We really love Peterhead. It is not just a pitstop on the way to better and bigger places. It is one of those place that we return to knowing full well that we’ll be able to pop our feet up and chill out no matter what the weather might be. This time was the same. Felt like home. Surprising, I know. When we shared our sentiment with the locals, they were surprised too. We hang around for 8 days enjoying meeting new people and reconnecting with those, who we previously encountered on the way and now also came to Peterhead Marina. It was refreshing to be invited for some socialising on the boats of fellow sailors and immerse in their worlds, learn about their adventures and plans, or just chat in the passing on the pontoons. It must be one of those parallel universe junctions, which attracts kindred spirits. Such a worthy visit for us.
Meeting all those people and learning about their experiences in conjunction with the changing weather was reshaping our sailing plans . First we had the intention of going to Shetlands but the grand idea of exploring these islands was colliding with the planned mid-June arrival in Iceland, and indeed with the angle of the wind that could potentially bring us in the north-western direction, with a stopover in the Faroe Islands. We discussed and agreed to abandon the idea in favour of going to the Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. This area of the world is known for tidal races, which combined with many rocks present a challenge to any vessel. Nonetheless we studied the charts and pilot books with the intention of landing in the Orkneys. In the meantime fog wrapped Scotland, and everything north and east of the Scottish coast. Neither of us would dare to approach Kirkwall in the thick fog, so the blissful stay in Peterhead was extended and a few more trips to the town were made to replenish the stocks of Polish sweets and other essentials.
The fog lingered for a few days so we plotted a new course, which now excluded the visit to the Orkneys and laid out a new clear path directly to the Faroe Islands. That meant we had our longest passage yet ahead of us. On the first of June we set out to execute the plan. We had a fantastic sunny weather as we motored out of the Peterhead harbour. It is always optimistic to start a passage, or any voyage for that matter, on a sunny day. After three hours we were able to turn off the engine and with the jib only we were sailing. What is really special about this passage, we didn’t take the cockpit enclosure down. We decided that we’ll try to sail with it up while running with only the jib unfurled. It worked a treat! We had three perfectly sunny days, and the nights never got dark as it happens this time of year in the closer to the north pole it gets. It was a bit rolly so it felt like sitting on a swing on a sunny porch. We could shed all the heavy gear as it was perfectly warm in the shelter of the cockpit and behind the plastic windows. I like swings and always wanted to have a house with a porch overlooking a lake, but until I have one, this is perfect, or even better. We enjoyed the shelter of the cockpit only rolling up the sides depending on the tack. At some stage we run into a patch of low wind and woke up Perkins for a couple of hours and finished off the 58 hour passage with a 6 hour motor, but other than that we were sailing! Marvellous indeed!
I find passages to be energy consuming despite the only physical effort I seem to make is climbing from the the cockpit down to the heads and back up, or to the saloon and back again. Mark is usually on the galley duty. For the above mentioned reasons these prove to be those uncanny times that run the stocks of sweets down, and fill all the pockets around the cockpit with empty wrappers. This passage was no different, so when we saw Suðuroy on the horizon we decided to delay arrival in the capital city for a day in favour of a much needed rest. We drop the anchor on the shores of Tvøroyri. If we had attempted sailing to Esturoy island we would have encountered opposing currents so it was a good choice. We sailed into the fjord and delighted in the familiar view. As we approach the end of the fjord the wind surprised us with a speed of 28 knots, so I needed a quick refresher of how to keep the bow in the wind while Mark dropped the anchor. We were home! Of course, home is, where the boat is.
After dinner and shower we had a full night sleep. Badly needed! The passage was great and the weather really good, but apart from an uneasy state full of dreams I don’t really get proper rest. Without landing on the island, the following days we picked up the anchor and motored all the way to Tórshavn on the island of Esturoy. We hoisted the main up in hope of using it, but due to no wind we only used it to practice the hoisting up, dropping it down and storing it away while in motion. A very successful practice.
We arrived in the capital city that evening and made friends with fellow sailors on neighbouring boats. We quickly got talking to Soni from Switzerland on a very impressive 124 year old wooden pilot cutter, Spenner, and Ed from Cork in Ireland, on a beautiful Oyster yacht, Lia. The international relationships started really well on Lia and that is when I have learn about the 100 year rule from Soni. He is a pretty incredible and a very inspiring individual, with this unfathomable aura of agelessness about him. He told us about a trip he made with his mates into the forests of Arkansas. They came across an abandoned and forgotten settlement that was being reclaimed by Mother Nature. Except for ruins of houses they found hundred year old graves that didn’t matter anymore to anyone, which led to the conclusion that if something wouldn’t matter in a hundred years, it probably doesn’t matter now. It felt really valid. Would it matter in a hundred years if I applied myself to a corporate career, built a house and tried to impress everyone? Less than likely. Will the next generations talk about a crazy woman in their family who went sailing? More than likely. With this reassurance we are now in Tórshavn, meeting awesome people and plotting the course for the next trip!
On the passage from Peterhead in Scotland to the Faroe Islands.
Tórshavn Port, Faroe Islands
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Hoisting the Q flag on approach to the Faroe Islands - funny enough the customs in the Faroe asked us what it meant....
Tórshavn Port, Faroe Islands
On the way from Suðuroy to Tórshavn Port, Faroe Islands,
Arrival in Suðuroy, Faroe Islands
Moored in Suðuroy Faroe Islands - picture taken by our Faroese Fried