The scenery continued to amaze; snow-capped mountain peaks piled atop one another in the background while the foreground was a maze of rocky islets. We kept our eyes on the sea on the lookout for puffins; these little heartthrobs bobbed among the waves so we’d get a glimpse of their adorable orange beaks and white, panda-like eyes, before they dove below. Every so often, a sea eagle (massive, graceful birds – think bald eagle) would swoop down from above and we hoped to be lucky enough to see one catch a fish.Our luck at fishing continued, with every drop of the hook we’d have a catch within seconds! The efficiency of the fishing really hammered home Jan’s best Norwegian tips, “Location, location, location!” During the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) Arctic Rally he’d encouraged us to wait until we were farther north to even begin fishing and he was right!Detour explored all the navigable coves possible, and maintained our reputation for being “Rock Hopper.”We’d made a brief stop at Bodo, more crew changes happened among the OCC fleet, and then continued north to arrive at our jumping-off location for the Lofoten Islands. In the harbour of Nordskot, excitement built and sailors arrived from all directions during all hours of the day and night. Nordskot was historically the gathering location for fishermen who traded their catch, then awaited good weather to cross the Vestfjord to the Lofoten Islands. Present day Nordskot was the gathering location for the Bodo Sailling Club’s annual Vestfjord Regatta. The OCC fleet had registered to participate in the regatta; we’d even achieved our own “cruisers” class among the more serious racing boats. The Bodo Sailing Club’s Vestfjord Regatta is quite well-known as it is the only summer sailing event that Vikings attend. That’s right, real Vikings! Historical Viking ships of various sizes landed in Nordskot to race across the fjord, the very route they would have traversed hundreds of years ago. There were many happenings for the OCC’ers! Norwegian mid-summer came first, celebrated on June 23rd, and we sampled air-dried leg of lamb and Norwegian pudding. Next, Swedish mid-summer; we thank S/Y Silvertarnen for inviting us aboard to share their traditions. During Swedish mid-summer, we enjoyed delicious sild and potatoes with all the fixins’ while we sang songs around the table. Each song ended with a hearty “Skol!” accompanied by a sip of Aquavit (the kind of drink that puts hair on your chest). Finally, pre-race festivities; seafood dinner, beer, hiking off hangovers…all built up to the arrival of the Viking king who thankfully was too jolly for any pillaging!
On regatta day, the forecast was grim. Very light to nearly nonexistent wind from north-northwest. The sun was shining, however, and all the sailors and Vikings set out early in the morning to begin. The OCC fleet was in fine form, sails set at the ready for the start.
The starting line was the last time we saw any of the OCC fleet during the regatta, or many of the other sailors! Based on the forecast, we’d opted to begin by heading west so that when the wind shifted west we could sail north to the finish. Several Vikings headed that way also, and a few sailors. However, the wind did not shift and in-fact it died – several times. While the Vikings continued to row, they were allowed to row, Detour bobbed like a puffin in the flat, blue yonder. The regatta ended at Kabelvag. The finish was painful. Again, the wind died and our sails went flat; even the spinnaker which we’d set to grasp any breath of air possible. Brian and I threw up our arms! We left Josh at the wheel, one arm steering and one arm holding out the boom, while we dropped our fishing lines into the water. We were certain the only way to get some wind was to hook a fish. The fish weren’t biting. The Vikings rowed past. Detour finally bobbled across the finish line, to arrive in Kabelvag among friends who cheerfully clapped and shouted, “What happened to you, take a detour!?”It was all good fun, and tremendous to end in a full harbour with the small town decked for that evening’s festivities. We were very proud of our top finishers from the OCC – S/Y Silvertarnen, S/Y Jenny, and S/Y Albatross.