Hello again… long time no post.
I hate technology…. That is why i sail on charts, with a bit of backup,with my handheld gps..Always got to have a back up system, and maybe a back up for that too.
Here we are, on the island of Mon in Denmark. It is February there is water and wind and i really need to go sailing. Boat realistically should be in the water and ready. But no. Arctic Joy is still in the water sat in Kalvehave needing love and bits, Slowly I collect the bits and just have to put the puzzle together. More of that later…
So far the plan for 2017… After the north sea, I have decided to head up the Baltic instead, is that the arctic you ask? well no, not quite. If I get to the top of the Baltic around the Swedish Finnish border, I should get to about 65 deg and 30 minutes north. The last part well fuck it I will walk. Ok for those who don’t know i was planning to go for the coast of Norway, and go play up there, but no. In my 20ft little wee boat with only an 80kg centre board, no cabin and a drunk cat called Sinbad, bollox to that. The North sea is a wild and beautiful place, but with prevailing SW winds it makes for a fine lee shore, littered with rocks and for my liking not enough safety. I like the odd risk or why would I be here? But I want to survive this. Attempting to get up the west coast of Denmark was, well lets say exciting enough that I had to bail out after on the 4th attempt to get to the Limfjord from Hvide Sand (white sand) I hit a pallet and managed to attach it to my centreboard. I was about 3 miles off shore, off a lovely lee shore with 2m swell and breakers on the beach. It necessitated a little swim, and proved a theory that to use a hammer under water is, well you try it…. Brute strength and fear got me out of that one.
Now i try to prepare… betterer than last time. I have finally managed to source my charts from Iver Weilbech in Copenhagen, I have never before helped by so many suits when I ventured to there office in the city with my wish list of charts.. Some English suppliers could not supply my wishes, again, but these guys thumbs up. Then there is the boat jobs list… mmmm, well we nibble away. New hatches in my ‘engine bay’ for food storage and maybe some illicit supplies for Sinbad. It means removing buoyancy, as am hoping for at least 2 weeks food each side. With this I am hoping to improve the trim as I carry alot of stuff up in my bow locker, maybe too much, but have to be prepared for well anything and have had a 5% at least incline towards the bow, which the short sharp Baltic waves punish me severely especially upwind when the waves slow and try to stop me. The waves here are a tad different to Offshore, often only 2 second intervals and a 1m swell is a bloody wet day, if I go upwind. New clutches on the deck as one is cracked? so new spinlock toys, also to accommodate the new third reefing lines. These little things only 6mm line, but when I need them, I need them, no tying knots or any other crap now. When I am out there alone, I need stuff to work, and usually reliably, If not well I could be fucked. So live and learn and improve. A few new blocks here and there, especially to replace all the Barton bits i used, they work, but not for long and fail at the most inopportune moments, cheap is cheap, and will remind you so.My main is in for a wee patch, and the spinnaker too. I hope to give the spinny, that is my colourful sail which I use to go downwind sits in a tube which runs through my bow locker, but is often wet.. not good. This is due to the hatch which closes the tube leaking and also as I often sail with it open, this bein as a rule I stubbornly refuse to go on my foredeck in lumpy waters, it is exposed, no gaurd rails and fairly small, so I try not to go there unless Sinbad forces me. I have tried, not wise… That was a wet day!
What else goes on? What do I do over winter? Well I volunteer in a school here on Mon, a Danish free school, only new and offering a different kind and enlivening education to free range kids….. No I don’t an can’t teach! I garden and build, repair stuff, try to stay outdoors all day, all winter. Love Merino… If you are outdoors in chillier climates you should love your merino wool. Layer after layer of the stuff, as it works oh so well. I just picked up my Musto arctic pro jacket, still not used in anger, but it is here, and there will be days when I need and want it. Special thanks to Peter Dixon chandelry in Exmouth Devon for all your help with gear and equipment from screws to my PLB to my Typhoon PS330n drysuit, Thankyou.
Do you want to know more? do you have questions? feel free to ask..
Future dreams if I survive this one? oh yeah… Looking at a few races on Exebitionist (X34) in 2018 and 2019 with hopefully the AZAB.. That is to the Azores and back shorthanded, well we shall be two which I reckon is luxury, with an oven too… Also hoping for a wee trip with Rubicon3 from Greenland to UK to get that astro nav sorted… Oh and to see the sea and some utterly stunning coast. So really not much, just go to sea, sail and then maybe some more… Life on land is not for me at this time…
For more tales off last years cruisin around the Fresian islands and a couple of laps of Denmark, be patient…It may come, then again like the wind it may not..