It's midnight. We are on the way from Douglas to Dublin. Jens woke me up a few minutes ago, I have the second watch. The wind blows with four to five wind speeds and Sissi runs under full kit, so both sails are set to full size. As is so often the case with sailing, the wind comes from the direction we want to go, so we have to turn up. This lengthens the journey, but is many orders of magnitude better than driving a motor.
We left Douglas around noon, so we have been on the road for twelve hours and are about half the distance. The moon has risen recently and bathes the Irish Sea in its pale light. The ropes creak, the sails flutter now and then. Otherwise I only hear the hull hissing through the dark water. The waves are very pleasant and Sissi rocks easily. We are not alone, in the distance I can see lights of cargo ships and fishing boats. Nevertheless, we are in the loneliest place in the world - 30 miles from Ireland and 30 miles from the Isle of Man, in the middle of Europe, but our cosmos is limited to the 12 meter ship length from Sissi.
I turn on the radio. We are too far from the coast to receive a transmitter. From our music library, I select a couple of Udo Lindenberg records that will shorten the night for me. In between, I keep looking for other ships, the sailing position and the wind. We make a good trip from just under six knots above ground, the tide current helps a little. Despite the early hour, I feel fresh and rested, and I hardly slept.
My thoughts roam wildly in world history. What will the journey across Biscay be like, how will the crossing of the Atlantic be? What can we expect in the next few days and weeks? Shortly afterwards I land again in the present, the AIS reports a fisherman on a collision course. I briefly consider speaking to him over the radio, then he changes course again. We haven't eaten fish since Scotland, I feel like fish. We are too fast to cast the line. No fish bites at our speed.
Udo Lindenberg sings across the horizon, beyond which it continues. We want to go there! The first dawn appears at three o'clock, a short time later the wind falls asleep. I roll up the genoa, pull the mainsail tight and we only float in the waves. The wind exceptionally adheres to the weather forecast, it does not rain and the moonlight can still be seen above the sea. I make a pot of coffee, wait for the predicted wind shift. Bumbling around in the doldrums is a joy. Set the traps, Sissi makes uncomfortable movements, it just doesn't feel good. I want to resist the temptation to start the engine like on a charter trip. We cannot do that on the wide Atlantic either.
After three quarters of an hour the wind starts again, this time from a favorable direction. We can head straight to Dublin. I roll out the genoa again, we are gaining speed. The wake gurgles again, the hull hisses through the waves. We are on a half wind course, you can't go faster with a sailboat. On the chart plotter I can see the miles purring to the destination. We are now approaching Dublin at over seven knots.
Around half past seven in the morning I wake Jens up, I am now tired and would like to sleep for a few hours. Jens is happy about the coffee and that I have left him enough of it. Two seagulls fought a little fight in our cockpit and shit and vomited on our solar cells. It looks a little gross, we absolutely have to put it away. Light rain has started. We only have a few miles to go before entering Dublin Bay.
I love these night trips, they have a very special magic. Especially when the engine is not running and the weather is so nice. There is no better way to get around than on a sailboat at night.