Place of Birth: Ellös

The Hallberg-Rassy yard is at Ellös on the island of Orust, just 40 miles north of Gothenburg. The plan for this winter is to keep Hal at  a yard just around the corner from Ellös at a place called Henån, where the Najad yachts are built. Orust is the home of several Swedish yacht manufacturers which must have something to do with the proximity to local wood, sheltered waters and a long history of boat building. Mr T and I had a few days to explore the myriad of islands between Gothenburg and Henån.

Motoring down the river from Gothenburg allowed us to see the sights we had missed on the way up in the darkness:

 Once out of the main shipping channel we hoisted the sails and enjoyed the luxury of having plenty of time to sail.

We passed plenty of other yachts heading south as we sailed north. We had a light sailing breeze from the west as we headed to a little anchorage about 12 miles ahead. We stuck our nose (metaphorically) into the anchorage but with the wind blowing from the west, it wasn’t quite as sheltered as I would have liked so we headed to Söholmen on the other side of the island.

We could either go clockwise or anti-clockwise. Clockwise was longer and out to sea, anti-clockwise was shorter but through some narrow channels and probably more scenic. We chose the latter, more exciting route – I’m afraid we don’t have any pictures of the narrow bits, I was rather pre-occupied at the time! I did snap some less dramatic pictures once through the narrow bits.

A bridge now lay between us and Söholmen. We knew the height of the bridge was 18m, we just didn’t know the height of our mast!!

We’d previously spent time calculating and measuring the height of our mast. Measuring the height resulted in 14.5m plus the height of the antenna on the top which we estimated at 1.5m making a total of 16.0m. Calculating the mast using a sextant and some basic trigonometry resulted in a total of 17.5m. A big difference, but both would allow us to get under the bridge.

So we gingerly approached…

And squeezed under with millimetres to spare!

OK – actually we had loads to spare but it’s very difficult to gauge distances from that perspective.

As we approached Söholmen we noticed some yachts tied to the shore from their bows with a stern anchor holding them off the shore. The boat is so close to the shore, you can just step off the bow onto the shore. This was a mooring technique I had been eager to try and conditions were perfect to give it a go.

This was a tricky operation requiring dropping an anchor off the stern whilst slowly motoring towards the shore, stopping close enough for someone to jump off the bow with a rope, attached it to a metal stake and jumping back on the boat and then reversing the boat off the shore by tightening the stern anchor. Easy…

In fact it was!


It was such as shame that Dr F wasn’t there to be part of it. I was really proud of what we’d done, although by the time we left the following morning there were at least seven other boats all tied up in the same way. Apparently the Swedes and Norwegians do this all the time!

The next stop was Grindebacken for lunch while we made plans where to spend the night. The pilot recommended Tjuvsund as it was off the beaten track and away from the crowds that are usual in July. It seemed ideal, apart from the 15.4m bridge between us and it. Could we make it under the bridge??? I doubt it, but we didn’t try. We took the longer route avoiding the bridge!

There were three other boats in Tjuvsund when we arrived, but it was plenty big enough and felt deserted if you looked in the right direction.

We swam in the calm and surprisingly warm waters then saw this dedicated dog owner rowing ashore:

Conditions were great for our final day sailing as we beat around the islands near Orust.

The Hallberg-Rassy yard at Ellös was directly on our route to Henan so we dropped the sails and nosed into their private marina.

All that remained was a short sail directly downwind amounts the forests of Orust to where we are planing on keeping Hal for the winter.

Mr T and I spent the afternoon pottering on Hal, admiring the other yachts and chatting to our various neighbours before a very early start the following morning to head back to the UK.

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