Catching The Dream

12 May 2016 | Rangiroa Tiputa Pass
11 May 2016 | Rangiroa bound pt2
11 May 2016 | Rangiroa bound pt2
09 May 2016 | Rangiroa bound
07 May 2016 | Nuku Hiva
06 May 2016 | Nuku Hiva
01 May 2016 | Tahuata
29 April 2016 | 'Tween Fatu Hiva and Tahuata
29 April 2016 | 'Tween Fatu Hiva and Tahuata
26 April 2016 | Hiva Oa
20 April 2016 | Hiva Oa
18 April 2016 | 290 nm to Hiva Oa
17 April 2016 | 390 nm to Hiva Oa
16 April 2016 | Birthday
13 April 2016 | Thirds
10 April 2016 | Halves
06 April 2016 | Thirds
05 April 2016 | Trade conditions
03 April 2016 | Essay from the South Pacific
01 April 2016 | South and West part2

24,863 nms 'round the block'

19 April 2018 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
Pam's comment about statistics incites some more. eg the 'round the block' mileage registered by the impeller is 24863 - at least from Rodney Bay and back again. The benefit of the mostly favourable current will mean that we actually covered more, but that extra isn't quantifiable.
Saiiing from our departure port of Torrevieja, our log produces a total of 30,308 nms and our route back to La Linea, via the Azores suggests there's another 3,300 miles to go. We stopped at La Linea on our way out, so I'll do a 'Door to door' mileage when we get back there!
I must admit, it all sounds quite a reasonable lot.

Around the block

19 April 2018 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
Mart - Sunny with sudden heavy downpours
We crossed our outgoing track at about 0800 UTC yesterday, passing from the SE the same waypoint that we passed from the NE on the 3rd December 2014 on our way into St Lucia as part of the ARC+ rally. Thus, we officially completed our circumnavigation at that time.
We arrived and moored up in Rodney Bay Marina at around the same time as on that first occasion. It is good to be back - and lovely to see so many familiar faces, again. We even had friends Glenys and Nev from Alba round for drinks last evening!
We were all pretty tired to exhausted, but managed to keep going with a nap in the day. A few beers with G&N, then rum punches with dinner ashore made certain we all slept soundly!
Earlier, soon after clearing in, I had tested my luck to find an acceptable replacement supply of batteries available, in stock and charged ready to go.
We will take delivery Friday once we have accumulated enough cash to get the max discount.
I also got a rigger to call, but he doesn't have the necessary equipment - no-one on the Island does - so we must go to Martinique; some 30 miles N up the chain.
We'll organise that for next week, having got all the other jobs done here, hopefully, and had some time to tour and chill.
The new wind doodah for the top of the mast had arrived, so that was fitted by the rigger, and seems to be working, OK.
So....jobs it is for a few days.....

Shaping up for landfall

17 April 2018 | North Atlantic 40 nms off Barbados, 17th April
We had one more great 24 hours of sailing before the winds became more tricky again - lighter, with awkward angle. Thus yesterday, it was decided to revert to Plan A and go N around Barbados.
As a result of the slower conditions, we have also lost the race to ensure we arrived in daylight. However, the Bay to Rodney Bay marina is wide and open and we have been there before. The marina is also well lit, so we have no concerns about approaching and either anchoring off the beach, or going straight into the marina. We'll decide when we get there.
The conditions are forecast to be relatively light, and the Bay is on the leeward side ode of the Island.
That arrival will officially end Maggie and my circumnavigation, so a beer might need to be sacrificed to celebrate the fact; with another to note Maggie's birthday yesterday.
ST L arrival is now only some 120 nms away. We have some jobs to do!


17 April 2018 | North Atlantic 40 nms off Barbados, 17th April
is a funny concept. Part of me doesn't believe in it, rather preferring the maxim that you make your luck. Hence, when I really have tried to do the right thing, taken the sensible and responsible course, only to find fate sniggering at my stupidity; do I feel rather p'd off.. This trip has well and truly driven the point home....from the electronics (I bought a spare chartplotter from a dealer I trusted - only for it to have serious faults that cost a small fortune to not even fix). It failed the first time it was used at sea!. I accept the dealer acted in good faith, as an intermediary on someone else's behalf, but the wallet with a hole in it is still mine. I won't mention the crew: that we met up with, or even invited home to stay, but who went on to make our life a misery. No. I won't mention them. The batteries were high quality, top spec internationally branded batteries - pretty costly - that were bought at the very beginning, in Spain, to ensure we had a trouble free 2-3 years, given that they had a life expectancy of 7 -10!. They worked fine until we installed the solar panels and a controller from the same company. Unbeknown to us, the controller had a fault at manufacture that fried the batteries under the Catribbean sun for 5 months. That I was responsibly paying the Yard in Grenada specifically to look after the batteries, made no difference. In fact the idiot turned off the fridges which I had left on to create some load - with the fridges closed shut! I returned from the UK to find overcharged batteries and fridges with mouldy food! The electrical system has been a constant issue ever since, with peculiar faults showing up in various bits of equipment: to make you think it's that equipment that's faulty. Until, that is, some techie advises you to replace it - which you do - and the fault remains...... but you are off already; traveling to the next scheduled destination. It was finally in New Caledonia that the fault in the solar controller was found. However, I was not alert, nor alerted, to the seriousness of the damage to the batteries, which I can now see with hindsight, were deteriorating rapidly, but even then, any issues were masked by us having shore-power in the OZ marina. It was the lucky lightning miss that has brought matters to a head with the forcible replacement of kit highlighting the ongoing issues, so that this trip across the S Atlantic has been an increasing struggle with the fast failing batteries. I now HAVE to replace the batteries in St Lucia and attempt to get the maker of both the solar controller and the batteries to recompense me. I will need some luck to succeed with that! Finally, a stand of the most difficult to get at rigging wire broke yesterday. It was all sensibly and responsibly renewed in Australia by a well known rigger a year ago, and then responsibly tested in Rodrigues after the worst part of the most hard wearing sailing conditions of the whole circumnavigation. I can't see any alternative but to have the mast taken off in St Lucia for the broken wire and end fittings to be replaced. That won't be cheap. I only hope it can be done in time as we have to be gone....or stay somewhere 'safe' here or back in Grenada for the upcoming hurricane season. Who's a lucky boy? At least the mast hasn't fallen over!

Steady as she goes

15 April 2018 | North Atlantic 400 nms off St L,; opp Guyana Sun 15th April
Another great night's passage making - dry, with the wind blowing around 20 knots, consistently angled off the starboard beam to continue giving us 24 hour distances of around 180 nms, with only slight help from the current. The inevitable hand sized cotton wool clouds that obscure the stars as they transit the inky firmament were the only feature to diminish the joy. Autopilot Graham seems so calm and cool as he meets the pull of the swell and DC just dinks and weaves through the foam - leaving the crew on watch to hang on to save him/herself from a tumble as (s)he dodges the invading mug-lets of spray in the same gyrating movement. Cheer out loud joy! This morning's wind GRIB files continue to promise much the same, except for small but important variations in direction and strength. Plan A is leave Barbados to port and hang a left for St Lucia, once off Barbados' NE corner. However, the prospect of lighter, backing winds suggest that going S of Barbados and maybe St Lucia too, and then up the west coast of whichever might have a better wind angle at the time, so we have changed course 5 degrees to the latter. If the A route proves the best, we can easily and advantageously change back, whereas to ignore B much longer could give the worst outcome. Nice problem (1), eh? Meanwhile, the morning has clouded over somewhat, and rain looks a distinct possibility. We would all welcome the washing away of the salt that coats everything - especially the solar panels. These also need a clean of the leaving present from the latest noddy that got evicted a couple of nights ago. I must have given him quite a surprise - given the volume left behind! The sea temperature is said to be 32.3C, while, here at the nav table, it's 31 - so quite warm. Our friends further south tell me on the evening SSB net that it's 35+ around the Equator. We seem to have dodged the more extreme temperaturess and had pretty comfortable conditions. It has even been verging on the 'cool' at night. Nice problem (2), eh? Maggie has decided to make her chocolate hedgehog biscuit and nuts batch today - using up the remains of the cocoa, so no Mart's Magnificent Apri-Choco Cake for her birthday tomorrow. We'll defer celebrating the latest of her advancing years, ashore.

Current situation

14 April 2018 | North Atlantic 534 nms off St L,; op French Guiana/Surinam Sat 14th April
After another night of superb sailing in dry weather and good winds, but against the current, its effect began to wane in late morning and by lunch time, it was neutral to favourable, which is how it is now. It's not as strongly with us as it was against, but that's OK. So, we're making good progress and after Maggie's macaroni cheese dinner, preparing for another 'blowy' night. The wind is trending aft by a few degrees, which affects sail trim, so crew must stay alert to that. Otherwise, all well here as we press to ETA Weds. However, with lesser wind forecast a few days ahead and the direction from further aft, we'll be slower, so I'm thinking Thursday.......Although, it wouldn't be the first time the forecast was wrong.... Toss that coin....heads! Pip pip
Vessel Name: DreamCatcher
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 49DS
Hailing Port: Cowes
Crew: Martin and Margaret Rutt
Extra: We're only popping out for a sail. We've 'done' the San Blas, Panama Canal, Galapagos, Marquesas, Rangiroa, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Tanna, New Caledonia and Brisbane; and up to Darwin so see you in........err....Durban.
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