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

Nearly There - So Much for an Easy Leg

16 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 75 miles from St Helena
We should arrive at St Helena tomorrow morning, but this trip has been a bit frustrating and we're feeling a bit cheated. Everything pointed to longed-for straightforward sailing, but it has actually been a bit more challenging with the latter part of the crossing characterised by light winds with lots of squalls. So, for example, yesterday morning we put the parasail up (poled out) so we could at least make some progress downwind with all of 8 knots of wind, only to be taking it down again 2 hours later in the midst of a sudden squall at 25 knots (Laurel and Hardy antics trying to get the frickin thing down and not doing a Dorothy). An hour later and all is still again, the white sails are cracking so we talk ourselves into putting it up again - ARGGH!! Hard work for two tired people, especially with one not at his best having contracted a nasty cold in Cape Town. This pattern has also delayed the time of arrival in St Helena, so we will be there on the day that the locals are putting on the do for us.

However for the past 24 hours things have been lovely, really easy light wind sailing and we have, at last, caught up on our sleep - so all again is well with the world. Lets hope the weather behaves for our last night tonight. I sometimes think these ocean crossings are a bit like how my mother described going into labour. A challenging experience, but after a joyful arrival you completely forget how painful it was - until the next time...

For the first time this trip we are close to a few other boats, so its nice seeing their lights at night and catch up on the VHF (Peat Smoke, Anastasia (left 2 days after us), Sophie, Trompeta, Spirit of Alcides, Juba and At Last). Strange how we can be so far apart for over a week, some doing well, some not so, but all ending up close together towards the end.

We have never seen so many squadrons of flying fish as in these waters, it makes cleaning up the deck in the morning a bit messy. We even get a few squid (how they can jump so high is a mystery), I better start thinking about breakfast sushi. This morning we saw our first birds in a while, so I suppose it shows we are heading towards land. There was a really pretty white one with a long tail feather (as you can tell, I am really up on my ornithology, the Gunvor boys must have their head in their hands) that objected very noisily to our big yellow parasail - it kept circling and squawking at it for some time, I guess he's never seen such a thing in his waters before and clearly up to no good.

We are looking forward to St Helena, but not saying goodbye to everyone. Because of our deviation from the ARC route, tomorrow evening will be the last time we will be with the rest of the fleet in one place until probably St Lucia. Its hard to explain to anyone not a part of this trip how close you get to the other boats and how much we are going to miss everybody.
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.

Sailing matilda

Who: Jonathan & Heather Howard
Port: Portsmouth