Alert at Sedisfjordur, Iceland
Will’s father fishing at anchor; Alert sailing in Sedisfjordur, Alert at the Customs pontoon in Sedisfjordur
Seaman Hingley collecting driftwood to burn; Alert in the Shiant islands; Alert dried out at Tobermory
Will Stirling and his outstanding 18th century-style lugger Alert are back from their trip to Iceland. They’ve brought back some smashing photos, and some good stories. Here’s an excerpt from something he wrote about the trip that he’s been kind enough to share with https://intheboatshed.net readers:
‘Once understood, the Faeroese Tidal Atlas proved invaluable as the Atlantic squeezes through the narrow channels between the sheer sided islands at up to 10 knots.
‘At this time of year in above this latitude it didn’t really get dark. We set off from Torshaven for Iceland in the early evening. Seaman Hingley, remembering it was his birthday after three quarters of the birthday had passed, served an admirable supper just as we got sucked into overfalls whilst exiting a channel into the open sea.
‘As the evening drew on the wind increased and Alert leapt across the North Atlantic waves, making distance between the Faeroes and Iceland. The wind increased on the starboard quarter so the reefed mizzen came down. Once dropped and tied to the yard the weather helm eased. The wind continued to build until it stabilised at Force 6.
‘The reefed jib was bagged and the boat roared along under double reefed fore sail at approximately 7 knots, with the crew nervously hoping the wind wouldn’t increase further. The 24-hour run was just over 160 miles, however, there had been a monstrous lot of tide underneath us in the Faeroes.
‘Later the wind died and having wallowed around for a short time we started the engine and motored for a few hours. By the time the snow was visible on the mountains of North East Iceland a breeze had returned and we were able to sail in a very relaxed manner up Sedisfjordur, where Seaman Hingley caught a seagull in his fishing line.
‘Father treated us to a delicious but frighteningly expensive supper at the head of the fjord. He was seen washing his jeans in a stream the next day, presumably to save expense. In the pursuit of local quirkiness we watched a series of bizarre short films in a tiny, comfortable and clearly home made cinema. There was some small sense of disappointment when on emerging blinking into the evening light we discovered that the proprietor was from Brighton.’
Will tells me that he has just handed in his Maritime History MA Dissertation about the design of revenue cutters, and that when Alert sells he will build a 57ft revenue cutter.
Alert is for sale for £97,000. For more on her and Will’s boatbuilding business, go to his site Revenue Cutters & Smuggling Luggers.
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