Passage 13, Stonehaven to Peterhead
It seems to me that most of my passages are quite challenging and stressful. Not so this one. Why can't they all be more like this? Nothing went wrong. The wind was light. The sun was out ... some of the time. It was warm. No, hang on, of course it wasn't warm. I was warm because I had umpteen layers of clothes on.
I left at 11:00am Thursday 14th May having stayed another day in Stonehaven as it was blowing strong Northerlies the day before. Oh, let's review that day before.
My "day off" in Stonehaven
I had a leisurely morning followed by some housework in the boat which included cleaning and re-arranging where some stuff goes. I created special places to hang things like binoculars, foghorn, torch, toilet cleaning brush and sail ties. An eclectic bunch, I'm sure you'll agree, but all very pleasing to have done as it declutters things somewhat.
By noon I was ready for some action. Out came the bike and I rode the 18 miles to Banchory. I thought I must have gotten unfit as the first 10 miles were an absolute slog. When I got into Banchory I did a 5 mile tour of Scotly Woodland Walks and then headed back. Having just had my usual porridge for breakfast I was starting to get seriously low on fuel and so was planning on stopping off at Crathes Castle where a cafe was promised. By the time I got there it was 3pm and I'd cycled 25 miles. I was near empty - shattered. Stuff the castle I thought, where's the obligatory country park cafe selling a wide variety of generously sliced pieces of rich cake. Found it. I declined the intravenous sugar injections (equivalent of) and went for 2 cappuccinos and a hearty thick brown breaded cheese sandwich. Ah, I could literally feel my energy levels rising from the rock bottom they had reached as I sat and devoured this treat.
OK, better see the castle. Um, nothing much to report I'm afraid. I've seen better. The park seemed to specialise in hideously sculptures bushes.
I didn't dilly dally and started the long ride back. I knew there were some tough hills to start with but once I got those over and done with, the miles just flew effortlessly by. I now realised the reason for my difficult inbound ride. It was 10 miles of almost unbroken uphill! On my way in I think I must have just gotten used to the incline and assumed that was the norm (level) and thought I was being a weak sap. Not so. The wind had also been against me. Double whammy. The return, of course, was a delight. I was back by 6pm having covered over 40 miles. Good day.
Back to my passage
The passage was NNE and the wind was NE and so, with one minor tack, I was just able to slither my way past the coast on my way up to Peterhead. As I started to cross the bay outside Aberdeen, the wind and the sun got up a bit and I could safely let the boat rattle along with the tide at 5 or 6 knots while I lay on the cockpit seat watching the world go by. Lovely. I counted no less than 19 large North Sea service vessels parked in the bay. The wind didn't last unfortunately as soon it died down again and I was starting to make very slow progress. I do want to sail as much as possible on this venture but my patience ran out and, with 10 miles to go, on went the motor to make good speed into Peterhead.
Peterhead is mainly a commercial harbour with a port-maintained marina attached which is where I stayed. Convenient, sheltered but not picturesque by any stretch of the imagination.
A slow and stress free passage of 40 miles, the last 10 of which I motored on account of diminished winds. 7 hours in all. Nice not to have to deal with force sixes and sevens for a change.