Tuesday, 8 July 2008

39° 52' N, 3° 7' E to 37° 44' N, 25° 40' W to 58° 00' N, 3° 20' W to 55° 59' N, 3° 13' W

The wind was still easterly when we left Burghead, and the most exasperating day followed. We were tacking down the Moray Firth towards Rattray Head, making only minimal progress. We actually went as far north as 58 degrees on the offshore tack, to just south of the Beatrice oil field. At one point Jim looked at the 'time to waypoint' on our GPS and it said: 'Forever.' It actually said 'Forever'. Luckily, the wind died during the wee hours on Sunday morning and we could motor around the corner, along the bleak and featureless coast, or so it seems on a grey and windless day, around Peterhead.

We were getting quite glum from lack of sleep and progress until four impressively fast and fun black and white Common dolphins showed up near Montrose and rode our bow for more than half an hour. Dolphin visits always seem to bring luck, and things picked up from then on. We were sailing downwind at a nice clip with the jib poled out, making rapid progress until we rounded Fife Ness into the Forth of Firth.

The wind then died down, but we were in home waters and got quite emotional seeing the familiar sights of home - Bass Rock, Berwick Law, Arthur's Seat, the Pentlands and the Bridges. We were also amazed, as on the previous occasion when we sailed these waters, at the wildlife to be found just outside the city. There were puffins and gannets a go-go bobbing on the water, lots of guillemots with chicks, and seals basking on the buoys.

We pulled in just after low water, with Jim's dad (Gordon) there to welcome us. We then indulged in a large pizza feast, shower and rest at home before returning to the Forth Corinthian Yacht Club in the evening to sort out the details. By 2230 Fettler was on her new mooring.

In all, we've voyaged around 4,500 nautical miles since taking up our stewardship of the Fettler in Mallorca last spring. It's concentrated living out there, on the edge. Time itself stretches in a funny way and one can't help learning, growing and feeling closer to this Earth by the end of it.


Marc said...

Thanks so much for taking the time for an exhaustive recap of your journey. You certainly don't need to hear it from me, but you guys have gone and DONE something...something quite impressive. I don't exactly envy you this ascetic lifestyle of the sea, but you've convinced me that you take great joy from the strain, and that you belong there.

Good to see Gordon looking so hale and fit, as well.


sailfettler said...

Thank you, Marc. That's very nice indeed to hear.