Our own boat is parked on the hard in the Carribean since end of June till early November. Currently this is not the best place to be – high temperatures, high humidity and a risk of hurricanes. So the outlook was no sailing for five months. My wife and I were looking forward to be back in Germany again after a long time, to see family and friends and to enjoy German food such as white asparagus. But five months seemed to be quite a long time without sailing to me.
When Bernd called and asked if I would like to join him bringing Hullu Poro from the Acores via Ireland and Scotland to Sweden, I did not need to think twice. 
On June 25th I flew to Ponta Delgada and became crew of Hullu Poro. Luckily, the weather window did not allow for an immediate departure to Ireland, so I had some time for hiking Sao Miguel. Although we have been there with our own boat before for more than a month, there are still hikes and nice areas of this island to discover.
About a week later we got the right wind to leave. The boat was ready, the fridge full and the crew motivated to be on passage. The first 24 hours were a bit rough sailing, and it took some time for both of us to get used to the ocean again. After that, the passage was uneventful with a lot of reading, movie watching and the few daily duties such as dish washing or cooking on board.
Each day of the passage it became a bit colder, the water temperature dropped from 21° in Ponta Delgada to 14° in Ireland. After sailing for months in shorts and t-shirt only, I now needed all warming layers I had.
On the last day we got a kind of wake-up call from the weather. A storm depression was chasing us on our way into Cork. It got us, but in the end it was not more than a strong breeze.
In Ireland we visited Cork, Dublin and Belfast. Three nice cities with great pubs and nice hiking trails for me and nice bike tours for Bernd around.

Since weather was mixed and more on the wet side, sailing between our stops was not a major highlight. But one aspect of sailing came back into the game – tides. They do not play a role on Azores, Canaries, Cape Verde or the Caribbean, but need to be considered on the British Isles. Especially north of Ireland they need to be taken into account for the plan.  So, our departure from Belfast with destination Tobermory in Scotland was at 3:00 AM, but this helped us to have a fast ride with currents mostly from the back.

As before in Ireland, weather was mixed at our stops in Tobermory, Oban and the Caledonian Canal, but from time to time we saw the sun. The Caledonian Canal was a real highlight for me. My wife and I have been in Scotland and at the canal more than once, but seeing it from “inside” and passing all the locks was a nice experience.

After a few days in Inverness we took the first feasible wind opportunity to cross the North Sea towards Denmark. It was not perfect, but more sailing than motoring. North Sea was very busy with many fishers, cargo ships and oil rigs, so night watches did not get boring. After 3,5 days we arrived safely in Skagen where we enjoyed the Danish coziness and nice tours, but not the pub scene with beer prices of more than 11 €.

After a few days we had a perfect wind to cross the Kattegat towards West Sweden. It was a fast ride with strong winds from the back. At lunch we arrived in a completely different world with many small granite islands and even cozier small villages compared to the sandy dunes landscape in Skagen.

Here my time at Hullu Poro will come to an end after being on board for more than two months. It was a great time with Bernd on Hullu Poro. After learning to sail 35 years back this was my first time as crew member and not skipper – and for me it worked out nicely to sail with Bernd as skipper. Thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to join you on this part of your trip and thanks a lot for your hospitality. 
It was a really cool trip – and now I am so cooled down that I am looking forward to sail in the warm Caribbean again.
Fair winds…
Co-Skipper & TideMaster