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19/01/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 9 - Memories of Leg 1

Celebrate is quietly at anchor at Lemon Cay, a beautiful anchorage surrounded by small islands and reefs. Near the entrance a sailboat clearly came to its end on one of the reefs, a reminder that good navigation and careful piloting is essential in the San Blas. We have done a bit of snorkeling, and are working through the list of repairs and maintenance items.During Sunday pancake breakfast this morning, we were thinking about our 1100 mile passage from Saint Lucia, everyone remembering those unique things that made the trip memorable for each of us. Here are a few:We remember friends sending us off at Saint Lucia, each bringing a bag of fresh vegetables or fruit. How thoughtful!An exciting start to the leg, with a cannon being fired by the Saint Lucia Coast Guard.The while trimming the. read more...


19/01/2014

Flomaida II - 19.1. im Paradies

So ist es! Aller Stress und Hektik vor dem Start unddie anstrengende,rauhe Überquerung des Karibischen Meeres sind vergessen, denn wir sind imParadies gelandet. Es ist so traumhaft schön und noch so ursprünglich, dassich gar nicht weiß,welche Bilder ich für die Galerie aussuchen soll.San Blasbesteht aus 378 Inseln, von denen nur 49 bewohnt sind von den Kuna Indianern,die eine unabhängige Provinz von Panama sind und Sprache,Kultur,Wirtschaftssystem und Identität erhalten haben. Wirliegen vor einer kleinen Insel der Hollandaise Islands hinter einemsicheren Riff.Auf "unserer" Insel (3000m²) leben zwei Kuna IndianerFamilien mit vielen Kindern,sie sticken und fertigen aus Muscheln Kettenund Armbänder an. Die Männer gehen zum Fischen und bieten sie uns zum Kauf-2 Lobster (10$US) gibt es heute. read more...


Flomaida II - 19.1. im Paradies
Flomaida II - 19.1. im Paradies
18/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 13; We Made It to Isla Porvenir; January 17, 2014

For the first day in many, the wind had some north in it, making our final run for the finish line easier to handle. That being said, we finally hit a current that was completely opposite of what we've been dealing with. Instead of being on our nose, or from east to west, at an average of 2 knots for the last week; the current turned and went from west from east at 3 knots. How it does that is amazing, as the trade winds are driving the wind and waves from east to west at 20 to 25 knots. To put that in perspective, at 100 miles from our destination and at a speed over the ground of 7 knots, if we didn't account for this 3 knot current pushing us east, we would end up approximately 42 miles east of our destination. You have to use math to deal with currents, or program the auto pilot to. read more...


18/01/2014

Sweet Pearl - St.Lucia --> San Blas - Tag 8 - Relaxen

Eigentlich hatten wir gehofft heute in San Blas anzukommen - das würden wir auch schaffen, allerdings erst kurz nach Sonnenuntergang. Da wir den Untiefen und Riffs bei Nacht nicht trauen, haben wir jetzt das Tempo gedrosselt und dümpeln langsam zu den paradiesischen Inseln. Hundert Meter vor uns ein amerikanischer Katamaran und rund um uns noch 2 weitere Segelschiffe auf dem Weg nach San Blas, die sich allerdings noch nicht entschieden haben, ob sie den Landfall auch bei Nacht wagen sollen. Bei uns ist die Entscheidung gefallen und wir vertreiben die Zeit mit Aufräumen, Musik hören, Lesen und Bier trinken. Das Leben könnte unangenehmer sein;-).Morgen früh bei Sonnenaufgang gehts dann nach der Ziellinienüberquerung gleich zu den Coco Banderos, anscheinend eine der schönsten unbewohnten. read more...


18/01/2014

Starblazer - Starblazer 18/01/2014 – The last frustrating day and a bit!

From midday Thursday, when we had 200 miles left to run, the wind dropped and we lost the helpful current.All of a sudden the anticipated daylight arrival became an impossible dream!They say it’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive, but I disagree.We were hopeful but the arrival was more than welcome even if somewhat later than hoped.Friday’s noon run was 162.4 miles through the water, stunning given the weaker wind, but sadly only 131 miles towards the waypoint as the current effectively carried us 31 miles backwards.Four years ago we would have been more than satisfied with that total but we have come to expect more.We had another sailplan change forced upon us, during the night of course, when a very expensive snatch block managed to twist enough to pop the pin. In fact it was. read more...


18/01/2014

Flomaida II - geschafft!13:58 Uhr local time ankern in San Blas

Als der Anker fällt hinter einem Riff vor unglaublich schönen Inselchen,ist die letzte Woche schon fast vergessen! Silvio und Vittorio von "FestinaLente" kamen gleich zur Begrüßung im Dinghi angetuckert.Wir haben ja eineFlasche Schampus verloren, da sie vor uns ankamen- die Beiden warenwirklich sehr schnell, hatten wohl die ganze Zeit Passatsegel an 2 Bäumenoben. Bei der elenden Schaukelei und dem starken Wind konnten wir wederParasailor noch Genacker fahren. Aber auch sie waren froh. endlichangekommen zu sein. Erst wurde natürlich die "Flomaida" geduscht und von Salz und Schuppenrestenfliegender Fische befreit, dann waren wir dran. Ihr glaubt gar nicht, wieman eine Dusche genießen kann, bei der man sich nicht verkeilen muss undschnell wieder raus muss, damit die Seekrankheit nicht. read more...


Flomaida II - geschafft!13:58 Uhr local time ankern in San Blas
Flomaida II - geschafft!13:58 Uhr local time ankern in  San Blas
18/01/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 8 - In Porvenir

We made it! Celebrate and her happy crew of Charlie, Cathy and Andy crossed the finish line of World ARC Leg 1 yesterday at 3pm local time, after 6 days 2 hours at sea. Charlie used his experience of the area and safely guided Celebrate to anchor at the Kuna village of Porvenier shortly before 6pm. The crew enjoyed a long-anticipated martini in the cockpit. ARC participant American Spirit followed us into the anchorage. Celebrate was the 10th boat to complete the passage, and as of this writing (9:30am) a few ARC boats were as much as 80 miles from finishing. What a wonderful experience! Aside from the occasional breakage and reluctant autohelm, all went smoothly onboard. As with any passage, we made note this morning of the things we would like to check, maintain and repair while. read more...


18/01/2014

Firefly - Arrived San Blas Islands

After 7 days of eventful sailing we have arrived in the San Blas islands. This particular passage has been described by previous World ARC participants as a washing machine ride;we know what they mean now! (definitely full cycle). However, this was all forgotten on the last run in to the islands. The wind dropped a little, the sea and swell reduced and we hoisted our spinnaker (gennaker) for a fantastic run and surf in close company with fellow participants Tim and Clare on Ghost, their XC45.Only after crossing our finish line offshore did we have sight of the East Holandes Islands, first we saw clusters of palm trees a few miles off, then waves breaking on the coral reef and finally we saw the masts of other yachts tucked in behind the reef. We had to steer around some reefs and islands. read more...


Flomaida II - 16./17. die Nacht der Nächte!
Flomaida II - 16./17. die Nacht der Nächte!
Hebe - Day 7 San Blas landfall
Hebe - Day 7 San Blas landfall
17/01/2014

Hebe - Day 7 San Blas landfall

09'35'40N78'40'50WFriday 17th January After a very fast passage we were the second boat into the San Blas Islands arriving by moonlight creeping into the first bay at 4am alongside Alpharatz who arrived just ahead of us. Fell into a dreamless sleep in a cool boat anchored into wind rocking gently with all the hatches open and the breeze blowing through at last. One of the downsides of downwind sailing is the wind doesn't come into the boat and the sun cooks down on it and you get terribly hot when trying to sleep. When we woke up we were in paradise, surrounded by little islands of coconut palm trees, bobbing about in calm turquoise water and the roar of the waves out on the reef.Kuna Indian children playing on the waters edge and very soon visited by Kuna's in their dug out canoe with. read more...


17/01/2014

Nexus - Nexus crossed finish of Leg 1 of World ARC 2014 Rally

NEXUS crossed the finish line at San Blas, Panama at 12:19pm St Lucia time!Nearby yachts; Nexus was 4.5 miles behind NDS Darwin, and 9 miles ahead of Festina Lente, 13 miles ahead of Celebrate.San Blas Islands are postcards of paradise! More later.... Nexus at 13:55pm. safely anchored at "Swimming Pool" in the Holendaise Cays in San Blas Islands, Panama at 09 35'N, 78 40'WRuss. read more...


17/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 12; Almost There!; 2 Huge Current Anomolies; Thursday, January 16, 2014

For the second time during our trip a Petrel tried to land on top of our mast. Though we would like to accommodate any and all birds that want to hitch a ride with us to Panama, landing on top of the mast with our VHF antenna, TV antenna, wind direction and wind speed instruments would be a problem. It would be a costly touch down, as one or more pieces of equipment would be broken. Fortunately, this bird only tried to land twice. A few days ago, we had one make half a dozen passes at the mast top, some as close as inches, before giving up. This is probably the only good thing about a bouncy sail boat - a bird preventer.Had a little excitement today as our navigation system, a Ray Marine E-80 Chart plotter, lost its position. You get an alarm and the screen says "Position Lost." Not the. read more...


17/01/2014

Starblazer - Starblazer 17/01/2014 – What a difference a day makes.

During Thursday we had almost everything except rain!The overnight watches were not pleasant with winds in the 22-25 knot range with gusts up to 30, which is nearly gale force.We were well reefed and the winds were not a problem but the accompanying seas were evil.The seas and swell came from different directions and rolled the boat alarmingly at times.One unexpected roll threw me off the seat at the nav station, dumping me on the floor between the engine room and a cupboard.The laptop also went flying but, thankfully, still works.The winds abated and backed during the morning but the seas remained very confused.We shook the reefs out of the genoa to increase boat speed and slowly altered course, following the wind, away from our destination!By late afternoon we decided we had to change. read more...


16/01/2014

Nexus - Small Spinny back! Wind dropping, waves aren't!

After some intensive repair by the entire crew, spreading the sail, balls and lines across the cockpit and salon, our small cruising chute is back up as are our spirits! Hoossaahh! True wind at 20kts and dropping slowly, it looks like we're all going to coast into that umbrella drink at the finish tomorrow just as we run out of wind!Russon Nexus at 1/16/2014 16:3110 42'N 76 41'W. read more...


17/01/2014

Hebe - Day 6 Nearly there.

10'05'93N77'52'67WThursday 16th JanuaryLast night was AWESOME. Full moon, clear sky and the foaming seas white and luminous. The seas were the biggest and wind strongest yet and we just barrelled along at one point hitting 17.5 knots.We sat in the cockpit on our watch mesmerised by the silvery sea and following waves and then the huge wooooosh when the boat is lifted forward on the surf. I am especially happy to be describing this scene in the past tense as this evening finds Hebe 50 miles from her destination, the San Blas islands, in calmer waters, gentler breeze and the small asymmetric spinnaker flying carrying us to the end and those beers.There is an unexpected current against us caused by localised land effects which is annoyingly slowing us down as we all want to get there.There. read more...


16/01/2014

Starblazer 16/01/14 – A close shave and a rude awakening

Don’t worry, the close shave was quite benign. Soon after midnight Wednesday I felt a splash on my face and heard a slap, most likely I had company in the cockpit! I searched around but didn’t find the culprit then I heard a slapping sound from below. A flying fish had landed right beside the saloon berth where John was sleeping. I removed it and threw it back from whence it came. It could easily have hit me or, better still (let’s see if the captain edits this), in the bunk with John.We made rapid progress all night, passing our waypoint just before 0300, but we continued on the same track because to alter course meant changing the sail plan. The midnight UT fleet positions put us 15th in the fleet which left St Lucia, our best position yet. We just kept charging onwards, in the wrong. read more...


BriZo - Arrival Porvenir San Blas 10th Jan
BriZo - Arrival Porvenir San Blas 10th Jan
17/01/2014

BriZo - San Blas archipelago, Panama – Friday 10th Jan 2014

Had to slow the boatdown over the last 12 hours to ensure we arrived with good visibility into thereef strewn San Blas Islands. Anchored safely at Porvenir, which is a tiny sandstrip with coconut palms, and the Customs / Immigration clearance house, andthat’s about it -  Oh Yes, and avery short airport strip which is the length of the island.During thepassage from St Lucia our log showed 1111 nautical miles in 5 days 17 hours, soaveraging approx. 200nm per day in the first 4 days, whilst skirting the coastlines of Venezuela, Columbia and Panama. This was a surprisingly windy passagealthough renowned to be so, and so it proved to be - with 12 of the last 24hours in Gale Force 8 gusting 40 knots at times and very high, confused seas.As we were running with the wind and waves behind. read more...


16/01/2014

Sweet Pearl - St.Lucia --> San Blas - Tag 6 - Tag der Rekorde

Eigentlich ist nicht heute der Tag der Rekorde gewesen, sondern gestern. Zu aller erst haben wir kurz nach Mitternacht Bergfest gefeiert - wobei die Feier war eher im kleinen Kreis - zwei von drei Leuten haben sie sogar verschlafen. Weiter haben wir auf einer eiligen Welle gestern einen neuen Geschwindigkeitsrekord hingelegt: 15.2 Knoten...das stellt den alten Surfrekord von 14.1 Knoten auf dem Atlantik damit in den Schatten. Und das bringt uns zum dritten und letzten Rekord: gestern haben wir 173 Seemeilen (ungefähr 320 Kilometer) zurückgelegt, soviel wie noch nie und man muss noch hinzufügen dass davon sogar alle 173 aufs Ziel waren (so ne Quote haben wir nämlich auch nicht alle Tage;-)).Bei all diesen Rekorden ist es dann auch nicht verwunderlich dass es uns allen sehr gut geht - das. read more...


16/01/2014

Flomaida II - 16./17. die Nacht der Nächte!

Ja, das war sie,und ich hoffe sehr, dass es die einzige bleiben wird oderich unempfindlicher werde!Durch die guten Oropax hatte ich absolut nix mitbekommen und kam aus süßen Träumen, als Christoph mich netterweise erst gegen 3:30 Uhr weckte.Nicht vorbereitetschaute ich ins Cockpit und nach hinten und wurde total geschockt von einer "riesenhaft"(4-5 m) hohen schwarzen Welle, außerdem sah es runherum aus wie mit demStabmixer aufgemischt: Gischt und Wellendurcheinander. Wir hatten gut 40 kn Wind wie immer von achtern, und der arme Christoph musste wenigstens physisch mit mirzusammen Wache schieben, konnte jedoch gar nicht schlafen, wegen Sturzgefahr von der Bank. Ich hatte total die Panik!Nicht weil ich Angst hatte, dass wir kenternkönnten oder......, sondern einfach, weil es so unheimlich. read more...


16/01/2014

Firefly - Wind, waves and a new top speed

As forecast the wind and wave heights increased substantially as we sailed close to the Colombian coast. This was challenging for us all but Firefly coped splendidly. In the 2000 log we recorded a new top speed of 15.7 knots. Then in the early part of the morning we had wind speeds up to 43 knots and were reduced down to just the main with 2 reefs - a huge wave took hold of Firefly and another new record of 18.5 knots was set. The boat felt reasonably stable at this speed, not a great deal of vibration (as one would have expected) but was creating a lot of spray on either side of the hullThe wind has now dropped and we are experiencing a counter current (the first since Europe) so our progress has slowed but we are still hoping to get into an anchorage within the San Blas islands before. read more...


Hebe - Day 5 Faster and faster
Hebe - Day 5 Faster and faster
16/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 11; Thru the Nicaraguan Sand Banks; Wednesday; January 15, 2014

Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was a long night. The watch schedule was changed so Joel and myself could be on watch together when we passed thru this treacherous Nicaraguan Sand Bank area just before sun rise, which we did at 6:15 AM. Most of the time the watches are manned by just one crew. Areas like this, landfall's, sail changes, etc., require more than one person to safely handle.Breakfast was a challenge today, as the boat was moving around a lot. More than normal. The boat moves left to right and right to left; but also up and down. Even before the 5 eggs made it to the skillet, it was hard to keep the "yoks from running all over the galley!" Once in the skillet, the gimballed stove was dancing too much. The eggs wanted to escape the frying pan. In order to keep them captive, I. read more...


16/01/2014

Nexus - Reflecting on how precious life is, while surfing the Columbia Basin

We're recovering from the alarming belatednews we received yesterday, that last Friday,our son Scott and his friend Chelsea, slid off a Minnesota highway on black ice, rolled their SUV four times, and walked away from a totaled vehicle with only minor bruises. We're reflecting on the grace of God, that they're still with us, and redoubling our thanks to Him, and our determination to live every day appreciating how precious life is. While deep in reflection last night, we were surfing along in moderate 3-4M waves with 30-34kt sustained winds and gusts over 40kt. We are only flying a single reefed head sail, but averaged 9-10Kts through the night with a peak surf of 19.9kts and many in the 16-19kt range. Beautiful moon all night and beautiful sunrise. WInd and seas are expected to ease. read more...


16/01/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 6 - Ode to the Watch Commander

Celebrate is at 11 08N 76 15W, winds NE 15-18. We had a rolly night, with winds behind pushing us down seas of 2-4 meters. When a big wave comes up behind us, we surf down - sometimes as much as 14 knots! With the wind and waves, Celebrate's "Otto" (the autopilot) was having trouble coping, so we reduced sail to genoa only. Our new pole arrangement is working great, keeping the sail from flapping around as the boat rolls. The other challenge with a rolly boat is keeping coffee cups, and people, upright! Sleeping can also be a challenge.Many of the boats in the fleet use a small device called "Watch Commander". The job of Watch Commander is to alert the person on watch every 15 minutes (the timer is adjustable) with a beeping sound. This makes sure the person on watch is awake and reminds. read more...


15/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 11; Heading for the Nicaraguan Sand Shoals; Tuesday, January 14, 2014

For those that don't know, just because a sail boat moves thru the water at, say 8.5 knots as we did much of today; doesn't mean you're Speed Over Ground (SOG) is the same. Usually it's not. And for most of our trip around the world we will have a helping current, i.e., a current with us that helps us get to where we're going. It's not that way crossing the Caribbean Sea from the western tip of Cuba to Panama. We've had a head current against us as much as 2.5 knots, or as little as 1.2 knots. So when the boat is moving thru the water at 8.5 knots, we may only be making 6.0 knots toward our destination. Bummer. We knew this before we got to this point in our voyage as Joel downloaded the US Navy Current Charts from their web site. Where possible, we'll sail to a favorable current if it's. read more...


Hebe - Day 4 Rats and double rats
Hebe - Day 4 Rats and double rats
15/01/2014

Hebe - Day 4 Rats and double rats

12'11'63N074'13'83WAll that excitement with the Parasailor went a bit wrong at 3am ….the wind got up so we got the big girl's skirt down all hands on deck getting our clipped on lines muddled up with the sail's lines and everything being stuffed into the wardrobe.Unfortunately we then saw that the snuffer ring was damaged, like a big fibreglass loo seat, and perhaps tiny shards may tear the sail, and after her first outing too.We can hopefully get another snuffer in Panama.The wind has steadily increased and we headed for our way point off the coast of Colombia.Since then we have been cracking off down the coast with poled out head sails, and getting faster and faster.P1040540.. read more...


15/01/2014

Flomaida II - 15.01.-3 Tage problemlos leider vorbei!!!

Eigentlich hat es mich schon fast gewundert, dass es drei Tage gut ging,ohne dass sich eine erneute Reparatur ankündigt!Es soll schon Segler gegeben haben, die das Segeln aufgegeben haben, weilsie es leid waren, in diversen Marinas "rumzuhängen" und auf Ersatzteile zuwarten jaja, aber wir lassen uns nicht so schnell unterkriegen!Nach allen Reparaturen, die wir hinter uns haben, inklusive der Pumpe fürden wichtigen Kühlschrank noch morgens vor dem Start am 11.1., dachten wireigentlich,dass nun nichts mehr kaputt gehen kann, besonders weil wir fastalles doppelt haben als back-up. Leider weit gefehlt!Nach der Hälfte eines tollen Segeltages vor der Küste Columbiens mit 30 knachterlichem Wind, sodass selbst die 17 Tonnen schwere Flomaida zu surfenanfängt, macht sich schleichend ein äußerst. read more...


15/01/2014

Firefly - Flying with the fish down the Colombian Coast

No fish caught other than a wayward flying fish landing on deck, we also saw another one impressively jump over the boat and under the The water generator is now back on so our attempts at fishing are suspended for a while. Over the last few days we have been accompanied by thousands (no exaggeration) of the flying variety who fly out of the waves as we sail through them, they appear to fly up wind in shoals just above the surface then dive back into the next wave.When not on watch, eating or asleep (our three main activities) we have been reading the pilot guide for the San Blas islands- we are in forunique experience. The islands, a total of 378, many uninhabitedare part of Panama but independently run by the indigenous and deeply proud Kuna Indians, fortunately with minimal. read more...


15/01/2014

Nexus - Great Sailing Day

With 30kts true wind from astern along with rolling waves, what a beautiful sailing morning! We've rounded the corner of Columbia last night and heading diagonally across the Columbian basin toward San Blas Panama. We know we're in the right area as the large ship traffic is picking up around us. Firefly is nearby as is Celebrate, had a nice chat with Kathy on Celebrate at 330am last night. It's great to have a sense of community around you with the World ARC, I think much more enjoyable than going it alone. All is well, rods are back in the water but no bites yet, even though we're sailing under head sail alone, it's a bit fast for trolling. We need bigger fish... Nexus sailing smoothly at 12 35' N 073 12'W, 09:54 1/15/2014Russ. read more...


15/01/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 5 - All Well (Finally!)

Celebrate is having a happy reach after turning the corner off Columbia during the night. Winds have been consistent from the east around 20kts, and seas have been in the 2-3 meter range, except for the big one this morning that spilled the crews' coffee! Finishing the last of the wonderful fresh papaya and pineapple we bought in St. Lucia, and had a great jambalya for dinner yesterday.Our best news is that our first mate Cathy is finally up and around, after suffering from tummy troubles since our departure from St. Lucia. Charlie and Andy are grateful for the extra watch keeper, leaving a little time to complete our log entries and communicate with family and friends via SSB. As we approach Panama, we are seeing a lot more large ships, thankfully very evident on radar and AIS.Sailing. read more...


15/01/2014

Starblazer - Starblazer 15/01/2014 – Halfway there.

Where is halfway?Is it the midpoint of a straight line drawn between the start and finish lines or half the combined distance of start to waypoint to finish or even half the total distance we will sail?The latter is impossible to calculate because we do not sail in a straight line because the wind will often not allow it.We took the second option, ignoring the fact that we had spent one night going in not quite the right direction after the wind shifted, and reached the point of 589 miles to go at 1503. We were thrilled, 3 days, 3 hours, 3 minutes!Can we continue at this speed?A lot depends on the wind but it is important that we arrive in daylight so, when we are a lot closer, we might have to seriously slow down to avoid a night hove-to.We’ll see.Halfway means a celebration dinner,. read more...


15/01/2014

Flomaida II - 15.Januar 02:00 Uhr Punta Galinas/ Columbianische Küste

Nach herrlichen zwei Tagen segeln und viel körperlicher Arbeit, denn wirhaben alle Segel mal ausprobiert (Genacker, Besan Stag und Parasailor), hatmich doch heute wieder die Seekrankheit erwischt! Die 3-4 m hohen Wellenvon achtern mit 25 kn Windbringen das Schiff zum Surfen und zum Rollen.Ich sollte dann halt nicht die Kühltruhe umschichten, in der ich zu langekopfüber steckte, aber ich wollte unbedingt an die Palette Eier, die ganzunten lagerte. Als ich sie dann hatte, musste Christoph den Küchendienstübernehmen und anstatt einer Frittata machte er eine Dose baked beans aufmit 2 Spiegeleiern drüber. Hab mich dann weiter weggesetzt während desEssens! Nach der bewährten Vomex A und viel Schlaf geht es jetzt wiedergut. Vor uns liegen noch ca 400 sm. Der Vollmond erhellt alles und machtdie. read more...


14/01/2014

Hebe - Day 3 There she blows

13'33'62N   068'37'38WHebe is on terrific form loving her new skirt, the Parasailor that we brought out from England in our luggage, thanks to Captain Tim.  The sail is like a parachute with a big envelope in the front to let excess air out, this means you don't have to be trimming all the time.  Rigging it up is seriously complicated and  has a very high faff factor, but once up and we're heading dead downwind she's fantastic and we manage about 8-12 knots. WE think we're ahead of the fleet, well what can you expect with these two young racers on board who have speed in their veins. Still eating the tuna, stir fry last night, James showing his new found culinary skills….stirring.  Then today in sandwiches, delicious.  I am relieved to say the journey so far. read more...


Hebe - Day 3 There she blows
Hebe - Day 3 There she blows
14/01/2014

Firefly - Firefly gone fishing?

On other boats they are boasting of catching 4 feet marlins, and mahi mahi. There has been talk on the radio net about the best coloured lure and whether it has a wiggly eye (whatever that means) We have been slow to take the plunge but feeling slightly inadequate on the hunter gather side,today have joined the club. Paul dusted off the fishing kit purchased with the boat and we cobbled together a line and during a gap in towed power generation (they take up the same area of water) we cast off. No successes yet and no plans for a sushi starter tonight but who knows....We are 50 miles from a way point designed to keep us away from the adverse waves and weather off the Columbian coast. As we approach it the fleet is coming together again. Skyelark of London is just behind and Nexus just. read more...


14/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 10; Clearing Grand Cayman; Monday, January 13, 2014

Mission today was to get by Grand Cayman (to starboard). We did this at 6:15 PM, about 20 miles off the coast. Saw light house light once as we passed, leaving it to starboard (on our right). Next target the Nicaraguan Sand Banks, far east edge. There is a 50 mile 'window' we need to get thru. Once we do that, a right turn and on the way directly, for the first time, to the San Blas Islands. The Hydro Generator, which we put in the water when sailing (versus motoring or motor sailing), has been working great - keeping our boat batteries charged up. Appears to be a small problem involving the lack of a couple of washers, which is causing some noise due to friction when the unit yaws back and forth. Can fix it in Panama. Water Maker sent us an alarm, asking for a filter change. We did so,. read more...


14/01/2014

Sweet Pearl - St.Lucia --> San Blas - Tag 4 - Thunfisch auf dem Tisch

Wir erleben super schöne Segeltage: guter Wind, wenig Regen, viel Sonne und ertragbare Wellen. Das hat uns dann auch verleiht gestern die Angel rauszuwerfen; 3 Stunden später hing ein sicher 8kg schwerer Thunfisch dran. Wannes und ich zogen beide an der Leine um den Dickerchen ins Schiff zu bringen - ein regelrechter Kampf. Abends gabs dann Thunfisch mit Reis bis zum Abwinken und heute wirds Reis mit Thunfisch zum Abwinken geben. Momentan sind wir auf genauem Kurs auf San Blas mit schönen 7 Knoten; wir hoffen dass dies so weitergeht.Wannes, Sandra und ich sind guten Mutes und freuen uns enorm auf San Blas.Ganz liebe Grüsse an alle vor dem PC.Tom. read more...


14/01/2014

Nexus - Asymmetric Experiences

Another good 24hr run for Nexus, but not quite what we had hoped for, however all is well. After a brilliant morning sailing under our small cruising asymetric sail alone, we decided to get some practice furling and unfurling it in moderate winds. We got more experience than we bargained for... our Profurl SPINEX wouldn't grab the top of the sail to begin its top down furling, as we applied more pressure to the halyard and tack the furling spool canted a bit to one side and seems to have cleanly chafed the line around its circumference as we pulled it in, when we released it again the line parted at the base. Fortunately we had another line on the tack which held the sail, but we did look a bit like carnival clowns chasing all of the furling balls around the trampoline before they rolled. read more...


14/01/2014

Starblazer 14/01/2014 – Why do things always happen at night?

First of all, Happy Birthday to our nephew Paul. I remembered without Facebook to remind me! We are currently about 100 miles north of the Dutch islands of Curacao and Bonaire, over 400 miles from St Lucia, making good speed towards our waypoint where we’ll alter course towards the San Blas islands.The early hours of Monday were interesting, feel free to interpret that as you wish! As I have said before, we try to avoid any work on the foredeck during the hours of darkness but sometimes you have no choice. Halfway through my second off watch, at about 0330, John woke me up because he needed to go forward. He didn’t actually need my help but he also doesn’t break rules. At night Rule1 - lifejacket and safety tether hooked on at all times, you hook on before you come up the companionway. read more...


13/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 9; Easting under Cuba; Sunday, January 12, 2014

Great sun rise at around 7:15 AM. A large yellow/orange orb rising out of the sea on the starboard (right) bow. No matter how many sun rises you see, you never tire of the effect it has on you due to its beauty and the fact that it signals that the night watches are now over. The 'big' job today was to figure out how many gallons of diesel we were burning while motor sailing. This is accomplished by filling the main fuel tank with diesel from extra, spare jerry jugs stored on deck. The answer was about what we expected; .579 gallons per hour. With that consumption, we can motor, if we had to, almost 900 miles - about the distance from Panama to the Galapagos. Brian Fox. read more...


13/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 8; Southern Cross; Saturday, January 11, 2014

While coming on watch at 6:00 AM to relieve Darlene, who was on the 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM watch, it was pointed out to her where the Southern Cross was. For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, our polar constellation reference is the Big Dipper and North Star. The Southern Cross fulfills the same function in the southern hemisphere, and is only visible once you get as far south as Cuba. We were so close to the Cuban shoreline you could smell wood burning stoves or brush fires easily. We were about 2 miles north of the reef line. The wind was light at 8 knots, but we had a favorable current helping us along. To our starboard were a set of Traffic Separation Zones, that ships must us in congested waters of the world. Sail boats like ours are prohibited from sailing in such a zone. read more...


13/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 7; Full Speed Ahead to Western Tip of Cuba; Friday, January 10, 2914

Today was one of those days that remind you why you sail. Good wind and weather; and great boat speed. Just after sun rise we saw something seen only once before, a motor vessel listed as "Under Way Sailing" on the boat Automatic Identification System (AIS). It was an oil derrick ship, the Stena Forth. Very cool.Noticed this morning that our port running light fixture had 'left the boat.' Apparently the near gale we were in the other day weakened the fitting and it fell off the boat a couple of days after the blow. Go figure.Brian Fox. read more...


13/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 6; The Big Crab Trap Wrap; Thursday, January 9, 2014

Must have miss-labeled yesterday's log day and date. Oops.The day was spent purchasing and installing 2 new 8D House Batteries for the boat. The 2 AGM's got fried. Not sure how. We replaced them with 8 D Flooded batteries. A new roller furling line which had developed a soon to be fatal problem was replaced, also. Departed Key West at 7:50 PM. At 11:40 PM while motor sailing in light air just south of the Marquesas Islands and 25 miles west of Key West, the prop got the mother of all crab trap wraps! We anchored in 42 feet of water and in went Joel Heyne. Forty-five minutes later, and after breaking one (very expensive) filet knife; dulling 2 other seriated knives; and finally ending with a 6 inch hack saw blade (not the hack saw, just the blade), the prop was freed. The water. read more...


13/01/2014

Firefly - Moonlit night watches

Sailing down wind has been a delight while on deck with clear skies, an almost full moon and a sparkling sea. As a bonus we had some dolphins join us for a while. Down below Paul has had to draw the curtains to keep out the moonlight and its a bit rolly so sleep off watch can be hard to find.The blissful night was disturbed at dawn with a sudden wind and rain squall that pushed the wind up by 25 knots for a short period, the highest wind speed was 45 knots. We have have also been sailing through lots of debris, mostly wood, which we suspect was washed out into sea during the recent storms on land.Our long range radio (SSB) has been working well (the courses Paul and Peter took last year are paying off) and we have been speaking to the rest of the fleet twice a day on a radio net. All the. read more...


13/01/2014

Nexus - Asymmetric Fun with Fish

A beautiful evening, night and morning sail for the crew of NEXUS! We have our smaller 80% asymmetric flying high and given it's higher wind strength, we were able to fly it through the night to make good time. Great sunset and starry night early, followed by building clouds and isolated large showers, but no severe wind gusts, made for interesting sailing. Somehow Sheldon managed to steer between the storms and keep the asymmetric flying at the same time on his watch, I think he's part wizard!We had one strike on the fishing line this morning while we were hosting the radio net, but it got itself offbefore we could set the hook...I like fish that chase 8+kt lures...here fishy fishy...Russ on NEXUS at 13 35N 67 03W. read more...