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25/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 384; Our Last Full Day on St. Helena; We Go Swimming with a Whale Shark One More Time; & How St. Helena Got Its Name; Sunday, January 25, 2015

St. Helena was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Joao da Nova Castella on May 21, 1502; and was named after the mother of the Emperor Constantine. Her name was...Helena; and her birthday, you guessed it, was on May 21. Up at 8:00 AM. Coffee and tea.Breakfast at 10:00 AM: scrambled eggs; cut up spiced potato; fruit cocktail; and brown bread. For Joel and me. Jeanine had yogurt and granola. We turned on the generator to charge batteries and made water for 3 hours. Joel transferred pictures from his camera and mine to his computer so we can send some to the our rally web site later today. We took the water taxi into the wharf at 11:40 AM, along with one empty jerry can that we had forgotten to have filled with diesel yesterday. When we got to the dock I asked our whale shark tour guide. read more...


25/01/2015

Exody - Days 13/14- San Blas Bliss

By nightfall on Thursday 22nd most of the 15 World ARC boats were there with us at the Swimming Pool anchorage, with two just around the corner behind adjacent 'bug' island and another two still at their landfall anchorage to the west.A barbecue ashore was organised for Friday 23rd and we had a great afternoon on the well groomed Barbecue Island, looked after by three Kunas who sold us cold beers, coconut water or coke, lit the barbecue and also kindly boiled up the large spider crab we had just bought from a local family who visited us in their ulu (long dug out boat/canoe.The charge of $2US a head to land on the island was not grudged in any way! We barbecued another portion of our dorado catch.On the way in we were invited by Sarah and Luc on board the phenomenom that is Makena for a. read more...


American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming 10 feet above a Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming 10 feet above a Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Whales on the way to St Helena
American Spirit II - Whales on the way to St Helena
American Spirit II - Sperm Whale on the way to St.Helena
American Spirit II - Sperm Whale on the way to St.Helena
25/01/2015

Celebrate - "Degrees of Magnitude"

DEGREES OF MAGNITUDE by Jay AilworthZero degrees is a definitive longitude,One that carries a high degree of magnitude.A line on the chart that separates east from west,Possibly a trick question on a geography test.This line has nothing to do with season or clime,But for a navigator is literally the beginning of time.For me crossing this line is a first,Off watch asleep in my berth I crossed feet first.Until next time...Charlie, Cathy & Jay. read more...


25/01/2015

Allegro - QUINTA-FEIRA, 22 DE JANEIRO DE 2015

Largámos de Santa Marta, na Colômbia, na terça-feira dia 20 de Janeiro, ao meio dia local. Largada alinhada na linha de partida, para ficar bem na vista aérea de helicóptero. Deve ter ficado mesmo muito bem!Vento mantido entre 20 e 24 nós, com rajadas frequentes de 30+ nós. Mar muito desencontrado, com ondas altas, 4-5 metros. O barco a rolar de um lado para o outro todo o tempo, com saltos de cada vez que uma onda, ainda mais desencontrada e maior, o apanhava de lado. Uma não vamos esquecer - maior que as outras, pegou no barco que começou uma surfada muito grande mesmo, que nos manteve calados até ao seu fim. Quando vimos o anemómetro nem queríamos acreditar - 15,4 nós…Quem pensa que o Mar das Caraíbas é tranquilo e bom para passeios, desengane-se. É dos mais mexidos que apanhámos até. read more...


25/01/2015

Aretha - Chichime Cay, San Blas Islands

630am. 25th January 2015The boat is quiet apart from the sound of the waves lapping against the hull and the cries of tropical birds on the Islands next to us.Nichola woke me some 20 minutes ago for me to take my turn on anchor watch. This is where we maintain the watch system through the night just to make sure the anchor doesn’t drag. Having had only one shot at anchoring as the light went last night and being only metres away from the reef behind us there is no margin for error. If we do drag anchor we need to know about it and be able to respond immediately.Testamant to the importance of this was the sight of a yacht on her side on the coral reef as we entered the anchorage last night. She had clearly either missed her navigation marks or had dragged anchor. Either way, she was high. read more...


25/01/2015

Nexus - Chugging across the South Atlantic on a nice day

Well, our hopes were high when we left St Helena yesterday and saw 12kts on the beam, but we soon learned it was just the wind funneling across the island as it died to 5kts over the first hour. So we're all motoring...ugh. Beautiful day and night, and very calm seas only seem to amplify the disappointing drone of the motor. We've taken a northerly route to look for wind, as the GRIB files show that if there is any wind it might be a couple of knots higher in the north. Our plan is to come up to the 14th parallel or so, and turn west to hopefully head straight for Salvador with the wind on our quarter. No joy fishing yet, but we've heard Ghost caught a Mahi Mahi behind us, so we're hopeful we'll have fresh fish on the table soon! 1800nm to go and all is well.Russ and Laurie on NEXUS. read more...


25/01/2015

Firefly - Clockwise around the Hauraki Gulf

Sunday 25th January 2015 is yet another beautifully sunny day here in New Zealand - since New Year we have had only one cloudy day. During the last week we have sailed around the Hauraki Gulf in a clockwise direction reaching Waiheke Island from the Coromandel Peninsula. From there we have stopped at Ponui Island, Pine Harbour Marina near Beachlands, Rangitoto Island, Tiritiri Island and the Whangaparoa Peninsula. This evening Firefly will be berthed in Fairway Bay Marina as we are about start a month of road travel. Before leaving the Coromandel we visited the Rapaura Water Gardens near Tapu, successfully hitch hiking the 20 miles south without having to wait very long for lifts. The various ponds were fed by a small river and the tranquil setting was deep in the bush. The water lillies. read more...


24/01/2015

Celebrate - "Nautical Slip and Slide"

NAUTICAL SLIP AND SLIDE by Jay AilworthThe wind blows steadily over the wind without fail,At last the joy of a true downwind sail.The mainsail sheeted out and straining to starboard,While the poled out jib makes a triangle to larboard.The boat has an easy motion side to side,The twists and turns are easy to abide.The bow responds to each rise and fall,The wind at the stern becomes a sirens call.Gaining momentum on each an every crest,This is sailing at its best.This is not quite a roller coaster ride,But what comes to mind is seagoing slip and slide.. read more...


07/12/2014

Take Off - Our first squall

Although the full moon lit our way so gently last night was quite unsmoothdue to wind changes all the time. We suspected several squalls so the spinnakerwent up and down all night in prevention. However we seemed everytime to “miss”them. This morning was a grey morning, no sunrise from the sea and heavy cloudsahead of us. However the heavy clouds were all along the horizon so we thoughtit was just normal rain. We sailed through it, got a bit wet, the wind wassteady and we thought this was smooth. The wind started to blow stronger and wasup to 30 knots when it then dropped gently down to 17 knots. And from nowhere astrong wind hit the boat, Jörgen stearing had difficulties in answering the windand the broach was inevitable. And then came the real rain – just like pouringhundreds of. read more...


24/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 383; We Take a Tour of the Island; See Napoleon's Homes and Tomb; & Swim with a Whale Shark; Friday, January 23, 2015

Up at 6:00 AM after staying up late the night before. Needed to get going because we have a lot to do today.Breakfast at 6:30 AM is scrambled eggs; cut up spiced potato; chilled pear halves; and brown bread.At 7:50 AM I send out an email concerning our British Airways lost bag to Zandra in Cape Town and Janet in Tampa. BA says that the bag has been delivered to Cape Town. Great.At 8:10 AM we depart on the water taxi to the wharf; and at 8:30 AM we enter the Custom's office and then proceed to the Immigration office, to clear out of the country. They are closed on weekends and since we're leaving on Sunday morning we must clear out on Friday. In St. Helena, once you clear out you have 72 hours to depart.Next we head to a bank to exchange South Africa Rand, US dollars, and Euros for. read more...


24/01/2015

Aretha - Roughing it up - 10 51 North, 77 10 West - One week back at sea

On our circumnavigation, we were told there were 3 parts of the world to expect the roughest weather: 1- Biscay2 - Columbia3 - The Agulhas current off South Africa.Well, we’ve now crossed the second of these and it was more demanding than the first (Biscay). The last 24 hours have been testing on the boat and us. We had 35 knots of breeze with seas coming from lots of different directions. We topped out the speed last night at 13.6 knots surfing downwind in the dark with 3 reefs and a poled out headsail. It always feels so much faster in the dark when its been doing by feel and you can’t really see what is going on.The wind softened today to 25-30 knots and maintained the confused seas. Heading across the Colombian basin, the wind was pushing us in the direction of Nicaragua. We. read more...


24/01/2015

Nexus - Swimming with Whale Sharks! Farewell to St Helena...

We had a magical experience swimming with Whale Sharks yesterday! It was a National Geographic moment snorkeling around and under these gentle giants, who didn't seem to be at all bothered by our presence. Apparently St Helena Island has about 30 of them resident in their local waters, and they run regular snorkel boats out each evening to swim with them. Definitely a bucket list item if you ever have the chance to do it, the experience is indescribable. Later on we had a large pig roast and lamb roast dinner at Anne's with several of the local townspeople and had a great evening. Earlier in the week we had an island tour on a 1927 Chevrolet truck, of all of the sights of St Helena, several of which were locations where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled here. There was a lovely home where he. read more...


24/01/2015

Luna Quest - Thursday, 23rd January

Noon Position: 09.35N 78.40WDaily Run: 140 milesDestination: Cayos Holandes in the San Blas IslandsWe are anchored off an idyllic little island amongst the many islands in the San Blas group of islands. They are of a size that you can walk round them in a few hours. They all have pristine white beaches with azure waters lapping on to them, where palm trees offer some shade to the elderly couple (Julia and me) walking on them. On one of islands, that we dinghied to, we came across three Indian families where the children appeared very happy swimming and playing in the water. Hesitant at first, they soon discovered we were friendly and then walked with us wherever we went. A little footpath led us to their settlement of a couple of huts made entirely of stakes and leaves for the roof. They. read more...


24/01/2015

GarliX - Tag 14 Zeitsprung San Blas Inseln

Es fehlen uns die Worte für dieses „Stück Welt“. Es ist ein Zeitsprung im wahrsten Sinn. Die San Blas Inseln gehören zu Panama und liegen ca. 80sm vor dem Panamakanal. Es sind ca. 378 Inseln, wovon nur ca. 49 bewohnt sind. Obwohl die Inseln zu Panama gehören, sind sie extrem unabhängig. Soweit zu den Fakten. In jedem Guide steht, dass diese Inseln nur im Tageslicht befahren werden sollen; möglichst um die Mittagszeit. Wir sind hier morgens um 4Uhr angekommen…. mussten also noch gut 2h im sicheren tiefen Wasser vor „uns hin warten“. Dann hat sich eine Welt eröffnet…. Inselkleckse, die max. einen halben Meter aus dem Wasser ragen und voll bedeckt sind mit Palmen. Drum herum türkis - blaues sauberes Wasser. ABER - auch nur im Tageslicht sichtbare Korallenriffe. Geankert haben wir bei 8m. read more...


23/01/2015

Exocet Strike - Update 23-1-2015

Today we had a great day with a BBQ on BBQ Islandwith most of the other World ARC boats. We made a silly mistake and didn't pullour dinghy up on shore or make it off well enough, result dinghy was floatingoff with the wind and tide, fortunately Jean from A Plus 2 and Paul from Juno sawit go and leapt into action with Juno's dinghy to retrieve her. Many thanks Pauland Jean.Now back on Exocet and ready to welcome Pete and Mindy from WaywardWind for dinner. John. read more...


23/01/2015

Celebrate - Napoleon's Last Days, Centuries Old Military History and Stunning Views on Tour in St. Helena Island in the Mid-South Atlantic Ocean

This very remote British island territory can only be reached by boat currently, but an airport is under construction.The first all-day tour stop was Napoleon's initial housing, Briars Pavilion, where he waited for permanent quarters for himself and entourage to be completed.Briars was a charming house and gardens where he was officially a guest of the family who owned the property.Napoleon's last residence on St. Helena and where he passed away was Longwood House.The house contained elegant furnishings and the garden areas were lovely.Napoleon picked the peaceful Sane Valley as his burial place.Later, the French Government removed his body from the tomb for burial in Paris.The island's military history dates back its strategic location during the British Empire.It was also used as a. read more...


24/01/2015

Exocet Strike - San Blas moving on

All the World ARC boats were on the move today,most of were in an anchorage called the Swimming Pool, and about half went to anisland group called Coco Banderas, and six of us went to East Lemmons and ananchorage just south of Yansaladup. interesting pilotage to get here butworthwhile. tomorrow we expect to all meet up in a placecalled Chichime.   On our way here we passed a lot of other smallerislands, where there appears to be a strong tourist trade developing. lotsof  tents, backpackers and locals using fast boats to get from one islandto another. It does seem that this whole area is gettingvery commercialised and thus spoilt, big shame. John   . read more...


23/01/2015

Aretha - High Winds & Confused Seas - Day 6. 11 42 North 74 21 West

It’s a dark night and the seas are confused as they come from different directions. Aretha is being bounced this way and that on the waves as Alan the autopilot picks a course through the seas. The wind is building - it’s risen from 18 to 25 knots and we’re expecting up to 40 knots overnight. I’m grateful we’re onboard Aretha - these are the seas she was designed for and she feels rock solid. This is a big wind acceleration zone and the winds are known as the “Crazy Winds”.We’re 20 miles North of Santa Marta in Colombia and not far from Barranquilla. The advice is: Keep well off the headland at Barranquilla, currents from the rio Magdalena estuary really strong & loads of rubbish,trees & the like closer in.  Fun and games then!The children, Nichola and Caroline are all. read more...


22/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 382; We Arrive in St. Helena; See a Sunrise Green Flash (No. 30); & Have a Good Day in St,. Helena; Thursday, January 22, 2015

Up at 6:00 AM. St. Helena is 20 miles away. At 6:15 PM I can see the lighthouse on St. Helena; a rotating light every 20 seconds. The sky is still full of stars; the wind is 12/13 knots and we're moving at 5.6 knots thru the water and 5.8 knots over the land. I adjust the auto pilot to go 15 more degrees to port as we're heading too far right of the rumb line. At 7:23 AM the island is obscured by clouds; maybe rain clouds. Like all islands in the tropics, each small island has its own weather system. At 7:35 AM I check in with St. Helena port control. Adela calls me at 7:35 AM and says they saw me on AIS all night long. However, I can't see their AIS. I'll have to talk to Peter when we get in and let him know he may not be transmitting properly. Adela is 3 miles ahead of us. At 7:45 AM I. read more...


22/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 381; Green Flash No. 29; We Catch 2 Fish; & a Great Afternoon/Evening of Sailing; Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jeanine says she called me 5 times to get up at 5:50 AM, but to no avail. Left door to aft cabin open, so I woke up at 6:12 AM. At 6:32 AM I relieved Jeanine. The wind is 13 knots and we're moving at 6.4 knots thru the water and 6.5 knots over the land. There is a low, solid overcast, with no stars visible. Really dark out. At 7:30 AM the dawn is fast approaching. Lot of clouds visible now and a light rain is falling. The sky is a little clear behind us, and with the wind coming from behind I'm hopeful that the clouds will clear and it'll be sunny today. At 9:00 AM the wind is still light at 9 knots, and we're motoring at 6.0 knots thru the water and 6.8 knots over the land. Still clearing; it might be a nice day. During the 10:00 AM net Sandra from Sweet Pearl hosts it. Only 5 or 6 of. read more...


22/01/2015

Exocet Strike - San Blas Islands

We had a great nights sleep after an epic pilotageinto the San Blas Islands, Mike, a South African who has been here for two yearsgave some great advice and at 1300 we had a radio net where he gave a lot moreadvice re where to anchor etc. It seems that the beautiful tranquility has beendisturbed by a lot of commercial operations and maybe we are visiting at thelast opportunity.  We of course are part of the problem of exploitation,but we do try to minimse our effect. We have just moved from one good, but slightly rolyanchorage to one that was challenging to get to, dodging reefs that are in thewrong place on the electronic charts is always fun. We are however safe andsound, surrounded by reefs, and small tropical islands, if the sun is outtomorrow, then the sight will be. read more...


22/01/2015

Exody - Days 11/ 12 - First Fish and San Blas Swimming Pool

Folks look askance when you say you have caught a dolphin - but we did catch a dolphin fish (aka dorado, mahi mahi) late on Wednesday on the first outing of the new reel provided in Trinidad last month by Marian's brother David.My brother Martin thought we had hooked a monster marlin or tuna such was the weight on the line, but it turned out to be a more modest one metre long male dorado, estimated at 6kg - still enough to feed us three at least three times.It was landed without the gaff and after about twenty minutes with two of us on the line having furled the genny almost completely to slow the boat to under 3 knots.Quite a challenge to dispatch and dismember without fouling the teak and the leather wheel- (quote Dagmar of Garlix - "no blood on my boat" - not possible if you want. read more...


22/01/2015

Ayama - WONDERFUL SEND-OFF FROM SANTA MARTA

About 11.30 yachts starting heading out of the Marina for the midday start.The starting line was between a dinghy and the end of the Marina.5 minutes before the start a tug parked itself in the middle of the start line!!He had come to give us a send-off with his water hoses.After various hilarious radio conversations he did move to one side.Yachts were all a bit like race horses lining up for the “off”.One even had her spinnaker poles out sideways ready to go goose-wing…she looked a bit like one of the racing chariots in Ben Hur and she was given wide berth.Suddenly we were all off..the helicopter flew overhead and the tug squirted water out on both sides…apparently a real honour for us. A sad but wonderful send –off from Santa Marta, her charming and friendly people and all the amazing. read more...


22/01/2015

Ayama - LEAVING SANTA MARTA

We've had a wonderful visit to Santa Marta but time has flown and we leave at midday today.Sunday was spent doing various repairs and maintenance.I spent the afternoon in the laundry ..not one of my favourite occupations but sociable as it is the best spot for internet access. In the evening some crews went to a beach for dinner.Per and I did our usual street food forage and finished up sitting on the pavement drinking aquadiente with a charming family.Colombians seem to have a very positive attitude about their future and have a great deal of faith in their president.Definitely a country to visit and enjoy. Monday There was an archaeological visit in the national park which actually turned out to be a hike through the forest to a beach.Stefan and Anna saw a blue heron …Anna has a. read more...


22/01/2015

Luna Quest - Thursday, 22nd January, 2015

Noon Position: 09.38N 78.23WDaily Run: 140 milesDestination: San Blas IslandsOur electronic depth alarm decided to go off mid ocean without responding to silence it. No matter what we tried it refused to be switched off. We are reliant on the depth sounder as we head into the San Blas Islands, where we have to find a spot to anchor amid many small islands and coral reefs…... There is always something that does not work at the very time you need it most.The winds settled down to around 23 knots from the East that enabled us to pole out our staysail opposite to the poled out genoa, but not for long. By night they went northeast again to give us a tight point of sail without one of them protesting. We lowered the staysail and carried on on with the poled out genoa only. Our speed reduced. read more...


22/01/2015

Sweet Pearl - Kapstadt --> St.Helena - 14. Tag - Ankunft in 5 Stunden

Wir sehen bereits Land und wenn alles so läuft, wie es jetzt läuft, sollten wir in 5 Stunden in der James Bay an einer Mooring liegen. Und am Abend gibts dann Abendessen in der grössten Stadt der Insel, in James Town (700 Einwohner - die ganze Insel hat 4100 Einwohner). Wir sind froh mal wieder Land unter die Füsse zu kommen und schicken ganz liebe Grüsse nach Europa!!!:-) Tom. read more...


22/01/2015

Exocet Strike - Finish in San Blas

An interesting finish in the dark to the leg fromSanta Marta to San Blas, followed by an even more interesting trip past the reefsto a safe anchorage, initially piloted by Paul from Juno but enhanced by Mikefrom the radio net in San Blas. Apparently several boats have been lost on thereefs already this year. Not exactly what you want to hear when you arethreading your way through them, knowing the charts and plotter may beinaccurate. We are now sitting safely at anchor, more funlater, John. read more...


22/01/2015

Aretha - Day 5 - In Colombian Waters - 12 27 North 72 06 West

Another beautiful day at sea.What’s been great- Beautiful downwind sailing - lovely and warm with flat calm conditions during the day- We’re now into Colombian waters (thanks Nick & Paul for spotting the misspelling of Colombia on the last despatches)- Caroline and Nichola have been great getting the schooling moving along again today- Great food all day by Nichola, Caroline & Bluebell- Stunning sunset and great being back under so many stars tonightWhat’s been more challenging- Kids seem to have been whining or moaning all day long. Suspect its the heat and getting used to being back at sea. - Things need fixing. Generator still challenging despite 4 hours working on this. Cars on the mainsail track working loose and need tighetning- Short on sleep - last night I spent a good. read more...


21/01/2015

Exocet Strike - Second day on the way to San Blas islands

Hello folks, what a great nights sailing yesterdaythat was 20 to 30 knots of wind from behind us averaged over 200 miles for theday, which is great for us. On our AIS tracker ( its a device that if you havean AIS receiver you can pick up any bots around up to, in sail bots 10 to 15miles or in the case of ships up to 100 miles, we also send out our position,its a great bit of kit and we rely on it to avoid collisions with ships, butalso to keep in touch with boats in our fleet) we had Juno, Makena and A Plus 2in view most of the night, lost the last two for a while dodging a ship for twohours, but back in view now. The talk on our SSB net this morning has been do westand off the San Blas Islands until morining, or go in and try to anchor. Quitea few of us are slowing down, A Plus 2 looks. read more...


21/01/2015

Exody - Days 10 & 11 - Delight tinged with Anxiety

So says the card on the chart table for the psychological state associated with Force 6 (22-27 knot) winds - graduating to 'Anxiety tinged with Fear' for Force 7 (28-33 knot winds). We have had mostly 25 knots plus and peaking at 33 knot gusts in the first 24 hours.No anxiety or fear on board Ex0dy- just respect!Our treble- reefed main sail plan may have looked cautious for the start of the Santa Marta to San Blas leg on Tuesday 20th, but it was just right for the winds once we cleared the land. Our send off was as eventful as our arrival, this time with hose-spraying tugs, coastguard vessels and photography helicopter all in close attendance on the start line. After 6 hours of broad reach to the waypoint off Baranquilla and the turn downwind, we dropped the main - since we have found in. read more...


21/01/2015

Luna Quest - Wednesday, 21 January, 2015

Noon Position: 10.31N 76.30WRun since Santa Marta: 144 milesNext destination: Chichime, an island in the San Blas group of islands near Panama.It was the first time that the World ARC fleet visited Santa Marta in Colombia, a tired old town with little architecture to recommend it, but with plenty of litter everywhere and gale force winds descending down the mountain ranges making the marina uncomfortable. The government had pulled all the stops out to to welcome us and show us the best side of Colombia where the guerrilla forces and the drug trade seem to have been subdued. Many activities had been laid on for us, including live bands, barbecue lunches, school visits and optional helicopter sorties into the mountains to visit the ‘lost city’, a collection of ruined horizontal foundations. read more...


21/01/2015

Nexus - St Helena is great

An imposing island in the middle of nowhere, filled with nice, helpful people. We had a good nights rest followed by a day of boat work to get ready for the next leg. We had a great first day clearing in with no hassles, and went to a great pub for a few beers and out to dinner and Karaoke at a Chinese restaurant...good to blow off steam after a 9 day passage! The locals have been very helpful, we're fueled and doing minor repairs today. We have an issue with our primary autopilot where an aluminum block has steadily worn over the 27000 miles we've put on it and it has started to make a clunking sound when it actuates, I don't believe it will fail as the bolt holes through it have just warn a bit, but it will wear faster as it becomes more loose. I'm hoping to McGuyver a solution with. read more...


21/01/2015

Folie a Deux - The 'Unsung Hero'

The ‘Unsung Hero’Every boat on the WORLD ARC has an unsung hero in its crew.After a year with the 2014-2015 WORLD ARC one can usually pick out the ‘unsung heroes’ amongst the other crews.Perhaps they should have a contest......anywaysThere is no ‘one size fits all’ definition of the unsung hero.The ‘unsung hero’ is not telling us about all they fish they have caught, or how they’ve skippered the boat along the course with the most fairest breezes, or miraculously fixed the autopilot.The unsung hero makes these long passages bearable.Somehow their thoughtfulness helps everyone aboard.Noticing a block that is twisted in a not quite right direction.Anticipating what needs to be done ahead of others.Even just sailing fast [without boasting].Having peeled cold fruit to refresh the crew, or. read more...


21/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 381; A Cloudy, Rainy Day on the South Atlantic Ocean; Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Woke up early again, at 5:15 AM due to boat motion. Assumed watch duties at 6:00 AM; put 1/2 reef in the mainsail due to a squall line that was hitting us. Full reef in main now. At 6:20 AM the wind has died back down and is 12/14 knots and we're moving at 5.0 knots thru the water and 5.4 knots over the land. There is a solid, low cloud cover. Not a pleasant looking morning. There is no discernible sun rise. It just gets lighter out, gradually. I wake Joel at 7:20 AM as we're heading a few degrees south of west (256 degrees instead of a course of 298 degrees to St. Helena). Wrong direction. I hate waking him during his sleep hours, and only do so when absolutely necessary. We jibe the boat from port to starboard tack; the pole is now on the starboard side and the mainsail is on the port. read more...


21/01/2015

Aretha - Day 4, Caribbean Sea - 12 35 North, 69 47 West

22:11 Local Time.We’re 10 miles off the East Coast of Aruba. Trying to remember the title of the Beach Boys song…Aruba, Jamaica etc etc. Back when I heard the song, Aruba was a far off place. Now it’s a series of lights including a long line of red flashing lights on our port side and it comes to life as you study it on the charts. Ditto for Curacao - Blue Curacao now has a different meaning. Had a look earlier at the chart plotter and its amazing to see how far we’ve come since we left Southampton 5 months ago today. So many places, so many experiences - The South Coast of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Madeira, The Canaries, St Lucia, the Grenadines and now past the Venezualan coastline and Columbia and Panama appearing just ahead of us on the charts.We’re loving all the feedback. read more...


21/01/2015

Juno - Santa Marta Welcome

‘Juno, this is the coast guard, come in please’. We are stowing the spinnaker pole on the foredeck as I hear the VHF crackle. ‘Juno, this is the Colombian navy, come in please’ the voice slightly more insistent this time, clearly not used to being ignored. To my relief the shoot bolt on the end of the big spinnaker pole springs shut, securing the pole on the mast and I reach for the hand-held VHF attached to my belt. ‘Coastguard, this isJuno’, I reply, slightly out of breath. ‘Juno, this is the Colombian coast guard, welcome to Santa Marta, we will escort you to the port’.Two bright orange coast guard vessels sweep up alongside us, crew on the bow, encouraging us to wave as they point video cameras at us. The local port authority now calls us on the VHF, asking for more information and. read more...


Juno - Santa Marta Welcome
Juno - Santa Marta Welcome
20/01/2015

Exocet Strike - Leaving Santa Marta

It was with a heavy heart that the fleet left SantaMarta, the welcome in Columbia has been quite unbelieveable, they put on anexcellent display of customer service. Yes there are no doubt problems in thecountry, but the government and business people try to keep us away fromthis. The start was great, it was either A Plus 2, Junoor ourselves first over the line, then a great reach for 30 miles in 25 to 30kn,we have just turned downwind and we have approx 20 to 25 kn of wind behindus. Next stop San Blas islands, part of Panama,interesting pilotage but cruise liners go in there, and it looks very picturepostcard beautiful. John. read more...


20/01/2015

Celebrate - Captain DJ

CAPTAIN DJ by Jay AilworthI think the captain may be going nuts,Actually there are no ifs ands or buts.During the morning radio call I heard him go Jekyll and Hyde,He went all crazy on the SSB uper side.After taking a position from the good ship Ghost,Suddenly he started talking like an A.M. radio game show host.Spouting some nonsense about reporting in rhyme,I fear a straight jacket is merely a matter of time.I am pretty sure I know what put him in this zone,There are bees in his bonnet from the constant diesel drone.I wish I could put his mind at ease,Saying it is okay, like hearing a gentle diesel breeze.Wow!I think he's just blown the final fuse,He keeps mumbling some ditty about the "No Wind Blues".Da Da Da Dunh!Until next time...Charlie, Cathy & Jay. read more...


20/01/2015

Aretha - Day 3. 12 19 North. 67 18 West

> > It’s 00:30. I’m on watch alone. It’s peaceful and quiet. We are running 6 lots of 2 hour watches during the night from 8pm to 8am so each person does 4 hours on and 8 hours off. It seems to be working well and we are well rested.> > Highlights from the last 24 hours:> > 1) The biggest Tuna landed so far on board Aretha. We weighed it at 11 lbs. It took a good half hour to bring it in with the boat slowed right now to 1 knot. That’s the next 2 days lunch taken care of at least.> > 2) Nichola and Caroline doing a full mornings school yesterday with Bluebell and Columbus. It’s not without back to school groans but we are getting there.> > 3) The breeze has filled in some more and we have a steady 12-15 knots and are making 7-8 knots boat speed towards the. read more...


20/01/2015

Aretha - Caribbean Sea. Day 2. 12 12 North, 64 43 West

> Flat seas. Consistent breeze. Good speed. Happy well fed crew.> > Think that sums things up so far today. Apart from the boat niggles that is.> > Currently about 22 miles North of the Island of La Blanquilla. The Venezualuan coast runs all the way along beneath that. We’re about 150 miles away from Caracas. The coastline looks inviting and the diving and swimming around the Islands is meant to be brilliant. That said it’s off our route for 2 reasons. One, we need to get a wiggle on to make our Panama crossing and secondly its not meant to be that safe (with the exception of certain islands like Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao) so we’re giving it a wide berth.> > We continue to settle into boat life. Today was the first day of the Values prizes for behaviour that fits. read more...



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