Scampering to Saltsjöbaden

Another day, another motor … The wind really isn’t playing ball at the moment and while it is hardly a trauma to motor along in bright sunshine, it would be nice if there was some wind to sail as well. Ah well, you can’t have everything … where would you put it? So we headed out of Dalarö with a diversion along the front for photo opportunities. The results were worth it ….

Our destination was Saltsjöbaden and the trip is a lovely one. The first stretch is reasonably open and then gradually we started heading back towards the north west and weaving through the islands. The 14 mile trip took just over two and a half hours and we moored at the KSSS (Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet) guest harbour. The KSSS is Sweden’s largest and oldest sailing club and is one of the five oldest in the world, formed in 1830. Their moorings are by the Grand Hotel in Saltsjöbaden. This hotel was the brainchild of Knut Agathon Wallenberg – a bank director. He was visiting Monaco and decided that Sweden should have its own Riviera and Saltsjöbaden was the place he chose. With a name which literally means Salt Sea Baths, it seemed to fit perfectly. So they set about building the railway to connect Saltsjöbaden with Stockholm and at the same time two luxurious hotels and, more unusually, a sanatorium. The reason for adding a sanatorium to the plans was not clear unless they knew something about the quality of the food in the hotels …. Later the Stockholm observatory was built there – one which is famous for discovering the asteroid 36614 Saltis in 2000. Saltis is a popular nickname for Saltsjöbaden.

One of the things which immediately struck me when mooring was a large advert for cigarettes – something which you don’t generally tend to see any more. This advert took the form of an 81 foot maxi yacht called Rothmans. She was built for the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race and was technically ahead of her time. Unfortunately three other yachts were even further technically ahead of their time and she took fourth place overall, but she is an iconic yacht. She was skippered in the race by Lawrie Smith who won a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics in the Soling class. He went on to skipper Intrum Justitia (with a Swedish co-skipper Roger Nilson) in the 1993-94 race and Silk Cut in the 1997-98 race. He clearly had an affinity with cigarette sponsors! This iteration of the race was won by Peter Blake on Steinlager II ahead of Grant Dalton on Fisher & Paykel. However, the boat in this race which people are most likely to remember is Maiden, an all-female crew skippered by Tracy Edwards. They excelled in the race coming second in class and leading to Edwards becoming the first female winner of the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. Their participation changed the perception of women in ocean racing.

The other thing which we discovered at Saltsjöbaden was the first Swedish sailability centre which I have ever seen. They are called Skota Hem and are based in a small harbour close to the Grand Hotel. They have a mixed fleet but apparently started with a fleet of 2.4mRs subsequently adding Hasa 3.03s and 2.3s, a Martin 16 and two RS Venture Connects. They were sailing that day so it was lovely to have a chance to chat to the person running the centre.

The remainder of the afternoon (after the obligatory ice cream) was spent wandering around the town and nosing into the gardens of the expensive villas surrounding the harbour. The surroundings though did offer various photo opportunities for Hugh …..