After three nights in the Finnish archipelago the next stopover for the ARC Baltic itinerary was Mariehamn, Åland hosted by the ÅSS Marina. Berthed in the small town, crews got to enjoy a visit to the Museum ship Pommern, a four-masted iron hulled barque that has been maintained in its original state. After an interesting day seeing the ship and the maritime museum. it was time for the ARC Baltic ‘Docktail Competition’ on the pontoon as the sunset.
Each yacht was asked to create a drink or dessert to best describe their Baltic experience so far. The creations where fantastic with a fairly frequent “on the rocks” theme as by this point most of the yachts had had a slow encounter with the sea bed of some kind or other.
The competition was fierce but two winners were chosen by the four person panel. Ruby was announced as highly commended for their flavours and intensity with their version of a Ti' Punch and boy was it punchy!
Rally Control concluded they had to give best story and design to Mila for their espresso martinis which looked just like a north and south cardinals as they stated they had never seen so many cardinals in all their travels.
The morning after the Docktail Party, the fleet were once again on the move, and into headed out into fog banks and flat calm seas. The fog soon cleared to give some lovely views of the many islets and rocks along the way as they made their way to the KSSS Marina, Saltsjöbaden, to explore Stockholm.
Arrivals in Stockholm took up most of Sunday with a mixture of sunshine, 25 knot gusts and torrential rain. Selkie very kindly stood off the marina for twenty minutes or so as one particular shower blew through much to the relief of Rally Control.
Later in the day, quite a crowd gathered in the marina bar with stories being shared from their archipelago experiences. Hoedic cleared a low bridge with great relief, other discovered log fires and saunas on deserted islets. Navigation is notoriously tricky through the archipelagos, but gracious locals where really helpful assisting yachts who were unsure, or came into trouble, in the shallow waters.
Monday saw an organised tour and town time in Stockholm to visit the Vasa museum; a warship built in the 1700s that only managed to sail about 1500 meters before it sank. After 333 years on the sea bed the mighty warship was salvaged and the voyage could continue. Today Vasa is the world's best preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia. She is now beautifully preserved in a dry dock with atmospheric controls and much work still ongoing an amazing site to any Mariner.
And so it is with heavy hearts that Rally Control will see the fleet off on their final leg of this fantastic ARC Baltic Rally tomorrow to head for Kalmar. They have a few days to get there and are looking forward to the Swedish archipelago treats along the way. The weather looks to be playing a few tricks with some south and south westerly winds but as most of the time the fleet will be island hopping it should not be a big issue for any of them.