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Old 04-09-2016, 03:41   #16
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

By early October in that latitude, you may have serious weather systems tracking across the Atlantic too closely spaced to get more than a one day window between. It doesn't matter how strong the boat is or what storms sails and safety equipment you have, you just don't want to be up there in a F9 or worse which has been blowing for days across thousands of miles. Early October is already the wrong season for this trip.

If you must do it, then I would contradict the advice of some on here, and for God's sake stay out of the Western Approaches and the windward sides of Scotland and Ireland. You want the shortest hops possible in order to use whatever weather windows you get, which means Faroes, Orkneys, and North Sea. It is true that the North Sea is a fearsome body of water but it's all relative -- it's a lake compared to the Western Approaches in October. Once you reach the Orkneys, you are never more than a day from a safe haven so you are more or less home free. It's more miles, but you'll get through the dangerous latitudes safely.

Make sure you have plenty of time for waiting out weather, and you should be using a professional weather router.

Good luck.
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Old 04-09-2016, 03:46   #17
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Numaman.. if you look at W Ireland you will see there are only 2 places to safely run for shelter if the **** hits the fan..
Limerick and Galway... the E coast however offers some shelter and a great deal more hidey holes..
I'd do the W coast in the summer.. but winter time no way.. no desire whatsoever to check out the Spanish Armada.
This

And it's true of the W Coast of Scotland also. There are a lot of islands to hide behind but in serious Westerly weather, you can't approach them. One of the most horrifying lee shores you can imagine. Stay on the lee side of the British Isles in this season; save seeing Ireland for a more appropriate season.
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Old 05-09-2016, 16:40   #18
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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By early October in that latitude, you may have serious weather systems tracking across the Atlantic too closely spaced to get more than a one day window between. It doesn't matter how strong the boat is or what storms sails and safety equipment you have, you just don't want to be up there in a F9 or worse which has been blowing for days across thousands of miles. Early October is already the wrong season for this trip.

If you must do it, then I would contradict the advice of some on here, and for God's sake stay out of the Western Approaches and the windward sides of Scotland and Ireland. You want the shortest hops possible in order to use whatever weather windows you get, which means Faroes, Orkneys, and North Sea. It is true that the North Sea is a fearsome body of water but it's all relative -- it's a lake compared to the Western Approaches in October. Once you reach the Orkneys, you are never more than a day from a safe haven so you are more or less home free. It's more miles, but you'll get through the dangerous latitudes safely.

Make sure you have plenty of time for waiting out weather, and you should be using a professional weather router.

Good luck.
Dockhead,

Yes, it is a wrong time to sail, no doubt. But that is the reason I want to go.

I take your comments seriously and want to plan accordingly. We need a 5 day weather window from Reykjavik to Londonderry or a 3 day window for Faroes. In case of emergency, where is the recommended port we should head to in Faroes? If we opt for taking North sea route, will we have the same problem down English Channel toward southwest?

There are lot of weather routers around, is there one that is specialized in high latitude routing?

Thanks
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Old 05-09-2016, 16:44   #19
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Wow, there's lot of info. I will check it out. Thanks.
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Old 05-09-2016, 16:55   #20
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Dockhead,

Yes, it is a wrong time to sail, no doubt. But that is the reason I want to go.

I take your comments seriously and want to plan accordingly. We need a 5 day weather window from Reykjavik to Londonderry or a 3 day window for Faroes. In case of emergency, where is the recommended port we should head to in Faroes? If we opt for taking North sea route, will we have the same problem down English Channel toward southwest?

There are lot of weather routers around, is there one that is specialized in high latitude routing?

Thanks
That's right - and if you have a forecast for three days, you might just get it. Whereas five, not so certain. Also Faroes are downwind - very important difference to Ireland. Then you will tend to be in the lee of the land through the North Sea.

English Channel is no problem - daysail between excellent ports if necessary. Next big hop is Biscay, also not a joke in that season.

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Old 05-09-2016, 20:19   #21
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Dockhead,

Yes, it is a wrong time to sail, no doubt. But that is the reason I want to go.

I take your comments seriously and want to plan accordingly. We need a 5 day weather window from Reykjavik to Londonderry or a 3 day window for Faroes. In case of emergency, where is the recommended port we should head to in Faroes? If we opt for taking North sea route, will we have the same problem down English Channel toward southwest?

There are lot of weather routers around, is there one that is specialized in high latitude routing?

Thanks
Faroe Islands —

I reiterate what I said earlier. If you take the North Sea route, you will take more time, and will encounter more and more severe weather. I would not be surprised if you end up needing one month to get to Brest, because you will be blocked in port several times. In my opinion, you should take the first opportunity to sail straight to Ireland.

Personnally, I would plot a route to a point well West of Ireland, about 600 NM from Reykjavik. It should take about 3 days to get there and that would be more or less covered by the initial weather forecasts. Once approaching that point, I would decide on the basis of fresh weather forecasts whether to go straight to Cork, or whether to sail to the East of Ireland. Normally, you should be able to flee easily downwind to the East of Ireland if a serious depression is approaching.

You will NOT have a reliable 5-day window to plan the whole route. You should assume that you will encounter at least one depression underway, and think about how to handle it. Take advantage that you have plenty of sea room in the middle of the ocean. Do not handle a depression close to land. As pointed out, there are almost no real ports of refuge on the west coasts of Ireland and of Scotland.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:45   #22
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Faroe Islands —

I reiterate what I said earlier. If you take the North Sea route, you will take more time, and will encounter more and more severe weather. I would not be surprised if you end up needing one month to get to Brest, because you will be blocked in port several times. In my opinion, you should take the first opportunity to sail straight to Ireland.

Personnally, I would plot a route to a point well West of Ireland, about 600 NM from Reykjavik. It should take about 3 days to get there and that would be more or less covered by the initial weather forecasts. Once approaching that point, I would decide on the basis of fresh weather forecasts whether to go straight to Cork, or whether to sail to the East of Ireland. Normally, you should be able to flee easily downwind to the East of Ireland if a serious depression is approaching.

You will NOT have a reliable 5-day window to plan the whole route. You should assume that you will encounter at least one depression underway, and think about how to handle it. Take advantage that you have plenty of sea room in the middle of the ocean. Do not handle a depression close to land. As pointed out, there are almost no real ports of refuge on the west coasts of Ireland and of Scotland.
You are applying rules for milder latitudes. The area you are advising him to sail towards, arriving at the expiration of any reasonable weather window, is the last place on earth you would want to be during the equinoctial gales. This is the stormiest place in the North Atlantic, with the highest average significant wave heights of any place on earth, I believe, apart from the Southern Ocean. Having a couple hundred miles of sea room is no comfort in 15 meter breaking seas -- this is not a good plan. The way wave energy is focussed into this area can be seen from the following graphic:

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The best plan for this passage, by far, is to wait for the proper season.

But if the OP must go in October, then he needs to get out of the red zone in the graphic, within a reliable weather window. Once he gets into the North Sea, in the lee of the British Isles, there will be no more danger, but there could be lots of waiting. So a month to Brest (or better Falmouth) would be about what I would expect, actually. You might get lucky and do it faster, but you should budget at least a month and for God's sake don't be in a hurry.

In October in these waters there may only be a day or two between gales, for the whole month, so even a three day weather window may be hard to find.

After all that, Biscay will be a doddle. Falmouth to Vigo is less than 600 miles and the frequency of gales is far less than further North. The OP should skip Brest and give Ushant a good offing -- Falmouth to Vigo is the best way across in this season.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:35   #23
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

Captains,

Thanks for your continuous input. It is good to consider all options and provide me the opportunity to sharpen my critical thinking skills in the float plan planning..

I am not sure if the Sponsor is willing to pull the boat out and put on hard in Nuuk or Reykjavik, and come back next year to sail the boat. It is not an easy decision. Obviously, I also need to make my own decision if I would take on this vovage. Cold, wet, miserable and dangerous is not a problem as I have planned all my life. As long as I don't need to someone risking their life to save my ass at sea, I am OK with it.

Back to topic. I feel that the only way for this voyage is to sail to the west coast of Northern Ireland. We have a Sat phone to receive daily weather forecast via email from many sources, plus on-demand InReach Marine forecast. We also have the on-land support to provide us any assistance. Of course all these supports mean little if we are in the Gale force situation. All we can do is to make sure we have plenty of sea room.

If the sh*t hits the fan, between Iceland and Londonderry, our only choice is to Faroe islands, but I double we can make it back to West coast of Northern Ireland if we are this far east. My question is "What NOW"?
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:52   #24
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pirate Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

Therein lies the rub..
If you have to run for the Faroes then the only choice is the Shetland and Orkneys before heading down the E coast of the UK.. a ships graveyard of all sizes.. I'd suggest Fair Isle midway between the two groups..
That will get you into the lee of the UK fairly soon after you set out again..
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:24   #25
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Therein lies the rub..
If you have to run for the Faroes then the only choice is the Shetland and Orkneys before heading down the E coast of the UK.. a ships graveyard of all sizes.. I'd suggest Fair Isle midway between the two groups..
That will get you into the lee of the UK fairly soon after you set out again..
Excellent suggestion, from one of our most experienced delivery skippers

The lee of the UK is what you want.


The problem with getting continuous weather updates is once you are committed, there isn't much you can do about them.

The key is not setting out unless you can be reasonably sure of being out of the red zone, or at least in a safe harbor, before your weather window expires, which is three days max.

The equinoctial gales sometimes come, and sometimes don't, so if you feel lucky, you can gamble that your five day forecast will be accurate, and you can make Londonderry. That could even be reasonable, if you clearly see that the pattern of equinoctial gales hasn't developed at all -- sometimes it doesn't.

But when those systems start marching across the Atlantic, that area West of Scotland is the focus of all that energy, and you typically get huge breaking seas, very often more than 10 meters, which make for a survival situation. I am not a sissy -- all my sailing last decade above 50N, and F8 is a sailing wind for me, as long as its behind the beam -- but I would not put myself in the way of one of those. With a good crew, strong, well-prepared boat, Jordan Series Drogue carefully checked and with strong anchor points -- you will probably survive. Probably. But why? Do you crave writing a book or being on TV?

Fair Isle is a great suggestion.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:44   #26
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Excellent suggestion, from one of our most experienced delivery skippers

The lee of the UK is what you want.


The equinoctial gales sometimes come, and sometimes don't, so if you feel lucky, you can gamble that your five day forecast will be accurate, and you can make Londonderry. That could even be reasonable, if you clearly see that the pattern of equinoctial gales hasn't developed at all -- sometimes idoesn't.
t

I agree totally about Boatman

Where are the equinoctial gales originated from? Where do I look or how far west from Scotland I should look in the weather map?
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:08   #27
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pirate Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
[/B]
I agree totally about Boatman

Where are the equinoctial gales originated from? Where do I look or how far west from Scotland I should look in the weather map?
Look all the way across.. also check the Polar Jetstream as that plays a major role in things N of 50.. its been pretty fluid for a few years..
Weather tends to follow the N wall of the Stream where the Labrador current turns it E and NE..
South of there its the E coast hurricanes tracking N of the Azores.


But... I could be wrong.. where's 'Barni' when you need him..
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:23   #28
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

Boatman, thanks for the heads up. It is a good start. Not sure how much and how fast I can learn, but I will do my homework, always.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:39   #29
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pirate Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

rockDAWG... start tracking and following things on passageweather NOW to get the feel of things and how they flow..
I usually start following the patterns at least 4 weeks before I do a delivery.
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Old 07-09-2016, 13:08   #30
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Re: Late Season Sailing in Northern Europe

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rockDAWG... start tracking and following things on passageweather NOW to get the feel of things and how they flow..
I usually start following the patterns at least 4 weeks before I do a delivery.
Hahaaa, that is interesting. I do the same thing. But I only follow the weather just about 10 days before the trip. In this case, I am not familiar with the water in Europe, I guess 4 weeks is not enough
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