ZEPHYR

18 September 2021 | 28 55.014'N:13 42.020'W, Puerto Calero
17 September 2021 | 30 48.101'N:12 43'W, 150 miles WSW of Essaouira
16 September 2021 | 33 07.535'N:12 36.879'W, 250 miles west of Casablanca
15 September 2021 | 35 51.319'N:11 07.342'W, 250 miles west of Gibraltar
14 September 2021 | 38 24.119'N:9 36.915'W, Offshore Cascais
12 September 2021
11 September 2021 | 38 41.427'N:9 25.102'W, Cascais
10 September 2021 | 41 05.9'N:10 12.6'W, 70 miles west of Porto
09 September 2021 | 43 18.4'N:10 15.9'W, 35 west of the 'Coast of Death'...
08 September 2021 | 46 14.9'N:9 36.29'W, 180 miles to Finisterre
06 September 2021 | 49 59.027'N:5 5.016'W, Off the Lizard
05 September 2021 | 50 09.163'N:5 03.715'W, Falmouth
04 September 2021 | 50 09.163'N:5 03.715'W, Falmouth
03 September 2021 | 50 13.995'N:3 46.104'W, Salcombe
18 May 2021 | 49 20'N:4 30'W, Western Approaches
17 May 2021 | 44 05'N:007 00'W, Middle of Biscay
16 May 2021 | 44 22'N:009 26'W, 80 miles NE of Coruna
15 May 2021 | 42 03'N:10 23'W, 50 miles from Finisterre
14 May 2021 | 38 51'N:9 32'W, Offshore Lisbon
13 May 2021

A sleigh ride to Lanzarote

18 September 2021 | 28 55.014'N:13 42.020'W, Puerto Calero
CC
Pic of Zephyr in full flight under an almost full moon.

We are now safely tucked up in Puerto Calero after an overnight sail gybing down the rhumb line which eventually took us hugging the coastline of Lanzarote along its eastern seaboard. A simple end to a most magnificent sleigh ride down the huge rollers of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Surely no ocean in the northern hemisphere is able to satisfy the mighty Zephyr. She seemed to come alive as she stormed down the waves, totally under control and leaving the helmsman convinced that he alone was in control and nobody could do it as well. Of course he was wrong as only Zephyr knows. What a yacht, what fun and such a memorable 48 hours.

It was the skipper's turn in the galley and we were treated to rigatoni veal ragu cooked with the normal Sharples finesse which we come to expect. And as a treat, Pedro was bought into play in very ample quanties but with the minimal amount of ice cream.

So we tied up at Puerto Calero just after 7.30 am and the day since has been taken up with the usual business of topping up with fuel and cleaning ship. The hapless spinnaker has been squeezed into a suitcase for its journey back to UK and repair. Sadly it seems a design fault may have been the cause of a "rapid unscheduled disassembly event" which was unfortunate, but its repair is not in doubt. The big Z will fly again!

Tomorrow we are brought back to reality with a Covid test in the morning and after the flight home a PCR test at the arrival airport. Never mind, it has all been well worth it - Zephyr at her very best.

Thank you Micky, thank you Michael. You have both been hugely generous.

A Day for Breaking Records

17 September 2021 | 30 48.101'N:12 43'W, 150 miles WSW of Essaouira
CC
Over the past 24 hours, the wind has stayed true to the North, but there has been a firm but steady increase from 15-18 knots to 24-26 knots with the occasional 30 knot gust to keep us on our toes, as we barrel down the waves seeking to break the speed record for this passage. Definitely not the occasion for a spinnaker, but with the faulty halyard sheaves it is not an option anyway. As this blog is being written we had 15.1 kts to beat by you know who (pic of me setting the then record), but the skipper has just come onto the helm and hit 17+ knots.

Cyriaque is now preparing lunch having knocked the ball out of the court last night with his innovative crepes. He has promised to leave the recipe in Micky's cabin for the transatlantic planned for later this year. Furthermore the special pan especially purchased for this feat will be left behind in the galley.

The keel is humming her beautiful song as we charge down the waves past Casablanca, so it is time to sign off as the time to gybe and set course for Lanzarote has arrived. Play it again David!

A Challenging Day at the Office

16 September 2021 | 33 07.535'N:12 36.879'W, 250 miles west of Casablanca
DS
We ran with the big Z spinnaker most of the day and into the night. Slowly filled in to 18 / 19 knots from the aft quarter with 12 / 13 knots of apparent wind on deck. Champagne sailing weather. But whilst all looked perfect at deck level, turns out the spinnaker halyard sheaves at the top of the mast were sawing rather than sheaving. As these things always do, this all came to light in the middle of the night after the crew had to wrestle a big soggy sail back on board in pitch black. All more than a little frustrating and does mean bringing big Z to the UK for a visit to Saunders as sail repair options in Lanzarote are limited.

So today we have limited sail plan options. There's a full Atlantic swell running and it's not safe to send someone up the mast to fix the sheaves. As all downwind sails are off menu for the rest of this passage, for the day we went for the tried and tested method of a poled-out blade jib. Pilot wasn't very happy about keeping the more precise course this rig required so we hand steered most of the day, touching 11 knots. But to be safe, and for the night, we moved the jib across and come up a few degrees. A little slower but safer.

Cyriaque in the galley tonight for what promises to be a real treat: hand made crepes stuffed with ham and cheese. A bowl full of batter, a flat crepe pan, Zephyr rolling downwind wing on wing on a full ocean swell - what could possibly go wrong?? Tomorrow will tell if a Zephyr first or the mother of all messes.

Someone has to do it

15 September 2021 | 35 51.319'N:11 07.342'W, 250 miles west of Gibraltar
CC
After a night under engine with very light airs, it was most satisfying to wake to the sounds of the Big Z spinnaker being hoisted by our energetic skipper and the engine being turned off. That was just after 8.00 am and since then we have carried the spinnaker successfully despite some fickle winds and the odd squall. The sun has shone, it is pleasantly warm, so complaints there are none.

We are now 215 nm down the track and have settled down to a very innovative watch system which seems to allow a generous amount of sleep. I cooked my chicken curry last night and lunch consisted of gazpacho followed by langoustines (the skipper's favourite). We now await Big Ben's offering for dinner tonight.

So all is well on Zephyr. The new genset is a joy and all systems are working well. And thank you Michael and Micky for allowing me on board yet again. This is going to be a very different week to Cowes Week as befits a passage offshore, but equally enjoyable as we average 8.5 kts downwind in a Force 4/5 breeze off the starboard quarter. Long may it last.

That Sinking Feeling...

14 September 2021 | 38 24.119'N:9 36.915'W, Offshore Cascais
DS
All good on Z. Fond farewells to Mark H and (the not so aptly named) Little Ben. A great sail and good fun with them on board to Portugal. They have now been replaced by Chris and Cyriaque but sadly MStA is not with us. Left the dock at lunchtime with an ETA to Lanzarote of about 4 days. Very light wind as the low offshore slowly moves north and winds should start to fill in tonight from the west slowly building to 25 knots.

Right now we have the mother of all squalls that seems to be heading our way. Picture of the Cascais Rescue boat at it's mooring in Cascais Marina. Doesn't fill one with a huge amount of confidence when the rescue boat is sinking whilst in harbour so hope we never have to call for assistance...

Orca aerial surveillance

12 September 2021
DS
Someone on board had the brilliant idea to use our drone to scout ahead for the pesky orcas. It didn't go entirely to plan... Click HERE to watch.


Breakfast at Tiffany's

11 September 2021 | 38 41.427'N:9 25.102'W, Cascais
DS
Tiffany's sadly is a rather scruffy marina cafe... That notwithstanding, had a great passage down the Portuguese coast, mostly ghosting along at 6 knots in an 8 knot breeze until the wind died and the Italian genoa came out. Dodged a few boats as we crossed the shipping lanes and then squeaked past innumerable lobster pots on the final approach at dawn accompanied by a huge school of dolphins.

Pic of the motley crew at end of yesterday's dinner having ice cream, elevated with a little Pedro. Good trip, great company, all well on board Z with nothing broken. Looking forward to next leg.

Cruising down the Portuguese coast

10 September 2021 | 41 05.9'N:10 12.6'W, 70 miles west of Porto
DS
Hard on a 25 knot south-westerly wind in a bouncy confused sea, it took four hours to skim down the western edge of the big ship channels by Finisterre. We managed to stay clear of the lanes and by lunch time yesterday we were finally able to ease the sails some. We're currently 70 miles offshore Porto and slowly closing the Portuguese coast. Nearer to Nazare, we'll nip inside where most of the commercial ships are steaming up and down the coast about 40 miles offshore. The orca problems are still going on but we should be fine if we stay reasonably far from the coast as most of the attacks on sailing boats have been less than 10 miles offshore. ETA Cascais is early Saturday am.

We had a cracking sail after Finisterre with the wind slowly veering to the west but late last night the wind died and now motor sailing. Wind is forecast to stay light from here to the finish but may have enough to get the spinnaker out tomorrow.

All on board have settled in well. Watches and boat chores all seem to be going as planned except producing the quantities of food that little Ben consumes can be a challenge... And whilst motoring is never ideal, at least the lighter winds means we've finally been able to get some air through the piggery in the front of the boat.

Pic of some bbq sized dolphins checking us out earlier in the passage.

Close to the wind but not the sun...

09 September 2021 | 43 18.4'N:10 15.9'W, 35 west of the 'Coast of Death'...
BG
Day three of the journey saw a shift onto a starboard tack for the first time in the journey. This shift required some recalibration of the crew's sea legs which took some longer than others. The only casualty however was a plate of bacon and eggs which went AWOL in the morning.

The course saw us require a bearing of 191 to reach our next waypoint off the coast of Fisterra, yielding some very enjoyable close-hauled sailing with speeds reaching up to 9 knots, in some fairly significant waves. Here lay a balancing act of comfort (bearing slightly away from the wind) and reaching our mark to the west of the traffic separation zone (heading up more towards the wind), stage one of not flying too close to the sun, whether the metaphorical sun was to the east or west though was somewhat unknown. The actual sun however was far easier to locate. Despite a few hours of sunshine earlier in the day it had firmly hidden itself behind a thick layer of clouds which engulfed us in the mid-afternoon bringing some rainfall, and so, flying far from the real sun was the only option. Winds up to 25 knots resulted in progressive depowering of the sails, flattening out and taking a reef in each.

As night fell, we continued in the same vein with bellies full of Spaghetti Bolognese, making strong progress to the west. At around midnight the weather intensified with winds tending towards 30 knots. The decision was made to go to reef two on the main and prepare a working Jib on the bow so it would be ready if needed, which it wasn't, but fail to prepare...

Now in the morning following continual wind shifting towards the South West, unusual at this time of the year in these parts, we have over 20 knots of wind and increasing sea states as we run a tight course west of the shipping lanes as well as numerous smiles on deck. The next challenge will lie in avoiding Orca attacks along the coast of Portugal...

Picture of me flanked by my crew !

Biscay crossing September 2021

08 September 2021 | 46 14.9'N:9 36.29'W, 180 miles to Finisterre
MH
Zephyr and crew departed Falmouth at 16.00 on the 6th and were accompanied by a dozen dolphins throughout the evening. Both Zephyr and the dolphins gave out spectacular phosphorescent trails. It was a shame we didn't have the photographic equipment to film it as it was truly Disney. We kicked off the dining with Cornish pasties and salad as a tribute to the county of departure and also because they are very tasty.

Now we are two days into the crossing and we are off the shelf and are only visited by the occasional bird resting before they safely fly onto somewhere. There was a brave chaffinch who decided to check out the saloon and then pushed off safely. Brave in that it was likely, on another ocean passage, that it was his great grandfather, a green chaffinch, who was murdered by a wine bottle in the wine cooler. The culprit of that brutal crime is known to authorities but will not be named here for libel concerns...

Food is great and Zephyr is shipshape with only the vang block breaking to provide a couple of hours of entertaining repairs at 2am on Monday evening. The only other noteworthy discovery is that some psychopath put nuts in the Earl Grey tea box which sent the kitchen into spin until the Earl Grey was found.
Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shipman 50
Hailing Port: Lymington
Home Page: www.yachtzephyr.com
Zephyr's Photos - Main
the boat
6 Photos
Created 22 August 2014