Orust

Shipbuilders

If we continue north from Tjörn, we arrive at Orust, the third biggest island in Sweden, and a municipality of it’s own. Here you will find many guest harbours, and an island that differ from west to east.

For some of you Orust is associated with boat building, perhaps you yourself are sailing in a Hallberg Rassy, Malö or Najad? All three are built on Orust. But the shipbuilding tradition is long here, and a trademark of quality. Even today, that industry represents 50% of the employment.

The population is 15000, and the administrative centre is Henån, also home place for Najad ships. Henån is not the place that most sailors visit, simply because it is on “the wrong side” of Orust. For me it is one of the good sides. I actually always go inside Orust one way or the other. Less boats, more to see. On east side you also find the small harbour and village Slussen, where you find a small friendly guest house. It is not only serving good food, but also very good live artists.

Points of interest

Open Yards is Scandinavia's largest floating boat show. Boat lovers from all over the world are attracted when held in late August at Ellös.

Guest Harbours

Mollösund

Mollösund

If you arrive to Orust from the south, Mollösund is probably the first harbour you see, and it is worth a stop. Very scenic and also very popular, which mean it could be difficult to get space. Mollösund used to be a home harbour for one of the biggest fishing fleets on the west coast, and also one of the oldest, being there for more than 500 years.

Käringön

Käringön

Going north from Mollösund you have the option of crossing Kärringö fjord, or going closer to the shore, and then pass through Kråksundsgap. This passage is one of the more notorious on coast. To the west you have the whole north sea, and in a westerly storm the waves and current in through the narrow gap are overwhelming. In good weather, there is nothing to worry about, and you have a leading line in the east. The picture shows a vessel that was not so fortunate in a storm in 1973.

Kråksundsgap

Kråksundsgap, picture by Curt Warås, GP

Käringön

A very popular place for vacation in summer. There used to be around 500 residents 100 years ago, nowadays around 100. But that does not go for the summer. Then all houses are occupied again, and you will have to pay quite a lot to get hold of huse here. But, for us who come by our own boat, there is only the amount of other sailors that could cause problem. It is a very popular place.

The name Käring in Swedish is a nickname for woman. Ö is island, so I suppose that most Swedes think that it means a island with or for women. But the old meaning is a white painted cairn, intended to show the way for sailors.

Read more about Käringön on their own homepage

Gullholmen

Gullholmen hamn

Gullholmen is yet another of the touristy old fishing villages. Here the houses almost climb on top of each other. As for Käringön, there are around 100 permanent residents, and 2 out of 3 of the houses stand empty during the cold season.
Gullholmen is one of the oldest fishing harbours on the coast. It was inhabited already around year 1200, but it's prime time was during the Herring period, 1700-1800. The coastal towns and villages then flourished when the herring appeared in abundance. In 1887, smoked and salted mackerel became a very popular extra together with whiskey in American bars. At the same time the fishing outside Newfoundland turned very bad, so suddenly a huge market opened for bald Swedish fishermen. Many of them bought English cutters, and started fishing on the North sea. Then they exported tens of thousand of barrels salted mackerel across the Atlantic. On Gullholmen there were at the time 57 cutters and 900 inhabitants!

Ellös

A place not as touristy as some of the other places at Orust. Here we find most of the houses being occupied even in winter. In fact, there are more people her today then it was 100 years ago. I quite like it, and it also an option if you fail to get a spot at the more well known harbours further west. If you like taking a tour on a bike, it is also a good starting point for a tour along Malö strömmar, one of the few places along the coast where you find permanent and noticeable tidal current. Take a small ferry across to Malö, and tramp along.

Ellös is the place where you find one of the more renowned boat builders, Hallberg Rassy.ellös


SAILINFO

Weather at Orust