Sailing Long Distances

Milford Haven, Wales – a lesson in wind over tide


George Clooney in the movie Gravity crossed my mind when he said ‘Houston I got a bad feeling about this mission,’ and Houston replied ‘Kowalski, please elaborate.’
Our mission is sailing south, making the best of a weather window down to Falmouth, about 180 miles or calculated 36 hours nonstop. The forecast was good, mainly northwest force five, shifting northeast later and declining to a gentle breeze. I didn’t say ‘Beate, I’ve got a bad feeling about this trip’ but in my head it kept me busy for two days. Yet, I was somewhat relieved when we cast off at six o’clock on a Saturday morning. It all started as planned. A northwesterly breeze close to the shoreline of Ireland, a pleasant current south, and the boat makes us sail eight and more knots overground. Hours later we set the foresail to support the engine. We maintained good speed, the first 35 miles just flew past. The wind got stronger and the waves steeper. Around noon the current became slack briefly, changed direction and run north. We felt the effect immediately, breaking waves what looked like out of all directions. Athene performed her dance in a cocktail shaker. The skipper’s face turned white and his gut did not hold back its vanity and told him, see, I was right about having a bad feeling for this passage. Beate sat opposite of me in the cockpit. Her face expression spoke of why am I here? I should have accepted the job offer I got recently … Read More