North West Passage Expedition

Progress Reports



    Wednesday June27th.


On watch.Northabout. 320 miles WNW of Achill.
Cape Farewell, Greenland, bearing 308 degrees,Magnetic. 850 Miles. 

We`re on our way, in good order. Now the sea is calm and there is no wind. We're engining along at 5 knots. The final preparations were fairly hectic, with some decisions having to be made about work to be left for another time, some joinery and painting mostly. All the sailing, mechanical and electric systems are completed.

The send -off from Westport Quay was great, about 200 friends and family gathering to see the boat motor in from her fitting-out berth at Rosmoney. John McClintock, grandson of  the Captain, named the boat. Father Brian Cronin blessed her, invoking Gods Blessing on all her parts, including her Cooker! 

With Jarlath at the helm, we raised sail from the Quay. From Inisgort to Clare Island we were accompanied by  yachts from Mayo Yacht Club; they to motorings and us to sea. Now dark, with the glow of Saint Johns Night fires along the shore of Achill. We sailed slowly all night. On Sunday a southerly wind freshened and we sailed, close-reaching in grand style, right through to Monday evening, when we lost the wind.

The boat sails well. She gets to 6 knots easily, and with right trim and sail, to 8 knots in Force 5. Of teething problems there were few yet apparent, the starboard top-spreader end needing re-fixing done and the starboard intermediate shroud lengthening and needing retightening. This is to be checked aloft tomorrow.

Sunday was a queasy day for all, but things were much better on Tuesday, Day 2. 

   The forecast coming over the weather-fax, gives us 24 hours of calm and then a south-easterly from a slow-moving the south of our track. We'll see?

Watches are:                 

Paddy B. and Eoin Coyle.                                2 to 6.
Gearoid O Riain and Harry Connolly             6 to 10.
Pat Redmond and Cathal De Barra               10 to 2. 

Jarlath is joining us in 4 weeks time in Greenland, with Terry, Mike, Kevin, Frank and film-maker John Murray.  

Wednesday,03.00 Hours. June 27th. Day 4

Sailing comfortably @ 6 Knots. Wind is off the starboard quarter F.3 Main and Yankee with one roll are up, the Yankee occasionally being blanketed by the main.

The spin of the propeller is noisy, making a sound like strong wind in the rigging, rising and falling as the boat surges. I suppose we'll get used to it. All systems are working well except the big burner on the gas cooker. 

Yesterday, with our sea-legs strengthened, we were all busy on tidy-up. It was a sunny but cool ( 15 degree ) afternoon, still good enough for shorts in the cockpit for a while. Up-mast, I checked all fittings, there was no visible fault anywhere. All spreader ends were taped. We reefed all 3 reefing lines, and in doing so found a temporary 1st. reef tie-down at the boom-end almost cut through. We set all reefs to check the fit, and made up lashings for clew-reef tie-downs., an optional extra.

Below, we sorter the handle on my door, made up temporary shelving along the starboard windows, fixed  a 2nd. fire-extinguisher at the galley, set up storage for tapes and CD's   and sorted tools. The boat is increasingly liveable, but with still some way to go. But at least we're away from that 'thrown-together' feeling. The technology works a treat, auto-pilot and SSB Radio and E-Mail. 

We received the South Greenland Ice-Chart. It shows 'storis' ice to 40  miles south of Cape Farewell and continues round the south-west coast to about the latitude of Qaqortoq. This is  not bad at all. It would be grand if we could get ashore there. It is called the 'most beautiful town in Greenland'; which wouldn't be hard, the towns are not  beauties! 

More importantly we got weather charts for the next few days. They show several 995 lows to the south of our track, which should give us S/SE  F6/7, great (PR adds great me arse). And we spoke to Brendan Minish, our SSB Baseman, very clear, he said we were 5 & 5. 

We had more of Mike Brogans fine steak for dinner, with potatoes which won't last, and a bottle of red. Life's good. 

04.00. How quickly a mood can change. A grey and a cold morning it is . Must light the Dickenson  Stove to day!   Though the coolness helps keep the cabbage, which is definitely starting to smell! I've started Paul Wilson's 'Do White Wales Sing at the Edge of the World?' 

17.00 Same day. Yes it's still Wednesday. You get great value out of the day when you're sailing, up and down out of your bunk, to deck, to cooker, to Nav. Station, it's all go. The wind is blowing a fresh F.5 off our starboard quarter. We have the Yankee poled out on the starboard and are moving in great steady comfort at 6 to 7 knots while I  type.  Cape Farewell bears 306 degrees, distance 612 miles.  


Progress Reports

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