Finland - Profile
- Finland has, depending on the method used, somewhere between 55,000 and 188,000 lakes, and nearly 3000 miles (4830 km) of coastline, off which lie more than 80,000 islands including the Åland archipelago. Cruising opportunities are infinite, either through the many islands or on the lakes, the larger of which are navigable.
- With a reputed 6500 islands, the offlying Åland archipelago is a world in itself and is an autonomous region.
- The Aboland archipelago is the largest archipelago in the Baltic and with its multitude of islands and rocky islets extends towards the sea for 100 km south-west of Turku. There are numerous guest harbours and yachting facilities to match.
- Unfortunately the sailing season is very short, usually from the beginning of May till the end of September, although the summer days do benefit from almost perpetual daylight.
- With a highly developed and top quality boat building industry, many foreign visitors only sample the cruising delights of Finland when they arrive to take delivery of their new boats and then sail them to warmer waters.
- Most coastal towns have visitors' harbours and yacht clubs usually have a few berths reserved for visitors. The Archipelago Sea and the Åland Islands have a very extensive harbour network with harbours or other facilities to be found every 10-20 nautical miles. Guest harbours are more infrequent in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. A useful source of guest harbours is www.guestharbours.fi
- The standard of services varies and repair facilities are available only in the largest ports. With a developed boat-building industry, producing some of the best yachts in the world, repair facilities are of a high standard. The most comprehensive range of repair facilities are to be found in and around the capital Helsinki.
- Other yachting centres are at Turku, Hanko, Rauma, Loviisa and Pietarsaari, the latter being the home of the famous Swan yachts. Good facilities are also available in Åland with several marinas, the largest in the capital Mariehamn.
Note that if relying on electronic charts for navigation, it is important to use maximum zoom to check your route for the many small rocks which can be a hazard in these waters.
Part of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle, however the influence of the Baltic Sea keeps the climate milder than other countries on the same latitude. The sailing season is limited to the summer when the winds are variable. The surrounding landmass affects the winds which can be light in summer.
The sea is frozen from December to March or early April (in the northern part of Gulf of Bothnia to May). In southern Finland the sailing season tends to be from April to October.
Turku Radio station broadcasts marine forecasts and navigational warnings in English on the free VHF working channels and MF working channel frequencies. The current weather report can be seen on the Finnish Meteorological Institute's website
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page