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North Sea, Sailing from Bergen for Den Helder

The afternoon found the Picton Castle under full sail, sailing south in fresh winds in the North Sea. We were about 40 miles off the island of Karmoy, Norway steering SSW. The sky was clear, seas a dark blue-green and not so big. The wind was cool and from the north. It was good to be back at sea again after some days in port and steaming through the beautiful, mountainous, winding fjords of Norway. We had just sailed from Bergen after four days of an excellent tall ships festival held there. The Picton Castle crew acquitted themselves well there. Chibley went walkabout but we got her back with the help of the citizens of Bergen. There are many stories to tell about the last couple of weeks and some of them will be up and posted soon so stay tuned.

We have sailed from Kiel, Germany to Svendborg, Denmark, Copenhagen and on to Sweden and Norway. Ships, pulling boat races, crew parades, sailing in and out of small harbours, Norwegian crew from her days sailing hereabouts, good weather and bad all figure into our voyage of late and more. But for now we are back at sea sailing and looking after our wonderful ship, feeling the seas heave beneath our keel and feeling the kick of the wheel as well. The air is clean and cool and it is good to be back at sea. Donald and Buddy caught 80 fine fat mackerel off the stern and made a nice supper.

A few days later – not much useful wind in the North Sea, it went light and then to nothing but we were near the finish line of the race between Bergen and Den Helder when a front blew through knocking the big powerful Bark Statsraad Lehmkuhl out of second place and she fired up to motor into Den Helder. We did the same. But the wind kept on building and building right on the nose so we stuck into a broad bay south of Terschelling with little in the way of distinguishing features and dropped a big anchor to let the gale blow through, strong currents but very good holding. Three shots of chain out and a full gale but seas were small so a fleet of various big old Dutch boats with lee boards had their regatta anyway, most with triple reefed sails and not a few broken gaffs. Some say the Dutch are a bit wild about sailing…The next morning with the wind laid down, the tide came our way and we pushed on towards Den Helder.

Buddy and Donald in stripes
Chris and Kolin
local boats out enjoying the gale
Lynsey and Paul in new uniforms
Mike explaining the weather, ie why we are stuck in Terschelling in a gale
Paul teaching intro navigation
Sam and Nick working on their ditty bags

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