We headed back from Dublin, still slightly hungover from the wedding, to set sail immediately. We were in a little bit of a hurry because we wanted to try to make it to Holland in a week. We were itching to get started at work and didn’t feel like wasting another week waiting around. For our friends and family we wanted to try to arrive in a weekend, so they could welcome us back on land. But that meant we had to sail the last 400 miles in 6 days!
Our next destination would be Dartmouth (just next to Plymouth) in England, where we planned to meet up with Ben and Nicki. We were super lucky with the weather: there was just the right amount of wind, sunshine and no waves at all. Scehawk was in her element and did a solid 8 knots through the water the whole day and night. The sunrise after a night at sea was wonderful, we just passed the Scilly Isles (which we had to skip due to our tight time schedule) and the passage couldn’t be any better. We had time to read books, cook meals and enjoy this amazing passage. The second night was a bit colder and a lot more humid, and the wind died down slowly overnight. That wasn’t too bad, we wanted to wait for daylight anyway to get into the harbour of Dartmouth. We bobbed around for hours with the current and motored in at the break of dawn.
We met up with Matenka, who decided to stay a bit longer and wait out one more tide. We explored Dartmouth, where to our surprise almost every kid in town seemed to entertain itself with crab fishing. There we were, wearing our fleece sweaters, complaining about the cold while these kids were in full-summer mode. Playing in the water, fishing and swimming all day..
We couldn’t stay long, so after final our meet up with Matenka and Bora Bora (without the actual Bora Bora) we set sail early the day after. This passage wouldn’t be as sweet as our previous one.
The weather forecast showed 25 knot wind from astern, which gets to the limit of our comfort zone. We know that wind can gust up to 10 knots more, especially in the British Channel we were about to pass. But another weather model showed no wind at all for the next day so we were determined to get as far as possible with the wind. The wind picked up and we decided to sail through the next day and try to make it to Holland a day early. We would have some time for a rest and a little cleanup before arriving in our final harbour.
The wind kept picking up when it was supposed to die down, and we ended up having to deal with gale force winds and a 3 knot countercurrent at the busiest stretch of water we’ve ever been in. We had to tack around fishing vessels, windmills, cargo ships and shipping lanes. We reefed too late, which turned into a very wet emergency reefing session for Thomas. After all that he was cold, wet, seasick and annoyed and it was already 1 am. He even refused to drink a beer with me and enjoy our last night out at sea. I felt bad for him so I sent him off to bed with a sea sickness tablet and crossed the shipping lane alone. At least it wasn’t boring!
Right before sunrise Thomas took over. We were sailing very slowly between hundreds of very large anchored cargo ships only on a little bit of headsail. The motion of the boat was way more comfortable this way, but we weren’t doing 8-10 knots anymore. Slowly but steadily the wind was decreasing, sun was rising and we were out of the big traffic. And in dutch waters!
When we were almost in sight of our inlet at Stellendam, heavy rain started pouring down and we got a very wet dutch welcome. Good to be home.. or shall we turn around and quickly sail back to the Bahamas?
At Stellendam we moored the boat, had long hot showers, went for a bike ride to the nearest snackbar and finally ate some kroketten and a patatje oorlog. NOW we felt welcome!