REPORT NUMBER 4
Thursday July 5th.
would like to take this space to thank amateur radio, in
particular the amateurs who run the winlink 2000 system
for their fantastic technical support, without whom
these progress reports and emails would neither be possible or
hours. We've been sailing downwind at over 6 knots for days,
with the Yankee out to starboard on the Pole. The Auto-Pilot
does all the work and we have only ourselves to look after;
the boat sails herself. We're on a double-reef in the main and
a well-furled yankee. The glass dropped as we sail past a low
pressure system to the south of us, which is giving us these
easterly winds. Latterly it is swinging to the north-east
,forcing us to sail about 15 degrees south of our course. As
it swings further south we'll take down the pole and
beam-reach for Cape Farewell, which is now about 384 miles
away, bearing 302 degrees magnetic ( but about 275 degrees
true, variation now being about 27 degrees, a little
navigational matter not
to be overlooked )
we lit the Dickenson Stove and life in the cabin was
transformed; it's too hot, I'm in shorts and Tee shirt.
However this heat is disinclined to spread through the rest of
the boat, either forward or aft, which would be hard for it
through the wooden doors to the two aft 'cabins'.Humour all
round is good and why wouldn't it be? We've got in a good
weather chart and a clear ice-chart, so there is no sense of
unease. The boat feels good, engine run in neutral twice a day
to charge the batteries. Pat baked today.
continued easy sailing. The wind fell light in the afternoon,
giving us watch distances of only 14 miles as compared with
our good ones of 35 to 30 miles.
mid-night Pat wrote
evening, after dinner, we had a magnificent western sun. The
boat sailed down a silver road set out by the evening suns
don't remember that, must have been in the bunk.
until 08.00. Then 'surf-up'. Reefed mainsil,
rolled yankee. The day went greyer, blowing Force 6 off
the starboard beam from the north.
the afternoon, 6 ¾ days out, we went onto our first Greenland
chart. About overwintering, Pat remarked that 'he might as
well go into my attic".
the late afternoon we pulled in a 2nd reef, rolled the yankee
and put out 2/3 of the smaller stronger foresail-a snugger rig
for the rising wind. Seas were now breaking occasionally over
the deck and coach roof. We pulled down a 3rd reef and snug, we sailed on in a F 7/8
off the beam.
odd white top crashes into the side of the boat with a great
bang, bringing water on to the chart table, from a leak in the
overhead window. Mostly the seas slide harmlessly
Boat snug and moving well.
Tightened the turnbuckle on the aft lower shroud, up to my
knees in water, cold in the cabin too, the stove having run
out of fuel.
Brightening somewhat in spots to the north.
hour later, as visibility continued to clear, the mountains of
south Greenland opened to view.,30 miles off, magnificent and
harsh, black rock and white ice and snow.
Shook out the reefs and steered towards the shore.
and steak preparing.
In light (1/10 ) sea ice-no bother. Was it like this
all the way in?
Qaqortoq Radio said no, and gave us the co-ordinates of
the ice-edge, way outside us. It thickened to 3or4/10,we
worked, banged occasionally, went astern, poled floes and got
back to the edge of this 'storis' ice, which comes down the
east coast of Greenland and swings round Cape Farewell and up
the south-west coast.
How far up?
Motoring in a calm dawn outside ( most ) of the ice.
wind swung to the north west, from directly ahead and rose to
Force 5.No big deal, just making for a lumpy sea. Met and were
into, some old multi-year ice, before we knew it. This
is different from the nice white flat soft 1-year ice. The
multi-year ice is glassy, hard, several metres high and
notions of a 'nipped' vessel rising in the likes of this stuff
are nonsense. 'Mangled' would
be the effect of being pressured in this.
got out as fast as we could and continued under engine all
day, slowly enough. The boat, with her high freeboard, will
make only 3 or 4 knots,
in a lumpy sea. We could have sailed, taking a long tack to
the west, but we didn't. I suppose we were still hoping to get
a break through the ice to get in to Qaqortaq.
the event the ice report that night gave us no joy. In
addition there came a forecast of a rapidly deepening
low-pressure system at Cape Farewell giving an east to
south-east gale on Tuesday.
Engine stopped. Fuel starvation. Bled the system of air
up from the south. Set foresail. sailing at 8 knots.
Another hour and we should be past the outer edge of
the ice and alter course for the shore.
04.00-06.00. Into multiyear ice again. Foggy, working
to the west to get around it.
Set course for Arsuk Fjord to try and get shelter from
the gale, now rising.
06.00_13.00 Wind rose to 40 knots from ahead.
flat out and got to the mouth of Arsuk Fjord, making 1 knot.
The seas and wind were such ,in the relatively shallow waters,
as to allow headway only directly into wind and waves. The
slightest ( 10 degree ) offset would bring her head around,
almost abeam, before we could get back to her heading. All
steering was now by hand at
plan was to get to an anchorage in the shallow sheltered area shown on the chart at the head of the fjord. However
even this if achieved would probably have been dodgy with
probable williwaws and wind funnelling. We turned and put back
to sea , downwind. She needed some headsail to
keep her from broaching Her high freeboard aft was
driving her round into the wind. The big thing now was too
avoid the ice bergs. Even though these were spaced at 21 to 3
miles, at our speed of 6 to 9 knots they came up all too
came all too close to hitting one.
downwind, it lay directly ahead. However which way the wheel
was turned, or the engine revved, our head would not turn. The
grace of God ,and we reckon some kind of backwind off the berg
carried us clear with ,according to Harry who was on deck,
about 2 metres of clearance. I was below wrestling with the
afterwards we hove-to lashing the steering down and
carrying a corner of foresail, on
the port tack.
beam seas didn't bother us. She pointed just slightly upwind
SW. ,made 2 ½ knots to the NW. We tracked the bergs on
radar-and no further avoiding action was necessary.
Tuesday we lay thus, expecting the wind to drop that evening.
'Forecast is for easing this evening, 20 knots from the
north-west and a fine day tomorrow'
and kidney pie from the oven. Force 8 continues.
Arsuk is now 30 miles to the south-east, Paamuit is 40
miles to the north-east.
2333.00 Forecast now gave 30 knots tomorrow from
the north-east, not good for getting into Paamuit.
We set foresail and laid off to try and get there ahead
of the change in wind direction.
July 4TH Cathal's
Royal Artic Line vessel passed heading southward.
in Paamuit, in good order.
and to bed. Happy boys
now Thursday morning ass I write this in the Paamuit Café.
Yes, I am writing it out and will have to type it out on the
the ship rose in the late morning-too late to catch the
bakery, but the
supermarket was still all go. Long breakfast aboard was
followed by essential fix-ups.
steering cables had loosened. I set to retightening these. To
get at them I had to dismantle most of our coldstore.
and I rowed across the harbour in the 12 foot dingy that Mike
Burke had made a present to the boat of. We hacked ice off a
lump floating there and
repacked our 'Bainne Úr as Oranmore' and Mike Brogans
vacuum packed meat in it.
and Gearóid solved the problem of the fuel feed to the stove
by relocating the header tank lower and re-piping to it so
that the lift pump would now deliver to it.
rain cleared and we walked about in the chilly day and tried
to get the 'sus' on the place. Cathal took our passports to
the Police Station and cleared all of us without any problem
could you get a beer he asked?" the Ban- Garda
about my place" she said.
More seriously she also said "Nuuk".
on both counts, we had all the beer we wanted in
Petersons 'Restaurant'. From my change this morning I think I
know how many I had, or at least paid for. I have all these
2-Kroner coins. A bottle of Tuborg costs 38
Kroner. So the arithmetic is easy!
tired of writing. The day is passing_ So I'll just jot down a
few headings for possible later elaboration.
Manager-a most unbusy man.
increasing contact with Newfoundland and less dependence on
infrastructure in Paamuit, schools and gym/hall-for a future
that never came, with the decline of the codfishing.
hiking group-going onto the ice cap for a 3 week tour,
following the track of his great grandfather, after whom the
are named some nunataks ..this was pre -Nansen's
whale, seen just outside the harbour.
I'e-mail some technical
notes to you in a few days.
Cathal enjoyed his birthday.
got an email from Muireann from Syracuse.
Glandore.I'll email via Caoimhe.
and all aboard Northabout.
Adds our email address on board is Northabout@tradcentral.com
Picture of Northabout in Clew Bay