Passage to Greenland

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Tue 24 Jun 2014 19:27

63:09.46N 27:55.3W

Passage to Greenland

The passage started off in fine form yesterday afternoon. Having motored virtually all the way from Oban, we were delighted to find that we had a good force 5 wind on the beam. The wind continued to increase a little, so we reefed the main, and then furled the foresail. As night drew on, it was clear that there was going to be no let up as the wind continued to increase and the seas began to hump up. We were now reefed right down, recording winds of force 6 and 7 and at midnight I see that force 8 was recorded in the log. It also began to pour with rain. As usual though, Suilven behaved in a perfectly civilized way, rising up over the oncoming waves, steering herself perfectly competently so we could huddle in the shelter of the ‘tent’ and watch the ever increasing waves disappearing towards the horizon. The occasional wave would come from a slightly different direction, and either slap into us, dousing the cockpit with water – it needed a good clean anyway – or picking us up on the crest and leading us on a giddying surf for a few seconds, our speed suddenly doubling to 15 knots and more. We had a good few hours of this in what passes for the night here. It would still have been perfectly feasible to read a book in the cockpit, if we hadn’t been so exercised with monitoring what was going on. Today however is a different story. At seven in the morning, the wind died quite suddenly and we have been motoring ever since, and look likely to be motoring for at least another 24 hours.

A success today has been making SSB radio contact with Festina Lente, a Discovery 55 owned by Nick Pochin, which left shortly before us also bound for Nuuk, Greenland. She is going slightly faster than us, and although we managed to make VHF radio contact yesterday, today she was too far away for this to be possible. A radio schedule had been agreed between all 4 boats on passage to Greenland, and we were delighted when at the appointed hour, the interference noise on the chosen channel was broken by the distinct sound of Suilven being called up. We then had a long conversation with the crew of Festina Lente, although there was no word from the other two boats. We have had the SSB radio for some 8 years now, and have very rarely used it. I think it is fair to say that it is not an ‘intuitive’ piece of equipment, and it sits there in the corner of the nav station, silently daring us to try and make any sense of it. Well today we did, and are now scheduled to make contact daily to share weather and ice information plus any other things of interest such as wild-life sightings.

As I post this blog, the skies have cleared and it is a glorious evening, although there is an unmistakable nip in the air!