Trip Notes

Some observations and lessons learnt from our trip.

The boat and Equipment

This kind of journey will test the sea worthiness of the boat as well as its gear. Despite thorough preparation and maintenance before we left we had the the following issues:-

  • A couple of the mainsail car ball-sliders broke (Fredriksen). We had to order new ones (now from Ronstan) and have them shipped to us. The cars were 11 years old but the setup of the mainsail was such that the sail was not usable without them.
  • The Hand pumped marine toilet needed to have the joker valve and a main valve gasket replaced.
  • The cockpit spray hood stitching came apart in multiple places. This was re-stitched with sail repair thread. The stitching was rotten.
  • The engine water cooling pump developed a leak on the inlet hose
  • A broken wind instrument, the header sensor unit. This lead to us not having wind speed or direction information for the last 1000NM. Interestingly it made little difference as we just sailed by tiller pressure and how the sails set.
  • Check your fog horn gas canisters to make sure the gas in the canisters is not flammable!


  • If you use an iPad for navigation don’t let it get hot. Ours overheated in the sun at a critical moment and lockup up. Fortunately we had a separate plotter running. See the separate post on day this happened.
  • The trusty Raymarine electronics played up and completely failed in the case of the wind instrument
  • The “Three” mobile network for the iPad was the best. Providing a good 3G signal in the majority of harbours. The O2 3G network, my normal one, suffered from a lack of bandwidth. Take a selection of iPad data sim cards.
  • AIS allowed us to navigate safely, combined with Radar, in thick fog. We used an iPad to receive AIS via a plotter app. More details here.
  • The ability to see your actual course over the ground displayed on the instruments, compared with the course you planned to steer, was invaluable
  • We found that the trip was more about preparing and executing the pilotage rather than actual sailing. We motored 65% of the whole trip due to tidal gates and headwinds.
  • Many of the wind and sea conditions which would could be sailed downwind where not viable upwind. This was often because of the typical 40 to 50NM passages which we were doing. 40NM beating to windward in F5/6 gets tiring very fast.
  • We had to motor far more than we expected. We were headed by the wind were often bashing 20deg off the wind. The gentlemen’s downwind sailing was almost non existent!

The places and the Journey

  • It was unexpected, even though a check on the chart would have shown, that Scotland was so close to Northern Ireland. The north east coat of Scotland at Duncansby Head was also very close (15 NM) to the Orkanys.
  • That the Orkneys were at 60 deg north. We had not expected to reach this latitude. It was June and hardly got dark at all. Still very light at midnight.
  • There were many more Marinas than we thought. Mainly in old fish docks on the east coast of Scotland and England.
  • The best beers were in the Orkneys, North West Scotland. The cheapest beer was in the Humber Cruising Association at £1.50 per pint (Sam Smiths)
  • The massive number of wind-farms plus the fact that they were often uncharted, or only on the latest corrections, made navigation on the east coast much harder than we expected
  • The most interesting attraction we visited was Dover Castle. Stormbound in Dover we explored the castle and the Secret Wartime tunnels. Took nearly 4 hours but there was much more to see.
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