Bermuda to the Azores – day 14

Our position at 10:00 (12:00 GMT) Friday 15th June

38 47 North
030 10 West only 30 degrees from home now.

We have a 75 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 119 miles. Should be in quite late tonight.

Quite remarkably we managed to sail all day yesterday and, even more remarkably, all night too. The wind was light all day and Bill poled the gennies out on the twizzle and the main was tied off too. We kept expecting the wind to drop but the current was good and we decided to keep sailing until the wind died, which was 7.30 this morning. It had paid off going a degree north as advised by Chris Parker the weather guy because there were a couple more knots of wind at 38 to 39 degrees north. On the afternoon net most of the boats south of us had put their sails away and were motoring. Chris had said he thought we would have wind to sail with up to the last 60 miles, it died at 86 miles so that was pretty good going. All the sails are put away now and we are motoring to our waypoint. Unfortunately because we were a bit slower yesterday we won’t get in until about midnight but we are happy with our decision to have sailed. At 3pm this afternoon we would have been out here 2 weeks so it will have been 14 1/2 days at sea by the time we arrive. It’s been a technical sail where Bill has been constantly scanning over GRIB wind files and RTOF current files looking for little corridors of wind and good current, with them sometimes conflicting to our cost. The sails have been up and down, in and out with lots of deck work for Bill which hasn’t helped his bad knee. Chris Parker with marine weather on the SSB has been very helpful. We subscribed to him so we were able to call up during his transmission, give him our position and he would give us a spot forecast along with the weather in our area for the next few days. It was really useful to have. I think he took over from Herb who many older sailors will remember.

I’m having a nice pedicure and maybe a manicure this afternoon courtesy of my lovely husband as a reward for only whinging a tiny bit!!! Lol 😉

Haven’t seen any more whales but it’s ok now we have the engine on because they hear us coming and move out of the way. Lots of birds around as we get nearer to land.

Still quite warm here and we still only have shorts and t-shirts on. I put a fleece on in the evenings because it gets chilly and Bill has been putting his Musto trousers on for his night watch.

I just made spag bol last night with a jar, bit lazy. Although I did make bread again yesterday.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

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Bermuda to the Azores – day 13

Our position at 10:00 (12:00 GMT) Thursday 14th June

38 51 North
032 41 West 3 steps again today.

We have a 194 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 128 miles. Still hoping to get in tomorrow but it might be late.

We continued to sail yesterday but the wind was dropping again which increased the effect of the current, slowing us down and our average speed started dropping again. By lunchtime we had 0.8kts of current against us but fortunately it didn’t last, sadly, neither did the wind. By 6pm the engine was back on and Bill took the twizzle rig down. There was a bit of breeze so the main went up so we could motor sail, it gave us an extra knot of boat speed. Bill went to bed and by 10pm the wind increased a knot or two and I put the gennies out on the same side for a beam reach sail and turned the engine off again. We managed to sail all night. We are trying to use every bit of wind at the moment for the last day of sailing. The wind is going to die over the whole area on Friday and everyone will be motoring. Bill did his third refueling this morning and now all the deck jerry cans are empty and the 2 inside spare ones. The tank is three quarters full which will hopefully be enough for the final motor tomorrow. We’ve still got 3 x 20 litre jerry cans at the bottom of the deck locker which are a really pain to get out but we will if we have to. So far this morning we are still sailing at 5.2 kts with 0.8kts of positive current for a change.

Yesterday we sat and made a list of all the items that we will sell when we get back to the UK. Some on ebay some at a boat jumble. We plan to keep Camomile and will continue to cruise her locally and in Europe but we won’t need SSBs, watermakers and all of Bill’s anchors not to mention all the spares for his spares.

I had a shock this morning. I was in the bathroom when Bill called out ‘Whales, look out of your window’ there, not 15 feet from the boat, were 2 Pilot whales. Bill said they had been lying on the surface and moved when they saw us coming. Amazing but scary, boats have been known to hit whales in the night. The Azores is said to have lots of whales in it’s waters. Yikes!

We had a passage meal from the freezer last night. I defrosted a nice green curry and cooked it with some rice. Nice and easy.

I’ve given up marine traffic. It’s not working apparently so I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 12

Our position at 10:00 (12:00 GMT) Wednesday 13th June

38 42 North halfway between the US and the UK
035 21 West 3 steps today.

We have a 318 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was a much better 149 miles. Happy bunnies today.

We’ve sailed non stop for 34 hours now with the twizzle rigged (which will be for sale when we get home)
The wind has varied from F3 to F4 south westerly so perfect downwind sailing. Our speed has been from 5.5 to 7.5kts and anything in between. The sun is shinning, no rain for about 3 days and all is happiness on board Camomile. Should be in Friday and there’s a glass or 3 of cold white wine waiting there for me. (We don’t drink on passage)

I had a strange phenomenon happen yesterday. In the last few days our latitude (heading north) has crept up from 36 to 37 to 38 north while our longitude (heading east) has gone from 040 to 037 to 035 today. Yesterday afternoon our position was 37 49N and 37 49W, isn’t that strange?

We had what I call a slob dinner last night. Mashed potatoes, baked beans, sausages and a fried egg on top. Lovely jubbly.

I’ve given up marine traffic. It’s not working apparently so I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 11

Our position at 10:00 (12:00 GMT) Tuesday 12th June

37 40 North heading north east
038 11 West 2 steps nearer.

We have a 457 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was a much better 129 miles.

What a difference a day makes… 24 little hours… I get song worms in my head sometimes and can’t stop signing a song. Yesterday was Judy Garland signing ‘One day over the rainbow’!!!!!

I digress. Yes much better day yesterday. The engine went off at 11:00 again (seems to be when the wind appears) and we sailed north east with the main AND the twin headsails flying but with very little wind it was still slow progress. We were still ghosting along at 4kts but moving into a better current area which was helping. The main had to come down in the afternoon because the sails don’t play nicely together, it was just flapping and not doing any good. At 8pm the wind died and the twizzle came in too and we were back to motoring but with the current managing 5kts. Bill had been studying the grib (weather) files in the afternoon and decided the wind would appear between midnight and 6am. As if by magic at midnight I suddenly heard the wind generator start up, the wind had arrived. I pulled the headsails out on my own without Bill because he left the twizzle rigged before he went to bed. When I got him up at 1am we were sailing at 5.5kts with the engine off. By the time I got up at 6am we were doing 6.5 to 7kts. Whoop whoop. The wind is directly behind us and she’s loving it. Should be like this for the next 24 or 36 hours so fingers crossed.

I had a close encounter with a ship last night. We’ve seen hardly anything out here but I noticed an AIS contact coming straight for us at about 11pm. It was approaching from the port side but I could still see their green starboard light so it wasn’t changing direction. We don’t very often but I decided to call the captain on the VHF radio. It took 3 attempts to get an answer. I asked him if he’d seen me on the AIS and he said he had and he was maintaining his course and speed and was gone. The ship was still crossing our bows and getting closer. It finally cleared a mile or so away from us and motored down our starboard side. It was so close I could here it’s engine clearly. We have an exclusion zone of a mile set up on the AIS and if a ship comes within it the contact turns red and flashes. Well this thing was flashing away so less than a mile away from us and in the dark it felt very intimidating. Unnecessary with that amount of sea room.

I made a nice dinner last night Chicken with leeks in lime and ginger. Well I don’t have any leeks so it was downgraded to Chicken with lime and ginger before I started. Chop up a chicken beast and dry fry with a couple of chopped garlic cloves. I have a jar of stem ginger in syrup on board so I chopped up a piece of that and added it along with a sprinkle of cumin, sprinkle of lemon pepper, a small squeeze of lemongrass paste and a good squeeze of lime juice (add the zest if you’ve got a lime) simmer gently while you cook some pasta. Add 50g of Philadelphia cream cheese (I don’t weigh anything so a good dollop) to the chicken and stir over a low heat until melted. Drain the pasta and add to chicken mixture and stir the whole thing together and place nicely in bowls. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan. Yummy.

I’ve given up marine traffic. It’s not working apparently so I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 10

Our position at 10:00 (12:00 GMT) Monday 11th June

36 40 North started to head north east
040 28 West half way between the US and the UK

We have a 576 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was a depressing 104 miles, we’ve never had a daily run on passage that low before.

The engine went off at 11:00 yesterday morning and we sailed slowly through the rest of the day in an easterly direction. We are trying to stay out of the adverse current which was going ok until teatime when we hit 0.8kts against us, added to which the wind dropped and we were doing a depressing 3.5kts. The wind is filling in from the west because the boats that are a day behind us have more wind so there was no point in motoring to get a bit of speed. My night watch was torturous 3.8, 3.5, 3.7, 3.9 wahoo, 2.8 ARRGGHH……where’s my emergency chocolate? Skipper says that’s what speed we’re doing so that’s what it will be but if it goes on much longer there’ll be a mutiny!!!!

This morning I got up and the speed was up to 4.5 that’s good I thought. NOOO it’s not good, it’s better but 6kts would be good. Give me trade winds any time, the north Atlantic is very unpredictable with it’s fluky winds and adverse currents, at least we haven’t had any gales (I’m touching wood as I speak). Monday morning and you’re all off to work while we’re still plodding on- know where I’d rather be. Bill has a t-shirt that says ‘A bad day at sea is better than a good day in the office’ – it’s not. I’m told there’s definitely more wind coming this evening but be careful what you wish for. This morning we have reached the 40 degree meridian so with the main AND the twizzle up we are heading more north on good current to find wind. It also means we are halfway between the US and the UK so maybe another half way party.

On the positive side the sky is blue and the sea is calm. I was visited by dolphins on my night watch last night. Incredible sight. They look like green torpedoes darting around the boat with long tails of phosphorescent sparkles behind them, magical.

I made a beef curry last night and used the last of the mango pickle I had bought in the Maldives that had been lurking around in the bottom of the fridge added to a quarter of an onion, the beef cubes, tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, curry powder and a beef oxo. Bill took a taste and said it would be too hot for me and his forehead immediately started sweating. Haha. I tried it and it was very hot but tasty. Bill said it was the nicest curry I’d made (he’s trying to get back in my good book), shame I can’t repeat it. Maybe I’ll look for the pickle in the UK.

I’ve given up marine traffic. It’s not working apparently so I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 9

Our position at 10:00 (12:00 GMT) Sunday 10th June

36 23 North still traveling east on same latitude
042 31 West only 2 steps today

We have a 676 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was back down to 117 miles.

Yesterday we continued motoring in the rain with calm seas. You can’t imagine flat calm seas in the middle of the Atlantic. The wind was building slowly at lunchtime so we put the sails up at 2pm and the engine went off at 2:30pm. By dinnertime the wind had veered and was coming from behind so Bill and I took the sails down AGAIN and put the twin headsails out on the twizzle rig before sunset. The wind started dropping again while Bill was asleep, I watched the speed get slower and slower. I didn’t want to put the engine on because I knew that would wake him but 4kts became 3.5 then 3.5kts became 3kts so when I saw 2.8kts flash up I put the engine on. It was 1am any way. So the twizzle rig came down and we’ve motored through the night. As I write this blog the wind is building again so the sails will be out soon.

Used the last of the peppers in a chicken stir fry last night. Got 1 carrot, half a white onion and a quarter of a red onion left (the American onions are huge) and potatoes and apples. Got lots of tins so we won’t starve.

I’ve given up marine traffic. It’s not working apparently so I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 8

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Saturday 9th June

36 15 North
044 54 West 3 steps today

We have a 790 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 130 miles.

Nothing much to report. We have motored for the last 24 hours. Apparently there’s wind coming this evening so we’ll wait and see.

The sea has flattened right off which means the roll has stopped. I no longer have cups, plates or jars sliding across the work top. Bill did some refueling yesterday putting 80 litres in the tank. He then calculated the amount of fuel we have on board and thinks we can probably motor the rest of the way except for about 100 miles but we don’t want to do that if we can help it. Hopefully we’ll get a few more days sailing.

Yesterday we motored south east for a few hours to find the good current and that certainly paid off. It turned out we had 2.3kts of current against us. It was like motoring up a river against the tide, crazy. We are doing 5.7 kts now with 1600 revs so our 24 hour run improved. We are continuing east for about 60 miles and then if or when the wind comes in we’ll head north east towards the Azores.

Our half way party was good and some dolphins wanted to gate crash. There were about a dozen swimming along with our bow wave for about half an hour, beautiful care free creatures. So during the day there was Scottish pancakes for breakfast, fresh bread for lunch and a beef bourguignonne with mashed potato for dinner, although I was halfway through cooking when I realised I didn’t have any red wine open (we don’t drink on passage) so it had oxo gravy instead and turned into beef stew – still tasted delicious. I made cherry crumble but we both had that for our night watch nibbles. Still half left so the same again tonight. I opened our last tin of cream to go with it.

I’ve given up marine traffic. It’s not working apparently so I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 7

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Friday 8th June HAPPY BIRTHDAY THOMAS XX

36 18 North
047 29 West only 2 steps today

We have a 909 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was a disappointing 117 miles, down again because we’ve had adverse current.

After my early start yesterday we sailed all day. I forgot to say we had fog for a couple of hours in the morning, I thought we were back in Maine. The sea is still quite warm at 23C and it had got chilly overnight which caused the fog. Once the sun came out it cleared. More squalls in the afternoon and Bill had his wet weather gear on but we were making good speeds. We had a frustrating night still heading for the 37N 47W waypoint that the weather guy had given us with the promise there was better wind at that latitude for continuing to the Azores. The wind dropped just after sunset and we took the sails down. The wind started coming from the south west so Bill and I spent about half an hour rigging the twizzle. After he had gone to bed frustratingly the wind backed to the SSE. To keep the twin head sails inflated I was turning the boat more and more to the north. Eventually at 1am I woke Bill for his watch and we decided to take the twizzle down again and put the sails up. As we turned into the wind (the opposite direction) we noticed the speed improve. When we came back on course the speed dropped. We motorsailed through the night at 3kts! Just couldn’t get any speed. Bill managed to download the RTOF files this morning and discovered there was a 2 knot tide against us in our area! We’ve given up trying to get any further north and are just going to motor east now, in fact on closer examination of the files there is a favourable current 30 miles in a south east direction so that’s where we are headed.

The good news is that at 8am this morning we passed our half way to Azores point – party time! I made Scottish pancakes for breakfast with treacle or maple syrup, I’ve made bread while Bill’s been asleep, we’ve got beef bourg and mashed potatoes for dinner followed by cherry crumble and custard. WAHOO Tell that Bill he’s lucky when you see him next. Haha

I made pork goulash for dinner last night. I fried a chopped up onion, and I had a bit of green pepper left, add the chopped pork, add a good tsp of paprika, cayenne pepper, and red pepper and continue frying. Add a tin of tomatoes, dollop of tomato puree, a tin of butter beans and simmer for about an hour while I’m doing the net. Then place in bowls nicely with mashed potato, simples.

I’ve given up marine traffic. It’s not working apparently so I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 6

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Thursday 7th June

35 55 North
049 44 West 3 steps today

We have a 1020 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 121 miles, down again because we did a lot of motoring yesterday and we sail faster than we motor.

After the big squall yesterday the wind went light and fluky. We managed 2 hours sailing at lunchtime but the speed went down and the sails were flapping so we took them down and put the engine back on. We need to keep up a speed of at least 5kts because there’s a possibility of a gale coming in at the end of next week and we want to be in port by then although the weather guy didn’t think it was going to materialise so fingers crossed. In the afternoon Bill put the twizzle rig back up and the twin headsails were giving us an extra knot but the wind wasn’t quite coming from the right direction to inflate them so he took them down at 6pm and we motored through the night. Bill woke me up at 5am to inform me we had wind, I won’t repeat my answer but got up and helped him put the sails up. He offered for me to go back to bed but there wasn’t much point I was awake now. I only get about 5 or 6 hours sleep a day on passage.

There’s a bit of wildlife out here now. Bill saw jumping dolphins yesterday afternoon while I was resting so I missed them. Also there are a lot of Portuguese Man’o’war jelly fish out here. At first I thought they were lumps of plastic floating then I realised they all look the same. The bit we can see is it’s body that it inflates, like a sail, so it gets blown along. All it’s stinging tendrils are underwater like an iceberg. Not seen them before. We are also on the lookout for whales of which there are many around the Azores I’m told.

Chicken and rice for dinner last night. Chicken, chopped red onion, bit of red pepper and yellow pepper, few frozen peas, s & p, an egg and some cooked rice. Stir it all up with some sweet chili sauce and place nicely in bowls again. (In reality it gets thrown in but that doesn’t sound so good. My food usually tastes nice but it’s difficult presenting food nicely when you’re heeling at 20 degrees and strapped to the cooker!)

Tomorrow morning we will pass the half way mark and I’m planning my half way party which obviously will involve chocolate!!

A very Happy Birthday to my baby tomorrow. Thomas will be 32 tomorrow but he’s still my baby 😉 love you lots XXXX

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 5

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Wednesday 6th June

35 23 North
052 02 West only 2 steps again

We have a 1169 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was a much better 142 miles although our 2am log reading was 154 miles.

A better day yesterday. The wind dropped during the day but we still sailed all day, the sea calmed down and we crossed the line for a third of the way to Horta. We sailed through the night but at 9.30 this morning we lost the wind under a massive squall. It took us 3 hours to motor out of it. I watched the clouds gradually creep up on us. The radar was on and we were surrounded. There were big growls of thunder and fork lightening north of us. Fortunately nothing came near us and no strong wind. Boats behind us were reporting 38kts gusts in the middle of the squalls on the net. Torrential rain so at least that washed the salt off the decks. Saw our first ship on the horizon before the rain started. They have been on the AIS screen but no where near us.

Ken on Antaras is reporting into the OCC net every day that I’m running at the moment. Ken is doing this trip single handed so I’m keeping an eye on him but he sounds fine.

We ended up with pasta last night. I’ve got some packets of dried tortellini with cheese filling. I simmered them for about 5 minutes with the last of the broccoli florets, chopped up some bacon and dry fry. Drain the pasta, add the bacon, some cream (in the US they sell a product called half and half, great for this and my daily coffee) and some grated parmesan and place nicely in bowls. Yum yum.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook but I can’t see your replies, I’ll look forward to reading them when we get into port.

All’s well on board.

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