Antipole cruises

Lerwick to Florø, Norway

After a week of waiting for the weather, we finally got a reasonable forecast and lots of yachts set sail.

We had a good start with a nice northerly F3-4 in fair weather and, with an easy reach, we made rapid progress. Then, as forecast, we had a few hours of almost calm in a rather uncomfortable cross-swell but still sheltered from a large swell by the Shetland Isles.

Eventually, the wind returned, this time from the west, so we were running. While a wind from behind sounds good news, it can be difficult. A yacht is just blown along rather than sailing with wind flowing over the sails and it can be slower. A swell from astern can make it tricky. To maintain speed we needed to go ‘goose-winged’ and great concentration was required to avoid a gybe. By nightfall, we had a force 5 wind, the 1st reef in and the swell from astern was building.

Around midnight, we reached the first oil rigs and had to pick our way between them. They have large exclusion zones around them and we had quite a narrow gap to use. As Antipole yawed in the swell there was some ambiguity in our heading and we were called up several times to warn us off getting too close. The rigs have huge flares burning off gas which light up the night sky. It is painful to see so much environmental vandalism.

As the wind and swell built up, it became increasingly difficult to manage the genoa and so we furled it, running on just the reefed mainsail. At about 6:30 in the morning, the rain started as forecast and the wind rose to the top of F6, touching F7 briefly. The mainsail became difficult to manage and so we decided to run just under the genoa. During the changes, we had an accidental gybe, which carried away the boom break line and one of the main sheet blocks. However, it was much more comfortable sailing and we were able to navigate past several more oil rigs.

By 4:30pm on the second afternoon, the wind died off. At least the rain had stopped. Not wanting to carry out repairs to the mainsail in the heavy swell, nor spend a second night out, we resorted to the engine for the last 24nm.

It had been a very wet and cold passage, so we were very glad to reach shelter and put into a small harbour on Rognsøya. A large fishing vessel occupied the quay so there was no room to anchor, but we were invited to moor onto someone’s pontoon.

Once secured, Ynskje produced a lovely supper. In preparation for the passage, she had made lots of soup but only she had managed to enjoy it. Tony had not taken anything for two days, so the supper was very welcome. We slept like logs all night and much of the morning!

The next day, having repaired the damage to the mainsail controls, we had an easy 9nm sail into the town and port of Florø, where we berthed in the marina.

As we were entering Norway and a Schengen country we had to fly the ‘Q’ flag. For those who do not know, the yellow flag is the international letter Q, short for Quarantine. In days past, this indicated a ship needed to be inspected for plague but today indicates we have not cleared entry formalities.

So the next day we walked to the police station to declare ourselves. This was very efficient. Ynskje and Dan’s EU passports were simply scanned. For Tony, with his British passport, lots of details had to be entered about his plans and when he would be leaving. Eventually, he got the necessary entry stamp on his passport. Thank you, Brexit 😖

We spent interesting times with Jon & Cindy from the American yacht Abracadabra. They have many years of experience cruising Norway and were able to give us useful advice and tips. And as they are bound for Shetland we were able to reciprocate.

Dan will be leaving us in Florø. He has been a huge help, spending long hours at the wheel and managing on only snatches of sleep. Thank you, Dan.

Dan writes

This leg of another Odyssey draws to a close in Norway after an epic adventure at sea on Antipole. Thank you as ever to Tony and Mum for such wonderful hospitality and memories to treasure of value beyond that of any possible pirate plunder.

Retirement from long sea crossings has been muted by the Antipole Skipper and First Mate but we’ll see. For now, for their sakes – and particularly for the morale of the remaining crew – I hope that Norway has more than the allotted 12 days of summer forecast in Wick.

That’s the news for now. Latest track log here.

love Tony, Ynskje & Dan

3 thoughts on “Lerwick to Florø, Norway

  1. liz

    HI So glad you have made it and are in calmer waters. I had imagined it would have been a reach across for you as the weather maps showed a NW but it sounds as if it was rather uncomfortable. Anyway, you are now there and I hope you enjoy it all. AND that the weather improves for you. It is still so cold isn’t it? Being cold and wet is absolutely
    Much love Liz x

  2. Alison Naisby

    Hi, echoing Liz’s message, so glad you arrived safely in the end, sounds like a really testing voyage, especially going without food for 2 days! How good it must have been to have Dan with you for this part of the trip. Hope the rest of the trip is less eventful!

    Love to you both, Alison & family xxxxxx

  3. Heleen

    Hi ine and tony,

    Jullie doel: Noorwegen bezeilen! Ik wens jullie een geweldig mooie trip en natuurlijk without problems of any kind.
    Druk bezig met voorbereiding voor IJsland: het gaat goed met me (dankzij de TENS eco 2) en ik mag hem meenemen.
    Prachtig weer hier in het Amsterdamse: hopelijk komt de zomer ook jullie kant op.
    Met liefs, Heleen.

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