Monday, September 30, 2013

Fireworks Party for the Putney River Bus

The Putney River Bus, for those not familiar with its joys, is by the far the best way to commute in all of London. You board the boat in green and pleasant Putney, and then with guaranteed seat and no traffic the high speed catamaran flies into central London with fab views on either side.

It's hard to believe that it was almost cancelled for good two years ago. As blogged here, the old service with classic motor boats lost the contract to Thames Clipper which decided to go to Vauxhall but no further.

The result was much gloom and a pressure group was formed to lobby for a replacement.

People power worked out and the high speed cats are now so popular, with passenger numbers up 130%, that there are increased number of sailings with direct boats to new destinations such as Canary Wharf.

In fact so successful has it become that Thames Clipper are throwing a fireworks party in Putney on Wednesday 2nd October at 21:00 to celebrate 50,000 passengers and "a successful 6 months" .

The fireworks will be on the river opposite Bishop's Park so anyone on Putney Bridge or Putney Embankment will have a grand view.

For those wanting one (or even two) things more, the Duke's Head will not only have great views but also live music in the form of "The Pirates" nautical band (no, I don't know what that means either) and an outdoor hog roast.

They even have a VIP boat moored nearby on the river with tickets available on request.

Alas I have work commitments so can't go tempting tho' it sounds.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

World Rivers Day: The Westbourne

This is Sloane Square tube station and there is something extraordinary about it: it has been built under a river.

There are many rivers in London. As well as the majestic Thames there are lesser known tributaries which continue to flow into it, such as the Lee in the north east, which was used as a moat around the Olympic Stadium. The Wandle, meanwhile, flows from the southern suburbs near Croydon, passing Lady Hamilton's house in Merton Place and Lord Nelson used to fish there.

Some have been buried, leaving traces in places above, like the Fleet, after which was named many streets, one of which became famous for the nearby newspapers. It has a Nelson angle too, for he used to stay with his uncle in Kentish Town "in order to keep an eye on the Fleet".

The Westbourne is less well know but at least it remains on display, if clothed in the metal pipe above. In size it is similar to the Fleet and arose from the hills around Hampstead, flowing down through what is now Hyde Park down to Chelsea where it meets the Thames.

The part through Hyde Park was damned in a curving lake, hence its name of the Serpentine, where it is used for boating to this day, though the water no longer comes from the Westbourne. So it too has an Olympic link, for it was here that they held the triathlons in 2012.

But as London grew it became increasingly polluted, first an open sewer, then covered over, built upon, it's end, where it joins the Thames, renamed as Ranelagh Sewer.

No longer do cattle drink from its fresh waters, nor do travellers heading into London from the west need to bridges to keep their feet dry.

But, visible to anyone standing on the platforms of Sloane Square Station, the Westbourne is not forgotten, particularly on this day, which is World Rivers Day 2013.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The 34th America's Cup: when $ 100m wasn't enough

So the fat lady has sung, the flags have been waved and magnum sized bottles of champagne sprayed over journalists, for the 34th America's Cup has come and gone.

I've been reading the papers and its no doubt that measured in millions of words this AC has been a success. It's helped that there's been some journo friendly angles, such a sporting come-back that even a dry foot landlubber could appreciate, and of course here in the the UK the line that Sir Ben Ainslie basically won it single handed in the tradition of Nelson, Alfred the Great, the little ships of Dunkirk etc etc etc

The other winning aspect has been video clips of 72 foot carbon fibre wing-sails flying at over 50 mph (to use TV friendly units) spray flying as they scream around the course, while their sailors grunt, swear and gesture at the opposition (again, thanks Ben Ainslie).

It was pretty exciting to watch, but often after the race I wondered actually how much of substance there was. In most cases the reason for the result was:

  • at first Team NZ were faster
  • towards the end Oracle USA were faster
  • if the boats were equally matched the most important thing was the drag race to the first mark

I didn't find much to think about after, though I'd like to have another look at that 180 degree gybe and turn around the lower mark that Oracle did in the final race. I'd also like to know what exactly were the tweaks made to Oracle that made it go so much faster, in particular allow foiling upwind, though so far they've been keeping their secrets close to their chests. [Updated: see Yachting World's take here]

But the run-up was underwhelming given the handful of entrants. This article at Reuters shows the problems: they estimated that it can cost US$ 100 to 200 million to run an America's Cup campaign, which could well be true for Oracle though I doubt plucky little Artemis spent anywhere near that.

Team NZ admitted their spend was around $ 100 million but its generally felt that Oracle spent not just a little more but a lot more - a team of 150, boat builders flown in (from NZ ironically), Olympic gold medallists galore, backup boats on hot standby, development work round the clock... you name it, whatever it took.

And that money paid off, engineering the faster boat and ultimately that's what won the race.

It will be a daunting thought for anyone thinking of entering the next AC, that to win you have to spend as much as the likes of billionaires like Ellison.

Ellison said in the final press conference he wants more entries, but he also wants to win. So which will it be next time round: a level playing field where talent matters more than money or will the desire to retain the cup be too strong?

Of course that is all part of the America's Cup tradition: rich beyond measure quadzillionaires splashing a relatively small part of their total wealth in the pursuit of having that ancient trophy to show off to other quadzillionaires. But it is not an attractive tradition to those new viewers that the organisers and their sponsors so want to attract.

When trying to work out who to support it was a toss up in that I wanted Ben to win but Larry to lose. It was was a tough call, but emotionally I was sad for Team New Zealand, and felt the cup would have been in safer hands with them.

But of course they failed, and it was gutting to watch them at the last news conference.

When Grant Dalton was asked about the future of the Cup he replied that it's not in his hands. He's right, and its not in ours either, its in Larry Ellison's.

That's why he spent the reputed $ 200 million.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Started off a bit shaky but she came good"

Quote of the day from on-board Oracle Team USA:

Good little boat - started off a bit shaky but she came good

Boat speed - plus Sir Ben - won the day, so the America's Cup stays in the USA.

Who to support for the AC show down?

No guesses what I'll be glued to this evening.

It all ends up with the decider: one race, win all, lose all, and hundreds of millions of dollars riding on the result.

But who to support?

Do I back the Australian / British boat (*) with sailing legend Ben Ainslie or those plucky underdogs from New Zealand?

Decision... decisions....

(*) ok, ok, funded by uber-billionaire (and American) Larry Ellison who from this report doesn't seem to be that popular in the industry.

Update: for those that like a bit of number crunching here's a plot of how the aggregate delta in finishing time has changed over the course of the competition:

Looking good for Team Ben Ainslie

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Buff's all purpose AC match-race report!

I've been wondering how Buff could manage to report on each and every one of the America's Cup races when he's being hammered by the "upwind foiling" rule of his drinking game, but then all became clear when he accidentally emailed me the following:

G'day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Wow! What a day of racing we have had! Who could have predicted that!

[Oracle USA / Team NZ] sure are on a roll! Who can stop them now??

It was a tense pre-start, but you can't fault [Jimmy Spithill / Dean Barker] for his tactics and in the drag race for the first mark it's become inevitable that [Oracle USA / Team NZ] will round ahead!!

Downwind there were few over-taking opportunities as they both showed how they've perfected those foil to foil gybes, while upwind there was signs that [Oracle USA / Team NZ] have found another gear.

There was little that [Team NZ / Oracle USA] could do and in the end [Oracle USA / Team NZ] rocketed across the finishing lines to roars from their fans [paste time here] ahead of [Team NZ / Oracle USA].

Drama your name is the America's Cup!!!

This Buff Staysail, having a whale of a time and watching out for whales (geddit???!!) here in San Francisco Bay, over and out!!

Fog on the Thames

This is where the river Wandle meets the Thames, but I couldn't actually see that far.

This morning thick fog blanketed the Thames, causing the Thames Clipper river buses to slow their normal frenetic rush and my coffee was drunk to the sound of fog horns.

The plums are pretty good this year too: truly the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness".

Monday, September 23, 2013

Skip Novak at the Southampton Boat Show

What with the America's Cup (which keeps on foiling) and laptop woes (grr!) a week has passed since the Southampton Boat Show and I've not blogged a word, which is a shame as it was rather interesting.

First up there was a talk by sailing legend Skip Novak, Whitbread skipper and high latitude sailor. It was organised by the World Cruising Club as part of the World ARC's South American round the Horn route preparation.

So there were a number of anxious looking faces concentrating on preparing their yachts, some of which sounded like standard plastic production line models, for one of the more extreme cruising destinations.

There was lots of good advice about keeping things simple: this is not the destination for those that like an-all electric life, and GPS driven chart plotters, for here, like Greenland, they'll as likely as not put you on land (one yacht was reportedly up to 7 miles inland).

Instead equip the foredeck of your boat with two drums with 150m of cable each for shore lines, with another two at the stern, and of course that all important garden hoe.

Why a garden hoe? Well apparently it is ideal for cutting the kelp from the anchor. And on the subject of anchors the basic rule was go heavy, which I can certainly believe, in waters where 40 - 50 knot winds are normal.

When winds can be expected to become gale like quickly it becomes important to be able to react, and so he prefers adding a 4th reef rather using storm jibs etc because it is all rigged and ready to go.

This is somewhere you don't want things to go wrong. But of course they do - so I asked about engine failure, for a lot of the talk was about its importance and they take 2,800 - 6,800 litres of fuel, depending upon boat. "You manage" he replied, summing up the self-reliance that sailors in these waters must have.

There was some good stuff about life jackets, and how they are less important than harnesses (don't fall in being a very good motto), the difficulties of getting parts delivered to Ushuaia (easier to sail to the Falkland Islands and pick it up there), and mussels (potentially lethal apparently).

He showed us some good photos of the scenery, which around Cape Horn looked pretty impressive (even if not quite East Greenland) while South Georgia and Antarctica looked simply stunning, though harder to get to.

A fascinating talk about a destination that often seems more myth than real, from someone who's spent years sailing those dark cold stormy waters.

There's more in this month's Yachting World which has just started a new series of articles about heavy weather sailing from none other than Skip Novak.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A message to laptop manufacturers

You have failed.

I want to buy a new Windows laptop and have a good budget but am really struggling with what is on the market today. I don't think my requirements are excessive but, well, lets go through them:

Screen: I don't need anything more than HD but when you have installed Windows 8 you do need a touch screen, so why aren't they on top end Samsungs? BTW higher than HD is IMHO a waste of effort - there are other things to fix

Keyboard: this is pretty essential and has to be good. Other manufacturers: go look at Samsung - theirs are very nice. Acer yours are too thin and Sony a bit 1980s calculator

Trackpads: again, must just work.

Wifi: absolutely has to work. I tried a Sony for a bit but it stopped all other devices accessing my home network and had a low through-put half of the time, dropped lots of connections and generally made me go aarrrhhh! It failed to play a Vimeo video my Chromebook, which is a fifth the price of the Sony, did without sweat

Fans: hate them. One of the joys of the Chromebook is its quiet

Hard disk: my old Samsung's crashed taking all my stuff with it so I was going to invest in SSD but guys 128 gb is pointless. My photos take over 120 gb and the system typically takes 24 gb or so just for restore. You do the maths

Width and weight: Ultrabooks are thin enough and light enough: don't spend time of this, fix the other stuff. Indeed too light and you get keyboard flex and increased danger of screen damage, hence another fail

Speed: i3s too slow, 4 GB RAM not really enough

Crapware: really really don't want any of this. See comment on lack of space in SSDs above.

McAfee: why is this soaking up 67% of CPU when I'm trying to do something useful?

Stupid buttons: the Sony has a button called Assist that opens a user guide which tells you absolutely nothing worth knowing.

Battery life: seems ok now. Didn't keep the Sony long enough to try that out to be honest.

Maybe I missed one - if I have let me know!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Arctic Circle Sail in latest Yachting Monthly

G'day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Well we're heading toward the weekend so no doubt you're looking forward to putting your feet up and having a good read.

And Buff's got a suggestion for you - the latest Yachting Monthly!

There's this article about sailing a Contessa 32 to the Arctic Circle by Tristan Gooley and someone else whose name escapes me.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

This is Buff Staysail, feet up reading not just looking at the pictures, over and out!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What would a pirate who had to configure a new laptop running Windows 8 say?


Yes, its that day again. And no, my laptop isn't even close to being ready yet.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Watch a Tower Bridge Lift

Still struggling with the new laptop so another quick post, this time about how to watch Tower Bridge lift up  (or indeed come down afterwards) to let some boat through, in this case the Thames Barge Lady Daphne.

Firstly have a check here for the lift times - often there are several each day.

Then go to the webcam that looks over Tower Bridge at the allotted time and hey presto get to see it all from the comfort of your own screen.

Alternatively you could go down there in person, or even better, actually be on the boat as in this photo from an earlier trip I did on the very same Thames Barge Lady Daphne:
Sometimes this interwebby thing is quite good.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Welcome to London

Welcome to London - A Short Hyperlapse Film from Mattia Bicchi Photography on Vimeo.

Finally my new laptop has been delivered which means the next few evenings will be spent restoring data, deleting the crap-ware pre-loaded by Sony, installing the programs I actually want to use and occasionally going arr!!! when Windows 8's complexity and bloody mindedness gets too painful.

It's a shame as have a bit of a backlog of posts including some of Greenland and photos from the Great River Race, plus was at the Southampton Boat Show over the weekend where heard a talk by Skip Novak on Cape Horn, but they will have to wait.

In the mean time here's a pretty time-lapse (or hyper-lapse as they call it) of London.

Update: hmm... that video's gone password protected. A version of it can be found on YouTube here.

Update 2: and its baaaaack! This time with a different sound track, the old Coldplay one having been replaced, which might also be a clue as to what the issue was

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Feedback from an imaginary America's Cup Sponsor

After watching the racing in San Francisco Bay I've been wondering how one could go about asking sponsors to support a campaign for the "world's oldest sporting trophy". How might that conversation go?

As you can see from Race 8 of the current series, it's exciting stuff, with Team NZ almost capsizing!

Wow, yes, this is interesting stuff! But if they had capsized how would they have got the boat the right way up?

You can't. In past capsizes the boat has been a total right off, smashed to smitherenes. In fact maybe you could give us a bit more money so we'd have a spare?

You want more? Already?

Actually we'd need three boats. Team NZ only have two and the second isn't fully read to go. Oracle had three: one was a complete write-off during training but their budget allows for the second to be on hot standby.

And these AC72s are not cheap. What happens if we're up against a sponsor with deeper pockets than us?

They could take risks we couldn't, so it would be tough.

Is it dangerous? Is there the potential for an accident with negative publicity?

Err... well, yes. It was such a shame as Bart was a great sailor and the nicest bloke ever.....

And are the other sponsors happy with their investment? What about Louis Vuitton? They spent millions didn't they?

Er... I hear they want a $3 million refund because so few teams entered. 

Maybe because these boats costs tens of millions of dollars each and a single mistake can lead to a capsize, crew deaths and the end of a campaign?

JP maybe.

SPONSOR (putting away the big fat cheque book)
The door's behind you. On you way out could you tell those guys from Extreme 40 Sailing that they can come up now?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Buff's Commentary on AC Race 8

Alas we are unable to publish the web link for Buff's live feed due to technical reasons (namely he forgot to tell anyone what it was). But not all is lost as here's the transcript:

G'day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature! You're joining me LIVE for race 8 of the America's Cup, here in sunny but breezy San Francisco!

It's another day but will it be another walkover for those all conquering Kiwis, relentlessly marching on, victory after victory...

Here's your latte with extra caramel, Buff, on the house here at Joe's Java Cafe, where we roast the best coffee in all California!

... er... thanks... er... due to financial constraints at Queensland Community TV we're relying on corporate support - in particular good wifi!

Anyway, aren't these foiling yachts AMAZING. I can't get enough of watching the cats fight it out - who can?

How DARE you! I am member of the animal lovers league and it is appalling that in this day and age that grown men can admit to forcing cats to fight!

... er... ma'am... I'm doing a broadcast....

Mum, I think the fat man is talking about that movie where dogs take on the cats.

No its the AMERICA'S CUP!! I'm Buff Staysail broadcaster and journalist!! Reporting for Queensland Community TV on THE sailing event of 2013!!

Anyway, on with the show!

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can listen to my commentary over a retransmission of the live video feed - if you have the bandwidth! Which we do thanks to Joe's Java Cafe!!


Yup, this is so amazing even my laptop is beeping excited! The two teams are just seconds away from entering the starting box!


BUFF STAYSAIL not sure why its beeping like that.. er..

Your laptop's battery's flat

(beep!) (beep!)

Aaaah! Hurry up and start!!

(beep!) (beep!) (beep!)

So this has been Buff Staysail, reporting from San Francisco on Race 8 of the America's Cup, over and-

Friday, September 13, 2013

New rules for weekend's AC races

G'day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Well I was getting a bit worried my punt down the bookies on Oracle was going to go down the pan (like so many) but then I heard there are plans ahead to shake things up.

Yup, there's going to be twists to the racing this weekend.

Taking its cue from some classics of our childhood, the next race is going to be hunt and seek. The committee boat will hide a couple of marks around the Bay and the boats have got to find where they are!

How cool will that be!

Then there's a round of blind helmsman bluff, in which Jimmy Spithill and Dean Barker will be blindfolded and have to navigate around the course just using touch and audio clues!

If that doesn't work we'll be playing musical markers, in which you can't go round the mark until the music stops. Larry has already volunteered to be the one with his finger on the stop button!

Finally we'll have a handicap system where the currently winning boat will have to sit on the naughty step heave to and give the other team a head start.

With these new rules surely my money will be safe!

This is Buff Staysail, pinning his hopes on the donkey, over and out!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The happy cats of New Zealand

Updated: Ben Ainslie is in the crew list, so could you say this is NZ vs. Australia (Spithill & Slingsby) and Britain (Ainslie) funded by some database billionaire? Ok, yup there are trimmers and grinders etc etc

Will be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Buff's America's Cup Drinking Game

G'day all! Buff Staysail here, Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Jeez, the one day that your's truly gets down to the quayside in time to see the races, what did you know but there's no sailing!

There was just the one thing for it - to head to the bar, and that's where it came to me: Buff's America's Cup drinking game. It goes like this:

Drink a shot when you hear one of the following phrases:

  • foil to foil gybe
  • time on distance
  • upwind foiling
  • world's oldest sporting trophy
  • natural amphitheatre

Down your pint when:

  • someone falls overboard
  • a boat hits a mark
  • a boat loses a sail 
  • a boat takes a penalty

Have a pitcher of that classic cocktail the "Buff Wallbanger" (*) when:

  • a boat does a nose dive
  • the series is won - and lost
  • Buff Staysail gets a ride on one of these rocket ships

Classic or what - but open to suggestions so what would you add to this?

This is Buff Staysail, AC game champion, over and - hic - out!

(*) recipe available when we remember what the heck was in it. The alternative, "a quick Buff beneath the sheets", got the thumbs down from my new mates at the bar

Monday, September 09, 2013

Buff reports on AC races 1 - 4!

G'day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Well hello everyone from San Francisco where your's truly has come to see the AMAZING racing at the America's Cup and report for Queensland Community TV (and JP of course).

I've been sussing out the scenery and got to be honest haven't managed to find anything looking like that amphitheater we saw in Turkey, but, hey, it's only day three! I'll find it!

Alas the budget wasn't that great and accommodation is in short supply but luckily I remembered I had a mate out here so am crashing at O'Dock - its what he would have wanted (I think - haven't actually seen him to be honest. Hope he's ok!).

Due to jet lag etc slept in Saturday and Sunday mornings so missed the actual racing but caught the tail end of the interview with Butterworth.

Loved the line about putting "the cuckoo back in the clock"!!

I decided that phrase was too good to waste so was determined to try it out, but alas don't think it translates well into American as the girl in this bar didn't seem to understand and got a bit shirty.

Oh well, at least today I'm up and ready for action. Time to head down to the quayside to see day 3 of the racing!!

This is Buff Staysail, his cuckoo back in his clock, over and out!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Great River Race 2013 Photos from Putney

There's a tube direct from Tower Hill to Putney Bridge, but Gladys had gone through before I got there (I asked and someone remembered seeing her), veterans that they are.

However got to see the tail end of the Great River Race fleet:
 It was more colourful and generally more relaxed than the serious rowers that went earlier:

 The yoofs, of course, had their iThings and sound systems:
 These two boats I'd seen before at Tower Bridge:

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats:
Can't remember why this boat caught my eye:
Of course some were working very hard - such as those brave souls on the oldest powered lifeboat: you can see why it needs an engine!
Well done to all involved!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

The Great River Race 2013

Today was the 2013 Great River Race and I ended up managing to see most of it not just once but twice!

Having enjoyed my viewing point for the start of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and having lots of spare time today, I took the tube down to The Tower. This time I stayed on the north side to be closer to the boats which were sticking close to the right hand side.

Soon we were rewarded by the first few boats, including #1 herself, the world's oldest motor lifeboat, from Walton-on-the-Naze the James Stevens No.14:
Then there was a flood of boats, often with waiting supporters on or near Tower Bridge. It was an impressive sight:
This is a busy, narrow and fast flowing part of the river and at times it was a bit "interesting":
 I kept a look out for Gladys and soon spotted Chris and the others:
They were going strong, aiming for the old farts Veteran's Over 60 Class, though there was time for a quick snap of Tower Bridge:
I was going to yell out "good luck Gladys" but someone got there first. I did consider yelling out "good luck old farts!" but not sure if that was allowed when standing in the grounds of The Tower.

There were too many boats to post pics of each of them, but some of the costumes were good. This one is from Malta:
This one seemed a bit of a joker:
These looked like a hen night:
The river got crowded....
 ... and then the rush subsided, leaving just a few stragglers:
New moto: "Sky: believe in third from last?"

Then it was time to get back on the tube to race the rowers to Putney Bridge.

Would I to be in time to see Chris and co race by on Gladys or would the old farts veterans get there first?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Magical night with northern lights

For the last night at sea my watch was 9 pm until midnight and it was jolly cold. We'd got south enough for it to get dark, just below the Arctic Circle at 65.5N, and it was a clear, star filled night.

Now we were motoring the main duty on watch was keeping an eagle eye out for ice, and it wasn't easy. Ok, some big 'bergs were pretty obvious as they reflect like the White Cliffs of Dover:
Smaller bits are however harder to spot and some become translucent, vanishing into the waves. A couple of times we had to slow down to get through flows of bergy bits spored by an island of ice.

It was hard work and I was looking forward to my warm bunk when it was decided to keep going and do a second watch as we'd be anchoring soon.

We were rewarded for this effort by a mini-display of the northern lights (top pic) which rather remarkably were to the south of us, but that's Greenland for you. They only went for a few minutes but we'd definitely seen them.

It ended up being rather a magical night, a harsh beauty of stars, shooting stars, Iridium satellite flares and what looked to me like noctilucent clouds:
For the first time since Iceland we saw some flashing lights marking out a channel guiding us toward the narrow entrance into Tasiilaq fjord.

Then in the dim light of what was now early morning could make out the town, a jumble of coloured wooden houses clustered around a little hill:
The anchor went down with a splash and rattle of chain: we had arrived and I could head down to my bunk and rest.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Speed boat delivery service

The wind faded as we approached Tasiilaq and our boat speed dropped to a knot or two

Every now and then there'd be a puff, but progress was painfully slow: even with the sun out and the sky blue it was frustrating.

But we had got close enough to Tasiilaq for a high speed delivery service to bring a replacement starter-motor for our engine (above).

There was a roar from below and then a chug-chug-chug. We could get moving again, pausing only to let two who had tight deadlines zip ashore in the speed boat.

The rest of us kept going, passing a dramatic iceberg with a hole in it:
As often is the way, we were predicting an arrival time in the early hours of the next day.

I had one last night watch to do.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Sailing down the east coast of Greenland

Ok, back to Greenland for a few days.

So we escaped having engine failure in Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord by towing using the inflatable and headed south-ish towards Tasiilaq, with a way point a little offshore to avoid ice.

The wind was pretty good for nearly two days, and we galloped along sometimes surfing down waves at 10+ knots.
However during R. & T.'s watch they got gusts 40 - 50 knots which was too much, and which could well have been katabatic in nature, coming off one of the glaciers (see above).

But that's what reefing is for.

The storm that had blown through a few days ago had left a bit of swell, which is always hard to capture in a photo and while this pic looks impressive it probably was taken a bit too close to the wave to really get a feel for it:
The view was always amazing.

Over the two weeks we spent many days sailing down the coast and Greenland was one long line of mountains, almost entirely unclimbed and unexplored. The mountains would go right down to the sea, intercut with glaciers, and behind would be rank upon rank of other peaks fading into the blue.

An empty, beautiful land.

Then nearby there'd be icebergs of course:
We also got the most wonderful sunsets:
But eventually, on the day we were meant to arrive, with under a hundred miles to go, the wind died.