The North Atlantic Challenge – 2001  

Balstara completed a challenge to sail from the Isle Of Man to Iceland and back, in just 4 weeks (from 15th June 2001 to 15th July 2001).

Mid way to Iceland from the Faeroes in a light SE'ly - perfect.

Djupivogur - the first stop in Iceland.

Eskifjörđur - small boat harbour.

Sea borne toursists - the crew (Paul and Oli).

Sailing along east coast of Iceland- crew keep lookout.

Outward leg in red, return in yellow.

During the challenge it took eleven days to reach Iceland, with two days spent sheltering in Loch Leurbost, Lewis, Outer Hebrides whilst a gale passed over before continuing in light headwinds to the Faeroes where we stopped for just a few hours to top up diesel, water and fresh food before the passage to Djupivogur in light SE'ly (following) winds which proved ideal for running wing and wing with a prevented main and a poled out genoa. Extensive areas of mist and fog were encountered, with not a single vessel sighted until within a few miles of our destination.

Two stopovers were made in Iceland, Djupivogur and Eskifjörđur (which itself lies within Reyđarfjörđur). Both have straightforward approaches and reasonable shelter. Djupivogur was memorable for its pink coloured water (on account of the fish processing factory), whilst Reyđarfjörđur was simply spectacular with its steeply sided snow capped mountains.

The return leg involved a passage to the island of Vágur in the Faeroes Islands, which was accomplished in two days in mostly moderate to fresh North Easterly winds. After several days exploring the islands, we headed south and took a look at the island of Rona before entering Loch Carloway (within East Loch Roag, on the western side of Lewis, Outer Hebrides). Having visited the well preserved Carloway Broch, we headed south and landed on Taransay (the location of the "Castaways" TV series). To pass from the west to east side of the Outer Hebrides we made use of the Leverburgh Channel, before continuing on southward - wending our way through the highlands and islands.

By the time we returned to Douglas harbour, 1934 miles had been logged. Assisting the skipper, Dave Le Geyt, on the challenge were Paul Robinson and Oliver Pearce – good company and well able to cope with the demands of offshore sailing.

Beneficiaries of fund raising during the North Atlantic Challenge 2001 were: The Friends Of Chernobyl's Children (Isle Of Man).