Sailing matilda

15 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
25 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
10 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
25 February 2013 | Speightstown, Barbados
18 February 2013 | North Atlantic Ocean - 165 East of Barbados
12 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 300 miles North of the mouth of the Amazon
03 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 260 miles East of Ilha de Fernando de Noronha
29 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 225 miles West of Ascension Is.
23 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 145 miles West of St Helena
16 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 75 miles from St Helena
10 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean
31 December 2012 | V&A Marina, Cape Town, South Africa
20 December 2012 | Hout Bay Yacht Club, Hout Bay, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Durban Marina, Durban, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Bluff Yacht Club, Durban, South Africa
16 November 2012 | Richard Bay, South Africa
11 November 2012 | 85 miles off Richard Bay, South Africa, Indian Ocean
08 November 2012 | Mozambuique Channel, Indian Ocean
02 November 2012 | La Port, La Reunion

Farewell Beautiful St Helena

23 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 145 miles West of St Helena
Jonathan & Heather
Yesterday at 8am we began the last big sailing leg of our circumnavigation. We have now decided to head straight for Barbados where there is a nice marina and good rum. We've read up on the place and it should be a good place for us to unwind and recharge after almost 4 weeks at sea (yes, that's right, almost 4 weeks). The distance from St Helena to Barbados is 3,650 nautical miles and we're already a day or so into it.

St Helena was a very worthwhile stop; we stayed five days in the end. We made it to the BBQ party at the yacht club and had a last drink with everyone - we should catch the rest of the fleet in Grenada in March (if our generator replacement timing allows).

The principal town is Jamestown, basically one long street in a narrow valley, and to enter the town means going through some serious defenses, including a moat. If you look up at the mountain tops above, there are forts and gun encasements everywhere, they were really serious about defending it back in the day. Most of the buildings in the town are at least 200 years old and seriously quaint. We did a tour of the island with Robert, our local tour guide - he was very friendly and welcoming, typical of the local "Saints". The local accent was a bit challenging sometimes (courtesy of the rich ethnic mix and history) but he managed to impart some fascinating facts as we trundled about. We visited the Governor's Residence, where they have five pet giant tortoises in the garden. The oldest tortoise was called Jonathan, and he was at least 160 years old. It was strange to see him in the flesh, and then to see him featured in some art work from the 1800s outside the same old house. The tour took in the house where Napoleon was held from 1815 till he died in 1821. The museum they have made of it is fascinating and well worth the visit in itself.

The highest point on St Helena is called Diana's peak. We saw this when we did our tour and resolved to walk it before we left. David joined us and we spent a lovely morning walking up, which only took 40 minutes or so. Unfortunately there is little or no signage, and there are trails everywhere, so we ended up somewhere called "Green Hill". Robert had warned us before we set off - "whatever you do, don't go to Green Hill". So of course we got lost and ended up there - it must have happened a few times before I guess. It was a hell of a long walk back to our rendezvous point along the sealed roads, but the scenery was stunning so we didn't mind too much. It was good to get some serious exercise before the long period of inactivity at sea.

Another part of our tour was a visit to the site for the new airport, which is breathing new life into the local economy. We feel privileged to have seen St Helena before it opens, because I can imagine it will be a very different place in a few years' time. From what we can gather, the population seems to be split in half on whether they want it or not, most we talked to would have preferred a decent breakwater. Currently the cruise ships stop by, but apparently the passengers often don't make it ashore. The landing platform is quite an experience, especially if there is a swell. You have to grab a rope hanging from a bar above and monkey your way ashore - you can imagine 500 or so cruise ship passengers trying this; I guess it's not worth the liability unless it's dead calm. The town was all geared-up for a party to come ashore from the MS Sinfonia on Sunday, but the sea was too rough (although it was as flat as we had seen it). They did manage to come ashore on Monday instead, so the local hotels and businesses didn't have to waste all the preparations they had made for the huge influx of visitors. The local hotel landlady was telling us that she has to prepare for 500 meals or nothing - very difficult. It made our last day on the island a little more challenging as we tried to provision and get water aboard, so in the end we stayed another night in the mooring field and left Tuesday morning.

I also managed to climb Jacob's ladder one day with David and Hillary from Peat Smoke, while Heather watched from the swimming pool below. It was quite a hard climb up but well worthwhile. I radio'd Gunvor from the top to say goodbye as we noticed them nosing out of the harbour and heading for Salvador. We can still hear a couple of the boats on the radio net each day, but that will get more difficult as we work our way further North, away from the rest of the fleet.

So far the winds have been light, and although frustrating, probably for the best as Heather has come down with the dreaded cold and so is better doing stuff horizontally that requires the strength of a toddler.
Comments
Vessel Name: matilda
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 42E
Hailing Port: Portsmouth
Crew: Jonathan & Heather Howard
About: Jonathan and Heather Howard are now back in the Caribbean after completing the circumnavigation. matilda is now on the market and in May we will return to the UK with our friends on Peat Smoke.
Extra: matilda was re-launched in October 2011. Our circumnavigation took 15 months and we are now starting to think about getting back to work.
matilda's Photos - Main
Meeting up with the rest of the fleet 15-26 March
19 Photos
Created 25 March 2013
Photos of our various stop-offs to Grenada.
11 Photos
Created 25 March 2013
After Mustique we returned to Bequia for a few days and then onto the Tobago Cays 7-9 March
6 Photos
Created 25 March 2013
After briefly stopping at Bequia and St Vincent, we went for 3 days to Mustique from 1 to 4 March.
8 Photos
Created 25 March 2013
After St Helena we spent 4 weeks at sea from 22 January to 19 February to get to Barbados
11 Photos
Created 25 March 2013
We arrived in St Helena on 17 January and stayed five days till 22 January.
15 Photos
Created 25 March 2013
We arrived Hout Bay mid December then went to the V&A Marina in Cape Town for Christmas and NYE
24 Photos
Created 25 February 2013
We visited South Africa from 12 November to 5 January 2013
25 Photos
Created 16 November 2012
We stopped in La Reunion for a week up until 03 November
20 Photos
Created 2 November 2012
After two weeks at sea we arrived in Mauritius where our friend Brian visited from Dubai. We left for Reunion on 26 Oct.
21 Photos
Created 25 October 2012
After a great crossing from Bali we spent the last week of September in Cocos - another little piece of paradise
16 Photos
Created 25 October 2012
After sailing from Darwin we spent a week in Bali up till 21 September
15 Photos
Created 19 September 2012
We spent a week or so in Darwin, getting to Kakadu and Katherine Gorge along the way
14 Photos
Created 19 September 2012
Jonathan and Kelsey sailed matilda from Townsville up to Thursday island while Heather was in the UK from 5 to 20 Aug.
14 Photos
Created 22 August 2012
Anne, Baz and Amethyst joined matilda in Mackay for the sail to Townsville for the first week in August
22 Photos
Created 20 August 2012
We spent the first couple of weeks of July sailing from Fiji to Vanuatu with Philippa, Jari, Finlay and Ethan
33 Photos
Created 7 August 2012
Paul and Suzana gave us some of the photos of matilda they had taken earlier in the WARC
11 Photos
Created 7 August 2012
We spent the first week or so of June in Vava'u, Tonga
11 Photos
Created 7 August 2012
We spent 8 days in Suwarrow as a result of the nasty weather which passed through.
32 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
After arriving in Tahiti on 25 April, we cruised the Society Islands to Bora Bora before leaving for Suwarrow on 13 May
40 Photos
Created 10 May 2012
We stopped for a few days in late April at Rangiroa in the Tuamoto Archipeligo, where we had some excellent diving and great food!
5 Photos
Created 10 May 2012
We spent a few weeks from 26 March cruising Hiva Oa, Tatuata, Fatu Hiva and Nuku Hiva
26 Photos
Created 8 April 2012
After leaving Galapagos on 4 March we arrived in Hiva Oa on 26 March after three weeks at sea
16 Photos
Created 8 April 2012
On 9 February we set sail from Contadora, Las Perlas, Panama for the Galapagos Islands. We arrived on 15 February and have spent the last week touring around San Cristobal Island from Wreck Bay.
18 Photos
Created 21 February 2012
On day two in Panama we visited an Indian settlement, where we got to swim in a mountain pool
12 Photos
Created 7 February 2012
We left Shelter Bay Marina on Saturday 28 January at short notice to make our transit, arriving in Balboa, Panama on Sunday afternoon 29 January
20 Photos
Created 2 February 2012
After starting the World ARC on 8 January, we crossed the Caribbean Sea to San Blas for a week of R&R.
22 Photos
Created 26 January 2012
Whilst here we have climbed the Gros Piton, soaked in the volcanic sulphur baths and zip-wired through the rainforest...
16 Photos
Created 6 January 2012
Christmas at Landings Resort and New Years Eve at Bay Gardens Beach Hotel in St. Lucia
13 Photos
Created 1 January 2012
Jonathan & Heather took a day off in Las Palmas to visit Chis, Ange and Alex at their hotel, just a day or so before the ARC start
7 Photos
Created 16 December 2011
The ARC opening ceremony in Las Palmas was fantastic, with a drum band and a grand march around the marina with flags flying.
14 Photos
Created 16 December 2011
10 years ago yesterday (15th December) was our wedding. We decided to take some time away from the boat and stay at a posh hotel called Cap Maison. It was wonderful.
13 Photos
Created 16 December 2011
These are just a few of the photos taken on our three-week crossing to St. Lucia. We have so many photographs, especially of the whales, it's difficult to choose which ones to upload!
20 Photos
Created 15 December 2011
These are shots from the ARC start line around noon on 20 November.
9 Photos
Created 15 December 2011
On 20 November we set sail from Las Palmas. Chris, Angie and Alex were visiting from the UK and took these shots of our departure (thanks Chris)
17 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 22 November 2011
On 3 November 2011 we sailed overnight from Rubicon Marina in Lanzarote to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria for the start of the ARC.
10 Photos
Created 13 November 2011
On 23 and 24 October we sailed from Puerto Rico on Gran Canaria to Morro Jable and then on to Gran Tarajal on Fuertaventura. On the 23rd we had a long encounter with a pod of hunting dolphins, who took time out to ride our bow wave.
18 Photos
Created 24 October 2011
On 7 October 2011 we re-launched matilda after more than six months of work out of the water in Puerto Colon, Tenerife. The amazing result is testament to the skills of the local crew who performed the overhaul, so our sincere thanks go to Ivan, Alex, Jesper, Pepe, Ronaldo, Diego, Horacio, Ronnie and Jamie for their fabulous work.
23 Photos
Created 22 October 2011
On 20 October we set sail at 6am for Gran Canaria. Sadly we had to motor sail most of the way because the wind was right on the nose, but we did have a fabulous sail towards the end.
12 Photos
Created 22 October 2011
On 15 October we set sail for La Gomera from Puerto Colon in Tenerife. It was very calm when we set out, but the wind acceleration zone soon woke us up!
17 Photos
Created 19 October 2011

Sailing matilda

Who: Jonathan & Heather Howard
Port: Portsmouth