The raid phenomena is gaining more and more popularity
in Europe. There are currently four different raids being organized
in Scotland, France, Finland and Sweden. But what are the main
characteristics of a raid? Well, you could say it is a long-distance
race in open boats powered by Sail & Oar, usually lasting
one week and (only in the case of Raid Finland) with food, camping
and facilities included in the fee, and lodging (rooms) provided
for a modest extra sum.
Since the boats are all very different, the competition
atmosphere is usually quite relaxed, the main purpose being
to have fun. Much of the attraction is the incredible variation
in boat types, all beautiful and from many different parts of
The fleet tied up in the afternoon
Raid Finland was held for the second year the
last week in June 2003. As usual the weather was fine, the water
was warm and the spirit of the participants was great. During
the week we sailed (and rowed) a total of almost 100 NM through
the beautiful Finnish archipelago (more than 25000 islands)
that lies between Turkku and Åland.
It is arranged by Mike Hanyi, an American who
used to work a number of years as a professional sailor on big
private classic yachts but surrendered to the charm of a Finnish
woman who became his wife, and moved to her home country.
Mike Hanyi's "Coquina II"
Almost 50 % of the participants returned from
last year and we all very much enjoyed seeing each other again.
The starting site was the “Airisto Sea Safety Training
Center” so it was only natural that before the start were
offered the opportunity of participating in a rescue boat drop
from some 5-6 meters. Some of us (me included) choose to stay
beside to take pictures.
This year 14 boats participated:
Woge, a J-jolle from
Germany, built in 1922 and yet fastest in the fleet.
SUS, a Swedish cold-molded
dinghy designed by John Hedberg.
Olivia, a Finnish open
double-ender designed by the owners grandfather for a design
competition in 1932 but never built until now.
Kleiner Kerl, a Norwegian
“Arendals sjekte” with German owners. Ended up
as overall winner in the raid.
Le Seil, a French lugger
manufactured by Canotage-de-France with the design inspired
by Scandinavian prams, came in second this year and won in
Pirmil, a traditional
French design also manufactured by Canotage-de-France.
Anna, a beautifully
built wooden Drascombe Lugger with extended foredeck, entered
by its Dutch owner.
Bunny, a 15´ canoe
yawl built by David Moss in the UK.
Meander, an old 1970’s
Swedish fibreglass dinghy, re-rigged with a wooden gaff rig
more then 50% larger than the original bermuda rig.
LindaMari, a home-built
and sprit-rigged wooden boat from the northern part of Finland.
De Griffoen, a Dutch
pram-shaped canal boat from the 1930’s.
Coquina 2, the organizer
Mike Hanyi’s replica of Nat Herreshoff’s dayboat.
Freja, a Danish Stor-Megin
designed by Peer Bruun.
Penni, a beautiful Finnish-built
Haven 12 ½
The first year we suffered from very feeble winds
due to a stable high-pressure during all week but this year
the sailing conditions were more variable. The first half of
the week we had rain and thunderstorms at a distance giving
wind, albeit a bit unpredictable and gusty, as we gradually
sailed further and further from the mainland.
On the third day we crossed “Skiftet”,
the border to the self-governing island of Åland. Then
we turned north for two days and then east for the last two
days to the finish line in Naantali.
On that second half a high pressure established
itself and the sun was always present, with more stable winds
and rumours of record temperatures recorded in various places
in southern Finland. That meant swimming at least twice a day
and of course a lot of sauna, too (this IS Finland!).
an aerial photo of the finnish archipelago;
you have to see it to fully understand why it is considered
as the worlds finest
The last day towards the finish we had a wonderful
and steady force 4 giving the opportunity to really fine-tune
the riggings. The day after the raid some of the boats participated
in the Naantali yearly traditional boat race that was sailed
in a force 7 with some broken masts and swamped boats as a result.
All the food provided was of excellent quality,
prepared by various local proprietors along the way and back
by popular demand, the staff of an ecological farm in southern
Finland. The lodging consisted of simple but nice rooms on the
different islands we visited, and everything worked well in
a very relaxed atmosphere. The atmosphere between the contestants
was also relaxed, in fact one leg (in weak and steady wind)
ended with some of the crews jumping overboard and being towed
behind the boats, still competing!!
Finland has an abundance of archipelago and the
possibilities for unique routes every year are endless. For
2004, the route will start at the south-western tip of the country
and head in a westerly direction towards the capital Helsinki.
(click to enlarge)
The route is described more in detail on the Raid
Picture galleries from the two previous raids
can be found on the link page or: