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Mares Tail - The Bubbly Pool, J. V..D
Mares Tail - The Bubbly Pool, J. V..D
16/04/2019

Mares Tail - Two weeks to go

We have been enjoying our 30 days in the Virgin Islands. Loving Little Jost Van Dyke, especially the Bubbly Pool and Foxy’s Taboo beach bar.Ethna Haines. read more...


14/06/2018

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...


13/06/2018

Firefly - Almost in Spain

We are on our last day of sailing for while,with around 60 nautical milesfrom the Ria Muros and Portosin- Firefly’s temporary home for a week orso.   As we approach the land the wind has come in as forecast from the Northmaking it a good reach in with speeds of 7 to 10 knots- its a good job  wewent North over the passage, otherwise it might have been a slog towindward.   This will most likely be our last log (for a while?) so hope you haveenjoyed our random thoughts and thank you to all those ashore particularlySusie, Jane,  Gráinne and Julie for their emails, love and supportand  juggling all the balls we left behind in the air .   Paul and Peter sailed off from Prickly Bay,Grenada in late May and havesailed over 4000 miles with lots of great experiences. read more...


13/06/2018

Jubilate Mare - Wonderful Wednesday

We are speeding along towards the end of our epic voyage. If theses winds continue we will arrive in a blaze of glory under full sail with the flags flying. Such a contrast to our westward crossing where we were rejoicing if we saw 4 knots!All is not well aboard though, Kieron called for a minute’s silence yesterday as the last of the gin was emptied into the glasses! Tonight’s tipple will have to be the Gosling rum that we’ve been saving for a special occasion. The eve of our arrival in Lagos would seem to fit the bill admirably.. read more...


12/06/2018

Jubilate Mare - The Gap’s Closing

We had superb winds overnight and achieved speeds of up to 8.4 on occasions. Today, however, is a different story and we are back to motoring. I woke to a very grey day. Grey sky, grey sea and an unpleasant chill to the air. This has been the most unpromising day of our crossing so far but it is nothing to complain about. We really have been so very lucky on this passage and fingers crossed that for the last few days our luck will hold.Crew morale is high with Kieron, once again, baking daily bread. I don’t think it canbe beaten, straight out of the oven, spread with butter melting into the warm slices. The rest of the crew prefer to have peanut butter or jam added but I think that spoils it. We have had two near misses with catching fish number two but at least we have won the bottle of. read more...


12/06/2018

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...


11/06/2018

Jubilate Mare - Magic Monday

Tuna was enjoyed for lunch (sashimi with soy and wasabi) and dinner (seared) yesterday but the hoped for second fish is stilleluding us. However, after a number of hours under engine we are now happily sailing again. Kieron produced a fantastic breakfast of pink grapefruit juice, toast, mushrooms, bacon and pancakes. So that has got the day off to a cracking start. Happy Hour continues to be a daily focus which takes a lot of planning and is always greatly welcomed by the crew. We are a happy bunch laughing and singing along to the CD of choice for the evening’s pre-dinner entertainment. I will be sorry when this epic adventure comes to an end and our ‘boat family’ disperses across the globe. However, on the plus side, my friend Jeannie is flying out to be dockside to welcome us in and. read more...


11/06/2018

Khaleesi - Blog Day 25 - A tale of two extremes

Well we made into Horta, but not before Neptune teased us again by veering the wind onto our bow, and by lowering the wind speed.We ended up motor sailing the final 100 miles although the wind changed about one hour out and we had a barnstorming sail into the channel between Pico and Faial.I had emailed the ARC team to ask if we could have a berth that gave easy access for our rudder repair, but this was not to be and we ended up three out on a raft against the harbour wall. We started work immediately clearing the lazerette locker, and I went to clear in with the marina authorities. It was all straight forward albeit a little bureaucratic and slow.nevertheless the staff were all very pleasant and I was soon walking up to the Mid Atlantic Yacht Services (MAYS) office to book us in for. read more...


11/06/2018

Blonde Moment - fish on!

Rain overnight Saturday to Sunday and grey, damp and cold at dawn.However, the day improved with good sailing under code zero, blue skies and then the spinnaker.Having finished dinner by 1900 hours we were just discussing dropping the spinnaker for overnight when both fishing lines "caught".Mayhem followed........The wind picked up; the skipper wanted the spinnaker down "now" and two fish needed pulling in.The spinnaker won followed by two beautiful big eye tuna, which were landed, despatched, filleted and in the fridge before the code zero was put up and the back deck hosed down - all within the hour!More rain overnight last night and another damp, grey dawn but we have enjoyed fresh tuna salad for lunch and Jamie Oliver's working girls pasta (more tuna) this evening.All well on board. read more...


11/06/2018

Khaleesi - Blog Day 23 - The Plight of the Night Watch

It is a funny thing, darkness.We have a policy on board Khaleesi that we hand steer most of the time, for two reasons: the first is the power required by the autohelm can be high especially if conditions are not good, and secondly we need to be practised in hand steering should anything go wrong with the autohelm.Steering during the day tends to be relatively easy, but a funny thing happens at night when the helm suddenly loses all visual references such as the sky or clouds or even the position of the bow relative to another boat.The only reference left is the compass in which you need to place all your trust, else you will be lost.The main culprit is the mind or the brain.Everyone has a built in compass but humans have lost the art of using it over the years.So at night, when the stars. read more...


10/06/2018

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...


10/06/2018

Firefly - Firefly now heading to Portosin

Firefly left ARC Europe when the fleet departed to SantaMaria. We are heading independently to Portosin in Ria Muros on NW Spain....weleft Ponte Delgado on Sao Miguel at 1200 on Friday 8th June in order to getahead of the light winds now surrounding the Azores. We have sailed 310nm so farand have 540nm to go.   However, we are still in touch with the fleet via SSB Radioand via the earlier net we heard that Lumikki has all of the wind as usual....wewish everyone bon voyage.   Our intrepid crewman Mike was replaced by Steve just before weleft. In fact Firefly left the dock as Steve came aboard. Mike was a ‘greenhorn’long distance sailor .... and he was the author of the prize winning poet thatwe posted on our blog during the passage from Bermuda. Below is a copy of theletter we. read more...


10/06/2018

Jubilate Mare - Leg 3

Well after a cracking start we have now been motoring for 12 hours. However, the sun is still shining and it has been a fantastic rally, I will be sorry when it finally comes to an end. But that won’t be until Sunday so anything could happen. Dolphins have been spotted again but we have still to catch a fish - or even two! I’ve assured Bruno that we WILL catch one before we get to Lagos and I only hope we don’t have to delay our arrival to keep that promise!The sky is beautiful and Kieron has just echoed my thoughts by saying “What a glorious day.” I wonder if we have been especially lucky on this crossing? Other people we have known to journey west have talked of having to endure rain and cold. We on the other hand have been able to sunbathe. The mini cruise in The Azores was a delight,. read more...


10/06/2018

Blonde Moment - Azores to Lagos Blonde Moment

Well our Azores cruise definitely saved the best till last!Horta was a safe haven where we caught up on sleep and made repairs.The tour of the volcano crater was disappointing because all we saw was cloud.Terceira had potential with a beautiful garden in the Unesco World Heritage city (David Austin roses).We took a taxi to a sulphur crater which was interesting and caught glimpses of volcanic peaks through cloud.BUT our mooring on the sea wall was uncomfortable with the swell coming round the corner and we were all glad to leave.Ponta Delgada was calm in contrast and we had a wonderful tour of pineapple estate, green craters, lakes and pastoral scenes.However, Santa Maria, our final stopover is a little gem.We hired a car and saw such contrasts in landscapes for such a small island.White. read more...


09/06/2018

Firefly - Firefly sets out for Spain

Sadly we said farewell to the rest of the ARC Europe fleet in PontaDelgada, Sao Miguel and are now heading out on our own to Northern Spain. Wealso parted company with Mike our star trans Atlantic crew who is heading backfor work and hello to fellow SYC member Steve . We have yet to see how goodSteve is at rhyming verse, it will be hard following the skills and humour ofMike but we shall see....   Our week long cruise of the Azores has been fun; beautiful countryside andcoastline, wonderful hospitality, great local food and always a smile.Highlights include walking/climbing to the top of Pico, cycling down from theCaldera on Faial, the historic town of Angra, on Terciera; a World Heritage siteand finally the gardens and hot water baths at Furnes, Sao Miguel. Hopefully wewill be. read more...


09/06/2018

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...


Gloria of Southampton - Fish catch - Gloria of Southampton
Gloria of Southampton - Fish catch - Gloria of Southampton
31/05/2018

Selkie - Last Blog: Leg 2: Day 16

So here we are under 100 miles to the Azores. It’s been two days since I’ve kept a journal or written anything. After my last entry, which was a poem, I had a hard stint keeping adjusted to this life. Every once in a while, I feel like I’m in that horrible novel and movie, The Keeping Room. Like Nick has swept me away into one room that I cannot escape, and then I check myself and count myself lucky. Right? I’m on a yacht with four children that safely crossed the Atlantic Ocean! Not many can say that, but it’s gotten to the point that none of us change out of our long john pajamas. I get up wearing them and before I know it, it’s time to get back into them. Oh, wait a minute. I’m still wearing them. And my hair as well as my girls’ hair… it is so snarled it looks like an expensive. read more...


31/05/2018

Ngahue IV - Ngahue IV - Sizzling sausages... look at the AIS!

After days and days of nothing on the AIS, other than the odd cargo ship or the very odd sailing vessel, we suddenly have loads and loads of AIS targets on our screen - literally dozens of them: Class A and Class B. It seems as if the Azores Islands have scattered a whole box full of them on our screen. Well, it shows that Horta and the ARC Fleet aren't too far away. We'll be arriving, all going well, later this afternoon, having taken the 'long-cut' to get there. A little more wind and a little less "southerly" would be appreciated, but the wind has never taken any hints from me so far, so why now?--. read more...


30/05/2018

Ngahue IV - Ngahue IV - Our last full day at sea

A reddish dawn announced the beginning of what looks like being the last full day that we'll be at sea. Tomorrow (afternoon?) should see us arriving in Horta, barring any accidents or encounters of the 3rd kind with tree trunks, oil drums, dormant whales or other such obstacles, that despite the full moon wonderfully lighting up the sea you still couldn't detect until it is too late. Our only object of interest spotted during this whole trip so far was an orange boot floating in the water - fortunately no body or severed foot or leg in the boot, so Laura ensured me. You can see who's reading the crime novels at sea...We're reunited with our Dutch friends, who wandered off a bit more north yesterday (and we south). They could see us on the AIS, but we didn't see them anymore - but held. read more...


29/05/2018

Selkie - Crossing

The Sea. Endless rolls of curls that push, slide, coast us to where we’ve never been.Travel slow. Look to the horizon. Determine the language of the clouds. Feel the wind. Connect your heart to your sails and understand how to hug the power. Think of your destination, but do not let it decide how you embrace your moment, your sail. Sail where wind and waves have an argument, where they dispute your future, and ride the difference, the heat of the conversation. Let the breakers wink at you to share the secret only both of you know: The ocean, the water, our home, is a mystery that we must discover with a bottomless glass of bravery, a thirsty soul for the unknown. See the swells move on from your encounter. Notice how you have changed them, changed yourself, changed what’s underneath.. read more...


29/05/2018

Ngahue IV - Ngahue IV - Slowly approaching Horta!

Weather systems are there to test the yachtsman's patience, endurance and skill in reaching a destination without said yachtsman jumping off his vessel in frustration beforehand. Whereas yesterday started with excellent sailing weather to reach Horta, we subsequently encountered a sharp squall in the afternoon which must have scared away the decent wind that we were enjoying. At first our wind stuck its tail between its hind legs and scarpered off northwards; there it must have cut itself into three, because when it came back it was less than a third in strength and had turned into a pure westerly. So, nothing that would make our rather heavy craft move forwards at any rate of knots. Together with our accompanying Dutch friends (see my previous post), we decided on a new course (of. read more...


29/05/2018

Khaleesi - Log Day 13 - Neptune's little teaser!

Since the last blog, we had an intense but short squall pass over us at about 1700hrs on the 28th, and in its wake left no wind!Well only about 7 to 9 knots and from the West so it was directly behind us. I was determined to break the 200 nautical miles to go barrier, so we sailed at a saedate 3.5 knots until I had completed the SSB roll call, and we had our evening meal in relative peace and quiet.Over the next few hours we ran the engine up and motor sailed for an hour, turned off the engine and waited for an hour to see if the wind would "kick in".It never did of course. but then hortly before my watch at 2am on 29th, Graham called me up, as there was a squall coming towards us. Towering black clouds in an already dark sky were speeding towards us. We quickly reefed down and then the. read more...


29/05/2018

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...


28/05/2018

Mazu - Day 12 - More Whales and Dolphins

As dawn is breaking on Day 13, I just had to jot down yesterday’s highlights.Not only was it a great sailing day but we also spotted whales breaching about a quarter of a mile away and there seemed to be dolphins all over the place, some that seemed to be on a mission, ahead of the whales, and others who were in a more playful mood, especially around our bow wave.To cap off the day, the moon rose shortly after the sun set and it was a beautiful clear moonlit night.Off our port side, we can see Zeeland, another ARC Europe boat that we have been speaking to regularly on the twice daily SSB nets but haven’t seen until now.Now only 215 miles to go ....... read more...


28/05/2018

Khaleesi - Log Day 13 - The Charge

The Atlantic can be an unforgiving force of nature at times, and at others it has a beauty that is difficult to surpass.Our fair winds and calm seas have continued as we ride a ridge of pressure between two systems, and with luck, it should carry us all the way to Horta.We are currently 254 nautical miles from the finish line outside Horta, and sailing at a consistent 7.5 knot speed.How good can it get!We have all enjoyed the sailing which has surpassed anything else we have experienced in terms of Khaleesi's responsiveness and the wind.Even the dolphins have joined in the early hours of this morning when we had a row of three on either side, almost as if they were waiting for bridles to be slipped over their heads, and for the command to be given to charge, like war horses pulling a. read more...


28/05/2018

Khaleesi - Log Day 11 - At Last - Fair winds and calm seas

We seem to have hit a purple patch, temporary or otherwise, but we have fair winds of between 15 and 18 knots, and calm seas with lazy low lying swells. As a result we are munching up the miles at a good 7.2 to 7.7 knots per hour.With 450 nm to go we could see us arriving in Horta in 3 days, which would be outstanding. Yesterday we emptied the lazerette again to check on the rudder bearing, but were able to do so on the move, and this time the securing bolts could be tightened up with the rudder in a centralised position. They all needed to be tightened which Pete did once again by contorting himself into odd shapes and positions down in the lazerette risking life and limb on the bolts that protruded through from above from various deck fittings, and with the moving ridder stock he was. read more...


28/05/2018

Selkie - Day 12: Leg 2 Generator Scare 500 miles from the Azores

We wake to good weather and have a good morning with coffee and bacon! We fire up the internet and the water maker. Everything suddenly poops out. The generator is off and not turning back on! We adjust to how this will be: no water maker, no extra water, no warm water, no charging of devices, no radar, possibly no navigation lights, maybe no cooking, no bilge pump, no autopilot, no no no. Yikes. Scary. Nick and I are super worried. We stare at each other with big eyes. He reads the manual. We are all very quiet for a long time. The kids and I play legos. Then Nick finds the answer with Rory’s toy shaving mirror. A hidden breaker is misplaced on the far side of the generator. Thank God! I cry tears of joy. I actually ball my eyes out with happiness and Nick walks around with a radiant. read more...


28/05/2018

Jubilate Mare - Really REALLY nearly there!

Well, we now have less than 150 miles to go; so with luck, and a following wind, we should be in Horta for breakfast tomorrow. We had five further sightings of dolphins yesterday and just before supper whales were spotted in the distance. The whoops and cheers from the crew probably frightened away any fish thatmight, and I do mean just MIGHT, have been around. It will be strange being back in the ‘real’ world after life in our little bubble. We don’t know what’s been going on, though I seem to remember something about a wedding. Oh yes, and I believe today is a Bank Holiday back home so it is probably raining!There is a certain freedom being mostly disconnected from everyday goings-ons. It’s like the old days of holidaying before the internet had been invented. You packed your suitcase,. read more...


28/05/2018

Ngahue IV - Ngahue IV - Them Dutchies

We've made ourselves new friends with a Dutch yacht called Agapé - they also happen to be a member of the same sailing club - De Toerzeilers - that we joined last year, prior to leaving for a a long cruise. We've been in each other's company (and that of Fanky, but who have since moved on) for a couple of days now. Given the expected weather for the next couple of days, we feel that our best option is to stay at approximately 36 degrees North, and pass under the wind that on Tuesday/Wednesday looks like turning against our progression to Horta. We may need to motor a little bit through what looks like a no-mans-land in between two rivaling air-masses. And then zip up into Horta on Thursday.Last night there were a couple of lightning flashes south of us; but nothing came of them, and the. read more...


Selkie - Group Selkie Photo from Day 4:Tristan, Maggie holding Rory, Nick hugging all and Lily, then Mara
Selkie - Group Selkie Photo from Day 4:Tristan, Maggie holding Rory, Nick hugging all and Lily, then Mara
27/05/2018

Selkie - Group Selkie Photo from Day 4:Tristan, Maggie holding Rory, Nick hugging all and Lily, then Mara

-- Maggie Magdalena Hirt   "Writing is a process, a journey into memory and the soul."                           -Isabel Allende IMG_1553.. read more...


27/05/2018

Selkie - Day 12: Leg 2: Update on Captain and Crew

The moon is out, big, bright orange and creating an alternate daytime as it sets, so I thought I would spend some time updating the world on the individuals and their state of minds aboard Selkie. Tristan (11) spent his year of Caribbean life in boxer briefs. We would ask him to put on clothes, and he would reply, “Take me to colder weather.” Well, here we are in the North Atlantic with a cold wind, and he is walking around in boxer briefs that barely hang on his gangly preteen body and have a few holes. It’s true pirate material. Last night, we tethered them through a hole near his waist band, and he tried to escape. It held really well and everyone laughed so hard we teared up. I’ve begun to throw them away as well. Yesterday, he pretended to play the trumpet for a fallen soldier when. read more...


27/05/2018

Jubilate Mare - Nearly there!

Well the end really is almost in sight and we are hoping for arrival Tuesday morning. In celebration, of this anticipated conclusion to the second leg, we are going to have our last bottle of red wine with a cheese board tonight - (we actually only bought two!)I must say we have been very lucky on this crossing, the weather has been glorious. Not too hot, not too cold and we’ve only experienced the edge of one squall and that didn’t last long enough to dampen spirits. Moral is high and Bruno’s enthusiasm for everything (including an eternal optimism that his bread will turn out) is a delight. Kieron, our master chef, excelled himself last night. With what limited fresh supplies we now have left, he and Roos prepared Vietnamese spring rolls with a sweet and sour sauce, followed by poires. read more...


27/05/2018

Mazu - Days 11 and 12 - First Whale Spotted

I finally spotted my first whale!It wasn’t overly spectacular but so good to see the water spouts and the rounded beige-colored hump that was blowing the spout.No photos, sadly.Another boat reported having a whale breach not far in front of them earlier in the trip.Other wildlife seen has included dolphins fairly regularly, plenty of Portugese Man O’ War jellyfish with their pink-rimmed, crescent-shaped “sails” above the water, and quite a few birds of varying sizes, some quite small and a very long way from land.It really does make you wonder how and why they are out all this way.Sadly we have also seen more human garbage floating on the surface than on any previous passage (plastic water bottles, garbage cans, 5 gal jug, fishing floats, etc.).We had more great sailing until yesterday. read more...


27/05/2018

Khaleesi - Log Day 11 - At Last!

We seem to have hit a purple patch, temporary or otherwise, but we have fair winds of between 15 and 18 knots, and calm seas with lazy low lying swells. As a result we are munching up the miles at a good 7.2 to 7.7 knots. With 450 nm to go we could see us arriving in Horta in 3 days, which would be outstanding. Yesterday we emptied the lazerette again to check on the rudder bearing, but were able to do so on the move, and this time the securing bolts could be tightened up with the rudder in a centralised position. They all needed to be tightened which Pete did once again by contorting himself into odd shapes and positions down in the lazerette risking life and limb on the bolts that protruded through from above, and with the moving rudder stock he was working around. But this morning. read more...


27/05/2018

Ngahue IV - "Young man, your clock is up the creek"

(An imaginary discussion with a grumpy old passenger this morning)"Now see here young man, that clock of yours is completely balmy", he exploded as the night sky slowly turned light grey."No, no", I answered; "It's keeping perfect time; it hasn't run a second faster or slower since Tortola! Good German quality, our ship's clock...""Don't you give me any of that nonsense; you can see perfectly well that something's amiss! When did you ever see dawn at half past three in the morning? Don't tell me the sun is rushing ahead on its schedule...; ...wants to finish its day early and knock off for a quick one at the pub? Typical of the younger generation... harumph, harumph", retorted and grumbled my imaginary elderly guest. "Not like in the good old days! You could count on the sun then."At. read more...


26/05/2018

Jubilate Mare - Strange things going on..

After our discovery we are very confused and also a bit upset. Things get out of hand and I really hope we find a solution for this world problem before we get to the Azores. After knowing what we know, Martin started drinking all the Gin and tonic, Bruno ate all the noodles and biscuits, Pete and Bee locked themselves in a cabin with a crossword puzzle, Kieron’s flying kangaroo stopped smiling and I wonder how we are going to manage the last four days.The sailing is perfect and with a moderate sea and good breeze we smoothly slide through the waves with an average speed of 7 knots. Things seem normal, but there’s something we can’t figure out..After over 2130 miles from Nanny Cay, we can’t ignore it anymore. We tried everything; searched with a GoPro camera, varied the speed from 3 till. read more...


26/05/2018

Selkie - The Storm: Night of Day 9: Leg 2

The storm arrives. Chili on the stovetop threatens to spill everywhere. I get thrown off my feet into the wall trying to shut a hatch and hurt my ankle pretty bad. It swells with a bruise. Rory and everyone but Mara wolf down the Chili. I clean up and then look outside. I admit it, I did begin to tear up a bit. The look of the sea and sky was terrifying. The ocean over the night and through the next morning kicks up over 35 knots winds, over 20 ft swells! This moves us faster than 10 knots with just the stay sail out. Drenching waves. Waves that come over the back and into the center cockpit! Gusts. Chop. Wrinkles on the surface of the water from the whip in the air! Grey foggy skies for as far as you can see. Storm after storm. Waves that come as high as the Bimini on the sides before. read more...


26/05/2018

Firefly - Great sailing and interesting trivia...

The past 48 hours on board Firefly have been superb – we’ve seen the returnof the sun and some extremely favourable winds for sailing, meaning that we’vebeen able to relax and enjoy everything at our comparative ease.  We’vebeen on a comfortable broad reach most of the time, sailing at between 7 and 9knots directly towards the Azores.  The swell has been around 2 metres frombehind, but rolling very gently giving us a lovely smooth ride.  We’ve beenbasking in the sun, we’ve seen plenty of dolphins, and we even managed anafternoon tea with scones and jam – very civilised!  Winds have just easedslightly so 30 minutes ago we furled the jib and raised our gennaker, and we’rehoping that should bring us most of the way to the Azores.   Speaking of which..... During. read more...


26/05/2018

Blonde Moment - blog 10

Wednesday 23rd MayTuesday night was.......COLD... wet , very wet and dark. I am not sure if the time spent in the Caribbean had made me soft but Colin fro Washington DC also agree and was wearing more layers than me. This was a low point as not only did we have light or no wind the SSB net revealed that other yachts near our position still had wind , no rainand were sailing. we both agreed thatdinner should bebeans, bacon,eggs and hash browns - good warming food for a yuk night.It was not a pleasant night with lumpy seas making sleep difficult and constant attention to the sail trim was required due to the changing winds of between5-25 kts kept one busy during the night watch butas the night continued the winds became more consistentand eventuallywe were again sailing fastwith 2 reefs in. read more...


26/05/2018

Blonde Moment - blog 9

Monday 21 - Tuesday 22 mayLast night was Amazing in fact the last 24 hrs from Monday 1200 UTC to Tuesday 1200 UTC has been remarkable in may ways..Firstly the sailing has been fantastic ...... down wind , 2-3 mseas and wins 20 - 30 kts make for some great surfing conditions and the moon illuminating the way ... brilliant!Blonde Moment broke her speedrecord to date with 14.5 kts and a 24 hr run of 230 miles.203 miles in the right direction towards Horta.... a really good 24 hrs sailing.However just before the SSB net @ 12:30 UTC it all started to go wrong.....The wind began to ease and veer to the north meaning our course was not good- unless we wanted to go to the cape Verde islands!And now it started to rainTo get back on course we had to change our sail plan from down wind to up wind. read more...


26/05/2018

Blonde Moment - blog 8

sunday 20th maySailing today was good in SW winds Force 5 with poled out head sail , stay sail and main, we were flying along with this sail plan our maneuverability is limited and typically it was not soon before a car transporter ship appeared over the horizon and was on a collision course !A call on VHF and the situation was soon resolved as the officer of the watch was happy to alter course for us and give us more sea room ... thank you so much... in the English channel it can sometimes be hard to get a ship to answer the VHF and changing course is "pie on the sky" but out here generally the big ships can be very helpfulAs forecast the wind increased on sunday night and the fun began as we surfed down the building swell - great funAs we are 2 handed on this leg sleep has been our. read more...


26/05/2018

Ngahue IV - Ngahue IV - Donner und Blitzen at sea

What could have remained an uneventful night at sea ended with some spectacular firework display: thunder and lightning only a few miles away from us, with several bolts of lightning hitting the sea surface about 3-5 miles out. Gulp! A GPS, Iridium phone and h/h VHF were quickly dispatched into the oven - just in case. Chartwork etc. was brought up to (the latest minute) date too. And then we sat in the cockpit looking at this display of nature's power... It was a very calm thunderstorm, as thunderstorms go. Chalk that up for our bag of experiences at sea :-))). Only minutes before I'd been listening to one of Mike Oldfield's albums called Voyager, quietly contemplating the big expanses of ocean that our mother Earth offers (yeah, yeah: and why do we call our planet Earth when 70% of it. read more...


25/05/2018

Jubilate Mare - Azores here we come!

Well the gap is definitely closing for the end of leg two. With this is mind we have been slowly adjusting our time zone. This is being achieved by moving the clock forward one hour, on the 2-6am watch, over three days - last one coming up. It means everyone has had thebenefit of one shortened watch of 3 hours on the dawn shift. Bruno made yesterday’s bread and there is none left for breakfast today. No surprise. Very good bread. But no matter, Pete and I have tucked into chocolate porridge instead. This consists of porridge oats, brown sugar, milk and drinking chocolate powder,microwaved and ready to eat in just a couple of minutes - yummy, yummy, yummy!Our ‘boat family’ is a very happy group.It is a delight to hear the mirth and merriment, drifting down from the cockpit,as I busy. read more...


25/05/2018

Ngahue IV - Friday lullaby

Rock-a-by Ngahue, on the wave top,When the wind blows, your waves will rock,Etc. to be filled in by the reader who is probably less thrown around than we at the moment. A bit of bad weather has caught up with us, so for today, Friday, it's wind and swell on our programme. The up-side of this is that we are heading towards Horta at a, for us, unheard of rate of knots. A bit more sun would be nice, as our solar panels are generating less than half of what they normally produce. And because we are on a starboard tack, our Watt & Sea is a lot out of the water and producing a fraction of its rated 600 watt output.Although the sea is filled with waves, it certainly is not filled with other shipping. We are again all alone within the 20-50 mile range with which we can track other. read more...


25/05/2018

Khaleesi - Log Day 7 Rough Weather

The weather had been very rough and we had experienced a number of crashes and bangs with kit and equipment being thrown around their storage areas. But one noise in particular grabbed our attention; it was a clunking noise that occurred whenever we changed tack (inadvertently)We put it down to something in the lazerette locker moving around. In the morning as daylight broke I popped my head up into the cockpit to ask Pete and Graham about the sail plan to see if they had any suggestions.We also mentioned the noise, and therudder bearing was mentioned as a possible cause.We quickly removed the emergency tiller cover, and soon spotted that the rudder bearing was slipping; Oh No, not again!There was nothing for it but to deal with it immediately.I furled in the genoa, got the guys to come. read more...


25/05/2018

Mazu - Days 9 and 10 - Picking up Some Speed

Having been somewhat frustrated that we have not been not making good headway towards our destination, we finally poled out the genoa yesterday morning and made much better progress , a passage record of 152 miles in 24 hours.The boat felt comfortable, even in building seas and with wind around 16-18 knots, our speed picked up to around 7 knots.The mood onboard was distinctly improved!Gradually the wind backed from WSW to SSW and by morning was S so we dropped the pole and have enjoyed broad reaching in 20+ knots all day.The sun has been shining but we have had dark clouds chasing us almost all day.Howard is now on watch and getting somewhat damp because one large rain squall finally caught up with us.At least it should wash some of the salt off the decks!We have about 600 nautical miles. read more...


24/05/2018

Selkie - Day 9: Leg 2 The Wind

In the cockpit, Nick and I decide on a new life plan: 6 months at sea, 6 months at home with long stints in Toledo and our cottage. Keep and fix up hornet for Lake Michigan (it will be our picnic boat, Nick says). This means homeschool. Bigs are excited about the plan and agree. Nick and I see a huge tree floating 50 feet from us! Geez. Then we prepare for upcoming storm (maybe) with high winds (for sure). We’ve heard news that Templar has gone missing and Zeeland can’t start their engine and their generator is down. They may be sailing with no lights, but they are so far ahead of us. We worry about them, because we would love to give them our spare generator. The wind is here. We are flying! Luckily it is like the smoothest ride we have had yet. At 20 knots, we are hitting between. read more...



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