Kiel to Åland

Hello all,

After a visit to the Family and some victualing (mainly Beer – at 25cts a bottle, almost cheaper than water)in Kiel it was time to push of again to enjoy the last of the Sommer in the Baltic and to have a Drinkie with my mate in Stockholm.

Easterly Wind first pushed us to the Schlei for a bit of time on the hook and then through the Danish Islands from where i first jumped to Ystad, SE and then with a good forecast in hand (very changeable weather over here) straight to the Stockholm Archipelago in 2 nights at Sea. Traffic was pretty thick so i did not fetch a lot of sleep and was pretty buggered when i got there.

What a wonderful place but ! 1 mio beautiful anchorages between Pinetrees, sometimes free swinging, sometimes tied up to a rock or tree. Meet my mate Conny on Miramis between the islands (last seen in Bora Bora a a few years ago) and we had a wonderful cruise through the Archipelago, utilized the free Saunas on some of the Islands and generally had a (boozy) whale of a time.

After a few days we decided to head over to Mariehamn in the Ålands which was a really nice daysail in warm and Sunny weather. Due to the Rona entry to Finland is banned for almost everybody – except Pleasureboats ! Felt almost obliged to go 😆 Had a very nice time in Mariehamn, good chats with some of the locals – and of course we visited the Maritime Museum with one of the legendary flying P-Liners: the “”Pommern” one of the last commercial sailships, all steel (a Windjammer) and back then engaged in the Wheat trade between South Australia and Europe. Even found a photo from the ship in Port Lincoln, South Australia – same spot we docked a little while ago.

Mariehamn is probably the furthest north (60-08N) we get this year which not bad considering we where at Cape Agulhas early this year (34-81 S).

Now off to Stockholm for a little visit and we’ll see where where going to bunk down for the rapidly approaching winter.

Brest to Kiel

After a couple days in the Bay of Brest my Sister came to crew and we set of towards the English Channel. The Weather in the Canal du Four was begin for a change and we made good progress towards Cherbourg till the tide turned north of Alderney, the wind died and Storm Petrel slowed to a crawl at around 1kts until 6 hrs later when it turned again and we popped into Cherbourg and dropped Anchor.Next stop and another 160nmi away was Dover, with England just opened up from the Corona, so we stopped over, had a nice curry and walked along the Cliffs.Further along, Niewpoort in Belgium, Harlingvliet, NL (where i sailed out from 9 years ago) and further Den Helder, NL where we entered in the dark to find the marina quite full with every possible berth taken and boats rafted up 3 deep on the hammerheads. Add to this an 25kt wind, a narrow channel in the middle and being unable to turn – it was certainly an interesting entrance.Another uneventful overnight passage along the Frisian Islands and we made just in time for the tide the entrance to the Elbe where we docked the next night.The English Channel is certainly always a tricky passage, with tons of traffic and tides all along which run quite often at 4-5kts, so even after careful planning you always get a bad one or it turns 5 nmi from the next harbour and it takes you 3 hrs to get in instead of 45min.The next day took the tide up the Elbe already and locked into the Kiel Kanal where we spend the next 2.5 days, the weather being perfect and with enough spaces among the trees to tie up and get among the excellent german beer and sausages.Storm Petrel is now tied up in Kiel in the tideless Baltic Sea and we will take a little bit of time to visit the family and attend to some repairs, purchase of spares and victualing to maybe still get a little cruise in before the Summer ends. Which by the way has been excellent in the past days : 30c, blue skies, light winds. Everybody is out and about, the Kiel inlet is crowed with sails and vessels of all shapes and sizes.

Landfall Ushant

Made landfall in Ushant/Oessant after 12 days and 1500nmi from the Azores.The (windless) centre of the high just keep changing on a daily basis with the models suggesting either a beat on the s end of it or a long detour over the top with westerlies. At some point it kept changing so much that i thought it might easier just to motor all the way to Brest but then i changed my mind and and went North – and ended up motoring almost all the way anyway. Uggh.Very nice wildlife upon approaching the continental shelf, 2 finn whales came for a visit and tons of dolphins.Bit of excitement as the AIS cut out and wouldnt show anything over 4 miles – the traffic being rather thick on the entrance of the English Channel. Traced it later to broken shield/ground of the PL/SO Antenna connector of the board of the unit itself (after climbing the mast with a long cable and a solder iron between my teeth put new plugs on the cable) so all good now and very necessary in the channel and the north sea.

Day 7 from the Azores

46-35 N, 14-11W Winds N 15-18kts, Seas 1.5m COG 80 SOG 5-6

the choices of going around or through the high vanished so we motored for a couple hours and fetched N winds in the Eastern Side of the High after crossing the center. We have been doing a few fast days now, with the wind forward of the beam however and plenty of water over the deck (and inside) again as the seas getting rougher. Its also been a little grey and cold – i even had to heat a little water for washing today as the Water was like 16T. The forecast changes about every 12hrs with routing suggesting either to go up to almost Ireland and then dropping down again and the other to beat towards brittany and then tack up towards the channel. Neither is really good and both have plenty of very light wind sections. Might continue as i am and see what the forecast brings tomorrow. All is well.

Day 4 from the Acores

Hello !
it took us about 2 days with some engine hours and some sailing in light airs to cross the center of the high which sat stationary right above the Acores but since we have been enjoying very nice conditions – running with S and SSE Winds of 10-15kts and blue skies and sunshine.
I might all change in the coming days as another high moves in and we not yet sure how we going to handle this – N to get on top of it, or W to have more consistent winds (but having to beat)

Other than this all is well on board. Besides Potatoes, Onions and Cabbage all the yummy fresh produce, bread, meats ect from the Acores are gone already (and i thought i brought lots) but of course our lockers are still full with stuff from ZA,Brazil, Martinique and even Australia. Always surprises me – its not helping that everytime i go shopping i buy amounts which makes every corona panic-buyer look like a beginner.

44-55N 22-49W / Wind S 12 / Seas 1.5m / COG 55 / SOG 5.3kts

The Acores

Well its always like this: When i enjoy a place very much and have a very good time i rarely ever manage to write in the Blog. Same happened with entirety of the South Pacific, Tasmania ect ect.

Had a wonderful time in the Acores. The Islands where green and spectacular to look at – with flowers growing in every corner in an almost wasteful manner, the local dairy, meats and wines one of the best ever tasted and the People incredibly friendly.
How can you write when you need to go out all the time to find a cut of picanhia or have another glass of 1eur wine at the bar with seafaring friends from near and afar ? Near impossible.

Will add photos later but for now we have departed from Praia do Victoria on Terceira towards the european mainland or the english channel depending how the wind blows. Managed (hopefully) to cross the center of the Acores High in the last 2 days and (should) have now ok winds for a couple days. 42-02N 26-58W – Joe / Storm Petrel

Landfall Horta.

Thursday morning after 26 days at Sea we spotted the Island of Faial ahead and dropped anchor at 0600 (but much later in local time) in 8m of water in Horta Harbour. Its been 2665nmi miles, 2 days under engine and 100% upwind. What a trip.

The boat is well but pretty moist inside. Its going to be a multi day job washing everything, drying the upolstery and scrubbing the mould off the walls. Even the cutlery has rusted away !

Maritime Police contacted me later that day to book me in for a Covid Test which we had the following day and yesterday once the result was known i was free to clear in and roam the land. In the fine Tradition of Sailing and Seafaring the first call of course was to “Cafe Peter Sport” a legendary Horta watering hole where Moitessier and Chinchester have already dined and from which the waitress had to pry me out at 2am already “because they where closing”. Bullshit.

Needless to say today is slow and i have yet to vacate my bunk but its a fine day here in the Azores, the air is crisp and the Sun is shining.

It feels good to be here.

Day 22 – North Atlantic

Pos estimated 37-14N 36-42W, NNE 30, Swell 3m

Hello
after tacking for a couple days we made one long line due North and then a day ago we tacked west. Winds have been pretty light, till this morning when we got gusts of 35kts, lots of rain and now a steady 25-30. Swell is building and we still going to windward, beating into the swell so it is pretty bumpy and very wet. This will continue for the next couple days i think, not totally sure how we going to make it to the Azores as the most we can do E and need to go NE. Maybe a little windshift is coming our way later i hope.
Boat is leaking a bit too, on account of the tons of water coming over the deck every couple seconds. Not very pleasant. Difficult trip this one. Still 400nmi to Horta.

On a more courious note – all GPS (x3) are down this afternoon and have been for a while. As all 3 are affected it must be something external i guess. Strange.

GPS came back this evening. puh ….

Day 16 – North Atlantic

Hello.
Boat Pos 31-15 N, 43-32 W. Wind NE 8kts, Seas 0.5-1.5m. 4/8 Cloud.

After motoring 2 days due East we neared a big band of clouds – and with it NE Winds. NE is also the direction we wish to go so we’ve been fiddling with the boat for the last days – No1 changed to No3, laying the sheets inside the shrouds for tighter sheeting angle, Outhaul in, Outhaul out, a Ton of Pressure on the backstay to get the sag ot of the Luff (after disassembling the seized backstay adjuster und boiling it in vinegar for an hour to get it working again), traveller up – and down again – we are now doing nice lines on the chart and sailing closer to the wind then ever – if a steep chop doesnt slow us down.

The Azores are still 900nmi to windward so its going to be a tedious job to get there but we are hoping the wind is going to come around a little bit in the coming days. So far the Atlantic : 14 days upwind, 2 days no wind. Slow going.

Otherwise all is well aboard. Gone through all the fresh vegetables ect but well stocked in the Can and dried stuff compartment. Because of the endless ‘going to windward’ the hatches and vents are shut and the inside is a little moist and its getting a bit grimy. At least its gotten a bit colder in recent days (been wearing a singlet for the first time in months) so the temperatures inside are ok. Would be nice to have a little rest and give the boat a bit of air and a wash but that might be still a little while away – word is that Horta closed because of overcrowding. Still a while to go so we’ll see when we get there. All well,
Joe

Day 11 – North Atlantic

27-29 N, 47-54 W, Wind 0kts, Seas 0m, No Clouds, sunny

the previously mentioned area of Squalls and Thunderstorms turned into a Tropical Low which thankfully moved into a northerly direction after a couple days and disolved. Scary und pretty unpleasant – confused seas, thunder and lighting but almost no wind where i was.
After that followed a couple days of sailing hard on the wind in a deminishing breeze which finally dropped to less than 5 kts on the beam yesterday our speed dropped to 1.5-2kts. The grib files only show a quickly diminishing band of S wind north of us which we might not catch so we made the gamble to motor E for 250nmi to hopefully catch some winds from a big cold front sitting over the azores. Really not sure if thats going to work out.
Meet a french singlehander a couple days ago, he came on a slightly more easterly course untill we sailed side by side and had a chat from boat to boat.
Today the wind has dropped to nothing – and the sea is flat like a mirror, not even a slight ripple. Its really magic, i can see small Octupus swimming about as we motor slowly through the blue. Almost like a holiday, no trimming, no holding on, dishes dont land on the floor and i can drink full cups of coffee without spilling – only the motor is droning away (on diminishing diesel stores). For this reason i do also hope that we find wind soon – we a still not even half way.