05/06/2012, St George's Harbour, Bermuda
We arrived safely in Bermuda and are in St Georges Harbour. Two days out of Fort Lauderdale my HF radio decided to pack-up and just be a passenger aboard Ultima Life. At the moment I am trying to send it to the US for repair and have it forwarded on to the boat in the Azores. Let's hope this plan works. It does mean that, unfortunately, there will be no further blog posts until it is repaired and back on board.
Bermuda is a fantastic place, this being my first time here. But, as we undertake some repairs and maintenance on board, the crew are fitting in a bit of exploring of the island. It is a pity that I do not have sufficient time to do some exploring myself.
As I type this we have the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl passing as a very intense low, north of the island - the wind is blowing around 30 knots and gusting up to 40 knots! I did want to depart today but, if the low has not fully passed the island, we may remain another night to let the seas calm and leave tomorrow morning at first light.
I am actually quite busy at the moment and so this post is going to remain quite short. Thanks to all those who have emailed me and sorry for the break in posts once again. Regards from all aboard, John
28/05/2012, North Atlantic
Yesterday at noon we departed Fort Lauderdale with the raising of the 17th Street bridge as we passed under. Then it was out the channel to sea. We were a week late in departing, due to tropical storm Beryl interfering with our plans. It really is a relief to finally be at sea. And nobody has been sea sick!
I used the fast flowing Gulf Stream to help us get north east and at 02:00 this morning we had covered the 100 nautical miles to my first waypoint north of the Bahamas. We have now turned east-northeast to our next waypoint just north of Bermuda. I put this waypoint into our route just in case we needed to make a stop in Bermuda to effect any repairs or take shelter from any storms.
Last night we had some spectacular electrical storms just to the north of us. Thank goodness our route did not take us into their path as the lightning was really wild and was striking the sea on a regular basis - certainly not something to get involved in.
For those not familiar with the blog, I try and post our position each day on a web site called Shiptrak. The link to the site is on the right of this page under the favourites column. Simply click it and it will bring up a map of the world with our latest noon position, marked with a red bubble. If you place your mouse on the bubble, it will give our position and a short message. I try to do the post after our local noon each day but, please remember that as we head east, our local noon changes as we get into new time zones.
At the moment we are out of the current and proceeding quite slowly, doing just over 5 knots. Ultima Life is not a fast boat, but she is quite comfortable. I will be trying to make a new blog post every four days and keep you updated on what has been happening on board. For now I bit you all well with regards from Zsofia, David, Mehmet and myself, John.
20/05/2012, Fort Lauderdale
I wanted to depart Fort Lauderdale today but, we are still here. Our starboard engine has an oil leak and we have to wait for a Volvo mechanic to come down to the boat and do a proper service and repair to it. This, I have been informed, will only happen on Thursday, so we are stuck here for another few days. There is also a problem with one of the boats air conditioning systems, so Tim, the owner, is trying to get that sorted out as well while we wait for the engine mechanic.
So, what have we been doing, you ask. Well, we have provisioned the boat for the trip, so all food is stowed in the various lockers, fridges and freezers. We have also dived on the boat and replaced two sacrificial anodes and spent some time cleaning the underwater intakes, which had some pretty bad sea-life growing on them. We have also replaced the topping lift - a line that holds the boom up, and done a number of smaller repairs. We also have replaced three of the electrical bilge pumps and switches that we're faulty. All this is time consuming, especially in the hot and humid climate of Fort Lauderdale.
As I type this we are having our daily afternoon tropical thunder shower and, due to the heat, am slowly sipping a can of "re-hydrate" - known to most people as "beer". Then, I have to apply my mind in making the next decision - what are we going to have for dinner tonight? I will sign off, leaving myself to ponder this singular, but most important question.
Regards from Mehmed, David, Zsofia and myself, John.
20/05/2012, Fort Lauderdale
It has been quite a time since my last post to the blog. During the delivery of Chez Patrick, I accidently dropped my laptop computer and thus had no further communications during the delivery. Then I delivered another catamaran to France and the first day out of Cape Town my HF radio, which I use for sending the blog postings, went US on the first day out of Cape Town.
All is now fixed and I am in Fort Lauderdale getting Ultima Life, a Majestic 53 catamaran, ready for delivery to London, UK. All going well we should depart on Tuesday afternoon.
The crew consists of Mehmet Ilhan, an American of Turkish decent as first mate and a Hungarian couple, David and Zsofia. At the moment we are doing the provisioning and getting various items on the boat repaired and the boat ready for the voyage. I have installed my HF radio and it is working well and this blog report will be posted via the radio to make sure all is in order.
From a hot and humid Fort Lauderdale, cheers for now and let the postings begin in a day or two. John
22/10/2011, Luderitz, Namibia
Last Monday our water maker was repaired and the good ship Chez Patrick departed the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront marina at 13:45. Pat was under quite a bit of stress and it was a great relief when the lines were thrown off and we motored out of Cape Town harbour.
It was a bit unfortunate that we had been delayed for a couple of days, as our weather window was shortened - we had a coastal low off the Cape west coast which I knew would give us some head winds and a bit of a bumpy ride for a day or so. As it turned out, the winds were a bit stronger than anticipated and the seas a bit bigger as well. By midnight on Monday we were bashing into the seas, with things quite uncomfortable on board. Sherryl parked herself in her bunk and that was the last we saw of her until Wednesday afternoon, when the wind changed and conditions started settling down a bit.
During this unhappy period Pat and I decided to head for the Namibian port of Luderitz to take a short break and top up the fuel tanks as we had burnt off quite a bit of diesel motoring into the seas to keep the boat moving.
We arrived in Luderitz on Friday morning with a nice long-fin tuna in the freezer, which I had caught on the Wednesday morning, and tied up in the commercial harbour between two ships. The harbour was full of fishing boats getting ready for the main fishing season and, fortunately, the port control folk kept us well away from the fishing boats.
Luderitz is a small town that was originally formed around the diamond mining industry, where the first diamonds in the region were discovered, just outside town at a mine called Kolmanskop, which is now a "ghost town" and very expensive tourist trap. The small harbour services a fishing fleet, diamond diving fleet and cargo vessels that load up zinc from an inland mine about 300km away. Other than the above, the town is quite dead with a few restaurants, many places offering accommodation and a few shops. Sherry did a bit of shopping whilst the rest of us worked on a short list of "things to do" aboard Chez Patrick.
One of the problems we have on board is the brand new Bosch washing machine is giving error codes and stops working before completing its wash cycle. We have been onto technicians in Cape Town to try and solve the problem, but to no avail - it looks like we will be trying to get it going properly when we arrive in St Helena (and then most probably in Grenada too).
Last night we went off to a restaurant called "The Barrel", where I have been before, and had eisbein. I must admit that this is one of the best places I have come across for eisbein.
Well, in the morning we have the emigration officer due at 05:30 to stamp us out of Namibia, and then we will once again cast off our lines and head out to sea with our next stop being the south Atlantic island of St Helena, a 9 to 10 day sail from Luderitz. So, for now, cheers from Sherryl, Pat, Gareth and myself, John.
PS. The photo above is little Chez Patrick stuck between two ships on the commercial dock in Luderitz.