As you know I decided to go really really small this year with a First 18 SE (more on the background here).
One of the things I really was looking forward to, was to go camping in the archipelago and find places that you never reach in a bigger boat.
So one of the first weekends in September, I got the opportunity.
And it’s clear you don’t have to go far for an adventure.
And some amazing photos.
I decided to take the First 18 SE on an adventure in the Gothenburg archipelago. In a small boat, you don’t have to go far to find amazing places where you’ve never been before. This week I’m going to post photos from my (short) journey.
Here I just stopped for lunch. The wind died and with the keel and rudders up I can get into really shallow waters.
Does someone recognize the island?
Who wants to live here? ✋
Sailing past Gäveskär, one of the lighthouses along the entrance to Gothenburg always feels special. It’s the start of a journey. Short or long. And it always makes me happy.
The lighthouse has been here since 1866 and had a lightkeeper until 1950. It’s not uncommon that ships run aground on the island, and I guess they expect to be offered coffee?
I’ve always wanted to visit Danska Liljan (Danish Lily). I mean, if you have a heart-shaped island right at your doorstep… But it’s shallow and usually waves from boats passing by.
There’s been a debate if this island has historic significance as a marker where Sweden, Denmark, and Norway met once upon a time (the so-called Danaholm treaty). People might disagree, but it’s a great story anyway.
And a nice place to have lunch. I had a bagel.
Things I always bring when I go sailing, no matter if its a First 18 SE or a Baltic 67 (two opposites when it comes to sailing).
In an orange watertight bag I have:
- Ocean Signal PLB, Emergency Rescue Beacon. When I push the button a distress signal goes to a satellite and then the proper rescue organization is alerted.
- Sunocchi bi-focal sunglasses
- Leatherman Skeletool Carbon
- Exposure Marine head torch & SPOT Me SOS Strobe
- Petzl e+LITE headlamp
Also; sunscreen, toothbrush, toothpaste, and pills against headache and seasickness. Yes, most of us get that from time to time.
On the beach! Remember the song by Chris Rea?
This is something I’ve always wanted to try. To sail straight up on a beach. And it was just as fun, scary and rewarding as I had imagined. And I found it just 3 nm from my hope port. Never seen it. Never ever been to Galterö, which turned out to be a fantastic island.
The guidebook states “The nature reserve Galterö seems a bit remote and gives the impression of wilderness…
The beach meadows of the almost untouched island are a reservoir for numerous endangered plant species, fungi, and insects as well as breeding grounds for numerous bird species. During the summer months, sheep graze on the meadows to maintain their typical character and to keep them free of scrubs.”
As exotic as coming to Santorini or Mykonos, but in my own backyard.
My own private beach.
Charts don’t really work when you explore the archipelago. Normally I use Seapilot or Navionics on an iPad to navigate, but most of the places you want to go with the Firat 18 is just dark blue. So I tried the aerial photos on Eniro as well as some sites for kayakers. And then I just sailed in and out of every nook and cranny until I found this spot on Galterö.
Oh, and it wasn’t really private. A bunch of free-roaming sheep 🐑🐑 🐑 had a trail just 15 meters from the boat. Nice company.
The music box?
If you want to beach a boat, you need to get rid of the keel. The First 18 has a clever mechanism where you crank 16.5 turns and the keel goes from fully down to being hidden within the hull. Depth goes from 1.1 meters to 0.3 😮
If you don’t think this is a piece of art, there’s a custom little soft hood to cover it. The bronze screw on the right goes into the hole in the center of the photo, to lock the keel in its down position. It’s supposed to break if you run aground. And yes, there’s a spare one.
Saturday night snack for a solo sailor.
Going offshore you become obsessed with freeze-dried things. #kencko is a freeze-dried organic fruit & veggie smoothies that come in lots of crazy flavors; corals (for performance), mint greens (to increase mental focus), or reds (for skin health) 🙄 Tastes great and gives a touch of luxury on an offshore race or a deserted island.
Ingredients in this one; strawberry 🍓, raspberry, banana🍌, apple🍎, dates🌴, ginger and chia seeds.
A magical time in the archipelago. The rocks are still warm from the sun and turn golden as the sun sets.
The wind dies.
Things get quiet.
In June it doesn’t set until after 22:00 and rises again just after 04:00. And it never gets really dark. Now it sets at 20:03 and rises again at 06:20. So the night is almost twice as long and much darker.
Time for the grand tour of the interior.
For such a small boat the First 18 SE is actually pretty roomy. It has a big v-berth and a small area (approx 70 cm long) on each side of the keel. On each side, there’s a custom-made hanging bag for storage. When sailing I keep anchor, tools, and similar on the floor, but at anchor, it’s quite easy to reorganize to open up the floor area. From my perspective, it has more than enough space for me as a solo sailor to bring what I would need for a longer trip, without feeling cramped.
On my list for further improvement would be a boom tent for better use of the cockpit and a jet boil to be able to cook food and coffee. There’s also room for more smart storage solutions.
All in all, I really like the balance between a great sailing cockpit and enough space to live for a few nights.
Another magic sunset.
I live downtown Gothenburg, and when I see the buildings glowing I know I’m missing another sunset at sea. This time the forecast was for northeasterly to southeasterly winds during the night, so I wanted to find a beach facing west. So this time I could view the sunset from below.
It wasn’t hard to fall asleep.
Good morning little boat.
If sunsets are special, I appreciate sunrises even more. Especially in September when nights can be chilly and damp.
It doesn’t have to be fancy to beat the best hotel breakfast.
So here’s my media kit.
The main camera that I always bring is iPhone 11 Pro.
For those magical sunsets or long exposure, I use a Canon R5 with 16-35/2.8. Also a Røde VideoMic NTG.GoPro
Hero 7 for action photo when sailing (waiting for the Hero 10). Extra batteries.
The drone is a DJI Air 2. Still learning. Extra batteries.
There’s also a VHF, Standard Horizon HX890. Very useful when I shoot races and want to listen in on the race committee.
Big powerbank from Anker. Just in case.
Pouch from Peak Design with extra batteries, memory cards, cables, and stuff.
Everything packed in a Subtech waterproof bag.
Packing after a sail. Lot’s of room for sails and also keeping the engine below.
The sleek custom bags on each side.
The cockpit is simple and clean, and it’s easy to reach everything.
Gennaker goes into this snuffer which makes it easy to hoist and retrieve solo. Another benefit is that you don’t get a wet gennaker down below, so the interior stays dry.
It’s very easy to both rig, and de-rig. the boat solo.