Global Voyageur

Be a virtual voyager - join the tartan navy to follow the Mackays on their return to Scotland

21 June 2012 | Clyde Marina, Ardrossan
20 June 2012 | North Channel, Irish Sea
17 June 2012 | Bay of Biscay
15 June 2012 | Coruna Marina, La Coruna
14 June 2012 | Marina Coruna, La Coruna
13 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
12 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
09 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
07 June 2012 | Ponta Delgaga
06 June 2012 | Ponta Delgada
04 June 2012 | Angra
02 June 2012 | Horta, Faial
01 June 2012 | Horta , Faial
28 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
25 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
24 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
23 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
22 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
21 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
20 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean

The final countdown

25 April 2012 | The Bight, Norman Island, BVI's
Susan Mackay
With just over a week to go now there is much to do. Yesterday Sue and Donald returned on the very long flight back home to Scotland. It all seems very quiet without them but Donald will be returning in about six weeks time to help us sail the final leg from the Azores to Scotland. We wasted no time getting down to our final preparations. We remained in Trellis Bay an extra day so that David could change the engine oil in the relative calm that this anchorage affords. He normally does this after 200 engine hours, but in view of the journey ahead of us he thought it better to do it with half of that on the clock. Our last trip ashore allowed me to stock up on their delicious bread which I have been unable to find anywhere else throughout the islands. Four loaves went into the freezer. Shopping here has to be done piecemeal. It has taken all this time to discover where to buy the best fresh fish, the best meat, the best selection of cheeses, the freshest fruit. We have boiled it down to four different locations but it is as time consuming as it is frustrating that it cannot be done all in one particular place. We now have to concentrate on stowing any loose things that are normally left lying around the cabin. The weather in the last few days has become terribly hot and humid with the winds turning easterly south easterly, the first time ever we have seen a touch of south in the wind, a perfect wind direction for heading north. We really should be leaving now. But Barrie is still to join us and we are not nearly ready! Leaving Trellis Bay we motor sailed hard on the wind across to Spanish Town which by now we know so well that we almost know the turtles by name! It feels like home. Here I attempted to start some serious provisioning, but with the exception of the most wonderful freshly caught wahoo steaks (wahoo is one our favourite fishes, the flesh firm and meaty which will contribute later on in the trip towards fish pie), there was little else to inspire. The supply ship had not called in for many days and to compound matters the shop's freezers had broken down. Meanwhile David returned to Hawk's house up on the hill for the third and final time to fill a propane gas bottle, the only place in the BVI's where we found this service. Up very early the following day before it got too hot David changed the engine fuel filters and checked the impeller and still emerged from the bowels of the engine compartment as wet as if he had been in for a swim. He got straight into the water to cool off.

Rally to the Rescue
The ARC Europe office opens on Saturday 28th so to that end we attempted to book a berth in Nanny Cay Marina to arrive on Monday 30th. No, they could not, would not let us in, even after consulting with the marina manager. We cannot understand it. The marina here in Virgin Gorda is practically empty. This has put a real spanner in the works for us. We had hoped not only to get to meet with other rally yachts, join in the pre rally festivities, but we were anxious to have several days in advance to prepare and provision Voyageur for the journey ahead. Now we were left with only three days. David contacted Lyall Burgess our minder for ARC Europe. Lyall has been running this section for World Cruising club for a number of years. He was having a meeting with the manager of Nanny Cay Marina and would see what he could do. Within a couple of days we had been assured our place within the marina on the 30th after all. It must have been a misunderstanding they said. So now tomorrow, Friday, we can get underway heading first for Soper's Hole for more provisioning, then over to a nice quiet bay on Norman Island for a couple of "chill out" days before our entry into the world of big boat buzz.

Bored with BVI's
We came here on the 20th February and I feel as if we have been here forever and frankly our departure from here cannot come quick enough. I am bored with it. It is a charter yachts paradise. I can see the great appeal. Reasonably flat water, guaranteed sailing, good weather, warm water swimming. But there is no culture here of any kind, all the islands are much the same. There is little in the way of good walking ashore, no golf courses, not a great deal of anchoring opportunities, few calm swimming conditions and it is busy, far too busy. Do I sound disappointed? Well yes I am or perhaps the desire to go home is so strong it has taken over and influenced my opinion. Having said that, the wind today was blowing an absolute "hoolie", the Drake Channel as rough as we have ever seen it. Oh, yes, we had a truly exhilarating sail but it was dead downwind and we watched as those poor souls bashed their way to windward, feeling nothing but heartfelt sympathy. This is exactly the kind of thing that we do not want in one week's time. What we want, we need, are winds with a bit of south in them, an east southeast or even south east would be perfect......

We departed Soper's Hole for the last and final time. Goodness, it was like a ghost town compared to a few weeks ago. It was sooo quiet. There is that "end of season" feel to the place with many of the Canadian yachts having already left. The wind increased overnight, I did not take a dip in the morning, very unusual for me. We crossed hard on the wind to Norman Island and our attempt to drop the hook in Benures Bay failed miserably for by now with the wind blowing thirty knots we could not get close enough inshore for the anchor to set so we soon abandoned that and nipped around the corner to the Bight where the gusts were halved. But oh boy, was it noisy. It was choc-a-bloc with charter boats. Give me a secluded Scottish anchorage anytime. I say that this cruising ground is vastly overrated but I suspect we have also been thoroughly spoiled on our world girdling.
We are beginning to hear many ARC Europe boats on the VHF but have seen actually very few. Even "A Lady" has remained elusive to us. We seem to have kept missing them by a whisker. Anyway in two days time we will arrive in Nanny Cay in time for the first welcome party. I am slowly getting through the jobs to do list. The galley has been gutted, the fridge and freezer defrosted in readiness for the major restock, the dried and tinned stores sorted. We have even had time for some R&R, in our book reading and relaxation! Voyageur and her crew are champing at the bit. I only hope that we will still all feel that way come one week today.....
Vessel Name: VOYAGEUR
Vessel Make/Model: Amel Super Maramu 2000
Hailing Port: Rhu, Scotland
Crew: Susan and David Mackay
David first learned to sail on a Loch Fyne day boat out of Helensburgh Sailing Club on the River Clyde in his mid twenties. With the arrival of a family he did not do any more, until in 1984 we bought our first boat, “The Golden Soak”, a Matilda 20. [...]

Our motto:Carpe Diem

Who: Susan and David Mackay
Port: Rhu, Scotland