Passages and Milebuilding

Bob at the Wheel 1 (resized)comp

Our longer passages and milebuilding trips are in effect deliveries as we move Velvet Lady from one location to another.  These trips, as with all of our others, are dependent on the weather – we will not set out into the teeth of a gale, but as forecasting is only really reliable for the first 4 days, once we have been at sea for more that 5 days we have to just take what comes!

It can be cold, windy, wet, challenging and a bit scary at times or warm, calm, balmy and rather less challenging.  We regularly get a mixture of both and our last trip from Norway to Plymouth was no exception.

With gales forecast we stayed inshore for 2 days and sailed from Kristiansund to Gossa and then onwards to Alesund.  The weather was glorious and the wind mainly light – hard to believe that offshore it was howling.

We left Alesund into a steady force 6 and started hard on the wind towards the Shetland Islands.  Velvet Lady was in her element, but those on board who had never been out in these conditions found the motion a bit difficult for sleeping.

On all of our long trips, we work out the trip length based on how long it would take to complete if we had to beat the whole way.  If we are lucky and have wind in our favour we are then able to stop.

After 4 days of sailing Bob asked – where is the next stop – I don’t think he liked the answer, Plymouth.  At that stage we were making very slow progress, beating against a southwesterly wind and battling against half a knot of Norwegian current.  The wind needed to change for us to make progress and bank enough miles to allow us to stop.

That’s the thing with a 2 week trip – hardly ever does the weather stay the same for more than a week and so by our second week the wind shifted to the north giving us great tail winds.  As opposed to battling the Norwegian current we were faced with the Scottish tides and as luck would have it we arrived at the Mull of Kintyre with a great tide which then stayed favourable as we made our way south.  Max speed over the ground 11.4 knots!

This shift of weather in our favour allowed us to stop for a night in Southern Ireland and still arrive in Plymouth on time.

Our final total on the log was 1478 for a trip that measures 1100 by the shortest distance.  Our maximum wind was a good force 7 with occasional gusts of 8 – and we only really had one night of rain.  There were as always plenty of memorable moment.  Fantastic sunrises and sunsets, plenty of dolphins to keep us company and the odd land bird that took refuge under our sprayhood.

White-sided Dolphin (Cropped)comp

If you’ve never tried a long passage and wonder what it is like why not give one of our shorter ones a go.  Our next one is from Vigo to Madeira in November, 700 miles approx 5 nights at sea so we make it a 10 night trip.

It would be wrong to set off straight away in to the open ocean with people who are new to the boat so we always do a training day first – in this case usually sailing from Vigo to Bayona.  We hope to have a day spare at the end and visit the very special island of Porto Santo 35 miles NE of Madeira

Full details as usual on our website.