05/12/2010, The boat
Today is the day we have all been waiting for "Land Ho". Our strategy to make easterly and then dip below the island into the pocket of "no wind" worked out pretty well. We made it to the lee of the island about 2am this morning. Then we were able to motor directly into the light breeze and make the most progress toward Bermuda. As I am writing this we are 30 miles away and getting very excited to make landfall.
Last night was fairly calm. Our mission was to get out of the 20 knot NE wind and waves. Our plan worked as best as possible given the fact that we do not point very high. We have been seeing many of the ARC boats at night as we all converge on Bermuda.
We will have to do a few boat projects in Bermuda. Our trampoline started coming unlaced on the port side. We need to fix this right away so we can stand on it. Our port jib sheet parted three times - since we were on one tack for the entire 6 days. I think we have figured a way around this issue, but we need two new sheets. Lastly our wind generator blades were slightly glanced by the boom one night. It will be a fairly minor epoxy job. All in all we came out of the passage with minor damage and the boat performed as well as expected. I was really happy with how easily the boat reefed when the winds got strong. This was a perfect shakedown trip to see how everything worked and set us up for our next passage - The Azores.
05/11/2010, The boat
A front passed over us last night around 8pm bringing driving rain and 25 to 35 knot gusts. Too much wind can be very nice if it is coming from behind you. Unfortunately for us the wind was coming straight from Bermuda. I just had a flashback from when Jane and I tried to make it to Moorea near Tahiti in similar conditions in 1997. The catamaran is a great boat for reaching and going down wind - not so good at short tacking.
Luckily we expected this wind direction so we went about 80 miles past Bermuda to put some money in the bank. The weather file said there would be only 15 knots of wind though. So we have given back all of our 80 mile and then some. We are hoping to sail southwest of Bermuda and then start motoring straight at the island. Our weather file also says the wind should die again tonight so this plan should work.
We had a little stow-away land on the boat yesterday around 6pm. A small land-based bird - even though we were 190 miles from Bermuda! We thought it was kind of cute for a while. Then he flew inside the boat. After several unsuccessful attempts to make him leave we just let him stay. Do you know how animals get right before an earthquake hits - well that happened at 8pm - so our little friend was just a survivor. He stayed with us for most of the night and then left us a present and flew on.
05/09/2010, The boat
Day 4 was very uneventful since we have been motoring for most of the time. We made 140 miles in the last 24 hours. We were able to sail for about 6 hours but only at 4 to 6 knots. I am amazed at how well the boat sails in light air. We were able to do 4 to 6 knots of boat speed in only 6 to 9 knot of wind.
We did have one exciting moment in an otherwise uneventful day - we caught a fish. Yes the ever illusive fish that has been stealing my lures was finally snagged. I out smarted him this time by putting about 12 inches of metal leader before the lure. The modification worked and we hauled in a 14 inch Grunt. Unfortunately the mighty fish was a little small to feed the 3 of us - and the fact that my famous curry chicken is once again in the rotation .... he was spared.
We are 228 miles away from Bermuda now so Wednesday the 12th is looking like a reality. We fought really hard to get some easterly only to see the wind die. I sure hope the wind comes up or we may have to motor all the way to Bermuda - pray for wind.
05/09/2010, The boat
As we come to a close of our 3rd day at sea I am amazed at how the weather can change - flat as an open grill. The wind died about 6pm yesterday and we have been motoring all night. The good news is that we were able to put in 61 miles of easterly the bad news is that we have only put in 135 miles in 24 hours. The really bad news is that another fish bit off my lure. This time right through the metal leader!
I have the 2 to 4 am shift. There is something really cool about the night watch - sailing peacefully over the black sea. I had the unique experience of seeing the moon rise above the horizon and illuminate the black sky.
The chili was a huge success with some graded cheddar and chopped onions. A little red wine and crackers topped off the meal. Tonight we are having pasta and the famous "Victor salad"..why do I keep thinking about the next meal?
We have not seen much sea life on the trip so far. Jamie did see some whales about 400 yards off the boat during his morning watch. There are supposed to be a bunch of whales in the north Atlantic.
We just crossed the halfway point of our trip! And you know what that means - Halfway Party! I put the bubbly in the freezer for happy hour. The temperature has been steadily dropping. We were down to 76 degrees last night - but I am still holding out w/ no shirt.
05/08/2010, The boat
We had a great second day on the ocean blue - and I mean really blue. The waves were very nice compared to the first night and the water is very clear. Our speed was not as good as the winds get lighter but we still made 145 miles. The good news about last night is that nothing broke - knock on fiberglass.
The weather is defiantly getting cooler as we travel farther and farther north. It is 79 degrees now instead of the typical 84. I may have to start putting a shirt .... lets see if I can hold out. All the systems on the boat are working well especially the ham radio. It is so great to be able to get a current weather forecast and a few emails from people.
Tonight's cuisine will include my famous chili and Victors salad - Victor can make a mean salad. Cooking long meals on the boat is never a fun task so I prepared two curry chickens and two chilis before we left. Then I just freeze them and reheat to serve.
The wind has been oscillating all over the place but mainly from the east. When the wind goes farther south we are able to put in more easterly. We made about 25 miles of additional easterly last night which will really help. Tomorrow the wind is supposed to get real light so we will start to motor east. We need to get about 150 miles east of Bermuda by Monday to make our final approach. The wind is supposed to turn to the north at 15 knots so we will be in great shape as long as we can make some easterly. If all goes according to plan we will be in Bermuda by Wednesday the 12th around noon.
Both Jamie and Victor have Spots (gps transmitters) that are tracking our progress across the Atlantic. If you want to see where we are in real time click on: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0TkEvBj4ybuhly4nzzX2fnG32y9aMlJth