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Will & Tam's Atlantic Adventure 2009-2010
Follow our progress as Elmarleen does her third Atlantic crossing this year!
75 Miles to Lands End
31/07/10, Elmarleen

Not long now and we will be able to pick up Radio2! Looking like the best route home is going to be North of the Scilly's.....yes we have come from the Azores! Just had my last tin of corned beef and tinned potatoes┬.im going to miss not having to chew my food.

We can┬'t wait to get home. We have been planning our first night back: Chinese take out in front of the TV, followed by a deep hot bath and a long nights sleep in a big comfy bed.

TTG changes from 48 hours to 38 in the gusts.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

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31/07/10 | Sue & Andy Warman
Hiya Guys,
Well done and a fast time indeed. Not sending emails to your sat-phone anymore due to your msg saying minutes being low. Enjoy the chinese meal, sounds quite appealing but there probably isn't a take away here at Havre Sainte Pierre. Sprucettes xx PS A whale just swam by heading along the Labrador current, they like it cold round here. Not like those Azorean creatures loafing in the warm:-)
350 Miles to the Solent
30/07/10, Elmarleen

Not much news to report today. We are making good progress with only 350 miles to the Solent. Hopefully we will arrive late on the Monday 2nd July.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

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31/07/10 | Mum + Dad
We'll be very glad to have you home. Do you realise you will be arriving right inthe middle of Cowes week? Tam, what's this about your job interview, we got a half message from Amy that there was good news?
TERCEIRA - HOME Fog and Fishing Boats
29/07/10, Elmarleen

Just under 500 miles to go to the solent┬.less than a fastnet race.

Saw a couple of sprays of water from a whale this afternoon which was quite exciting!

It┬'s amazing how much fog we have had this trip. Its seems to roll in and out all day. Visibility down to a few hundred meters.

Spent most of the day surrounded by a group of 4 fishing boats. It┬'s almost as if they have decided to circles around us. Tracking their blips on the Seame and radar as it┬'s too foggy to see them.

FYI ┬- Every ship we have picked up on AIS this trip has triggered our Seame. Either my Seame is dual band or ships do use their X band (I think it is X band) at sea. I certainly wouldn┬'t go to sea without either. I think in this entire Atlantic circuit there have only been 2 or 3 ships that haven┬'t triggered the Seame and that might simple be down to them not having their radars on.

Anyway with this fog it looks like we are going to have to keep a structured watch from now on in.

Dreaming of roast beef and Yorkshire pud┬'s┬..not long now!

Broke alternator tensioning lever yesterday but managed to make a sound repair which hopefully will get us home.

Alls well

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

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29/07/10, Elmarleen

Yesterday we finally got some wind worth talking about. About 15 knots occasionally as much as 18 or 19. We put the spinnaker up and for half the day were doing 6.5-7 knots boat speed┬..fantastic sailing. We were also joined by numerous pods of dolphins. The kite is still up 24 hours later but over night the wind died again and we are now struggling to do 3 knots again. With only 400 miles to Falmouth and 250-300 miles of fuel doing some serious motoring is an option. Neither of us want to do that as it is so noises and vibrates so much, sailing is by far the preferred option, not to mention we don┬'t want to go to Falmouth we want to go to Southampton.

Currently charging the batteries.

Over half the chocolate cake left and we now have a cottage pie.

Off to check the latest gribs.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

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TERCEIRA - HOME Slow day and an oil change.
27/07/10, Elmarleen

We have had a very slow day. The wind dropped off last night and we started to motor at 4am. We motored for 11 hours taking our total engine hours to 150 since its last service in Bermuda. So this afternoon we have been sailing very slowly while I did my first oil change at sea. Managed to keep the mess to a minimum and we now have three old drinking water bottles filled with used oil. Lets hope they dont spill.

We are praying for some more wind. Tam over ruled my weather routing yesterday and insisted we took the straight line for Lands End. I thought there looked like there was more wind north.....oh look we are nearly becalmed.

It okay i forgive her - she cooked me a huge chocolate cake today.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

P.S There is so much more wind just north a little.

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TERCEIRA - HOME Another foggy day!
26/07/10, Elmarleen

Not much to report today. Had the best days run over the last 24 hrs but wind has died and we are back down to 3.5knots. Wind is due to fill in tomorrow afternoon so we have another noisy night motoring.

Noticably colder here now and its time to start wearing socks. There is a dew most nights which is a first for a long time. All we need now is some rain and it will feel like the English Channel.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

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TERCEIRA - HOME Hello Moby Dick
25/07/10, Elmarleen

Well, what a long time coming. Finally after 10 months of sailing and 10,000 miles we have seen our first whale and what a fine specimen she was. Actually that isn┬'t quite true we didn┬'t really see him or her that clearly, we just motored right into her!

Yes, believe it or not at 04:15 UT on the 25th July 2010, Elmarleen motor sailing from the Azores to Southampton (via Iceland) hit a whale. Initially we had no idea what was happening.

Moments before we had just heard something drop out of the rigging and thought it looked like we had broken the top full length batten car. So we dropped then main and I made a repair. The main was back up and we had both just gone back down below. Tam was getting into her bunk and I was standing up in the galley. Suddenly there was an almighty shudder and wobble. The boat felt like she rode up on top of something and then heeled and slide sideways. I darted on deck thinking the worst, I thought we might have hit a fishing trawler or a lost container. I slowed the engine. It was very dark and we couldn┬'t see anything. Tam checked under the floor boards looking for any signs of a leak and then it happened again. A couple more shudders and we heeled but less far this time.

There was no boat to be seen. For a brief second I thought we might have lost the rig, perhaps that was a clevis pin that had fallen on to the deck. No it was still standing. Then we saw it, just along side Elmarleens port side, close enough to touch. I have no idea what sort of whale it was but it was at least the length of the boat. It soon dived and we haven┬'t seen it since.

I guess the whale was asleep. Do they sleep? It was in our path and we must have hit it on the port side. It was quite a bump and very similar to running aground (I recall Trellis Bay BVI┬'s) except the boat didn┬'t pivot round and it wasn┬'t a sudden stop. Afterwards we spent a good few minutes going over the hull internally making sure we weren┬'t taking on any water.

If we had hit the whale while we were working on the main sail either of us could easily have been flung into the water. I have often wondered what would happen if Elmarleen hit a whale and I always just presumed she would be holed. Hopefully the whale might have taken some of the weed and barnacles off the hull┬.wishful thinking.

Anyway, about an hour later Tam and I were back in our bunks. Funny though, Tam dreamt about having the Meakins over for dinner and our boat engine blowing up, while I had a dream about Tam swimming over to Spruce and being attacked by two great white sharks.

Finally we have picked up some wind. We are currently 460 miles north of the Azores and sailing at 6.2 knots under spinnaker. Fingers crossed we might be able steer a little east in an hour or two.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

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25/07/10 | Jean & Marten
Wel, well, whale!
You finally found one.
(We can already see the headlines in the tabloids)

Thank goodness [email protected] both safe.
Take care.
25/07/10 | Sue & Andy Warman
... and we thought we were having a whale of a time up here in Canada. Thankfully no whale collisons yet. Two of the boats in the Ralleye Iles de Soleil hit whales near the equator last December, that was 2 out of 38 participants so perhaps not such a rare incident??? Glad to hear the chicks are OK:-)
26/07/10 | Mum & Dad
What a fantastic incident, We are so glad it did not happen when you were up the mast!
Great and memorable blog!
Did you hear about the rightback whale off Robben Island last week, he attacked a boat like yours , jumped on top of it and smashed the deck and mast, no body hurt though great pictures.
We see todays pressure map says you shoudld have some south westerleys, lets hope so.

love M+D
24/07/10, Elmarleen

410 miles north of Terceira and still going north!!!! What I would do to turn a little to the right! Fingers crossed we might be able to head a little NE tomorrow.

Did I mention we have been motoring all day too.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

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24/07/10, Elmarleen

Just a position update - we are sailing and or motoring towards Iceland at breakneck speed! There must be a world record in here somewhere - slowest passage home ever?

After a good night under spinnaker and averaging 6 knots, the wind died this morning, and we had thick fog. So we are now motoring, hoping to find 10 knots or so at around 6 pm this evening. The forecast keeps changing so we don't know where we're even heading for yet- we just have a wish list!We have yet to make any progress East as we play tag with the wind - We're it!

Apart form that, all's well. Will spend the day deciding how best to serve up my tinned duck legs ( what will they look like I wander!) so that we have something resembling food for supper!

Tam, Will and Elmarleen

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24/07/10 | Juli CT
Have really enjoyed following your blog....keep with the updates !
23/07/10, Elmarleen

Well as expected the forecast is pretty rubbish. Very light winds and a big detour North to try and get on top of a high. We even talked about turning back to the Azores last night but both of us agreed we would rather a very slow trip back now than have to try again in a couple of weeks.

Even if we manage to get into the Westerly┬'s they will be short lived before it moves right over the top of us. We plan to sail north north north as much as we can and then head towards Ireland. If anything changes we will then be in a position to make for Kinsale or Falmouth. It┬'s not going to be the flying trip home both Tam and I were looking for. 1300 miles should easily be do┬'able in nine days as I did last year but its looking more like two weeks and that might only get us to Kinsale or Falmouth.

At least we are managing to sail north and we are conserving our fuel. We did in fact buy two more jerry cans and have a further 40 ltrs of diesel onboard. That┬'s about another 27 hours motoring. I will however have to do a oil change at sea ┬- that well be a messy first!

Tam and I are both very much looking forward to getting home now but it appears powers that be want to keep us out here as long as they can. My biggest issue is I have an interview on the 5th and Gibbo┬'s stag weekend on the 6th August. If we end up in Falmouth or Kinsale I might have to fly/train home for them.

Apart from that all is well on board apart from the uncertainty of when we will get in anywhere. We do have however the first season of 24 to watch which we might start after lunch.

Sorry for the not very exciting or interesting blog.


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Tam & Will
Port: Southampton
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