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

Sailing to the finish

28 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
Susan Mackay
After our long and tedious "flat" spot, we have sailed 180nm in the last 24hours without the use of the engine. All the signs had been there from dusk the previous day, with gathering grey clouds heaped up on the horizon astern of us. But everything comes at a price and it was the rain, our first of the entire passage. I realise that David has something in common with Herb. He has always done his utmost to steer us away from bad weather, very successfully too, and one of the reasons I am happy to sail with him. In over 60,000nm he has kept me safe and there have been very few times when I have been fearful. But Voyageur too has played her part. As I have said before she is one great boat.
Another spell of motor sailing on and off all afternoon but by the early hours, our tenth day at sea, the engine was silenced for the last time. According to the latest Grib file it looks as if we may have enough wind to sail the rest of the way but it was worth putting in the motoring miles to arrive at our destination sooner than later. It is not looking good Tuesday into Wednesday.
Sunday 27th and our last day at sea. The ocean is absolutely beautiful. King Neptune has rewarded us well, although unbeknownst to David I did toss him a Werther's the other night just for good measure. Ok, I probably overdid it a bit, the seas have been just a little too kind but I always think less is more. Friends know us as cautious sailors but in over 60,000nm of ocean sailing we have had only one small sail repair. We do not have unlimited funds. The ocean is running high today after the latest frontal trough blew through. Huge waves roll underneath Voyageur's stern. I look up through our "skylight" window, the sky, the bluest of blue. As the day wears on more and more birds appear around the boat, a sure sign of approaching land. It has not been nearly the difficult passage that I had anticipated. In fact it is the opposite. We did not expect to be in such light wind conditions quite so much. But truth to tell Voyageur feels weary now and I think that we are too......

HERB, and Salmon fish cakes!
A generous helping of Herb with homemade salmon fish cakes was on the dinner menu tonight, a salad of coleslaw using my last carrot and leftover cabbage to accompany it. And we have just enough fruit for our last passage breakfast, two bananas, oranges and apples. Listening intently to Herb, now almost impossible to hear, we gleaned enough from his broadcast to confirm that we absolutely must reach our landfall by Monday so it is all haste to get to Horta.

The home straight to Horta
How is it that the last 100nm always seems to take forever? Having spent the previous day in a brisk force six under poled out genoa and goose winged mizzen, as night closed in the winds abated, and we paid the ultimate price of a big blow enduring a night of crashing and banging in too light winds, the left over swell coming from two different directions, northwest and southwest. We took turns to doze in the cockpit. As one would expect, several other rally yachts were now closing in towards the finish line and we picked up five different AIS targets plotted on our computer chart but there was another target, only seen on radar less than two nm away and we could just not pick up his lights. As it turned out it was not an ARC Europe yacht but for any yacht to sail without navigation lights is not only unfair but it is against maritime law. We find it wholly unacceptable. As soon as we had enough light I woke David to jibe for the final time to take us along Faial's south coast.

Approaching Faial
With less than three hours sleep we were really rather fatigued but the end was in sight literally, for the great island of Faial appeared, only to be completely obliterated as another heavy squall swept over and away from us passing from south to north. Within an hour the island reappeared once more through the gloom and as we gently ghosted along its southern shores, tiny rectangles of rich green fields came cascading down, carpeting the southern slopes all the way to the sea, the towering peak of neighbouring island Pico, providing an impressive landmark in the background. A dawn of muted colours, an artists' palette of greys and greens gave atmosphere to the stage setting, the island, Faial, exuding powerfulness in its grandeur. The dreaded knot and a half of adverse current returned and might have held us back physically but emotionally there was nothing to stop us now. We were elated to have completed this crossing in twelve days, (exactly David's predicted time) and in safety. We rounded the great headland, Monte da Guia and into the welcoming arms of Horta with Kieran on the VHF with instructions clear and precise directing us straight into our berth, fourth out on a raft up. This place is absolutely choc a bloc with boats, the forecast of the approaching bad weather having kept people from moving on. We took a nap after lunch but strangely sleep would not come so we hot footed it for happy hour followed by dinner in the legendary Peter's Cafe Sport and a reunion with Stephen, Denis and Vera of 'A lady'. Their news, Stephen and Aileen have just had a new grandson so we wet the baby's head with Buck's Fizz back aboard A Lady. A fitting finish for our arrival in Faial......
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