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

Mainly motoring

05 May 2012 | Leg 1 =- BVI's to Bermuda
Susan Mackay
The rhumb line distance from Tortola to Bermuda is 845nm, in a direction of due north. Yesterday Lyall gave us an excellent briefing however the news was not encouraging. Every day we will receive a weather forecast by email from their weather router. With a huge low in the middle of the Atlantic the Azores high which should bring south easterly winds is virtually nonexistent. It is very much looking as if the winds over the course of the next three days will have a northerly element which is just what we do not want. Voyageur does not sail particularly well upwind. On the plus side however the forecast is not for strong winds. The fleet is twenty five boats strong, a record entry for this event, covering fourteen different nations, four of us double handing.

We slipped our berth 11.30 am sharp in time for the midday start. The sun was beating down, I have never been hotter. By the time I had stowed all our ten fenders and mooring warps I was a blob. I staggered back to the cockpit and collapsed under the shade of the bimini. "Take photos, and shoot some video" the skipper demanded, "ready on the genoa sheets". Ah yes, there is no rest for the wicked! The final countdown, a blast of the horn and twenty four of us drifted slowly across the line. One was delayed due to a broken starter motor. In the lightest zephyr of a breeze everyone was bunched up and not really going anywhere. Minutes later headsails were rolled in except for a few determined souls at the back, their spinnakers making a pretty sight. The course took us south of Tortola, past Soper's Hole leaving Little and Great Thatch and finally Jost van Dyke to starboard. The sea was slight, with nine knots of true wind out of the north, north east. The echo sounder read a steady 50 metres until we were 30nm out, when the depths gradually plummeted, as we were now starting our traverse of the Puerto Rican trench, the deepest section of which we expect to cross sometime early tomorrow morning. Halo reported sighting three whales but we saw only a lone dolphin. We continued motor sailing throughout the rest of the day and were indeed beginning to think that we were in for a long night of motor sailing too, but a rain squall ahead soon changed all that. We reefed right down and an hour later when we came out through the other side we had a usable sailing breeze. Out rolled and the genoa and mizzen and off we went, the lights of the BVI's receding with the onset of evening.

Radio Ga Ga
It was all a bit of a fiasco really, no one in particular to blame. When we tuned in to the SSB for the 5.30pm five minute listening watch set up for emergency traffic, the Atlantic Cup fleet who left 48hours previously were giving all their positions on the same frequency. Our net controller on Chiscos is going to announce on tomorrow morning's broadcast that we change to 4 Charlie instead to avoid the clash of interests.
So it was back into the old sea going routine. Sun downer (glass of ice cold beer) followed by an early supper (salmon and spinach lasagne) and all washed up before night fall.

The chef at sea
The night time nutty box came out of the freezer, the cup a soups to hand for the latter part of the night. The relentless three hours on three off gets off the ground. David took the first watch 8pm to 11pm. I had forgotten how hard it was but at least the conditions were benign. We were overhauled by at least two other rally yachts, one of them displaying masthead and deck level lights, a large drain on the yacht's battery bank I would have thought and actually incorrect. I slept up in the cockpit, by my second round of sleep I needed two blankets and when I came on at 4am I had to dig out a pair of joggy bottoms from the winter woollies locker! The wind gradually fell away as night wore on but still we managed to sail, doing just over four knots in eight knots of breeze, with the wind gradually swinging round more to the east allowing us to make a little more northing. So all in all we are content with our forward progress even if it is a little slow compared to what we are used to. As long as we can keep sailing we will. We have a loose arrangement that if our speed drops under four knots then we will start to motor. Voyageur is weighted down, weighted down with water and fuel. Stuff, the product of years of collecting, shells, trinkets, books, jewellery, clothes, which I have been waiting a long time to bring home, and not forgetting all the growth on her hull now that she has been in the water for five months. Finally the addition of two extra sails that we now carry having had a new genoa fitted in South Africa and then a main made in Grenada. It is 4.30 am and as I look to port an almost full moon that peeps through dark clouds every now and again makes its slow descent, casting its lovely trail of liquid light towards Voyageur. It will be light in another hour. There is never enough sleep to be had. I have had five hours, David six but we will take turns throughout the day to have further bouts of rest but it is not easy in the heat. Dawn brings the beginning of a brand new day, the first one now well and truly behind us.
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