Barracuda's Blog

The adventures of Kate and Graham and our OVNI 395.

14 December 2017 | Rodney Bay St Lucia
13 December 2017 | Rodney Bay Marina
11 December 2017 | Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
11 December 2017
11 December 2017
09 December 2017
08 December 2017
06 December 2017
05 December 2017
03 December 2017
30 November 2017
29 November 2017
27 November 2017 | Atlantic
26 November 2017 | North and slightly west of the Cape Verde Islands

Getting to know to Lucia

14 December 2017 | Rodney Bay St Lucia
We are struggling a bit to remember what we did yesterday – not due to rum – just due to it being a bit of a quiet hot day. But life is returning to the tired bones of the crew and we are getting our heads up for a look around now.

The ladies returned very relaxed from their spa treatments and all the more gorgeous – as if that could be possible.

We were just settling down to dinner when friends Tina and Richard on S/Y Just Joia came over and invited us to Film Night on Just Joia. They have a great set-up in their cockpit for watching movies on the navigation plotter. It was really surreal sitting in the marina watching James Bond, Octopussy – very good fun.

Today we went on an Orientation tour of the north end of St Lucia with a great local guide who provided rum punch just before 10am. Tonight we are off to a fish-fry by boat.

We look to have landed our next steps – looking like down to the Grenadines for Xmas. More to follow.

A picture today from our orientation – St Lucia is looking good.

Relaxing in Rodney Bay

13 December 2017 | Rodney Bay Marina
We think there must be a time limit on how long you can relax and do just about absolutely nothing on arrival after an ocean passage and get away with it, and we are sure that we have not reached it yet. That said, we are starting to surface and return to a shore-based routine. We have now had a good couple of nights sleep proceeded by a good couple of parties and the combination seems to be doing the job. Everywhere we go there seems to be large amounts of rum punch doing the rounds – no one is complaining.

The girls have gone off today for spa treatments – well deserved. In the meantime we have been engaging some of the locals to clean the boat inside and out. There is a fine team of people in Rodney Bay supporting the visiting yachts, including a buggy that charges along the pontoons collecting and delivering laundry. At least 90% of our stuff has come back, so that’s a result.

We had expected to be spending some time on maintenance and repairs on arrival, but as we did not break anything and nothing really got worn then we get something of a pass on that. Still we must have a really good go over the boat to make sure.

It’s funny – we cross an ocean without breaking anything and no one gets hurt. Then on our first night out partying, we have one member of the team trip over a gang plank resulting in a grazed knee and then the wind pilot blade got broken during a leap back onto the boat – it would only be honest to say that rum was involved in both.

We are starting to think about our next steps – north or south? But we’re not very far along on our thinking yet. More to follow.

All tied up in Rodney Bay

11 December 2017 | Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
We suddenly realised in our arrival excitement that we had not properly closed out the passage on the blog. So confirming safe arrival of Barracuda and crew. (but we think you all know this based on comments). We will do some reflections from the crew on the trip shortly.

Thank you all very much for all your lovely comments on the blog and e-mail. They have been a lot of fun to read and we really appreciate all the support.

more to follow....

G, K, S & B

Land Ahoy

11 December 2017
Land Ahoy! - spotted by Steve.

The Ballad of Barracuda

11 December 2017
Now we come to the end of our tale As we cross the Atlantic by sail As the sun rises high And St Lucia is nigh We still haven’t spotted a whale.

We left west Argyll in the rain For Cork Barracuda did aim With Cameron Clark We had such a lark Learning cribbage, a fabulous game (amongst other things).

The start of the tale that we’re telling, Was in Islay, where Mum has a dwelling We had supper with Pat And a good family chat Then headed to Cork from Port Ellen

In Cork we said farewell to Cam And picked up our next sailor man. With David in tow Across Biscay we’d go For Spain and Iberian ham

For Dave it was then a farewell As we headed on south in the swell The Galician Rias Were able to please us With wine and good seafood as well.

In Muros we made ourselves merry With our neighbours, Andy and Kerrie Who just happened to be Visiting Spain by the sea And came aboard Bazza for sherry (well probably something stronger actually but we needed a rhyme)

To Portugal next we would go Trying port in the town of Porto In Lagos we’d stop For K’s birthday bop With mussels alive alive o-o (well actually it was Cataplana)

Then Pat flew down south on a whim To Vilamoura, to meet with her kin Then Barracuda did go To the town of Faro To catch up with Oonagh and Tim.

The Raineys arrived at the station, Their first ocean passage awaiting. All eager and keen To join this cool team The Canaries their first destination.

Large swell, and strong wind from behind For four days â€�" but they didn’t mind. We made Lanzarote Then stopped feeling grotty, What a beautiful island to find.

This land of volcanoes and lava Has Manrique (Cesar) as its father Though we liked it the best, We had to move west To Las Palmas, the home of good cava.

The whole of the ARC fleet was there Preparing their boats with great care Ship’s biscuits galore, Tea-bags, coffee and more And hardly a moment to spare.

So off to the ocean we sally For 22 days on the rally. In St Lucia we know There is rum on the go, So it’s time to make haste and not dally.

Ocean sunsets, sunrises and diving birds

10 December 2017
Without counting chickens etc… the number of days remaining in this voyage should be getting fairly low. We are beginning to realise that some of the truly stunning things that we start to take for granted out here will end soon. Last night’s sunset was a real treat, as was today’s sunrise. Every day we take photos of both hoping that some will not be too blurred. Taking photos from a moving boat at dusk or dawn is not very easy. The starry sky last night was crystal clear and bright. This morning we were greeted by a big bird diving for its breakfast around us â€�" it was a bit like a gannet but with dark colours. Note to self â€�" bring Atlantic bird ID book on next trip.

The last 24 hours have been better than expected, progress-wise. We thought the wind might be dropping off a bit but it held through the night and into the morning and we still have reasonable speed. We are expecting a bit of a drop in the wind soon so every fast mile west is a good mile just now.

Happy hour featured rummy, over a good musical session with Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. Supper last night was kedgeree of Atlantic Peto �" delicious (and the end of the Peto). Fishing operations are now permanently stopped, based on the amount of food we still have to consume.

Our early morning entertainment was a bit of wind and two rain squalls in quick succession, which had us on deck in our night clothes or underwear reefing or just generally getting soaking wet. Ahh the fun we have on Barracuda…. At least this time the wind just sent us flying in the right direction. Bibi again confirmed that the best (but extremely responsible) job during squall management is Radar Operator (down below, warm, dry and cosy). After the squall G then tried reaching until reverting to goose winged running, much to the amusement of those trying to sleep below (right underneath the grinding winches, clacking tethers, stomping feet and thrashing lines) who knew it was a hiding to nothing.

Fresh bread making is under way, and so another day on Barracuda progresses.

Distance run in the last 24 hours: 149 nautical miles

Cumulative distance run since ARC start: 2,783 nautical miles

More Squalls

09 December 2017
9-Dec-17

Much of the middle of the day was spent battling more squalls. They are usually quite visible on the horizon, as long black clouds with/without rain underneath, and cumulus above. The question is â€�" where are they going? They can change direction quite without reason, but we know we’re in their path when we get a very sudden wind shift of say 30 degrees or more, and a blast of cold rain, before an increase in wind speed into the 30-35 kts zone. By then we should have reefed down in readiness, but unless we have managed to gybe in advance of this we are probably pushed way off-course for the next half hour or so, until the system has passed over.

We seemed to have got away into a new weather system of blue skies and puffy white clouds by mid-afternoon, and have had wind speeds of 18-25+ kts since then and through the night. Quite a big swell, so all of our watches were fast but bumpy, and unusually noisy â€�" with a) glasses clinking in their cupboard, b) cans and bottles rocking in theirs, c) the fruit nets creaking as they swing d) cutlery bashing in its drawer, d) water bottles squeaking against each other, e) the roar of the waves, f) the bang of the jib as the wind veers and backs, g) the snores of the crew and h) the myriad clanks and clatters and groans of boats in general. And in Bibi’s case, the frantic flapping of yet another flying fish whistling past her left ear and landing in the cockpit on her watch.

What do we do in our night watches? If all is calm, K reads on her Kindle, catches up with the Archers podcasts and does a Sudoku. S reads on his Kindle and raids the snack box. B watches for flying fish and reads her Kindle. G listens to music (“Dark Music for Midnight Driving”) and gazes at the stars. If there’s no moon, then at half-hourly intervals we check the radar for squalls (they can be seen by moonlight). At hourly intervals we make a log entry (lat/long, wind speed and direction, boat speed and direction and distance run) and check whether the batteries need charging â€�" if so, on goes the engine for a couple of hours. At handover time, the on watch rouses the oncoming watch and makes them a cup of tea… and so ends another watch. If there’s drama (squalls, reefing, ship avoidance or major sail change) then we wake up one or more of the off-watch to come and help. A squall calls for all hands on deck. If there’s no drama, then everyone should get a good six hour block of sleep time every night.

To celebrate yesterday’s milestone â€�" under 500 miles to go - Steve cooked for us last night, making tortellini with cheese. Very good for those who like tortellini.

Distance run in the last 24 hours: 155 nautical miles (best yet)

Cumulative distance run since ARC start: 2,634 nautical miles

Line Squalls

08 December 2017
The last 24 hours have brought about a marked change in conditions. The wind has settled into the NE at 20kts gusting 30kts and we have started to experience line squalls. We were feeling quite lucky that we were this far over and had not had any yet but we have now. We had one dead ahead last night before supper, which made for impressive photography and then had several through the night, some on top of us. We can usually see them on radar but sometimes the first indication is strengthening wind, changing wind direction and then rain. The early morning was a bit disturbed as we worked our way through a few. Now back to fast sailing in the right direction but being very conservative with sail plan. Still a way to go...

Steve passed some of yesterday making a fine loaf of bread �" Bibi is hoping this new pastime will continue at home. Steve making no commitments.

Supper last night was Thai fish curry made using the peto fish we caught. The meat was like white tuna �" scrum.

Fishing suspended until the peto is all consumed.

Distance remaining now tantalising close to 500 miles which is less that our passage from Cork to A Coruna or our trip from Portugal to the Canaries.

Distance run in the last 24 hours: 143 nautical miles

Cumulative distance run since ARC start: 2,479 nautical miles

And fishing turns to catching.

07 December 2017
A 24 hours of several parts. For a while the wind was there, then not, then back, then not. When it drops below 10 kts in the ocean swell it becomes a bit frustrating. The sails struggle to stay filled as the swell knocks the air out of them. We had a fair few hours of this but in between the wind would rise and we made more solid progress. In the afternoon we launched the Parasailor for a few hours, which kept us amused and also helped drive the boat through a fairly quiet patch. Then the wind filled and we sailed through the night with fluctuating wind but overall reasonably good progress. Morning brought increasing winds and a nice reach to the point where we were scrambling to reef over breakfast, and then suddenly it all disappeared �" frustrating.

Anyway �" exciting news �" fresh fish is on the menu now on Barracuda. We caught a large peto (identified from our Spanish fish ID book) just before breakfast with enough meat for about three meals. Looks yummy.

Supper last night was our last fresh meat, cooked into a stir fry with ginger, cabbage, a carrot and the last pepper. Just as well we caught the fish. We are being promised Thai fish curry tonight (G is on kitchen duty).

We are now down to about 650 miles to run to the finish. Shall not put a time forecast on it for fear the winds gods read this. It still looks like there will be a calm patch just off St Lucia as we get near but forecasts at that range evolve so we shall wait and see.

Distance run in the last 24 hours: 133 nautical miles

Cumulative distance run since ARC start: 2,336 nautical miles

The One that Got Away

06 December 2017
We continue to run downwind Wing on Wing (goose wing) in winds up to 20 kts and we are making good progress in the right direction. As someone said to us at the start �" keep the boat pointing to the sunset.

Just passed another milestone �" less than 800 miles to go.

Big excitement this morning when Kate put the fishing line out and within seconds caught a big mahi mahi �" except �" when we tried to land it the fish got away; but we can tell you, it was BIG. Sorry, HUGE. We caught it on the big expensive lure that we launched for the first time yesterday. We are still trying to catch another but we are passing through a sea of weed on the surface which keeps catching on the line. Mr Windy P got tangled up in it too, and had to be freed with the boathook.

Happy hour last night was enhanced with boat-made humus â€�" yum â€�" and some good Jimmy Buffet to entertain us, plus a good game of rummy. K and B would like to point out the dedication that went into the humus; the one tin of chickpeas we had have gone AWOL, so we soaked some dried ones, then cooked them, then realised they had their skins on so peeled them individually before pounding them with garlic etc. Just as well there’s plenty of time to kill, and a crew with low expectations. Our 2,000 mile celebratory steaks were good and we hear there is more to come â€�" but that will be the very end of the fresh meat. Not banking on mahi mahi steaks, but you never know.

Sunrise watch under the new boat time (UTC-2) worked well with a brilliant display at around 7:30 am, bringing in a morning of big clouds.

We assume that the fleet is beginning to come back together as we all point at the northern tip of St Lucia �" will keep a look out for friends passing.

Distance run in the last 24 hours: 135 nautical miles

Cumulative distance run since ARC start: 2,203 nautical miles
Vessel Name: Barracuda
Vessel Make/Model: OVNI 395
Hailing Port: Argyll
Crew: Graham and Kate
About: Learning as we go....
Extra: Look to this day for it is life...
Barracuda's Photos - Main
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Barracuda, K & G head south to a new home.
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Kate and Graham Chillin'
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