Arctic Delivery - Part 2

And so the second leg of the sail to the Arctic commenced.. 

Firebird and team were met with a messy sea state and 30 knots of wind as they took their punt with the North Sea. Thankfully with reef 3 in the crew held fast amongst the oil rigs and low flying helicopters and made ground, hopping over towards the Norwegian coastline. 

36 hours down, having downloaded the latest grib file, Ollie made the call to duck in to Bergen in order to reset and allow an angry weather front of 60 knots pass and chaotic swell to die down. It also gave the crew a chance to eat a hearty meal without the risk of breaking waves into their bowls or walking up the bulk heads as they had been!

After meeting with Christoffer, Superyacht Services, to extend our thanks to them for their support in Norway from the 2017 season and for their continued help into this year the team set sail once again.

Fortunately the team made good progress with an average of 11 knots boat speed. As they approached the arctic circle, with layer upon layer of gear being added each watch as the temperatures started to reach sub zero until a steady minus eleven seemed the standard.

Once they had crossed the famous 66°33.00’N the team fell into a 2 hours on, 4 hours off watch pattern to attempt to stave off the cold and keep alert as the navigation picked up entering the fjords. 

Firebird entered Tromso with the last segment of daylight mid afternoon 8 days after leaving Ipswich, just allowing the team enough time to wash the salt water off the deck before the risk of an ice rink! To top it all off for their efforts the team were treated to a vivid display of the aurora borealis in the evening. Not bad for the first day on station!   

3385 NM done from the Mediterranean to the Arctic, its finally time for Ski and Sail 2018 season to start!!

We still have a some dates available so if interested please don’t hesitate to contact charter@firebird-yachting.com!

Arctic Delivery - Part 1 Complete!

Having departed from the shelter of Baiona on the Spanish west coast, the crew headed into biscay. Despite avoiding the worst of the weather system, the crew were still faced with 22knots on the nose and 8m swell. Having set a reef in the main and with the swell due to decrease over 12 hours, they cracked on. Needless to say there were a few green faces - but the less said about that the better! 

After 24 hours, as forecast, the wind and swell decreased well enough for Firebird to make some head way across the bay. By the time they reached the English Channel a strong south westerly of 33knots and tide with them saw Firebird hit 16 knots boat speed. The good luck sticking with them, the team made a speedy nip round the east corner of the UK, past the Thames and down the river Orwell, resembling more of a mill pond as the sun set. 

Just one last thing to navigate.. the bridge! Ipswich is known for having a concrete box girder bridge, not dissimilar to those found in the fjords of northern Norway. As night fell, Tim was hoisted up the rig to ensure that there was enough clearance with the tide. Good practice for some of the bridges in the arctic which have just 2 metre clearance. Fortunately, with more than enough clearance Firebird continued to pass through the lock, before entering Ipswich Haven Marina. 

Firebird and the team will start part two of their journey north in ten days time. Let’s see what the north sea has in store..

From Palma to Baiona

 

Having been at sea for 5 days, the team have ducked into the historical safe haven Port of Baiona to allow a weather system to pass and 10 metre swell to die down as a front of 40 knots moves across the bay of biscay.

The small town of Baiona goes from a modest population of 10,000 in the winter to 50,000 in the summer. Whilst set up for plenty of holidayers in season, it’s an unlikely stop for travellers in the winter. Other than a place of refuge for sailors looking to take on the bay of biscay. 

With 750nm miles left to sail to Ipswich the crew hope to set off again in the next 24 hours once the seas state is reduced. 

Firebird sets sail for the Ski & Sail holiday charter season in Tromso, Norway

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since our last blog so we thought we’d give you an update!

Our crew recently took Firebird through a yard period in Port Adriano where some standard maintenance jobs were carried out ahead of the winter ski and sail season.  Having completed all of our jobs we put our Oyster 885 back in the water where we then travelled on to our Palma home-base to prepare for the delivery trip to Ipswich, before heading on to Tromso, Norway.

Tim, Holly and Ollie transformed Firebird from summer to winter mode, including reinstalling our ski racks and boot warmers! It's set to be a fantastic season, with our friends at Boreal Yachting already enjoying everything sailing in the arctic has to offer - including the spectacular northern lights. Not long until we can share in the delights, just a small matter of 3000NM to sail first!

Our chef Mel has also been busy in the galley making sure the crew have hearty food to sustain and energise them as we sail to chillier climates in search of fresh backcountry snow.

To find out more about our fantastic winter Ski and Sail holidays click here!

That’s all for now!

The Firebird Crew

Firebird Ski & Sail expeditions featured in January edition of Boat International

We are delighted to feature in the latest edition of Boat International showcasing stunning imagery from Waterline Media during one of our Ski and Sail expeditions out of Tromsø, Norway. Click here to check out Boat International or find out more about our Ski and Sail tour packages here! #SailFirebird

Firebird featured in the December edition of Boat International

Journalist Chris Maddison joined us on an exclusive Ski and Sail adventure earlier this year. Click here to visit Boat International and get hold of a copy and find out about his experience for yourself.

Regatta win for Firebird in Palma!

This year saw the 40th anniversary of the Oyster regatta kick off in Palma.  The start of the event welcomed sunny skies and light airs, which brought with it a waiting game as crews looked for the sea breeze to kick in from the southwest. 

Firebird competed in Class one, and faced tough competition from other Oyster 885’s such as Bacchus and Lush as well as 825 Maegan. 

On day one Firebird got off to a flying start getting 2nd place in the bag, this didn’t come without some hard work as tacticians had their hands full, calling the wind shifts towards the western side of the course.

The second day went less favourably for the Firebird crew as the day finished with a 5th place, following a protest from competitor Lush during a mark rounding. Once the penalty was awarded Firebird suffered a twenty percent place reduction, giving the boat what would turn out to be their worst result of the week. Speaking with the crew you quickly realised this didn’t demoralise them at all, if anything it gave them the drive to come back stronger the next day.

And come back stronger they did, as the crew grabbed second place on day 3 of the event, which proved to be another day of shifty winds and tactical prowess to find those elusive areas of pressure. 

The final day of racing was certainly the most tense as a close draw with Bacchus made the chance of a win even tougher. Thankfully for the Firebird crew an amendment in the racing rules confirmed that in the event of a draw in points the boat that won on the final day would win the class. What a perfect day for Firebird to have their best day of racing yet, holding their lead throughout the day to take their first win of the regatta, and winning their class!

When not out racing, Firebird can usually be found cruising and chartering in the eastern mediterranean before heading north to run arctic ski and sail expeditions out of Tromsø in Norway. To find out more about how to get on-board Firebird and explore the arctic visit our ski and sail page.