Yacht Cerulean Atlantic Adventure

Vessel Name: Cerulean of Penryn
Vessel Make/Model: Seastream43
Hailing Port: Gosport
Crew: Richard & Alison Rowley
About:
Richard has been sailing for over 40 years and has done over 12000nm of coastal sailing mainly from out of Portsmouth Harbour (UK) including many cross channel passages to the Channel Islands, and north coast of France and along the UK South coast, as well as yacht charters in Greece and Croatia. [...]
Extra: We have both taken a year off work to sail the Atlantic in our 43' (13m) sailing yacht Cerulean of Penryn which we purchased in 2015. We are signed up for the ARC+ 2018 rally from Las Palmas Gran Canaria to St Lucia via the Cape Verde Islands
Home Page: www.yachtcerulean.com
Social:
17 March 2019 | 21:25 71:09
15 March 2019 | 19:38 066:44
14 March 2019 | 18:42 064:47
11 January 2019 | 14:28 61:04
16 December 2018 | 14:27 060:52
04 December 2018 | 14:12 58:10
03 December 2018 | 14:16 54:48
02 December 2018 | 14:16 52:16
30 November 2018 | 14:23 048:27
29 November 2018 | 14:50 045:48
29 November 2018 | 14:50 045:25
28 November 2018 | 14:54 043:03
26 November 2018 | 15:45 037:07
23 November 2018 | 16:46 031:29
22 November 2018 | 16:45 027:31
21 November 2018 | 16:53 024:59
17 November 2018 | 17:33 024:35
16 November 2018 | 20:24 022:28
16 November 2018 | 20:24 022:28
15 November 2018 | 22:29 021:02
Recent Blog Posts
17 March 2019 | 21:25 71:09

Grand Turk

We have arrived at Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos islands are after a passage of 407nm taking some 76hrs 50 minutes at sea and 3 nights at sea. the first long passage we have had since crossing the Atlantic. It was quite a pleasant passage, the first night was a bit windy with gusts up to 28kts and [...]

15 March 2019 | 19:38 066:44

Passage to the Turks & Caicos day 2

140nm down 280nm to go We are cracking along at the moment on a broad reach at 7kts through the water, one reef in the main and full genoa. We had a slow start yesterday with only 6-8kts of wind directly behind us from the south east, barely pushing us along a 2kts, so resorted to the engine for a couple [...]

14 March 2019 | 18:42 064:47

Fair well to the Lesser Antilles

After three and a half months sailing around the Lesser Antilles from St Lucia down to the Grenadines and up through the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands to the Virgin Islands, we are now heading North West to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas.

11 January 2019 | 14:28 61:04

The Green Flash

After 6 weeks in the Caribbean we have eventually seen the elusive green flash as the sunset just after setting the anchor in the bay at Petite Anse d'Arlet on the west coast of Martinique. With the boat safely anchored we both turned around the look out at the best sunset we had seen in our 6 months [...]

16 December 2018 | 14:27 060:52

ARC+ Leg 2 Arrival In St Lucia

In all the excitement of arriving at Rodney Bay, St Lucia and finishing Leg 2 of the ARC+ I never got round to writing our final report for the ARC+

04 December 2018 | 14:12 58:10

ARC+ LEG 2 DAY 14

The ARCers a story of every day sailing folk. In this episode: It's 3am and Richard takes over watch from Alison

Grand Turk

17 March 2019 | 21:25 71:09
Richard Rowley
We have arrived at Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos islands are after a passage of 407nm taking some 76hrs 50 minutes at sea and 3 nights at sea. the first long passage we have had since crossing the Atlantic. It was quite a pleasant passage, the first night was a bit windy with gusts up to 28kts and a bit of rain in the squalls. Since then we have not had any rain or squalls...blue skies, fayre wynds and kynd seas...

The only problem encountered was the electric motor for the watermaker packing up, not a problem as we had almost a full tank and plenty of reserve water...but annoying all the same, hopefully we shall be able to get is sorted out whilst wwe are here.

Just watched an amazing sunset...and yes we saw the green flash again...whilst supping the first G&T for a couple of days...and now a steak dinner awaits...

We are anchored at South Base the freighter and cruise ship terminal to do the customs and immigration...only took 2 hours and 75 US dollars...

Richard and Alison yacht Cerulean of Penryn

if you want to see pictures or more loo us up on for us at www.yachtcerulean.com facebook @yachtcerulean, instagram and if that is not enough you can always search 'Yacht Cerulean' on youtube if you are really bored.

Passage to the Turks & Caicos day 2

15 March 2019 | 19:38 066:44
Richard Rowley
140nm down 280nm to go We are cracking along at the moment on a broad reach at 7kts through the water, one reef in the main and full genoa. We had a slow start yesterday with only 6-8kts of wind directly behind us from the south east, barely pushing us along a 2kts, so resorted to the engine for a couple of hours, to charge the batteries and run the watermaker, but the wind filled in and we managed to sail at 4.5 - 5 knots for the rest of the day and night. We have had the occasional rain squall giving us a bit of a soaking and messing around with the wind gust up to 18kts from every which way, but generally giving us a bit of a lift.

It was a super sunset yesterday as we passed by Peurto Rico, and for the most part (well my watch anyway) a clear moonlit night with the odd shooting star. A colourful sunrise this morning deteriorating into a cloudy, wet and squally morning, but now this afternoon a nice breeze, some blue sky with a few clouds around.

We have seen just a handful of other vessels. One of the Club Med sailing cruise liners passed us a couple miles to starboard in the night heading for the Turks and Caicos (i am sure they are following us around we have seen them everywhere), a few cargo ships including Yacht Express, one of the ships that transport peoples sailing yachts back across the Atlantic to Europe, it was heading for St Thomas in the US virgin Islands, and then, no doubt down to Antigua, a few people we have met on our travels are having their yacht shipped back, probably on that ship.

Old Harry the Hydrovane Wind Vane self steering gear is doing a splendid job as usual keeping us on track, but with these squally winds we are having to make plenty of adjustments, but still it beats hand steering for hours on end and does not use up any precious battery power. We are having to run the generator a couple of times a day for an hour or so to keep the batteries topped up to run the fridge, icebox, lights and of course the VHF, instruments and chartplotter. We use about 7-8amps per hour (at 24v) when sailing, the wind generator, only gives perhaps 1-1.5amps when going downwind, maybe 2-3 amps if we are going up wind. The pair of 50w (12v wired in parallel to give 24v) solar panels seem to be a waste of space barely giving 0.1 of an amp if we are lucky, it may be that they are just too small, badly positioned, or wired up wrong...or may be a combination of all three, In reality I suspect we need a pair of 150w 12v panels. If the 50w ones where running 100% efficiently, is should get 2 amps, a pair of 150w 12V ones may give me 6amps, and if mounted on top of the bimini should avoid being shaded and be more efficient...and that in combination with the wind generator should, almost, make us self sufficent...well now I know...may be next time, oh and another wind generator would not go a miss either...well I am sure you did not want to know about that, but I thought I would share it with you guys...any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Fishing...number of fish caught this passage zero, number of fish landed for the entire adventure so far, 2 mackerel off of Portland Bill on day three of our adventure.

It is only 16:00hrs local time here, and I have put a sausage stew in the MrD (thanks for the head's up on that one Steve) which is a fabulous thermal cooker, its a bit like a slow cooker, but you only need to fry off and simmer the ingredients for 15-20 minutes then take it off the heat and put the pot in the thermal canister and leave it to cook for the next three hours or so, it's brilliant and only uses a tiny amount of gas to cook a hearty stew, which will last us a couple of days. Not sure about the sausages though, they look a bit anaemic, i think they may have been turkey sausages. Turkey seems to be a staple in the Caribbean amongst the locals, turkey sausages and turkey bacon, must be a cheap way of providing protien, pork and beef and even chicken tends to relatively expensive in comparison, even fish is quite expensive, as it has to be caught off shore to avoid the risk of Ciguatera poisoning from fish that feed off the coral or fish that feed off fish that feed of the coral, if you know what I mean.

All this gabling on to you I missed the 16:00 log entry, by the way sea temperature is 26.4 degrees C, it has cooled down a bit, it was 28 degrees further south in the Grenadines.

Our ETA for Grand Turk is probably going to be Midday local time Monday 18th March, may be sooner, may be later...depends on the wind.

Better go and have a look out for ships...bye for now



Richard and Alison yacht Cerulean of Penryn

if you want to see pictures or more loo us up on for us at www.yachtcerulean.com facebook @yachtcerulean, instagram and if that is not enough you can always search 'Yacht Cerulean' on youtube if you are really bored.

Fair well to the Lesser Antilles

14 March 2019 | 18:42 064:47
Richard Rowley
After three and a half months sailing around the Lesser Antilles from St Lucia down to the Grenadines and up through the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands to the Virgin Islands, we are now heading North West to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas.

We have spent the last couple of weeks sailing around the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, what and extraordinary place they are to sail around. We enjoyed blue skies and clear turquoise waters. Our anchorages have generally been flat calm where you can see the bottom in 10m or so of water, snorkeling around the boat we can clearly see the sandy bottom and the anchor well bedded in and plenty of fish swimming around us. The Virgin Islands are a paradise for sailing and snorkeling. There is more or less a constant force 4 breeze blowing from east to west, occasionally gusting up to force 5, and occasionally a little from the south or north of east. The seas between the islands are generally flat, with no fetch to create any significant waves, as the Atlantic swell dissipated as it breaks when it reaches the Caribbean shelf. Distances between anchorages, harbours and the different islands is only a few miles, allowing plenty of time to sail from one part of paradise to another leaving plenty of time to swim, snorkel or just relax...or even scrub the bottom of the boat. We have seen plenty of the devastation created by Hurricane Irma and Maria?? a couple of years ago, there are still plenty of wrecked buildings and wrecked boats lying around the harbours. They have managed to clear many of the harbours but there are perhaps 100 wrecked yachts and small boats in the Harbour at Road Town, Tortola. Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour where we were a few nights ago was apparently full of sunken yachts, but has now been cleared by the hard work and sheer determination of the hardworking people that live their, there is also much rebuilding work going. One lady I met told of the the horror of being caught not just in one hurricane but two within a few weeks of each other, how frightening the ordeal was, and the despair afterwards, no drinking water, no food, no roof over her head, but their resolve has seen them through and the re-building goes on. We have seen much hurricane damage from Hurricane Irma on our travels through the Lesser Antilles in St Martin, Anguilla, Barbuda, Dominica to name the worst hit, but the devastation seemed to be more severe in the Virgin Islands....We sailed around to the world famous Bitter End Yacht Club in the Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda to find that it is still in the process of being re-built, along with the Vixen Point beach bar...no cold beer that night...

Since our landfall in the Caribbean at St Lucia in the Windward Islands back in December 2018 we have now traveled over 1200 nautical miles, been to 23 different islands and 14 different countries or dependant states, each with their own culture and way of life.

Our travels have shown us how, since the islands were discovery by Christopher Columbus in the 1490's and the Islands subsequent colonization primarily by the English, French and Dutch in the 1600's our way of life and the way of life of each of the island peoples has been shaped by slavery and the plantations producing sugar and other cash crops. A history that the English should not be proud of. However, is that very exploitation, and the slave trade that has made the islands and the island people what they are today and created rich and vibrant cultures. It is this history and the plantations that provided the funding for the Industrial Revolution and bring England out of the Middle Ages and make England one of the world's richest nations at the time. This wealth also funded many wars between England, France and Spain and shaped Europe and the British Empire.

Our whole voyage since leaving England back in August last year has been about following, and was shaped by the Tradewinds, the North Easterly trades that took us down the Atlantic coast of Spain, and Portugal and down to the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, and from there across the mighty Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Islands up through the Caribbean Islands and back home via the South Westerly trades from the Bahamas and Florida taking in Bermuda and the Azores. This route has seen used for centuries by sailing ships carrying trade back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean from the Old World to the New World and back again. The 'discovery' of the islands by Columbus led to the extinction of the original Amerindian settlers, the Caribs and the Arawak who came up the chain of the Lesser Antilles South America via Trinidad, island hoping there way up and settling the islands as they went, these settlers date back nearly 8000 years, They were wiped out mainly from diseases brought over by the western Europeans and the African slaves from which they had no immunity. Most of the Caribs and Arawaks where taken from the smaller Lesser Antilles islands by the initial Spanish Conquistadors to work as slaves in the lager Greater Antille Islands such as Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba where they were used as slave labour to mine for gold. By the time the English, French and Dutch reached the Lesser Antilles which were abandoned by the Spanish as being 'useless' islands the Caribs and Arawak had all but been wiped out from these islands except for a few tribes on some of the islands notably Dominica where the terrain was such that the Spanish could not capture them and the local tribes could hide in the mountains. The only remaining Caribs in the Caribbean today exist in a reservation on the Island of Dominca.

When the English an French came, they brought in hundreds of thousands of slaves from Africa, may be 2 million or more. These slaves brought with them a rich and vibrant culture of music, dance, and song, it is the descendants of these slaves that make up the population of most of these islands and make the islands what they are today. Each of the island nations and their people are fiercely independent and different to each other and each island wants to retain its own ways, and cultures, they are immensely proud of there heritage and their way of life...they are are all peace loving and kind people...the rest of the world can learn a lot from them...the biggest problem they have seems to be corrupt and incompetent Governments...no change there then.

I have loved our trip through the Lesser Antilles and look forward to the Bahamas not knowing what to expect.

Richard and Alison yacht Cerulean of Penryn

if you want to see pictures or more loo us up on for us at www.yachtcerulean.com facebook @yachtcerulean, instagram and if that is not enough you can always search 'Yacht Cerulean' on youtube if you are really bored.

The Green Flash

11 January 2019 | 14:28 61:04
Richard Rowley
After 6 weeks in the Caribbean we have eventually seen the elusive green flash as the sunset just after setting the anchor in the bay at Petite Anse d'Arlet on the west coast of Martinique. With the boat safely anchored we both turned around the look out at the best sunset we had seen in our 6 months of traveling we watched in silence as the great orange orb kissed the horizon, is this going to be the one, will we see it this time, not daring to tempt fate and say 'watch for it' as we looked in ore as the upper limb of the sun dropped below the horizon there it was a momentary green 'flash' quite a magical experience of us...for others perhaps something they have seen many times before.

Having got down down to Tobago Cays in the St Vincent Grenadines, our most southerly destination, on this adventure we are now on our way home, we still have 5 months making our way up the Caribbean Islands and the Bahamas to Florida before setting off back across the Atlantic via Bermuda and the Azores and aiming to touch Englands green and pleasant pastures in July later this year...well that is the plan at the moment.

We have been slow to leave the grasp of Rodney Bay and St.Lucia, it seemed to have become our home port for a while. With getting sails and other bits of equipment repaired, as well as our Atlantic crossing crew, Jeremy and Phil leaving us and Alison's girls Ellie and Tilly coming over for the Christmas and New Year period, Rodney Bay had become our home port or base for the past 6 weeks.

We have not just been moored in Rodney Bay marina for the past 6 weeks, we have ventured across to Martinique and back to do our Christmas shopping and down to take in the delights of Marigot Bay, did you know that if you take one of the Marigot Bay Marina mooring bouys you get to use the Marigot Bay Hotel Resort facilities including the rather wonderful swimming pools, why do I want a swimming pool when I have the beautiful bays with crystal clear water to swim in, well, just sometimes its nice to swim in sweet water and get out without sand in every orifice.

Once we had picked Ellie and Tilly up we headed back down to Marigot Bay (19th Dec 18) then down to 20th Dec 18) Soufriere where we had a short bus trip to the Volcano and to bath in the thermal spring pools and smear our bodies in hot mud...well why not.

(22nd Dec 19)The girls wanted to experience sailing at night, so we dropped our mooring at Soufriere at 05:00, one hour before sunrise and set of in the pitch black towards St Vincent with a sky full of stars. At 06:35 we had spotted our first whale, not a pilot whales this time but a big whale head out of the water 'skyhopping' off in the distance a few minutes another this time close by blowing, very much aware of the damage they can do to a small boat i steered to pass behind, it headed towards me for a moment or two then went on past into the distance. 0800 two whales, mother and calf we suspect, again close by, again I steered the boat to take us behind them, they kept turning towards us, eventually they lay alongside us for a while, may be two or three boat lengths away, perhaps mildly curious of us. We think they were humbacked whales, it is difficult to judge the length of them as you don't see their entire length on the surface at one time, just a large arch of the back and stubby dorsal fin, I would guess the length being about the size of the boat which is 13m. After a few blows the mother dived showing us her tail fluke and leaving us too look after the calf, a few moment later she was back and they eventually drifted off behind us. What and experience, what a privilege to be the company of such wonderful creatures, yes we are lucky to be experiencing this. Ellie managed to video the whole episode on her phone (check our facebook page and instagram). If you know more about these creatures than us, please look at the video and see if you can identify them for us.

As I mentioned earlier we are very much aware of the damage whale can do to a small yacht, friends of ours who were on the ARC+ with us, hit a whale 2 days out of the Cape Verde Islands,they where hit a night, the rudder shaft, rudder housing all bent, the hull plates bent, the auto pilot broken, they had to hand steer the remaining 2000nm double handed, and that was a steel yacht, fortunately the hull was not breached and they did not take on water, it took 6 weeks for the repairs to be completed in St Lucia and the boat had to be stripped out and rebuilt. There were other fiberglass yachts that where more badly damaged and taking on water and were lucky to complete the crossing without the yacht sinking. So meeting these majestic creatures in the ocean is a mixed blessing, yes, we want to see them, but we don't want be too close to them, and the problem is at night you have hit it before you have seen it.

Anyway, back to the story. As we approached the north end of St Vincent the wind increased, with gusts up to 40 kts and confused seas, and the wind constantly shifting direction around the mountainous peaks at the north of the islands, this makes for exciting and challenging sailing, more so than the sailing across the Atlantic ocean, this has been the pattern for most of our inter island passages, but not all, sometimes we get the wind just nice and might make the same passage again with a fayre wynd and a kynd sea and make an easy 7-8kts, sometimes even in the right direction which is always a bonus, other times you are heading into a tumultuous maelstrom of wind and heavy seas on the nose, interspersed with the odd rainsquall which will drench one in a matter of seconds Heading north through the Windward islands is always a challenge with the prevailing north easterly winds and currents conspiring against you all the time, but just sometimes the wind will veer to the east or even just slightly south of east and give you a helping hand. You need to keep an eye on the weather forecasts and 'carpe diem' and go for it.

The pilot books rather frighten sailors off of going to St Vincent with warnings of thefts from yachts, 'boat boys' who hassle you and fight with the over boat boys for your business to get you a mooring and wanting to charge exorbitant fee for helping you moor, even though you don't want or solicit their help in the first place...yes there are still pirates here...Despite such protestations we took our life into our hands and ventured into what seemed to be the most 'troubled' bay, Wallilabou Bay, the bay which featured as Port Royal in all the 'Pirates of the Caribbean films. Yes we were hassled by boat boys, we fought off the young whipper-snappers in their inflatable dinghies with outboards (one assumes appropriated) and let Mr Smiley in his old wooden rowing boat take our lines, he assured us that we would be safe here. Being the only yacht there when we arrived we did feel a little bit vulnerable when we left the boat to take the 20 minute walk to the botanical gardens and waterfall up the valley behind us. What a a wonderful walk, away from tourism, away from locals trying to relieve us of our cash and other chattels. We walked though a small hamlet, along the road in beautiful and stunning countryside, goats grazing freely at the roadside, the only danger being the cars, buses and overloaded pickup trucks which whizz along at dangerously excessive speeds around blind corners. However the botanical gardens and waterfall where a delight (all funded by the EU) 5 XCD (East Caribbean Dollar 3.3XCD to the £)a cold beer, a small snack and swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall, what more could one ask for. I was relieved to see the boat was still where we left it when we returned and all was good...faith in humanity restored. We then had a look around 'Port Royal' now a restaurant and a small exhibition playing homage to the Pirates of the Caribbean films...all in all a delightfully pleasant and pretty little bay to stop over at.

We were able to 'check in' at customs and immigration at Wallilabou Bay, at a small office which opens, on demand between 5pm and 6pm, and this covered us for St Vincent and the St Vincent Grenadines. One thing that you have to get used to about sailing around the Caribbean islands is that nearly each island is its own independent state or part of another country, as such you have cleat customs and immigration at each new islands you come to which is time consuming bureaucratic and sometimes costly process with fees and other charges which seem to be completely random as to time of day or day of the week.

23rd December 2018; The short hop across from Wallilabou to Admiralty Bay, Bequia was in the main a pleasant sail, starting off quite benign in the lea of St Vincent, soon turning 40kts of wind on the nose in heavy short chop as we approached Bequia, such that the mainsail tore at the second reef point at the clew, but as we entered the shelter of the harbour the chop disappeared and a short rainsquall happened upon us as we anchored next to our friends on 'Right Turn'

24th Dec 2018; A bit of provisioning at ashore at Admiralty Bay, started sowing up the torn mainsail, swimming and snorkeling off of Princess Margarets Beach. The crew of Right Turn came across on Christmas Eve for drinks, card games and some supper which they brought over...and splendid evening had by all.

25th Dec 2018; I saw three ships come sailing by. Leg of lamb roasting slowly in the oven, and over to the beach for a swim...not something we are used to back at home in the UK...back to the boat for a leisurely Christmas dinner of roast lamb with roasted vegetables and couscous.

26th Dec 2018; After we finished sowing up the mainsail, and the harbour rot setting in we upped anchor and headed the 16nm round to Friendship Bay on the South side of the island and sailed past the Moon Hole caves which in the 1960's which were made into cave dwelling houses. Freindship Bay was pleasant enough but it did roll a bit.

27-30th Dec 2018; with the the weather, in particular the wind looking a bit unsettled in the forthcoming week, we started heading back to Rodney Bay too make sure we where back in time to drop the girls off for their flight back home. We came back via Wallilabou Bay and Marigot Bay. All passages quite hard work to windward in a steep short chop. We were invited for drinks aboard Nikka Too whilst at Marigot Bay, and a good eveni8ng had by all. Nikka Too set off yesterday on the World Arc and we wish them and the other yachts all the best...with a little bit of envy.

New Years eve was spent having too much rum punch and watching the fireworks at Rodney Bay. On New Years Day, we went and anchored off of Pigeon Island for the night and sampled the delights of rather quaint and delightful Jambe de Bois restaurant on Pigeon Island after having a swim and sun bathing off the causeway.

Tilly and Ellie left us to fly home on the 3rd Jan, a emotional farewell, that made both me and Alison homesick for a day or two, it was wonderful having the girls with us for those brief two weeks. We have been away from home now for over 5 months and miss our friends and family very much and a lot has happened to us all here and at home...but we must stick to our game plan which is to do the North Atlantic circuit without coming home in between. Thus no sooner had we waved the girls goodbye, we checked out and went and anchored in Rodney Bay, and set sail early the next morning to Bequia again, this time en-route to the legendary Tobago Cays our ultimate 'must see' southerly destination on this adventure. We sailed the 76nm to Admiralty Bay in 12hrs and managed to anchor in time for a sundowner as we watched the sun set over the headland. Next day was was spent resting and recovering not just from the previous days sail but from the emotions and excitement of having the girls with us, Christmas and the New Year. We managed a short walk across the island to Friendship Bay, this was delight, as we were drawn to the music blasting out from speakers in the beach, a deserted beach save for the local boat club, who had just finished racing for the day, and where bringing the boats on the beach and having a BBQ...a great atmosphere.

We set off again early the next morning heading down towards Tobago Cays. The entrance to the Cays is tricky with lots of reefs just below or awash ready like sharks teeth to trap the unwary yachtsmen. Once in the Cays you are sheltered from the swell, but the wind still blows. We managed to anchor just inside the Horseshoe Reef just south of Baradel Island outside of the protected Turtle area. The scenery is stunning here, it also where parts of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. We went for a short walk on the tiny island of Baradel where we were greeted by no less than 6 iguanas some very large with huge crests and other quite small and green, and also a large tortoise. Snorkeling was not as good as we had expected as the sea was quite cloudy with sand and sediment, it was better in the windward side, with a lot more to see, but difficult in the swell.

We left Tobago Cays the next morning and headed to the NE corner of Rameau Bay, Canouan a)for the best shelter and b) to get us to windward to make our passage back up to Bequia more off the wind and thus less challenging. This anchorage, although difficult to anchor, because there is only a relatively small shelf of water of a suitable depth to anchor in and it is difficult to get a good holding, the bed is a mixture of sand a rock, and you need to find the sand in the right depth to drop the hook and allow yourself enough swinging room, the wind and the current play with you here and your swing in all directions adn different direction to the boats next to you, but its worth it if you persevere. The water is crystal clear we could see the bottom clearly in 8m of water, but the real delight was taking the dinghy to the small beach just a few hundred yards to the north of us at Pt Guyac and the reef just a few steps to the other side the peninsula. The snorkeling on this reef was by far the best yet, the range of fish and coral out of this world, but the beach where we landed the dinghy was astonishing, it was littered with Conch shells of all different sizes some eroded to by the wave action other not so much, there must have been a thousand of them, where they dumped here by fishermen after taking the meat, lambi...may be, but I think not, I think this is where they naturally wash up when the shell fish dies??? i don't know, but they are embedded in the rock and in the soil, this to me is natural and is what the beach is made up off, conch shell sand, but it is just beautiful. the anchorage was quiet just a few yachts, we had no swell or problem with the wind, we may have just been lucky.

Our anchorage had put us in a good position for the passage back up to Bequia the follwing day, far enough to windward to make a passage north on a beam reach, may be just f'rwd of the beam with our apparent wind angle. The next morning saw another early start with a good weather window with a fayre wynd and a 70nm crossing from Bequia back to St Lucia in 10hrs. We left Bequia at 0700 and anchored in Marigot Bay at 17:20 just in time to relax with a G&T and watch the sunset.

Engine Problems; A short hop back up to Rodney Bay the next day to sort to refuel and do some engine maintenance. I had noticed that sediment bowl on the Racor 500 fuel filter was looking a bit 'thick' and overdue for a little bit of attention, that coupled with a cloud of black smoke on starting up the previous day made me think i need to have a closer look. I knew the primary fuel filter needed to be changed before we left Cape Verde Islands, but I was concerned by the amount of black sediment in the bowl and decided to do some' fuel polishing' I had made my own fuel polishing kit before leaving England and polished the fuel and cleaned the tank out back in July last year, I set up the kit and left it running for 3 hours, filtering 450ltrs of fuel at 10ltrs / min (filtered 1800ltrs altogether passing the fuel in the tank through the filter nominally 4 times) and got no more than a half a teaspoon of sediment, and the 10 micron filter was only partly soiled, then I got round to cleaning the primary fuel filer, that was fully soiled and needed replacing, and the sediment bowl needed a good clean, but again only a fraction of a teaspoon sediment all together, thus in conclusion, yes the filters needed changing, but the remaining fuel was not particularly dirty, the primary fuel filter had done its job and the fuel polishing I had done previously had been effective. The black sediment is the residue of previous fuel bug contamination, fuel bug treatment additives, kill off the bug but leave this gritty black sediment that needs to be removed, failure to do so can lead to the main engine fuel filter becoming blocked and starving the engine of fuel, leading to white smoke before the engine eventually stops. I had been expecting that further sediment would be disturbed during our Atlantic crossing, and am pleasantly surprised that it was in total less than a teaspoon full.

Fuel problem now sorted, what was my cloud of black smoke all about, fouled prop??? blocked air filter/dirty air???. Having changed the fuel filters I was running up the engine without the covers in place and noticed a different sound and a lot of soot in the engine compartment, suspecting the exhaust was blowing I put my hand next to the wet exhaust elbow, and felt the exhaust on my hand, the black smoke I had noticed a couple of days earlier, although momentarily could well have been caused by this, the engine had been idling in still air whilst we were pulling the sails in in a flat calm, exhaust had built up in the engine compartment, when i put it into gear and put the engine under load it was sucking in exhaust not clean air, the gasket was blowing, on tightening up the stud I noticed it has stripped, the second one, I had replaced another one last year, not wanting to over tighten this one and strip the thread again I have managed to plug the gap with an exhaust sealant, allowing it to set overnight a test the following morning has proven it to be effective. I shall have to keep an eye on that, i have got some aluminium epoxy that should do the trick if the other sealant fails, other than that i will have to have the manifold off an the stud holes re-threaded.

World ARC start: Engine now sorted, we checked out of Rodney Bay and St Lucia for the last time yesterday morning, topped up with diesel, watched the start of the World Arc and saw yachts we had sailed the ARC+ with set off on a new adventure, then we set sail for Martinique, to anchor in Anse Chaudiere in Les ANse D'Arlet on the west coast of Martinique, 30nm in 4hrs average 7.5kts, perfect sailing conditions, true wind 10-15kts on the beam seas calm to moderate...we anchored just in time to see the sunset and the Green Flash....

Richard and Alison yacht Cerulean of Penryn

if you want to see pictures or more loo us up on for us at www.yachtcerulean.com facebook @yachtcerulean, instagram and if that is not enough you can always search 'Yacht Cerulean' on youtube if you are really bored.

ARC+ Leg 2 Arrival In St Lucia

16 December 2018 | 14:27 060:52
Richard Rowley
In all the excitement of arriving at Rodney Bay, St Lucia and finishing Leg 2 of the ARC+ I never got round to writing our final report for the ARC+

It has been over a week since we completed Leg 2 of the ARC+ and sailed the Atlantic Ocean. We crossed the official ARC+ finish line at 16:37:20 (20:37:20 UTC) on Wednesday 5th December 2018. We had sailed 2202Nm since our last landfall at Mindelo on Sao Vincente on the Cape Verde Islands. The voyage took us 14days 8hrs 37mins, with an average speed of 6.39kts. Engine hours for propulsion 21.6hrs.

The voyage started a rather pleasant hot sunny day at Mindelo, with a a light wind from the North East f1-2 barely enough to fill the sails. We managed to drift across to the start line just of the breakwater without resorting to the engine. We had made a good start and were in a good position, as we cleared the land a bit we the wind became a bit more stable and we managed to get ourselves in a good position and made a few places against even the bigger yachts, with the wind now firmly abaft the beam and away from the chaos of the start and in clear water we dared to hoist the cruising chute.

By 16:00 that afternoon the wind had dropped completely, not enough to keep the chute flying it just hung and flopped around looking rather dejected. We had expected this to happen, all the weather forecasts were forecasting a calm for about 24hrs. With Cerulean just wallowing in the water drifting aimlessly without any forward momentum to give us steerage, we threw in the towel, recovered the cruising chute and like half the fleet resorted to the 'iron topsail' and motored for the next 21 hrs until the wind filled back in at lunch time the following day. Within a few hours the wind was a steady force 4/5 from the North East, yippee the trade winds had finally kicked in and we were on our way, we even had a couple of reefs in the mainsail for a while.

Our original plan was head south until the wind kicked in, as it happened we were flexible about our plan, we did not want to travel too many extra miles, so we headed south west until we had the wind speed that suited us. Our weather forecast and routing advice provided by Alison's brother Richard, all suggested that the better wind would be to the south of the rhumb line. So we stuck with this as a general principal, whenever the wind speed dropped to less than 15kts we would gybe (put the stern or back of the boast through the wind) and head further down wind til we picked up our desired wind speed again and then gybe back again. we sort of followed this principle for the next couple of weeks.

Our choice of sail plan for this downwind sailing was a point of some discussion on board with the crew, however it was decided that we would run with a poled out genoa (foresail) to the windward side and the main out to leeward with the wind on the aft quarter. This seemed to work well for us and pushed us along at a good 6-7kts,or even 7-8kts, surfing at 8-10kts on the odd occasion, and relatively comfortable in the Atlantic swell which was sometimes 4-5m. I was not happy with the boat going at 7-8kts, it seemed that Cerulean, although enjoying being able to feel the water rushing over her keel, was hard pressed at times, the Hydrovane wind vane steering (known affectionately as 'Old Harry') was complaining, too many creaks and groans, as well as a the bolts holding it onto the boat working loose. I could also sense the rigging and sails straining, thus we tried to keep the sails reefed to maintain 6-7kts. To prevent the mainsail and the boom from banging around and crashing across to the other side in the event of a 'unplanned' gybe the boom was held back with a preventer line from the end of the boom taken to a block at the bow and than led aft to the cockpit, this was set up such that we could change from one gybe to the other relatively easily in a controlled manner, failure to have the preventer tied to the end of the boom could have resulted in it crashing across the boat and either bending or breaking the boom or even bringing the entire rig down. The whisker pole for the foresail was held in position with the pole topping lift and fore and aft guys that meant we could furl the sail away if need be without stowing the pole. To gybe the foresail we first of all furled the sail then dropped the pole then set it up on the other side and pulled the sail back out, probably took about half and hour to complete a gybe and get the boat settled back down again and get 'Old Harry' back on course.

We had a few squalls that either hit us or where close enough to have an affect on us, these squalls are rain clouds, which have the the propensity to deluge the boat in a significant amount of rain in a short period of time, this was not a problem, and could be quite refreshing, more of a problem was that the squalls are preceded with stronger winds increasing the wind speed by 10-15kts which often meant shortening sail by either reefing the main or furling part of the headsail, however on many an occasion Cerulean would quite often take the extra wind strength in her stride, all that was required was to perhaps give Old Harry a bit of help and hand steer through the gusts until the squall had blown over. The squalls only lasted for 10-15 minutes or so if we could weather them without reducing sail it saved quite a lot of effort. We could usually see the squalls coming, you can see the distinctive dark water laden clouds dipping down to the horizon off in the distance. You could even pick out the squalls in the darkness of the night, the dark dark in hospitable patch in the darkness, and sometimes the they were big enough to show up on the radar as a big splodge. The difficult thing was to determine if they were coming towards you or not, is it going to pass in front of us or behind us? The squalls became more prevalent and stronger the closer we got to St Lucia, we did not get many in the first half of the trip but say within 500Nm of St Lucia there were at least one a day if not two. Having said all that the squalls did not really present us with a problem, just with a bit of excitement.

On hearing the stories of woe from other yachts either on the SSB (shortwave radio) or the VHF or by email from race control, with various bits of rigging and kit failure, confirmed my belief that keeping the speed down to 6-7kts and suitable and maintaining manageable sail area aloft was the prudent and correct approach, this was confirmed with the smell of the land in our mist and the possibility of overtaking Gertha 4 of which we had been closing in on for the past week or so upped the pace during the last days of the crossing and blew out the headsail, meaning that we had furl away the damaged part of the sail, which was fine until the wind dropped off and we had to fix the secondary forestay and hank on the the old Yankee jib...reminder to self...keep the boat going nice and steady, no need to rush, look after the boat and the boat will look after you.

We had been in contact with several of the other yachts on the rally either by SSB or VHF radio. SSB which an infinite range, depending on the frequency and conditions, these radio work by ground wave propagation or sky wave propagation which bounces the radio waves off of the ionosphere enabling the transmission to travel thousands of miles depending on the frequency, VHF radio which only works on line of sight of the aerials and has a ranges between yachts of perhaps 25-30Nm. All the yachts are required to carry VHF radio and maintain a listening watch on channel 16 and 72. Only 27 of the 72 yachts carried SSB radio. We held a daily SSB radio net at 10:00UTC to report a any urgent communications followed by position and weather reporting, at 21:00UTC there was another listening watch for urgent communications. The SSB radio net and the VHF where useful tools to keep in contact with other yachts and find out what was going on and to provide support between vessels, either practical support or just encouragement to others who were facing tough times due to gear failure or other problems.

We had been close to Gertha 4 for much of the voyage, and from about day 9 we where in regular VHF contact with them as well as on the SSB radio net. They are a young couple with two young children on board and managing to keep up a good pace, but we were starting to close on them. They informed us that they had a problem with their mainsail vang and had to lower the sail and just keep going under genoa alone, thus they were moving a bit slower, they also informed us that they were having charging there batteries as there normally very efficient hydogenerator was getting clogged up with acres of sargasso weed meaning that they had to pull it out of the water, this coupled with an engine problem meant that they could not charge theire batteries properly...meaning that they had to hand steer, and shut down some of their navigation equipment and SSB radio, but would keep in contact on the VHF. We now started to over take Gertha 4, hollow victory considering their problems, however they soon managed to fix their mainsail problem and we had passed through the worst of the sargasso weed and they were now up and running...and catching us back up. We were now into the last 150 miles or so, may be a day or two of this passage left. Dave from Gertha 4 called on the VHF to say they were worried about arriving during the night because of there engine problem and were going to slow down. By my calculation, if carried on the same pace we should arrive in daylight, I replied back saying keep on going we should arrive during daylight, but if not all they had to do was cross the finishing line, then head off and anchor in the bay if need be, and that if we should arrive before them, or more likely just behind we would standing by to either tow them in or stay with them until they were safely at anchor. Spurned on by this thought, they decided to go for it, and hoisted their spinnaker and gentle glided by us at a rated of knots just 10 miles or so from the finish, a looming squall soon meant they had to drop their spinnaker, and with our reduced headsail, we started gaining on them again, it was looking as though we we going to have a racing finish, they deservedly crossed the finish line ahead of us with us following on 10 minutes or so behind at 16:37 still with a couple of hours of daylight in hand Fortunately they were able to start and use the engine and motor into the marina and moor up.

Having crossed the finish line it was not over, no time to sit back and take it in, 'fenders out, get the mooring lines ready, can anyone see the entrance to the lagoon' 'yes there it is' 'where all the fenders' 'i don't know try the anchor locker.' 'what the blazes is that boat towing the para-glider doing crossing right in front of the harbour entrance for...grrrr'

We were all prepared as we glided into the marina, fenders out, lines all ready, 'gosh I can't remember how to do this mooring lark, better not cock it up as we have an audience...welcoming committee of 20-30 of our fellow yachtsmen, competitors and our now new found friends to welcome us in and help us. Fog horns blasting, hands clapping, cheering, smiling faces and congratulations around, wow, what a welcome and just for us...and the stern to mooring manouvre...handled like a professional as smooth as can be, I have now tamed this yacht Cerulean, with her kick to port, the yacht you can't steer backwards...oh yes you can, you just need to know how to talk to her properly, get her to turn the way she wants to, don't force her to do anything she doesn't want to...we have and understanding now. The wonderful Yellow shirts of the ARC staff took our lines and tied us up, we were presented with our welcome gift of a bowl of fruit and a mug of rum punch all round...the elixir of life, and very welcome it was too.

It is now a week or so later since we have completed our Atlantic crossing, we ave had the farewell party, the fleet has disbanded to go its separate ways, we will no doubt meet with some of them again on our travels in the Caribbean and perhaps cruise in company with some of them on our voyage back home.

Many thanks to all our crew and friends who have helped us get this far and have sailed with us, Richard S, Neil G, Claire, Tom, Adrian, Will, Kate, Clare, Heidi and in particular my brother Jeremy Rowley and our friend Phil Onslow, who were intrepid enough to sail with us the all the way across the Atlantic with us from Las Palmas to Mindelo, 924NM 6 days 23.5 days) and from Mindelo to St Lucia 2202NM 14 days 8hrs 37minutes - total 3126NM and 21.33 days at sea. We both learnt a lot from sailing with them and having them on board. Jeremy kept us entertained with his concertina and Ukulele and Phil kept us in fresh bread and taught us the darkest secrets of Astro navigation.

Where are we now? well Cerulean is gently bobbing on a mooring buoy off of Le Marin in Martinique, I am sitting on board writing to you. It is only now as i write that the enormity of what me and Alison have done of what we have achieved has settled in, We have sailed and ocean in our own yacht, we have made it happen. In the 5 or so months since we left Gosport UK we have so far sailed over 5700Nm, stayed at 46 different ports or anchorages, visited 9 different countries or dependant states, visited 10 different Islands...and met hundred of wonderful people from all over the world...and our adventure is only just beginning...it is now that it has hit me the emotion of it all it has brought tears to my eyes.

We have come to Martinque to stock up for Christmas from Carrfour and indulge in a little bit of French Culture whilst waiting for Alison's girls to arrive on Monday for the Christmas Holidays. Time has stopped still for me since leaving the UK I can't believe it is nearly Christmas, I have been living in an eternal summer chasing the sun (and I don't really like the sun that much). It is 30 degrees C here, blue skies with the odd cloud and rain shower to cool us down. It seems incongruous that the shops are selling Christmas Cake and yule logs with white icing and snowmen as decorations...I suspect that many of the locals have never seen snow.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year From yacht Cerulean of Penryn

Please look out for us on www.yachtcerulean.com facebook @yachtcerulean and if that is not enough you can always search 'Yacht Cerulean' on youtube if you are really bored.

ARC+ LEG 2 DAY 14

04 December 2018 | 14:12 58:10
Richard Rowley
The ARCers a story of every day sailing folk. In this episode: It's 3am and Richard takes over watch from Alison

'Good morning Alison, oohh its looks a bit dark an inhospitable out there, I think I shall stay in my bunk' said Richard,

Alison replied was not so cheery, 'About time you was you up was just going to get you, the wind is building, its now 20kts, I can see lights on our starboard side and are only 3 or 4 miles away, and seem to be getting closer what do you want to do?'

Richard thought for a moment and had a look around, and could see a white stern light from a vessel off the starboard bow and then went below to look at the chartplotter, the vessel showing up on the AIS was not Gertha V whom we expected it to be as we knew we were closing in on them from behind. The vessel on AIS was 'Arinhina' a 18m sailing vessel, we had seen a week ago but had not seen since, the AIS position was not the lights we could see so we now had two vessels in quite close proximity and the one on AIS of which Richard could not see any lights from was on a converging course with us and coming down from our starboard quarter. Just then Cerulean lurched violently to one side then the other knocking the Hydrovane off course as the wind gusted to 27kts. Now the second vessel showed up on the AIS on 3 miles away, it was Gertha v another ARC boat. Richard went back on deck and took the helm, he could now see both vessels on the chartplotter at the helm. As they looked they still could not see the lights from the other vessel, Richard said ' I am not surprised that we cannot see the Arinhinas lights yet, when we passed them the other day they were using their lower lights and not a masthead lights i could not seem them before until we where within a couple of miles' just he said, Alison said, 'look there they are just over there' they were just off to our starboard beam. Then both AIS tracks changed course and started heading south directly toward us.

Richard wondered what was going on, then the lights vanished into the blackness, 'they must be in a squall', and sure enough one showed up on the radar to the NW of our position and it was affecting them and now us. 'We must do something quick to avoid a collision, we could turn to starboard to north head up behind them, but that would be putting us deeper into the squall which was obviously giving them a hard time, so that would not be a good idea, our only other option would be to gybe and track along behind them, Alison can you call Jeremy up on deck'.

Jeremy came on deck, Richard said, 'we need to gybe, and take a reef in on the main.' They worked quickly to gybe the main over, good now they were on the same tack as the other to yachts and tracking along just behind them, that was one issue sorted, now to reef the mainsail, that took 10 minutes or so. The headsail had been poled out on the starboard side, this was now shielded by the reefed main and flapping like an old table cloth, this was furled away, and all was calm and under control. They were out of risk of collision with the other yachts and had a manageable amount of sail, still making 6kts with just the main up. Richard said ' that's ok now, we can sail along like this for a while until the squall has passed over, then see if we need to gybe back or pole out the head sail on the other side, if you guys want to turn for now, I will take much watch, thanks for your help' Alison and Jeremy went down below, Richard sailed on, the wind had shifted from NE to E and now to SE, the wind slowly dropped back down to the nominal 15-18 kts, and gradually our speed dropped away to less than 6kts. With out the head sail to balance the boat the 'Old Harry' the windvane steering struggled to keep a course and Richard had to hand steer for most of his 3 hour night watch..well its something to do...

By the time Richard's watch came to end at 6am and Jeremy came on deck Richard said ' I think we better bring the pole out the other side and get the genoa back out' 'Right oh' Jeremy said. They put the deck lights on, Richard clipped himself onto the jackstay and clambered up the side deck to the foredeck, the sea was still running after the squall and Cerulean was pitching and rolling like a bucking bronco on the foredeck, cleared a few flying fish from the deck, Richard set about the task of gybing the pole whisker pole, a 15ft 3inch diameter aluminum spar with the capability of swinging violently around and giving someone a nasty injury if it is not kept under control. The pole is fixed at one end to the mast on a track and supported at the outer by the up-haul. The outer end of the pole was lowered, the sheet let free, the guys untied from the starboard side and set up on port, the up-haul re-routed around the babystay and care taken looking aloft to ensure that it is not wrapped around the radome and fog horn and fixed back to the pole, the sheet clipped back on then the pole re-hoisted to starboard and the genoa hauled back out onto the pole, it all sounds so easy, but it takes half an hour on a pitching rolling deck in the dark. With the sails now set and Cerulean back up to 6 -7 kts, and Richard had finished his watch and went below and back to his bunk to cool down and a well earned sleep.

Meanwhile Phil slept peacefully in his cabin oblivious to what had been going on.

That concludes today's episode of the ARCers. The next episode will be 'Arrival in St. Lucia and Rum Punch'

The cast was played by members of the Cerulean Crew.

Cerulean of Penryn
Cerulean of Penryn's Photos - Main
Passage along the south coast from Gosport to Plymouth
2 Photos
Created 1 November 2018
1 Photo
Created 27 October 2018