THE COURSE

MIDSUMMER SOLO CHALLENGE

 

THE COURSE

 

In one sense it’s a very simple and straight forward course: it’s just four roundings and you can sail pretty much any way you want between those marks.

 

However, this is also a course where it will pay dividends to think hard about the different route alternatives.

Short description of the course

 

Start: Marstrand – 57°53’36.0″N 11°34’7.0″E (chart)

Mark 1: Lighthouse Lysekil (Släggabåden), port – 58°15’57.2″N 11°26’17.0″E (chart)

Mark 2: Fjällbacka Testholmen, port – 58°35’46.2″N 11°13’30.5″E (chart)

Mark 3: Ramskär lighthouse, port- 58°45’29.3″N 10°59’33.8″E (chart)

Mark 4: Hätteberget lighthouse, port – 57°51’49.2″N 11°27’31.6″E (chart)

Finish: Strandverket, Marstrand – 57°52’54.4″N 11°35’5.2″E (chart)

 

Please note that you are not allowed to sail through:

 

a) bird protection areas

b) the Soten channel (marked in red on the map below). (chart)

 

WALK-THROUGH OF THE COURSE

 

As this event is more of a challenge than a competition, we thought it would be nice to share our own thoughts about the different parts of the course in order to give you a better and safer experience.

 

START

The start will be located on Marstrand fjord, outside ”Skallens” lighthouse and it will be marked with two orange flags. First start will be at 10.00 and then one hour between each class.

 

The start will be normal 5 minutes start and the classflagg will be the Marstrands Sailing association (MSS) flag for all classes.

 

START –> MARK 1

From the start to Mark 1 the big decision is whether you should go on the west or east side of Härmanö & Gullholmen. Which way you choose might depend on many factors, but chose a route you feel comfortable with. There’s no need to push hard, taking unnecessary risks.

 

Conditions will change during this first stage, and at times there won’t be room to change sails and make maneuvers. Plan ahead, and choose a sail plan that will work in the expected conditions.

 

The current out at sea will most likely be northerly (it almost always is) and it is stronger (can be a knot or more) the further west you are, but sailing on the west side is about 1.3 NM longer.

 

Most days at this time of the year the prevailing winds are from west-south-west which means that the wind on the east side will be disturbed and lighter, but on the other hand the sea state on the west side can be very confused.

 

If you’re not sure which route to take then we recommend to go on the east side, it is shorter, it is safer and above all you’ll pass one of the most picturesque villages we have (Gullhomen). Take note though that the passage at Gullholmen can be perceived as fairly tight so play it safe.

Just north of Gullholmen you’ll pass Islandsberg, in strong westerly winds the seastate will be very confused here. It’s just a short stretch of about 700 meters so you’ll pass it quickly, but you should be mentally prepared for it.

 

Once past Islandsberg it will be absolutely flat waters all the way to Mark 1 even if it’s windy.

 

Mark 1: Lighthouse Lysekil (Släggabåden), port – 58°15’57.2″N 11°26’17.0″E (chart)

 

MARK 1 –> MARK 2

Up till now we sailed mostly in marked routes, or at least close to them. For this leg it makes sense to take some shortcuts. The archipelago is well charted, so it’s perfectly fine to sail wherever it’s deep enough. Always keep an eye on the chart, plan ahead and find the right spots to make maneuvers, do sail changes or have a bite. Usually you get a good mix of busy navigation and open stretches where you can relax a bit.

 

The big decision is which approach to take to Mark 2.

 

If you approach it directly from the west you’ll benefit more from the northerly current, but it’s navigationally a lot more challenging and it’s fairly tight between Gluppö & Äggholmen.

The most westerly route is 0.4 NM longer but will benefit most from the current. The middle route is the shortest, but still has the same navigational challenge as the westerly route. The eastern route is just 0.1 NM longer than the middle route but is much easier to navigate (but won’t benefit at all from the current).

 

When sailing through the Fjällbacka archipelago make sure you take the time to enjoy it, it’s the most beautiful archipelago Sweden has to offer.

 

Please note that you are not allowed to sail through the Soten channel (chart), it is marked in red in the overview map.

 

Mark 2: Fjällbacka Testholmen, port – 58°35’46.2″N 11°13’30.5″E (chart)

 

MARK 2 –> MARK 3

This is very straight forward, not much to think about here. But if there is a breeze, prepare to go from archipelago sailing to “offshore mode”. Get the right sails up, get something to eat and enjoy the sunset in one of the world’s most beautiful places.

 

Mark 3: Ramskär lighthouse, port- 58°45’29.3″N 10°59’33.8″E (chart)

 

MARK 3 –> MARK 4

This is a long leg, about 56 NM all in all.

 

It looks deceivingly straight forward, but there are many things to consider. You’ll most likely be facing a head current so it might be beneficial to sail close to land, on the other hand that might lead to sailing in a confused sea state which will slow you down.

 

On a leg this long you also might also want to consider predicted wind changes and how you can benefit from them. You may also need to take a brief nap or two. This leg is navigationally easy but strategically challenging.

 

Mark 4: Hätteberget lighthouse, port – 57°51’49.2″N 11°27’31.6″E (chart)

 

MARK 4 — > FINISH

Well done, just 4 more nautical miles to go!

 

You’ll probably be quite exhausted by now so our strong advice is to play it really safe this last stretch.

 

Enjoy the view of the Marstrand island and its castle, enjoy the fact that you are about to complete the challenge, keep your head high and be utterly proud of what you have achieved – you deserve to be proud!

 

The finish line will be located between the lighthouse ”Gråberget” located on Klöverön and a flag close to ”Strandverket” on the south side of Marstrand. The finish line is a sheltered area; it’ll be easy to get the sails down. When you arrive at the docks there will be volunteers to help you moore, then walk up to the race office at Strandverket to confirm your arrival and you will get your well earned finisher shirt and a beer. Well done, really well done!

 

Finish: Strandverket, Marstrand – 57°52’54.4″N 11°35’5.2″E (chart)