As mentioned in the previous Part 2 arriving in Mem on the east coast of Sweden, this is the starting point of my journey through the Gota Canal.
Mem – Soderkoping
See also Youtube #12
It is Saturday 24 June 2023 at 10.00 I sail into the lock. We are now sailing through all the locks until halfway up the canal at Forsvik, so we are constantly hoisting up to the highest point 91.8 metres above sea level, then descending again until Gothenburg to sea level. As I am sailing solo, the lock keepers take my line and tie it around a ring at the fore and aft. The stern line is attached almost vertically to the boat’s bollard and stays there until we sail out of the lock, The front line is also wrapped around a ring that is usually 1 or 2 metres in front of the boat, which is marked with a paint stripe. This line at the quay then runs via the boat’s cable hole all the way aft through the gunwale to the aft deck, where my winch sits. The idea now is that, as the water rises, I will keep tightening the front line via the winch so that the boat rises and stays alongside the shore. This will also move the boat forward a bit. I have also experienced by now that if you are the first to enter the lock and are right in front of the lock gate, you can have a pretty tough time, because the surging water comes out of the lock there and tends to push the nose of the boat to the other side of the lock. I had this at the Carl Johan lock stage at Berg and was devastated when I had had the 7th lock. But learned something again.
But this was only one lock so it wasn’t too bad. Then sailed 3 Nm to moor before Soderkoping lock at beautiful new wooden alongside jetty, with power and water every 15 metres.
Soderkoping is a beautiful historic town and offers good facilities. In the old part of town, there are beautiful authentic houses. It is a touristically attractive place with many restaurants along the quay with moored boats. There is also a famous ice cream restaurant Smultronstallet, where you have to queue to get a table for an ice cream lunch. Of course, the lock is also a sight to behold.
On Ramunderberg near the harbour is a nice vantage point, Ramunderberget has a long history as an important recreational area for Söderköping residents and is still a very popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Here you can take the somewhat challenging walk of 318 steps to enjoy the beautiful view. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
We leave SÖDERKÖPING on Monday 26 June for our next destination Norsholm a trip of 11.9 Nm, involving 9 locks, 6 bridges and rising to about 27 metres.
We sailed three boats together up and into the locks. To port a Swede, to starboard the Schoonheyt from the Netherlands and to port behind it the Asmara. So we passed the E22 bridge, Single Locks: Duvkullen nedre, Duvkullen Ōvre, Mariehov Nedre, Mariehov Ōvre. Then arriving at the first double lock, the lock attendant says to me, when the other two have already entered the lock, you must wait here. As usual, the lock attendants inform the next lock what is coming at them, so also that there is a boat there that is solo. So I ask why I have to wait, he says “Because you are sailing solo, then you are not allowed in the lock with other boats, because if you make any damage the insurance will not cover it” So I ask, why was it allowed at the previous 6 locks? “Ok, I’m not going to have this discussion, as the lock is so quiet, I don’t have to watch out for boats in front or alongside me.
So the next 5 locks and 4 bridges turn only for the Asmara. Between the Snövelstorp bridge and some lock Hulta, we sail across Lake Asplangen 27.1 metres above sea level.
After passing the last 22-metre bridge over the E4, we arrive in Norsholm and moor at 15:15.
Here again, there are nice longitudinal moorings, along the north bank at the campsite are all facilities, after the lock are only moorings without facilities. There is a small supermarket on the south side of the lock. Apart from the Campsite and the waterside restaurant, there is not much else to do here.
After the lock and the Norsholm train bridge, we sail into Lake Roxen, which is 33.3 metres away. As there is almost no wind and I have room to manoeuvre, I decide to let the drone up while sailing. launching it by hand is still doable, but to bring it in I have to bring it in between the rigging on the foredeck on a boat that is still afloat. I carefully steer it parallel to the boat and then pull it in sideways slightly, now I quickly grab it out of the air and turn it around so the propeller stops. “Mission accomplished, patient not dead”
Asmara above filmed with Drone on Lake Roxen. Four miles out from Norsholm, I turn starboard into Dymlingen Bay and spend the night there. The wind increases in strength in the afternoon from West to 4-5 Bft, so I am now on low shore. Looking at the forecast for the night and early morning, the wind drops to 10 knots max around 18-1900 hrs, so I stay put. When I raise my anchor the next morning, there’s another decent clump of seaweed wrapped around it, which takes me another half hour to get that junk all off.
Then it’s on, about 10 more miles to Berg – Roxen the world-famous lock staircase of Carl Johan. 7+2 stairs up. When I’m ready to enter the first staircase at 13.15, I hear Dutch talking next to me and see Gerrit from the Schoonheyt standing next to me on the quay, who sailed by during my overnight stay yesterday and has already clambered up. He had seen on the AIS that I was in front of the lock, so thought, ok I’ll walk down and help with his lines. Top man. So I neatly signed out to the lock-keeper that he didn’t have to do that anymore. I was now at the very front of the lock with a motorboat behind me and two small motorboats beside me.
Being at the front of the lock as I had now is not nice. One puts sailboats with a winch in front so that it can use its winch to keep the nose of the boat stable, the incoming water pushes the nose away towards the middle of the lock. This would be heavy by hand. Unfortunately, I have a line that is too thick to fit in the clamping area, so I only have it around two turns and then have to hold it by hand, which is heavy and with tightening it also often slips. So I was exhausted after the 7th lock. So from now on, 2nd in lock or a different line
Carl Johan Lock stairs 7+2 to Berg-upper
Once at the top of the last lock, Gerrit gets on board with us and we sail portside to the many moorings there and more I get off behind his boat on Thursday 29/6/23 around 3pm.
There are 40 moorings here. It is actually a small intermediate lake. The next two locks and a bridge continue down the canal to Ljungsbro.
It seems to be over with the already beautiful weather. The weather is rapidly deteriorating and the forecast for the next few days is lots of strong westerly winds, thunderstorms, etc. In short, a train of low pressure and as it looks now, the atmosphere will only calm down from Wednesday onwards.
See further Part 4 Gota channel