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Leg 5 - 2016

September 10, 2016, 0700 hrs, 58.17 N, 10.37 E, Log: 198,236 miles
Baro: 1014.4, Cabin Temp: 66 F, Cockpit: 66 F, Sea Water: 65.7F
Beam reaching at 7.7-8 kts with 15-18 kts just abaft the beam
Completing North Sea crossing, Norway to Sweden, 21 miles from Smogen, Sweden


When Leg 5 crew joined us in Oban, Scotland on August 31 we had blustery conditions with occasional rain showers. The forecasts showed fresh to strong S to SW winds for several days so we didn’t waste any time setting sail after finishing lunch.

The forecasted S winds would have made our planned anchorage off Kilchoan on the Ardamurchan Peninsula a lee shore so instead we headed for Mull and picked up a mooring in a very sheltered western arm of the bay that the colorful town of Tobermory is located on. Early Thursday morning we set sail on the 230 mile passage to Orkney. We experienced fresh following winds which ranged from 15 to 41 kts with occasional large breaking seas, rain squalls, porpoise pods and rainbows. We had to fight a fierce tidal race sporting contrary currents of up to 6.6 kts as we entered Eynhallow Sound between Mainland and Rousay Islands

Crew muster at the mast to practice reefing in the shelter of the Isle of Skye

Robin in full concentration as we battle the six knot ebb current

We arrived in Kirkwall, capital of Orkney Islands by 1745 Friday night and after dinner our crew instantly headed for showers ashore before checking out the live music at The Reel. Needless to say we then all slept like babies after the rough passage.

Saturday following engine room orientation, marine weather, and abandon ship supplies Amanda taught rig check and spares. In the afternoon crew lined up taxi and got a tour of Skara Brae and several of the islands historical sites before we all watched the local pipe and drum band performing before an Indian dinner in town. We got lucky after dinner with some excellent traditional Celtic music at The Reel, the perfect ending to a busy day.

The Standing Stones of Stenness

Impressive rugged sea cliffs

A Neolithic dwelling at Skara Brae

Kirkwall City Pipe Band parading pass The Reel

Our original plan was to spend several days sailing up through The Orkney then on to Fair Isle before setting sail for Norway, but the remains of a powerful hurricane was due to make landfall in two days so we set sail on a very sunny Sunday morning at 0900 for Mandal, Norway. Sadly, due to Darryl’s not getting over seasickness he and Lora left us, headed to London and then back home.

George relishing helming in perfect conditions

As expected, we had very light winds and had to do a lot of motoring the first day, but we were able to complete marine weather part 2, emergency station bills and were rewarded with northern lights late Sunday night then filling beam winds Monday as we weaved through the North Sea oil rigs and keeping a good lookout for rig supply ships, fishing boats and shipping.

The mellow conditions were perfect for teaching sail construction and trim, marine diesel engines and storm tactics.

Just after lunch Tuesday we pulled into sunny Mandal, the southernmost and sunniest town in Norway. Our crew enjoyed exploring and Amanda and I enjoyed the amazing community pool and sports complex complete with sauna, steam room and whirlpool.

Wednesday was our first foggy day in decades, and fortunately we hadn’t planned a long day - only 11 miles to the small island of Uvar. We delighted in a very protected, shallow and tiny bay surrounded by granite boulders and sporting a handful of very tidy small summer cottages. Peaking in the windows, each looked cottage looked like an Ikea showroom with loads of candles, seagulls in the windows, and white and blue pillows everywhere.

Hill top view of Uvar

MT happily at anchor

Robin and George on lookout on our passage to Andoya

Our evening berth on Andoya

Thursday was even foggier, but by the time we reached Andoya, an island a few miles before Kristiansand, the sun had burned through and the surroundings were dramatic.

We stopped by a small community marina on Andoya not realizing that they don’t cater to visiting yachts. Thankfully some local boat owners suggested we try the sailing club base nearby and here we found an excellent and sheltered dock that appeared closed for the season.

When checking out our position on YB Tracker-Google Earth at the bottom of our homepage, I noticed a large ship drydock very close to us and on the same small island. During our morning run we ran a short way up the hill from the sailing club and found a huge drydock blasted into the rocks containing two historic ships in the process of being rebuilt. We chatted with a shipyard worker who said this Bredalsholmen shipyard drydock had been in operation since 1873 and is now owned by Kristiansand commune (city) with the objective to preserve historic iron and steel ships. He suggested we meet the shipyard supervisor which we did, accepting the invitation to bring our crew for a tour in two hours at 0900. We did, and what an amazing experience! We were able to walk completely through the MS Hesmanden, a 1911 steam freighter built in Bergen that was nearing the end of a 15-year restoration and about to become a touring museum ship.

With hard hats on we’re ready for a shipyard tour from Svein who is wearing the white hard hat.

MS Hesmanden view from the bottom to the dry dock

Robin wonder’s how to get this steam engine going

Christainsholm Fortress overlooking Mahina Tiare docked at the downtown guest harbor

Chris shaking a reef just after daybreak

After Amanda taught sail repair we set sail under sunny skies with a good breeze for Kristiansand, just three miles away where we enjoyed showers before exploring the city and looking at interesting boats.

Chris, our navigator suggested we shouldn’t set sail from Kristiansand too early in the afternoon if we wanted good daylight for our landfall in Sweden, so at 1900 we set sail.




September 14, 2016, 2100 hrs, 58.10 N, 11.27 E, Log: 198,280 miles
Baro: 1016.7, Cabin Temp: 69 F, Cockpit: 66 F, Sea Water: 67.3F
Moored at Hallbery Rassy Boat Yard

Mahina Tiare’s berth in Smogen

George, our landfall navigator was a little surprised how tight the channels were at the entrance to Smogen, but with careful navigation and plenty of lookouts we were tied up safely inside Smogen’s picturesque harbor by 1100. Smogen’s colorful boardwalks were packed with day visitors who’d driven up from Gothenburg, taking advantage of a very warm and sunny Saturday before what could be the imminent onset of fall.

What a surprise it was when Magnus Rassy sailed in aboard hull #1 of the new, twin-ruddered Hallberg-Rassy 44! We got a tour of this boat which we believe will be regarded as a breakthrough design in the future. We’ve never before seen a better use of space and so many very useful and clever ideas implemented in one design.

Magnus and John aboard the new Hallber-Rassy 44

Sunday was blustery and rainy and the tourists were nowhere to be seen. We’d hoped to use the forecasted 20 kt westerlies to beam reach along the outside of the coast south to Mollosund. Instead we had 30-40 kt southerlies, right on the chops, so we decided to weave our way south through some narrow inside passages and were then were able to unroll a hanky-sized amount of the genoa for a blistering ride down to Fiskebackskil, one of the prettiest little harbors in Sweden. Happily, by the time we arrived it was sunny and calm.

Oh Yeah! We’re lovin’ this sailing stuff

Fitted out in climbing harness and backup safety Brian is ready to go aloft

Brian’s aerial view of Fiskebackskil

Monday morning was winch maintenance, including a fairly complete strip-down of one of our big Lewmar 66’s

A view of picturesque Grundsund

Shortly after lunch Amanda taught going aloft class.

Upon setting sail we practiced Lifesling Overboard Retrieval enroute to our first-ever visit to Grundsund where we enjoyed some great hiking before setting sail for Gullholmen, the oldest and (we think) most attractive small fishing/summer home village on Sweden’s west coast.

We covered electrical power systems and watermakers that afternoon and cruising medicine Tuesday morning before enjoying an exciting photo shoot with our very able crew sailing and tacking in and about Gullholmen’s net sheds and boat houses.

Our hearty and keen Leg 5 crew: Chris, Robin, George and Brian

Chris, 48 from Anchorage, Alaska
I learned to sail eight years ago while chartering in the BVI’s with friends. I have taken sailing courses in Hawaii and Desolation Sound and charter in the Caribbean every winter with friends. My goal in joining this expedition is to find if I enjoyed offshore sailing and to get heavy weather sailing experience. I plan to primarily crew and charter around the world. I currently own a 25’ fishing boat in Homer, Alaska which I primarily use to carry my kayak, camping gear and two dogs.

Robin, 59 from New Jersey
I started sailing dinghies in college and after years of chartering my husband and I bought a C & C 30 which we moor at Raritan Yacht Club and sail the Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England. We’re looking forward to moving up to a larger cruising boat soon. I am also an ASA sailing instructor teaching out of Rock Hall, Maryland. (Robin has years of involvement in tall-ship sail-training for girls aboard a large schooner)

George, 68 from Nova Scotia
I’ve been sailing in Northumberland Strait and Gulf of St. Lawrence from Picton, Nova Scotia for over 30 years. My boat is an Alberg 30 and I am a corporate/commercial lawyer. This expedition has furthered my knowledge of offshore sailing and seamanship which is exactly why I signed up.

Brian, 55 from Vancouver, Canada
I recently retired from an investment management firm. My wife Ellen and I have recently purchased an Antares 44 catamaran and plan to cruise the world for the next few years. Previously we’ve enjoyed chartering on the British Columbia coast and in the BVI’s.

Sailing alongside Gullholmen

Everyone’s busy as we short tack during the photo shoot

Ellos, home of Hallberg-Rassy and where Mahina Tiare was built’ was our final harbor of the season and just after lunch Magne Lanberg took us on a tour of the bustling boatyard. We were delighted to learn that nearly all of the delivery slots for 2017 and some for 2018 have been filled and that the yard is hiring more workers continually.

Magne explains the screwless vacuum bagging deck process

Hallberg Rassy’s busy production hall

Crew lending a helping hand, folding sails

With a large dock alongside, our kind Leg 5 crew lent a hand dropping, inspecting and folding our genoa and main, both of which are in amazing condition for 30,000 miles and three years of passagemaking. We did find a couple of tiny slits in one of the genoa’s spreader patches and about a meter of stitching on the leach that Amanda easily restitched with our Sailrite sewing machine.

We shared a dinner out together in Ellos before our crew started packing and cleaning in earnest last night. We were sad to see them off at the bus station this morning. Hard to believe our 27th season is now history.



It is THANK YOU time!

Thanks to:

Hallberg-Rassy for building an amazing boat that still after 20 years and 200,000 miles has stood the test of time.

Magnus Rassy welcoming us back

The crew from Hallberg-Rassy Parts

HR Parts for sending us spare parts anywhere and anytime we need them!

Tracy McClintock who keeps Mahina Expeditions office running more smoothly than when we’re home.

Melonie, our webmistress for making these expedition update (and look great.

All of our 2016 expedition members who shared grand adventures with us in Sweden, Norway, Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Iceland, Faroes and Scotland.

RosePoint Navigation for letting us use and teach their Coastal Explorer program.

C-Map for allowing us to use their excellent navigational charts for the UK.

This winter Mahina Tiare will be stored inside at Broderna Martinssons, Svineviken, just 11 miles north of Hallberg-Rassy and the same place she had her 10 year, 100,000-mile refit. On the replacement list are all new Raymarine instruments, including MFD displays (the original, 20-year-old gear is still working, but it’s becoming difficult to find replacement parts), new refrigeration (either Frigoboat again or we may try Isotherm), LED running lights, new standing Selden rigging plus lifelines, rudder seals and bearings. The new Volvo D2-75 engine installed last winter by Christer Verta at Adams Boatcare and the new decks have worked out brilliantly.

Resources used for Leg 5, Oban, Scotland to Ellos, Sweden

YR.NO: NRK Met Institute – Norwegian government weather site which we think must use the EC forecast model. Incredibly accurate and helpful with very detailed coverage of the region.
WINDYTY.COM: Worldwide GRIB forecast charts utilizing US GFS computer model.

Cruising Guides:
Imray Yachtsman’s Pilot: Isle of Mull and adjacent coasts, Martin Lawrence
The Scottish Islands, Hamish Haswell-Smith (generous gift from EM Jon Fawcett of Brisbane)

British Admiralty:869, 1402
Norwegian: 9, 10
Swedish: 932, 869
Imray: 65, 66, 67, 68

Electronic Charts:
C-Map running on Rose Point Coastal Explorer

ANNAPOLIS BOAT SHOW, aka The United States Sailboat Show, Oct. 6-10, 2016 - HERE WE COME WITH SEMINARS GALORE!!!
Here’s our schedule of presentations:
Oct. 6, 6:30 PM  Free seminar on The Atlantic Circle; East Coast to Europe and Return in One Summer at Free State Yachts 16th annual Hallberg-Rassy Owner’s Reception at Herrington Harbor North in Deale approx. 25 miles south from downtown Annapolis.
Oct. 8, 9:00 to 11:30 AM Ocean Sailing Forum, a panel discussion led by Andy Schell which Amanda and John will be part of. Details here.
Oct. 10, 8 AM - 5 PM Our 160th Offshore Cruising Seminar. Click HERE for details and registration. A great big thanks to Weems & Plath, makers of our favorite barometers and binoculars for sponsoring our Annapolis Cruisers University seminars!
Oct. 11,  90 Minute Cruisers University Seminars, seminar descriptions HERE and purchase tickets HERE
8:15 - 9:45     Amanda’s Diesel Engine Essentials
10:00 - 11:30 Ocean Voyage Preparation
12:30 - 2:00   Sailing the South Pacific
2:15 - 3:45     Galley Essentials
2:15 – 3:45     Choosing the Right Boat for Ocean Voyaging with John Neal and Pete McGonagle

We’ll be available to answer questions before, between and after seminars, so drop us a line at if you’d like to meet us at the Annapolis show. We hope to again be invited to speak there at the Oct. 2017 show as well.

We are also scheduled to present seminar at the Toronto and Seattle Boat Shows and in Vancouver, BC for Bluewater Cruising Association, details HERE.


Leg 5 Itinerary

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