Exploring the Baltic…. Sweden, Finland, Russia and Estonia – just take your pick!

Why the Baltic?

We have chosen the tide less Baltic countries of: Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Estonia to explore this summer. It is a fantastic sailing areas, famous for the vast archipelagos which are both lightly populated ashore and at sea. With their flat waters (what ever the wind) it makes for some great sailing. To make the most of the region we will be spending a lot of nights at the large number of beautiful, calm anchorages (which are perfect for spending the night - visiting marinas to top up with provisions).

We will be sailing one of the great circular sailing routes - exploring the Swedish archipelago before crossing to Finland. From Helsinki we will have the opportunity to go to St Petersburg and see the delights of the Hermitage Museum and St Catherine's Palace.

From Helsinki we will sail the short hop across to Tallinn and the delights of the Estonian Islands for a couple of weeks before returning across the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki with the opportunity to visit St Petersburg on a 2 week cruise from Estonia to Helsinki. Our last adventure is exploring Finland - before returning through the Finnish archipelago to Stockholm.

Sweden

Why don't you join Club Yachting to go sailing in Sweden? There are over 24,000 islands in the Stockholm area alone, and further east is the most spectacular part of the country - the eastern coast archipelago.

With the sheer number of beautiful islands how better to explore than than with a skippered charter with one our RYA Instructors?

Instead of overnight havens, marinas become daytime 'filling stations', and empty out at night as people hole up in the 'nature harbours' - sheltered rock pools - out in the islands. Despite the whole of Scandinavia going on holiday in July, and 1 in 5 Swedes owning a boat, the place never feels 'full'.

The main routes through the islands are well marked, although navigation is still relatively challenging compared to the UK or Denmark. Outside the main routes, you need your wits about you and careful attention to the chart - but with our RYA Instructors guiding you you will be in safe hands.

Sweden – Stockholm Archipelago

The Stockholm Archipelago is one of the worlds greatest cruising grounds. In a stretch about 150 miles long by about 50 miles wide lie over 24,000 islands, miles of sheltered cruising water, and hundreds of anchorages. Its true that the area also contains one of the highest concentration of leisure boats in the world, but the enormous number of islands disguises this to the point where you begin to believe you are alone in the world.

The archipelago broadly divides into three areas. Starting from Nynäshamn in the south, a wide and well buoyed route extends all the way to Söderarm in the north. To the immediate east of this route lie a line of large 'outer islands'. These islands form a kind of barrier to the Eastern Baltic and protect the inner waterways.

To the west of the main artery lie many islands, many increasingly populated with colourful holiday homes. Eventually you reach Stockholm - the 'Venice of the North' due to its being built on seven islands. Beyond Stockholm is a large area of inland lakes.

To the East of the artery lie groups of windswept and staggeringly picturesque rocky islands, set in a rocky and largely unmarked sea. To the uninitiated, sailing in this area is somewhat like skiing 'off-piste', with the prospect of hitting an underwater rock at 6 knots a distinct possibility if you don't have a qualified skipper on board. But, like skiing, its exhilarating once mastered which makes the weeks offered by Club Yachting the perfect way to explore this delightful area.

Sweden – Eastern Archipelago.

The Eastern Archipelago is one of the most stunning cruising areas in the whole of Sweden, and one of the world’s premier cruising grounds. Less popular than the Stockholm area, but we think even more beautiful, it abounds with idyllic Nature Harbours. Its impossible to do justice to the area, but we plan to include the pretty Figeholm, Arko, also Nyköping and the picture postcard that is Trosa.

There is one major north-south route running through the whole of the archipelago. Its a very stange thing to see many sails running off into the distance in a straight line, as though on the M25, when there is nothing but blue water on either side.

Finland

If you think Archipelago sailing in Sweden is wonderful, join us in Finland. It may not look like a dense archipelago on our map, but you can almost walk across the islands from the beautiful Åland to Helsinki, and many of them are unpopulated.

Mariehamn in Åland is just 25 miles across the Baltic from the Swedish coast, and getting there is easy. There's a Swedish joke that says that the best way to navigate across the Baltic to Mariehamn from Sweden is 'to follow the boat in front'. (The Swedes are renowned for their sense of humour). Many foreigners rush to Mariehamn and then turn round - if so, you are missing one of the most delightful parts of the whole Baltic. It's only about 250 miles from Mariehamn to Helsinki via delightful island routes - and we think Helsinki is the nicest Scandinavian capital to visit by small boat.

The Finnish language is impenetrable, especially for Brits, but many Finns speak Swedish (its the official language in Åland), and all the ones we've met speak excellent English. In the southern coastal districts many towns have dual names (Swedish and Finnish) and these are shown on road signs, apparently in order according to the most popular language in the town (i.e the largest number of native speakers).

The map shows the most popular area, between Stockholm and Helsinki. The Finnish coast extends both north and east, with attractions in both directions. The Saimaa lakes, east of Helsinki, are another popular area. If you fancy further afield, St Petersburg, in Russia, is about 250 miles east of Helsinki, and Tallinn, in Estonia, is about 50 miles south.

St Petersburg – the jewel in the Baltic’s crown

Once we arrive in Helsinki you will be in the perfect place to catch the train for a delightful journey along the Finnish coast to St Petersburg.

Guided by our instructor Andrey you will be in safe hands to make the most of your time here. Put the Hermitage Museum right at the top of your St. Petersburg sightseeing list; its magnificent buildings and palaces contain the world’s most comprehensive collection of art and sculpture, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Gaugin, Rembrandt and Matisse.

Other highlights include the Yusupov Palace (where ‘the mad monk’ Gregori Rasputin was dramatically murdered in 1916); Catherine the Great’s palace (with its breathtaking 978-foot white, gold and blue façade); St Isaac’s Cathedral (which has marble walls studded with semi-precious stones); the onion-spired Church of Spilled Blood and the battleship Aurora, whose guns signalled the start of the Russian Revolution.

Estonia

Estonia is a great country and its an excellent time to visit, as the contrast between the new western style democracy, and the old centralised economy is still visible, and it is fascinating.

Estonia is the nicest destination for cruising yachtsmen, and also has the best facilities. The country has a number of offlying islands and small fishing harbours which make for interesting sailing. Only the Finns, who are no more than 50 miles away across the Gulf of Finland, seem to have discovered the country in any big waysp we will have plenty of time to explore the inlets away from the crowds.

Tallinn is of course a major tourist destination. The old town is very prettily situated on a hill and relatively well preserved (don't miss the Olde Hansa restaurant with its Honey Beer).

We will get a chance to explore the most popular route is north-south through the very shallow Moon Sound, but Pärnu and Kuressaare (reached by a 2 mile long dredged channel) which are popular destinations in their own right. On Saaremaa you can hire an old jalopy for about £20 a day and drive round the island sightseeing. Kuressaree also has a spectacular castle with an interesting museum. The museum has a very good exhibition featuring life under the 'occupation' (first the Germans, then the Russians).

The island of Ruhnu, in the middle of the Gulf of Riga and surrounded by Latvia is a lovely little desert island with a small and beautiful new marina.

Which dates are available?

Have a look below to see our schedule
Trip No.DatesDestinationDetailsCost
Trip B16th to 13th JuneCruise around Swedish Archipelago Airport - StockhomStarting and finishing your week in Stockholm you are ideally placed to explore the delights of the numerous islands£675
Trip B213th to 20th JuneCruise around Swedish Archipelago Airport - StockhomStarting and finishing your week in Stockholm you are ideally placed to explore the delights of the numerous islands£675
Trip B320th June to 25th JuneRace Training & Sail Handling (based near Stockholm) Airport - StockhomGreat experience of: • sail training and techniques • racing tips • how to gybe a spinnaker etc – 2 professional race trainers on board for that extra attention£675
Trip B425th June to 3rd JulyAF Offshore Race 2015 (Gotland Runt) Airport - StockhomWinning in her class a couple of years ago our yacht is ideally placed to take part. Includes: • 27th June inshore race • 28th June offshore race start • 1st July Regatta dinner • 3rd July - depart£1000
Trip B54th to 11th JulyCruise from Stockholm to HelsinkiThe chance to enjoy a mixture of longer passages and day sailing Airport – arrive Stockholm, depart Helsinki£675
Trip B611th to 18th JulyExplore Finland (with optional extension to St Petersburg after your sailing TRIP R2)Sail around the Finnish Archipelago. This week will be a mixture of marinas and anchoring to give you the optimum chance to enjoy the beautiful countryside. Airport - Helsinki£675
Trip B718th July to 25th JulyCruise from Finland across the Gulf of Finland to Estonia (with optional extension to St Petersburg prior to your sailing)During this trip you will get the chance to enjoy a mixture of longer passages and day sailing around Finland and then across to Tallin Airport – arrive Helsinki, depart Tallin£675
Trip B825th July to 1st AugustCruise from Estonia across the Gulf of Finland to FinlandDuring this trip you will get the chance to enjoy a mixture of longer passages and day sailing around Estonia and then across to Finland Chance to join in the Baltic Offshore week (29th July to 1st August) see http://balticoffshoreweek.org Airport – arrive Tallin, depart Helsinki £675 (race supplement £250)
Trip B91st to 8th August Cruise from Helsinki to StockholmThe chance to enjoy a mixture of longer passages and day sailing Airport – arrive, depart Helsinki Stockholm £675
Trip B108th to 15th AugustCruising around the Swedish ArchipelagoStarting and finishing your week in Stockholm you are ideally placed to explore the delights of the numerous islands£675
Trip B1115th to 22nd AugustCruise from Stockholm along the southern tip of Sweden to the Kiel CanalDuring this trip you will get the chance to enjoy a mixture of longer passages and day sailing around Sweden before crossing to Germany Airport – arrive Stockholm, depart Hamburg£675
Trip R113th to 17th JulyEnjoy St PetersburgOption to join us on a trip to St Petersburg (before your week in Finland TRIP B7). We will catch the train from Helsinki on a 3 hour journey through the beautiful Finnish and Russian countrysideTBA
Trip R217th to 21st JulyEnjoy St PetersburgOption to join us on a trip to St Petersburg (after your week in Finland TRIP B6). We will catch the train from Helsinki on a 3 hour journey through the beautiful Finnish and Russian countrysideTBA
Posted in Go Club Yachting! News.