With road transport becoming more sophisticated, bringing much of the continent within reach, there has never been a better time to relocate your boat and expand your horizons
5 great destinations
This highly personal choice of trucking adventures also reflects questions I have received from boat owners keen to venture further afield but who haven’t quite found a way of cruising long distances to new places.
In theory, your options are almost unlimited – transport companies seem to carry boats anywhere on the continent, probably to Murmansk as far as I know. But I think that every skipper should enjoy these five wonderful areas before swallowing the anchor.
Correspondents have often asked me about cruising to Sweden, usually because they have read about the picturesque Göta Canal or seen mouth-watering photos of the Stockholm archipelago. While chartering is always an option, there’s nothing quite like being there with your own boat.
Although it’s actually relatively easy to coast-hop via Dover, Calais, the Dutch waterways and Kiel Canal, Stockholm is over 1,000nm from Lymington and it essentially takes a season to get there and another to come home. Road transport may not turn out to be that expensive an option when set against cruising costs, food and fuel, harbour dues and crew travel.
Some trucking companies use the Immingham to Gothenburg freight ferries to move boats to Sweden. From Gothenburg, you can be driven to Stockholm but it’s better to unload here and cruise up the Göta River through Trollhätte locks into Lake Vänern.
Then you can meander through a string of peaceful lakes and sounds to reach Stockholm by the Göta Canal. This exquisite route leads through farmland and forests, past waterside villages and idyllic rural jetties.
You might choose to fly home for a while, returning for a magical tour around the archipelago itself. Literally thousands of islands and skerries fan out within 30 miles of Stockholm in a fantastic maze of linked channels. The inner islands are softened by trees and dotted with holiday homes and neat villages. The outer skerries are lower, many with tiny rustic harbours and red timber shacks.
Moving your boat to Sweden
Immingham docks are readily accessible by low-loader from most of the UK and your transport company will make all the shipping arrangements. The freight ferry is for truckers only and carries no private passengers.
To meet your boat, you’ll have to fly to Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish). Your transport company will advise you on the best marina, but if you plan to wait a while before setting off for Lake Vänern, Långedrag is an excellent yacht harbour south of the city.