Monday, 9 August 2010

Rough Weather


We got weather forecasts from the irish coastguard and by phone from the helpful Falmouth coastguard in england. It looked like an ideal day to attempt the crossing to the Scilly Isles so long as we set off straight away. The crossing should take 36 hours, and the weather is set to worsen in 48. The second half of the journey is totally exposed to the Atlantic weather and the large rolling waves formed by the prevailing winds.

Initially the passage went well, the weather benign and we made good progress. I made some bread and some dessert to eat later. One very valuable lesson though - don't expect something to set when bouncing up and down in a boat!

However, the winds changed earlier than expected and we were soon flying, even as we reefed sail. The waves were getting bigger still, and as the wind was blowing straight from the direction we wished to go, it was getting very unconfortable.

So we made the decision to turn for Padstow in the north coast of Cornwall. The distance was not much less, but the worst of the weather would be coming at us sideways/diagonally instead of on the nose. It was a hard and tiring trip, but the worst was at night, when we couldn't see the height of the waves and so worry about them. To give you an idea of the weather, the passage we expected to take 36 hours, took only 24.

There was another bonus. As dusk fell, we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins, that played in the waves around and under the boat. Initially they were with us for about ten minutes, but were soon back and stayed about an hour. Robin took a short video, which I hope works.

51 09.278' N 05 47.720' W at midnight, sailing.

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