Scandinavian sailors bid fond farewell after nine-month stay

IT was originally meant to be a ten-day visit, but two Scandinavian sailors liked Jersey so much that their ‘pit-stop’ in the Island has lasted nine months.

Round the World sailors Tommy and Aase Eriksson preparing to leave St Helier..Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30829660)
Round the World sailors Tommy and Aase Eriksson preparing to leave St Helier..Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30829660)

Swedish sailors Tommy Eriksson and his Norwegian wife, Aase, whose yacht Mistique has been moored in St Helier since 13 August last year, will resume their round-the-world voyage during the next few days.

Although the couple were originally only planning a brief visit to the Island they knew as the home of TV detective Jim Bergerac, the Erikssons’ stay became a longer-term affair thanks to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, winter weather and a growing affection for their temporary home.

Mr and Mrs Eriksson, who are both in their early 60s, took early retirement in April 2020 from their respective careers as an electrician and theatre nurse, sold their flat in Oslo and, after a few practice runs, began their voyage last July.

‘We are very honoured to have been here for nine months and have enjoyed our time in Jersey,’ Mr Eriksson said. ‘The people are very nice, it is friendly, clean and there’s little violence. We have been recommending Jersey to lots of people, maybe not for nine months, but for a week or two – it’s a lovely island,’ he added.

The couple were also able to receive Covid-19 vaccinations after inquiring about their eligibility earlier this year and being told they could have the jab at the same time as Islanders of the same age.

During their time in Jersey, the couple have enjoyed some of the sights of the Island, picking out Gorey Castle, Reg’s Garden in St Brelade and the Old Court House in St Aubin, otherwise known as ‘Bergerac’s local’, among their favourite spots.

After an article about the couple’s arrival last August, they were visited by one Islander who gave them some Jersey Royals and became friends, accompanying Mr Eriksson to his first-ever rugby match when Jersey Reds staged a home game last month.

Asked if there was anything he had not enjoyed about the Island, Mr Eriksson said that the weather in January and February had made life on board their boat cold, prompting them to book a night’s stay in a warm hotel as a treat.

After working hard to ensure Mistique is ready for the rigours of long-distance sailing, the pair are now studying weather forecasts and looking for a window in the next few days to continue their voyage.

They plan to head down the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain and Portugal before venturing to the Canary Islands and then setting out across the Atlantic in October. They are aiming to be in the Caribbean by December.

‘The spring is here, and summer is coming, it is time for us to move on,’ Mr Eriksson said. ‘We are sad that the Jersey chapter is closing, and we have mixed feelings about the adventure ahead – it is both terrifying and delicious for us.’

Mr and Mrs Eriksson will post details about their exact departure time from St Helier, and their ongoing voyage, on their website, worldmistique.com.

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