Sailing on a sailor’s yacht in the Sweden archipelago – June 2018 Trip on ICHIBAN
Written by Colin Srivastava – The Yacht Charter Specialist
A popular charter trend this year has been to head for less well-beaten paths than the Mediterranean…or at least, a popular trend has been to ask about these exotic locations, without then taking the plunge.
So a group of intrepid-feeling brokers accepted the invitation from the captain and manager of ICHIBAN to sail in the Stockholm archipelago, with the idea of condensing a week’s charter program into 5 days, and seeing for ourselves how much this plunge is worth taking and then pushing to others.
Firstly some details about the yacht: ICHIBAN is a 70’ first-generation Swan, refitted in 2013 and upgraded to accommodate modern conveniences and to make some concessions to those comforts desired by less battle-hardened sailors! Her security spec is also very high, equipped with an Atlantic standard life raft and helicopter rescue sensor.
She has clearly been loved and cared for by Captain Janne and Chef/Mate Kerstin, who have not been shy about sailing the whole Baltic, chartering as far afield as the Lofoten Islands, Norwegian fjords, St Petersburg and Finnish archipelago.
In terms of cabins and berths, there are single beds only (the one in the aft cabin is closer to a small double) in 3 cabins, with an extra pair of singles in the forward point although this may become a cabin for an extra crew member in the future…
Her saloon is different from many similar yachts – as you go below, the galley is to port, leaving a generous dining space around the table which seats 8, facing a cosy additional pair of seats by the drinks cabinet.
Her deckspace is the real gem here though. The cockpit is a step down with no table to clutter it, it is a fantastic and spacious place to enjoy a drink while admiring the tireless work of your friends as they work the winches and trim the sail. Ichiban is big enough for the table to be smartly placed BEHIND the wheel, and when unfolded, again can seat 8/9 thanks to the captain’s smartly conceived insert stools (which can also be placed below at the dining table).
The teak on the deck is as immaculate as you would expect on a Swan, and the trim black lines of the caulking so smartly done that that they make the yacht sail faster* (*terms and conditions apply). She motors at a sharp rate thanks to a boosted power engine, but once the sails are up and filling with wind, she is in her element and slices through the Baltic with precision and elegance.
This chosen sailing ground is 24,000 islands of the Stockholm archipelago, and we honestly had relatively little idea what to expect in terms of sailing, swell, wind, and general beauty. It is a truly stunning and wonderfully picturesque place to sail, with a greenness that offsets the blue of the Baltic and the profusion of rocks, all bathed in a northern light that perhaps rivals the Côte d’Azur. Sunsets are something to behold…
Our route took us from Saltsjöbaden, down as far as Huvudskaer,
round towards Sandhamm, known as the Swedish hub of sailing; then Stora Nassa,
round to Trasko Storo complete with sauna nestling in the woods, where we enjoyed a traditional Swedish « Midsomer » dinner (the food on board deserves more attention below…)
and through Vaxholm to sail triumphantly right into the heart of Stockholm itself, docking near the theatre and museums in Ost Malm.
It is an absolutely breathtaking sailing ground which looked all the more lovely in the warm sun which had been delighting the Swedes for nearly a month already; in spite of ungenerous stereotype comments, this is not uncommon in Sweden. It just doesn’t normally start so early and continue so long as it has this year.
One of the most exciting parts of this itinerary aboard Ichiban is the amount of true sailing you can do, but in conditions which are the right level for novices and holiday sailors to be completely comfortable with. Captain Janne is just as inspiring and comfortable when showing landlubbers how best to tack or trim, as when guests need a break from being crew.
There were several race-level sailors in our group, and they learned from him too.
A vital element in any trip is the food and meals on board. Kerstin’s creations were delicious, varied and smartly presented. She baked most of the bread that she served us and made sure that breakfast was different every single day. Sailing can be hard work, and these superb meals and snacks (« fika ») are definitely earned!
The beach BBQ set-up was also worth holding off on a snack for…
The waters of the Baltic were…well, Baltic. So about 15° and refreshing: luckily this partially salty and partially freshwater sea, fed by countless rivers and melts, does warm up over summer.
But don’t let that put you off – if you’ve been looking for a different, exciting and unforgettable adventure this or next summer on a surprisingly modest budget but aren’t ready to go for the Antarctic or to Patagonia, sailing on Ichiban in Sweden is your answer!