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Time Bandit
Steak, Fries & Eggs Easy Over
20/05/2015, En Route Beaufort NC

Well, 1130 miles and 7 days 22 hours later, here we are....sunny and hot Beaufort North Carolina. Taylor Creek to be exact.

100 miles out of here yesterday we thought we were in for it again. The forecast was for 40 - 50 knot squalls so we spent, what turned out to be a pointless hour, "battening the hatches". The storms certainly lit up the sky but fortunately, all the weather, other than a shower, missed us.

We did get a flying display from an F16 or some other Top Gun type aircraft, firing off what looked like anti surface to air missile flares. When we saw the flares we at first thought it was the first and second stages of a Cape Canavaral rocket launch. The Navtex had a warning that one should stay clear of half the ocean on the eastern US seaboard north of Florida as NASA were doing some test firings. Mind yer heid!

We anchored here at 10:30, having weaved our way through the shallows. Anchored rather than $115 per night in the marina!

Breaky now then off to find Customs and Immigration to see if we can stay a while.


Silence is Golden
19/05/2015, En Route Beaufort NC

24 hours motoring in glassy calm yesterday has kept us on our directional strategy and now we are almost at our waypoint about to turn more northwards on our final leg for Beaufort. The wind finally filled in about 02:00. Engine off, heeled slightly we cruised along beautifully on a flat sea in silence. Just lovely.

Monday night was movie night so we sat in the cockpit watching Around the World in 80 days. Conclusion tonight as we ran out of battery power and it was my bedtime.

We've cut back our overnight shifts from 4+ hours to 3 and we're both feeling more rested. The flat water helps. Breakfast in the sun coming up.

Nothing much else to report.


Oh Happy Day
18/05/2015, En Route Beaufort NC

A friend of mine recently gave me some feedback on my blog. She felt it was a little bit "Scottish"; meaning a wee bit dour (as befits my nationality) and maybe I should make it a bit more smiley.

Sadly I had to tell her that the blog WAS my smiley face.

Anyway, it's another stunning morning, blazing sunshine but...... nae wind. Not a zephyr. Not the merest whisper from a passing butterfly. That and it's getting too damned hot. Although last night for the first time in months I had to put on socks (because socks keep your feet warm") And I'm tired. But are we downhearted....

A couple of times during our time in Caribbean bars we've overheard Superyacht crew saying they've motored across the Atlantic "because diesel is cheaper than mainsails". Just after midnight last night the wind faded away. We had been making a steady 4 to 5 knots in just 6 or 7 or 8 of breeze. I was really pleased (read Smiley) at how we kept moving, fully laden in this calm. Unfortunately, it did fade, the swell had us rolling and the main flopping side to side. Left to batter "back and furrit" in the swell I hated to see our new main getting trashed so down it came at 1am. Engine on, we've been motoring since then and the forecast is we need to do so for another 24 hours. Just imagine the cost!

Anne is off watch is asleep having taken in the sunrise and some early morning light fog. After the tanker coming straight at us she's been very focused on keeping watch and has refreshed herself on radar operation. Everyone says that if and when we get to Maine fog will be an everyday occurrence so its good practice.

We've knocked off 822 miles and less than 300 to go. That should be just two more nights at sea before landfall in Beaufort. We've had the maps and guide books out and with so much to do in this area there's a chance we could get Velcro'd for a while. There's a restaurant in Beaufort that serves 32oz steaks! Welcome to America. Goodbye waist line.


East Coast Bound Cruisers
17/05/2015, En Route Norfolk VA

Well, we were bound for Norfolk but change of plans, namely the prospect of a reunion party has us now heading for Beaufort NC. Our cruising buddies on Hobnob and Wildgoose (ex ARC Europe 2011) are headed there. Linda on Wildgoose is from Beaufort so hopefully we're going to get the benefit of local knowledge. Huw knows where the world's largest liquor store is and their home is a three hour drive away. Might be time for a Harley ride!

It's been a very quiet trip in terms of wildlife and shipping. In 5 days we've seen just half a dozen birds, and zero aquatic life. Just two ships makes it seem like staying up all night is a waste of effort. We're sorely tempted live like Francis Chichester and just go to bed at 10pm and get up at 8am.

With 600 miles mostly north under the keel it's getting a shade cooler. Last night it was long trousers and fleece. Perhaps as we close the Gulf Stream and the sea ......... aaaargh. I just stuck my head up into the cockpit and after the last paragraph, guess what, a giant tanker bearing down on us at 12.5 knots passing within 3/4 of a mile in 7 minutes. You never can tell!

Anyway, maybe as we near the Gulf Stream it will warm up again.

The boat has been performing well and after the calms forecast for tomorrow we'll be back to scorching along in 20 knots.

Meanwhile, time for breakfast.


15/05/2015, En Route Norfolk VA

Sat 16th 12:35

Great breeze all last night had us reefed and thrashing along. We are about half way and beginning to count down to our arrival, somewhere.

Plan A was Norfolk but friends are heading for Beaufort NC so that's now an option. However, there's a low forecast which is going to bring northern quadrant winds on Tuesday (ish) and that's no good for when we hit the Gulf Stream. For west of Scotland readers, getting across the Gulf Stream, anywhere from Florida to way up north of here is akin to rounding the Mull of Kintyre. Wrong timing, wind against current and you could be in a bit of bother.

Consequently, we will have to get our geography and timing spot on; that's why we paid the router to advise. Wish I'd never read "Overboard".

Making Progress (Mechanical)
15/05/2015, Virgin Gorda

Hi readers,

The wind died away yesterday and we had a slow 3-4 knot day eventually running out of steam entirely after a dusk monsoon hit us. The brief 8 knot ride ahead of it was followed by a flip flop calm. Motor on, we headed north, engining for pretty much the last 12 hours.

Delighted to say the wind has now filled in with 10k from NE so we are close reaching again making 5-6 knots (fast walk).

The forecast for the next few days is similar other than a flat calm for Monday. Friends on Hob Nob and Wild Goose are heading for Beaufort NC so we may consider diverting there.

Last night was our third night and we are well into the groove getting plenty sleep. Its surprisingly hot out here which is great for the solar panel. We are using the Duogen only as required to top up.

Little in the way of wildlife above the water. Just the off Fulmar and Long Tail. I may dig out the fishing rod and see what's doing under the water.


Test auto sailmail
11/05/2015, Virgin Gorda


The Bitter End
11/05/2015, Virgin Gorda

Bitter End Yacht Club that is at east end of Virgin Gorda in the BVI.

We're here to meet up with the Salty Dawg rally; an informal gathering of yotters heading north to USA next Saturday. Only problem is that the forecast seems to suggest we will sit here while all the wind blows away.

Its very frustrating to lie around all day listening to the wind whisltling past while the forecast says flat calms a week from now.

Consequently, we've decided to leave the rally festivities and leave crack of dawn tomorrow Tuesday. There should be good wids to take us to north of Bahamas over next 4-5 days. Thereafter, its looking a bit calm.

The BVI has seen quite a bit of development since we last spent time here, fifteen years ago.

Richard Branson has built a new resort opposite Necker Island. Now he's moved in full time I guess he wants to move the guests to the next island.

Marina Cay, the tiny one pub island we visited way back is still there and serving a delicious Painkiller to slurp as the sun goes down.
Tonight we have a "Dinghy Drift". Apparently we are to fill our dinghy with cocktails, mixers and nibbles, motor to the windward end of the lagoon then drift on the wind while getting quietly plastered. Not sure what the RNLI would make of this.

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