62N x 007W. Force 3 Southerly.
It’s 0450 GMT and we are just clearing the massive Faroese Cliffs which I believe are some of the highest in Europe (but don’t quote me on that). The tide was just right giving us a bit of a lift and sweeping us along in the calms under the lee of the land. We are now making 3.7 knots under yankee and full main and the stay sail is about to go up. We have had coffee and a big bowl of muesli which is kept in a yellow flare box. I had my Cod Liver Oil dose much to the disgust of the crew. It is 550 mile to Jan Mayen. Its too early to give an ETA but we reckon the 6th July. Once this phone reception goes it will be over to the satelite phone.
Archive for the ‘Faroes’ Category
62N x 007W. Force 3 Southerly.
Sumara set off yesterday down the narrow gap between Streymoy and Eysturoy. We had calculated that the mean tide would be at 2037 GMT. The narrows from Torshavn to near the bridge have no tidal rise at all but just after the bridge the rise and fall is 2m. At high water the stream runs at up to 12 knots towards the south and at low water it flows north. It is crucial to hit near slack water even at neaps. We departed from Torshavn about an hour earlier than we should have just because we were ready and eager to go. The wind was about force 3 south easterly, just about perfect. We aimed to sail slowly to arrive on time. After only about half an hour the wind increased and we were sailing at 6 knots with a reef. At this speed we would need to stop somewhere to bide time. Then the wind really got up. I went to put in a second reef but we decided to drop the main entirely and run under yankee alone. We were still making 6 knots and now the idea of stopping on a jetty would be dangerous because of the lee shore. Then the wind increased again, maybe the funnelling effect of the narrows and I went forward to reef the staysail ready for a hoist and to drop the yankee. John was doing a really splendid job on the helm and made an excellent suggestion of running under bare poles. We dropped all sails and Sumara gybed across the narrows slowly at 1.5 to 2 knots. She felt safe and secure and we were able to control our arrival time at the narrow and very dangerous bridge. Eventually the wind eased slightly and we decided to hoist the yankee and go for it. We were about one hour early but slack often occurs 50 minutes early.
There is a small harbour just short of where the current starts to run on the starboard side so it would be possible to lay alongside a fishing boat if necessary. (Not marked on my charts).
Now we were sailing at 5-6 knots under yankee approaching the bridge which has 17m air draft and 25m width. We were picking up a slight contrary current which built to 2 knots against but Sumara was happily making 4 knots SOG. At the bridge the wind fluked but quickly caught the sails again. Had the stream against us been stronger and the wind lighter it could have easily been possible for the tide to catch the bow of Sumara and sweep her onto the bridge piles but we were through and clear. We now needed to find the leading marks, a set of binoculars to hand at this stage would have helped. The white triangles with a red stripe are situated just to the right of a large white building. The second leading marks are easier to pick up on the grassy bank to the starboard and the safe water buoy is very clear. It is probably not really necessary for shoal draft boats to follow these lines but it’s best to do it by the book.
Once clear of the narrows we made quick progress along the last 5 miles to Eidi, a large easy to enter harbour with a long pontoon on the protected south side. The Eberspacher heater soon dried us out and we were eating a hearty meal before midnight. The wind howled all night so my batteries are once again fully charged.
I’m not sure if Thembi will set off in this wind but we have a bit of time to spare so there’s no mad rush. We couldn’t say goodbye to Thembi before we left because they were crewing on Nordlys on a fishing trip. I bet they had fun, Captain Birgir Enni is a wonderful generous Faroese character. Sarah, John and I will spend the day climbing the Faroes highest hill at 887m.
We all met up on Thembi last night go through any final details for the trip to Jan Mayen. Sumara will leave on Sunday to Eidi. We will clamber up the 887m high hill near there on Monday as are final exercise before sailing north. Thembi, the faster yacht, will probably follow on Monday. The Thembi crew went for a good climb when they went on their bus trip (I suspected it wouldn’t just be a bus trip!).
We decided we will listen on VHF and put our sat phones on between 1800 and 1900 GMT. We will call up on VHF but if out of range we will send a short text via sat phones. Gerry, Samantha and Richard will send occasional Ice Reports but only to Sumara. Thembi will email Gerry when they require Ice Information.
I will email Siggi at Borea Adventures just before we set off. On arrival we will call up the Station Commander on channel 16.
We all looked at all the anchorage possibilities. The weather is looking good to set off soon with southerly winds backing east. We will try to keep east to avoid being headed by the Jan Mayen current.
In the unlikely case of emergency we will put the Falmouth Coastguard telephone number into our satellite phones.
After the meeting Sarah took John and I out for an amazing meal to a recommended Italian restaurant. One of the best meals I’ve had (Peter won’t be happy about this).