Thursday, July 05, 2012

SAC: The Faroes decision

Having the Faroes pretty much directly on the route to the Arctic Circle raised the question of whether we'd go round or through them. It would of course be a lot more dramatic to go through the archipelago but it was agreed that the decision would depend upon conditions.

First to consider were the tides, as going up a fjord with the tide against us would be impossible, which implied there would be time windows which we'd have to calculate.

We checked the Admiralty pilot, the Imray pilot, the cryptic Faroes Almanac (in Faroese, which baffled even Google Translate) and a useful PDF from Danish Maritime Safety Administration. Despite being linked to times of high water at three different ports each gave roughly the same advice: start 3-4 am or 4-5 pm on the day in question.

Then there was the wind direction and strength in case of wind against tide plus various races. The Admiralty pilot (which tended to the doom and gloom side) mentioned that one of the western of the Faroe islands in extreme race conditions saw 13m waves (!!), which clearly were to be avoided.

In practice what it meant was that winds from anywhere W to N would be against us in the fjord and as we'd have the tide behind us that could be a bad combination.

Another issue was visibility with fog a frequent occurrence which might not be much fun given that with the wind initially from the SE we'd have a lee shore.

However as we approached the islands the wind strengthened and backed, going to a NE F5, and then increased to F6. The question was whether this was a prelude to something stronger or a gust. There was a certain amount of discussion onboard at this point but when the wind slackened it was enough.

We were going through....


Anonymous said...


JP said...

Good catch, should of course be PDF.

Tillerman said...

just assumed that PFD was Danish for PDF. Isn't it?

Kate Pahl said...

Wow. I am already scared!