Helen - Start day - 13
Yesterday we had an excellent lunch at the marina bar, using up the loyalty points gained through many dedicated hours of hard work in the summer. By 3 o'clock we had checked out of the marina and headed out to sea.For me there is only one piece of music to play when heading out to sea from a Portuguese port. It's the theme tune from the film 1492, "Conquest of Paradise" by Vangelis. Stirring music and you entertain any locals who are watching your departure!Once out to sea we went to put the sails up only to encounter our first small challenge. The top sail batten had somehow got a 180 degree twist in it which meant that the sail would not unfurl. An hour or so later we had the main down, removed the offending batten, put the sail back up again and then the wind died. It's a boat!Once. read more...
Helen - Ed's last day on Yacht Helen
We have 130 miles to go, so we will be over the finish line in the morning. That's where I get off and seek a boat for my next adventure.The fishermen on board our boat are strange. It took two of them two weeks to catch three fish, two of which we could not eat.This morning I was sitting on the deck when three flying fish landed near me for my breakfast. Why are the humans so slow when fast food is so readily available?This year's ARC+ has had less wind than usual which means using fuel to power the engine on the quiet days.It's over 2,500 miles from the Canaries to St Lucia with only one fuel station on the way. It is the two pumps at the end of the pontoon in the marina at Mindelo. The lads on the pumps were incredibly helpful and some street kids guarded the entrance.My theory is. read more...
Helen - Last Blog but one
We have sailed for all of the last 24 hours and now have only 290 miles to go. Thursday morning across the finish line still looks good.One of the much debated aspects of ocean crossing is how to manage the watch system. We are a boat of five humans and an Iguana, the responsibilities have been allocated:1 crew member has had the mother watch, in charge of everything in the galley, with the opportunity of a full night's sleep. I have joined the captain on each of his watches so there have been 4 watch leaders. The watches have been of 3 hours duration and rotated: A,B,C,D,A,B,C..............In addition we have what is known as the dog watch between 6 and 9 at night when we get together for dinner. These are only 1.5 hour watches and then you pass the watch to the next person.The. read more...
Helen - Ed's next journey
We have less than 450 miles to go and the captain is confident that we will cross thefinish line on Thursday morning. The wind has arrived at last and we are having a fantastic sail.I will be leaving Yacht Helen in St Lucia and I will be looking for a berth to take me to the Galapagos. I don't know what route we will take but it will include a passage through the Panama Canal. I am looking forward to that.I hope that we are able to stop at Guadalupe for a couple of reasons. Firstly there is a large colony of Iguanas on the island of La Desirade and it will be good to catch up with some close relatives.I also hope to go to the island of St Marie near Guadalupe. I have a cousin there. His name is Henry and he is a lizard who lives with a nice English policeman by the beach.The captain says. read more...
Helen - Ed on board Helen
We have 590 miles to go which should take us about 3.5 days. The weather forecast is suggesting stronger winds so we may have some good sailing, but not yet, we are still motoring!Last night I was chatting with the captain as to why sailors sail in the 21st century?Firstly it is the sense of the achievement, beating the elements, living the dream or ticking a box on the bucket list. But it means morewith different aspects for different sailors.For some it's the thrill of the chase, getting to the next port ahead of the competition and squeezing every last drop of boat speed from the wind. Today's racing sailors know this well, as did the ships of old like the Cutty Sark or the Whalers.For me and my 18 Atlantic crossings it's been about meeting new people, particularly the children on the. read more...