The sailing club SXK organizes regularly distance races in Sweden, usually one in spring, one in autumn and a final one in winter for the brave ones.
These regattas are called 24-timmars although they can be 12, 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours sailing, however 24 hours is one of the most popular.
We have participated for the first time with a crew of 4 people with Start from Marstrand at 18:00 on Friday and arrival at Klädesholmen at 18:00 on Saturday.
The wind was blowing from South West and we expected a shift to South during the night. Our plan was therefore to sail south as much as we could following the coast until it got dark and then turn towards the west and Denmark as we wanted to be offshore during the night and sail as much as possible on a reach.
We sprang from our various workplaces and made it to the start line just a few minutes before 18:00. We crossed the start line with just a few seconds delay behind Svea, en Elan 37.
We started on a beat in 20 to 24kn wind and quite large seas. Quite uncomfortable, but we managed to keep our speed up.
Turning SSW was a good move, however SOG dropped considerably beating against the strong current. We chose to sail on a close reach and keep inshore until night came. At the lighthouse Trubaduren we decided to sail towards Skagen sailing by a submerged wreck which allowed us to pin down to long legs. 1.5kn current against us and heavy seas from the beam where a challenge and seasickness crept among us. Nevertheless the starry skies, the loom over both Sweden and Denmark and the luminescence in the water made for a memorable night.
Once we reached Skagen and slalomed between anchored ships off the coast, we discovered that just 200mt away there was a wavebreaker, in total darkness and not chartered on our plotter.
We turned around and sailed ESE exploiting the shift that had finally arrived and the now favorable current, we shook off the last reef and sailed 3 legs towards Onsala in Sweden. At 8kn SOG on average, still heavy seas and dawn finally upon us, I struggled not to fall asleep tiller in hand.
Once back on ”our” side of Kattegatt the sun was up, wind at 20kn, flat sea inshore, spinnaker up and a whole day of propaganda sailing had just begun. Som onboard where knocked out by the close to sleepless night.
Approaching Marstrand the wind died out almost completely and we had to review our final plan as we realized we would not reach the finish line in time. We somehow managed to sail at relatively high angles to keep the spinnaker flying as well as avoid rocks and be on the finish line 4 minutes before 18:00. Amazing timing.
A delicious dinner at Klädesholmen with short summary from each skipper followed and after a few drinks we head off to out bunks! The following day the wind was up again and we sailed back to our home harbor on a wonderfully fast reach.
All in all, it has been a great experience, with sailing in all conditions and all points of sails, a beautiful crew and almost 200nm under our keel.
We achieved a 4th place in the Västkusten chapter with 188nm through water, 143.9nm accounted for the regatta and 127nm adjusted.
Congratulations to Anders with its Emba who conquered a 1st place with a 137.2nm adjusted distance. It was actually amazing seeing them moving fast in very light winds while we struggled to keep the boat sailing on.