The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site


  • Taming The Wild?—Tips For Cruising The Western Isles of Scotland

    Taming The Wild?—Tips For Cruising The Western Isles of Scotland

    More years ago than I care to admit, I made my first foray into my favourite cruising ground, the western isles of Scotland. Not only did it have a special resonance for me as a Scot living in exile, but it also offered a vastly different experience from my usual haunts in the western Channel. […]

    Read more: Taming The Wild?—Tips For Cruising The Western Isles of Scotland
  • A Change Of Latitude

    A Change Of Latitude

    We’ve just returned from two weeks in the western isles of Scotland, carrying out a short basking shark survey, our first in the area since 2006. Fortunately for us, the weather came good, and we had two weeks of light to moderate winds, with just the odd bit of wind and rain to remind us […]

    Read more: A Change Of Latitude
  • The Best Of The Old World

    The Best Of The Old World

    It has been so good to be underway again, after a long, forced spell ashore. Not that it wasn’t without its positive side, but there are only so many weeks in a boatyard you can endure, even when it’s in a country as warm and friendly as Portugal. And it was even more enjoyable, knowing […]

    Read more: The Best Of The Old World
  • Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 2

    Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 2

    Sailing ‘off-grid’ is all about getting away from the crowds, and the west of Scotland can certainly offer that – during my first fortnight in charge of a charter boat in the Hebrides back in the spring of 1992 we saw one other yacht in two weeks. And in those days there was a kind […]

    Read more: Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 2
  • Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 1

    Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 1

    A hardy perennial in sailing magazines has always been some well-known individual describing their ‘favourite secret anchorage’. I’ve never fully understood the rationale for taking part in such an exercise.  After all, if it’s no longer a secret, won’t that make it as busy as any other place as a result? As someone once wisely […]

    Read more: Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 1
  • Glenarm, Ireland

    Glenarm, Ireland

    I’ve only ever seen one sailing magazine article by the great writer and sailor Jonathan Raban, but the first sentence of that article may explain why: “Marina is a word like rubella—it sounds far nicer than the thing it describes.” And for many marinas, maybe that’s the truth. Practical, convenient, yes, but it would be […]

    Read more: Glenarm, Ireland
  • Shetlands And Iceland, 2003

    Well, we finally made the break from Norway and leaving was as hard as we expected it to be. Especially since we left the coast at Ålesund, one of the most beautiful of Norwegian cities and especially beautiful in the long golden light of late evening with a perfect rainbow framing the city thrown in […]

    Read more: Shetlands And Iceland, 2003
  • Leaving Norway, 2003

    Our last newsletter ended with our decision to spend a second winter in Tromsø. What a good idea that was: We cemented the friendships we made our first winter and made new friends; we improved our skiing, though we are still nowhere as good as the Norwegians; and we realized that Tromsø, Norway, and Norwegians, […]

    Read more: Leaving Norway, 2003
  • Finnmark And Arrival In Svalbard (Spitsbergen), 2002

    As I write this we are anchored in a small harbour formed by an old moraine, on the west coast of Spitsbergen, about a mile from the snout of a glacier. It is very different than Greenland in that the glaciers are much less active (smaller ice cap) and so we can get a lot […]

    Read more: Finnmark And Arrival In Svalbard (Spitsbergen), 2002
  • The Dark Time, 2002

    The sun has returned to North Norway and we are out sailing again, although there is little sign of spring yet: The locals say that if you can walk on the crust of the snow on June 15th it will be a late spring! Yesterday was our first sail of the season, a boisterous beat […]

    Read more: The Dark Time, 2002
  • Lofoten And Vesterålen, 2001

    Well, Morgan’s Cloud came to Tromsø, and so did winter. We tied up at our winter berth last Saturday, October 20th, and were greeted with 6″ of snow over the next several days. Needless to say, we were hoping to have at least a week’s grace to get the boat ready for winter before the […]

    Read more: Lofoten And Vesterålen, 2001
  • Slowing Down in Norway, 2001

    Since our last newsletter, sent shortly after we arrived in Norway, our summer has evolved, some might say degenerated, into the slowest and most relaxing cruising we have ever done—a real contrast to our usual expedition style trips.

    Read more: Slowing Down in Norway, 2001
  • Arrival In Norway, 2001

    We are finally in Norway after 14 months of trying—we initially sent off our application for temporary residence in May of 2000 and we received our permission, ten months later, in March of 2001, just as we were leaving our winter home at St. Katharine Dock, London, England.

    Read more: Arrival In Norway, 2001