Thursday July 26th

Thu 26 Jul 2018 15:32

Thursday July 26th

Approaching Shetland. 60:17.7N, 0:52.7W

0800: it feels great to see land once more and the North Sea crossing has been good thus far. We still have 50 or so miles to go, having done 235 Nm since Tuesday morning. Patrick and Virginia arrived on an early flight from Alesund after a short overnight in Oslo, missing Mary who was returning on the same flight. A brief meeting with our replacements, Philippe and Rachael, and we were off in drizzle which turned into heavy rain. Quite a lot of coastal wildlife, cormorants and gannets, splendid in their white coats with black wing tips, but no wind. Just the hum of the motor which is quite soporific initially and then irritating. 4 hours on watch was sufficient to get thoroughly soaked, but warming soup and sandwiches helped, followed by a sleep. In light winds the bow cabin is great as it’s furthest from the engine.

We soon got into the four hour pattern of eat, sleep, sail, repeat, with little to break the monotony initially. Those shades of grey....actually as I’d had a busy time back home with family visits and Mary’s hen weekend, I was happy for the solitude and quietness. Peter E pulled out the stops with a great chicken shawarma cooked entirely in the pressure cooker and that, along with the revelation of secret stashes of chocolate, (thanks for that protectionism, Mary) kept the crew going through the night. Finally, at 07:30 on Wednesday, we were able to switch off the engine and sail. It was 150 Nm to the waypoint so a long and steady beat with a certain amount of chop. Nothing too serious, and a breeze compared to The Barents Sea. A few reefs in and out just to keep us awake, and some good food in between the sleeps. Back to a four hours on four off system which leaves little time for anything else. But the passage is relatively short, being under 300 miles, so it should be two broken nights rather than three, and conditions are good after the early rain.

I was fortunate enough to see a dolphin as we passed the massive lump of the Magnus Oil rig.This is the most northern oilfield, and we saw this with its support vessel keeping nearby. A beautiful sunset around midnight ended both days, and the nights are short and dusky, although Peter Y, who was on the midnight to 0400 shift, disputed that suggestion, assuring me that it did really get ‘proper dark’. Both mornings I have been woken to bright sunlight and although this hasn’t persisted all day we have certainly had plenty of sun. After northern Norway it has been relatively warm, although after the UK heatwave I suppose it’s relatively cool. At times we have had pleasant sailing and good sleeping, but at other times the chop has made it quite uncomfortable with plenty of slamming. Luckily we can ‘hot berth’ in the back cabins so there’s no need to sleep in the bow cabin.

Stop press

We have arrived at Lerwick.... 60:09.3 N 01:08.5 W
282 miles and 52 hours

Eating cake, vanilla sauce, custard creams and chocolate. Reminding Peter E that some of us still have over 100 Nm to go to Orkney!!

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