Finally we arrived in our home port – Gäddeholm, Västerås.
We decided that we wanted to leave last weekend. Since the rigging was in place there wasn´t anything holding us back from leaving Lövudden anymore. The only problem was we still haven´t got our electric motor and we never before entered a harbour only by sail. Since this would be our maiden voyage (first trip with our new rigging) and first trip of the season we were feeling rather rusty.
We woke up to a windy day. The forecast said 6 m/s but we had a feeling it might be more than that. After breakfast we took one mooring line each and led Mouni to the end of the dock. I jumped on and took the rudder and Jens pushed the boat to give it some speed and then jumped on to set the sail. Since it was windy we decided to try out our new storm jib (foresail). We got enough speed and enjoyed sailing lake Mälaren in the sun. Although we only had the jib, we were cruising up to 5,5 knots which is pretty good speed for a boat like ours.
Now it was time to make a plan on how to enter the harbour. The wind was blowing straight into the harbour and our mooring spot. Plan A then was that we would take down the sail when entering the harbour, and use the speed we already gained to steer into our spot on the other side. If it was too windy we would go for plan B – making a U-turn in the harbour while taking down the sail and moor by the pier instead. If anything went wrong on the way with either plan A or B, plan C was to drop an anchor in the harbour to make sure that we didn´t crash into any other boat or something else.
Entering the harbour, we decided to go for plan B since it was rather windy. Jens took down the jib. Getting a bit anxious the both of us, Jens told me to level out the U-turn a bit since we had so much speed. Finally I aimed straight for the pier, closing in… and then the boat stopped only a couple of meters from the pier – too far to jump off the boat! Jens ran to the stern to drop down the anchor and then decided to jump into the water with a mooring line and swim to the pier. Only now it was at least 20 meters to the pier, since we had heavy wind coming straight at us. Jens swam in clothes and shoes towards the pier only to realize that the line was too short. We were drifting! He shouted at me to joint two lines together and continued to swim until he reached the pier and jumped up. By then, two nice gentlemen from another yacht by the pier came and asked if we needed any help. The three of them started to pull the boat closer with all their strength. Finally, moored!
When the wind decreased in the evening, we dragged ourselves out to pick up the anchor (poor Jens back did som heavy lifting). Now we have lived in the Gäddeholm harbour for five days and we love it. Beautiful view, no big road nearby, and easy to jump for a swim. Come stop by if you´re in Västerås!
When starting a project there is often a mental picture in ones head about the procedure and how it will end up, i.e. the goal, the finish line. The dream. For me that goal is a serious downshift; throwing the watch and clogged schedules out the window and instead sailing away to distant shores and exploring remote islands. Often one finds out there is a big discrepancy between the dream and the reality, or at least I do 😉
One of these discrepancies is rigging the boat. In my head it all sounded very easy – it’s just to add a second forestay, build a bow sprit, buy a new boom, make a new boom bracket and move it further up the mast, change the all cables in the mast and replace the navigation lights with new energy saving LED ones and then sail away. In reality minutes, hours and days were consumed by what many engineers would call compatibility problems. In other words; the different parts just simple does not fit together. Especially not when the original mast and rig were built in the seventies and spare parts are not easy to find. After stepping the mast, taking it down again, restepping it again and after that taking the backstay down another four times the good news is that finally everything is in place.
The bad news is that the backstay needs to be taken down a fifth time to change a toggle up in the top (when the part hopefully arrives later this week) and the new boom bracket really should be moved down closer to the deck about 250 mm or so. But during the process I really got to know the rigging of the boat and that is a nice feeling.
A few words of caution for everyone taking on a project to change the rigging: If someone ensures you that a particular part for sure fits your particular boat never trust them until you have verified this on your own, twice!
Do not let a few problems stop your dreams
Renovation demands teamwork. It’s not always easy, and sometimes you need a break to remember what you are fighting for.
The other day we celebrated five years as a couple doing just that. Filling one day with all the things we love – good food, canoeing, swimming, family och hanging out in our hammock. Since the rig is not yet completed, we decided to rent a canoe and paddle our way to the closest islands in Lake Mälaren – Östra holmen and Elba.
If there is one thing we share as a couple, it’s the love for hammocks. We try to convert as many people as possible to join us relaxing in nature. So if you want to try out what it’s like, there is an open invitation to share that experience with us!
“So, what are your plans for the holidays this year?”
“We are renovating the boat and hanging out in the harbor.”
“All summer!? Aren´t you going anywhere?!
This summer, we are going all in on renovating the boat. Jens has already focused on getting the boat in shape for the adventure, working more or less full time for half a year. For us, this is not strange. We knew already from the start that we would have to leave from Sweden later than what is common for sailors aiming to cross the Atlantic.
Why? You have to get your boat in shape to sail over the big oceans in a safe way – but besides that it is also important to adjust the inside of the boat to fit your needs of a comfortable living and make it your own style. We have not done like most of our friends at this age – buying a house – but similar to most people we are investing time and money into our new home. If we would have bought a new house instead, no one would have questioned that we were planning to spend our entire vacation, weekends and free time renovating it for functional/safety reasons, and on top of that, updating the interior of the house. Painting the walls in new colors, replacing both toilet and kitchen etc., not because some malfunction but because we would like it to feel fresh and match our style. In that sense, we are like everyone else! 🙂
Building a tent to be able to renovate the boat through winter, new pillows/mattress and custom made bowsprit with space to store the anchor were some of the spring projects this year
So let me explain some of the reasons why this is taking up all of our time.
- Boat pricing. When buying a boat, you can either buy an expensive one that doesn´t need much work and is fully equipped. The downside for creative and picky people like us is that there is no existing boat that fit our needs, preferences and budget all at once. But, buying a cheap boat means that you have a lot of work to do, choices to make and equipment to buy in order to get it in shape.
- Doing the work ourselves. Getting help renovating a boat is not cheap. Deciding on what to do, how to do it and how it fits together with everything else takes so much time that it´s not so easy relying on someone else. In boats in general, and older boats in particular, everything you do is custom made. There is also a great value in doing all the work on your own because there is no better way to get to know your boat. If something breaks down, and it will, we will have a good understanding of how to fix it.
- Our long-term home. Of course, we want to make it our comfortable and cozy home. We don’t know how long the journey will last, but either way we´re not planning to live anywhere else than on Mouni.
- Safety and performance. Since it is not only “our house”, but is supposed to take us across the Atlantic and beyond, we have to make sure that she is safe and will take us to the places we want at reasonable speed.
- Dreams /environment. To fulfill our dreams, we also want to make this life transition sustainable. Switching to electric engine takes a lot of work, and the wide range of technologies we (Jens) have been looking into in order to make it both environmental friendly and efficient takes a lot of time and effort to get in place.
Surely boat renovation is not a topic for everyone, but for the ones who are interested, you will be able to follow the history, progress and completion of the many projects that will make Mouni great again.
Today a huge milestone was passed when we moved aboard our sailboat Mouni. One could say that this marks the start of our journey. But, when thinking more carefully on what makes a starting point it is actually hard to say when this adventure began. Actually, we have not sailed a single nautical mile yet (at least not on this journey) and therefore one could say that the journey does not start until we actually throw the bowlines and set sail, several weeks from now. On the other hand, one could also say that the journey started about a year ago when it was decided that we were going on this adventure. Or, maybe even earlier than that – when the first idea popped up in the head and was carefully nourished as a little seed. Depending on the way one looks upon the situation we might been on the adventure for about two years already or we might still have a number of weeks left before it begins. Either way today marks a profound change when we no longer have an apartment to live in and the first small steps adapting to the everyday life on our boat has begun!
1) Mouni on her way down in the water 2) Woke up to birdsong this morning, the very first morning she became our home