Seems there are two types of sailors and boaters. One type likes to plan their trips well ahead and at least half of the fun is the planning. The other half travels with a rough idea of where to go and then plays it by the ear. If you are of the planning kind, here are some suggestions for online route planning tools for planning your perfect sailing trip to Finland.
The good news is that Finland is a perfect sailing and boating destination regardless of which type of boater you are. If you are not much into planning, the short distances and intricate channels systems of the inland lakes and the archipelago are just perfect for the sailor that gets up on the morning, listens to the weather forecast and then decides on the program for the day.
For the boater who likes planning, over 10000 nautical miles of marked channels and hundreds of marinas and other sailing destinations provides planning opportunities like no other country. But how to do the planning? Here are a few suggestions.
There is one superb online service in Finland for route planning, called sailmate.fi. It offers route planning based on the best charts in the world for Finland, those produced by the local maritime authorities. It also includes comprehensive information on marinas, places of interest as well as natural harbors. As sailmate.fi is based on real charts, it is the only online service that should be used for any kind of route selection.
The only downside with the service is that it is only available in Finnish. However, if you are interested in the sailing opportunities in Finland, it’s well worth your while signing up for sailmate.fi and taking the time to learn a few words in Finnish (Google translate does an adequate job). Here is a quick guide: “Kartta” is “chart” and “Kirjaudu” is “login”. Now you’re all set to get started!
Another very nice service is excursionmap.fi. This service is maintained by the Finnish Forrestry Service, Metsähallitus. The Forrestry Service manages Finnish national parks but there are also a lot of government owned land that is reserved for recreational use. And the service is available in English!
Excursionmap.fi is not specifically targeting boaters but it has a couple of very interesting features. One is that is shows natural harbors and anchorages on publicly owned land. A number of really nice destinations for your sailing can be found here. In the Map layers menu in the service, select “Boating”!
The other very nice feature of excursionmap.fi is that it has a really good land map that is very well suited for making excursions on the islands. The map is basically the same map that is used to make orienteering maps. So if you want to venture inland from your anchorage, check out excursionmap.fi.
Guestharbours.fi and luonnonsatamat.fi are twin services that list the marinas in Finland (guestharbours.fi, marinas are normally called “guest harbors” in Finland) and the “official” natural harbors (luonnonsatamat.fi) that you find marked on official charts.
Did you know there are a whopping 240 marinas along the Finnish coast and over 150 marinas on the three main inland lake systems: Lake Saimaa, Lake Päijänne and Lakes Pyhjärvi and Näsijärvi? So you definitely need to check these sites out to find the marinas that you will want to visit.
To find boating services on the numerous smaller lakes, use the excursionmap.fi service!