Scotland '14

Suwena Steers to the Faroe Islands

  • Posted on: 20 April 2014
  • By: Eve

It is time to carry out the sailing plans we've made during the winter. We've arrived onboard Suwena in Ipswich at Easter time and immediately started a preparing her for the summer season. Our target is to cast off the lines at the beginning of May provided that the southerly winds will arrive by then.
The Finnish ensign on the way to Suwena's mizzen in Ipswich
We'll go sailing north on the eastern coast of England and want to follow the footsteps of Captain Cook and Dracula. Of course we want to see the traditional England at its best as well.

Next we will move up to Scotland which we are looking forward to seeing very much. The Scottish are famous for their hospitality indeed. There are many interesting places for visiting in Scotland. Anyhow we are going to stop in Scotland's capital Edinburgh.

Then we gonna step into the footsteps of the Vikings when we sail to the Orkney and Shetland Islands which are known from sagas. Stonehenge is surely familiar to many from books and visits to England. However on the Orkney Islands there are many more remnants from the neolithic era so there are a plenty of places to explore for sure. In Shetland we'll pass the island of Foula with meat eating sheep because we plan to sail on the main islands of Shetland.

Our biggest challenge of this summer will also start from Shetland because Andrus and I go alone for the first time for 200 nautical mile sailing to the Faroe Islands. The weather of the North-Atlantic can be changing rapidly so the two days long ocean sailing will challenge us for sure.

The Faroe Islands are part of Denmark and thus we can still enjoy one Scandinavian midsummer celebration before turning Suwena's bow towards the southern waters. I've been on Faroes when I was 17 and I liked it very much. Now it is really nice to go sailing on the Faroe Islands by our own boat and get to know Faroes a little better.

The return sail to Scottish Hebrides is another 200 miles leg. The Western Scotland is said to be one of the most beautiful sailing areas in Europe. Afterall there are countless scenic anchorages in numerous lochs between hills in over 500 islands. And we should not forget that most islands have one or more whiskey distilleries with a pub and own dock. We plan to enjoy Scotland for the whole of July to its fullest :-)

In the early autumn we need to find for Suwena a wintering marina either from the west coast of England or maybe from Ireland. The plan is to sail her there during the autumn sailing.

This sailing season will again be completely different and we are eagerly waiting for that May will arrive and we can depart. We'll again write stories from our voyage so stay tuned to Suwena's boating blog.

Tuning the Rig of Suwena

  • Posted on: 12 May 2014
  • By: Eve

Already in February we went chatting with the yard's rigger Richard, when we had our davits installed at Fox's marina. He visited onboard Suwena for evaluating the situation. He told that he prefers always make a rig tuning when sailing. Thus we agreed to see each other again when we are back aboard in spring.

At the end of April the winds were unusually calm but we anyhow went to the foggy river Orwell on Friday after the Easter when the wind was up to 8 knots. Andrus thought that our shrouds felt too loose and that the forestay had a little sag in it. Immediately Richard started to tighten the shrouds and backstays.

There were so little wind that we had to use the engine to make our own additional wind. Despite of this there were not enough breeze. Richard told that it is best to make the tuning of the rig when the boat is listed by 15 to 20 degrees. Then there is enough load on the windward shrouds and the shrouds on the lee side should not get loose.

Finally when Richard was happy with shrouds, backstays and the triatic stay between the main and the mizzen masts he started examining on how to get our mast bended backwards for getting a nice prebend into our main mast. It could be done if we lengthened the forestay. Thus we lowered the genoa to deck and after this the furlex motor was lifted upwards by the genoa halyard for accessing the forestay adjusting screw. At this stage we found out that the furlex electric wires were too short. Richard remained cool and thought out loud in the middle of the river that the other way would be to undo the forestay and access the adjusting screw from below. Quickly the plan was made. The mast was supported by gennaker halyard which was made fast to the deck to prevent the mast falling backwards. Next we disconnected the pin holding the forestay in place but electric wires were still a problem. Andrus was running every now and then to cockpit for turning the boat 180 degrees because we were slowly motoring on idle in a one know current back and forth. Next we loosened backstays and I tightened the gennaker halyard trying to bend the mast forward as much as possible. Finally we had to give up and it it also started to rain simultaneously. We put the rig back together, made a coffee and motored back to Fox's.

In the marina we dismantled the fixings the furlex electrical wires and managed to get additional 10 cm length for the forestay. The tuning was definitely worthwhile. Now we have the main mast with the stylish prebend. We'll see at sea how the tuning affects Suwena's sailing abilities.
The main mast of Suwena
Overall we are really satisfied with using the help of the professional rigger. We also learned a great deal ourselves about adjusting the rig. Many thanks to Richard for the well tuned rig of Suwena.

The boat is ready and it’s time to cast off 12.5.

  • Posted on: 14 May 2014
  • By: Eve

Three weeks have passed in a blink of eye in Ipswich. The initial four page long chore list have nicely shortened point by point. We have had many things to do and here are just a few samples from our boat's spring maintenance list.
Andrus and Eve on the walking street of Ipswich
Walking Street of Ipswich
Suwena has almost a total of one thousand meters of mooring and rigging lines. We decided to wash all of them. Last winter she was in the water with the sails in place thus one project was to get the sails down and inspect their condition together with halyards. Both the sails and the halyards were in good condition. My going was a little slowed down by the feisty flu that I got from washing the lines. However, the flu will not hinder us too much, only the departure moves forward a couple of days.
Suwena got a new fenderboard in Ipswich
We have the leather shroud covers which are excellent. They are easy to wash and the covers were made by Nauticat yard for fitting exactly to the bottlescrews at the end of the shrouds. They are form fitting, beautiful looking and protecting hands and feet from sharp split pins.
Leather shroud covers of Suwena
Andrus tested the fender cleaner product from Starbrite. After the cleaning the fenders look like new and shiny again. Andrus also washed the bilge with the Bilgex bilge cleaner that was a new product to us. It dissolves grease, oil and other scum. As an outcome we have the clean bilge and a biodegradable waste.

There are only LED lights on borad Suwena except the deck floodlights. As a part of the spring maintenance Andrus climbed to both the masts for replacing the halogen bulbs with LED bulbs. The power consumption dropped at the same time from 50 watt to 8 watt at each mast. Many times we have moored Suwena into too short pontoon berth after arriving late at night into the full marina. Keeping the deck lights on throughout the night lets other arriving boats more easily to keep clear of Suwena.

One of our conserns was the refuelling of Suwena. There is only the red diesel available for pleasure boats in the UK. After returning to the continent we would risk about getting a hefty fine with red diesel. We have thought along the winter on how to get white diesel? Andrus asked from here and there but it seemed that there are no solution at all.

In February at Fox's Marina we carefully monitored the pontoons of the Orwell Yacht Club which is located at the same cove together with Fox's Marina. There is a gas station just next to their clubhouse. We pondered heavily that do we have any chance for mooring at their pontoon for some canister shoveling. Finally Andrus approached the yacht club by email and we were warmly welcomed. Mrs Brenda, the commodore of the Orwell Yacht Club, arranged a suitable time for the refuel project. The additional difficulty was that the club's pontoon is drying during the low water and with our draft we had about three hours during the high water for refuelling.

When we arrived at the marina, there were already the commodore Brenda with her husband Tony waiting for us. In addition they had additional spare canisters which we could use and we could loan the club's small cart as well. Later on Ivor joined us and brought even some more canisters. The three hours passed quickly when Andrus, Tony and Ivor hauled four cartfuls of 20 litre cans from the gas station to the pontoon. The toughest job was done by Andrus's back when he poured 384 litres of diesel from cans through the funnel into Suwena's tanks. It was surprising on how much fuel the heater used last summer. Now we are heading to the North Altlantic and we'll see how much fuel consumption we'll be divided this season.
Orwell Yacht Club during the low water in the winter
Refuelling Suwena at the Orwell Yacht Club
Thank you very much for your help, the sailors of Orwell Yacht Club, Brenda, Tony and Ivor and fair winds for your summer sailings.
Tony, Andrus, Eve, Brenda and Ivor after refuelling Suwena
On May Day we welcomed visitors from Finland to Suwena when my brother Esa and his son Jakke visited us. They had a real grand tour of England because their first stop was to go watching Manchester United match. Unfortunately they did not hear very big encouragement songs because
the local boys lost this time. Afterwards they had a quick visit onboard Suwena in Ipswich.

Our foldable tandem has been put into hard-working use in Ipswich. We wanted to provision the boat well, because we know that this summer we'll be many times a dinghy ride away from the harbour. We made several trips by bike to supermarket with backpacks and saddlebags full of stuff. The girl at cash register must have been amazed when we always loaded many same things from the cart. I suppose very few would buy for example a dozen of coconut cream cans at the same time.
Happy Andrus after finishing boat maintenance in Ipswich
An amusing incident happened when we tried to buy the mobile broadband subscription. Vodafone should have a best coverage in Scotland. Already a week and a half ago we went to purchase the broadband. They could not sell the sim card because their IT system was down. Five days later the situation had not changed. Finally again five days later when we were starting to be in anguish we received an advice to get the sim from the other shop and come back for upgrading it with the mobile boradband. The second shop was already out of sim cards because Vodafone had directed so many customers to them. Finally we got the sim from a third shop. It seems that the service of mobile operators is pathetic everywhere in the world!
View from Ipswich Haven Marina
It feels wistful to leave Ipswich. We have spent quite a lot of time in Haven Marina during the past winter. The wintering place for Suwena was perfect and we can recommend it to everyone. We'd also like to thank Marina Manager Phil and Assistant Marina Manager Linda for extremely friendly service and about looking after Suwena.
Service building of Ipswich Haven Marina
Marina Managers Linda and Phil of Ipswich Haven Marina

Lowestoft and nightsail to Whitby 12.5. - 16.5.

  • Posted on: 20 May 2014
  • By: Eve

Ahoy, Suwena is sailing again! The sea voyage should never begin on Friday so the 12th of May we gained some luck by leaving on Monday and let’s get the summer cruise started.

On this sailing from Ipswich to Lowestoft we passed Suwena's southernmost point of this year. Fortunately it was sunny, thus the northerly direction did not feel so crazy at all. During the 57 nautical mile leg, the Nauticat Suwena reached 4000 miles reading in her log.

At the mouth of the river Orwell we had a wind on the beam and made the season's best with 7.8 knots through the water. We'll see where and when we will beat somewhere during this summer. Later we turned downwind and set the gennaker. At the end of the journey the wind died and we motored to Lowestoft where we arrived just before the midnight. Feelings were high before the bedtime, our cruise had started.

On Tuesday morning we noticed that the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club was welcoming us with the Finnish flag flying on the pole. When paying the harbour fee we learnt that the Finns are very rare in their marina and they had to work hard for finding the Finnish flag in the morning. Kudos to them!
RNSYC clubhouse in Lowestoft
Lowestoft, the easternmost point of the UK, is famous for its sandy beach that we also went to explore. We had been the previous day at sea and a little walk was in order. While in Germany the beaches were full of sitting benches that protect from the wind, here in Lowestoft the beach was lined by small beach sheds which are called for beach houses and they can be rented for a year at a time.
English beach houses in Lowestoft
It was also a pleasant surprise to meet a Finn working in Lowestoft when we accidentally run into Pirita and her husband Peter. We just had a dinner and were calculating the tidal currents for the next day when we heard a brisk Finnish hello next to our table. It is always fun to meet people from own country and it feels like we have been knowing each other already for a long time.

On Wednesday the wind turned north and were still blowing in the evening. We were waiting for it to blow out so we left just at noon on Thursday. There was no way we wanted to have a north wind directly on our nose.

While preparing the yacht for the sea we had for the first time the UK Border Force visiting us onboard. They checked the boat papers and asked a lot of questions about our time in the UK and upcoming plans. For the first time the officials wanted to have a copy of the boat registration documents, unfortunately we had only originals. Anyhow, everything was in order and soon they were wishing us a fair winds on our way to Scotland.

Near Lowestoft the tidal currents are strong and we aimed to leave just when the current turned north. It was May and we sailed in a beautiful 22 degree sunshine with the current pushing us by additional three knots of speed.

The journey progressed smoothly and soon the day turned into night. In the horizon we could see the lights of the famous oil rigs of the North Sea. They looked like a string of pearls in the dark night. During the night we sailed mainly with the power of iron genny. We also raised the gennaker few times whenever there were any wind at all.
The coast of Yorkshire
In the morning we calculated that we had gained 10 miles advantage from the tidal current and were about to arrive into Whitby a couple of hours too early. It was still low tide and there would not be enough water for Suwena. Thus it felt very funny when we bobbled without sails and no engine on the silky smooth sea. Despite of this we were travelling at almost three knots towards Whitby - unbelievable. Finally we started the engine as otherwise the current would have taken us further away to the sea. We arrived to Whitby just when there were three metres of water. We made her fast to the waiting pontoon of the local yacht club as the next bridge opening to Whitby marina was still two hours away.
Suwena arriving to Whitby harbour
On Friday afternoon at half past two after mooring her alongside the waiting pontoon we had travelled 27 hours and 153 nautical miles from Lowestoft. While waiting for the bridge to open we enjoyed a slice of cheesecake in a sunny cockpit. We really felt that we had earned that for sure.

Whitby, in the footsteps of Captain Cook 16.5. - 19.5.

  • Posted on: 28 May 2014
  • By: Eve

Whitby was presenting its summer face to us and the relaxed tourists were swarming around the streets and alleys. Whitby clearly stood out from the previous east coast towns as a tourist holiday resort and at this early summer weekend there was a clear holiday feeling.
Whitby
Old town of Whitby
Beaches of Whitby
Breakwater of Whitby
Whitby is located at the mouth of the river Esk. The cliffs that are on both the western and eastern shore of the river create a scenic ground for the old city buildings. Also the harbour is situated on the river with pontoons just behind the bridge.
Fishing boats in Whitby
Boats waiting for bridge opening in Whitby
Boat harbour of Whitby
Whitby marina
There are many holiday houses for rent along with the myriad of shops and restaurants in Whitby. However there are the ruins of the Whitby Abbey on the eastern cliff. Church Steps, a flight of 199 steps lead up the hill to the church from the streets below. The church graveyard is used as a setting in Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula.
Eve looking for Dracula at the graveyard in Whitby
The most interesting sight was definitely for us the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. The Museum is in the 17th century house on Whitby's harbour where the young James Cook lodged as apprentice. It was here Captain Cook trained as a seaman, leading to his epic voyages of discovery.

The both models of his ships were presented In the museum. HMS Endeavour, that he used on his first exploration voyage and HMS Resolution that was a lead ship on the second and the third expedition. On these three voyages in the 18th century he together with his crew charted many islands on the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand and the east coast of Australia. It is unbelievable how well they managed to navigate and find new continents and islands. Especially if you think about how vast is the Pacific, indeed! They systematically crossed it from north to south and back when searching a land.
Three voyages of Captain Cook
The expeditions of Cook were so highly valued that he was one of the few who also received the passport of an enemy country France. At this time England and France were in war with each other. However the governments of both countries believed that the exploration voyages were so important to man kind that the passports were issued to enemy exploration captains as well. It must have been a significant help on provisioning the ship in distant waters that had already been colonized by the other country.

The museum presented the Cook's voyages really well. There were documents about planning and commissioning of the ships and of course the sailing routes. What kind of a ship would you design for sailing into unknown? How arrange going ashore and how to arrange the provisioning for journeys lasting many years. Transporting fresh water was still difficult, sothe ship's stores had 19 tons of beer, 642 gallons of wine and 397 gallons of brandy. For example the sailor's daily ration included one gallon of beer.

Cook acquired from his voyages many samples for scientists like for example the stuffed animals and cultural artefacts. He also had an artist aboard who created paintings about distant countries. On a time before camera this was the way to bring back knowledge about the people, animals and plants

Fortunately the Cook's museum is located in a real coastal town because for the first time in England there were many fish restaurants side-by-side and the catch of local fisherman was served freshly. Of course almost every second place advertised to be the awardee of the Best Fish and Chips Restaurant in England. No wonder why more than half of the patrons were tasting the national fish delicacy. We however feasted with halibut, king prawns and various other fish platters.

On Saturday evening while walking on small alleys of Whitby, we popped into the cosy pub, called Little Angel where the band was just playing the Beatles. The feeling was high and the band coniinued to play sixties and seventies covers. It was just a perfect place to enjoy a pint or two.
Whitby
Andrus at the whale bone arch in Whitby
Whitby is about 400 km from London and two hundred kilometres from Manchester. No wonder all brits towhom we have been talking about our plan to visit in Whitby, have also had a vacation by themselves there. By coming with own boat we had an excellent weekend in Whitby.

Amble, Northumberland 19.5. - 20.5.

  • Posted on: 31 May 2014
  • By: Eve

On Monday morning at about the high tide we steered Suwena out from Whitby marina. We were at sea after passing the bridge and the breakwater and then the next 60 mile leg had started.

Once on a way, Andrus called to Amble marina about the tide and swell situation. The marina also made a berth reservation for Suwena because we'll be arriving after office hours. First time ever we arrived into the marina where there was a welcome package with gate keys and berth plans on the pontoon. It was heartwarming to open the package as there was among others a color marina plan with all guest reservations for the evening. There was even the electricity connected ready for us on our reserved berth. We truly felt being welcomed into Amble marina.
Suwena in the marina of Amble
Amble was recommended to us when we were participating the Cruising Association's autumn rally. We were really happy that we followed the tip because the town of Amble turned out to be a charming place.
Going fishing in Amble
Boats on the river Coquet in Amble
Luckily we also found an Old Boathouse restaurant that has been open for only two years and the food was so delicious. The restaurant offers the catch from the village's fisherman and fish are delivered directly to the restaurant's pier. Even if it was weekday evening, all the tables were full. We should have made a booking beforehand. However, the kind waitress arranged a table to us and we enjoyed absurdly delicious halibut with crab risotto.

Amble is located in the north-east corner of England and it is our last port of call before entering Scotland. There would have been some old castles for exploring but unfortunately we had to continue forward. The closest to Abmle is the castle of Warkworth that was just a short hike away along the riverside path. Now somebody else need to explore this castle.
The castle of Warkworth next to Amble

Edinburgh 21.5. - 24.5.

  • Posted on: 3 June 2014
  • By: Eve

All day long on Wednesday we were sailing 88 miles at sea from Amble to Port Edgar marina near Edinburgh. The journey started in nice following wind and we raised the sails. During the day however the wind died and we motored to Port Edgar.
Farne island in the NE corner of England
Birdwachers on a way to the Farne island
Edinburgh is located at the bottom of the Firth of Forth bay. As we were getting closer, the city with the magnificent castle in the middle appeared in front of the hills at the horizon.
Edinburgh
Seals napping on a light buoy
When we were arriving to marina it was already dark so we made her fast into the first free hammerhead. The coastguard had also issued a gale warning on VHF. According to the pilots the swell can enter the marina on the north-eastern and eastern winds, so we added some more lines and fenders than usual, just to make sure that there would be no need to climb up to the deck in the middle of the night.

In the morning while paying the harbour dues we asked for an another berth for Suwena but the answer was tight no, as all the empty berths were reserved. Later the local sailors came to warn us about the swell at hammerhead and recommended to change the place as well. In strong winds the pontoons would swing so much that the walking on them would be difficult. The pontoons were also in a very poor shape. Andrus returned to the marina office for a second time to ask for the another berth. After all we would be staying there for four days. The answer was even more unpolite no. During our whole visit all these “reserved” berths were staying empty except one 8 metre long sailing boat moored at one of the few longer berths. For her there would’ve been tens of suitable smaller berths in the marina. Swell was the worst during the low water when the waves were entering the marina and there we were, rolling at the hammerhead.

Also generally the attitude of the harbour staff was very rude. Andrus tried to arrange an appointment with doctor to me as my flu was still going on and getting even worse. He got the answer that there would be a two week queue to see the doctor. After a long haggle he managed to get the phone number to the local medical centre. When we called there, the next free time was for the same afternoon. And this was not all that was a little weird in this marina. We have been in hundreds of marinas and unfortunately I must say that Port Edgar made it to the bottom of the list. This was not what we expected from the marina of the capital of Scotland.

The town of Queensferry by itself felt very cosy and the people in the medical centre, shops and other boaters were all very friendly. Too bad that the marina and chandlery stuff were really bored of their work.

Definately the best in Edinburgh was the day we spent together with my previous competitors. Mary Ann Low and Paul Noble are both the most successful Scottish swimmers and we have been swimming together at several Paralympics, World- and European championships. With Mary Ann we have been in many pools on neighbour lanes and in turns both of us have stepped to the highest podium.
Eve showing Suwena to Mary Ann
Eve with swimmers Mary Ann Low and Paul Noble
The Saturday was flying by chatting and updating each other about years passed and what have been going on with other competition swimmers. We also went together to the centre of Edinburgh where Paul was showing to us the capital of Scotland.
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
On 2014 Eve and Andrus found a phonebooth in Edinburgh
Bagpipes player in Edinburgh
What is uniting my past swimming career and our nowadays sailing is the friends. Like previously in swimming competitions also now while sailing on Suwena we meet up new people who often become our long term friends.

The River Tay and Arbroath 25.5. - 28.5.

  • Posted on: 8 June 2014
  • By: Eve

Our plan was to sail 112 nautical miles directly to Peterhead when the weather forecast was showing light winds from south-east. However, out at sea the wind was from north-east, directly on the nose and running against the waves was extremely uncomfortable. We should arrive in Peterhead during the wee hours. Because of the unpleasant waves Andrus started to look for alternatives on a chart and Reeds Almanac.

The port of Arbroath is accessible only during +-3 hours of a high water and they open the gate only during the harbour office hours. So the Arbroath was out of question. The other harbours in the area were drying at a low water. This is something we have had to consider many times on the east coast of England and Scotland. Even if we are sailing near the coast it is really more like sailing on an open ocean as it would not be possible to approach many of the harbours during the low water or onshore swell. Fortunately Andrus found the river Tay and it looked like there would be some mooring balls and anchorages as well. There was a small marina at Tayport as well but it would also dry at the low water.
Tayport marina
We arrived at the Tay entrance on the low water and all the sand that had arrived by the river was making the entrance even more shallow. The swell from the sea was breaking heavily on some spots. When adding the wind against the tide all the ingredients for heavy rolling were together. We had the mainsail sheeted to the centre for helping in stabilizing the boat, but still it was two hours of quite a rolling before the river calmed down.
Lighthouse on the shore of the river Tay
River Tay in Scotland
The anchorage is located behind the river bend about 10 miles upriver from the entrance in front of the Woodhaven village. After passing the Tay River Bridge there are two charted underwater cables. There are mooring balls for smaller boats on the south side of the river or there own anchoring gear can be used. There is a good holding in a sandy bottom. What a peaceful and protected cove we found there. The hills protected us from the north-east wind. We slept like a babies after uncomfortable nights in the swell of Port Edgar.
Woodhaven on the shore of the river Tay
In the morning we had a pleasant surprise as we got a welcome message to our email from the house in front of we had anchored.
Welcome Suwena!
How unusual to see a Finnish flag in the Tay! You have chosen a lovely spot to anchor – if you are on deck a little later, watch out for the otters who sometimes are out fishing at twilight.
Best wishes and enjoy your journey
Sara – from the house you are alongside.

For the first time at sea our water tank was almost empty. That was annoying because we'd loved to put the dinghy down and explore the river Tay. Now we had a few hours trip to Arbroath, which gate was conveniently opening as well. We lifted the anchor and turned the bow towards Arbroath which is famous for smoked fish.

At sea there were a few dolphins playing alongisde Suwena. They made great jumps and we wondered that maybe they are a couple as they were swimming so close to each other.
Dolphins next to Suwena on the North Sea
Fortunately we were approaching Arbroath during the daytime. During the last few miles there was a huge maze of fishing nets. Andrus was pondering several times: "Where can I pass these nets as there is no space between them". After zig-zaging for quite a time we entered the harbour. Now at least we know from where the Arbroath Smokies are coming from.
Making of the Arbroath Smokies
This marina was again clean, cosy and well maintained. Arbroath by itself seemed like an idyllic fishing town. We also should not forget that Arbroath is located in the county of Angus, where the breed of the world famous Scottish Aberdeen Angus have been breed. We can definitely recommend Aberdeen Angus stakes if you can find them.
Suwena in the marina of Arbroath
For not getting this story into too much about food we have to talk about the drinking as well. On Monday evening during the evening walk we were catched by the rain and we decided to step inside a local watering hole called the Pageant. What we found was a nice public house where already at the door was a sign: no music. There was a relaxed feeling in a pub when people were chatting while having a pint and solving crosswords. We were quickly assimilated. Now that we were in Scotland of course the whiskey became the discussion topic and soon we got a lecture about different types of scotch. We were probably so eager listeners that suddenly the barowner Colin got a Whiskey Bible from the bookshelf and gave it to us as a gift. In the book there are over a thousand different whiskeys tasted and reviewed. Now we have a few weeks time to read the bible so we can stop at the best whiskey distilleries pontoons :-)

Peterhead 29.5. - 31.5.

  • Posted on: 10 June 2014
  • By: Eve

We have been cruising this year for athree weeks only and when we made her fast in the Peterhead marina there are already 533 nautical miles in Suwena's log. There are very few natural safehavens on the east coast of England and Scotland. The harbours are mostly man-made and dry during the low water or are accessible only a few hours during the high water. Despite of this we cannot enter many of them due to our 1.85 metre draft.

Our plan was to stop at the few anchorages on the way to north, however the wind has always been blowing in a way that the swell would enter the anchorages and the anchoring would have been impossible.

From Arbroath we had a 67 mile sail to Peterhead. The wind was blowing from the south-east at 8 knots and we wanted to put the genny out after leaving the harbour. The furlex did not move at all when we tried to open the sail. All electric devices were turned on and we heard that the furlex motor was humming normally. Despite of all this the sail remained nicely furled around the forestay. Until now we have had no problems with electric furling on genoa and mainsail, I guess it was about a time.

It took some time remembering where I had hid the manual handle of the genoa furlex. For the mainsail and mizzen there are strong metallic emergency handles which were nicely neaby in a cockpit. They are not suitable to the genoa because they are not fitting between the furlex and the railing. For the genoa there is its own handle made from a pulley and an endless line.

The opening of the genoa took about 15 minutes when Andrus was pulling the line and I was keeping the sheet tight. By pulling the line one time hand-over-hand the genoa opened about two centimetres so Andrus had his daily doze of exercise done at the same time.
Boats and oil rig support vessels in Peterhead
After arrival in Peterhead, Andrus opened the furlex motor and his suspicions were confirmed. The salt seawater had entered the casing despite of the seals. There were some signs of rusting on the drive belt and it was broken. Now we are waiting for a parcel from Selden's factory in Sweden for getting a new belt and belt wheels.
Broken belt of the genoa furlex
Andrus remembered reading from somewhere about the similar situation where the battery powered drill was used to rotate the furlex engine. We tried to search from the hardware store the half inch drive adapter for drill but there were none. Andrus got help from the crew of S/Y Skoling when they offered a ride to the local specialized tool shop. Warm thanks for your help and favourable winds to you on your summer sail in Norway!
In emergency the genoa can be furled also with the drill
Andrus testing the drill with furlex
Emergency tools for furling sails
The crew of S/Y Skoling in Peterhead
In Finland the palms represent the warm and tropical climate. Therefore it was surprising to find the palm tree at such a high latitude. Due to Golf stream the palms can grow also here in Scotland and thus we started a quest for searching the northernmost palm. Here is the small and brave palm in the Peterhead marina at latitude 57 degrees 29.8 minutes north.
The palm tree in Pterhead at 57 degrees north

Kirkwall 1.6. - 11.6.

  • Posted on: 23 June 2014
  • By: Eve

The distance of our Sunday sail from Peterhead to Orkney was 105 miles. Our plan was either to stop at the anchorage in front of the Shapinsay island or go directly to Kirkwall.

We cast off the lines at five in the morning for taking the advantage of the tidal current from south. The current was favourable all day long and finally we gained 10 free miles, thus the final sailing distance was 95 miles. During the leg the gennaker was up for 66 miles. The day passed leisurely. the Sun was shining and the sea was quiet around us.

When we turned to the strait between Shapinsay and Orkney Mainland we encountered a counter-current. For the last few hours we pushed against the two knot current. Finally we turned to the bay in front of the Balfour castle and put the hook down in the summer night filled by the delicate smell of the countryside.

In the morning we weighed the anchor and moved to the harbour of Kirkwall which is only three miles from Shapinsay. The bottom at the Shapinsay had a good holding with sand bottom. Our anchor winch is located on the foredeck thus all kind of a dirt that comes up with the anchor chain gets spread out all over the deck. On our previous boat it was always a hard work to clean the foredeck after anchoring and thus we wanted to have a sea water pump outlet for Suwena also on a foredeck. Now we have a routine that Andrus handles the winch and I flush the chain with the sea water.
Kirkwall harbour
After arriving in Kirkwall and shutting down the engine, Andrus noticed to his surprise that the bilge pump is running continuously. I run around the boat trying to listen where the water was entering the boat. After opening the engine room hatch Andrus found the offender quickly. The hose to the sea water pump was broken and water was showering into the engine room. We quickly closed the seacock to stop the water entering to Suwena. The whole engine room was covered by salt water and we had an additional repair in front of us. We were just about to leave the boat and fortunately Andrus really noticed the continious bilge pump action. Otherwise we would have been the next few hours in the internet cafe. Who knows how much water there would have been inside Suwena and there was also a real danger of sinking the boat as well.

We got stuck in Kirkwall for a longer time than we had planned because we were waiting the Selden spare parts from Sweden and they arrived only after waiting for a week and a half. That also meant that we had a plenty of time to fix the sea water pump hose and do some sightseeing as well.

Actually after examining the broken hose Andrus also found out that the sea water pump had broken as well. The pressure switch was broken and the pump was pumping continuously with full power. We can only speculate which of them was the initial cause for the whole incident. Earlier in spring we had just bought a spare water pump and now we had a use for it, as both of our fresh water and salt water pumps are the same make and model. I guess now we have to look for a well equipped chandlery in upcoming marinas and get a new spare pump again.
Suwena's broken water pump
For drinking water we use a tank water filtered through Seagull active carbon filter. We are using the fresh water both for household use and flushing the toilets as well. If the water pump would break in the middle of the sea voyage it would be difficult without drinking water and working toilets. Of course we can turn the valve in one of the toilets to flush with the sea water (it still needs a working sea water pump) but we hope it is not needed. The fresh water toilets stay much more odourless compared to sea water toilets and there should be less calcium deposits in the hoses as well.

Kirkwall is the main town of Orkney. It is a small town with a walking street in the middle. There are several cafés, restaurants and shops around the streets of the centre. Now that we stayed here for the longer time we also made a visit to the local hairdresser and once again the crew's heads are in order for a month or so.
Kirkwall
Cathedral of Kirkwall
Cute fishing ship in Kirkwall
To our surprise the Vodafone and O2 wireless broadbands do not work in Orkney. The GPRS connection was slower than a snail and it was impossible to download anything. Even more surprising was that there were still places in Western Europe where even the cellphone did not work. In most buildings the signal did not reach inside the buildings at all. Fortunately in most of the restaurants, cafés and hotels there were a free WiFi so the menus from them became very familiar to us.

We also rented a car for a couple of days to drive around the Orkney Mainland and nearby smaller islands. It is unbelievable on how many historical places there are for exploring. More about Orkney's 5000 year old human settlements will be in another blog story.
Sheep in Orkney
Farming in South Ronaldsay island of Orkney
Village in South Ronaldsay island of Orkney
Andrus was amazed by the amount of renewable energy that is used on Orkney since almost all farms had their own wind power generator milling on a yard. We found out from the local newspaper that there are so many windmills that smaller ones are no longer accepted to be connected to the national grid because it is overloaded with electricity production.
Windmills at the farm in Orkney
There are protected Scapa Flow bay on the southern end of the Orkney archipelago that is very popular sailing destination. During the second world war the dikes were built by Churchill between the eastern islands to prevent German submarines from entering the bay. During the war Scapa Flow was the main base of British navy. Now that we had a rental car we also drove by the Churchill Barriers to the other islands.
Churchill barriers in Orkney
Visiting the small island of Birsay was an experience of its own. Birsay is located at the north-west corner of the Orkney Mainland. The island is only accessible by walking during the low water when a concrete causeway is revealed. We werewaiting on the pathway for about half an hour before the water retreated completely. There is a decent size bird colony on the island and birders looking for puffins followed us to the island. This evening we did not see any puffins but we admired a singing oystercatchers. It was a beautiful and peaceful island full of nature.
Causeway to island of Birsay during the low water
Oystercatcher in the island of Birsay at the ruins of viking settelement
The quest to find the northernmost palm tree also continued. On our way back from the southern islands Andrus spotted a palm tree in the front yard of the residential house. A quick U-turn and we have a proof that palms do grow at the latitude of 59 degrees north.
Palm in Kirkwall, 59 degrees north
The weather changes here really quickly. It was extraordinary that when we were in South Ronaldsay and there was full sunshine but after returning to Mainland there was a fog again. We also heard that the fog has been there for the whole duration of our island tour. It is just as Andrus said that "The weather forecast here cannot be trusted at all, except that if there is no gale warnings on VHF then probably there will be no storm in six hours".

When the Selden parts finally arrived on the 11TH we could continued to the other islands of Orkney.

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