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Tim and Cath's most excellent adventure
Evening - day 16

Had been becalmed for a day, but little breeze picked up an hour ago and now making 4 knots with full main and genoa. We've lost maybe half a day motoring very, very slowly in the calm, conserving fuel. But fresher winds are forecast for the weekend and next week, so still hoping to make it up. Now thinking some time Wednesday.

Hard work stopping cabin fever breaking out amongst the crew. The wind has come back just in time!

About 800 miles left to go, so starting to feel like we're on the final leg. 2000 miles since the Canaries, 3750 since Portsmouth - 800 miles is a walk to the shops!

PS Al: invitations for vin chaud went out weeks ago. Rendezvous at 14 46.1N;51 06.9W. Everyone else has confirmed already. Turns out mahi mahi tastes like turkey.

12/07/2012 | Al
You are within 9 miles of my DR plot so you have made good progress.........forgot you called it 'Vin Chaud' evening rather than 'mulled wine' evening. As Im not keen on Turkey I can forego the 'mahi mahi' evening (long way to go for fish soup). Anyway it is the school play tomorrow so I'm otherwise engaged. Got to dash - school run.....
12/07/2012 | Jase & Son
Time for plotting DR's - Al does need to a second job to fill the time - Waitrose are recruiting shelf stackers this time of year.
Have you let Tim use his 'rod' again yet?
12/07/2012 | andy P
Al has a second job, boat bimbling.. Jane has two jobs too,RYA and looking after three kids...
Tim and cath however have no jobs!!! Lucky buggers...
Cath, by the way, I sugest you let Tim practice on the fishing again, otherwise you will end up catching the even bigger fish of the pacific without the practice you need in landing them on that chopping board.
take care
12/08/2012 | Pedro
Why is it taking you so long? Is it all the pilchard wrestling slowing you down? Not sure how they managed 3300 mails but this from Y&Y this morning:
"After a journey of over 3,300 nautical mails Class 40 Vaquita has taken line honours at the ARC 2012, having sailed from Gran Canaria in just over 12 days".
12/08/2012 | Pedro
Maybe I need a second job - too mcuh blogging time on my hands obviously!
T&C, you poor luv’s! All the things you are missing, and it can only get worse.
We are nearly there now, only 500 miles to go (to Geneva), we hope to be there in about 7 days. It seems a long time since we left Port Solent in late August after beers and abuse aboard the good ship HM.
Since then we’ve had huge fish (Bordon chippy does whoppers, ready wrestled and battered and no washing up), storms (Al cannot have any leaves, all the leaves in hants are in our drive) and pestilence (the Winter autumn budget this week), and Police brutality ( I got breathalysed last night but they could find no alcohol in my water level after the work Xmas do – another plague on mankind). But we feel we are nearly there. With no VC chez Bridgen (UK branch) to look forward to we will be forced to Les Peupliers La Praz for only the 2nd best VC du monde. Dontcha just hate it when this happens? I expect Suzy will be hugging the radiator in the loos at the top of Vizel bubble for a week. Carribean Sun and warm? Softies!
“In France and Switzerland, it’s the best start to a ski season in 20 years, as well as one of the coldest, with snow falling this week in the French Alps down to Lake Annecy and to Geneva. Temperatures at altitude, with windchill factored in, have been as low as -25C”. Joy! We will be thinking of you, forced to swim in that awful salty blue Atlantic and pickle yourselves in Rum just to endure the mental hardship. Keep calm and soldier on. I guess you already 1/3 way through year one? Soon you’ll be able to start looking forward to return to blighty and back to proper jobs so you can share the joy and austerity with the rest of us - at least that gives you something to look forward to.
12/08/2012 | Al
I reckon you have perfect Easterly winds at around 20 knots and should be in St Lucia for Tea and medals on Wednesday or maybe Tuesday evening. Have just done xmas cards and you aint on the list this year (due to you having no fixed abode amongst a plethora of reasons) saving enough to buy a large Baileys instead.

Rather like Pedro am starting to look at the lovely ski conditions around the world. I just hope the mountains in St Lucia are high enough for you to walk up and down.

Anyway got to rush - off to Waitrose for shelf stacking duties - they said I was over qualified for the job but I managed to show them that I wasn't. It is only temporary though until I get the sack......!
Noon - day 12

The Atlantic crossing - part two
The last week has definitely been a week of two halves. We started with sun and light winds which was all very lovely but wasn't getting us as far as we'd liked and the week finished with lots of wind, amongst an amazing thunderstorm, all at 02.00 (obviously). We both got drenched taking down sails which took us back to our last crossing when we were rarely dry! The very next morning we were greeted with a weather forecast from Miami about a potential tropical storm to cap it all, but luckily it was over a 1000 miles away and heading north. Our weather remains really good, but a big thanks must go to Al (yes, despite everything he has ever said or ever done......!) who was able to keep our nerves calm and confirm via the sat phone that nothing bad was coming our way.
We passed the days reading or day dreaming as we watched the waves. I spotted a very large seawater crocodile very close to the boat, which turned out to be a piece of netting (bit disappointed actually..); we had a flying fish fly into the cockpit one night; we also had a petral get stuck in the corner of the cockpit one windy night, but I was surprised he let me pick him up and free him without a single wriggle or squeak. We also saw an egret! Sadly very much off course as he was migrating to Africa for the winter as he circled us about 4 times trying to find a nice stream to land in, but to no avail and he flew off looking rather dejected.
Our wind steering was behaving a bit oddly one morning so we peered over the transom to see a big large screw had sheared off. However, it was when we were inspecting this that we noticed a line trailing behind us.....always a moment of concern for a yachtsman as it means we had a line wrapped around our propeller. Bugger! So poor Tim had to go over the side to free up the line which came off easily thankfully. It was about 20 feet of the stiff white tape/wire that is wrapped around a new washing machine packaging. Extremely robust and not doubt thrown off a container shop some time ago. We then had to re engineer the Aries to replace the screw all of which took quite a bit out of our morning. But luckily we had an expert diver and mechanical engineer on board who was able to resolve the problems. Good one skipper!
We're continuing to make good progress and hope to be in St Lucia by a week on Tuesday, but I tell you one thing.......the Atlantic is extremely wide!
TTFN xxx

12/02/2012 | Al
Always happy to help out....!!

Anyway just about to sit down for a Sunday roast with all the trimmings. I expect you are having Mahi Mahi #646 with home made bread. Only slightly better than you get at the Postle's house (bread and luke warm soup there).

Sounds like the days are flying by out there so no time to do your Suduko puzzles.

Some very recent rugby scores for you.....

Wales 12 - Australia 14
Wales 10 - New Zealand 33
Wales 19 - Samoa 26
Wales 12 - Argentina 26

a trend developing? Oh and.....

England 38 - New Zealand 21

They were thrashed.....!!!!

Dinner is served........must dash
12/02/2012 | Pierre & Hazel
Wow, you certainly seem to be cracking on. What mileage so far since leaving Port Solent? When Hazel read your report on flying fish hitching a lift, broken screws and trailing packaging materials, she said "sooner them than me" Sadly lacking a spirit of adventure, regrettably! Having said that, you are far better off there than here - it is blooming freezing! Our pet brass monkey's voice has gone up an octave, if you know what I mean. Regarding the problem with the wind steering, was it really a broken screw, or Tim getting his rod-tip jammed yet again? Take care and have fun.
12/02/2012 | Ally James
Enjoy the prospect of St Lucia at Xmas ! Daylight has not yet arrived here and it 4pm ! Cold and mizzly but R surfing Gwithian today brrr - You take care of Cath , Tim !!!!! XXXXXX
12/02/2012 | andy P
From the plymouth soup kitchen, looks like the weather has settled back to lightish trade winds for the next few days! Ideal fishing weather!
12/02/2012 | Jase and Son
Phew! Glad nothing horrible is approaching after all. Jase has been tracking cyclone in Russia - but not much use to you guys. Good old Al - quite often a complete pain in the a***, but can always rely on him in a crisis. Got the message and will call Rebecca in the morning. keep safe and do not bow to pressure Cath - keep Tim's rod under lock and key. Lots of love. xxx
12/03/2012 | mum
Yet another chapter of incidents! Still, the facts that you have survuved to write the blog and that Al is really looking after you put my mind at rest.!
Occasional glimpses of the sun help to steer us through the bleak midwinter
12/03/2012 | Al
Most mums would be alarmed if they thought I was looking after their daughter. I am though very mature and responsible(!), and certainly not the pain in the a*** that Sonia portrays. Sonia just wishes she had a husband that she could rely on......!
12/05/2012 | Al
This coming weekend would be the annual mulled wine evening with Professional MasterChef Tim (he is good dear reader) . An annual event for ten years now (or is it more) and when I look round I don't see the invite on the social sec's calendar. Rather remiss of you both to go galivanting around the world instead of hosting your mates and Jason!

Instead my very own Professional MasterChef will no doubt conjure up something of equal stature and we will raise a toast to you both as you continue across the ogin. Actually we will send you the toast as it will surely taste better than mahi mahi #804.

The weather guru says you have had a tailwind and very good breeze for a few days so I am expecting your next plot to be significantly good distance and maybe a '150' day. Obviously the weather guru could be wrong.

Anyway look forward to next update....
Morning -day 10

All still well. Wind fair and steady - forecast remains good. Making a very constant 125nm pd. Life aboard settled into a good routine. We've reached the stage of making bread every day and dreaming up more and more elaborate dinners. Tempura mahi mahi with sauté potatoes last night! Shame Cath still won't let me start fishing again yet, though. Maybe next week in time to bring something fresh with us into Rodney Bay for the girls arrival!

11/30/2012 | Al
"Cath won't let me fsih" - man or mouse? Take charge, get your rod out and show her who is the boss!
11/30/2012 | andy P
You cant need to catch any more fish. I bet you havent finished eaing the last one you caught. Is there any room in the freezer yet?
12/01/2012 | Al & Jane
Great to speak to you today - sounded like you were talking to us from over the fence - amazingly clear. Technology has changed a bit since Al's days away at sea. You seem to be loving it - long may that last. Let the good weather and fair winds
So - no more jokes about pilchards brought from Waitrose, please
11/25/2012, 600 miles out the Canaries

Lifetime ambition achieved!!!!!!! All credit, though, goes to my x-treme fishing buddy. She barely tolerates my fishing efforts, but she offered to take over whenever I got tired (pretty often during the half hour fight on a relatively light boat rod, 3/0 reel and 50lb line), she passed me the weapons having found them wherever I'd tucked them away in my "garage", she put gloves on to pull the leader on board while I grappled with it hand to fin on the transom, she acted as quarterback in stopping it trying to make a last stand down in the cabin, and after all that, she cleaned me up, the whole of the cockpit and everything else that got sprayed (most of the boat, really). Respect. Best bit, though, was her squeal when she jumped onto the cockpit table to avoid being savaged by the dead fish!

11/25/2012 | Jared
Now thats a nice fish. Awesome
11/26/2012 | Al
Only half a dozen of these type of fish left in the world and you go and catch, then kill one. Hope your freezer was big enough. I could hear Cath's squeal from here......
11/26/2012 | Jane
Now I'm impressed! Could you smoke some and stick in the post for our Xmas treat?
11/26/2012 | Jase & Son
As Brody says to 'Quint' - "You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat!"
I bet the boat now smells like a trawler! It has been reported there has been a sudden lack of seagulls in the UK today - they must all be following you!
11/27/2012 | Sue
Well done that man. That really is a lot of fish. Weather continues to be pants here so we're all really cheered by the thought of 38 degrees in St Lucia. Hmmn. Think we took up the wrong sport somehow...have a safe crossing.
11/27/2012 | Jen
Congrats on the catch if you like that sort of thing but UGH from me..LAUGH OUT LOUD
11/28/2012 | Frances and Colin
Oh my Tim that is a big one, impressive!
Sounds like your crossing is going well and long may that continue.
Not much to report back here,dark nights are drawing in and preparations for Christmas are underway. Not heard if we are having carols again , we will miss your singing Tim. Would love to see another video again or more photos but I imagine that may be difficult on roaming internet connection .
Take care and we will keep logging in to you blog xx
11/29/2012 | Pedro
The pilchards might have been more convenient? Anyway, that pic could be a cardboard cutout you had stored in your garage? We'd need to see video verification to be sure. Here the rain has stopped and we have seen the sky recently but it's chilly. More importantly here it is snowing like mad ready for our foray in 2/52 and they are stoking up Le Boiler pour le meilleur Vin Chaude du Monde a Le Praz. Rum? Qui a besoin d'elle? Off to Waitrose now for a tuna sarny for me lunch.
11/29/2012 | andy P
Well photoshop is clearly a wonderful bit of software!
And it sounds like you didnt even need the Jaws reel strapped to the back of the boat.
Cath, your worst fears were realised then... The chopping board simply isnt big enough.
Glad the weather is settled enough to make the trip a pleasant start to the big ocean crossings. Keep safe and take care.
Andy & Lisa
11/29/2012 | The Maynards
Hope the crossing continues to go well - we have started following your progress
Afternoon -day 6

The Atlantic crossing -part one We had spent about 6 days at anchor getting ready to go and to be honest by then we were keen to get going. The forecast looked quite calm for the first couple of days and then get a bit fresher as a front came across the Canaries (just in time to give the ARC boats a wet and windy start which is a shame...) anyway, the day dawned and after very little sleep we were off. The first day was slow as anticipated but it gave us a chance to settle in. We had decided that our watch system overnight of 4 hours on then 4 off worked well so would keep to that. For those unfamiliar with the Canaries they are very high indeed with the central mountain of Tenerife almost as high as Mont Blanc. I was a little disappointed therefore to still see it the next morning as it towered above the clouds! It gradually disappeared but it was clearly large as life at 60 miles away. Our reader has asked me about sea sickness and I'm pleased to report that I 've been fine. Tim has never really had a problem but I have suffered with dizziness in the past. So, we bought some stugeron (other brands are available at your local chemist) and haven't looked back.....I'm even sitting here now typing away as the boat powers along. Brilliant! The biggest and most exciting thing that has happened however is that Tim has caught his first (and last.....details to follow!) large fish. It was a 52lb (yes 52lb !) dorado or Mahi-mahi which was almost as big as him! One of my main concerns about fishing for big fish has alway been what to do with the bugger when it's dangling off your boat on a gaff and it doesn't want to be eaten. I'd already moved our WHITE cockpit cushions out of the way, strapped Tim on, got the large whacker (baseball bat from Lanzarote), taken off the wind steering blade, slowed the boat down which wasn't easy as she didn't fancy stopping. Then I got the camera out and started filming the pulling in. It was large and thrashing about and it took most of Tim's strength to get him near the boat. A beautiful yellow and blue totally tropical looking fish. I had to reach over to hold the gaff while Tim continued trying to dispatch him (I always knew we should have brought a gun) until he finally went to meet his maker. As I dragged him into the cockpit though he gave one last big thrash which made me jump on to the table with a small shriek, but he was then finally swimming in ocean's heaven. The cockpit looked like a butcher's shop and Tim like a deranged axe man as we both stood still panting with exhaustion. He had to be weighed (obviously) but as Tim held him up he fell off the hook and headed down the companionway into the boat in one long wet and bloody slither......luckily my legs were in the way (nice) to stop him getting all the way down the steps completely, but it was a nasty moment. Anyway, Tim cut loads of fillets off which are in the freezer and in fact we've just had a bit of him for lunch ....but that's the last big fish that comes on board! The mess took hours to clean up ...... We're now in day 6 and life has slipped into a rather nice routine. After breakfast we get a weather forecast (mostly to see how cold it is in the UK) then a discussion about the sails as to whether we want to change them up or down.Then we have to have a little rest and watch the waves for a bit. At 12 we get our 24 hour run and plot our position on the chart. Big moment. After lunch one of us may have a snooze or we'll read a book or listen to some music. At sunset we have a little sundowner before our evening meal and then the watches start at 8pm for the 4/4 rota. So far so good. The weather continues to look good for the next week so onwards and upwards. Try to keep warm......TTFN xxx

PS: excellent fishy photo to be uploaded as soon as bandwidth permits

11/25/2012 | mum
You'd better make that film an H category! All seems to be going happily to plan.
You are well out of the horrors we are having here.One of the roads out of Sully is closed and all of Sully Moor is under water.Quite dreadful but it is much worse elsewhere.
Had good chat with Bec who is doing well and dying for next month.
Take care and enjoy.
11/25/2012 | Al
Sounds like an X rated film...too much information. So will change subject.......

I have noticed in the past that you suffer from dizziness Cath so interested to hear that you accept that is does happen to you. Jason says it happens to Sonia as well...........

Life is just as interesting here with most of Cornwall and Somerset underwater and other parts of the UK under threat. Those that live at number 24 The Plains will now know why their road is called The Plains.

Gales / floods / and a neighbours funeral last week and that wasn't the worst of it in the Hall household. Not for print here tho.....

Hope the trades stay put for you X

11/26/2012 | Pierre & Hazel
Flippin 'eck - a 52 lb dorado ! Are you sure? That's going to take an awful lot of chips ! Be advised - the world record stands at 87 lbs. The life span of the species is generally between 4 and 5 years. In your case therefore, you probably committed piscatorial infanticide. Mind you - used to catch bigguns like that as a child, only we called them gudgeon in those days ! Ha Ha. Have fun and keep safe. Oh, and enjoy the fishy meal (s) !
Evening -day 4

We'll cross the Tropic of Cancer before midnight and then won't be leaving the tropics for a lovely long time! Sunny all day again today with the trade wind becoming slightly fresher and better established. 135 mile run for day3, hoping for our first 150 run by noon tomorrow. Yesterday was a bit uncomfortable with a couple of fresh squalls and a very confused sea. Today the wind and sea have been much better organised! Starting to get into a routine on board now, and settling into the voyage. Remains "so far so good"!

11/24/2012 | mum
You are doing well! The blue line on my map is really quite long now! We are still having torrential storms of rain here with no sign of golf for Dad in the forseeable future.Much love.
11/24/2012 | Pierre & Hazel
Hi Guys. We really do not wish to hear about sunshine, the Tropics and balmy sea breezes. Please have some consideration for those you left back in Blighty where we are currently battened down with full flood defences in place whilst shivering our socks off ! All right for some, innit? Plotting your position updates with great interest. Stay safe. p.s. Do hope you have copious supplies of Sun Factor 97 on board!
11/24/2012 | Jase & Son
If Tim had not have put 2 tonnes of jams, pickles, mayonnaise, boys toys and other tut on the boat before you left you may well already have achieved a 150+ mile run! X

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