It was an interesting sail. Faroes to Iceland is north west.
We set off heading west in a northerly saying "it will change to
south westerly". We reached through the front and it did go south
westerly; a steady 7. Then off broad reaching
north, because a north easterly was now shown coming back.
The grib forecasts, which were updated each day at sea, clearly
showed predicted wind changes in different areas at different times, with a
front snaking about. They were right! Each time it was a temptation
to head closer to the direct line. If we had done that in the
south-westerly, we could have missed Seydisfjorder or been out there
tacking now. We came through the front again, then
were nearly close hauled in the north easterly.
I worried about ending up on a lee shore with overfalls, arriving on the
east coast of Iceland in a north easterly and whether the force
5 or 6 out at sea might funnel up to a lot more in the fjord. In the
event there were no overfalls and the fjord was a gentle run in the
sun. The Faroes overfalls had been bumpy both on arrival and departure and
memories of cabin windows in the water when the gusts came down off the north
Faroes peaks, had me carefully laying out mooring lines
and fenders for the single handed arrival in a light
Going through the front each time the temperature change was as clear as
the wind change. The northerly and north easterly were cold and
clear: The Faroes, or the clouds over them, were visible the
following morning 75 miles away and the snow showers were only a
short way up the Iceland hills today. The south-westerly was
warm but with little visibility in the rain or spray.
The south west 7 on a broad reach was quick but wet. If you
kept the hatches shut and the heater on it was more of a tumble drier than
washing machine. Laid in a bunk, you could see the breakers
through the sky light hatch above, coming straight down on top.
I had previously tried to make the mast water tight, but after these
breakers there was enough water inside it for a little jet to come out of
the mast each time she rolled, about a foot below the deck. I
had failed to identify this leak previously, accepting there was
one somewhere. An unused dodger was rigged up around the
mast, so the water went straight into the bilge.
The windows behaved much better than previously, only one in the forecabin
having a slight drip. Sealing the main hatch garage drains (after
resealing all the other windows twice) had cured all the aggravation
of leaks on my face when asleep.
I only had the spray hood up for the last north easterly, close
reaching nearly to windward, when it gives excellent protection. Out
on a beam reach or broad reach it gives little protection from the small
breakers and none from the big ones. It also makes keeping a look-out more
difficult. I put a jacket and hat on and stick my head
straight up through the hatch, getting a good all round view and hope to
duck and shut the lid quick if a breaker comes. With all the looking
out I only saw 2 ships on the whole passage and that might have been the same
ferry going both ways.
Reefing, which means going to the mast on this boat, is safer with the
spray hood down. There is enough to go wrong with harness lines,
outhauls and preventers all trying to get muddled without having to crawl round
the spray hood.
I can adjust the self steering by leaning out of the cabin and
probably got wetter chancing a quick run out to the genoa furling and sheets
with just a waterproof jacket and hat, than the more serious excursions.
But my salopettes dry quickly - soaking into the sleeping bag.
I only sit out in the cockpit when I want to; the new windpilot self
steering performs well and hand steering was unnecessary even running up the
fjord this morning. Cooking, after a delay until midnight on the first day
to let the stugeron work, was mostly the instant meal for two (or one hungry
person) "just add water" type if which my wife Lorna had
arranged an excellent supply. Only on the second day, before the
south-westerly came in, could all the trimmings like vegetables be
The fulmars were out there on watch all the time, we brought a team of
about a dozen right across. Mostly they glide in and land downwind, to
take off and catch us up again about half a minute later. With no darkness
they were there whenever I looked, day or slightly twilight - the sun did
set from 12.30 to 3.30 this morning.
Kittiwakes joined in near Iceland and I identified (means nearly sure
of) a great skua about half way across. Interestingly the auks were
missing: No guillemots, black guillemots (so plentiful this year up through
the Hebrides) or puffins after leaving the Faroes. One razorbill
"identified" (same meaning - could have been a guillemot) 50 miles out from
the Faroes. We never did photograph a puffin, they dive as soon as the
camera is aimed, but there were many around.
A good trip with Milly performing as happily as a Contessa