Annika & Björn began cruising part time in 2002 and full time in 2005 on Lindisfarne a Forgus 37 sloop hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden (Göteborg, Sverige). They have cruised the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, South Atlantic, Antarctica and the South Pacific. You can read more about their travels on their website.
What mistakes did you make in your first year of cruising?
We have now learned to change plans. We used to include to much in too short time. It took us long time to relax and stay at an anchorage more than two nights.
We also learned to change plans and to always have a second plan somewhere behind. On our trip to Island we had some severe weather and change course just 100 miles from Island. Instead of sailing to New Foundland (to follow the American east coast south) via Greenland, we changed to plan B which took us to Antarctica via Portugal and South America.
What is the next piece of gear you would add to your boat if it were free?
This question must be very difficult to value for the reader because it's completely depending on the existing gear on our boat, but an active radar reflector and a sat phone would fit in.
How often have you faced bad weather in your cruising? How bad?
Bad weather is "bad planning" and we have most of the time patience enough to wait for the right weather.
But sailing in high latitudes gives of course a lot of greater risk to experience tough weather. We have quite often been sailing downwind in 40-60 kn without any difficulties, but headwind is something quite different! We keep away from headwinds above 40 kn.
How did you (or did you) gain offshore experience prior to leaving?
Several trips from Sweden to Scotland, Shetland and Faroe Island.
Do you have any specific advice for couples cruising?
Get heavy ground tackle and practice anchoring in exposed places to gain confidence in your procedures and gear. To be able to rest safe at night means a lot, much more than you can imagine when living ashore
Over the years, how much time do you think you spend at anchor, at marinas, sailing and motoring?
About one third each. Wintering in marinas are included.
Where was your favorite place to visit and why?
So far Antarctica. The wildlife and the ice makes it a very special place.
How do you fund your cruise?
We sold our house, and now after six years one of us has reach the age to qualify for "normal" retirement compensation.
What do you find most exciting about your cruising life?
To be able to plan the day, only having to consider the weather, experience interesting places and cultures.
But most of all, we do something together, completely diverted from our previous "9-5" life situation.
What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?
Do you miss something from "your previous life"?
Yes, we miss the possibility to meet our friends from back home now and then. Of course we have got a lot of new friends but still we try to keep in touch by means of e-mail and fly back home at least every two years.
Also, what is your most surprising cruising experience?
When we understood how to avoid the boats rolly behavior sailing downwind, using our selftacker/cutter sheeted close to the mast behind the main. An absolutely fantastic experience. One knot faster and 2-6 degrees heeling and stable run.
Our website includes much more detailed "answers" about our trip and our minds around cruising, but the answers above are what it all boils down to when you really try to make it concentrated.