A weather buoy just outside the harbor indicated sustained winds of 15.6 m/s, gusting to 19.7 m/s. That’s ‘meters per second,’ how they do it here in the Nordic countries. Roughly doubled, gives you the windspeed in knots. Translation? A steady 31 knots, gusting to 38 (!).
We're back in Marstrand, but we're supposed to be in Stockholm! Isbjorn made landfall here in July after crossing the North Sea from Shetland. Anyhow, my dad and some sailing friends from the Chesapeake, Tom & Darlene, joined us here in Marstrand for what was supposed to be a fun delivery/cruise around the bottom of Sweden and up into the Baltic and to Stockholm, where our next trip with crew would begin. That plan got scuttled almost immediately - on our second day on the boat, we had a gnarly beat against a strong southerly wind and a wickedly short, steep chop...
*SOUND ON FOR SOME BAGPIPES!* #Isbjornsailing & crew have been having a BLAST exploring Scotland for the past week! We put together a short highlight reel of some of our favorite spots, including sailing around Ardnamurchan, the western-most point in the UK, hiking in the Cuillin Hills & watching seals in Loch Scavaig! Andy recorded the music live at the Old Inn on the Isle of Skye during a late-night session with local musicians & lots of whisky!
'The downwind run from the Azores to Scotland'. Not at all as we expected, this trip has been the one that we thought we would encounter the most weather of the year and we had prepared their crew for it. In Ponta Delgada the day before departure the long-term weather forecast looked to good to be true. We started of with an evening and night of motoring but pretty quickly the wind picked up from behind and we sailed downwind most of the way. Due to some light wind and that we were head of schedule we decided on a quick stop in the Aren Islands just of Galway Bay in Ireland.
Isbjorn sails downwind, wing on wing on starboard tack, one reef in the mainsail and the genoa sheeted to the end of the spinnaker pole, furled in just enough to keep the foot flat and not banging around as she rolls in the gentle swell.
All of the ARC Europe boats are heading towards Portugal so Isbjorn is all alone bound for Scotland. Here is an update discussing lone sailing in lumpy seas, chilly cockpit showers, and a boat-wide clean-up!
Part Two of Isbjorn crew 'Mac's' trans-Atlantic blog, part of his round-the-world by land and sea journey. "The strongest winds we saw peaked at 44 knots, with 34 knots sustained over several hours, which are really strong, creating 15 to 18 foot swells. That is classified as a gale. It was a big weather system on a small boat in the middle of the night, and I enjoyed the adrenaline-charged thrill of being at the helm on night-watch during part of this. It was a “Lieutenant Dan” storm, if you remember Forrest Gump. As reported previously- an ocean is a damned awesome thing, y’all."
The following is an excerpt of our crewmember Kevin 'Mac' McMahan's travel blog, hardtravelin.net. "I walked out of my Texas ranch on May 1 with my pack on my back, hitch-hiked to the train station, rode the Amtrak to New York City, hopped a cruise ship to Bermuda and here I am on Isbjorn, ready to sail across the Atlantic with y'all."