Will & Tam's Atlantic Adventure 2009-2010

Follow our progress as Elmarleen does her third Atlantic crossing this year!

02 August 2010 | Elmarleen
01 August 2010 | Elmarleen
31 July 2010 | Elmarleen
30 July 2010 | Elmarleen
29 July 2010 | Elmarleen
29 July 2010 | Elmarleen
26 July 2010 | Elmarleen
25 July 2010 | Elmarleen
24 July 2010 | Elmarleen
24 July 2010 | Elmarleen
23 July 2010 | Elmarleen
05 July 2010 | Elmarleen
05 July 2010 | Elmarleen
04 July 2010 | Elmarleen
03 July 2010 | Elmarleen
02 July 2010 | Elmarleen

Needles in sight.

02 August 2010 | Elmarleen
Judging from experience this will be the final blog of the trip. The excitement of fresh food and decent sleep normally detracts from the importance of writing a blog once we finish a long passage.

We are currently about 30 miles from the Needles and its looking like we will be tied up in Hamble mid afternoon. However this last 24 hours hasn¬'t been without issues. We have been running the engine now for 30 hours and it decided it wanted to rest, well the alternator did. The pivot/mounting bolt which you rotate it around when tensioning it sheered off flush with the casting at about midnight. So we are on a major energy save and the charging of laptops, listening of radio, use of chart plotters and AIS, cabin lights oh and not to mention the fridge, have been banned. It¬'s a real shame as we managed to pick up TV reception yesterday. It was fantastic reception and I managed to watch the whole of the film The Core, the end of the Ladies British Golf Open and Sherlock Holms. Anyway, we don¬'t have enough battery for those sort of luxuries anymore.

We also had a stray Vang. Its amazing but it seems that stainless steel split pins have a fatigue life of about 22,000 miles. Both split pins on the vang, top and bottom have both straightened them selves or broken and fallen out during the last few days. It make we wonder if there are any others on the way out, perhaps holding the mast up. Anyway, Elmarleen seem to be taking the opportunity as best she can to add as many more jobs to the job list before we finally get home.

The final thing that has happened over the last 24-48 hours is a really weird phenomenon. It seems to affect our speed for 6 hours in ever 12. We are currently sailing at 6 knots but the SOG only reads 3.5knots. I am not exactly sure what it is but I think it has something to do with the sun and the moon and might be called tide. Anyway, I could really do without it right now as we sail past Portland Bill.

It funny, Tam and I have been so looking forward to getting home over the last month. Pretty much since leaving Bermuda. We have actually quite enjoyed the weather getting cooler and odd rain shower. However, now we are actually in home water, just around the corner from the end of this journey we are less keen. This is British summer and its cold. I pulled the thermals out a couple of days ago and I haven¬'t even taken them, even during the day. Its rained and been overcast for the time its taken to sail along the south coast too. With Tam starting work again in a couple of weeks and me hunting for jobs the idea of heading South again and off for Barbados for Christmas is really quite appealing.

So that¬'s all folks. I hope you have enjoyed the show. Both Tam and I have a suspicion we are the only people reading the blogs at the moment so our apologies if they got boring and office life was more interesting. It hopefully won¬'t be too long before we catch up with you all and can telly you all about it in person.

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

Just east of the Lizard

01 August 2010 | Elmarleen
We started hearing the familar English voices of Falmouth coastguard as we approached the Scillys. Yes we did in the end go to the North of them. Then the mobile picked up its home network. A little further on we picked up a radio signal. Yeap, as we weaved ourselves through the shipping separation schemes around Land End we realised we were home and it doesnt seem like we have been away. The same radio presenters, the same regular safety and weather announcement on the VHF, the same grey sky and black sea¬...Tam, Elmarleen¬...we¬'re home!

We are currently 140 miles from Hamble ( a little east of the Lizard) and motoring as there is no wind again. Once more we have just enough fuel to make it, all we need to do is find a calm patch up siphon jerry can into the main tank. Not such a problem as we can always pop in somewhere to refuel if we have to. Not that I want to, the fuel bill for this last leg is 180 litres already.

Just heard the weather forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday¬..wet! Its so nice to be nearly home but how long that will last will greatly depends on the weather I guess. Doesn¬'t look like it will be a good start!

Will, Tam and Elmarleen

75 Miles to Lands End

31 July 2010 | 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

350 Miles to the Solent

30 July 2010 | 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

TERCEIRA - HOME Fog and Fishing Boats

29 July 2010 | 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

TERCEIRA - HOME

29 July 2010 | 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

TERCEIRA - HOME Slow day and an oil change.

27 July 2010 | 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.

TERCEIRA - HOME Another foggy day!

26 July 2010 | 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

TERCEIRA - HOME Hello Moby Dick

25 July 2010 | 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

TERCEIRA - HOME Day 3

24 July 2010 | 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
Vessel Name: Elmarleen
Vessel Make/Model: Sigma 33 C
Hailing Port: Southampton
Home Page: www.willymakeit.co.uk
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Tam & Will

Port: Southampton
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