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Owner Howard & Hope Ratcliffe
Design Hylas 46
Length Overall 14 m 9 cm
Flag United States of America
Sail Number

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Mazu - Day 6 of Leg 3 - In the Shipping Lanes!

The northerlies filled in sooner than expected and gradually built in strength so we have had some great sailing over the past couple of days and have made good speed.I am appreciating more and more the value of the staysail.It is such a tiny sail in comparison with the genoa but since the apparent wind was forward of the beam, even in lighter winds we have been flying it in conjunction with the genoa and have found it has added to our speed.The big advantage of it is that as the wind builds, it keeps the forces low and central to the boat whereas a reefed genoa sets much higher and loses its shape with reefing.Gradually we have reduced sail and overnight, with winds of 20-25 knots and gusts over 30, we were flying the double-reefed mainsail with just the staysail and still averaging 6-7. read more...


Mazu - Day 4 of Leg 3 - Past the Half-way Mark

We have had mixed conditions over the last couple of days.The emphasis has been on maintaining a boat speed of at least 5 knots and keeping a little north of the rhumb line in anticipation of a current sweeping us south as we approach Portugal and northerly winds to fill in.Yesterday we had some periods of great sailing, including about 4 hours of flying the spinnaker, resulting in boat speeds often over 8 knots, and also some periods where there just wasn’t enough apparent wind speed to get us over that 5 knot mark so we resorted to seeking assistance from the engine.We should add that after raising the spinnaker, we received a VHF call from La Capitana nearby who thought we may have been having issues with it.It was true that it didn’t go up like clockwork because we hadn’t flown it. read more...


Mazu - Day 2 of Leg 3 - Fish On!

So, after close to 3000 miles and Mike diligently running the fishing lines out almost every morning, trying different lures, bringing the lines back in before dusk, we have caught our second fish!The only problem was that he was sleeping at the time so Benjy is the one who landed the very handsome big-eyed tuna on deck, getting all the glory with photos to prove it, much to Mike’s chagrin..... you can, I’m sure, imagine the banter.Mike did an excellent job of filleting it without getting any fishy bits into our cabin.So, dinner tonight started with tuna sashimi with wasabi and sesame followed by seared tuna with quinoa, beets and wasabi .... excellent!The beam reaching wind out of Santa Maria lasted until about midnight last night when we finally had to turn on the engine.We are gently. read more...


Mazu - Santa Maria

Our sail from Sao Miguel was very relaxed as we had a down wind sail in winds of around 10-16 knots so, once we had poled out the genoa, we could relax and enjoy the sunshine along the way, occasionally passing another ARC boat, which always feels good.We arrived in the early evening, just enough time to make the uphill trek to the town of Villa Do Porto, take in the view of the harbor and find some refreshment.The airport on this island resulted from Britain, during the Second World War, invoking the 1373 Treaty of Alliance with Portugal. This enabled the allies to build a large military airport, which was the largest military/commercial in the Azores for many years, and was used post-war when commercial airlines needed to refuel on long-haul flights.This island, known as the golden. read more...


Mazu - Day 14 - Approaching Horta

The anticipation onboard is rising.... Horta is now only 32 miles away ... unfortunately almost directly into the rising Sun so we haven’t spotted land yet.We expect to make landfall this afternoon.A strange phenomenon is occurring with the AIS.Normally we only see other boats out to maybe 30 miles for large ships and around 4-5 miles for yachts as the signal is sent and received by VHF so usually only shows vessels by line of sight and is dependent on the strength of the signal and how high the antenna is on the vessel.However, last night when we were over 100 n. miles from Horta, all of a sudden, we could see a plethora of vessels between us and Horta plus those in port and around the island.Can anybody explain, please?Our antenna is at the top of the mast, about 65 ft above sea. read more...

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