We were up pretty early, and actually left the pier at eight, just after Aliena. Since the port was so shielded, we had decided to motor the two or three miles to Lehtma, the northern tip and see what the wind was like. During these miles we ate breakfast and watched the wind meter which showed very promising readings.
After breakfast we soon set the sails and a direct course for the southernmost tip of Finland, Hanko, Hangö. The whole trip was a mere 50 NM, which we had to make in about ten hours. You try holding it for that long, and not drinking or eating, and you’ll know how the doggies felt. At this point we waved a melancholy farewell to our companions aboard Aliena.
The wind was not blowing quite from the direction we were expecting but there was enough of it. We kept a steady speed of over five knots, which would keep us on schedule. At times, we had to steer a bit lower than we wanted, but there was some margin to work with. The skipper even had to start practicing on the law of sines, just to be sure that a degree or two over the following 30 miles wouldn’t be a catastrophe at the end. As it turns out, a degree off course over 25 miles is less than half a mile of difference at the end. We could live with that.
During the day, the wind picked up and turned a little bit more westward. This suited us fine, and we could pick up some speed as well as getting a good direction. This sunny day was perfect for our extra mate Ray to work. He kept a good firm course while the skipper kept fine-tuning the sails.
The day was absolutely spectacular. The sun shone from a clear sky and the wind blew steadily, without terrible gusts. The waves were smooth and long. For the first time in a long while, we could enjoy lunch on the aft sundeck, a.k.a. the cockpit. The skipper took long naps, while the skippers boss read her book. Who was really keeping watch? And this day we actually saw more ships crossing the official fairways of the Gulf of Finland than ever. Just imagine if the traffic was as dense in the fog on the way over….
The dogs disembarked rapidly at 17.30 only nine and a half hours after start. The skipper was left to do the dirty work of emptying the ships waste water tank. We also had to top off the diesel and by six o’clock we were tied up at the pier.
The dogs were fed and walked some more, and then it was pizza time. We rolled over back to the boat, and fell into our bunks. What a superb day!