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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

RoRC report from Scandinavia

by Andrew Curtain 6 Jun 08:28 UTC

After two years of restricted travelling in the Scandinavian region, we were hoping for some respite this season. Some hope!

General restrictions have eased and travel between all countries is permitted, but the virus is still prevalent. Many of us are of an age when, despite vaccination, Covid infection is potentially more harmful than with our younger colleagues, but not always so. I say this because at the time of writing infection numbers are high in Northern Europe. The inconvenience of a Covid infection on board while on an extended cruise can only be imagined. This article is being written while on a brief cruise in northern France, out of my usual area where despite Covid numbers being high, bars and restaurants are crowded with few masks worn. Sweden is little different. Please all be careful. When travelling within the European Union, those who live outside the EU should have adequate medical insurance although it is hard to imagine anyone being refused treatment in an emergency.

So to the disappointment. We had planned to cruise Northern Germany, Poland and the Baltic States taking in the little-visited Russian enclave, Kaliningrad, and on to St Petersburg. All western governments seriously advise against travel to Russia and this includes us yachtsmen. The risk includes the possible impounding of vessels on trumped-up charges and a general risk of being attacked verbally or physically when ashore. Even before the current troubles, yachts, including ours, were shadowed by patrol ships off Kaliningrad well outside their 12-mile limit, so a good offing is needed. Some years ago we passed through Russian territory at Vyborg to enter the Saima Canal which leads to the Finnish lakes and I'm sorry to say that that delightful experience is ill-advised.

General advice for sailing in Scandinavia is unchanged. Regarding charts, I am particularly impressed by a German series which includes Scandinavia: NV Atlas. These come with an app to allow passage planning and navigation on a cell phone. One should look at their website of first-class chart folders, now covering much of Europe.

There are also numerous guides to harbours and the Gota canal such as the excellent Hamnguiden. Buy in advance as stocks are limited in local shops in the summer

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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