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24/06/2017

Starblazer - 24/06/2017 – Welcome to the English Channel!

Yesterday’s improvement in the wind happened sooner than expected.We finally turned the engine off at 1450 and have sailed well ever since.In fact we have only seen our speed drop to about 5 knots during the past 6 hours as we have had a west going tide knocking us back.It is, however, about to change in our favour so our fantastic progress should be maintained.Our day’s run was a wonderful 155.7nM which included 6 consecutive hours where we returned an 8 knot average!This speed does have a potential drawback; we don’t want to arrive at the Needles Channel too early to catch the tide through Hurst narrows though the adverse tide has helped.This morning dawned damp, drizzly and misty with visibility down to shadowy outlines at 4 nM, the damp was increased by intermittent light showers and. read more...


23/06/2017

Starblazer - 23/06/2017 – Change of plan!

What are plans for, if not to moderate or change them as circumstances dictate?But more of that later.It can be dangerous to slavishly stick to a plan when conditions change, for example if driving from the South Coast to Scotland you wouldn’t plan your trip on an average speed of 70 m.p.h. then not alter speed when a fog descends because ‘the plan says we average 70.’Thursday was another gentle day with just enough breeze to allow us to drop the revs to little more than tickover to maintain an average speed of 5 knots or better.The day’s run to noon was a record breaking (at least for this leg) 128 nM, nothing to shout about but, hey, we are making satisfactory progress while conserving fuel. The day was interspersed with meal breaks, cups of tea and not much else.Dinner was spicy. read more...


22/06/2017

Starblazer - 22/06/2017 – Quite a good day

First of all, what went right?The cloudy, cool morning gave way to sunshine and, by mid-afternoon, it was positively hot.We had wall to wall sunshine but, as forecast, very little wind.We have taken the decision to motor at 5 knots, if the breeze sends our speed up we can throttle back.This strategy resulted in a 125 nm day, not stunning but the second highest this trip!There are two reasons for our fuel economy strategy: i) we don’t know exactly how much fuel we have and ii) we don’t want to arrive in the dark.It’s currently a little after 0600 UT, broad daylight and we have 260 nM to go so 52 hours at 5 knots, just under 44 hours at 6 knots.0200 is pitch dark because there is no moon!On the baking front, I made probably the best loaf of bread for a very long time, and it was ready in. read more...


21/06/2017

Starblazer - 21/06/2017 – A Happy Day

Tuesday was a ‘Happy’ day on board Starblazer for a number of reasons.The day dawned bright and sunny and the temperature increased, to the extent that we were sitting in the cockpit without jumpers on!June is supposed to be summertime but the temperatures here do not agree.The nights are very dark with less than 20% of the moon rising a couple of hours before the sun, they are also cold.At least we have had no rain or squalls. The seas are ridiculously calm for an ocean, but that is because the wind remains very weak.John emptied the diesel cans into the tank, to get an accurate calibration of our usage he should probably have done it on Monday evening.The gauge said the tank was very nearly full, we are just not sure of exactly how much we had used and hence our fuel economy.We believe. read more...


20/06/2017

Starblazer - 19/06/2017 – The Highs and Lows of passage making.

19/06/2017 – The Highs and Lows of passage making.This title can be taken two ways: meteorologically and in terms of our feelings.I’ll start with the latter.It’s not quite the extremes of mania and depression, rather more a question of happiness or gloominess.What makes us happy?I’m sure just about every sailor will agree that the sight of dolphins playing around the boat puts a smile on the face and a sighting of whales is very special.Seeing the log or GPS reach the heady heights of 6 knots is doing it for us on this passage.In the past we have expected to achieve a 6.5 knot average, then the happiness factor is reaching a 7 knot average over 3 hours or longer. This passage has not been fast but I’ll deal with that when I consider ‘Gloominess’.Good food is a necessity, with pleasant. read more...


18/06/2017

Starblazer - 18/06/2017 – Challenging sailing!

The challenge we are facing on this leg is to keep Starblazer moving as far as possible without reverting to the engine.Friday morning’s efforts are a bit more than our normal cruising behaviour though probably familiar to racers.It was a foggy morning, we only saw the ship passing 1.5 miles behind us as a blurred outline though he knew we were there.AIS is a wonderful tool; we had received notification of his details and a CPA (Closest Point of Approach) of between 0.1nM (18.4 metres) and half a mile when he was 12 miles away.John called him up and he offered to alter course to starboard to pass safely behind us.The separation between us increased when the wind piped up a bit and we sailed at a speedy 6 knots for about a quarter of an hour.Ocne he was clear of us we altered course to. read more...


17/06/2017

Isbjorn - ISBJORN OFFSHORE: Sail fast, to get to the pub!

June 17, 20172011A grey evening 120 miles off the west coast of Ireland. Grey ocean, grey horizon. A very fine mist hangs in the air, and while the fog has come and gone over the past 24 hours, the visibility is good currently. A variety of seabirds circle the boat, gannets among them which is a sure sign of land drawing nearer. As are the fishing boats. We've had a dozen or so at any given time appear on AIS, meandering around haphazardly at 2-3 knots, only one coming close enough to get a visual on. It was a good opportunity to teach the crew how to use the radar and what a target looks like on screen. Isbjorn sails fast under spinnaker on a waning breeze, 8.5 knots steady and surfing into the tens once in a while, 11.7 our top speed today. We're racing towards Ireland now, committed. read more...


16/06/2017

Yoda - OOPS I was having way too much fun

OOPS I was having way too much fun with the ARC Europe to write a blog ! Plus I am not sure anyone besides the ARC staff are reading it anyway? Keep up the great work Arc Rally control, you guys are fantastic and all your hard work is seriously appreciated. A HUGE thank you for everything you do, seeing your happy faces when we arrive makes it all worthwhile. Well what a journey. Having 40knot’s plus at times and huge seas to flat calm when coming into Lagos yesterday, us sailors really have experienced everything along the way. Lea and I agree that the last leg seemed to be the worst, because of the confused short choppy sea and the fact we were a bit worn out by this point and just praying we wouldn’t have anything major break. Thank God nothing major broke…a few leaks and a kitchen. read more...


16/06/2017

Isbjorn - ISBJORN OFFSHORE: Ireland Bound?

Friday, June 16. Day 70449I woke at 0345 to Martha & Bruce rousting Mia, who in turn rousted me. I'm not taking an 'official' watch this passage, but promised to do Mia's first half this morning. Getting up to see the sunrise sounded like a great idea last evening when I tucked into my warm bunk in sweatpants and a hoodie...A clear horizon was already visible by 0400 in the grey dawn, and it's light out now (it doesn't get fully dark until 2300 in the evening). A waning but bright half moon peeks through low, scudding clouds every few minutes. The cockpit is wet, though it's not raining. I'm dressed, fully - long underwear beneath sweatpants, wool socks, two long sleeve shirts under my puffy coat, my merino neck gaiter, hat, all under my waterproof foulies and PFD. It's not THAT cold. read more...


16/06/2017

Starblazer - 16/06/2016 – Progress?

For the first five and a half hours after leaving the marina in Ponta Delgado we had a lovely smooth relatively fast sail along the south coast of the island though we only made about three miles towards the first waypoint we had put in the GPS!If you look at our track on either SPOT or the Yellowbrick (now that we have recharged it) you might well wonder where we plan to make landfall.Iceland perhaps?No we are going to Camaret, close to Brest, in the northwest corner of France.Our bizarre heading is an attempt to keep the wind for as long as possible as there is a large, untidy looking Low between us and mainland Europe.This is ‘déjà vu’ because our previous return with ARC Europe in 2010 was similarly challenged by the Azores High.That year the High went all the way to Scotland so we. read more...


14/06/2017

Isbjorn - ISBJORN OFFSHORE: Alone in an empty sea

14 June, 20171255I'm a manly, manly man. Just took an ice cold shower in the cockpit outside. I sent the crew below so I could be comfortably naked. But man is that refreshing! The seawater temp is 62, and the tank water perhaps a degree or two warmer. Wakes you up!It's cleanup day on Isbjorn. We've been at sea now almost 4 days, have sailed 575 miles and been through some rough weather. The skies finally cleared around 0300 this morning and the wind & seas have abated slightly, so time for showers and a boat cleanup today (partly inspired by a full French press of coffee that exploded in the galley, grounds and all, earlier this morning...). I'm in charge of heads, Mia galley & floor, the crew scrubbing the cockpit. Nice to get a fresh start in the cleanliness department.Not. read more...


13/06/2017

Starblazer - 12/06/2017 - Our mini cruise of the Azores

We made landfall in Horta on the island of Faial just before sunrise.The early arrival left us both short of sleep so that day was rather a non-event for us as one or the other was asleep!We did go for a walk and find a paint shop, useful because I wanted to paint our flag on the wall.In 2010 I painted a big one on the pavement close to where we were moored and a smaller one on a wall by some steps, alongside a number of other ARC Europe 2010 boats.I am pleased to say that they are still recognisable though the lettering has deteriorated.Sadly I didn't have enough time to refresh the paintwork.Starblazer's painting is much brighter than Fair Encounter's, I hope it lasts better though I doubt that we'll ever get back to check it!One afternoon we went for a sail on a traditional whaling. read more...


02/06/2017

Starblazer - 31/05/2017 – There are fish in the sea!

If the day’s run from Sunday to Monday was depressing, Monday to Tuesdaymade up for it. The wind started building at noon and our speed quicklyincreased, so much so that a very dark night arrival became a possibility.We were a little worried because the very small sliver of moon would setbefore 2100, not that it would have added any illumination anyway!Theupside to our good progress was that we had no need to start the engine.The day’s run to noon was a wonderful 162 nM, with a distance to waypoint of101 nM.In fact the 6.1 knots recorded in the log was the slowest speedrecorded up to our arrival in Horta.Monday had been listed as a working day; that is washing, ironing andmending for me.Sunday’s project, to refurbish the battle flag, took upmost of Monday.The first task was ironing the. read more...


30/05/2017

Starblazer - 30/05/2017 – A new record!

Day 12 of this trip, noon Sunday to noon Monday, had some definitehighlights plus the odd negative!I’ll get the bad bits out of the wayfirst.The boom strut/vang/kicker thingy decided to follow the lead of thewire rope which formed part of the system for pulling the boom down againstthe force of the gas strut and the wind trying to lift the boom.John hadreplaced the wire with some dyneema linking the block and tackle directly tothe boom a couple of days ago. Sunday the main body of the unit tore off theend fixing block so it is now on the deck and we must remember to tightenthe topping lift otherwise the boom will damage the bimini (a sunshadecovering the cockpit) when we drop the mainsail.The second negative was the day’s run, a new record low since arriving backin the Caribbean in 2016. read more...


29/05/2017

Starblazer - 29/055/2017 – Going slower

The weather system which affected us Thursday evening and through Friday didleave a very short lived legacy of better speeds but unfortunately the highpressure ridge, which had been pushed south, fairly quickly filled the voidleft by the departing Low.This brings more settled weather but very littlewind and we have been suffering ever since.Day 10, Friday to Saturday,kept reasonable winds through to mid-morning Saturday when we had to resortto the engine.The day’s run was 144 nM, giving us hope of a daylightarrival on Tuesday.Saturday to Sunday was not so good, resulting in ourlowest day’s run on this trip of just 110 nM and that’s with some help fromthe engine!By Sunday noon reality had set in that the chances of adaylight arrival on Tuesday are non-existent, daylight on Wednesday. read more...


29/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: Astro Push-ups & Spinnaker Blasting

29 May, 20171008 - Day 12Mia's in the galley making oatmeal, and it's a good morning for making oatmeal indeed. Low, scudding grey clouds hang over the boat and horizon. A damp, cool westerly breeze. Droplets of dew on everything, stuck fast to the crystallized salt that cakes most parts of the boat after nearly two weeks at sea. The Portuguese man-o-wars continue to glide by our stern in regular procession. Sea turtles eat them, I'm pretty sure. I'm in black sweatpants and a black t-shirt, doing morning exercises in the cockpit. Mostly 'sumo squats' and what Mia & I have dubbed 'astronaut push-ups.' These would be just normal push-ups when Isbjorn is stationary, but offshore, the rolling of the boat changes your perceived, or in keeping with our sailorly theme, your 'apparent'. read more...


28/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn a Offshore: An Ocean Thick with Phosphoresence

28 May, 20170240I put too much hot sauce on my leftover rice & beans just now. 'Jack's Bay Pepper Sauce' from St. Croix. Really tasty, but runnier than anticipated out of the bottle, which I shook with a tad too much fervor. My lips are tingly.Isbjorn is running down the miles on the home stretch. 300 miles to Horta. Under another dark black sky, just a few stars peaking out through some misty cloud cover, she veritably FLIES along, touching double-digit surfs and doing a steady 8.5 in the lulls. We bravely have the spinnaker up, 'Ol Whitey,' a recut chute from an old race boat that we got in time for the Caribbean 600 race back in February. It's a downwind A-sail, but we've got it rigged on the pole to windward like a symmetric sail. She's very stable, and the autopilot is managing. read more...


26/05/2017

Starblazer - 26/05/2017 – Three time zones on one boat.

Yes, really we have three time zones on Starblazer, or rather clocks etc. showing three different times.‘Why?’you may ask.The answer is easy. The clock on the wall tells us the time in UT or GMT or Zulu Time, whatever. All time zones around the world are based on Greenwich.The earth rotates 360 degrees each 24 hours therefore 15 degrees of longitude constitute one hour of the earth’s travels.Not all countries set their clocks by their geographic location, some choose to align themselves with their neighbour for convenience.Bermuda was UT -4 that means you have to take four hours off UT to find the time in Bermuda, summer time just complicates matters. We started this leg on Bermuda time so the GPS and our iPads are set to UT -3 to account for summer time.Our destination is The Azores, UT. read more...


25/05/2017

Starblazer - 25/05/2017 – Not all about the weather!

Days seven and eight were a great improvement on the previous few days, at least in terms of weather.The seas calmed down to about 2-3 metres, the winds dropped and eventually all but disappeared for most of Wednesday.We made the most of having to use the engine to fully charge the batteries and make a tank full of water.The day’s run, Tuesday to Wednesday, was a paltry 122 nM, aided by 6 hours of motoring early in the morning.Wednesday to Thursday wasn’t much better, 128 nM with far more engine hours!VMG is a term used to describe the average speed towards the destination, the day’s run is calculated as the distance travelled towards the waypoint, therefore our VMG for the two days was 5.2 knots, not good.We have, in fact, travelled much further and faster but not quite in the right. read more...


25/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: A Mid-Ocean Swim

Thursday May 250047Midnight watch. A new day. Wind WSW 10-15. Isbjorn is running at 6.5 knots on starboard, the genoa poled out to weather, rolling in an annoying cross swell still leftover from Monday's gale. I have the first half (0000-0200), Mia will come on for the second half. Unless I'm feeling particularly inspired, in which case I'll stay up longer. We enacted this new 'shared' watch routine for the two of us to allow each some time alone in the cockpit at night. It's the part I like best about offshore sailing, and what I'd been missing the most about taking no watch at all (instead being always 'on call').Coffee. Last spoonful of the instant currently on hand. I know there's more, just not sure where Mia's hidden it away. We're down to the UHT milk too, having drank the last of. read more...


23/05/2017

Starblazer - 23/05/2017 – Days 4, 5 & 6

The past three days have been dominated by the weather, our day’s runs have reflected decisions we have made concerning where to head to avoid the worst of it.Saturday to Sunday we only made 119 miles towards the Azores though we sailed a lot further.The advice from the weather forecasters was to stay or get below 35 degrees which, for us, meant heading SE rather than just north of east.At the 2300 watch changeover we gybed the mainsail and rolled away the genoa to head due east.As the genoa had been poled out we couldn’t use it without lowering the pole and rerouting the sheet, something we do not do at night!All day Sunday the wind was fairly low, the calm before the storm?At noon Sunday the wind had teased us enough to drop two reefs in the main and roll up half the genoa.It didn’t in. read more...


23/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: Mr. Andy's Wild Ride

May 23, 1245Dolphins! All around us, dozens of them jumping & flipping & talking! You can hear them bouncing their echo-sounding waves from inside the boat. They streak alongside us, grey torpedos just beneath the brilliant deep-blue wave crests.Thane & Brenda are on watch. The seas are down considerably from the past two days, but then that's relative. It's still blowing 20-25, gusting over 30, and that feels like a respite. We're on day 4 of three reefs in the mainsail. Mia shook out a bit of genoa this morning. During those three days we cracked 170 miles made good, each day...I'm cooking some rice for lunch, Mia's sorting out some video and clearing the camera memory cards, David is reading & Mac is chillin' in his high side pilot bunk.--The barometer is on the rise. read more...


22/05/2017

Silver Penny - Day 5 on Silver Penny

All is Well on Silver Penny (so far)I meant to write a blog at the end of day one, but I was seasick for two days and writing during the rest of the time.We've spend a lot of time chasing wind. If you're following our track, you'll notice we sailed north-north-east and now we're sailing east-south-east. We had to travel north to latitude 35 to catch the wind. However, a storm is forming and we need to be at latitude 34 by Monday to miss the high winds and seas. On the other hand, we've only spent about ten hours motoring. We also got to sail under spinnaker for two days.. read more...


21/05/2017

Starblazer - 21/05/2017 – Going in the right direction sometimes.

Day 3, noon Friday to noon Saturday, comprised a number of course changes. Our pathetically slow progress northeastwards to find a better breeze finally paid off from mid- afternoon onwards, when we could lay a course a bit closer to the desired one and pick up a bit of speed.From 0300 we were able to head straight for the Azores and we made cracking progress until about 0900.When I did the 0900 log the course we were making as opposed to steering was 30 degrees high, caused by an unexpected current.At the 0930 SSB net matters only got worse when the weather report and GRIB files were discussed.One boat has subscribed to a weather guru in the States who recommended getting down to 34 degrees North to avoid some potentially very strong winds on Sunday/Monday.We were at 35 degrees 53. read more...


21/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: A Black, No Horizon Night

May 21, 0900Low, grey clouds overhead. They're moving off to our right, carried by the chilly northerly wind. A few hints of blue sky are visible to the north. Thane & Brenda are on watch. It's dry outside, but cool. They're in fully foulies, gloves & wool hats. The wind has a bite to it, especially without the warming sun overhead. It's a proper North Atlantic day today.Isbjorn romps east on 60 degrees apparent under small sails - triple-reefed mainsail & double-reefed genoa, the staysail rigged and furled on the foredeck just in case. We're slightly under-canvassed now, but the motion is smooth, the helm is light and we expect the wind to increase throughout the day as it backs into the NW. Mia just finished washing up from the morning's breakfast - eggs over easy forThane. read more...


20/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: Moseying Downwind

May 18, 1000The wind is sloooowly filling in from the NNW. We motored all night after trying to tack offshore once through Town Cut, 18 hours in total, setting sail finally at 0400 this morning. When the sea is flat we can make 4-5 knots in only 6-7 knots apparent, close-reaching. When the odd wave slews the boat around the sails slat and we slow right down. The forecast is in our favor though - if it holds true, it looks like we'll have wind, and behind us, for the next ten days...1200 All hands on deck for a spinnaker set. The wind came aft just enough, and it's just light enough, that we think we can carry the A-sail on 90 apparent and make some better way.Thane, David (who sailed with us in the fall on the Caribbean 1500), and Brenda (Thane's wife) and I go forward to rig the. read more...


19/05/2017

Starblazer - 19/05/2017 – The first two days

The start at 1100 on Wednesday was interesting.Somehow we managed to sail over the line at 3.2 knots in very little wind.We put in a tack and found we could only make 1.9 so we put the engine in gear and motored towards the Town Cut where we all had to motor through because it was straight into the wind!Tacking was interesting for us.We had installed the inner forestay so that we could use the staysail together with the genoa to get better wind in the light breeze, though we hadn’t pulled up the staysail.Normally, when you tack the wind blows the sail across and it manages to pull past the mast.With the inner forestay in place there is only a narrow slot for the genoa to pass through so we wound it away, altered course and pulled it out on the other side, not the speediest tacking. read more...


18/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: Riding the Azores High

Before we dive into the start of our trans-Atlantic, let's recap our arrival and layover in Bermuda. If you haven't seen it yet, check out a few videos we posted on our Instagram (instagram.com/59northsailing) and Facebook pages (facebook.com/59north) - they show better than I can tell how it went down.We had a SERIOUSLY gnarly arrival in Bermuda, the wind building and building from the SW as we made landfall south of Gibb's Hill light. We made it all the way on celestial, so it was special seeing the lighthouse appear before the dawn right where we'd hoped it'd be. Cool stuff. With the sunrise came the wind, but gradually at first. I'd shaken the reefs once the sun came up and about six other boats were visible ('We are PASSING them!' I commanded). And we did, blowing by all of them as. read more...


18/05/2017

Yoda - Leaving Bermuda

Well that was quite the start ! Motor sailing down the town cut was emotional. I never wanted to leave Bermuda... until I checked the bank account. The first day at sea had very little wind, but it did bring an awe inspiring sunset. Just as it held the horizon for the last few minutes of splendid beauty we had 5 common dolphins swimming and jumping at the bow. I haven't seen this since we left Gibraltar and I think they were just a sweet reminder of what we are going back too. I had to use an app to figure out what constellations I was looking at as it's the clearest night and there are more stars than any land lubber will ever see. 01:30 what the hell is that over yonder it looked like a huge orange segment and was so bright it frightened me at first. The moon is back shining the way. I. read more...


18/05/2017

Starblazer - 18/05/2017 – Bermuda

My apologies if I have already posted some of this information already. Unfortunately we had a minor crisis when the computer couldn’t start up yesterday as we were getting ready to pull up the anchor.No computer would mean no e-mail, no weather forecasts, no GRIB files and no blogs!When it couldn’t restart the computer offered to try to mend itself (clever computer) but warned that we would lose recently added programmes.What it didn’t mention was that recently added files would also disappear.I have lost all the blogs written on the computer since the day we arrived back in Nanny Cay last November.Grrrr!Shortly after we anchored in St George’s Harbour, Bermuda we were hit by winds of up to 45 knots, not fun especially as we had to re-anchor in possibly the worst of it.In the afternoon,. read more...


16/05/2017

Yoda - Just over 12 hours

Wow what a crossing that was…from not enough to way too much wind we had it all ! Dragging anchor morning was not a fun event and for the sailors that were out at sea it was even less fun I have heard. At least we had nice men handing over Dark and Stormy'sat anchor. Thank you again for that it was really appreciated !What a great group of people from the yellow shirt and socks to the sailors sailing across. We have had a fabulous time here an Bermuda, it is such a beautiful place and the people are most welcoming. We decided to rent a couple of mopeds along with a few of the other ARC yachts and go to see the America’s cup boats. What an adventure speeding down the motor way the wind in my hair AC/DC Thunderstruck playing in my ear, I really felt like I was riding a Harley Davidson. LOL. read more...


13/05/2017

Wethomi - Windy days and Bermuda far away for Wethomi

Wind was forecast. And it came and waves with it. But more of both than expected. But with sails at towel size at least we were sailing in the right direction. Than the coldfront arrived. Thundershowers, heavy rain, wind force 7-8, gusts 9. Behind the front the wind turned to north. Thats where we want to go to. No chance to reach Bermuda with those strong winds and big waves on the nose. So for hours now we are sailing more or less in a 100 miles distance from Bermuda without approaching any further. We just hope that the wind will eventually go to sleep as predicted. Arrival Bermuda not before sunday.. read more...


12/05/2017

Starblazer - 11 &12/05/2017 – Whether the weather, whatever the weather

Whether we like it or not! This was a speech therapy rhyme remembered frommy first few months in infant school, but it adequately describes the lastfew days! The highlight of Wednesday was possibly the beef carbonnade,however the wind finally picked up a bit and we managed to turn the engineoff at 2200.That marked the end of a 29 hour motoring stint, with a briefpause when the fresh water cooling reservoir needed topping up.That fewminutes confirmed why we were motoring, the mainsail was hanging limply andthe boat drifted backwards with a bit of sideways!The wind stayed with us for 24 hours, at times we were averaging 8 knots for2 consecutive 3 hour periods.This stunning progress encouraged us to startthinking about an early Friday morning entry. The day’s run to noon was avery. read more...


11/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: Ghosting Through a Placid Night

9 May, 0400Despite the early hour, there's the slightest hint of the coming dawn in the sky to the east. The night is crystal clear, and crisp. For the first time since November I have on a fleece to ward off the chill. And thanks to the northerly wind, it's a DRY chill, a feeling I've been looking forward too all winter long through the oppressive Caribbean heat & humidity.The wind came back at midnight, a light northerly, but enough to set sail. We'd been motoring since dinner time on a flat calm sea. Though our course should have been due north, the best we could make in the new breeze was 045 on the compass, about 030 true.0500As the nearly full moon sinks in the west and the sky lights up in the east, we're headed. 045, then 050. Frustrating. I tack, managing some fancy footwork. read more...


11/05/2017

Wethomi - Nightmare and paradise

A calm night. Wethomi moving constantly under motor. Lonely watch under the stars.Suddenly smell of electric fire. Smoke. "All men up!"Motor off. Electricity shut down. Look into the motor compartement: No fire! Uff!What happened? Took some time to find out that the main alternator cables had burned and disconnected. After a provisional repair of some hours we could continue into the beautiful morning.Later the wind came back. But from the wrong direction: directly onto the nose. So we tacked and had a wonderful sailing day with a nice breeze, little waves, sunny sky, delicious wahoo fish meals. Only our arrival in Bermuda will be much later now. Probably we will the last boat arriving. So what?What else happened?Sundowner with a red sun on one and a full moon on the other side, wahoo. read more...


10/05/2017

Starblazer - 10/05/2017 – A different day.

Yesterday the sun reappeared, for most of the day anyway.The wind, on the other hand, reduced even further, barely reaching the heady heights of 8 knots!All this means one thing; we have been plodding along on the engine since 1700, though we should have given in rather sooner. There was one brief spell when the wind piped up a bit, from about 6 to 12, when a squall came through yesterday afternoon.It was almost certainly part of a front which has been lurking around and the wind veered from southeast (starboard tack) to west (porttack).The mainsail went across easily however the genoa was poled out to starboard and was too far off the wind to be helpful so we rolled it away.During the brief but heavy shower two boats, motoring on a parallel course to us on our port side, quickly pulled. read more...


10/05/2017

Wethomi - Wahoo day on Wethomi

On the "road" again. After 5 month of cruising the caribbean islands we are now on the ocean once more. Back home to the mediterranean sea. After a nice start at Tortola where we crossed the starting line under parasailor we soon reached the open sea. It took us a while to get into the long range modus again. But once our Monitor windsteering had taken over the helm, the watergenerator was running, the fishing line was out and the sails were set we could lean back and enjoy the wide open ocean. Good reaching winds were pushing us fast to Bermuda. The waves were stressing our stomachs. The sky was beautiful.Two days of wonderful sailing were followed by "Jokel"-days. Jokel is our reliable diesel engine and as the wind went sleeping he took over.Yesterday it was so calm that we stopped the. read more...


09/05/2017

Starblazer - 09/05/2017 – ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’

If you understand this statement; no we don’t have to go and clear up after the horses! After two days of rewarding, fast sailing we sort of hit the buffers, to mix my metaphors. Between midday and 1800 yesterday we sailed a frustrating 23 nM, a distance we had happily covered in five of the 3 hour log periods over the first two days.Eventually, we had to revert to the ‘iron tops’l’ (the engine) though we have been quite disciplined.As there is a motoring penalty, between 1 and 2, we try to react to the worst case scenario.If we can motor at more than three times the speed we can sail at then the engine goes on!It is, however, very frustrating sailing at 2.1 knots, knowing that we can motor at 5.5 to 6 depending on the conditions. We are aware that most of the boats are motoring but past. read more...


09/05/2017

Windsurf - LOG day 3 Halfway to Bermuda

Hi,here is a note from SY Windsurf, Peter and Marianne from theNetherlands. ! We areon half the trip from the British Virgin Islands to Bermuda. All kinds ofweather we have had so far. Everything is turning out great. According to thefleettracker form Yellow Brick we are in the middle of the fleet.  So we feel very safe !!!  Also our boat Windsurf, a Contest 50cs,is doing allright. Ourstart on Saturday, May 6th 2017, was a bit slow, so we ended up inthe back of the field. When we were out of the islands (a beautiful goodbye ofthe BVI’s), the wind came from the SE,  13-20 knts. Nice sailing conditions… withan average SOG of 8-9 knts, we came into the middle of the fleet…  the first 24hrs we covered 180nM !!  the first days at sea are always tiring.You have to get. read more...


09/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: Squalls, Calms & Navigating by the Stars

8 May, 1600Isbjorn is running wing on wing on the starboard tack, the genoa poled out to catch the SE'ly breeze. The wind is steady and she's making 5-6 knots, but the sea is confused and the sails slat hard in the worst rolls. There's a NW'ly swell rolling in from our left, opposing the wind-driven SE'ly swell and corkscrewing the boat around at times.The sky off of our port quarter is a fearful shade of grey, and there's rain in the clouds behind us. Up to now, all the weather has come from the E, as it does in the Trades. But we're sailing out of that zone now and need to remember that the continental weather will come from the west, our left.1630A half hour goes by and those dark clouds are DEFINITELY moving from west to east. Time for action. We quickly stow the pole and set Isbjorn. read more...


09/05/2017

Isbjorn - Isbjorn Offshore: A Good Day's Run

Isbjorn Offshore: A Good Day's Run6 May, 0800An early morning for Isbjorn's crew. We're all rested after a night of teetotaling in preparation for today's departure. The boat's ready to go...the afternoon before we basically completed the pre-departure checklist. All that's left this morning is to top up the water tanks, unplug the shore power and pay our bill at Nanny Cay.The crew's assembled in the cockpit for the morning briefing, our last at the dock. Mia & I complete the orientation now that we've finished stowing all the provisions. I assign roles for the start - Mike & Tom will be jib trimmers, Cheryl's on main sheet, Thane is spotting and Mia's on general assist.The temperature in the marina is HOT, even at 8 o'clock n the morning. All of us look forward to getting out in. read more...


08/05/2017

Starblazer - 08/05/2017 – An interesting day!

The 24 hours from noon Sunday to noon Monday presented us with a few challenges.From a sailing point of view, the wind held through to about 0600 when it began to drop a little.From 0900 to noon it also veered, bringing the wind further behind us.The problem with this is that the mainsail blanks the genoa which cannot draw properly, causing the genoa to lose the plot and flap idly!This, of course, affects the speed.The day’s statistics make good reading for a boat of our size.Overall, the day’s run was 166nM, an average of a hair’s breadth under 7 knots.This average includes the last 6 hours when we only managed 38nM, a 6.33knot average. Tomorrows figures are likely to be bad.We are occasional fishermen, i.e. when one of us thinks about putting a lure in the water.John put in a bright. read more...


07/05/2017

Starblazer - 07/05/2017 – Farewell the BVI

It is 27 hours since we crossed the start line outside Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola, our home for the past 8 days.The excitement and anticipation of our travels ahead, towards Bermuda, onwards to the Azores and finally home to Portsmouth Harbour, England, is tinged with sadness.We have said goodbye to the Caribbean islands for almost certainly the last time.When we left with ARC Europe in 2010 we were already planning a return with, hopefully, a bigger boat.The plan came to fruition when we bought Starblazer and returned to the Caribbean and onwards around the world.Now we have to make plans for different sailing destinations!All is not doom and gloom on board though.The first 24 hours gave us fantastic sailing, reeling off 165 M towards Bermuda plus 7 miles in a sideways direction to. read more...


06/05/2017

Starblazer - 06/5/2017 - Three weeks in the British Virgin Islands

We set off from St Martin on Easter Sunday evening, at about 1700, for the 75 nautical Mile (nM) journey to Virgin Gorda.We slowed ourselves down by keeping two reefs in the main and varying the amount of jib because we didn't want to arrive in the dark!No, we are not scared of the dark but the waters around the islands are strewn with reefs so a daylight arrival is sensible.We anchored just before 0800, perfect.North Sound, Virgin Gorda is a large area, dotted with mooring buoys but with plenty of space to anchor and, more importantly, good holding.The weather deteriorated soon after we arrived so, after clearing in, we moved out of Gun Creek to a more protected anchorage and just sat on board for 48 hours.We had an excellent lunch at Saba Rock, with free wi-fi thankfully.We motorsailed. read more...


06/05/2017

Yoda - Do or do not there is no try "Yoda"

Wow is all I can say ! I am having so much fun here with all these Arc participants, I feel like I am at summer camp for sailors and I am loving it ! The Arc staff are fantastic, really helpful and always happy to see you. They have planned everything out so well and it has all gone down a treat and I’m not just talking about the rum punches. So I am giving them all a HUGE thank you ! THANK YOU !!!We have met some lovely sailors that I hope we will be in close sailing proximity with so we can wave to them, hopefully from our stern of course. Thanks for your info and kind words.Nanny Cay Marina I will say this… this is hands down THE best marina I have ever stayed at so please keep up the good work. It’s clean, the showers are like being at a spa theres a pool and a beach a stones throw. read more...


Yoda - The countdown begin's
Yoda - The countdown begin's
15/04/2017

Yoda - The countdown begin's

Well 20 Days until we set off on another adventure!Lord help us….no really, please Lord help us or Neptune or Mother nature, who ever is listening really.Who knew a girl from the most land locked part of Canada would be even contemplating such an adventure, never mind actually doing a transatlantic!?A year and a half ago we set sail from Gibraltar to get across to the Caribbean with a pretty inexperienced crew, minus my husband and I of course and now it’s time to go back. We didn’t opt for the ARC on that journey as we thought we had something to proveby doing it on our own. Now with no crew we just think it makes sense and it will be nice to have a welcome committee to rejoice with when we arrive and some radio contact along the way. A few organised parties helps as well! mmm Rum. read more...


24/02/2017

Starblazer - Starblazer, St Martin, Marigot Bay

Hi to allThe plan was to collect the new alternator Tuesday and install it on Wednesday.Tuesday.Collect new alternator from Interline in Phillipsburg.Completed.Great shipping company. $10 shipping, $7.50 optional insurance. From Miami.During day collected Joyce's iPad after screen replaced I had fallen into 1m of sea with it in a backpack.---Left mine in repairers as torrential rain going ashore got it wet, inside a waterproof case inside a rucksack.Home button not working.Might get a new one under warranty.Whilst in Phillipsburg went looking to find a company to make a new high pressure hose for the watermaker.Finally found them in Cole Bay and had new hose made.FKG are recommended but not cheap.Wednesday.Install new alternator. Failed, couldn't swap the new single pulley for the wanted. read more...


04/12/2016

Diana - Uns gibt’s auch noch - Grüße von der Diana

(3.12.2016) Bergfest! 11 Tage unterwegs und 1500 nm geschafft, die halbe Strecke! Wir haben einen ziemlich langen Weg gewählt, Richtung Süd an der afrikanischen Küste lang, durch die Kapverden hindurch und Süd bis zum 14. Breitengrad. Dafür hatten wir fast die ganze Strecke guten Wind und konnten durchgehend segeln. Jetzt geht es westwärts. St Lucia, wir kommen!Kinder und Eltern sind gut drauf. Hier unten ist es recht einsam, unsere Begegnungen mit Seglern in den letzten Tagen beschränken sich auf die Strolla – ein norwegisches Schiff mit Kurs Karibik – und die Skiathos, die auch an der ARC teilnimmt. Ansonsten hat ein fliegender Fisch versucht, sich durch das Moskitogitter des Fensters im Salon zu bohren. Sonst keine Begegnung. Es hat auch seit Tagen konsequent kein Fisch an der Angel. read more...


19/06/2016

Second Wind - Doug - Crew Departure

Doug our first Mate for this Atlantic crossing was a great asset to our team. He joined on April 5th in St-Martin from that point on, he volunteered for several tasks. We worked hard during the day and played hard at night; happy hours, live band, good meals, etc... In between all this, Doug needed his naps, he was very original about it, a comfortable chair, a bench any place would do but the funniest one was in the dingy feet hanging in the water. This raised concern to many people walking by. We are grateful for his skills, knowledge and support throughout this trip. Well done Doug and thank you, this was a trip of a lifetime. We also want to extend our thanks to Roberta that visited in Tortola and set up our first aid kit and for her support from Santa Maria to Lagos. So long. read more...



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