Cats and dogs in the dog watch

51’00 N 001’18 E 3.8kn grk 230

Cats and dogs in the dog watch,

After two weeks of maintenances we are under way again. Destination Falmouth. We have got a fresh ship and a fresh crew. Niels, Finlay and Pelle have joint us to sail the regatta from Falmouth to London. We met them during our world trip as they were crew on the Bark Europa. They are young,fit and ready to take on anything head first. Emanuel is back on the ship again, after he rounded Cape Horn with us last December and will stay on for the regatta. Together with Wilm, who after the trip to New Zealand found his sea legs, and me make up the team for this leg to Cornwall.

Yesterday morning looked promising. In the shelter of the houses and buildings of Den Helder the wind appeared to be NW’ly. The day before I could not find a weather forecast that agreed with the next, so decided that the NW’ly fitted us just fine. Once through the bridge, lock and bridge. The sun was out and all was well. We started setting the mizzn when the first clouds came in and half way the mainsail all hell broke loose. Down went the main and up the fore stay sail. With 1300 rpm’s we moter sailed out of the Mars diep, in to the squally North Sea.

It was soon clear to us that this was going to be the setting for the coming night. As further south we came the more the weather improved. The squalls were less frequent and the SSW wind died out, as we were treated on a beautiful sunset. Everyone was longing for the English Channel and the rolling hills of Cornwall. A Mecca for old gaff rigged boats. Who blend in to its scenery like the old bend oak trees and winding tidal rivers. A place of mystic and mystery. And that is what it remains, far far away as we plunge in to the Dover Strait. The wind has swung into the SSE but is not likely to stay there very long. It is the end of an occluded front. We are punching through with 3 knots in the rain and sleet. Emanuel turns in for a nab and with a smile on his face he tells me it reminds him of an earlier trip. I kindly point out to him that at that particular trip we were sailing with a beam reach. His smile broadens as he tells me it was a lot colder then.

Our thoughts are with the tide. May it smooth out the sea and carry us long and far.

Gijs