Pedal to the metal

After having a little rest in Troon, it was back out so that we could get to Liverpool. Leaving Troon reminded me of our delivery run, when we had just bought Salty Lass, that certainly was an adventure, how this journey would be we would just have to wait and see.

The weather coming out of Troon was incredibly calm, so we set the sails to get the most out of the wind plus we put the motor on to generate some wind and to actually make way. While we were motoring we learned about no wind sailing. That sounds pretty crazy, but basically we were finding that at 5knots of speed that was enough to generate 0.5knots of speed from the sails. The Genoa was pretty rubbish at that kind of wind speed still needing 10knots of wind to keep the sail up, but the main could be flown. The other thing we were learning was that the main could be set so that we were only 10-20° off the wind which is pretty close.

While we were sailing we kept a look out, but when the only thing we needed to worry about is one large boat that was anchored and a large rock known locally as the Ailsa Craig then you don't have to worry much. In fact the passage was so benign that I actually managed to read a book. When we passed the Ailsa Craig we saw a huge Gannet colony on the side of the rock, definitely not a good place to be if you are a fish.

The rest of the passage was fairly quiet getting in to Portpatrick at 23:00. We had set the lines for a harbour wall mooring but when we got there the small harbour was full to the brim with boats, so much so we were the forth boat out. It would of been a great harbour to video coming in, but with it being so dark, you would not of been able to see anything, but there was ferry gliding, staying on a leading line, then rafting, so pretty interesting. I think I did really well although I still need a bit of help with the ferry gliding. Once we got in it was tea an toast followed by a good night sleep.

The next day we were up at 6:30 and ready to go. We were as quite as we could slipping the lines, then it was just a case of turning Salty Lass in a incredibly small turning circle which I have to say Beverley did expertly.

It was another quiet day but we wanted to make passage, so we used all the tricks that we have learnt to date to make the passage

  • Counter currents - This can run for two hours in the right direction before the main channel goes in your direction, although the counter current we were using is mentioned in the Irish sea pilot, we actually learned about the counter current we were using from local fisherman. The counter current is quite weak at only 0.5 - 1knot, but if it is going in your direction then use it. Counter currents are typically close in to land
  • Main Currents - These are stronger the further out you are, so to make the most of these move away from the land and move into the areas where the current is stronger.
  • Wind - If you can use the wind to help you in any way then do so, it is far nicer to sail and it is free energy
  • Motor - We do not like it, but if we have to use the iron sail then we will

Even though normally you can see land from where we were, because there was a sea fog then we could not see land at all. It made it feel quite isolating but it will be training for when we do an ocean passage if we ever get that far.

We were really pleased with our passage because we got all the way to the Calf of Sound from Portpatrick at exactly the right time so that we could go through the passage with ease. After the Calf of Man it was a rest at Port St Mary, where we had got permission to moor, but no permission to get off Salty Lass.