Sunday, May 10, to Monday, May 11, 2015
The winds were forecast to be out of the WSW, building to 15 to 20 knots from today though Monday, so we made the decision to leave around 5 a.m. on Sunday for our overnight passage to Hartlepool. We left the harbor and Guliver, the wind turbine, which had been a failiar site every since we landed a week earlier.
The morning sail was really a morning motor while we waited for the wind to pick up. Eventually it did and we were able to turn off the engine (always a pleasure with the exception we lost the ability to keep the cabin toasty from our engine heater) around 10 a.m.
We passed several wind farms
as well as what Max assumes was ‘Jumping Jack’, the pile driver mentioned at our visit to the Sroby Sands Wind Farm center.
We were making excellent time thanks to the wind on the beam (perpendicular to our heading and a good point of sail) and England’s infamous current being with us.
You know you’re in different waters when your waypoint (the latitude and longitude towards which we head) indicates you’re sailing close to the Greenwich longitude of 00º.
Taking turns keeping watch, we saw the shoreline for most of the passage until we headed past the Wash (big open bay) .
I find it a lot easier to keep watch out in the middle of the ocean than when hugging the shore. The need to avoid fishing pots, the unindentified lights when sailing at night, and the amount of boat traffic kept us on our toes. What is extremely helpful is our Automatic Identification System (AIS). We first used this crossing the Atlantic last summer, and ever since then, it’s one of the best navigational instruments aboard. It really does take the fright out of seeing a 100-meter tanker steaming 12 knots towards you.
For some reason we were suddenly inundated with flies. Where they came from, we don’t know, but came they did. The photo doesn’t begin to show how much they covered the boat but you get the idea. Luckily they weren’t biting and were fairly slow moving, which meant we were soon carrying smashed fly bodies on our shoes all over the boat.
Max went below for a well-deserved sleep, and after awhile I find myself looking for anything to keep me entertained. I can only read, do crosswords, look at the sky for just so long as I checked the sailing instruments and adjusted for any wind change.
I did my usual ‘capture-the-captain-asleep’ photo. You can tell there wasn’t any heat aboard.
I tried to see how fast we could go while steering around any odd-looking fishing buoys.
And then just watched the sky as a faint rainbow appeared.
The wind became fickle, slowing way down then going behind us, then switching to the SSE. Oh joy. Now what? So, after trying to eke out speed by changing the sail configurations, I gave up and turned on the engine when it was light enough to avoid those damn pots.
Thirty minutes later the wind switched back to WSW and grew strong enough so I could kill the motor. It was bliss :)
Max came up for his watch and we sailed into Hartlepool where Colin, one of the marina guys, helped us at the lock and getting us to our berth.
The wind at that point was creating white caps in the small harbor, and we were thankful to reach another port of safety as opposed to being out in the North Sea. And, the added benefit were the marina guys couldn’t have been more helpful as we got instructions on entering the lock (as well as someone catching our lines, which I always appreciate).
It felt great having our first passage completed, and our sea legs back. We are definitely ready for our summer cruising!