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 rising of the moon.....

22 March 2011 | North Atlantic Ocean
Susan Mackay
It is quite extraordinary how different the earlier part of this passage has differed from the latter. From close reaching in strong winds, driving rain and rough seas for eight consecutive days, we now find ourselves enjoying downwind sailing, with poled out genoa, in sparkling sunshine and flat seas. Last night was beautiful. The moon cast its liquid silver path in our wake. I could have willingly stayed on watch all night. But how could I deprive David of the magic and did I really want to deprive myself of that much needed rest. I do now feel that I have been on a long voyage. One week ago I thought I had finally got long distance sailing out of my system but now, after the night we have just had, well, I am just not so sure. The ocean is a place where you can get really close to nature. At dawn today a black noddy settled on the weather rail. He rocked to and fro, to and fro, balancing like a ballet dancer at the barre and in perfect timing to Voyageur's gentle roll. It was comical to watch. Suddenly he takes flight in search of breakfast, which reminds me that I am a little hungry too. Time to wake David from his slumbers and get the breakfast on....

"Spirit of the Rally"
The convoy continues to make steady progress. Yesterday poor Jeannius however have torn their mainsail and are struggling to keep up. All their spare fuel has gone to Basia so they are unable to motor to keep up, but by evening we hear that they have successfully jury rigged the sail and are going well once more. Today Michael will do a fuel assessment in order to establish if they can increase the engine revs. Basia have had throughout the past week the most tremendous support from the boats around them to assist them in reaching their final destination in safety. What would have been the outcome for them if they had been on their own I wonder. Abandonment of their "home". We will never know, but what is a certainty is that without a sail to jury rig the boat they would not have made it all the way to Grenada without the help of the other WARC boats that have come so willingly to their rescue. They have demonstrated the true "spirit of the rally" and David and I applaud their fantastic achievement....

Goodbye my ocean....
We are 35nm from the north east tip of Tobago, sailing dead downwind in a lovely 20knot breeze. Ahead dark clouds foretell rain, but behind us a tiny patch of blue sky peeks through broken cloud, one occasion when it is better to look back than forward. With such reduced visibility it is unlikely we will catch a glimpse of the island. The looking forward is for the next twenty four hours for land is now just 140nm away. Today and tonight will be our final time on the ocean for tomorrow we will be in the Caribbean Sea. The lead boats of Crazy Horse, Ocean Jasper, A lady and Lady Lisa are already there with Thor 1V, lady Ev 1V, Chessie and Tzigane arriving during the night. We have sailed almost all of this long leg and are particularly pleased to have used so few engine hours. Somehow we always managed to keep the wind with us and where the Guyana Current left off, the South Equatorial Current took over pushing us nicely along and bringing our predicted 16 day passage forward by two whole days. Who knows when we will be back upon the ocean, but I suspect it will not be too long before it calls to us once more. Last night I fell in love with it all over again. But for now the lure of landfall courses strongly through our veins and come dawn tomorrow we will be rewarded with our first sight of land since leaving Brazil, the dark outline of the high mountains of Grenada.

The Convoy Continues....

20 March 2011 | North Atlantic Ocean
Susan Mackay
We have now less than 500nm from Grenada having had seventy two hours of fast sailing in steady winds and dare I say it, lovely weather. The convoy is making good progress too. Every morning at the beginning of the 9am SSB radio net, Graham of Eowyn gives the fleet an update of their position and progress. The fuel transfers were completed successfully, albeit in lumpy seas. They should soon benefit from the greatly improved sailing conditions that we are now experiencing.

The saga of the anemometer continues....
A reply from B&G is not good. The repaired unit does not come under warranty. So our new unit which failed after five months was two months outside the warranty, and now just returned from repair having only lasted five miserable days will be yet another bill. They have got you every which way.

Pirates of the Caribbean.
We have heard from Graham (Eowyn), who knows the area well, that it is unwise to sail between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. He has warned us of two pirate attacks in the last year. Yes, there is piracy in the Caribbean too and reported incidents are becoming more frequent. We had an email for our BWR cruising companions, Penny and Pete of Innforapenny. They tell us that all the boats on the current BWR are awaiting a ship to transport their yachts home. On the one hand we are happy to hear that. We were particularly concerned for our lovely Miss Tippy family who we met in Gibraltar. Yes, it will be a big concern to many how they are going to pay for this, but what cost is human life? It will be a huge disappointment for all the participants who must now feel cheated out of the completion of their circumnavigation. Their 'once in a life time' trip has been dramatically and inexorably cut short. On the 22nd January 2009, the Gulf of Aden was declared a war zone. I would not choose to go mountaineering in Afghanistan any more than I would want to sail through this area so I cannot understand why these sailors still want to do just that. Pirates are now holding a total of 31 vessels and 688 hostages. Add to that the latest family of seven and the capture of the Panamanian-flagged, with three Romanians, one Russian and nineteen Filipinos bulk carrier M/V Dover. There has been no communication with the vessel since it was pirated. Type in on Google, 'latest news on Danish hijacked yacht', and you can read one hundred and fifty three comments over 47 pages on peoples' opinions on how to deal with the Somalians. It makes interesting reading. The first one reads, 'STOP BOATING NEAR SOMALIA..... it's that simple'. The last one, 'sailing around unmolested in international waters is a human right'. The problem should have been addressed long, long ago and now it is too late. No, it is never too late but how will it be resolved. Now that the pirates have the mother ships there is nothing to stop them spreading further east, further west, further south. If they can take yachts near the Seychelles, they can go a little further to the Maldives. The horizon is roughly 30 to 35nm, and it is a big ocean out there. The high speed ribs can disappear over the horizon within one hour. The ocean does not have a border control. But what they have got are 32 vessels and 716 hostages whose lives are cheap. They have slowly, systematically outwitted all the navies of the world and the amazing thing is that it all started out as poor fishermen who became hungry for more and the mind now boggles as to how powerful, how successful, how utterly ruthless, how highly organised they have become. And who is to stop them? It seems that they are unstoppable, it seems that they rule the seas of the north Indian Ocean. It seems that way because they can hold to ransom over 700 innocent lives. The worrying thing is that if other countries see how utterly successful these pirates have been then who is to say that others might not 'have a go'. David and I have made our decision, we are going home.....

Sailing into the sunshine.....

18 March 2011 | North Atlantic Ocean
Susan Mackay
What a difference a day makes. Voyageur is tearing along at a rate of knots. We have had the most fantastic twenty four hours of fast exciting sailing, achieving a 200nm daily run! The day augured well. A liquid moon slowly slid down a western sky finally setting at 5am. Half an hour later a watery sun burst upon the horizon to the east. It was a beautiful sight. Dolphins arrive and perform their early morning aerobics classes for us. We call to them and they respond in kind. They sing to us. Oh, it feels so good to be out here. The ocean blue once more, is reflected from a clear blue sky. It really feels and looks like we are heading into the Caribbean Sea. Five degrees north appears on the log sheet. It is like a magic number. We have literally sailed out into the sunshine after eight hard days sailing. We have a lovely beam reach about force five and are bowling along under full canvas, up to one and half knots of current surging us forward. In the evening I made my peace with the ocean. I was so happy with it all. It is at moments like this that I know why I am out here, why I am doing this. Now that we are not in the race I feel a great freedom knowing that our every position, our every move is not being closely scrutinised every step of the day. Huge ships pass us coming around the corner of Venezuela, en route to and from the Panama Canal, one a massive 333metres in length. Ooh! Imagine meeting that on a dark night.....
Graham updates us with the latest news of Basia. Their morale is good. The big blow that we had the previous day passed through their little fleet during the night and thankfully they came through it without incident. Ariane and Jeannius have now rendezvoused with the group for a planned fuel transfer tomorrow. That will give them enough to motor the rest of the way to Grenada.
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