can we help
+44(0)1983 296060
+1 757-788-8872
tell me moreJoin a rally


Chula - Chula Log 03 - First 6 Days

I've really struggled to write about the first days of our passage.
There's lots to talk about - it's not everyday you set sail to cross the
Atlantic after all, but it's taken us 600nm for me to get into the swing
of things... Joe and I always wanted to capture 'real life's aspects of
sailing so I'll give it a go here - it'll all be forgotten when the wind
changes! So why has today been different? It's Wednesday 24th November 6
days into the passage, and probably 11 or so days to go... Today started
as usual, staggered starts from Joe, Tim and I as we emerge from our
night watch schedule; although last night was a light but steady wind
allowing restful sleep rather than sloppy, banging sails. Positive #1!

Positive #2; a sat phone text conversation with Coco - we're not alone
in frustrations with lack of wind! The weather forecast when we left was
showing little wind on the direct route to Grenada, pushing a lot of
boats south right from the off. We lost sight of any other ARC boats a
couple of days in, making me doubt the tactic of going south, especially
when the running order came in showing us just a few from the back. Lack
of wind meant we were doing 4-5 knots, at which rate it would take weeks
for us to cross! The light hearted conversation with Coco showed that
we're not alone (thank you Coco!) in addition I worked out that we can
get the positions of the entire fleet on PredictWind through our
satellite connection! We are doing alright in the fleet - well we're not
getting left behind anyway.

Positive #3; the weather is changing. We've had really hot, humid
weather leaving us (and Chula) hot, damp and salty; not the best
combination and you feel like you're never able to get clean. Today the
weather was hot, really hot, but not humid. We rigged a sun canopy plus
we stopped the boat and swam mid-Atlantic! What an experience! The water
was crystal clear, 29 degrees, and 6030m deep!! A really refreshing and
sureal experience. We finished off with a freshwater wash down in a
bucket, luxury....

Positive #4; We've found a sail combination which works reasonably well
in light winds: full mizzen, stay sail, 3 reefs in the main to allow the
cruising chute to fly. The various preventers look a bit like a cat's
cradle but it seems to work. The cruising chute has been one of our best
investments for the trip, it works brilliantly and looks stunning.

Positive #5; the wildlife. We've seen so much marine and bird life so
far. The flying fish are comical, every time you look to sea you'll see
them skimming across the waves like little fairies before plopping back
into the sea. Today we've had a new fish join us, perhaps a small tuna?
It sits in our bow wave then darts off after a small flying fish or
squid before rejoining us. It must have been with us for 5 hours or
more! As I write this it's pitch black on my first watch before the moon
rises, I heard the characteristic puff of a dolphin blowhole, yet all I
could see was the phosphorescence of it's wake leading under the boat,

So why the turning point today? Perhaps with a passage of such length
and a flexible end date there is more need to accept the unknowns and
get on with the day to day running of the boat? But there's also a need
to understand weather and make choices about direction, sail
configuration and when to gybe. Perhaps a combination of intense heat,
high humidity, tiredness, excitement and seasickness medication is to
blame... At the end of the day we are doing something out of the
ordinary, its bound to feel a bit strange and overwhelming, I still need
to pinch myself, we are sailing across the Atlantic, wow!!!

Previous | Next