Change of Plan

Friday Evening, July 9, 2021
Latitude 50o 49’ N
Longitude 24o 36’ W
738 Miles to Mallaig, Scotland

Yesterday we were within 700 miles of landfall at Bantry, Ireland. That put us six days away from laundry and a hot shower on solid ground. Six days may sound like a long way to go, but after nineteen days at sea, we were like a horse smelling the barn, (and perhaps smelling a little like the barn ourselves). Seven hundred miles had us close enough to start looking ahead to the next leg, sailing up along the east coast of Ireland up to Mallaig.

If you refer to the first blog, entitled “You would never cross the Atlantic Ocean by boat,” you’ll see that this trip was inspired by a groomsman-to-be. At a pre-wedding ceremony for my niece, he suggested I should sail over to Scotland for the event but didn’t suggest where I should land. Given that freedom, I selected the harbor of Mallaig near the Isle of Skye. As is often the case, I don’t remember how I arrived at that decision, but according to the online sailing guide, “Welcome Anchorages 2019,” coupled with my extensive knowledge of Scotland derived from the Netflix series “Outlander,” it struck me as a place that I wanted to be.

Having made the above decision, the crew was enlisted with the understanding that our “final destination” was to be Mallaig, Scotland, with stops along the way. Before COVID, the stops were to include Nova Scotia and the French island, St. Pierre and Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland. Those stop-overs were subsequently dropped from the itinerary to avoid any issues with COVID related restrictions. Ireland was selected to be the first destination.

Yesterday, reviewing the excel file with its carefully planned itinerary focused our attention onto the sobering statistic that there would remain another 520 miles once we left Bantry to get up to Mallaig. Even sailing night and day, that would mean another 5 days at sea. Assuming we arrived in Bantry on the 14th and departed 2 days later on the 16th that would translate to an arrival in Mallaig around the 21st or 22nd. The crew is scheduled to head home at the end of July. They would have virtually no time to enjoy the hard-earned opportunity to cruise the coast of Scotland. To make matters worse, last we heard, Ireland and the EU are not relaxing their COVID restrictions until July 19th, so it might be that we wouldn’t arrive at Mallaig until the 26th or 27th.

Yesterday we decided we’re going straight to Mallaig. Shifting our course slightly to the north and following the great circle route only added another 160 nm to landfall. If we continue our pace, we’ll arrive in Mallaig on the 17th and have two weeks to take it slow.

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