I'm pleased to say I'm back on passage. Thanks for all your prayers and best wishes. The Doc has discharged me with a stock of horse-strength antibiotics and dire warnings about ensuring I complete the full course.
My first passage since being back on the boat was a bit of a marathon 46 miles across the North Minch between the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish mainland. The wind was a good solid breeze of between a force 4 and 5, the sea was quite lumpy with waves being between 1.5 and 2 metres high, the Minch is famed for it's short steep waves.
It all started off quite calm leaving Stornoway with the wind almost behind me, which meant the wind was going to be in the forecast direction for the majority of the trip. The breeze was very calm at this point and I did contemplate hoisting the topsail while in the lee of the Eye peninsular, but I'm glad that I waited until I was clear of the land before making that decision, as once free of the land I felt the full force of the wind. Also because of the waves 'Otto' the auto-pilot was not up to taking the helm so I hand steered the whole way across. The last three hours were made a little uncomfortable as a lazy wave had decided to lollop aboard hitting me smack in the small of my back instantly soaking my fleece, sweat top, shirt, trousers and undies. Not only that but a little of it managed to find it's way into the cabin too. Thankfully not too much, but a lesson learned; put both washboards in place when waves are large and the wind is abaft the beam. I'd read the books, done the courses but had failed to put that knowledge into practice. From there on it did make me a little nervous each time a wave broke somewhere close behind me with a strange schwwwwwwsh erupting in my ear. Thankfully no more waves wanted a lift to Ullapool. I completed the 46.4 miles in 9 hours, that is an average of over 5 knots for the trip. Not bad for the conditions. I tied up to the first visitors mooring buoy I found, wolfed down a hot meal of Fellside Beef Chile con Carne and pasta then collapsed into a long heavy sleep.
Apologies for the lack of photos or video in this update but the t'internet connection is much slower than wet string where I am just now and I wanted to get this update to you to let you know I am still alive.
I'm currently so much better than when this darned infection first took hold, but still have a little way to go before I'll be firing on all cylinders.
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I'm doing this trip for fun and funding the trip myself, but while I'm on this venture you can do your bit to by supporting the Alzheimer's charities through either www.justgiving.com/david-hippey or www.justgiving.com/david-hippey-scotland
Catch you next time.