The day has finally arrived when we leave mainland UK and head North to the Orkney Islands. This involves negotiating some of the trickiest tidal waters in the world. I have read books, studied charts and saught advice from sailors that have been here before. An extremely dangerous stretch of water to be in in the wrong conditions, the Pentland Firth has tides that run at 12 knots, standing waves and numerous rocks and islands to negotiate. Fortunately I planned to be here during Neap tides and today the sea conditions were perfect to cross. I know my first mate, Danny was as keen as me to take on this challenge, so too were Simon and Ken.
We set off at 1300 to give us plenty of time to reach Duncansby Head at 1630 for slack water.
With very little wind we motor sailed up the Pentland Firth and towards Scapa Flow. It was an eary place with mist covering the islands and as we entered Scapa Flow the wind freshened allowing us to silence the engine and gracefully sail into this historic area.
The wind continued to increase and we tacked into Stromness with two reefs in the mainsail and Jib just after midnight. Another great day sailing withTikka looking after us well.