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8th May, 2019


Great Cocktail party last night, my table Guest kept me chattering to very late; our Britannia Members have such rich stories to tell. Anyway, today, a great destination - Stockholm. The Pilot was embarked at 0430 this morning, east of the island of Sandhamn, where we started out on the long 50 mile winding passage through the Archipelago.

Sunrise was at 0513, but in these parts at this time of year, a general day-glow hue exists early on and the skies were quite spectacular when I was on the bridge at 0330. What a delightful passage inward and, yes, I even spotted the lesser-early-bird Guest strolling the decks at 0530.

Simon, Staffy, parked this morning. It’s quite a lovely sight to be approaching Stockholm City for the berthing. We were parking on the south side of the waterway, Katarina-Sofia. Berthing required Simon to swing the ship off the north shore, about 50 meters clear, before backing down onto the berth. A brisk breeze blew up as Simon dropped astern, so it was necessary to use the tug, which was on stand-by notice, to push the old girl alongside. The tug is compulsory, so we pay for it if we use it or not!

We were around 30 minutes late alongside given the slow passage in through the Islands. The slower passage was caused by an unusual amount of shipping traffic where we had to adjust our speed so that we met the outbound ships in places where there was enough navigable water. The rock forms of the archipelago, are, I assume, quite unforgiving. The foreshores looked very rocky! The ship was cleared before arrival and so no delay to our tour programme.

Weather-wise, it started out lovely, blue skies on the way in. A little cloud grew over in the afternoon, but the day remained dry and fine, if a little cool. The day drew to a close and it was time to sail from this fabulous Port of Call.

My Safety Officer was ‘scheduled’ to do the driving off the berth. The wind was off-berth but not sufficient to make it easy and the need to ‘push-on’ to the berth with the bow thruster become evident very quickly. Lifting the stern into the stream, then pushing the bow off, course was set for our passage out of the City berth and on for our passage out through the archipelago.

Having ‘driven’ in this morning, it was the Staff Captains turn to stand the watch for the 50 mile passage outward. Once happy and proceeding with the Pilot having the ‘Conn’, I left the bridge at 1900-ish, I was looking forward to a ‘night-in’ and a Club Sandwich from Room Service. Fab sandwiches, if you haven’t tried, then you should!

The ‘quiet’ night-in was short lived, but hey-ho, that’s the job.

It’s now 2300 after dealing with a challenging medivac and I am in need of my bed. Night night!

Captain Stuart Horne

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