The Trades are back!Markus
06-Dec-2007, 17d 11m N 048d 47m W
Finally... this is what we imagined it to be all along: 15-20 knots from the ENE, a gentle and long Atlantic swell and sunny skies with lots of cumulus and the occasional squall - let's hope it stays this way until Antigua! Between contrary winds, being becalmed and some technical problems we are now looking at a 26 day passage (vs the hoped for 21-23 days), hoping to get into Antigua on Wednesday, 12DEC. In any case - all is well aboard, Nicky continues to enjoy his Lego and Peter, Nana and Markus enjoy the tropical sun. Having to hand-steer from here onwards is a bit of a pain but manageable between 3 people (we had to dismount the windvane self-steering in mid-Atalntic, see previous post below). Our watch system with 4 hour long watches during the day (between 0600 and 1800 boat time which currently is UTC-4) and 3 hour long watches during the night has worked well and after 2 1/2 calm days everyone is pretty well rested. This morning actually found us less than 1 nm away from an Italian catamaran ("Double Trouble") also en route to Antigua (with a crew of 7 Italians and 1 Kiwi). We chatted briefly on the VHF before their greater boat speed had them pull ahead. It is a bit of a surprise to come so close to another sailboat after not having seen any sign of human life for many days. We did however hear whales snorting next to Namani two nights ago and have had numerous dolphin pods joining us for part of our journey, playing in our bow wave. And there is of course the daily radio sked on the SSB every morning at 1000 where the Blue Water Rally boats update each other on their current positions and exchange weather information.
Less than 1000 nm to go!Markus
04-Dec-2007, 18d 19m N 045d 41m W
Oh boy what happened to the trade winds?? After the first week of hunting them south of the Canaries it looked like they had finally moved in for good but 3 days ago the weather has started playing havoc with our progress again - everything from contrary winds to totally becalmed and nothing of that nice ENE at 20kn from behind... Our ETA in Antigua has now slipped to Wed, 12DEC which in face of current weather forecasts might still prove a challenge. On top of that we had to dismount our windvane self steering yesterday morning after one of the mounting brackets showed signs of a stress fracture after continues pounding in sometimes quite heavy seas (and threatened to penetrate the hull if the whole thing came lose...). And we had to remedy some engine trouble after those same heavy seas apparently caused some siphoning of sea water into the engine oil. We got that (hopefully) fixed this morning and now at least have full power generating capability back (the tow generator doesn't keep up with consumption in the lighter winds we're currently experiencing). Anyway - this morning looked like a much brighter day after the engine job was done and after everyone on board finally has had a good night of sleep on a becalmed boat (bad for progress but good for crew morale...). Otherwise all is well aboard and if we catch some tuna for tonight we will be a very happy ship again! Stay tuned for further updates...
Rolling on the OceanMarkus
27-Nov-2007, 19d 53m N 033d 06m W
Hello from the Atlantic where we have been heading west since last Wednesday (21NOV), when the tradewinds finally settled in again. After 24 hours of very confused seas we're now in a pattern of good sailing days with squally nights. Continued rolling in cross swells makes life aboard a bit strenuous as you cannot put down anything e.g. for cooking without it flying off some surface in the next big wave and you permanently have to wedge yourself somewhere below decks while brushing teeth, washing dishes etc. But we are getting used to it and have enjoyed some very fine sailing days under twin headsails which have proofed a very favorable sail configuration for this type of downwind sailing. About 1650 nm to go - All is well aboard, stay tuned for further updates...
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