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The first days of our mission

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

A deck diary of Ribbing for Arctic mission.

Fishing port of Eyemouth.
Fishing port of Eyemouth.

Day 1 / 3 July 2022 Position: N 55° 45’ 02° 00’ – Berwick-Upon-Tweed The waters of the North Sea began to rise, the Scheldt river to swell and finally, at 6 o'clock in the morning the gates of the Liberty Royal Club-Antwerp marina were opened. After 2 hours of sailing on the river, the crew came out into the North Sea with 13 degrees Celsius, a completely different feeling compared to the Greek summer. The first 3 hours were quite difficult, but the "thirst" was huge for the trip. Originally the planning was to cover 100 nautical miles, as the Sirens of the Sea were magically attractive, so in total the crew did 400 nautical miles with 1394 liters of fuel.


Day 2 / 4 July 2022 Position: 55° 52’ N 02° 05’ W – Fishing port of Eyemouth The second day was a wasted day as it was impossible to refuel the boat. Whether small or large port on the entire east coast of Scotland, there is no refueling station. No one to carry fuel either, and gas stations are not allowed to put fuel in flexible tanks even if they are certified. It was a day full of anxiety and tension but finally, late at night, thanks to friend Steve Willis who mobilized all the Racing clubs in England, the crew received many messages and visits to the boat from people of the sea who rushed to help. Initial resentment and anger turned into immense gratitude for some wonderful people following our mission. Special thanks also to Lex Horsburgh who came on board to meet the crew offering valuable help and support.


Day 3 / 5 July 2022 Position: 58° 57’ N 03° 15’ W – Stromness (Orkney islands) At 11:30 local time, Ribbing for Arctic crew left Eyemouth and slowly entered the route for Stromness. Total distance 200 nautical miles. Winds W, NW intensity 4-5 Beaufort, Temperature 11-13° C. After Fraseburgh, the large swells coming off the ocean combined with the short wavelength forced the crew to change course and limit their speed. Entering the strait of the Orkney islands, they got a good taste of the incoming tide, and the eddies it created in combination with the strong currents giving us a unique experience. Traveling at 23-30 knots, they covered the route in 8 hours burning a total of 711 liters of fuel. The next day will be dedicated to a general inspection of the boat and getting to know the island.


Day 4th-5th 6/7 July 2022

Position: 62° 00’ N 06° 46’ W – Torshavn Faroe Islands

Thomas Panagiotopoulos, writing about the mission: "The fourth day was spent resting, resupplying and checking the boat's equipment in Stromness. Studying the forecast for the next 7 days, we found that it was impossible to set sail because the weather was particularly heavy. The disappointment was enormous as the entire mission’s program was in danger of being blown up. And of course it seemed impossible to make it to Nuuk, Greenland on the 20th of the month, where Cristiano and Carlos are scheduled to arrive. The pressure and responsibility was enormous. I locked myself in the cabin and carefully studied the forecasts. I was desperately looking for even a small weather window that would allow us to sail. Staying here for so many days would jeopardize the entire mission. On the other hand, it was too dangerous to travel in these conditions. No matter how much I tried to find a solution, the anxiety dominated me. But a decision had to be made. We had 200 nm of ocean separating us from the Faroe Islands. The best time to start was 3:30 in the morning so that we could arrive before the wind force reached 25 knots. We knew that for the first 60 miles we would have rough weather, but everything indicated that after that we would have the waves on our port side and thus we would have a more comfortable riding. So that's how it happened. At 3:30 we slowly left the port. We were riding very close to the opposite islet so as to feel less the strong effects of the tide coming in from the NE. The huge waves came from the NW and in their collision with the tide created inaccessible seas. Seas that, as local fishermen told us, have sunk entire ships. We gritted our teeth and at a speed of 12 knots we tried to understand the sea-state. This strange sea of wind-tide conflict luckily occurs only about 5 miles offshore. We finally managed to get out of this trap area unscathed and then set course for Faroe. The Weather was coming in on our port quarter from the NW. But the big swells were coming to our starboard quarter from the NE. The sea seemed inaccessible as the confluence of waves and swells made it "boiling". But we had to do our best. We were determined not to give up easily. I tried in vain to find runways so that we could have a smooth sailing even at low speed. I had to constantly work with the levers and the steering wheel. We were traveling very hard at 12 knots and the waves were very big and unruly….

Our expectation to put the waves to our port side turned out to be a utopia as the waves were constantly against our bow. Our bad luck continued when after two hours the screen wiper started to smoke. The fog was incredible and now we could see absolutely nothing in front of us. I was trying to steer just by intuition and the sounds I picked up from the knocks. It was a real mess. Very painfully we gained every nautical mile. And we had a long way to go. We were trying not to think about the miles we had to cover, but just to fight hard…

30 miles before we reached the first Faroe island, the winds picked up a lot and the conditions became even more difficult. We finally reached this islet after 180 miles of real fighting. We slept for an hour, dried off and regrouped. The weather was getting heavier and heavier. The cold was unbearable. We wore the special IMAT uniforms though and felt much better. So, warmer now, we covered the remaining 35 miles to the capital of the Faroes.

We know very well that we took a big risk with our decision to travel with the specific conditions and in no case  we want to be an example to follow. It was a real hell out there…Casualties: a blown wiper, a broken side window and the loss of the swimming ladder. Total miles 235. Fuel 920lt."

 

During our mission there will be a 24-hour monitoring of our route by SmartBoat, which generates a daily report with the routes of our boat. You will be able to see live, where we are with the boat at any time during our journey. You can check in real-time the position of our boat : www.smartboat.info/arctic-live

Follow our journey!

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