Firebird’s Captain Ollie, speaks about the delivery from Palma to Montenegro, the set up for summer chartering and going green onboard.
Firebird has arrived in Montenegro! How does it feel to be back in the warm?
Getting back to the Adriatic and Ionian is like coming home. Norway is exhilarating whilst the Med season feels just as busy but with a healthy dose of Vitamin C. We suddenly get back into the hub of the yachting industry and are regularly bumping into crews we know and other boats that we’ve sailed alongside for years through various regattas. There’s a particular community in the Mediterranean circuit and as crew, we love that.
Changing from winter to summer mode must be no mean feat – what’s involved?
We’ve settled into a great balance of routine for Firebird’s program, half the year spent pushing the boundaries and exploring in the cold, with the other spent in blue water cruising comfort but it does mean that we have a lot of kit! We have a container in Palma and we shed Firebird’s winter coat - boot warmers, ski racks, outdoor heaters and the like are swapped for watersports kit, our summer biminni, and certain sails that lend themselves to summer sailing. The kit is just the tip of the iceberg – with the rest of the summer boat maintenance getting into full swing again. The teak deck, stainless and winches all need TLC after the ice and snow. Summer charter itineraries need finalising, along with menus and wine lists for each charter!
You’ve clocked up quite a lot of mileage on Firebird since its launch in April 2016, how was the sail from Palma to Montenegro after the winter change over?
This year we were treated to brilliant conditions for this leg of the delivery. Palma to Montenegro is the final 1000 nautical miles from the Arctic and sailing in shorts and t-shirt with bare feet never feels more rewarding, after months of sailing in thermals, oilies and boots! For 2 days we had an average of 12 to 18 knots of true wind speed from the north west giving us a wind angle of around 110 degrees. So we took full advantage and had a fun 30 hours sailing under the code zero, averaging 240NM a day.
You’ve already sailed this route before – does it ever feel mundane?
Not at all, because the weather changes, the sea state changes, and the sails change making every delivery feels different. One thing that was noticeable this year was the amount of plastic and rubbish on route. Whilst it’s being addressed, with people in urban areas becoming more aware of the effect of plastic in the ocean, as yacht crew we physically see it and this year it was much more concerning.
What’s Firebird doing to address plastic use-age?
This year we’re doing our utmost to go as green as possible. We’ve installed filtering systems so crew and guests can cut back on single use plastic bottles. In one season we will use 500 Nespresso capsules which we are storing to return to the Nespresso store in Palma for recycling. We also aim to recycle all paper, glass and cans where possible. Hopefully the greener the marina’s get the easier it will be for us to find recycling options! We’re impressed with Porto Montenegro for their options and this year Port de Mallorca in Palma have also upped their game.
What was the highlight of the delivery?
Just a few hours away from the bay of Kotor we were joined by a pod of dolphins playing on the bow. Seeing wildlife free in their own environment is a natural high and we should all take notice, enjoy and respect it. Along the north coast of Sicily we also witnessed some dramatic electrical storms which always adds a bit of spice to a night watch!
FIREBIRD IS FULLY BOOKED FOR 2018 BUT ARE TAKING BOOKINGS FOR 2019 SO CONTACT CHARTER@FIREBIRD-YACHTING.COM TO REGISTER IN INTEREST IN ARCTIC ADVENTURE CHARTERS NOW!
MARCH-MAY 2019 - LYNGEN ALPS
MAY/JUNE 2019 - SVALBARD