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15/06/2019

Girolle - Day 13 & 14 Porto & beyond

Before I start, I must mention Mike Higginson... Mike, if you are still reading my ramblings, ARC Sarah who does the technical wizardry stuff posting these blogs, showed me your FB comment yesterday. Glad you are enjoying the ramblings, honoured to be known as ‘Soupy Sue’ (I have been called far worse)!Back to the matter in hand. Yesterday, we travelled to Porto where we went on a tuk tuk tour of the beautiful city. It was my third visit to the city and I never tire of its beauty or friendly atmosphere. We were fortunate to have been allocated a young man called Manuel, seemingly the friendliest tuk tuk driver on the planet. So uplifting to come across someone with such zest for life, so smiley and cheerful. His enthusiasm was infectious and being Porto born and bred he seemed to know. read more...


Girolle - Day 13 & 14 Porto & beyond
Girolle - Day 13 & 14 Porto & beyond
15/06/2019

Oyster Blew - Goodbye

Goodbye to you all. I am sorry to be missing the prize giving but would like to say what a wonderful bunch of fellow travellers I have met on the ARC Europe 2019. Special thanks go to the yellow shirts. Love HenrySent from my iPad. read more...


14/06/2019

Casik III - ARC PORTUGAL - Casik III Log - Let the fun begin!

The idea of participating in an Arc Rally has, for a long time, been one of our sailing goals. We have followed other boats adventures, rally experiences, ocean passages, always dreaming that one day, it would be us.Last year we decided to, finally, enter the rally. It was time! We were going to do ARC Portugal 2018!So we got everything ready, but unexpectedly only a few weeks prior to our departure, in late May 2018, Miguel had to be submitted to a hart aneurisma surgery. One of the most vivid memories of this period was being told by the doctor that sailing was completely out of the question for us that year. So we had to postpone our trip one year, starting the counting backwards of the months once again and keeping great faith that in 2019 nothing would stop us!Everything went. read more...


14/06/2019

Charm - Tonga 11

.We had a beautiful afternoon today after a couple of days of off-again, on-again, rainy weather.Joe figured out a way to attach a hose to the little hoses that drain water off our bimini so now we can route the rainwater right into our tanks instead of me collecting it in pots and pans. The photos are of Cobin on coral-spotting duty, some mermaids we spotted in the water, and a sailor’s worst nightmare.Zero knots of wind, on the nose.Thankfully we were at anchor when I took the photo. Cobin was spotting for coral because this area is uncharted and there are often large coral heads (called bommies) which, depending on their size, can change the depth from a reasonable 12 feet to less than one foot.We got high-centered on one of these bommies on our dinghy at night when we did the Tahiti. read more...


Charm - Tonga 11
Charm - Tonga 11
Charm - Tonga 11
Charm - Tonga 11
Charm - Tonga 11
Charm - Tonga 11
13/06/2019

Girolle - Day 12 - Guimaraes and peaches

Good evening from Povoa de Varzim.We arrived here around 6pm yesterday.After a beautiful sail down from Bayona, getting into the marina was a slightly nerve wracking experience... a relatively short run past the breakwater with barely time to get the headsail down before turning the corner and onto the pontoon. Lines, we need lines out... depth was getting shallow and we had a narrow channel to steer, a strong wind was blowing us towards the pontoon... after a few minutes of frantic activity we were safely moored up, Girolle thankfully unscathed.Wegave her a little reassurance pat and breathed a sigh of relief as the marina procedure had been trickier than what we’ve so far been used to.In the evening all the crews were treated to a hearty meal in the marina club house. Towards the end. read more...


Girolle - Day 12 - Guimaraes and peaches
Girolle - Day 12 - Guimaraes and peaches
13/06/2019

Zafiro - Flight of Time in close formation

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13/06/2019

Zafiro - Log 5 - The sun is now getting warmer

I write this while under sail on our next leg down the coast from Bayona to Povao. The sun is out and we are somewhere mid fleet heading south. For the last two hours we have been sailingin close formation with Flight of Time. The two yachts would not separate.  There was a great moment a few minutes ago when two much larger grey dolphins joined us for 10 minutes to play in the bow wave before racing off again. The start today was a very low key affair with little or no wind and most drifted across the start line. Steve from Fair Isle took the opportunity to reassess his eta delayingit by 12 hours before crossing the line to try and win the coveted most accurate arrival time. Instant disqualification I hope. I don’t think Mr Bishop CEO ARC was best pleased with the flippant RT.. read more...


12/06/2019

Tintin - In Vava'u

We're currently on a mooring buoy in a small anchorage off a dessertedislet in the Vava'u group of islands.The weather is grey, damp andrelatively cool and we're having a very quiet morning hoping that theweather will clear so that we get good visibility for snorkelling anddiving this afternoon.After our arrival in Tonga, we had a happy evening meeting up with mostof the WARC fleet.Some of them we hadn't seen since Tahiti, so it wasgood to chat and share a beer or 2.On Tuesday, we left the town ofNaifu and went to an anchorage called Port Maurelle - no visiblesigns of habitation ashore, but quite a few non-WARC boats.Generalising hugely, I think that Pacific islands east of here aregenerally visited by yachts heading west across the Pacific whereasTonga and islands eastwards are often. read more...


Tintin - In Vava'u
Tintin - In Vava'u
Tintin - In Vava'u
Tintin - In Vava'u
12/06/2019

Girolle - Day 11 - Bayona to Povoa de Varzim

Greetings from Portuguese waters! After a break of 3 days we are back on the ocean waves. The sea is a lot calmer than what we’ve been used to experiencing over the past 10 days. The sun is shining and we’ve got the spinnaker up. This is the first time since leaving Plymouth that we’ve been able to use the spinnaker. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet managed to fully get to grips with the top down furling system which is most likely due to crew incompetence as opposed to technical issues with the equipment. Every day’s a school day aboard Girolle!Now the boat is sailing at a more comfortable level (i.e. not heeled over) we’vedared to put soup back on the menu. Thankfully no soup incident this time.Now that the music situation is fixed, Dave may have stopped singing but is subjecting Andy and. read more...


Girolle - Day 11 - Bayona to Povoa de Varzim
Girolle - Day 11 - Bayona to Povoa de Varzim
Charm - Tonga 11 - cave day
Charm - Tonga 11 - cave day
Charm - Tonga 11 - cave day
Charm - Tonga 11 - cave day
Charm - Tonga 11 - cave day
Charm - Tonga 11 - cave day
Girolle - Photo - Storm clouds and rainbow over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Photo - Storm clouds and rainbow over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Photo - Sunrise over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Photo - Sunrise over the Bay of Biscay
Girolle - Lyonie and her crew in A Coruna
Girolle - Lyonie and her crew in A Coruna
Girolle - Photo - Holger & Simone’s arrival in Bayona
Girolle - Photo - Holger & Simone’s arrival in Bayona
11/06/2019

Girolle - Days 9 & 10 Santiago

Good afternoon! Pretty windy in Bayona today, though the sun is shining, which apparently cannot be said for soggy Britain. Yesterday Dave and I joined the majority of our fellow ARC Portugal sailors on a coach trip to Santiago de Compostella, destination for several million pilgrims each year who travel the Camino de Santiago, the Saint James pilgrimage route.The purported remains of Saint James are housed in the cathedral. A very knowledgeable local guide took us on a 2 hour tour of the cathedral area, including the square which was packed with scores of pilgrims nursing sore feet, as well as many who had journeyed there on mountain bikes. To complete the pilgrimage on foot takes around 30 days, each day pilgrims collect stamps in a special passport. Just in case you are considering. read more...


Girolle - Days 9 & 10 Santiago
Girolle - Days 9 & 10 Santiago
11/06/2019

Charm - Tonga 10

The big story in Tonga at the moment is the weather.Since about 2 pm today, it has been raining more or less steadily, with gaps for heavy downpours or brief periods of dryness, lasting about 15 minutes each.We are rafted (tied up with) Nikitoo, a fabulous Oyster (brand of boat) whose owners are Hugh, Scottish and Mariana, Bulgarian, with crew from the UK, Spain, and Brazil.When the bay ran out of mooring buoys due to a large number of boats, they kindly invited us to raft with them.This means that they are tied to the mooring buoy and we are tied to them.Mooring buoys are some heavy item that is sunk to the bottom, with a rope tied to it and a buoy with a loop to attach to tied to the top.Some places have heavier things at the bottom than others.We rafted with them yesterday and this. read more...


Charm - Tonga 10
Charm - Tonga 10
Charm - Tonga 10
Charm - Tonga 10
Charm - Tonga 10
Charm - Tonga 10
10/06/2019

Hawkeye - Two ARC boats meet in San Remo

Today Alexandra and I met up with ARC 2019 entry Alessandro Greco on his lovely Beneteau Oceanis 523 “Regina del Mare” which, like Hawkeye, is also berthed here at Portosole in San Remo, Italy.Richard AlessandroAlexandra - and Regina del Mare. read more...


Hawkeye - Two ARC boats meet in San Remo
Hawkeye - Two ARC boats meet in San Remo
09/06/2019

Tintin - Tintin’s arrival in Tonga

Nicki here from Neiafu, the port of entry into Tonga’s Vava’u group of islands. We are currently sitting at anchor opposite the wharf waiting for our turn to go alongside and receive the Tongan immigration officials for clearance into the Kingdom of Tonga - unfortunately there is a long queue as many of the World ARC boats have recently arrived; sometimes travelling with so many boats on the rally has disadvantages.We had a good sail from Nuie ~ 250 nautical miles pretty much along the rhumbline with a decent sailing breeze most of the way, largely forward of the beam so we used plain sails rather than our downwind sails. After a glorious starry night departing Nuie we had mainly cloudy skies thereafter - with occasional torrential downpours (notably usually when I was on watch!)On. read more...


Tintin - Tintin’s arrival in Tonga
Tintin - Tintin’s arrival in Tonga
Tintin - Tintin’s arrival in Tonga
Tintin - Tintin’s arrival in Tonga
09/06/2019

Girolle - Day 7 & 8 - Arrival in Bayona, R&R time

Second ‘Hoorah, we’ve made it’; this time to our official stop off in Bayona.You may be tiring of dolphins by now but I feel I should mention the most amazing experience we had during the early hours of Saturday. As I stumbled bleary eyed into the cockpit for my watch at 3am, Dave beckoned me over with excitement and said “look over here, look for the white streaks in the water” Initially I saw nothing and couldn’t work out what I should be looking for. Then suddenly, what looked like a white streak of paint appeared beside the boat... the dolphins were back!Sometimes four streaks would appear at once, all merging towards each other. Looking behind the boat I could see several white streaks approaching. The water was reasonably translucent and occasionally I could make out the shape of a. read more...


Girolle - Day 7 & 8 - Arrival in Bayona, R&R time
Girolle - Day 7 & 8 - Arrival in Bayona, R&R time
Zafiro - At last....Bayona
Zafiro - At last....Bayona
09/06/2019

Zafiro - Log 4 - “I wasn’t expecting that” - Biscay Crossing

The start of the Rally was a great occasion and lots of fun to be part of as all of the yachts assembled before the start line off Plymouth Hoe. The start looked to go well and a lot of yachts achievedthe line as the signal flag dropped. Once out of Plymouth Sound the weather quickly turned sour as we all tried to make to the west. Winds were not favourable to make it around the shipping lanes at Ushant and Zafirolost a lot of headway during the night with very slow forward progress against the swell and tides. On our boat we all suffered some early sea sickness which hit as soon as we went below. The only solution was to sit up top or lie horizontally in the cabin..!! The gourmet food idea of sitting on deck in the sun soon went out of the window and the reality was water and Digestive. read more...


08/06/2019

Tintin - Over the date line

En route to Tonga we will cross the date line, even though wehaven't reached 180 degrees west yet. Tonga has chosen to liewest of the date line so there is a bit of a kink in the line toaccommodate this!So at midnight tonight we will be fast forwarding from Friday June 7thto Sunday June 9th, with no mention of Saturday 8th of June in our logbook.Tintin is romping along through the seas, well behaved in the gustywinds with a reef in the main and the wind just forward of the beam. It has been a great day. This afternoon Rob spotted a whale ahead, andwe saw a humpback whale breaching the sea three times, about half amile off. The whale came up vertically out of the water to its fulllength, then crashed back with a huge splash. Sorry no photo!We have been treated to a spectacular sunset so. read more...


Tintin - Over the date line
Tintin - Over the date line
08/06/2019

Sweet Dream - Day 144 June 7, 2019

Today we let go the mooring at “Bora Bora yacht club”, and braved the twisty, shallow, scary channel around the top of the island down to the absolutely gorgeous south east corner mooring field. Here we picked up aball, finished some chores, packed a lunch, and enjoyed a lovely paddle in our kayaks to a beach that was not marked tabu! We had a nice picnic lunch of very rare to find in French Polynesia ripe red tomatoes on a common baguette . We had fun watching the ants scurry for crumbs....simple things for simple minds, stalked a small ray in the shallows, and gave up our adventure when the hungry looking dogs arrived. It was unnerving the way one of them swam right out to the kayak! Happily we escaped with all skin intact and had a nice downwind paddle back to the boat. In the late. read more...


Sweet Dream - Day 144 June 7, 2019
Sweet Dream - Day 144 June 7, 2019
07/06/2019

Sweet Dream - Day 141 June 4, 2019

After a very peaceful night on the mooring in Faaroa bay, Raitea, we let go the ball and motored through the lagoon shared by Raitea and Ta’ah. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the two hour journey with gorgeous scenery was very pleasant. The channel is deep and wide, with no hazards. We picked up a mooring ball in the south west corner of Ta’ah, off a place called “marina “ iti. No marina in sight, just a few bungalows on shore and a nice beach out front. It was a sweet spot just west of point Toamora. In the middle of the bay is a very pretty motu, Toapui, we kayaked all around it, and Lars snorkelled some. We wanted to land on the white sand beach, but unfortunately, it had signs saying,”tabu motu, prive.” This was the first place in French Polynesia we encountered an “ unwelcome”.. read more...


Sweet Dream - Day 141 June 4, 2019
Sweet Dream - Day 141 June 4, 2019
07/06/2019

Girolle - Day 6 - Update

Late afternoon, I was up on deck and drifted off into my thoughts, one of those moments where I found myself contemplating the magnitude of sailing across the Bay of Biscay in a small boat. We were being thrown around by some big waves which reinforced how tiny and insignificant we are out in the ocean. Suddenly, 4 dolphins leapt out of the water in front of my field of view, as if to reassure me we were not alone in the vastness of the seas. Dave was helming and we were treated to a magnificent display of dolphins alongside us for a good 20 minutes, probably longer. 4 quickly became 8, we watched more leaping towards the boat from quite a distance. They seemed to routinely come and join us on and off until dusk, whether the same ones or lots of different ones we’ll never know. This has. read more...


Girolle - Day 6 - Update
Girolle - Day 6 - Update
07/06/2019

Girolle - Day 6 - back on the high seas

After over 24 hours of sheltering from Storm Miguel in La Coruna we are back sailing on course for Bayona. We are heading right into 15-17 knots of wind, the wind direction should be more favourable once we start turning the corner of northern Spain and head South down to Bayona. The sea is pretty lumpy today and we are riding some impressive waves. Dave has been trying to stave off sea sickness and is feeling rather queasy.The storm battered La Coruna all afternoon yesterday and well into the night with gale force winds, torrential rain and thunder. We barely ventured from the boat so didn’t even get to sample anything of the locality. Before we left today we had a quick chat to our friends on Lyonie, they were looking considerably more refreshed than when we saw them yesterday. We also. read more...


Girolle - Day 6 - back on the high seas
Girolle - Day 6 - back on the high seas
06/06/2019

Sweet Dream - Day 141 June 4, 2019

After a very peaceful night on the mooring in Faaroa bay, Raitea, we let go the ball and motored through the lagoon shared by Raitea and Ta’ah. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the two hour journey with gorgeous scenery was very pleasant. The channel is deep and wide, with no hazards. We picked up a mooring ball in the south west corner of Ta’ah, off a place called “marina “ iti. No marina in sight, just a few bungalows on shore and a nice beach out front. It was a sweet spot just west of point Toamora. In the middle of the bay is a very pretty motu, Toapui, we kayaked all around it, and Lars snorkelled some. We wanted to land on the white sand beach, but unfortunately, it had signs saying,”tabu motu, prive.” This was the first place in French Polynesia we encountered an “ unwelcome”.. read more...



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