Guest Blog by Geoff Ashton, Inverness Marina
Whilst the Moray Firth offers unspoilt sailing with easy access to the Orkneys and Shetland it also serves as an excellent departure or landfall point for sailors crossing the North Sea to or from the Scandinavian and Baltic cruising waters. A perfect example was when we sailed on Light of Dawn with Swedish friends last summer. We had delayed our departure because of a bad storm in the North Sea, but with modern weather forecasting only had to wait a short while to find a suitable weather window for the passage to Norway.
We departed Inverness Marina on the high tide at about lunch time and immediately set full sail with a chilly northerly blowing. Dolphins accompanied us for the first hour through Chanonry Narrows and eastward. It took us about 12 hours before we left the Moray Firth behind and headed out into the North Sea bound for Lindenes Light on the southern tip of Norway.
At that time of the year it never gets dark so the sailing was superb - with a full moon shining and a lovely steady breeze we were soon over halfway across. Another night followed by a great day of sailing and we were in sight of land. We made landfall at Farsund, a wonderful safe harbour at about 1800 hours – total passage time of less than 55 hours. In the morning a lady in Norwegian National Dress called with fresh rolls and newspapers courtesy of the village. What a welcome and so easy.