Stynoe towards Camarinas Spain.

After such a long preparation time for our circumnavigation which accelerated to a frenzied tempo for about the last 6 months, our departure on the 20th of June 2010 was a welcome relief.

We enjoyed a great bar b que the day previous which gave us a chance to thank and say farewell to all that have helped us in various ways to get the good ship ready for her

big voyage, music was in the air and the beer flowed with gusto.

It’s only now as I sit here in the north of Spain and begin to write a bit for our website the reality of it begins to sink in. Long cherished ambitions have a way of creeping up on one so it’s a case of taking a break now and then, sit back and actually enjoy what’s happening.

Crossing the North sea towards the Moray Firth and in turn the entrance of the Caledonian Canal can often prove to be a baptism of fire for Danish circumnavigators, revealing itself to be a bit of a millpond with calms and light winds resulting in a hefty fuel bill.

We picked up our first fair wind two days out of Inverness which gave us a chance to set our new square sail.

Yukon having a fore and aft gaff rig was in need of a yard and a square sail to catch the predominant trade winds so this new addition to our sail wardrobe sewn in our hay loft at home by our first mate Sune was set with great anticipation and shows itself to be as good as hoped giving good stability when running down wind.

With an area of about 50 square meters the sail can be both set and handed from the deck which means there is no need for a hand to lay aloft, a valuable thing in hard weather.

The Caledonian canal and in turn the picturesque Scottish highlands was a wonderful trip and gave us a chance to relax in the evenings at either a quiet anchorage or alongside at various small canal towns, the 50 mile transit took us a week.

One of the highlights was our search for Nessie, but to no avail, she kept herself well hidden at the bottom of her tranquil Loch.

After 29 locks and 3 different lochs, we had traversed the great glen of Scotland. We lay 3 days in the town of Oban which was a treat, time for a bit of shopping and lots of fish and chips.

The islands of western Scotland are girdled by strong tidal streams running in places up to 6 knots so it made for some challenging sailing for the next few days as we visited Jura and port Ellen on Islay, all on board were touched by the closeness of these small communities reminding us a bit of our own Strynoe.

Islay is famous for her whiskey and rightly so, we relieved them of a few bottles and made our way south toward the emerald isle.

Our transit down to northern Ireland was made in a good 40 knot breeze on the back of a low pressure system – one of which seems to sweep through that part of the world every second day. The 4 to 5 meter swells washed the sawdust out of a few places and gave us a good chance to see how splendidly ship and crew braved the north Atlantic rollers.

We said goodbye to bonny Scotland with a cheer as we cleared the Mull of Kintyre and shaped up a fine course towards a rolly anchorage in Red Bay Northern Ireland.

Ireland is full of Irishmen, and they are to say the least hospitable. No sooner had we dropped the hook, began invitations for beer and showers at the local yacht club, and to be shouted by passing yachts curious to see what Danish Vikings look like these days.

Coasting down towards Dublin gave us a good impression of this tidal coast with its strong currents and squally weather. Our wood stove onboard was showing its worth. We enjoyed some lovely anchorages – some of the nights rainy and blowy others calm and light.

 

We arrived in Dublin a couple of days ahead of schedule to give folks with early flights home a chance to check the scene. One of the comments I overheard on board was how totally peaceful an early morning anchor watch was, it great to see people discover the subtle joys of cruising.

Dublin showed itself to be everything a big city should, we got loads of work done on board yet still had time to do some touristy things including some good football matches with the kids.

Yukon lay alongside the Poolbeg yacht club which is close to the centre of town on the river Liffey. A very friendly and helpful group of people doing all sorts of stuff including loaning us a car so we could provision at a large supermarket outside of the city centre.

Dublin’s night life left nothing to be desired with her pub culture and live music we had great time so much so that after 12 days it was definitely time to get rolling, we sailed midday the 25th of July.

We could see a good weather window developing out in the Atlantic so it was a good opportunity to go for it and we shaped up a course direct for cape Vilano on the northwesterly coast of Spain. With 3 new voyage crew onboard we enjoyed a good passage making 650 miles in 6 days, and seeing loads of dolphins and a pod of sperm whales, and most noticeably warm weather – the sea has taken on her beautiful blue shade.
We rounded Cape Vilano about midnight Saturday and were secure alongside in the small fishing town of Camarinas early Sunday morning. MMMM, Spain with its sidewalk cafes and great food we all agreed this is what it’s all about.