Gale Warning – Viking – NE8

We were sailing along in a lovely NNE 4 breeze yesterday when at 11.30 am the Met Office issued a Gale Warning – Viking, NE8 soon.

X marks the spot of Velvet Lady and we were heading right into Viking. Soon means in 6 to 12 hours time and we still had 48 hours to go until we would be clear of Viking. Time to look at those all important preparations for harbours of refuge. Where would you go?

The nearest option – and importantly within reach in the shortest time – was the Shetland Islands and so we set off on the opposite tack towards Sumburgh Head. It wasn’t long until the wind shifted and we were reaching in ever increasing wind making the sails smaller and smaller as we went. By 1900 the wind had reached 30 gusting 40 knots just to help us on our approach to the anchorage and by 2000 we were all secure at anchor in the Bay of Quendale just north west of Sumburgh Head.

Long ago I was taught – to escape the wind and waves just put a large lump of land between you and the wind – so that’s what we did! It is ‘sheltered’ but there are still waves all around us. Wind dial still registering 32 knots. Glad we are not outside.

I say ‘sheltered’ but even a quarter a mile off the beach there are waves all around us.

Lets hope tomorrow is a little better – now, where are the cards?

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