Reykjavík – Edinburgh

Sunday 08/09/2019

A day in port training and climbing the mast. Weather varied but a lot colder up the mast than on deck, especially when the rain and wind came. Once all of the training was done we were allowed ashore. The afternoon turned out glorious once the sun decided to show it’s face. Some of us spent the afternoon relaxing in a hot pool and jacuzzi preparing for our departure at 7am, that’s 6BST

Graeme, F’ward Starboard

Monday 09/09/2019

6AM wake up and the weather looks fair for our departure. There was to be a lot of heaving and coiling of ropes before we went anywhere. First the Gangway had to be hauled on board and stowed, I was on the other end of the line helping haul it on board. Learning the meaning of the terms WELL and COME UP. Then there were the heavy mooring ropes, but not before the engine was tested, reassuring. Glorious day as we headed out into open water and Reykjavík disappeared into the distance. I had my first opportunity at the helm and was given the task of going between a headland and a rather tall block of rock, you’ realise from this blog that I achieved following orders. During the afternoon we had another chance to learn nautical terms by pulling on more ropes, setting jibs and staysails. Then after dinner we headed the topsail yards in preparation for setting the sails in the middle of the night.

Graham, F’ward Starboard

Tuesday 10/09/2019

After a goods nights sleep more people were seen and the instance of ‘Mal Der Mare’ was on the decrease. The morning was spent setting most of the sails, including the Spanker. The afternoon watch, Forward Port, reaching the heady speed of 8.2 knots.

Numerous whales, suspected to be Minkie, were seen during the afternoon, including one on a suicide mission which was nearly run over. A deft bit of boat handling by Rowan meant it was missed.

A lovely sunny afternoon turned ‘dreek’ at the end of the watch, the rain holding off long enough to greet Forward Starboard when they came on watch at 16:oo.

Evening meal was a lovely piece of Icelandic cod, followed by a chocolate brownie pudding to die for.

F’ward Port,

Helen, Carol, Clare, John, Graham, Ian, Richard


Wednesday 11/09/2019

Currently 352 nautical miles from Reykjavík, heading towards Orkney in a force 6/7. All the square sails are set except for the royals which were handed shortly before we came on watch. Having been short on our past watches due to seasickness we are now back to a full watch eating chocolate brownies as the ship sails along over the waves occasionally as high as 5/6 metres, surrounded by fulmers joyriding the seas. Life on the aft starboard watch is highly competitive as we all try to set the record for speed whilst we are on the helm. The current record so far is 9.2knots jointly held by our watch leader Peter, Andy and Lizzie.

Aft Starboard,
Peter, George, Andy, Elise, Lizzie, Claire and David


Thursday 12/09/2019

Taking the helm on day five(yesterday) Nellie and her crew were presented with yet another day of fun. Whilst most of the crew were overcoming the projectile symptoms of seasickness, we battled the seas and horizontal rain with much valour and determination.

We made good ground cracking along at up to 10 knots towards the Stromness in the Orkney Islands, hoping we will reach them on the morning of the 14th. We helped to unfurl and set some sails and this included the royals. “Happy Hour” was bundles of fun, with cleaning the heads bringing on yet another type of seasickness.

Trevor the mate gave an interesting talk on sail setting.

As we close on this blog, it is pleasing to see the lower mess filling with more crew, with a kindred spirit. The local pilot whales have even greeted us to say hello!

Aft Port watch,
Mary, Mhadhi, Daniel, Max, Bryan and Gordon


Thursday (Additional) 12/09/2019 & Friday 13/09/2019

Exhilarating sailing through the night with a full moon appearing from behind the cloud on the horizon at midnight. Clear starlit skies with the moon gleam across a wave crested sea. Sailing speeds reaching 11.2 knots during one of the occasional squalls.


A bright, breezy dawn with a fresh south westerly wind and steady swell. Early in the day handed the T’Gallants and main course to reduce speed, timing the arrival for Stromness early tomorrow. Land Ahoy!

At 13.35 sighted land Sula Sgeir, an outlying rock which is some 45 miles north west of Cape Wrath after 5 days sailing. We have all been encouraged by two fine informative talks given by Captain Ned on the weather and the tides with detailed reference to how we avoided the eye of storm Dorian by sneaking around the tail.

You folk at home won’t believe how this mighty ocean was testing us.

Forward Starboard, Marion, Maurice, Graeme, Kate, Jacqui, Robin and Mags

Friday (Additional) 13/09/2019

It seems that it is customary on a JST voyage for a crew member’s birthday to be celebrated at some stage during the day. Sadly, no birthdays so far, but happily Carol and John let it be known that it was their wedding anniversary. A cake (lemon drizzle) was duly baked by Ian (cook) and served at smoko in the morning only to be almost drowned by a rogue wave crashing onto the deck as we toasted them with our mugs of hot tea.

The weather? Well perfect sailing conditions for Nellie who with a force 6 on the beam sailed us at a furious pace into Stromness harbour early Saturday morning, we were all woken at 06.15 to make preparation. Mooring up just before 07.00 was not easy with a westerly wind blowing us onto the berth. We thought we were secure and then had to move aft to allow the ferry manoeuvring room when it came back in that evening. After a bit of adjusting fore and aft Ned the captain pronounced himself satisfied but not before he was seen fishing with a boathook for a fender which had come under too much pressure and broken its lanyard.

Shore leave was then granted and the crew dispersed to a variety of different places in the town. Force 8 gale was forecast overnight so keeping harbour watch was a serious business, sometimes gusting up to 47 knots and that was in the shelter of the harbour.

In daylight on Sunday a bit of damage could be seen to the wood where the ship had rubbed against some of the fendered piles on the quayside, but nothing that can’t be repaired – maybe the bosuns gaffer tape will be called into use? –

During the day we all went off to further explore parts of the Orkney Islands. Now we are all set for our late Sunday afternoon departure, due to head out past Scapa flow and into Portland Firth, where the Captain told us we would be shot out to the east like a cork out of a bottle.

Next stop Leith Edinburgh.

Aft Port Watch
Peter, David, Lizzi, Clair, George, Elise and Andy


Saturday 14/09/2019 & Sunday 15/09/2019

Leaving Stromness on the Orkney Islands, the crew left filled with delight from the great tasting local produce, not limited to fudge, scallops, cheese and beef. The local hospitality was unsurpassed, with the locals taking a keen interest in Nellie.

As we sailed between the islands (including passing between Cava and Barrel of butter!) there were a great number of lighthouses which bid us farewell, as we went through and into the Pentland Firth, en-route to the Scottish capital.

A real hit of dinner was the desert. Chef Ian won the hearts of many, with his take on Cranach, complete with some local Orkney produce.

Come the morning of day 9, after a generous portion of smoked kippers for breakfast, the crew were put to work, setting almost every sail by sweating and tailing on many ropes. Even the spanker was set to add the challenge of a quick time towards Edinburgh much to Captain Ned’s delight.

The afternoon brought calmer seas, with a cheeky bit of sun appearing beyond the clouds and a gallant crew, fully prepared for the last leg of the voyage.