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19/11/2015

Firefly - Motoring in Malaysia, reflectioning on the trip so far

Its Thursday 19th November and Firefly is 15 miles from Pangkor Island Marina, the next stop on the Sail Malaysia Rally. Despite needing to either motor or motor sail for a good proportion of the 140 mile trip from Port Dickson - it has been quite efficient as yesterday the north west flowing tide was much more favorable - when it flows towards the south east its not so strong. Yesterday, we did manage some good sailing after motoring for the first 6 hours. The Admiral (our gennaker) came out of 'his' storage spot above the aft cabin and with between 9 and 12 knots and a good angle Firefly zoomed along at up to 7 knots for the next 6 hours. The current was as much as an extra 3 knots so we covered a long distance during that period. There are an unbelievable amount of fishing boats in. read more...


19/11/2015

Shelena - Start for ARC + to St Lucia

18th November at 0230 UTCWe have had a fantastic first 12 hours with winds at 20 - 24 knots,originally from the eastto east south east. Preparation for leaving wasfrantic even though we thought we were prepared. The reality is that 930miles sailed to Sao Vicente claimed two lost screws to our genoa furler, onebroken rail fastener and a ripped cruising chute. Priority 1 was to getthesailing chute repaired if at all possible. Success, it was retuned toShelena just last night. We look forward to the opportunity to fly it. Thesail is large for lighter winds so it remains in its cover for now.Additionally, we needed to add fresh fruit and veg which all takes time. WEwalk everywhere!WE enjoyed Sao Vicente's restaurants and the ARC+ entertainment, but wereready to leave this morning ready for. read more...


19/11/2015

Shelena - Finished Leg 1 to Sao Vicente

Sorry for the silence but seems that pressing matters push blogs to the backof the queue. Thequick heads up is that the second part of our leg was,well, boring. Winds stubbornly refused to blow. We had yacht speed of just acouple of knots and Helen made the case for main engine use. Sacrilege! Weare a sailing yacht not a gin palace so the engine remained silent untilpassing the finish line. The reality, it turned out, was that many yachtsdid indeed turn on engines for which they are penalised with time added totheir actual time. Consequently we benefitted with a Group A finish of about8th and, over all twenty something. Not too bad for a yacht that we arestill learning to sail.A few days after our finish at Sao Vicente, Kathy and Jules left us for afew days proper holiday in a hotel at. read more...


19/11/2015

Sail away - Sail Away Day 7

Regardless of my attempts to avoid fuel  filter issues by running only the generator or the main engine they have started.  With all this motion from these seas, my fuel is sufficiently mixed I think.  The weather forecast was a little disturbing this morning, rather than the nice trades we were hoping for we are running into gale force winds and 10-12 ft seas.  Looks like we will have about a day to get ready for it.  I put up the mizzen and then double reefed it, and then dropped it again.  My plan in gale force winds is double reefed mizzen and staysail.  We ran with a double reefed main only the first night after crossing the Gulf Stream in what turned out to be gale force and it was pushing it.  With our broken bow sprit, we won’t be. read more...


18/11/2015

Free Spirit - Tuesday, 17 November 2015 Slow Boat to China

The wind has decided not to cooperate.It dropped and shifted and is right on the nose.We're motor sailing with just a reefed main and the going is slow.We've been logging 150-160 nm days, but not today.We took advantage of the relatively calm sea to top off the fuel tanks with the jerry cans on the rail.  Since we've been able to sail most of the way, our fuel status is good and we could motor all the way to Tortola at this point if we wanted… NOT!!!!We're getting in as much Easting as we can and hoping to be able to turn south and sail.This morning we found a flying fish on deck.The sea is littered with patches of Sargasso grass, so we decided to put out a fishing line.Took a while, but we finally hauled in a 2 foot skipjack tuna.Not very good eating, so it turned into catch and. read more...


18/11/2015

Free Spirit - Monday, 16 November 2015 MTWR

High wind plus an opposing current equals one miserable night as we bounce along, getting smacked about on a frequent basis by the waves.As Steve would put it, "MTWR (as in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride)".At first I was concerned about Alex, as this is his first offshore experience and we weren't sure what he'd think of this.  Well obviously we didn't need to worry.He's in his glory, like a kid who has just been given a pass for unlimited rides on the roller coaster.Once we got through the night, we had a fix it day.First the head on the galley faucet broke off and we had to jury rig a clamp to keep the hose from retracting.Not to be out done, the lid and seat on the head came apart and had to be reassembled.  We should have known better than to touch the chart plotter during our. read more...


18/11/2015

Starblazer - 17/11/2015 - Our first week in Richards Bay

The first few days here sped by in a whirl of activity, beginning Monday evening with the Braai, BBQ to non South Africans.Monday evening is the only night both the bar and kitchen are closed so the club provides charcoal and allows members and visitors to bring alcohol onto the premises.The Braai area is set out with 6 brick built hearths, tables and chairs.We had an enjoyable evening talking to other yachties but gave up fairly early because our body clocks were on La Reunion time (2 hours ahead of South Africa) plus we needed to be up and ready to leave by 0800 Tuesday morning.We slept very well.Tuesday we went on a trip to a game reserve about 2 hours drive away.This reserve has all of the big five: elephant, giraffe, buffalo, white rhino and lion; we saw all but the lion.We also saw. read more...


18/11/2015

Chimo - Reisverslag 5 ARC+

Nadat we zaterdag 14 november om 9.07 lokale tijd zijn gefinisht hebben de dagen hier helemaal in het teken gestaan van het roer. Voortvarend werd zaterdagmiddag het roer uit de boot gehaald. Het bleek een drijvend roer te zijn terwijl Bavaria meestal zinkende roeren levert. Daardoor liep het roer een beschadeging op. Al duikend moest van onderaf een lager verwijderd worden. Dat heeft twee dagen geduurd. Allerlei dingen zijn ervoor gemaakt om dit voor elkaar te krijgen. Twee dagen klinkt lang, maar het gaat hier op z'n Afrikaans. Ze duiken een aantal keer en verdwijnen dan uren lang. Wij wachten, Leo gaat er eens achteraan, maar vooral niet teveel druk zetten want dan gebeurt er zeker niets meer. Dan liggen we net in bed en komen ze nog even iets passen of meten. In het donker zonder. read more...


18/11/2015

Why Not - Enjoying Las Palmas

On our way to seminars at the hotel and then off to find a costume for theFancy dress party tonight.  Not long before everyone heads off to StLucia.  Wishing everyone save fair winds and looking forward to seeing youall in St Lucia.   Richard and his crew on “Why Not” m_m_ip 503. read more...


Why Not - Enjoying Las Palmas
Why Not - Enjoying Las Palmas
18/11/2015

Mojeka - Mojeka - news from Mindelo

11:00 UTC Tuesday Nov. 17, 2015Position: 16.886379N, 24.991655WCOFFEEMAKER IS FIXED!!now nothing stands between us and the Atlantic. The grinder mechanism was broken and the machine needed some major surgery to replace it. Now we hear a beautiful whirring sound each time we push that button. More comfortable night watches are now only a click away.Oh, I almost forgot:We had a big surprise last night when at the prize winning we were given the plaque for 2nd position in group B!!!!This in spite of the fact that we were penalized 3 hours for purportedly crossing the start line second early. We sort of disagree with that, since we were going by UTC and the race management created their own time by calling the start 5 seconds early.Oh well, it did not make a difference in the end, so we just. read more...


Mojeka - Mojeka - news from Mindelo
Mojeka - Mojeka - news from Mindelo
18/11/2015

Mojeka - Mojeka - 120 hr log

13:00 UTC Friday Nov. 13, 2015Position: 19.961055N, 23.531290WSLOW PROGRESS IN POOR WINDS!!we covered 110.3nm in the last 24 hours (avg. 4.596kt), once again our worst day so far. The wind dropped to below 10knot at nightfall last night and even with the gennaker up the speed dropped dramatically, sometimes going down to just above 3 knots. Good news: the swell has virtually flattened and the boat is running smoothly with very little rolling motion. We tried everything to improve speed, like adding some limited mainsail to collect the air in the gap between the two sails and even gull-winging out the full mainsail on the other side. All this did extremely little to improve the speed so we decided to let our power house – the gennaker – do its thing undisturbed. The wind came from. read more...


18/11/2015

Mojeka - Mojeka - 96hr log

13:00 UTC Thursday Nov. 12, 2015Position: 19.436688N, 22.372331WSTILL NO TUNA!!we covered 136.7.3nm in the last 24 hours (avg. 5.967kt), our worst day so far. Reason 1: the wind dropped to below 20knot at nightfall last night. We had expected that to happen sooner and had hoped to get the gennaker up all day, but winds were too strong. As the wind dropped it was dark, not a good time to raise a gennaker on an unknown boat for the first time in your life. So we had to wait till morning and only did about 5.0 to  5.5 throughout the night on genoa and main, the configuration we had had all along. This morning at last we got the gennaker up. it proved relatively easy and we have been rolling along at 6.5 to 8 knots ever since. Very pleasant sailing. Reason 2: we had to. read more...


18/11/2015

Mojeka - Mojeka - 48hr log

13:00 UTC Tuesday Nov. 10, 2015Position: 23.177722N, 18.754478WSTILL NO FISH!180nm @ average 7.5kt is pretty good going. Conditions are unchanged with winds between 16 and 26kt, steady from the NE, allowing us to stay very near on track for Mindelo. Weather in the next few days suggests decreasing winds starting tomorrow afternoon, so we are probably going to start hoisting the gennaker at some stage. Currently we are still on genoa and mainsail, sometimes reefed, sometimes not. Bernd tells us that we are roughly in 12th position out of more than 60 – not too shabby. Dave keeps repeating regularly how well Mojeka sails. Everyone is well and even Monique is up and about and currently engaged in preparing the desert for tonight’s dinner. Others have had showers and all in all we. read more...


18/11/2015

Mojeka - Mojeka - 24hr log

13:00 UTC Monday Nov. 9, 2015Position: 25,.707454N, 16.858004Wwe had a good start in Las Palmas, as a matter of fact we timed it beautifully and celebrated being first across the line!The field very soon appeared to divide into a racing division: about 10 boats taking off under spinnaker, then a small group of about 4 boats including us and behind and soon disappearing behind the horizon, the 50 remaining boats.So Mojeka at least at the beginning has done exceptionally well – under genoa and main only.We have covered 172nm over ground at an average of 7.167kt in 15-25kt winds under main and genoa.We would probably average closer to or even above 8kt if it wasn´t for a current against us.Everybody is happy. George spotted two whales but did not catch any fish so far (we were hoping it. read more...


18/11/2015

Hejira - Last night in Mindelo

Wednesday 18th November 2015The organised excursion around the Island was interesting with the small coach struggling up to the summit along steep, narrow, paved switchback roads.The views would have been stunning had there been better visibility through the low cloud and mist. We visited deserted beaches and verdant smallholdings in valleys between barren mountains. Away from the Mindelo conurbation, the Island is attractive with some striking features and an unspoilt charm.It seems that two small islands further south are the holiday destinations and not Sao Vincente where we are moored in Mindelo. Doing our final shop in the local supermarket we were reminded of the peculiar dynamic of Mindelo society with security guards dressed like commandos stationed at the exit with others. read more...


Hejira - Last night in Mindelo
Hejira - Last night in Mindelo
18/11/2015

Sail away - Sail Away Day 6

Motor sailing  just east of do south in ENE fluky winds.   Made a couple adjustments on the jury rigged bob stay.  The aft battery bank got pulled down to much so that attempting to charge them only tripped the charger breaker.  So I swapped those out with some fresh spares.  Because in the past when I ran the generator and the main engine at the same time the filter boss alarm would go off, and I’d have to change the racor filter.  My experience is once that starts, it constantly after that.  To avoid that we shut the main down every few hours to run the generator and get the freezer back down.  We usually let the freezer get up to about 10 degrees then pull it back down to minus 10.  Crew is a little tired, captain is too! . read more...


17/11/2015

Why Not - Why Not's Crew have arrived!

Why Not's crew has arrived!Pleased to say that Keith, Ray, Catrin and Paul have joined us and hope they will enjoy all the festivities leading up to their departure on Sunday.Only one member, Charlie left to join us on Friday.Not long now, our pontoon is very busy with last minute jobs to be done. - Richard DSC01300. read more...


Why Not - Why Not's Crew have arrived!
Why Not - Why Not's Crew have arrived!
17/11/2015

Raylah - Log Day 4-Land in sight

We are in good shape apart from instrument failures particularly the autohelm cutting in and out.We have been flying our lovely yellow and blue spinnaker downwind which gives us a very quiet and stable ride for cooking, reading and contemplation and a question that popped up was ‘Why do we go sailing?’ You take 4 blokes who hardly know each other, having nothing in common apart from sailing and you put them in a small room which like ‘Hotel California’ they can never leave.  Then you continually tilt the room in all directions to put them off there balance and occasionally wet them with sea water to make them cold and sticky . They can of course wash this off with more sea water making them even more sticky. You then address their mental state by sleep deprivation. This a. read more...


17/11/2015

Hejira - 4th in class !!!!

Tuesday 17th November 2015After early morning rain, the day continued to be overcast and clammy. Our mission for the day was to obtain the necessary pipework and fittings to effect a re-working of the watermaker connections. After some time spent in trawling the various shops trying to make ourselves understood (our Portuguese and Creole is not up to much) we found a chap in a very poorly stocked chandlers who went away with a list and drawings promising to deliver all to Hejira at midday. We gave him the benefit of the doubt not really expecting him to ‘come up trumps’ and waited aboard at the allotted time. With him not appearing (what a surprise) we adjourned to the floating bar where we could observe the comings and goings and all but the essential pipe, arrived in dribs and drabs.. read more...


17/11/2015

Sail away - Sail Away Day 5

I forgot to mention Chucks birthday yesterday! We had had birthday cupcakes!  So we continued through the night In generally an easterly direction under main, staysail and genoa.  At 6 am my sister was sleeping in the bow V-birth when she was awoken by a horrible noise.  She said it sounded like we were dropping the anchor or something.  She came running, something is going on up on the bow.  Turning on the spreader light reveal the bow sprit going up and down.  I wasn’t sure that the pressure from the roller furled itself wasn’t going to finish the job, but we had to try.  Fortunately the genoa came in and rolled up.  We were still moving through the water at a good clip so next we rolled up the staysail and lowered the main.  Now we. read more...


16/11/2015

Blue Summit - Halfway to the BVI

It was just two weeks and 900 miles ago that we departed from Deltaville for our circumnavigation.Currently, we are on the sixth day (and over halfway) on the leg from Norfolk to Tortola in the BVI.We headed out of the Chesapeake Bay 5 days ago, past Cape Hatteras and southeastward toward a spot south of Bermuda on the 65W line of longitude.This is known as the I-65 route to the Caribbean and although an open ocean route, and the quickest way to get there, there is less upwind sailing than on the infamous Thorny Path through the Bahamas and Greater Antilles.We have now turned south and are sailing along on a bumpy beam reach at 9 knots with about 20 knots of wind. "New" is the operative word on this passage for us. Our ten year boat needed "some" refits and updates after last winter's. read more...


16/11/2015

Barbara Jean - Day 3- November 13, 2015-Another choppy ride

Day 3-Friday  During morning roll call there wasn't a readout of the weather however, WRI said we should all head for 300 nm south of Bermuda. Annabella once again relays weather information to us.It is nice to have someone looking out for you. No boats in sight, neither visually nor on radar.Bob mentioned on morning roll call that several boats reported equipment failure. These choppy seas are hard on the boats and people.It's almost safer in the cockpit than it is below deck.We are doing well despite the constant rolling back and forth of the boat. This is when you find out how well you have secured things below.We started out with a golden rule of no salt down below except for in the salt room (aft berth/storage area) but, things are so bouncy that it doesn't make sense to take. read more...


Hejira - Sleeping dogs
Hejira - Sleeping dogs
16/11/2015

Barbara Jean - Day 4-Saturday Still no boats in sight

We continue to sail SE towards the 300 nm position that was suggested.Winds are directly behind us with the swells still mixed.We have a hammock netting that has fruit, potatoes, bread and buns on top that is hanging from the portside ceiling hand hold.It has been adjusted and secured several times as it is one of the traps or potential hazards down below.The seas have settled a little so I will attempt to make breakfast….scrambled eggs, sausage and cheese wrapped in a tortilla. It was delicious!!!!Morning role call went well except several rally boats did not participate.I like to write down the positions of each boat to get an idea of where everyone is at.I later learn that not everyone can hear the roll call, depending on their location. I tried hailing Annabella on the VHF earlier. read more...


16/11/2015

Barbara Jean - Left Portsmouth?headed out into Atlantic-11-14-15

We start our shifts….4 hours on and 4 hours off. We tend to be a little more lax during the day.Day1--We left the dock around 9:25am on Wednesday, November 11th. The ride started out with choppy seas and continued throughout the today. After leaving the southern portion of the Chesapeake, we went south and followed the coastline down to Cape Hatteras.We were given a suggested latitude and longitude to enter the Gulf Stream. After we turned East to head out into the Atlantic, Bob grabbed the whisker pole to be able to sail wing-on-wing.This setup lasted about an hour and then the pole bent……it has now been taken out of the equipment list. Winds were out of the North at 15/16 knots. The seas have been choppy with swells at 5-9 feet.Dinner was coney islands and chips.Day 2-7:30 amI just. read more...


16/11/2015

Free Spirit - Sunday, 15 November 2015 Entertainment at sea

Last night's motoring didn't last long.By 2200 the wind filled in and we were able to partially unfurl the genoa to go wing on wing.The motor's off and we are sailing again.We are making good time today, having clocked a 9.4kt speed surfing down the back of a wave.  We started out the morning with a hearty breakfast of apple spiced pancakes, then broke out the toys and other sources of amusement.Steve is working the sextant again.I stand corrected… yesterday he came within 0.5 miles of our electronic position fix, definitely a "you da man" moment.Alex, our IT expert, helped me set up the solar powered charging device my son gave me for my birthday.Our latest competition is to see who can coax out the greatest amount of speed and stay the closest on course. I can hear my mother now,. read more...


16/11/2015

Annabella - Fw: Day 5 at sea

The crew of Annabella watches the sun rise somewhere in the Triangle while H. L.watches over the scene and Wendy gives direction.What was the direction? "go East old men, go East" And so we do.Au demain. read more...


16/11/2015

Hejira - Sleeping dogs

Monday 16th November 2015After a short night’s sleep, I have to confess to waking to a slight headache, probably due to a lack of sleep……………Exploring Mindelo on a Sunday morning probably doesn’t show it at its best being rather quiet apart from the children begging. The colonial architecture would probably once have been impressive but now everything has a faded, run down feel to it. The laid back attitude is probably best crystallised in this picture of a sleeping dog. Seemingly feral dogs appear to be everywhere and this did elicit a comment from Stephen that, although he has medication for most situations, he doesn’t have anything for rabies!The Mindelo marina infrastructure doesn’t seem to run to sufficient voltage to run the air conditioning so we are almost grateful that the skies. read more...


Vitamina - dolphins
Vitamina - dolphins
Vitamina - flying fish
Vitamina - flying fish
15/11/2015

Vitamina - vitamina diary2

day4 in three days more we hope we will be at Mindelo!! This morning we could open the ARC files with the weather forecast and the yacht positions…..we are one of the last yachts….but happy!….we could solve the problem with the water maker thanks to a radio connection with Rafael del Castillo our contact in Las Palmas. The weather is quiet and we hope keep in that way I miss my sister….a lot…. This morning we could talk to Skirion in Las Palmas…they are fine…   day5 we started the day with the radio connection….and everything is OK …Moonshine, the vessel with problems is ok, so great!..and suddenly I lisened to Ignacio yelling a fish a fish!! our first Dorado…beautiful fish with spectacular colors..and I changed the menu for the day…we will eat fish on grilled instead of rice with. read more...


15/11/2015

Vitamina - vitamin diary

 Day 1 After the first 30 milles we have to talk to the organization because we had to stop at Pasito Blanco to do a reparation in the water maker….after two hours we continued sailing south stern but all the fleet was so far from us. That night was quiet and with good north eastern winds….. The nightwatched  started…2 hours and a half each of one….. Some hours after we passed next to Skirion…the other spanish yacht…and they told us that their night was very uncomfortable day2 we continue using to be on board…. watches, the food….we have  spaghetti for lunch!…the waves have been higher than before…but from the back wihch is great! we have connected with the rest of the fleet without problems…but bad news today…Belafonte has had to return to Las Palmas because some. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Saturday, 14 November 2015 What a difference a day makes!

We had a very much welcomed beautiful sail last night with west winds 18-20 kts and gentle waves.We scooted right along, clocking 8.9 kts SOG at one point, much to our delight.We all slept soundly off duty, with a contest to see who sawed the most logs.I think the skipper won that hands down.I kept thinking I was hearing a furling line whining through the block until I traced the source.Alex is earning the moniker "squall boy", as he seems to be catching all the squalls on his watch while the rest of us stay nice and dry.Steve and Alex are working on the rock star challenge, breaking out the sextant again.Today's efforts resulted in a position within 1.6 miles of our electronic fix.Wahoo!The wind turned fickle and we had to turn on the motor again.All in all we are pleased with our. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Friday, 13 Nov 2015 Rodeo Time

Last night we got a taste of how spoiled we've become this passage.The winds and the waves kicked up and we spent the night rocking and a rolling.Free Spirit impersonated a rodeo bronc, bucking, rolling, dropping her shoulder and doing her best to unseat us.The difference is that she never tired and the ride lasted 8 hours rather than seconds.  The watch person held onto the lines tightly to stay in the saddle while those below found sleep impossible as they were thrown side to side, and up in the air in their bunks.Even the new lee cloth system was no match, working well to prevent injury but not enough to let you sleep.When morning came we were all still here, though rather bleary eyed.The sun came out, the wind and waves settled down, and a huge pod of dolphins came alongside the. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Thursday, 12 Nov 2015 Settling in

The wind shifted north and died during the night, so we ended up motor sailing through the night.We're settling in to our 2 hour watch system, grabbing shut eye at every opportunity while we work on acquiring our sea legs.We have been fighting a cold water eddy all day according to our temperature readings, with 2 kts of current against us to slow our progress.Steve got out his sextant and is sharpening his celestial navigation skills… a lost art these days.He took the readings, did the calculations, and came within 8 miles of our electronic fix.The challenge is on to see how much he can narrow the gap… the rock star challenge!Andrea'. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Wednesday, 11 Nov 2015 Out to the Gulf Stream

We departed Hampton Yacht Club in Hampton, VA at 1500 EST.The Caribbean 1500 fleet is scheduled to leave tomorrow.We're heading out now to try to take advantage of the wind, coming at us from the west compliments of Tropical Storm Kate.The skies were overcast on Tuesday with intermittent rain showers, so we had to take advantage of breaks in the rain to finish loading the end of the last minute items.When all was in order and the crew set, we got underway. Winds were west at 5-10 kts when we started motor sailing, but quickly picked up.By 1900 AST (Atlantic Standard Time) we had 20-28 kts of west wind and could douse the engine and sail comfortably with a 3rd reef in the main and full jib.It was easy sailing and a great way to start the adventure.The dreaded waves due to all the. read more...


15/11/2015

Bamarandi - Sunday 15th November - Mindelo Welcomes ARC+ visitors

We arrived here on Friday 13th with very little wind helping us over the line only for it to build significantly as soon as we entered the marina. It has blown hard since but has now dropped overnight. We have been doing various jobs on the boat including going up the mast to re-rig the gennaker line although we will not use it as the line supplied with the boat is clearly not right for the job. A sister boat is here on the ARC+, one of the earlier Victoria 67 hulls and they have had exactly the same problem. After 2 breakages when first using their gennaker they replaced the line and have seen no more problems since. We cannot source the right sort of line here so will have to continue the passage to St Lucia without being able to use the gennaker which will be a significant handicap. read more...


15/11/2015

Sail away - Sail Away Day 4

Continued through the night heading SE with a double reefed main.  8 Am wind dropping into the high teens, shock out the reefs in the main and set the Genoa and staysail.  Looking at the wind predictions we decided we should head further east so we flipped to a broad reach on the port tack.  We saw another sailboat running do south, turned out to be Island Tales and we connected on the VHF.  They said they were crossing the Gulf Stream near Isbjorn when Isbjorn blew out a sail.  They got everything on film.  I think I know who gets the Gill Jacket!  Anyway running across Island tales a Tayana 48 means where not doing that badly.  Island Tales was heading straight downwind, something Sail Away doesn’t do well.  But I felt that was the. read more...


15/11/2015

Exody - Days 303-309: Big 3, Celtic Connections and Poo Spitting !

Our final run in to Richard's Bay was 'downhill' across the Agulhas current- up to 2 knots with us and up to 30 degrees sideways course offset.Maintaining sail until close in to the busy industrial port, we motored between the breakwaters just ahead of a vast cargo ship on our tail. We were welcomed by World ARC/Yacht Club dinghy to negotiate the unmarked channel in and later enjoyed the presented bottle of South African bubbly. Just 48 hours after this arrival on the afternoon of Monday 9th, we had seen at close quarters three of the 'big 5'- elephant, rhino and buffalo.Plus giraffe, wildebeest, warthog, zebra, hippo, crocodile and several members of the surprisingly diverse antelope family (Kudu, Impala etc-fast food for lions!).Our one hour journey north firstly to the. read more...


15/11/2015

Misto - Rockin' n 'rolliing

On day 4 we now have great wind.The sea state is pushing us a little further South before we get to 65W than we had intended but we are still on target for Tortola. We have visual company here - Vanishing Point - a Salty Dog Rally boat that left the same day as the Carrib 1500. We tried fishing - no luck yet!It's really beautiful out here at night with the skies full of shooting stars. Our crew are doing great - we have had so much practice reefing and un-reefing they can almost do it blindfolded!Howard and RosS/V Misto. read more...


15/11/2015

Lea - Log Day 7 – Saturday/Closing up on the finish line, with a hint of tomatoes

  21:50GMT-1: With 5 nautical miles left to the finish line, CapeVerde feels so close we can almost touch it! We’re all in the cockpit, ready toset our feet on solid ground and are of course fighting over the honor of whosaw land first. Earlier today we had a good go on deck with a bucket and a fewloads of sea water. That Sahara desert has really made itself comfortable. Thesand is still all over the place, on ropes and wires and in between all kinds ofsurfaces we didn’t even know existed. Let’s just say there’s no doubt what anglethe wind came from. WithHejira right behind us, Sara Ulrikke beating us with a few miles, the day hasbeen a good one with some added excitement of closing up on Cape Verde. Or whatI thought was a good day, until I crossed paths with an unfriendly can of. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Tuesday, 10 November 2015 And we're off?

Boat's loaded, crew prepped.Will include team photo when we arrive at the other end.Andrea. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Sunday, 8 November 2015 Hurry up and wait

We've been working like dogs all week, taking care of last minute details.I've cooked, frozen and vacu-sealed 10 days worth of meals.We have 4 different kinds of home baked cookies, accommodating crew special requests.Mike has been troubleshooting the single side band radio all week, as it has been on the fritz.Nothing like a little last minute angst, as no radio is a show stopper in our book.  Finally, after replacing the grounding device, tuner and running new cable, we are back in business today.He should sleep like a baby tonight!We had hoped to get an early start and leave yesterday, but Mother Nature has other ideas.We are now delayed until Tuesday or Wednesday due to weather developments in the Caribbean.Andrea. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Sunday, 1 November 2015 One step closer

Slowly but surely we are making progress.Not sure if I'm in denial or if everything is as squared away as it seems.Mike claims all the major boat projects are done and he's down to the little stuff.We've checked in with the Caribbean 1500 group and already passed our safety inspection.  For good measure we also completed the US Coast Guard safety inspection and are sporting that decal as well.The house is beginning to look like a house again as the boat stuff is heading back down and being stowed away on the boat.There will be 4 of us for the passage.Steve Runals (aka Rock Star) will be going with us again.Alex Fleming rounds out the crew as our fourth, making his first blue water passage.  Everyone is ready and eager to go.Andrea. read more...


15/11/2015

Free Spirit - Saturday, 24 October2015 It's that time again!

It almost feels like Christmas around here as packages arrive daily and we're practically on a first name basis with the UPS delivery man who brings us an assortment of spare parts and various sundries to ensure we have anything we could possibly need to tide us over for our passage and winter in the Caribbean.After 14 months on the hard in Annapolis undergoing a major refit project, Free Spirit is back home and getting ready for the Caribbean 1500 once again.  Mike is working feverishly on the boat, taking care of odds and ends like getting our reefing system functional again and enlisting my help for a trip up the mast to feed the jib halyard so we could put the jib back on.I'm focused on getting the house and other commitments in order.Fall planting and yard work is done.The. read more...


15/11/2015

Hejira - Mindelo at last

16 53.214N 024 59.487WSunday 15th November 2015Quite an interesting arrival in the Cape Verde Islands with none of the charted navigational lights working and the island inside which we had to finish at 11.31pm showing as nothing more than a menacing  presence. The stowing of the sails and preparation for berthing was surprisingly slick given that the wind chose to pipe up just as we crossed the line. We took our berth alongside Lea who preceded us in and we managed to down a few beers in the floating bar before they closed. It seems that few yachts managed the passage without using the engine so it will be interesting to see how the organisers arrange the positions after the deadline for finishing at 5pm tonight.We all slept very well, assisted no doubt by our celebratory. read more...