Bermuda to the Azores – day 4

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Tuesday 5th June
34 31 North finally got out of 33 North
054 42 West only 2 steps today

We have a 1301 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 128 miles and our average speed has dropped to 5.3kts.

Yesterday our speed went down and down until eventually the engine went on at 3pm, we had sailed for exactly 3 days. It also felt like there was current against us and our motoring speed was between 3 – 4.5kts but last night we passed the quarter way mark from Bermuda to the Azores so that was good. We took the sails down completely because they flap and flog and it doesn’t do them any good. This resulted in a very sloppy sea and anything placed on a surface immediately launched itself. I have non slip mats everywhere in the galley to stop things sliding. Bill went to bed as usual at 8pm leaving me on night watch. The sun goes down about 9pm but it doesn’t get completely dark until about 10. It then gets very dark because of the late moon at the moment so the phosphorescence in the water is stunning. As the boat rocks and rolls through the water a shower of sparkles leap forth and then disappear like fairy dust. I never tire from watching it.

Gradually during the evening I watched the wind pick up and when Bill got up at 1am we put the main up and by 3am we were sailing again so only 12 hours of motoring. This morning the wind is back with a vengeance, F5 on the beam and our speed is back to 7 – 8kts and I’m back to being strapped in the galley. I’m not sure what’s more stressful sitting on watch looking at the rough seas or rocking and rolling along motoring and worrying about running out of fuel. I sit and play my game to take my mind off both, how anyone enjoys long passages never ceases to amaze me. I feel in a constant state of panic and I can’t wait to get home. To my family if I say I’m going on a long passage again say NOOOOO remember!

As I write this report it’s pouring with rain as a squall passes over us, fortunately no lightening. There’s 2 reefs in the main and only half the genny out so a slightly more comfortable ride. I spoke to the weather guy last night on the SSB and he thought we have wind for the next 2 days on our course of 070 degrees. So northwards and eastwards, soon be there; as another big wave hits the side of the boat!

The salmon was nice last night, I made the marinade with a teaspoon of chili paste, a good squeeze of honey, an even bigger squeeze of lime juice and a chopped up piece of ginger. Throw it on the salmon wrapped in foil and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, simples. Not sure what he’ll get tonight, a couple of tins in a bowl probably.

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning.

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. scowling face

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Bermuda to the Azores – day 3

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Monday 4th June
33 37 North
056 58 West 3 more steps today

We have a 1417 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 129 miles and our average has dropped to 5.3kts.

We’ve spent the last 24 hours bumping up and down latitude 33 degrees north. Partly because it’s a better point of sail for the twizzle and partly because there’s stronger wind north but we are making good progress to the east. The twizzle rig (or LPT as Bill likes to call it) was up all day yesterday and we were flying along but during the evening the wind gradually went round to the north west pushing us south east again. After listening to the weather at 20.00 and hearing the wind was clocking all the way round to the north, we decided to take it down before it got dark. I get nervous enough with Bill tottering around on deck, it would be worse in the dark. So the sails were taken in, Bill uncliped the polls from the clews and tied them to the pulpit. The main went up followed by the 2 gennys on the same side. Then a course was set to the north east and we sailed like that though the night. The wind dropped to F3 hence our average speed has dropped but at least we are still sailing. We have enough fuel to motor half the distance if necessary but not all the way. Some boats have had a lot of motoring this year because there was so little wind in May, June is supposed to be better.

Bill had a fun afternoon yesterday. While I was having my afternoon nap, to enable me to stay up on watch to 1am, the cooker jumped off it’s gimbles. I have a gas cooker/oven on board much like you would have in a caravan but because the boat heels (leans over) the cooker swings on gimbles to keep it level so the pans don’t slide off the top and everything tumbles out of the oven. Yesterday the seas were quite choppy and we were rolling from side to side quite badly. Suddenly a particularly large wave hit the side of the boat causing it to roll a bit more than usual and the cooker fell forward. On examination Bill discovered the trunions (pins) that the cooker swings on had literally been sawn through by the bracket. These are stainless steel and, in Bill’s opinion, badly designed. This is a Force 10 cooker that I bought in Thailand at considerable expense. Fortunately Bill got his box of ‘rubbish’ out and made new ones. Clever Billam.

Everything else is OK. My afternoon net is going well and it’s started to cool down as the wind turns to the north. Last night I had fleece leggings and a fleece jacket on during my night watch but this morning I’m back to shorts and t-shirts under a blue sky. I cooked a nice chicken curry last night (Bill didn’t mention the chick peas).For this evening I’ve got a piece of salmon out of the freezer which I’ll marinate in lime, ginger and chili then bake in silver foil in the oven. It will be served with potatoes and the last of the beans and broccoli before they go off.

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 2

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Sunday 3rd June
33 04 North
059 22 West passed quarter of the way home from US

We have a 1539 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 162 miles giving an average 6.7kts, lets hope we can keep it up.

We had a good sailing day yesterday with good speeds. In the afternoon the wind piped up to F5 so Bill and I put a reef in the main and 1 in the genny. It’s back to F3 this morning. All day yesterday the boat was heeling quite a bit and cooking becomes difficult. As we are on starboard tack, which means we were leaning to the left side, my galley was uphill. It’s hard to hold on while you’re cooking so I used my galley strap. This means I’m literally strapped into the galley. The strap goes around my lower back allowing me to lean into it freeing up both my hands to cook or wash up! Don’t forget, not a holiday.

We were advised by the weather guy to follow the rhumb line when we left because the wind was coming from the south east and going to veer to the south west. Gradually overnight our course has curved more south although we are still traveling east and now the wind is coming from the south west, which is great because we can put the twizzle rig up. During the week we had taken down the genny and raised the 2 gennys together, which results in us both getting puffed out taking it in turns wincing them back up again. Bill prepared the poles before we left so all we had to do this morning was take in the gennys (they have both been out on the port side while we were on a beam reach), take down the main, attach the poles to the clews of the sails and pull the gennys back out, one each side. Unfortunately one of the clews was twisted and it took us half an hour to sort with Bill on the deck and me in the cockpit manning the sheets, lines and halyards (all bits of rope) but eventually we managed it and we’re even going in the right direction now. It’s much calmer down below. The boat has got a bit of a roll going but it’s more or less level now so I don’t need to strap in. The really good thing is we are sailing along at 7.5kts in 13kts of wind and the GPS says at this speed we will get to Horta on the 11th but we won’t keep it up so we won’t but chewing off the miles though.

The weather has been mostly fine although Bill had squalls with rain and lightening on his watch last night. I was asleep! The sea is up a bit today but it isn’t as noticeable when the wind is behind us, we just surf down the waves.

Cooked a nice chicken stir fry with noodles in a garlic and chili sauce last night, need to use the vegetables before they go off. Chicken curry tonight, might put some chickpeas in but don’t tell Bill he thinks he doesn’t like them! 😉

Lastly it’s Bill’s sister Kate’s 50th birthday tomorrow on the 4th but as they are ahead of us in NZ I’m sending my greeting today. Hope you have a great day in Raratonga Kate, looking forward to seeing some photos. XX

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook.

All’s well on board.

Bermuda to the Azores – day 1

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Saturday 2nd June
33 09 North (a quarter of the way home from the US)
062 33W

We have a tormenting 1695 miles to go to the anchorage in Horta in the Azores and our 19 hour run from 15.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 118 miles giving an average 6.2kts. Which is a good start.

So we are back at sea. Yesterday was the third time we had decided to leave but the weather just wasn’t right on the previous times. Yesterday morning it looked good to go so we went in and checked out and here we are. We motored out of St George’s harbour, Bermuda at 3pm yesterday and the sails went straight up and the engine off. You can see from our stats that we’ve made a good start and have sailed through the night. The wind was F3 SE but it’s picked up to F4 now and gone round more to the south. It’s forecast to veer to the south west later today or tomorrow and then we can rig the twizzle. It’s all ready to go when the wind goes round. It would be wonderful if we could sail all the way to the Azores like that but alas there aren’t any trade wind in the Northern Atlantic and we have to take what we get!

I enjoyed Bermuda, it was a fantastic 2 week stopover. It started with the Royal wedding on our second day and continued to Bermuda day last Friday and onto lovely walking around the UNESCO site of St George’s where we were mostly anchored. Apart from the odd bad day we had blue skies the whole time.

A month ago today I was enjoying my fabulous birthday tea and, hopefully, 3 months today we’ll be arriving back in Port Solent for our arrival and 40th Anniversary party, but a lot of water still to pass under our keel.

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning I hope it’s working.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook.

All’s well on board.

Test

Leaving Bermuda

Getting ready to leave Bermuda. Trying to get the link to Facebook working.

USA to Bermuda – day 6

Our position at 10.00 (14.00 GMT) Wednesday 16th May
32 21N
068 00W another 2 steps

We have 170 miles to go to the anchorage in Bermuda and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 124 miles. Average 5.16kts.

Our penultimate day at sea, should be in some time tomorrow. Luckily it’s been a fairly easy sail because both Bill and I have found the passage very tiring. I think it’s a combination of our colds, which have nearly gone, jet lag and it’s been over a year since we’ve done a passage this long. It will be good to arrive. On reflection maybe we should have waited another week to allow our bodies to recover but it’s a good job we didn’t because listening to the cruising nets there has been another front crossing Florida which has brought squalls and strong winds. The weather in the Florida/Bahamas area is so volatile we are glad to leave. Hopefully we’ll have about a week to explore the island then probably be off again. There’s a good window shaping up for Thursday next week.

Our speed has been up and down slowing to 3kts this morning but it’s back up to 5.4kts now. Hopefully our winds hold for our last night. Still F3/4 south but a bit more forward of the beam now so we are heeling more.

Saw my first pod of whales on this trip this morning. About half a dozen playing about 200 meters from the boat. Looking at their fins I think they were pilot whales but they didn’t come close enough to see. This trip has been sparse on wildlife, no dolphins, a few flying fish and of course the big booby bird!

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning but not sure if it’s working. Apparently we are in some obscure place in the US.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook.

All’s well on board.

USA to Bermuda – day 5

Our position at 10.00 (14.00 GMT) Tuesday 15th May
32 35N a quarter of the way back to the UK from the US
070 19W another 2 steps and an eighth of the way back to the UK.

We have 285 miles to go to the anchorage in Bermuda and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 126 miles. Average 5.25kts.

Our stats are dropping a bit but not bad as we have fairly light winds. I can’t believe the good conditions we’ve got considering we are out in the north Atlantic and I’m touching wood while I say that. I spoke to Chris Parker weather yesterday evening on the SSB and he has given us a good forecast for the rest of the journey. Hoping to be in Thursday if the wind holds up.

We have blue skies over a beautiful calm blue sea. Only running the engine once a day for an hour to charge batteries, the solar panels and D400 wind generator are doing the rest. I hope the rest of the Atlantic is like this but I fear not.

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook.

All’s well on board.

USA to Bermuda – day 4

Our position at 10.00 (14.00 GMT) Monday 14th May
32 54N
072 29W another 3 steps nearer.

We have 411 miles to go to the anchorage in Bermuda and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 138 miles. Average 5.7kts.

It was a good sailing day yesterday in a southerly F3/4 and calm seas. We passed our half way point in the evening so extra chocolate rations for me. 😉

Looking at the RTOF gribs yesterday evening we were approaching an area of strong current traveling north to south which we could sail down to give us some speed but Bill decided we wouldn’t do that. Firstly there’s no guarantee you find it and secondly it would have meant turning into the wind and we were sailing nicely on a beam reach so decided to just cross it instead. I don’t know what was down there but during the 2 or 3 hours it took to cross the 20 mile stretch we were absolutely creaming along. I didn’t see the speed drop below 8kts for several hours. The wind rose slightly from 12, 13, 14kts to gusts of 15 and 16kts. Added to this it was pitch black because we are in the dark moon at the moment. It just so happened that Bill was in bed and didn’t see any of this. I considered waking him because I get panicky but decided not to. Not sure what it was but we are in the area of the Bermuda triangle!!

All calm today. The wind dropped right off again just after sunrise but after a couple of hours it was back up to 5kts

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook.

All’s well on board.

USA to Bermuda – day 3

Our position at 10.00 (14.00 GMT) Sunday 13th May
33 06N as far north as we go on this stage of the journey
075 33W another 2 steps nearer.
We have 550 miles to go to the anchorage in Bermuda and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 149 miles.

The engine was turned off at 13.00 yesterday with a zephyr of a breeze and stayed off. It was a very hot day as we traveled further north east having passed Georgia the day before and South Carolina yesterday. This morning at 5am off the coast of North Carolina, after 3 days of sailing north East we reached 33N and turned East. The new waypoint for the outer buoy at Bermuda gave 560 miles to go. This is the first time on our long journey that we have sailed due east since leaving the UK. We usually sail towards the sunset so sailing towards our first sunrise was magical, the colours were amazing, beautiful pinks and mauves, it was like England was calling me towards her.

As we gradually left the gulf stream the speed started dropping, we have been used to 7 – 8kts the last 3 days but within an hour the speed was down to 4.8kts. The wind got less and less and at 2.8kts (walking pace) we considered putting the engine on but we can’t motor all the way to Bermuda so resisted. Within an hour our speed was back to 4.7kts. We won’t win any races but it’s a comfortable ride. The forecast for the rest of the week is light winds so I don’t mind. No gales forecast, fingers crossed.

We are back in shorts and t-shirts today but it’s still surprising how warm it is.

I have sent our position to marine traffic this morning. As we gradually come away from the coast it should show us up a bit better.

Thanks to my sister who is posting these twitterings on Facebook.

All’s well on board.

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