Oudeschild to Borkum
If you’ve seen the Resistance to Interrogation phase of TV’s “SAS are you tough enough” you’re coming close to our journey from Oudeschild to Borkum. It’s the part where they blindfold contestants, play white noise at them and occasionally give them a slap. If you add a cold North sea, Northerly wind and occasional buckets of water being thrown at you that’s pretty much the story of this sail.
A clean exit
It all started well enough, a good clean exit of the box berth to the stunned admiration of the French boat opposite “sacre bleu” he was heard to utter “zat Rosbif, he knows how to drive ze bateau…” or maybe our reputation had got around.
We took on diesel and did a thirty point turn (Read Andrew’s upcoming book “simple things made to look difficult”) to get out of the marina to the amazement of two other British members of the Cruising Association “that bloke” he whispered “does he really knows how to drive that boat??”
We’d had consistent Force 4-6 Northerly winds whipping up a North Sea frenzy and so the “sneaky shortcut” between the Islands was out of bounds, due to it being a foaming wall of white water and breaking waves. So it was the long way round, adding an estimated 15 miles. We saw Cloggie Commandos Careering around in inflatables, a landing craft and another submarine, quite entertaining.
As we turned and emerged from behind the shelter of the island the seas got worse, much worse with short, steep, high waves. Every time we climbed up one and fell onto the next we pretty much stopped, so even with a Force 5 powering the boat we made slow progress. We resorted to the engine to maintain momentum. Cue sixteen hours of droning diesel, water breaking over the decks and the boat pitching, rolling and slamming like a bucking bronco.
Andrew’s account to Neptune
During early morning the waves slowly subsided and we could turn eastwards to our intended course and past each of the islands towards Borkum. As we stopped slamming and started rolling Andrew was violently seasick, projecting his orange squash well clear of the spray dodgers, hull and deck and proclaiming it in fact made him feel better.
We arrived at 0630 the next day and parked on the commercial pontoon, moving later to a nice snug corner berth.
Borkum was OK, a commercial port with wind farm boats and (randomly) a New Orleans Jazz band paddle steamer complete with band and singer. It was a comfortable haven while we prepared for the next leg, towards Cuxhaven.
Our daily stats
We were underway for 20 hours, and made 119 nautical miles, averaging 6 knots. We sailed for an hour and motor sailed the rest, which meant we got through an eye watering 13 gallons of fuel. Only to arrive at a harbour with no fuel…