Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Heatwave at home - but not here!

They say there is a heat wave due at home but there is no sign of that here at 62 degrees north. Instead the rain is lashing down but we are snug in our bunks in Torshavn harbour. 

In fairness we did see the sun yesterday and glimpsed the island summits that had hitherto been shrouded in mist. Steep green islands rising from a blue sea. It was worth the wait but today we are back to grey sea, grey skies and grey mountain mist.

We are docked in the heart of Toshavn about 100 metres from the Prime Minister's house and Parliament building. There are plenty of cafes, shops and quaint streets to distract us from the weather until it's good enough to hire a car and explore further afield.

And there is always the boat jobs and these have been going rather well lately with many glitches fixing themselves! Here is a resume.

Bow thruster fixed. Turns out it was just a carelessly placed warp that was obstructing descent of the leg.

Navtex antenna fixed. When dismantled we found it full of water which can't have been good for the circuit board. All we did was dry it out and, much to everybody's amazement it worked.

Wheel clutch almost fitted. 

Wind generator fixed itself. It turns out it was working all along but we had been confused by the on/off switch which appears to mean the opposite to what you would normally expect. "On" means the break is on so the generator is off. Ho Hum!

It's back to base for the Tacktick wind sensor (third one) which worked faultlessly for a day or two and then died.

The Fischer Panda generator is also living up to its reputation and still refusing to start and I have started a dialogue with their tech support in the UK.

Anyway there is plenty to keep us occupied through the grey days!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Arrival at Torshavn

We arrived safely in Torshavn today and we were allocated a temporary berth as the marina pontoons are full. A sunny trip up from Suderoy passing some impressive cliff's and islands along the way.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Tvoroyri festival

Well it turns out that the first weekend after the summer solstice is a festival at Tvoroyri. A family fun day complete with bouncy castles and a BBQs but all centred around the rowing races. Traditional boats and crews converged on the town from all over Faroe and many came in national dress. The weather obliged and we had a leisurely day wandering around the town chatting with the publican, with John the Harbour master and with the crew of a Norwegian yacht that came in from Shetlamd last night. Customs came and searched the boat for alcohol and drugs.

Mist, rain and boat maintenance - arrival in the Faroe's

We sighted land 40 miles south of Suderoy and, almost immediately, Torshavn Radio came on the VHF with a new gale warning but we couldn't decipher where or when it was to strike.  Our lovely peaceful voyage was set to end in a roller coaster towards a lee shore - not great! Reefs were taken. After a few attempts we managed to get back to Torshavn Radio who had been monitoring our progress on AIS. They read out the full forecast for our area which was very helpful and good to know that a full gale was not bearing down on us.

The wind did go round to the east and rise a little but, importantly, the sea state left my crew asking, "what would folk like for supper?" which is always a good sign that sea sickness is not abroad! 

We slipped into our anchorage at around half past midnight and anchored to the west of a small island on the south side of the fjord giving shelter from wind and swell. As promised dinner was produced and eaten and we were in bed by 2am just as the wind started to rise and the rain came in.

Friday we spent safely anchored in blustery conditions but the rain and mist didn't tempt us out. Instead we tended to a host of boat jobs a few of which were successful but the rest left us frustrated. Here is what went well and what didn't:
Successfully interfaced the new AIS transmitter with our chart plotter 
Successfully replaced a broken shower tray pump
Successfully connected the boats wifi to a free shore station
The cooker's ignition appears to have mended itself
Discovered our generator isn't starting. Looks like the fuel solenoid may have failed.
Our wireless wind sensor (new) is no longer visible on the network despite working perfectly a couple of days ago!
The Navtex appears to have given up receiving messages so we are going to have to check out the antenna when the weather is more clement.
The bow thruster leg isn't descending which is another job for a dry day

So a grey start to our Faroe sojourn. Tomorrow we will be due some shire leave!

Friday, 26 June 2015

On Passage from Scotland to the Faroe's

The tide was favourable from 11am so we left our dock at about 10:15 with a very light north easterly at Lochinver and we motored for the first couple of hours until the breeze filled in and clocked to the ENE. Up went the sails and the fast glide north began at a steady 7 knots. The forecast was for the wind to clock further to the east so we set a course to the north leaving us plenty of room, we hope, to ease the sheets as we near Suderoy.

We could still see the distant smudge of Cape Wrath when North Rona came up on our beam and the occasional tanker rounded the Cape behind us. Then there were only dolphins and the long twilight that passes for night at mid summer. As I write at 04:30 the sun is up and we have a hundred miles to go to Suderoy. Sally and Michael have escaped sea sickness and have both stood long watches but are now sound asleep. We are close hauled but sailing comfortably north in slight seas at a steady 6 knots. We are almost within touching distance of the Faroe's and should have a week there to explore them before we fly home a week tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Fine food in Lochinver

It was a short day from Risor to Lochinver in near flat seas much to the relief of Sally and Michael. We tied up alongside the sheet piling fishing dock and struggled to control the flow in the industrial sized re-fuelling pipe. We had already burned 136 litres!

After a small debate we elected to stay the night on the pontoon and enjoy the fine dining at the  lovely pie shop which, as usual, didn't disappoint. 

The starboard steaming light keeps shorting out so we are going to have to check out the fisherman's chandlery for a spare before we leave. At the harbour office we filled in the papers to check Shimshal out of the EU and paid our dues. So all set to leave woth the tide at around 10 am Wednesday. We have stowed the RIB on deck but are expecting light winds from the east but what we get remains to be seen!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Traighuaine to the Summer Isles

Sunday saw us catch the tide through Cuan and a gentle reach across to the entrance of the Sound of Mull where we got headed by the wind. The motor went on and we ended the day anchored at 1am in the bay to the north of Oronsay.

The tide was favourable at Kyle Rhea at 06.30 so we were up after 5 hours sleep to take the sleigh ride through the narrows at 11 knots over the ground.

Michael was waiting for us at the pontoon in Kyle  of Loch Alsh but we were keen to catch the tide under the Skye Bridge so we didn't hang about.

Twelve long and tedious hours of motoring into a steep chop saw Sally and Michael retreat to their seasick slumbers. We made painfully slow progress bucking and rearing our way north towards Lochinver. Fearing mutiny we diverted towards the Summer Isles and found a quiet anchorage between Risor and the mainland. A long sleep in a peaceful anchorage restored morale - at least in part!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Day one - quite a short cruise

Having driven to Traighuaine after work and arrived at 0330 we weren't in a hurry to push off so only made is far as the marina for fuel and provisioning! It's going to be a very long circumnavigation at this rate!

Anyway we worked hard all day and by sunset the boat was finally already to go. We will leave with the tide on Sunday lunchtime and hope to collect Michael at Kyle on Monday morning.