Category Archives: Passages

When Luck is on Your Side

Our passage from Crosshaven to Dublin was a short one – expected to be about 32 hours, so we left early on Wednesday morning – leaving the dock at 7:30 having loaded the dink onto the foredeck.

Winds were light in the marina and the seas flat. We motored out of the harbor and into the Celtic Sea, where winds had built to about 10 knots from the south, seas still flat, so with main raised and genoa back in action we turned towards the east and cut the engine. Almost immediately we were doing 8 knots!

Through the morning and early afternoon the wind slowly built – but only to about 15-18 knots . The waves built a little too – driven by the wind, but nothing unmanageable. We were having about the most perfect sailing conditions.

As dinner approached, so we approached the south east corner of Ireland – and so we would be facing a dead down wind sail – not our most favorite. However, as we jibed across to make the turn, the wind changed and started blowing out of the west. We were once again broad reaching at 8 knots. Just to add to the fun, we had a positive current of 2 knots to boot!

We were now in a situation where we had to slow the boat down – so as to avoid arriving in the dark. Fortunately that was cured when the current turned to give us a little bit of pay-back.

We arrived in Dun Laoghaire and were tied up at 9:00am – just 25.5 hours passage! Very cool!

 

 

I’d Rather be Lucky than Smart

It’s blowing outside – 25kts plus – and we’re heeling and bashing into the waves. Not a nice night, we’re below in the saloon, enjoying one of Laurie’s dinners. Life is good.

Bang! Something noisy happens right around the mast area. We look at each other and listen for more noises.  All is quiet. Must have imagined it…

We bash on into the night.

Dawn breaks and the wind is still blowing. We’re still heeling and making good progress towards Ireland – it’s been a fantastic passage – fast, but very tiring since we’ve been on the same tack for a week and walking through and around the boat is challenging. Anything we can avoid doing we avoid – especially if it means going forward where the waves are highly likely to give you a salty dousing.

Holy crap! The port side mast winch is missing! Altogether! It’s gone!

I clip into the lifeline and start to move forward. Lying on the deck beside the cockpit I see a large black plastic washer – it’s part of the innards of the winch. As I move forward, I see that there are components of the winch lying variously around the deck. The main body lying on ropes that had been stored on the winch. The screw on cover that holds the thing together was within inches of going overboard. Bearings are lying on the deck. I pick up all the pieces and miraculously, the entire winch is still aboard.

I’d rather be lucky than smart – but perhaps we’ll modify some passage procedures accordingly! :-)

 

 

It’s All About Weather!

Following some great assistance from new friends Tony and Rachel aboard Saltwistle III, who provided some real insight into weather prediction, tools for same and methods of interpretation, we left Praia da Vitoria on Terceira on Sunday afternoon, just after 1pm. Our GRIB file showed (light) wind forecast for the next 7 days all the way from the Azores to the coasts of Ireland, England, France, Spain and Portugal. Armed with this, we decided to head for Ireland.

The GRIB files show wind direction and strength and it seemed to us that heading north or even west of north for a while would allow us to gain some reasonable wind – whereas everywhere in line between the Azores and England showed a high pressure zone with very little wind.

We also took the precaution of paying for a weather forecast and routing assistance specific to our trip from Chris Parker – who operates out of Florida and provides these services across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, as our order for the forecast was sent out on Sunday, we would not receive it until Monday evening – and only then if the SSB radio is working properly and propagation is in our favor…

‘Toots’ a 40ft Ovni, followed us out of the harbor with a destination of northern France or wherever the wind blows them. Saltwistle III was a full day ahead of us bound for Spain or Portugal. Other OCC boats would be leaving in the next few days – either from Praia or from Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel with destinations from Gibraltar to Ireland and everywhere in between. We had arranged an SSB net for 8:15 every morning so that we could check each other’s progress. We would also be in contact each evening with Saltwistle III – allowing Tony to hold my weather forecasting hand even more.

Winds were very light on Sunday as we headed off dead downwind (north) with just a spinnaker flying, allowing us to make 5+kts, however this was good enough to leave Toots in our wake – who headed off with a more easterly component to their course. Unfortunately Toots does not have an SSB so we were unable to connect with them after leaving.

In the evening, the winds lightened further so we motored through the night… heading west of north in search of wind. We were not able to pick up any emails (or weather forecasts) – either because of propagation or because the SSB was still not working right. Even though I was able to talk with various OCC boats, them being relatively close was less of a challenge than getting a signal the couple of thousand miles required to retrieve email and weather files.

Monday morning the wind began to pick up and by 7:30am we were sailing again – it appeared that my westing was paying off as we gained some distance from the high. We ended up sailing the rest of the day and into the evening picking up speed the whole day.

On Tuesday evening we did manage to pick up emails – and Chris Parker’s weather forecast dated Sunday afternoon – which was particularly pessimistic – starting with: “It’s a good thing you have enough fuel for 800 miles, you’re going to need it all – I just have to find you 400 miles that you can sail” !!! This was a little surprising since we’d already been sailing for all but the 12 hours overnight Sunday/ Monday. Chris seemed adamant that we’d see no wind until Wednesday…

On Tuesday, the wind picked up more and we in fact scored a record (for us) of 193 nautical miles in the 24 hours noon to noon – not bad for no wind! We’ve been steaming along ever since – the only reason the engine goes on at all is to charge batteries and heat water! Our problem is more of slowing the boat to a reasonable speed to stop it banging or worse, broaching – and as I write this on Friday, we’re still moving along at 8kts with two reefs in the main and our smaller jib! Average miles covered so far is about 166NM/day – which includes the first day of only 105NM.

The downside of this trip is that the waves have been a bit of a bugaboo – 6-8 feet, making for a difficult time walking the length of the boat. Also awkward walking on deck with our safety lines and wet under foot from wave action splashing the boat. In spite of this, Laurie has maintained her excellent culinary standards – but managing with fewer pots than the last trip. So far we’ve had chicken curry, pork shops Portuguese, sausage and pasta and as we speak she’s preparing Shepherds Pie – from scratch!

Other boats in the OCC fleet seem to have caught Chris Parker’s forecast – the commodore on Al Shaheen in particular is being told that he won’t see wind until Thursday – six days off! Saltwistle III made good progress the first day but has struggled ever since – and seems to have winds blowing them towards Ireland instead of France! The vagaries of owning a sailboat I guess – you have to go where the wind takes you sometimes… (Commodore made an unfortunate comment: “Yes, we all know Toodle-oo! always has wind!” Not sure to what he was referring!)

I’ve been able to download further GRIB files as we’ve progressed north and it looks like we’ll be able to maintain good wind until tomorrow evening – at which point it looks like we’ll be in very light air. However, by then we’ll be in striking distance of Ireland – so will happily motor the last day – it’ll actually be nice being able to stand up straight! Expected landfall will be Sunday afternoon – unless we get slowed by residual wave action, in which case we’ll slow down and enter Bantry Bay on Monday morning.

The wave action has unfortunately not allowed sightings of any Dolphins or Whales – though we are in the constant company of Shearwaters – which are wonderful birds to observe as the swoop along right on the crest of waves, with wingtips almost touching. They seem revel in the windier conditions. This reminds me, I don’t think I’ve mentioned the Cory Shearwaters that are in high numbers around the Azores. They have a most peculiar call and fly at night around the island cliffs. They sound like Batman screaming at Robin having just inhaled a helium balloon!

We’ve both been very tired this trip – it’s been difficult to sleep with the motion, but this was made worse by the fact that the two evenings prior to our departure from Praia da Vitoria, we were subjected to loud music from a nearby hotel which started at 1:30am and went on until 5am!!! We were therefore very tired at the outset and it has taken several days to get back onto a sound footing sleep-wise.

On Sunday we started motoring towards Bantry Bay. We were being headed by Easterly winds, preventing landfall – so bit the bullet and turned the engine on. Frankly we’d had enough of life on a slant. However, it didn’t get much better with the boat only able to make about 4 knots into the 6ft waves and the hull slammed constantly into the next wave. However, here we are, 4:00am on Monday morning, motoring up Bantry Bay, with landfall expected in about 3 hours time. With any luck there’ll be a visitor’s mooring available… It’s been a very fast passage from the Azores…

Looking forward to some kip – followed by some black beer!

Cheers!

Horta to Terceira

We have now moved over to Terceira – a 15 hour sail away from Horta and the harbor’s mural of yacht insignia.

P1010098 P1010095

We departed at 4:00pm, managing to squeeze our way out from the harbor wall that we’d been attached to without incident (phew!) for an overnight sail with Stephanie, Joe and Matthew aboard.

We sailed out between Faial and Pico, but as soon as we got into the main channel between Sao Jorge and Pico, the wind died – until the end of Sao Jorge. We passed a very interesting village on Sao Jorge – completely isolated by high cliffs – right on the water with a single steep winding road down to it.

P1010114P1010104

It was an uneventful (boring) trip – with 12 hours of motoring involved and so we arrived the following morning at Praia da Vitoria, only to find the marina jammed full – so set the anchor in the large protected harbor in 8M with 40M scope. After a lengthy (and inaccurate) check-in with harbormaster and immigration and a welcome shower, Laurie, Steph, Joe and Matthew headed for Angra do Heroismo while I stayed aboard for some sleep. This was Steph’s last day with us and the following morning they took a taxi to the airport and left Laurie and I alone for the first time in what felt like ages.

It’s been an interesting time since we moved aboard in May until now. Some things are much more complex than we had anticipated, other things are easier. We certainly are learning to take one day at a time and have made numerous changes to our plans as we adapt to the various situations.

We have been participating in an Ocean Cruising Club cruise – which I was rather fearful might turn into a stuffy event – but it’s been very nice, allowing us to have a reason to introduce ourselves to boats that otherwise we might not have – and we’ve very quickly developed some interesting friendships.

P1010145 P1010148

With the Azores being islands in three groups, OCC members have come and gone as they’ve seen fit and we’ve met them – or not – in other islands. We keep in touch using our radios on a morning ‘Net’ and from time to time there’s an event (like the barbecue with rude Kiwi above!) that tends to bring the majority of the group together. With all the other cruisers so much more experienced than us, we’ve found a wealth of information available – and serious technical help for some of the deficiencies around Toodle-oo! Most notably the rather poor performance of our long range radio (SSB), but also I’ve received great help with weather prediction and routing plans. Our plan had been to spend a few days in Terceira and then head for the south west coast of England – but that might be evaporating now as a high is sitting between the Azores and England – making for very light winds – and we certainly don’t relish the thought of motoring the whole bloody way! We’re therefore “stuck” here for a bit – but we’ll make the most of it. Not sure if we’ll stay here or perhaps make an effort to go to Graciosa, the one island we missed from our plan altogether. Then perhaps we’ll head for Ireland and head to the Lake District from there. Who knows – watch this space!

Boston to the Azores – Part II

So we’re into our 10th day now. The engine is humming in my right ear as I type this – we’re motoring and have been since about 10:00pm last night. There’s a concept – 10:00pm… Eastern time or UTC (Universal Time) or Azorean time? Fortunately, Azorean is the same as UTC… Laurie has moved onto Azorean time, I’m still on the East coast – which is what explains why I had Indian Curry for breakfast this morning!
It’s been an interesting few days since I last reported. We received an excellent forecast from our weather router Herb – for three solid days of 20 – 25kt winds abaft the beam and enjoyed the first immensely. It was a day for biology: In the morning I discovered a dead squid on top of the coachroof! We then had sighting of a solitary whale and with an excellent book we have aboard, we are pretty confident that we have identified it correctly as a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale – an unusual species. We saw flying fish off in the distance and various birds – mostly Shearwaters and a few Petrels. We were then joined by a pod of a dozen dolphins – looked like pairs of mothers/calves with dads swimming alone. Difficult to identify – we went from Striped Dolphins to Cylmene Dolphins with the second pod of 20 or more that joined us – to finally Spotted Dolphins (much more common) when the third group arrived and I briefly identified spots that I’d not previously seen. (Presumably each group were of similar make-up over the 2 – 3 hour period we were watching them.) The last group was difficult to watch well as we were amid a sail-change – stronger weather was in the offing.
We were looking forward to the second day of a forecast that Herb had given us the previous day, but the winds were climbing already to the high end of his predicted range. When we reviewed the forecast with Herb on the evening SSB Net, he decides that yes the winds will be solidly in the 30-35kt range (!) tonight and the following day – it was about to get hectic. The winds were as he foretold. Also the seas were up and I estimate that while the majority of waves were around 15ft, there was a couple of swells compounding – such that we often had waves in the 25ft range. How can you tell? Difficult – but standing on deck with my eyes parallel with the solar panels that are mounted at about 15 – 18ft off the sea, it was pretty clear that the tops of the waves (from the bottom of the trough) was a solid 25ft… Fortunately, we were running with the wind and the wave trains, so every time a monster wave would approach us, the stern would simply ride up it – and then fall off the backside as the wave traversed through. (Unfortunately the one exception to this occurred when Laurie was hand steering while I was on the SSB attempting to talk with Herb – she got dumped on by a following wave – the only one that has so far managed to soak the cockpit. Adding insult to injury, we were unable to contact Herb that night due to poor propagation.) We were well positioned for these big winds and seas – being able to run with them with just a portion of our jib out and 350ft warp (rope with a short piece of anchor chain at the end) being towed out the back. This was our first use of a warp – it did really well at keeping the boat pointed in the right direction – rather than riding up a wave to port or starboard – followed by the inevitable wobbly fall-off. We managed the boat like this for 24 hours.
Sleep was tough to come by and we were in touchy recovery mode all the following day – when the winds had abated and the seas were calming – and we were once again sailing in good conditions and making sail changes galore.
Last night the winds died away such that we motor sailed for a good stretch and then finally brought in the genoa and let the engine do its thing. It’s been doing its thing since about 10:00pm…
Challenges:
Charging the batteries is becoming a little touchy. Without the wind generator we are down some anyway – and the engine alternator/charging system is only putting out a fraction of what it should. However, yesterday a new problem appeared – there’s apparently some suspect wiring in the generator circuits – I was unable for a long time to get the AC running. Tried this and that and in the end did nothing and the problem just went away. Needs looking at – probably by someone that understands arcs and sparks! We can’t lose our last method of charging!
Our ship’s compass and all the electronics are out of synch. We knew this going into this passage – and the problem is manageable since our position is reported independently by GPS and how we get there doesn’t really matter – just join the dots to get there. Would be nice to understand headings a little more clearly however. All this requires is some calibration routines – that require riding around in circles in a flat calm sea…
Our Monitor Wind Vane ‘Gail’ has been great – as long as we’re heading into weather. When running she’s useless. We therefore have to use the autopilot – exacerbating the energy issue – plus we are nervous that Otto may suddenly quit on us… Need some changes to the control lines on Gail once we get in.

Progress:
We’re doing great – just 400 miles left to Flores…

The Passage: Boston – Azores

Friday June 7. It’s day 6. It’s uncomfortable typing this as the desk is at a 20 degree angle and I’m trying to hold on – which is both a bad thing and a good thing. It’s not convenient, but it means we’re sailing – and since I have the computer out, it means the seas are relatively calm. Marvellous!

 

We left Boston early on Sunday morning on a really nice morning and managed to sail our whole way out of the harbor and on past Cape Cod – though the really nice morning turned into a boisterous sail that was set to stay for a couple of days as we made our way south east towards the gulf stream. Once there, plan is to move in and out of the stream according to weather conditions (in when it’s nice, out when it’s not) in order to take advantage of the positive current when we can.

 

The seas were nasty – not very high – probably only 4 ft. with occasional bigger waves, but they were closely spaced giving a really choppy ride. Dramamine managed to keep my seasickness at bay (just) and even the hard bellied Laurie had to take the occasional helping pill. By the end of day two, we were both questioning what the hell we were doing miles from land on a bucking bronco that we were forced to stay on for the next two weeks. Laurie’s demeanor was further afflicted on day two by rain and the constantly wet boat – not easy to keep a clean home when every surface is wet or damp.

 

We were following Commander’s Weather routing – and Dave there had explained to me that the initial days would have good wind – and even when his forecast email arrived and it was there in black and white that we’d see winds in the 20 – 30 knot range and seas building to 9 ft., it didn’t dawn on me that those would be challenging conditions. We’ll reef, the boat will manage it – heck it’s been through worse than that… (I’d forgotten how much I hated the worse than that…). Consequently, on day two when we managed to reach Canadian Maritime Forecaster Herb Hilgenberg who operates a voluntary service for idiot yachties like us and he suggested heading North East, we jumped at the reasoning and immediately began to feel the relief of not pounding into those rotten waves. He was however predicting that the following day we’d see near gale conditions – but with the boat running off, at least she should be able to manage considerably better than if we were still pounding into those  waves…

 

Day 3 ended up being a really good sailing day with winds from the south west as we headed east north east. We never did see the gale – which had Herb totally baffled when we called in later that day.

 

It was on day three that I noticed that the wind generator – who had been providing a beautiful 20 – 30A input to the batteries constantly, looked to have suffered some damage. I can only imagine that a bird or a flying fish took a wrong turn through the blades and got chopped into three pieces! Two of the blades are seriously damaged, the third is also affected – I don’t dare run the machine now for fear of a blade letting go and killing one of us! Serious dent in our battery charging regimen…

 

The day was misty, continuing the wet boat syndrome but with the nice progress and lower seas, plus the knowledge that we were pressing on well ahead of schedule, sprits were up. As evening approached the wind disappeared and what there was came from aft, making sailing very challenging. Making matters worse, Gail, our monitor windvane (mechanical automated steering mechanism) is incapable of holding a course to closer than +/- 20 degrees – which in a downwind sailing configuration is ripe for an accidental gybe with consequent damage possibilities. This left us with an option of running the hydraulic auto pilot (Otto) – but he’s a great consumer of energy and noisy to boot. We ended up opting to run the engine overnight and aim directly for our next waypoint, due east  – and get some rest.

 

Having motored noisily all through the night, we took the decision to depart from Herb’s latest advice and headed south east instead of east on Day 4 – in an attempt to sail. By heading south east, we could utilize Gale on a heading that she can maintain (reach) – therefore eliminating both the noisy engine – which was now not charging batteries either – and the power hungry Otto. The day ended up being a great day for us.  Sunny and dry. The boat dried out quickly. Sprits soared!

 

In the evening, once again the winds lightened and for a second time in two nights, we found ourselves missing a gorgeous sunset as we battled various sail combinations all to no avail – ending up running the engine overnight.

 

We ended up running right through the Gulf Stream without even noticing it! Instead of being this nice straight stream of positive current, the bloody thing meanders this way and that – and unfortunately on Day 5 we managed to go this way when we should have gone that – and in the ended experienced a counter current for more than 24 hours while looking for a good current. The gulf Stream isn’t particularly visible – no road signs tell you where it is and while I thought we’d know by temperature, we’ve so far found that to be a rather elusive method… The saving grace of day five – it was a wonderful sunny day albeit without wind. We motored most of the day (with tunes blasting out from the new cockpit speakers while we sat on the cabin top) and into the night. (How much fuel do we have???) We did however enjoy a very nice sunset with the entire ocean to ourselves. We also managed to get our laundry done and dried in the beautiful sunshine!

 

The afternoon’s chat with Herb was somewhat curtailed due to poor propagation. His basic instruction, go South East to avoid gale force winds to the north. OK Herb, you da boss! And the engine drones on.

 

Day six and here we are. Sailing East South  East, with the winds slowly backing to the west allowing us to go further and further south – following Herbs advice – and the noise is wonderful – just rushing water.

 

We managed to pick up some emails this morning in better propagation than we’ve had for a couple of days, but by the time we’d written responses, the propagation had evaporated again. Rats!

 

Challenges to date:

 

We’d been concerned about our watch system – especially regarding night watches. However, it all seems to have worked out quite well. Laurie has been a wonderful support – making sure I get enough sleep to take on the evil serpent watch (11pm – 4am) – so I sleep before and after the watch. Granted the first few days we were tired, but as things have progressed and we’ve gained a rhythm, both of us seem to be getting sufficient sleep.

 

Our concerns about charging of batteries is being managed by a somewhat reluctant engine alternator putting out some power and the generator that we use to develop power for the watermaker – which so far has added about 60 gallons! Showers aplenty! (Cousin Charles, eat your heart out!!)

 

The jury is out on the new safety harness regimen – which puts a harness on each jack line, on each side of the mast and two in the cockpit. The idea being you pick up the relevant harness as you roam over the boat – therefore never being un-harnessed at any time. It works, and we like that we never bring a harness inside the boat to ding the woodwork, but it’s complex and sometime so bloody frustrating that we abandon everything! Still working on this.

Laurie has been preparing her usual maritime dinners – Pasta and sausage, Beef Stew, Corned beef and cabbage, fresh bread, etc. It’s been great – though with some of the lumpy ride, difficult to really appreciate most days.

 

Alcohol: 1st drink for either of us (me) was on day 4. Day 5 saw us both enjoy a beer at lunchtime and a glass of red in the evening. We’re both getting thinner!

 

Life is good aboard Toodle-oo!

 

Toodle-oo! Update

By Abs

Woke up to my first Toodle-oo! update this morning on day 3 of their voyage. 

“Had a rough start to the passage with winds running 25kts and 4-6ft choppy seas. Running with double reefed main and reefed jib and still doing over 8kts. As a result our, our first 24 hour run was 185 miles – 35 miles further than expected!

“Had a close call with a fishing boat at 3am yesterday morning – he wasn’t listening to his VHF. Managed to get his attention when only 100 yards away!

“Wet and queezy but otherwise all good aboard Toodle-oo!”

Stay tuned!

Ready for the Off…

We’re on a mooring now, ready for a quick escape tomorrow morning at first light. The dingy is aboard and strapped down, everything is stowed and we’re both (believe it or not) looking forward to actually getting going tomorrow.

Commanders Weather has given us a favorable forecast for the following seven days which should see us reach about the half way mark to the Azores. We’ll be heading South East until we hit latitude 39 which will be the southern edge of the gulf stream at which point we head due east, moving into the stream during good weather and south of it when there look to be squalls around. While in the stream we’ll gain about a knot – not to be sneezed at. We should be able to manage about 150 miles per day – sometime more, sometimes less.

We’ll update our spot position daily – probably twice daily (need some entertainment) so you can follow where we are. Additionally, if I can manage to work out the email system, I may be able to send text messages to Abigail via our SSB HAM radio, for upload onto this blog…

Another piece of entertainment is an open experiment we are participating in – submitting data to Plymouth University in England who are enlisting yachties to take measurements of the plankton health with a Secchi disc. We have a 12” diameter disc, painted while, which we will lower on a measuring tape into the water. When the disc disappears from view, we measure how deep it is. An iPhone app will then record our position and data (depth, water temp, etc) and upload it to the University when we are back in cell range. We took our first measurement today – 2.8 meters… The only downside of this whole think: we have to stop to take measurements… hmmm…

 

Final Prep

We’re now on final preparation for the trip to the Azores. Commander’s Weather has blessed a Sunday departure. Of course, just to add some spice into the whole thing, the Inverter/Charger stopped working – which is not very comforting. I managed to get it going by turning it off and on a couple of times – but it seems like it’s a bit of a weak link. Adding a problem, it’s remote display is now displaying dutch – as in double – so I can’t even troubleshoot it. We considered strongly delaying until a new unit could be purchased – which would put our departure back to Tuesday, but Commanders feels like the weather will not be nearly as good then, with possible difficulties later in the week. We’ve therefore decided to press on and keep our fingers crossed. We do have a back-up plan – in that the generator also powers a separate 50A charger – and while the generator is on we can recharge any AC equipment. Fingers crossed!

We did our last grocery shop and filled tanks with water – now have to find fuel.

Departure is set for early Sunday morning and we’ll be sending out twice daily Spot signals so you can follow our progress.

Anticipated landfall in Flores is June 16th.

 

First Day…

Up at 5:15 on our first day of our circumnavigation!

P1000485

Enclosure taken down and packed away, dingy brought over, boat made ready, we left the dock at 7:00am sharp in light breeze and bright early morning sunshine – what better start could we hope for.

P1000489

We even got to sail down the normally wind devoid Sakonnet, broad reaching in light 5 – 10 knot beeze, passing by the waving Sterrets on the way, who had come out to watch us leave from the shore beside Almy Rock. As we approached the mouth of the Sakonnet, we got a little glimpse into the rest of the day as the wind built to 15kt+ and the waves were up at 3 – 4ft. We turned left and headed up Buzzards Bay with the building winds from behind us  – but made best speed towards Cuttyhunk…

We took a mooring in Cuttyhunk inner harbor at 11:30 and enjoyed a quick lunch and beer, leaving just 45 minutes later, headed for Marion. We decided to leave the main furled and use both head-sails – one on either side and made a solid 7.5kts in the 20knots of breeze.

Things got interesting as we approached Marion… dumb ass decided that we should fly main and genoa – which required furling the genoa, turning into the wind and raising the main… after furling we turned into the wind and found we were in stronger winds than we realized. It was difficult to head into the wind at all and we slowly compounded one mistake after another, finally necessitating a complete wimp out and we left the main furled and headed on towards Marion under genoa alone.

On the approach to Marion, with wind and sea being quite challenging, we decided to furl the genoa and bring out the smaller jib… but the genoa furling gear was completely and utterly knotted and impossible to clear. It took us an age of trying to untie the knots, an unsuccessful  attempt to drop the genoa halyard, another attempt at untying the know while heading in the opposite direction and finally a successful – if wet – dropping of halyard to bring things under some form of control. We limped into Marion with tails between legs wondering what the hell we were thinking about going around the world. However, after taking a mooring and cracking open a beer, all thoughts of humility dissipated and we reveled in the glory of coming to grips with yet another dire situation.

P1000499

We came to Marion to meet a fellow OCC member who will be travelling to the Azores. Gianluca Fiori will be travelling a couple of weeks after us in his Hinkley 51, but we coordinated a meet on Toodle-oo! to compare notes…

“I’ve got to put things away, and go to the Yacht club – I’ll be over in 15 minutes..” Great – an opportunity to have a quick shower… 2 minutes later, the launch drops Gian off on Toodle-oo! and I’m starkers in the shower! After the embarrassing first meeting (don’t normally greet people by showing them my butt!) we settled into a really fun conversation and I look forward to seeing him and his crew in the Azores in a month’s time…

Also looking forward to the possibility of meeting and chatting with Evans Starzinger in the morning – who is anchored in Hawk just a 100yards away…