Given that sailing downwind in strong winds is fast (as sailboats go) and merely uncomfortable without additional qualifying adverbs, we used the last of the southeasterlies to shape a course well to the north of the direct route - passing close to the Faroes and Iceland. By passing to the north of various low pressure weather systems we could take advantage of the counterclockwise circulation around them.
Now as we rapidly approach Iceland, it is becoming clear that there will be a number of days of very light contrary winds involving many hours of motoring. This would be followed by a gale or possibly storm-force winds as we approach Kap Farvel [Cape Farewell] on the southern tip of Greenland. These gale-force winds, though perhaps not the NEXT spell of inclement weather, can be avoided by a short detour and a few days sightseeing around the Icelandic capital!
The above described process, combined with access to modern weather forecasting and to GPS goes a long way towards making seasonal high-latitude small boat voyages acceptably safe. As a matter of interest, airlines adjust their long-haul flight-paths daily to account for changing winds, rarely using the same route on successive days. This is more a matter of saving flight minutes and money, along with giving passengers a pleasant ride, rather than of safety. Nonetheless the principles are similar.
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|Surtsey at 2 am|
At 14/06/2013 06:24 (utc) our position was 62°34.20'N 016°10.78'W