Showing posts from 2016

Goodbye 2016 and all that... hello 2017,

I'm on watch from 8 till midnight tonight so will hand over to Niall next year. It's been an great few days out here in the tropical Atlantic. I'm sitting behind Tin Tin's wheel in shorts, tee shirt and life jacket. We are rocking along on a heading of 290 Deg on relatively calm sea at 7-8 knts with 25-30 knts of wind over our starboard quarter. We have a reefed mainsail for the night allowing one person to handle most eventualities by reefing the Genoa using the roller system. There is no moon so the stars are particularly bright when they appear from behind the low clouds.

I don't think I reported our three whale day in the blog, so better relate a most extraordinary day. It began when w hale was spotted following us in the waves behind us. They surf the waves just below the surface so that when the sun is at the right angle you get a great view of them, gliding along at 7- 8 knts, apparently effortlessly. Then we spotted a second and soon afterwards a third. T…

Nine days into our Atlantic crossing...

Hope you have all had an enjoyable Christmas with friends and family. We celebrated with a large chicken and mushroom pie (In the freezer since Tenerife!) and Cape Verdian potatoes and carrots, washed down with some bubbly. Santa hats were worn, presents opened and even 4 small stockings had made their way on board and we're hanging above the companionway, not forgetting the Christmas tree (see photo posted previously). All in all a memorable day!

It is now dark, windy and wet outside at the end of Day Nine.... Niall is on watch, Kyle in his bunk, Paul editing video in the saloon while I write.

Today has been an amazing day of whale watching and filming. We have seen a Minke whale the last 2 or 3 days, following us then accelerating past us so it wasn't too much of a surprise when we spotted another one surfing the swell just behind us. What was a surprise was to se a second and then a third! Cameras, iPhones and GoPro were deployed in a major photographic operation... the GoP…

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A whale of a day!
Today is our 7th day of sailing since leaving Mindelo on the 20th Dec. Today Kyle & Niall have been taking video of the boat.. from underwater as we speed along at 7knts, with Paul's GoPro, resulting in some amazing footage of Tin Tin's underside and waves. Niall also stuck his head under for the thrill! Soon afterwards they were watching the footage below and I was contemplating how to land a drone on the Bimini.. when a 7-8m long whale popped out of a wave right beside us and zoomed past our bow leaving me shouting WHALE! repeatedly causing a sudden dash up the companionway by the others... but sadly this whale was on a mission which didn't include engaging us in conversation!

All at sea for Christmas....


Goodbye Cape Verde...

After reaching Mindelo and finding our way into and anchorage on the evening of the 16th Dec, Paul and I awoke on the 17th to find a wreck lying about 100m behind us only marked with 3 black balls and completely unlit at night. Although this was a surprise it is actually marked on the charts so we should have known it was there!

After a relaxed breakfast we got the tender off its dayIt's and motored around the marina looking for a berth that would be relatively easy to get into and out of in the prevailing 30knt winds. Having found one we headed for the marina office to register and arrange for assistance in mooring stern on. As we were in the office, Anne and Niall arrived hot foot from the airport after flying in from Sal. With four aboard we got lines out and attached, then made our way to our berth and moored up with no problems, two line from the bow to mooring bouys, and then slipping back to the pontoon so the stern lines could be attached. This was a much more successful m…

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Lots to update you with!

I'm sitting in the Floating bar in Mindelo Marina with Paul, Kyle and Niall (who you will beer to hand and computers consuming most of Cape Verde's internet bandwidth! 
I have to apologise for he lack of posts (and the series of position reports which are probably a little annoying?)I will stop sending them to the blog for the Atlantic crossing. Talking of the Atlantic crossing, there has been a lot of activity over the last two days topping up the stores so we can feed four hungry young men... well two really young men and two slightly older men... Great quantities of oranges, apples, potatoes, beer... Hang on, BEER? I thought this was to be a dry voyage!  Well, there is a lot of tonic aboard, coke (full fat version thank goodness!) and still a good supply of Sainsbury's ginger beer left over from our original stores. 
Of course, I've jumped ahead of myself.. So I ought to take you back to where I left off in my last blog entry which I posted the night of our arrival in…

Photos of the trip. Up until the Canaries... Copy the link and put it in your search engine and you should be taken to the online album.... Sorry but I am struggling to make a clickable link when using my iPad to edit the blog!

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Cape Verde Arrival...

We have completed the voyage from Tenerife to Cape Verde! 880 miles in 192 hours, mostly on a port tack.

We dropped anchor in the harbour of Palmiera, on the island of Sal, where we found 20-30 other yachts at anchor. We made our way through a few and anchored closer to the shore than most... The anchor bit hard on something so we feel secure for the night. It's always a bit of a wary dropping anchor into unknown ground, so we attached a small pick up buoy to the anchor to assist in retrieving it if it has got snagged.

It has been an interesting voyage, nothing broken, no close shaves, just one liner which passed within half a mile, a strange blue green light bobbing along in the dead of night, fairly regular visits by Atlantic spotted Dolphins, and in the last two days lots of flying fish. Bird life has been extremely sparse, a swallow, some shearwaters, or fulmars? too far off to see if they had yellow or red legs.... A couple of turtles seemingly just hanging around then one …

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Day 3 of the voyage from Tenerife to Cape Verde

It's been a sunny warm day with a constant wind of 20-25 knts blowing us parallel to the African coast. It's a shame we didn't decide to get within sight so we could claim Africa this year rather than next. Cape Verde is technically part of Africa apparently but that's like saying that Jersey is part of Great Britain.

We have had some stronger winds during the first night and occasionally during the day. We are on a port tack broad reach with the wind on our port quarter. There are about three different swell patterns, the biggest coming down from west north west with a 10 second interval and 1.5 - 2.5 m in height, then there is the swell due to the wind which, considering we are 140 miles off the coast, I thought would be bigger than 1 - 1.5 m then there is a third swell which is much harder to determine but is there and occasionally makes itself known which a slap against Tin Tin's side.

We settled into a 3 hr watch system very easily. With 3 crew this means th…

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Medicinal tonic... Part 2 begins

On the 1st Dec 2016 Paul drove Stewart and me through the the frozen (-7 degC) Sussex countryside at an unearthly hour so we could catch EasyJet flight to sunny Tenerife. Stewart is the second deck hand to join the voyage. Paul remains behind to complete the second part of Medical Emergencies at Sea course. This will allow him to source lots of exciting equipment and controlled drugs anywhere round the world as well as giving him practice in sewing (up of wounds...), giving intra muscular and intravenous injections, and insert catheters... let's home that the worst we have to deal with is nothing more serious than a mild case of sunburn and an insect bite!

It's been a busy time back in the UK. I spent a week at home catching up with my boys, William & Elizabeth and mother and Ioan. Paul, Anne and I celebrated mother's 85 the birthday a bit early as we had to start part 1 of the Medical course. This 4 day course prepared us for assessing medical emergencies from unexpla…

Madeira to Tenerife

After an all too brief stay in Madeira we set off south towards Tenerife leaving Quinto do Lorde at 10:55 on the morning of the 11th November. The wind was blowing ESE in the high 20s so we set just the genoa and put half a reef in which allows us to sail at 7 knots while keeping on a fairly even keel.

Above is an extract from the log we keep. We try to make an entry every hour but it doesn't always happen... Here we record our position course, speed, some weather information and battery charge in %. We have had to do this because the new fridge seems to eat its way through the batteries much faster than the previous one did. George the autopilot can also be a big drain if the sails are not balanced and he is having to make a lot of corrections to keep us on course!

Our intention was to have a lunch time stopover at the Ilhas Selvagens the following day before proceeding on to Tenerife arriving there at first light on Paul's 63rd birthday on the 13th.

We arrived off the main i…

Madeira me dear...

The sail from Porto Santo to Madeira was an easy day sail past the Deserted Islands arriving at Quinta do Lorde Marina at the northern tip of Madeira just as the sun was setting allowing us to nip to the bar and have a double gin and tonic. It is a place that evokes the TV series 'The Prisoner' which was set in Port Merrion [sic], down to the emptiness and electric golf carts. 
You can't spend a day I'm Madeira or any island for that matter without trying to get to the top of it. I failed in Porto Santo but here we hired a car and set off for a tour.  What an amazing place it is, steep tropical forest with sudden openings allowing views up valleys to cloud draped sharks teeth peaks, and down to nest villages and farms where every bit of land is put to use growing everything from beans to bananas, including sugarcane and taro or 'Elephant ears'. I was particularly interested to find tea growing, which I am sure does, but failed to see any. It was interesting to se…

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Ilhas do Porto Santa

I left off the last post as we were approaching the island of Porto Santo. We made good time through the night and as you may have read in the Skippers blog (see link on right of the page), whilst I slept we made such good progress that he slowed us down so that we arrived in daylight. 
During the voyage we had become increasingly alarmed at a current leakage to the hull. Left unattended it will result in a thinning of the aluminium hull and eventually a hole can develop.... not something we really want! We had spent a lot of time trying to work out what was causing it, with several hours spent crawling around the engine and with my head down the bilges looking for a stray wire. The strange thing was that when we heeled hard over to starboard in a swell, the leak detector reported that it stopped, resuming once we heeled back to port. Having failed to find the cause we decided that we would do an exaughstive search once in harbour. 
Preparing to enter the harbour at Porto Santo I was at…

el Dorado and the rainbow

Today we have had quite a lot happen considering where we are, but first the night...
This was dark as the moon set quite early, the watches were uneventful, other than Paul seeing a bright green light which turned out to be the Dog Star Sirius, and it drew to a close with sunrise at 07:22 GMT. Not a spectacular sunrise but it took the chill out of the wind when the Rays reached the cockpit. A breakfast of porridge, Apple, cinnamon and crunchy brown sugar was a good start for the day ahead. We were still sailing under a slightly reefed genoa which lifts the foot of the sail just past the rail and avoids the enemy of long distance sailing, chafe. Each morning I do the rounds inspecting stays, fixings and sails for signs of wear, tear or stress. After this I retired to my berth to catch up on my sleep. We sailed on, with occasional increases in wind as a line of clouds overtook us, quickly returning to the normal 20knts once it has passed over, but giving winds in the high 30s to mid 40…

Cascais and relax...

We made it to Lisbon on the evening of Tuesday 1st Nov having covered 206 nm in 32hrs 50 mins bring our voyage total to 1013 nm. Well, when I say Lisbon, I mean to Cascais at the entrance to the bay leading to Lisbon. We sailed the majority of the second day ending up persevering against the headwind and putting in a few tacks... The first of the voyage really, and resisting the rather too easy option of starting the engine just because it's there and we are going at less that 5knts... We progressed, tacking against the wind, up past the massif of Sintra and Cabo Roca which is the most westerly part of mainland Europe (I always thought that accolade went to Cape Finisterre!?). 
 Paul was still feeling 'tied to the toilet' for want of a better description, and retired below to rest and read while I stayed up to enjoy the last of the day's sunshine. As the sun faded so did the wind and I put the engine on, set a direct course for Cacais, put the sails to bed, and got Tin …

Poorly Paul and Porto

Having waved goodbye to Niall in a Coruña, Paul and I set off, 09:35 on the 28th Oct, for the journey south down the Iberian peninsula to Porto. The forecast of little wind proved accurate and as a consequence we motored, occasionally motor-sailed, the 194 nm between our ports of call in Spain and Portugal. As we rounded the corner of a Coruña we passed the impressive tower of Hercules, reputable the longest continuously operating lighthouse in he world.

Once again we found ourselves in company with Tormalind for much of the journey but again managed to put some miles between us. In the late afternoon we had a following wind of 10-15 knts and decided to break out the Parasailor and give it an airing. Once it was set up it required no input from us to keep it full and pulling us along at a respectable 6 knts past the rugged coast north of Cape Finnisterre. We rounded the cape as the light was fading and made a course along a bearing of 169 degrees 12 hrs. Paul and I took 4 hr watches (w…

A Coruña... rest and recuperation

The cry of 'Land Ho!' went up at 10:16 GMT on the morning of the 26th October. Skipper, 1st mate and deck hand Niall had made the crossing of THE bay whiteout so much as a hint of it's reputation. This brings our voyage total mileage to 613 nautical miles.
As we approached land we wondered how far ahead of Tormalind, an Estonian boat which left at the same time as us and who we kept pace with until the second night of the crossing when we suspect that they reduced sail for the night which we did not! We have an advantage in that we can reduce our fore sails without having to leave the safety and comfort of the cockpit whereas Tormalind have to venture out and manually remove one sail and bend on another. maybe they were just tired of us being in such close quarters!!? Thanks to the wonders of modern telecoms we were able to put out a request to the Tin Tin WhatsApp group and sure enough the answer came back that they were about 27nm astern.. Satisfying for us! (Photos wil…