52-07 N 003-22 E
Day's run. 60 nm. All night we motor to make it in time for our photo shoot. In fact we arriv e exactly on time, which is a bit surprising but never the less pleasing. The wind has come up to force seven from the southwest the sky is grey and overcast with a look of rain. Perhaps not the best light to be shooting fil m but at least with the wind it should look spectacular for the home viewer s. At 1100 we see the Frigate coming over the horizon and I call for all hands to make sail, we already have the three flags up, a giant Australian red e nsign, an equally large Dutch national flag and a large VOC 2002 flag. With so much windage aloft we almost do not need any sails up at all. The large Dutch flag, which is flying off of the foremast, is giving our flagpole at the top a hard time as it flexes with the gusts. The hands turn to and we set the spritsail then the foresail then the main and finally a fore topsai l with the yard on the cap. It is a good sail combination for this wind and we are making six knots with ease. The Frigate sets up on our port quarter , which is to leeward and ranges forward to our beam and then back aft towa rds the quarter again the deck is lined with photographers who look poorly dressed for these cold conditions. A helicopter is circling us which is mak ing me a bit nervous, their down draft can create lots of problems should t hey get to close. We sail like this for over an hour with the helicopter taking film mostly o f the two vessels, I guess it is the old and the new Dutch Navy theme. Part icularly relevant as the 'Duyfken' fought on several occasions to defend an d secure Dutch interests abroad. As the Frigate and helicopter take their leave and head back off into the g loom we begin taking in the sails leaving only the foresail up to give us w ay. In fact it is giving us too much speed as we race along at a good five knots. We are going to have to reach back and forth in and out along the co ast to kill time. The problem being with this photo day is that now we are only 60 nm from our finish with 40 hours to get there and a force seven win d pushing us along. Too much speed not enough sea room and too much time. I t will be interesting to see how we solve this, I am sure inspiration will come to me soon. With only the foresail up we are moving at a sedate four knots and will be tacking down wind to slow down our pace a little. The wind has eased a bit and is now only a force six, which is much more to our liking and all is lo oking good. After dinner though things get ugly in fact it is our worst nightmare comin g true, we here on the radio from the Dutch Coast Guard that the wind will be veering from SW, which we have now to the NW and reaching Gale force eig ht. We are too close to the coast for comfort and the shore is a lee shore that is the wind is blowing us onto it. When the front hits us it is brutal and I am glad that we have only the fore on but it is not enough the wind is so strong and at such an angle we are unable to make course in fact we a re sailing rapidly for the coast! I call Alan to get the main engines flash ed up, which he does with great speed. With engines I try and motor sail cl oser to windward but still we are falling to far to the east. Nothing for i t now but to call all hands, take in the foresail, and try and motor into t he weather. The watch below come up at pace and I order them to wear full w et weather gear before we tackle the task. The sail comes in quickly and is secured well. I then give the engines full ahead to try and get the bow ar ound and into the wind. It is a struggle and as soon as we are pointing the right way the next wave pushes us off again and so we struggle again to br ing the bow back into the wind again. It is worth it, we are making ground slowly, but the engines are at full revs and with the rolling about the pro ps are often racing, not good. I organise the watch to secure all of the co ils of line so that they cannot come undone, the last thing we need is a li ne in the propellers that would finish us. In the hope that this might be o ver soon I call the Coast Guard and ask what is the forecast regarding this wind, the unfortunate reply is that it will still be with us until morning . I can see that sleep will not be possible tonight for me as I am too tense from the situation, we are not in a good spot and it is praying on my mind. I note Alan who is pretending to sleep is restless and I suspect he is wor ried about the engines. His experience is telling him that everything is ha nging on to those motors continuing to work and well. Dark patches under the eyes tomorrow.