Boating & Biking Adventures

Author: Bernd via DL9BS/mm Page 1 of 15

North Sea Crossing – Logblog 3

Sailing on the thrid day was uneventful. Grey sky all over with some showers here and there. Acceptable wind conditions, the engine was only needed to support for about two hours. Overall good progress. Lazy day.

We only had to replace the pressure controller on the gas bottle before trying our Pad Thai Kit purchased in Scotland. Adding some shrimps, leek and carrot made a delicious meal in minimum time.

At dusk timing we reached closer to land between Norway and Denmark and traffic significantly increased. A lot of ships getting through the Skagerrak Strait. From 15min routine to constant watch. We stayed close to the TSS, touched it once for a few miles but had overall less traffic compared along the closer shores of Denmark. However, another wave of traffic lies ahead of us. They seem to come in batches somehow.
We have 85nm to go to reach the tip of Jutland. Winds will vary and might have to use the engine again to arrive before coming evening in lovely Skagen.

Fair winds…

North Sea Crossing – Logblog 2

After we had left Moray Firth some heavy clouds were building up behind us. We could escape most of it but one front crossed us with some medium gusts and pouring rain adding little lightning and thunder still a few miles away. Impressive, what grumbling mother nature can build up and throw at you, if not in a good mood.

It then became a race towards the northeastern tip of Scotland marked through Fraserburg or Peterhead nearby. We had to get around that landmark corner in time to catch the winds which shall take us further to the East over the North Sea. Our weather window was tight and not getting into these winds in time would have caused us headache and trouble. As the winds along the Scottish coastline were not only variable in strenght but also in direction, we had to use the engine most of the time to ensure we don´t let our on-off chance go – hit the important landmark before it gets dark and catch the southerly winds. Finally we got there in time and waived the alternative to stop in Peterhead Marina and wait for another weather window, which was not apparent at all for the next few days ahead. So far so good.

Favorable winds took us through the first night. 15-20kn TWS and around 90° – 120° TWA were perfect conditions to cross these busy and highly respected seas. Our straight courseline was set to leave the oil & gas fields at safe distance, minimum 5nm.

Clear blue sky and plenty of dolphins entertained us during the following day. Perfect sailing conditions, only the skipper was fighting with himself. Leaving Inverness with a light cold and headache, some weak seasickness added to my mood, which can be summarized: totally useless! I was glad Co-Skipper and Tidemaster Jan stepped in and did most of the watch & work with minimum breaks for taking rest himself. Feeding the fish with some tasty lasagne finally resolved the knot and wellbeing increased from mile to mile. I have no further comments to that, only questions!?!

Before the second night broke in a Danish sailor crossed our line and reminded us one more time to keep good watch, day and night! As he had no AIS and we were on collision course, it is of utmost important to keep the 15min watch cycle for thorough and sharp lookout. All technic in the world cannot replace a good sharp lookout. So now, the second night is over and all is back to normal routine. The oil & gas fields are behind us, we have crossed Greenwich median and have arrived back in the Eastern lines of longitude.

There are two hundred nautical miles to go and we will arrive in Skagen/Denmark, our first choice destination for landfall, not only to for the Remoulade! 🙂

Let me get this overdue Logblog published now and download the latest weather data to see, if we can rely on the wind until arrival.

Fair winds…

☝️…North Sea Crossing – Logblog 1

A funny welcome we get out here on the North Sea. Not scary - it is just amazing! We are through the front in the meantime, which brought light thunder and rain with a bit of gusting winds.

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 15

Land, ho! Land, ho! Land, ho!

30nm to go and Mt. Pico has just stuck his mountaintop (2351m) through a thick base layer of clouds hanging over the horizon with the rising sun coming up slowly making it a warm welcome through its pastell yellow colour. The air is fresh but not cold.

The Portuguese Flag is up under the starbord first spreader bar.

What a magnificant arrival back at the Azores Archipelago!

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 14

The wind eased further during today’s afternoon hours as predicted and we are running under engine towards Horta. Not even worth to motor sail. There is no impact from the sails below 5kn TWS and on top of that, the wind direction is on the nose, first time since 14 days, luckily.

Once the windwaves were complete gone, the sea became very glassy, only left with some wide old swell still giving the surface a ponderous but lively patina. Some dolphins came along and plenty of Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish passing by. We did not spot any more whales unfortunatly.

The waning moon just joined me on my watch. Moon rise was at 3:42am UTC today and it provides a strong reflection on the water at 1 o’clock starboard side just above the waterline. Together with the million of stars under the cloudless sky it feels good to be embraced in a very peaceful ambience.

Traffic is increasing and clearly visible per AIS on the chart plotter. Some known names pop up like SY Northstar, a boat under US flag with a bunch of very friendly and pleasant guys from Israel. They anchored next to us in St. George/Bermuda and left a day earlier. SY Vahine with Skipper Jonas from Finnland has arrived in Horta with his 50 year old heritage SWAN 65, a S&S design as he told me over VHF about a week ago when passing by. Although we are still 45nm away, we can see his AIS signal also on the plotter, strange. We agreed at that time to have a beer together (or two) in Peters Café Sport.

I promised myself to jump into the water for a swim, if it is still glassy at sunrise and take a photo of the lady from a worm’s eye view. It will not be an easy one at water temperatures below 15°C and the temptation is firmly linked to duck pond scenery. Let’s see!?!

Time to enjoy the last few hours of this passage rather than writing more trivia.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 13

Soon we are closing the circle of our North Atlantic Adventure. The idea was born while sailing the Azores in summer last year. We explored Santa Maria, Sao Miguel and Terceira last year.

Our landfall is now planned in Horta/Faial, the most westerly island of the central group and with very good facilities for yachtsmen arriving after an Atlantic crossing. Historically, Horta specifically has not only become famous in the area of seafaring but also aviation, apart from the Chinese bringing the hydrangeas to the island in the 18th century, which is now spread across all islands but left Faial with its nick name of ‘Blue Island’. I have already very much enjoyed this intense vegetation along the roads last year on the bike.

The marina itself first opened in 1986 and has since been developed and provides nowadays excellent facilities for yachts. More than 1000 yachts per year pass by utilizing the more than 300 berth including anchorage and dedicated spots for bigger yachts and superyachts, a category, which is constantly growing. Numerous international and regioinal races start, stop or become home for a short stop-over in Horta.

We look forward to close the circle and explore Horta/Faial, an island, which I missed last year.

ETA, Saturday, 13th May 2023. What a lucky date!

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 12

It appears that there is/was some blockage or at least delay on the logblog entries getting online. Not sure what the technical glitch might be but nothing I can fix from here. Therefore a short update without photo, perhaps that helps.

We have 150nm to go. Another good breeze took us westwards over the last 24 hours or so. The engine is resting but will be needed for the final stretch as per the latest forecasts.

HOT FROM THE PRESS: While writing above lines, I just got confirmation that logblog 11 is now online. I have therefore attached today’s sunrise.

Rainer and myself would not mind to go on for a third week but then we need to plan another passage next time. I keep saying after two weeks: another week and you are in Panama. The following three weeks will bring you to Marquesas. The world has become even smaller for me since seeing it out of the eyes of an ocean going sailor and knight. Fantastic.

As the wind came a bit more easterly overnight and our heading into Horta is a pure West, 90° bearing, Sailmaster Rainer spent hours to optimize the sails for this clause-hauled configuration in order to capture the last bit of engery from the breeze and transform it into boat speed and maximum VMG. There is no line or sail shape left out of this consideration and we talk mm by now rather cm of adjustments. Fine tuning of the fine tuning. The amazing part is that the lady, with not less that 14-15t displacement or better live weight, reacts to it like a sensitive beauty enjoying this interaction with an enthusiatic race sailor Rainer defintely is. I am learning and I am glad not to be asked to sit all day and night on the windward edge to minimze boat inclination. 🙂

Ups, just a small dophine saying hello on port side playing with the bow. There was one yesterday and I wonder if it is the same as normally they come in groups but this one seem to be on his own mission, a bit strange. Now there are a few more, really small, less than a meter in length I would guess.

Time for a second cup of coffee.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 11

It was a busy day under motorsail and Rainer and myself had a good program under a sunny sky. Some boatwork was on the list, another nutcake a la Kalle in the oven, afternoon nap, etc. The highlight of the day was definitely our pit-stop at the petrol station called ”Happy Dynamic”, a cargo vessel operated by Big Lift from Amsterdam taking some yachts from puppy sailors back to Ireland.

Us, currently sailing the Low Wind Challenge requires some diesel and although we had 400L at the start in Bermuda, I thought it would be nice to top-up, especially as we had been under motor sail for some time and the needle started to move downwards. We saw on AIS that Happy Dynamic was comming along with a CPA of 12nm and a corrsponding TPA of 1.5 hours. My call on VHF was answered instantly and after a few minutes the deal was done. 100L of diesel in exchange of 200Euro and 100g Milka chocolate as a token, canisters included. Happy Dynamic altered the course and came to stop at the common point where we transfered diesel, dollars & sweets. We have now peace of mind, in case the wind will not come back at all.

What an attitude towards seamanship!

Our adventure continues.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 10

There was no escape looking at the weather map for the North Atlantic and its forecast. I have not studied this enough in the past but it looks a bit akward and exceptional with these two high pressure systems covering 95% of the North Atlatic surface. On top of that, the centers of the two dominating high pressure systems state the same pressure level of 1031mbar, with little drop towards each other.

At our current position we read 1025mbar atmospheric pressure, which results in 6-8kn true wind speed (TWS) only, sunshine with some distant clouds and plenty of whales.

We keep motor sailing.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 9

The sun is out under a blue sky. The humming noise from the engine still on and that will probably go on for another few days. Sails are up and helping us together with 0.5 to 0.8kn of friendly current to close the gap to Horta, a traditional must destination for any sailor coming from West and arriving in Azores.

We got plenty of water & food. Both of us, Rainer and me, are spreading an incredible positive mindset to make this passage memorable with gale force winds at the start and a glassy sea at the end.

There is no reason to be bored. While the lady gets an extra portion of care here and there, we grab the chance to allow some good quality time for ourselves.

Fair winds…

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