Join our mailing list

Help me choose!

Hummingbird arrives in Arctic Norway

Posted in : Hummingbird

So, we made it, after 5 days of sailing we made the crossing from Iceland to Norway. The straight line distance was about 700 nautical miles but the weather threw us a few curve balls so we had to tack, gybe and occasionally hoist the iron sail (engine). Sailing at such a high latitude afforded us 24 hour daylight and alleviated some of the common night sailing issues such as how do I find my touch until I’ve found my torch and how has my left glove disappeared 2 seconds after putting it down. We saw Orca and Minke whales and many unknown species of sea birds which became known generically as “sea pigeons”. Onboard we had an eclectic mix of 10 people: skipper Stu, mate Mike and 8 punters including 3 very keen watch leaders. Stu and Mike exhibited the calmness and good humour that only comes with vast experience and let the crew sail the boat while keeping an eye on proceedings to ensure safety and occasionally stepping in to prevent excessive daftness, with a raised eye brow and a wry smile.  The 3 keen watch leaders calculated the passage plan to the millimeter, assessed the meteorological downloads with the diligence of a psychotic professor and shot up onto deck like a startled whippet if there was the remotest chance of a sun sight. A sun sight is where you use a sextant to measure the angle of the sun above the horizon. From this angle it is possible to use ancient trigonometric wisdom and sight reduction tables to fill a sheet of paper with numbers which allows one to determine why GPS was invented.  We had a number of nationalities which gelled together to form a fun and effective crew which resulted in bizarre late night conversations covering important subjects such as the definition of custard, the correct usage of Tinder and the importance of Top Gun. The list is long and distinguished.   The boat was “Hummingbird”, a 60 foot first generation baby clipper. Compared to the Clipper 70 Hummingbird has lovely creature comforts including: central heating, toilet seats, a toilet door, carpet, usb charging points in each bunk, a (dodgy) head lining and a saloon table. So, having thought I was volunteering for a beer and discovering I volunteered to write a blog I must wind this up. We had a great experience and have a couple of remaining days to bimble along the Lofoten Islands before returning to their homes and a life more mundane.

Richard Leyland