June 29 - Peterhead to Portmahomack
Leaving at 7:15 having gained a weather forecast via Ian's PDA - the wonders of modern technology - and we cleared the harbour and hoisted all sail despite light 10 knot winds. With a good tide running under us, we were making the required speed and could have a quiet breakfast without the engine running.
After breakfast - bacon butties, OJ, toast, coffee - the wind had risen nicely and we started what would be a glorious broad reach all the way to Fraserburgh Head, where you turn the corner into the Moray Firth.
We passed Rattray Head - and I think how neat it is to be up here passing all the places you hear on the shipping forecasts. The Radio 4 forecast has always had a capacity to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, that odd flood of emotion that catches you unawares. I think it dates back to sitting in the kitchen at home in the summer of 79 listening to the radio reports of the unfolding Fastnet tragedy, and realising that the sonumbulous lilt of the weather forecast actually meant more, as much as life and death to some who head out to sea. Then later, as I crossed the North Sea on Brighteyes, a 41 foot raching yacht, in our own force 9 gale, sitting at the chart table listening to Radio 4 playing 'Sailing By' whilst waiting for the 05:50 forecast to see if we were in for more of the same. We were.
After we round Fraserburgh, the route brings the wind forward and we are reaching (wind at 90 degrees to the boat) under all sail - and it's fast. We soon have a steady 25 knots so we take a reef in the main and drop the mizzen, the boat is nicely balanced and no slower. Glorious sailing. We took the opportunity to sail in close under the cliffs and look at the rock structure and bird life.