Pods and Pontoons!

Crew Update 20 Sept

After we completed our day one sail from Kip to the Mull of Kintyre we successfully anchored overnight at Sanda. In the morning of day two the yellow watch came on to begin the passage from Sanda over to Vatersay Bay, passing south of Islay.

The wind and sea were a fair bit calmer than the previous day and it made for some very pleasant upwind sailing as we rounded Islay at midday. The sun came out as we headed north and we eased the sails off to get on to a broad reach. The red watch came on at 2pm and were in good spirits up on deck, while yellow watch got some decent rest down below.

In the late afternoon we were treated to our first pod of dolphins which appeared off the stern to get a look at us. Following the yacht for about 20 minutes the deck was a hive of activity as we scrambled to get some footage.

The wind started to pick up around 7pm and came further round to the stern, putting us on to a downwind run. The seas became heavier and it made for some exciting yet challenging sailing, keeping whoever was on the helm on their toes. A reef was put in the mainsail to help bring the boat under a bit more control.

Yellow watch came back on at 8pm to take over for the last leg towards Vatersay Bay and the first bit of night sailing of the trip. The wind and waves remained quite heavy throughout the evening, with dark clouds and lightning making the weather feel storm-like.

An impressive moon-bow was spotted around 10pm and then the sky cleared a little, bringing bright stars out above us. The trip is certainly starting to deliver some of the special scenes we always hope for.

More reefs were put in the mainsail though the night and the staysail was also brought down, which made keeping course much easier. Occasionally, the right combination of wind force and wave surfing brought the boat up to speeds of 13kts. We reached Vatersay Bay at 1am on the 19th and set to the anchor.  Unfortunately the first try was impeded by seaweed, so the anchor was brought back up manually by the crew and a second attempt was made in deeper water.

By 2:30am it seemed to be holding, so a new anchor watch was drawn up and the crew got some well-deserved rest.

After some rest and with the pending arrival of storm Ali we decided to re position to pontoons at Castlebay for a good nights sleep and are now as of 10am on the 20th September heading out into the North Atlantic to begin our ocean passage.

You can follow our progress at track.taepingclipper.co.uk and keep your eye out for daily blogs from Skipper and Crew.