Land Sighted Faroe Islands
08 October 2018 | Faroe Islands
Our return to the UK from West Greenland at this late stage in the year has been a tactical exercise to avoid the persistent gales, making use of short weather windows to make best jumps to safe harbours. This passage to The Faroe Islands is just another exercise but gave us our strongest winds so far, the upside is that we have been sailing most of the time :-) We left Vapnafjordur at 8.30am Sunday 7 October having got a latest weather but also Chris Parker's recommended tactical plan of heading south down the East coast of Iceland before heading out for the Faroes in order to miss the stronger winds. A 60' Polish yacht Ocea left the same harbour at 8am and was 4 miles ahead of us. Once clear of the fjord entrance we were on a W-SW beam reach in 25kts in a short swelly sea but sailed with three reefs in the main sail and staysail. By midday we were overtaking Ocea.
Continuing on we turned for the Faroes just as the light started to fade at 7pm with Northern Lights already discernable. The day's clouds reduced the further south we travelled giving a clear starry sky with the most incredible Northern Light display we have ever seen. It scaled the sky from ocean to receding land, vast oscillating curtains of awesomely fast moving light. Destiny was surrounded at close proximity with pulsing fingers of iridescent light reaching out to caress us only to quickly withdraw, then reach out again. This display continued until dawn on Monday. What a fabulous Birthday for Andy :-).
In the middle of the night we had three reefs in the main and staysail with 30+ knots of wind gusting to low 40 knots, still on beam reach. The Raymarine auto pilot ran out of deviation error and then went off course which caused us to gybe then hove-to heading back to Iceland. We had the preventer on the main sail as the sea was swelly so this meant the manoeuvre was gentle rather than a crash. We decided to remain hove-to to let the wind reduce as the forecast indicated that we were at its strongest intensity. First we changed the sails around bringing Destiny hove-to heading in the right direction! Andy went to bed while I kept watch on a fishing boat and enjoyed Nature's Illuminations. After two hours I got the boat moving again. This was the strongest winds that we have been offshore in Destiny with.
As forecast the wind died late Tuesday night so we motor sailed until late morning today. Since then we have been racing along at 7 - 8 knots in blue skies and a few quick rain squalls giving Destiny a refreshing washdown. It has got warmer, the long johns and a few jackets have been removed. The sea temperature is now 8Â°C. Balmy. As I send this we have sighted several of the Faroe Islands and are sailing towards the most southern one, Suduroy, to stop in Vagur harbour before the next gale blasts through from midday tomorrow. The hills here have no snow - That's strange!
Looking at the long term forecast we will probably be there for a week before getting the weather window to jump the 180nm to Scrabster, NE Scotland.
PICTURE : Racing towards Suduroy, Faroe Islands