oulujärvi as the most amazing water experience, because the combination of stunning sandy beaches and large fresh waters is something you can’t really find anywhere else in Finland. Of course, in inland waters, large waters can also mean challenging wind conditions with capricious gusts and, on the other hand, calm periods.

Ärjänselkä in Oulujärvi

The Best Experience

The waters of Kainuu have perhaps received a little too much praise this year, but there are no other options here either. The most amazing experience was visiting and swimming at the popular Lentohiekka in Ärjänsaari. I have never seen or experienced anything like it on our sailing trips. The experience was of course enhanced by the very warm summer. Hard to say what the trip would have been like if the day’s high temperature had been something like 15°C.

Sarastus moored at Lentohiekka in Ärjänsaari

The Most Challenging Conditions

On the return trip on Oulujärvi, the conditions were pretty challenging, but actually even more challenging was the journey back from Ilkonsaaret, when my eldest daughter and I sailed with a reefed mainsail with a 12 m/s wind. The unexpected strong breeze and cold water on the first sailing trip of the spring to Satamosaari was also a bit too exciting experience.

Thunderstorm approached at the end of a trip to the Ilkonsaaret

The Best New Gear

I guess this season was an austerity season, so I didn’t buy anything for the boat. Dinghy sailing is a surprisingly inexpensive boating hobby.

However, gardening is a less expensive hobby than sailing

The Most Useful New Skill

In the gusty wind, I and my daughters, we sharpened our beating skills. When the helmsman knows how to take a bit of headwind in gusts, there’s no need to loosen the mainsheet and the crew doesn’t have to jump up and down.

Beating near Kyläniemi in August

Looking Forward

Sarastus has now sailed the waves of Finland for eight summers. Society has been waiting for a return to the old normal for almost two years now, but the goal lines seem to be moving further and further away. It remains to be seen what the world will be like after the winter. However, my intention is to continue the sailing adventures on Saimaa and beyond next summer, God willing.

In winter, Meadow is a nice board game to refresh nature experiences of summer

See also: The Picks of the Season 2020