Scotland

  • Posted on: 20 April 2014
  • By: Andrus

This season was again especial and memorable. Now that Suwena was wintering for the first time in water, the season was extended from both ends; 27.1. – 24.11.

In snowy Finland we’ve got used to having afrozen sea and waiting for the summer sailings. Now Suwena was waiting for us in England and the first sailing miles passed under her keel already in January when we were sailing her to Fox’s marina for installing davits. For the first time we were staying onboard while the yacht was firmly on terra firma.

After spring preparations our summer cruise started on 12th of May by turning Suwena’s bow towards north along the east coast of the United Kingdom.

The passage planning has an important role in sailing on the east coast of England and Scotland. The harbours are sparse and many of them are open only a few hours on both sides of the high water. In addition the strong currents and onshore winds limit anchoring possibilities. We can say that sailing even close to shore is comparable to sailing on open sea.

The most memorable places on the east coast were Whitby, Amble and Arbroath. Then it was already time to go to exploring the Orkney Islands. Orkney was one of the best destinations of this summer. The people in Orkney are really friendly and smiling. Also the unbelievable Neolithic ruins were staggering. Not to forget the crabs from Westray and the famous Orkney oatcakes. We liked these oatcakes so much that we ended up carrying them home by a dozen :-)

On the way from Orkney to Shetland we of course stopped on the Fair Isle. Now we really understand why Auli and Hannu from S/Y Manta admire this island so much, as do we. The cliffs full of birds and sheep wandering freely around the island make a unique atmosphere to the island in the middle of the North Atlantic. Every evening the birders were gathering into the hall of the bird observatory and reporting their sights of birds to an official logbook. The Fair Isle was definitely worth the visit.

By arriving in Shetland we felt that we have really travelled far away. In all directions the continent was a several days by sailing afar and the constant breeze from Atlantic never stopped. Even if the temperature rose to 16 degrees, still the wind managed to create a chilly feeling. The average annual temperature of Shetland is only 7 degrees. Shetland is wild and rugged, also beautiful at the same time. Narrow roads were meandering up and down and scenery changing at fast pace. We also found our winner for the world’s northernmost palm tree in the village of Scalloway at 60 degrees 8 minutes north.

We eagerly waited for the main destination of the summer, the Faroe Islands. But due to waiting for the spare parts for genoa and prolonged illness of Eve we had to change the plans. Thus we continued from Shetland to the longest leg of the season towards West Scotland.

The unique and rugged lochs of West Scotland were dazzling us. We spent July by sailing on the Inner Hebrides. Whenever it felt we moved forward to the next island and found anchorages that had a beauty contest between them. For the most memorable places we can mention Loch Laxford with stunning mountain views and Plockton with lush palm trees and rose gardens. As long as you are staying In West Scotland there is always something new to be found.

In Oban, a lady from a neighbour boat advised us about a wintering berth. They made raving statements about Troon marina that is located in the Firth of Clyde. Now we can only agree to her appraisal. Troon marina is well organized and very well protected from winter gales. The marina stuff is present 24/7, so Suwena is definitely in good hands during this winter.

During the autumn and winter we have visited Suwena a few times, making engine maintenance and preparing her for the next season. For the first time we spent a night onboard when the remains of the hurricane was shaking Suwena. The wind was not howling anymore but rumbling instead. Troon harbour is really well sheltered, as even in strong gales the boat-damaging swell will not enter the harbour at all.

In 2014 we sailed a total of 1162 nautical miles and spent 127 nights onboard. Altogether we have sailed over 8000 miles during our voyages. The log of our Nauticat is showing over 5000 miles.

This season we visited 16 different harbours. Also the desire to spend more time at anchor was fulfilled. In total we spent peaceful moments in 9 anchorages.

Our seamanship skills were also developed. New experiences to us were sailing legs over 24 hours long. We learned about managing the night watches and other challenges in long voyages. The longest leg was 154 nautical miles from Shetland to Loch Laxford that lasted 31 hours. We also received a lesson in reefing the sails. On a sail from Fair Isle to Shetland we did not reef in time and she broached happily. We also got a good amount of practicing anchoring both in current and in deep water. The boating is never ending learning. Increasing own skills isinspiring full time chore.

The blog stories of 2014, Sailing to Scotland, can be read from the blog archive and we’ve also made season’s 2014 ranking list.

Log summary of Suwena 2014

  • Nautical miles: 1162 M, from where 28 % sailing, 5 % motorsailing and 67 % motoring
  • Engine hours: 174 h
  • Generator hours: 32 h
  • Fuel used incl. engine, generator and heater: 860 l
  • Fresh water: 9540 l, 75 l/day
  • Ports 16 + anchorages 9; total 25 ports of call
  • Overnight stays: 127 nights
  • Lockage: 7 locks
  • Dinghy fuel consumption: 5 l
  • Longest leg: 154 M Lerwick, Shetland - Loch Laxford, West Scotland

The map of Suwena’s year 2014 harbours and summer voyage..