Jun 072017
 
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The ICHIBAN Sailing Sweden's Archipelago

ICHIBAN means “number one” in Japanese, and while sailing Sweden’s archipelago in the Baltic Sea, we had a #1 crew.

Our sailing adventure began May 8, 2017. If you know New England and realize spring is just around the corner, then you might expect chilly winds.  I would say the same is true sailing Sweden’s archipelago which covers miles of off-shore island-hopping and low waterline rock-dodging.

Only a very skilled and locally-knowledgable skipper would dare to venture into this dramatic environment of Swedish red homesteads, granite moonscapes and kilometers of sailing in calm, flat waters.  Brackish water (a mix of fresh and salt water) creates the calmness that makes Sweden’s archipelago such a fabulous sailing destination.

OUR ICHIBAN ITINERARYCKYC_Ichiban_Itinerary_Map Sailing Sweden's Archipelago

SALTSJOBADEN

We boarding at 5:30PM and were immediately welcomed by the traditional “fika” which means “a gathering of friends over sweets or sandwiches and served with coffee and tea.”

Our yacht was impeccably-equipped for this early spring sailing adventure. Even foul weather attire was aboard which we employed for every one of our exhilarating days at sea!

GroupInRedJackets_CKYC Sailing Sweden's Archipelago

We eight fortunate yacht brokers met our crew, Janne and Kerstin, at the dockage in Stockholm. 

We’d all flown in from different countries – France, England, USA, Canada, Denmark and Vienna – and were all excited to experience Sweden. We weary-but-eager travelers chose our cabins and unloaded our gear.  

CABIN COMFORT  

Since the Ichiban has all single berths, we chose our cabins easily. Forward and aft cabins were the more spacious. The midship upper/lower was perfect for me and my yachtmate, Elisabeth, who is a tad smaller than my 5’9″ frame.  We even had our own private head and wet head bathroom (toilet and shower).  

Our other mates had another midship upper/lower berth.  This cabin, we all agreed, would best suit the under-25 set.  The forward and midships shared a wet head bathroom with the crew.

The aft cabin had a private head and wet head bathroom.  

Since it was a bit like camping out with eight guests, we all concurred that the most comfortable would be 4-6 adults or a family of 8.

Pine-lined Napoleon Bay Sailing Sweden's ArchipelagoMonday, DAY 1 – NAPOLEON BAY

Boarding at 5:30PM, we were immediately welcomed again by a traditional “fika”.

Since the sun sets at 10:00PM, getting underway was not a hurried affair. We dropped anchor in the seclusion of the pine-lined Napoleon Bay.

It was so calm due to the brackish waters, that we were not rocked by any motion and all slept well before beginning our adventure.

Unexpectedly, we found ourselves sailing in snow in Sweden’s Archipelago – how lucky we were!! We laughed and were all secretly amazed at the competence of our Viking Captain Janne.

Tuesday, DAY 2 – STORA NASSA or GREATER ARCHIPELAGODeviledEggs_wShrimp Sailing Sweden's Archipelago

We sailed into this well-protected maze of uninhabited boulders. In summertime, the Ichiban team will create a picnic for guests.  

Temps were chilly and no one put on their t-shirts or shorts. This is not southern Europe (from which many of us arrived, including Greece and Barcelona only a week prior). Oh well, “Let the adventure begin!” I shouted.

MazeOfBoulders_Sweden

SAILING WITH A PRO: That evening, we cruised into a maze of granite up-cropping boulder formations and skillfully tied up to a rock!  Port two, the fenders were lowered, lines were securely fastened around boulders and trees.  Never had we experienced this – but Janne was the coolest and calmest instructor.  Two of our mates leaped off the Ichiban and were guided to tie up for the night!

Another evening of ducking the chilly winds and sleeping motionless under an almost full moon.

In the morning we mingled with the herd of sheep trying to dodge our cameras and just took in the enormous expanse of this far-reaching archipelago. 

FOOD & BEVERAGES:  Every breakfast started out with an array of homemade breads and muffins. There is nothing like smelling baking and cooking in the galley when you are all on deck. Kerstin made magic of her Swedish traditional cheeses, meats, hard and soft boiled eggs, plus strong coffee and assorted teas.  

Raspberry Chia Breakfast on the ICHIBAN Sailing Sweden's ArchipelagoI must mention here that Kerstin customized every meal on the Ichiban since I’m allergic to fish (I had to pass on the Norwegian salmon and pickled herring) and one mate was gluten-free.

You can read our entire week’s customized menu in my blog post New Nordic Cuisine on Board the ICHIBAN: Top Yacht Chef Brings Innovation to Traditional Swedish Food.

After yet another hearty breakfast (raspberries on chia here), we set sail south with a following wind.

Everyone took a turn at the helm, which is a definite plus to us sailors.  A responsive helm, this Swan glides through the water effortlessly.

Nigel (our token male broker and humorist), made one comment: “My god, he turns off the engine then he puts up the sails!”  This says it all about the skilled and competent Captain Janne.

Wednesday, DAY 3 – SANDHAMN 

DiversHelmetBeerTap Sailing Sweden's ArchipelagoThat evening we settled into a dock for the night.  Note: Overnight dockage prices are comparable to St. Bart’s and Nantucket’s in the high season.  

Sandhamn was charming, but very few folks live there at this time of year. The hotel was busy with company groups (ferries run frequently and year-round to many of these islands from Stockholm), so we proceeded to explore and ended up in a pub with beer on tap from a Boston company called Diver Helmet and yes, that helmet on the right is a beer tap!

Every night we chatted about the day we just had and the day ahead.  

When sailing Sweden’s archipelago, itineraries are always based on the winds and comfort level for guests. Hearty sailors are always welcome. Kerstin served plated evening dinners with traditional flare and paired wine with each meal. She is a chef with full command of her galley!

Thursday, DAY 4 – QUIET ANCHORAGE = Fjärdlång

After a few yoga poses on the dock, we set sail under brilliant blue skies, heading to the farthest point of the archipelago where “we imagined to see Russia!”  

ITINERARIES ABOARD ICHIBAN:   Best to mention here that, should you want to visit Estonia or St. Petersburg, Russia, please inquireCaptain Janne and Kerstin have sailed northern Norway, southern Sweden, Gothenburg = Göteborg and all of the archipelago with 50% repeat clientele!  

HelicopterLandingRock Sailing Sweden's ArchipelagoOne seasoned guest in her 80’s flew in by helicopter and met Ichiban to sail for 14 days! (That rock with the “H” on the left is a helicopter pad.) 

It’s note worthy that Captain Janne (pronounced YAHN-neh) is very safety-conscious about transferring people on and off the Ichiban. Also, the boat is equipped with a defibrillator and the capacity to summon medical help and a helicopter for airlifting. Clients range from teens to 85-year olds so the crew is prepared for a broad age range and health circumstances.

DinghyArrival_sailing Swedens Archipelago

Welcome to HUVUDSKAR! Moonwalking on granite and quartz, we arrived by dinghy (maximum 6 guests) and beached up on the smooth shoreline.  A small enclave of traditional red summer homes were waiting for the summer guests to arrive.  Since no one was there, we freely roamed and explored.  The iconic lighthouse gave my Maine mate and me a sense of Pemaquid.

What does Thursday mean to the Swedes?  Our late lunch was “pea soup and pancakes” (really, they were crepes unlike our fat ones in America) and served as a dessert with local Northern berry jams.  If you ask any Swede, they will know the traditional meal before the fasting Catholic Fridays.

While overnight at the dock, once again, Kerstin made magic from the galley for another delicious evening meal. 

Friday, DAY 5 – KORPMAREN, HARSO

IchibanBeerBottle_SalmonPlate Sailing Sweden's ArchipelagoFishLemonsSauceTableAfter breakfast and showering on shore (what a treat), we set sail in the morning with winds picking up for a leisurely sail to our last beautiful anchorage.

Eventually, we arrived in Korpmaren, a popular rendezvous weekender getaway for the sailing crowd. Believe me, there are more sailboats (or so it seemed) in this archipelago than the ubiquitous motor yachts in the Western and Eastern Med.

Since the sunset was so stunning, we sat out on the aft table with our Ichiban beers and appetizers, relishing our unique bond over the Swedish spring weather.

On our last night together, our final meal consisted again of traditional Swedish foods, merriment and toasts to our lovely and amazing Captain Janne and our talented Kerstin and the fair wind gods of Sweden.

StockholmHarbor_wBoatsHotels Sailing Sweden's ArchipelagoSaturday, DAY 6 – Stockholm

Finally, we put the sails and headed back to Stockholm harbor.  It will be a long time before I forget the scene of this historic and colorful harbor.

We can create an adventure for you.

Our time on the Ichiban was fantastic yacht living. I like to say, “Yachting is cool,” and in Sweden, it is super-cool. I can recommend it whole-heartedly for all sorts of sailors and adventurers. So maties, if you want to learn more about the S/Y Ichiban and sailing Sweden’s archipelago with Capt. Janne and Top Yacht Chef Kerstin, just inquire here.

Carol Kent Yacht Charters is happy to plan an adventure for you!

MEDITERRANEAN YACHT SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

 MEDITERRANEAN YACHT SHOW HIGHLIGHTS  Boat Shows, CK News  Comments Off on MEDITERRANEAN YACHT SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
May 102017
 
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Mediterranean Yacht Show Highlights the Very Best Charter Yachts for this Coming Season

Mediterranean Charter Show Greece

Greece is a treasure for anyone interested in super yacht luxury. It is bejeweled with gorgeous and historic islands. The sea is a blue bird color set against the unique architecture and landscapes of Ancient Greece.

The entire Mediterranean Sea and the countries that encompass it are of myth and legend, laden with beaches, harbors and islands. The luxury yacht cruise in the “Med” (as it is universally called), offers a season full of adventure, enhanced by the European style and mastery of the art of fine living.

Carol Kent has just returned from Greece where she attended the 4th Mediterranean Yacht Show (MEDYS), one of the most prestigious for-charter-only events, set in the heart of the medieval seaport of Nafplion. 

Organized by the Greek Yachting Association (GYA), this globally-renowned show for yacht brokers showcases luxury yacht travel. On the opening day, the President of the GYA, Mr. Michael Skoulikidis, greeted guests with Greek enthusiasm prior to a welcome reception in the historic Palamidi Fortress.  

Then Carol went to work! With her discerning eye and palate – and 31 years of experience – Carol inspected the yachts, tasted the cuisine and talked with each captain and crew over the course of the event.

Carol’s findings: Charter clients have more variety to choose from than ever before. Boats and budgets vary widely, offering endless options for families, couples and special gatherings.

Perini Navi Sail Yacht Baracuda Valletta

“This year, I visited a number of yachts including one of the top modern 50m/164ft Perini Navi sailing yacht ‘BARACUDA VALLETTA,” Carol said. “She is like no other in her class. Minimalist interior with sailing being the main reason to charter her.  Nine crew take care of ten guests in five unique cabins.  She is fully-booked this summer season, so consider her for the Caribbean and next summer in the Mediterranean.”

Motor Yacht OURANOS

Carol also visited the brand new motor Yacht “OURANOUS” which includes a spectacular top deck dining fully air-conditioned or not (your choice) dining room.  “A Jacuzzi offers the best views – cocktails at sunset provide relaxation and time to reflect on the day and anticipate your dinner time,” Carol says with admiration.  

“The trend in the newest and updated motor yachts is that they are clean, simple and minimalist. There are no carpets!  This encourages casual beach attire and keeps the vessel in tune with the aura of relaxation, open space and the simple feeling of a gorgeous deck under one’s feet.”

Carol notes that her charter clients are looking for a varied experience and run the gamut from fast motor yachts, sail catamarans to classic motor sailors and she adds that “sometimes its really the crew who make your charter which is why we vet every yacht and help you choose accordingly.”

“Additional highpoints of the tour,” Carol continues, “included a fantastic breakfast on board the 28m/92ft Sunseeker M/Y ‘AQUA LIBRA’, which has a top deck that offers a sleek area for dining and lounging.  She is a 2012 delivery from UK yard, and is a beauty.”

Motor Yacht Barents SeaThe 42m/137ft M/Y ‘BARENTS SEA‘ was also a favorite “with its complete refit that felt more like a new build,” said Carol. The vessel has all teak-flooring interior, mood lighting in the master cabin, and all six staterooms having red and blue water fall sinks. With a projector on the top deck for movie viewing under the stars and a karaoke for all singers and ages, it is great family yacht, Carol notes. “The crew are totally together to make wishes come true,” she adds.

Perfectly-priced for families wanting to see many of the Greek islands, the 21m/68ftRiva M/Y ‘SPACE’ was also high on Carol’s list. With three cabins for six guests, the crew is dedicated to service.  (Please see our interview with Ioanna your chef and photos of the yacht SPACE)

Also, the 17m/55ft S/Y Catamaran ‘HIGHJINKS’ II debuted as a first charter yacht this season.  Once for private use only, the crew has come together with great backgrounds making for interesting conversations.  Captain Miltos Skouras is a reputable artist in the off season (his acrylic artwork is displayed onboard).  His crewmate, Eugene, is an archeologist and schooled chef in Mediterranean-style cooking.

“This is another great family charter yacht complete with four equal cabins plus a children’s cabin,” Carol says.

The 23m/75ft M/Sailor ‘ALTHEA’ is beautifully maintained and had been in private use for 10 years by her 82-year old owner. This high quality vessel was built in 1993, but she had a major refit and is annually taken care of.  It’s an easy yacht to move about, and has great aft deck sun pads. She sails with three crew and accommodates 10 guests in five cabins.

The yacht show is also an important time to showcase premier global yacht charter companies such as Camper & Nicholson, Edmiston & Company, Fraser Yachts, Yachting Partners International, Northrop & Johnson and more.

Now in its fourth year, the MEDYS was previously held on the island of Poros, another lovely port just two hours by ferry or chartered yacht (of course).  Due to the rapid increase in professionally-staffed Greek and international flagged vessels, the show was moved to Nafplion, providing much-needed marina berths for motor, sail, motor sailors and catamarans.

Carol Kent is a member of the worldwide yachting associations as well as the PR Chairperson for the AYCA (American Yacht Charter Association). Please contact Carol Kent Yacht Charters for more information.

May 152009
 
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Volvo Ocean Races: Boston

Volvo Ocean Races: Boston

Tomorrow is the last day that the Volvo Ocean Races will be in Boston as the sailors make their way from Boston to Galway Ireland.  Currently Team Ericson 4 holds the lead by 12.5 points ahead of Telefonica Blue, Puma Ocean Racing and several other competitors.  Catch the action, sights and sounds TOMORROW in Boston’s Inner Harbor to see if Teach Ericson 4 can hold the lead on their way to Galway, Ireland.

The best way to catch the action?  Charter a boat for you and your friends to see the racing up close and personal.  Contact Carol Kent today to take in the last day of Boston’s premier aquatic event of 2009, which ends TOMORROW!

race-map

*The race course might not necessarily be as depicted in the diagram above (weather dependent)*

RACE AREA

The Volvo Ocean Race Restart will be in Boston’s Inner Harbor which will make for spectacular race viewing both on-water and ashore (course diagram above), before racing out of the harbor and off to Galway, Ireland.

RACE TIMELINE

10:30 – 11:00

Race Committee & Marshal Boats leave dock

11:45 – 12:15

Race Boat Departure Ceremony

1:00

Scheduled start of the Leg 7 race to Galway, Ireland

RACE COMMUNICATIONS

VHF 67 Race Commentary (live commentary and safety information)

VHF 16 Emergency Hailing (keep non distress traffic off this channel)

VHF 72 Race Management Communications (keep off this channel)

RACE COURSE

See diagram above for the race course, spectator viewing areas, and VIP spectator exclusion areas;

•The yachts will start between an orange flag on Fan Pier and a black/white/orange Volvo inflatable mark;

•The yachts will sail one lap as diagrammed above before heading out of Boston Harbor, through President Roads and out North Channel,

across Broad Sound on their way to Galway, Ireland. (If needed, the race course can be modified)

EXCLUSION ZONES

•The spectator exclusion zones will be bound by orange and yellow inflatable marks as diagrammed above;

•Spectator boats should take up position on the airport side of the harbor outside the yellow marks and the main ship channel. Spectator boats can also be northwest of yellow exclusion marks off of Charlestown;

•Only boats flying official Press, TV, Umpire or Race Official flags are allowed inside the exclusion zone;

•Please follow the instructions of any official marshal boats (red flags);

•There is one VIP race viewing area reserved for flagged boats only (on the airport side of the harbor – directly adjacent to the start line). Thisrestricted area is bound by large orange inflatable marks.

MISCELLANEOUS

•Observe the Rules of the Road and use common sense;

•Ships constrained by draft have the right of way and spectator craft must stay clear of the main ship channel;

•Sailboats must keep their sails down in the area adjacent to the spectator exclusion zone;

•Abide by directions of any law enforcement vessels and official flagged boats at all times.

•After all the race boats have passed by on the final leg of the Inner Harbor race course, spectator boats can follow the last race boat out ofthe harbor at a safe speed and distance in order to insure the safety of both the race boats and other spectator vessels