Galapagos to Marquesas crossing: funny email exchange with SV Baju during our crossing

Vries Peter Pons
Thu 18 Aug 2011 04:45

Funny email exchange during the crossing we had with Stefan & Heike of SV Baju, whom we met in the Galápagos. Most important themes were the progress each of us made, which ultimately turned into a regatta, and luxury vs. basics. They sail a very sturdy aluminium catamaran with very few amenities, where every lack of comfort is amply compensated by easier maintenance and a healthier budget. Their target was some 17 days, which indeed they did, although they could have been quite a bit faster, if they would have had more wind in the beginning, whereas we had set our goal at 20 days, but went faster because of favourable winds. In the email correspondence we make clear though that winds have little to do with it, it is all about sail trim.


From SV Baju

Subject: Pacific race 2011

He Pacific Racers,

how are you doing and ... also important, where are you? How is the big ocean treating you? All systems green?
We started our voyage yesterday. Our positon now 0:30 UTC is S 0 34 W 94 43 , close reach 6kn. Plan is to sail along the equator until 120 W or so, then take the left curve to the Marquesas.
The wind is very light. We zick zack along, during the day 300 degree with the spi, now at sunset with genua and main 270. In the morning we had even the engine running for 3 hours.

How are your conditions? Also light wind? Are you sleeping all night? Is it getting warmer? Any fish caught? ... and whatever is interesting and keeping us amused ;-)

On BAJU all is good, except that even for us the wind is a bit too light.

Keep in touch, Heike & Stefan


From SV Baju

Subject: RE: Pacific race 2011

He Aquanauts (that's a nice name, no?),

our trip adviser has been fired, so our 2 meteologists which we hired to win that race. Expensive advise for nothing.... a bit like my financial adviser at home ;-) But we are not beaten yet... we'll have a strong run in the second half. Which starts, taking our current speed, in about 6 weeks :-(

Last night we had a beautiful sleep.... all sails were down and we were drifting with 1kn of current in the middle of the big big blue ocean. An interesting change compared to the many nights we could not sleep at all because we were flying over the ocean.
But at the end... honestly... I prefer a night awake, knowing that 120 miles are off the list. But he, I guess we have to take the weather as it is ... shit shit shit ..... ;-)
**** Now, 10 hours later wind picked up a bit and we are beautifully cruising with 9kn thru the blue.... how nice:-) *****

About the little counter-current (you encountered) we were informed. But is was a rather short and regional phenomena and is gone now. My brother is mailing as the most up-to-date data at least once every day (and no, he is not fired- actually he is the best trip adviser on earth). I have still the idea to pick up the huuuge W current just north of the equator (up to 3 kn) from 100 until 125W and then make the turn. BUT with these conditions we are happy to move at all and have limited choices. Sailing close to the wind (it create a bit of apparent), and by that moving a bit south, seem the only option at the moment. And yes, south is always (a bit) more wind - and a bit more means a hell of a difference at this point.

We also write a log every day but it is in German.... so I will not bother you with it - though it is extremely funny ;-)

Congrats to your mahi-mahi.... good catch. But a Thai curry at the first day??? What a 'waste' is that? Fish curry is eaten after 3 days of the catch when the fish starts to stink rotten ;-)
We didn't catch anything so far which is not a surprise. Either I do not take a lure out to avoid stopping the 2,5kn of 'speed' of the boat or it is out and the fish will for sure laugh at that thing as nothing in the entire ocean moves so slowly except a jelly fish, which nobody likes.

We are running with engine at this moment (incredible, in the middle of the biggest ocean on earth), as we have to motivate us for an hour moving from blue to blue.... and recharging the batteries :-)))

Our position (16:00 utc) is S 0 31.90 W 95 33.22, heading 255 with 6,5 kn, NISSAN running 23:30 utc S 0 39.40 W 96 20.58

Tell us your news..... Greetings also from Heike,Stefan



From SV Aquamante

Subject: RE: Pacific race 2011

Hi Bajuvians, could not mail you, as we did not have your details. For now a copy of our latest blog below, tomorrow more.

One advice: do not stay around the equator, consistently too little winds and we had ssw currents until we came below 02S. Go gradually to around 03S, there you'll have a bit more wind without exaggerating and you'll pick up a 1-1.5kn WSW or W current, then try to stay as much and as long around 270T as you can. On the other hand, if this indeed is a race, do by all means stay at the equator :-)!

Fair winds,

Daph & Vries


From SV Baju

Subject: The race was began...

Hi Aquanauts,

how is it going? Where are you guys? And.... what's the weather like? No, not the wind... are you sunbathing already enjoying tropical temperatures? Are the nights still chilly ? Heike hates it (always cold feet, Vries, you know what I am talking about), I love a bit of cold during the night.

After sunset when Heike was taking in the fishing lines she realised we hat a bite. A nice not too big tuna .... which I lost after giving him his almost last 'good bye - smash' with my big wooden fish hammer. What an amateur I am... stupid. I saw the big tuna steaks on the BBQ already.... what's most probably why I lost it. Now a shark had it for dinner or the deep water worms are enjoying him.

After a slow sail last night (our first spinnaker night) - at least we could sail - wind is a bit stronger now (app. 9-10kn half reach, we do 10kn 295° - as close we can do with the spi, main is also up). Like this :I LIKE! Super comfortable sailing - Heike is doing some painting work. I enjoy my holidays :-) Most probably we change to the Genua in a while to not drift too much north).Position: S 0 36.47 W 98 06.59

Please do not fish the ocean empty ahead of us .... leave some fish for us. Had "Kartoffelsalat with Würstchen" for dinner last night - eecht lekker :-)

Greetings also from Heike, Stefan


From SV Baju

Subject: Race - what race?

He Aquanouts,

thx for your blog .... and yes, it reads horrible. You and your expresso and chocolade ... having more than 6 kn of true wind ..... ppppppfffff...... ;-)

But we are also treating ourselved nice. Self-made Pesto from fresh green herbs we found in Isabela and our daily (if not twice a day) banana-maracuja shake. And the daily dolphin-show - what a spectacle !

Our sailing strategy remains unchanged: Sailing if possible, as just now again (11:00 LT), close to 8kn of app. wind with 7,5 kn of speed - just moving, creating most of the wind ourselves. The last 2 afternoons we had a bit more wind and were racing then for a chance. Last night no wind at all - so we were drifting again. Had a beautiful sleep and spared the sail from wearing. I think we will do that every night now. Only like this you can enjoy this huge ocean.
We have sailing friends who are racing through that blue beauty ... what a shame .... ;-)

Honestly, if we would not be able to sail in light winds, we where still close to Isabela and drifted direction Hawaii. We should have just waited a week longer in Isabela ... but afterwards you are always smarter.
But our mood is superb and Saturday finally wind should arrive. We are prepared. All the details of the first week of this sailing trip will just be erased for the logbook and only the nice moments of this beautiful calm ocean will rest in our hearts - which you guys never encountered - but we can show you pictures ;-)

Important: Especially the next 2 nights (maximum at midnight ) look up into the sky to see the 'Perseiden', many many (up to 100 per hour) shooting stars - the remainder of the Komet 109P/Swift-Tuttle through which the earth is flying every year at tis date.

Enjoy the passage... and keep in mind: Perhaps it was all bull-shit we wrote and we just left 2 days after you guys, overtaking you this afternoon. So, stay dressed and look into your rear mirror :-)))

Happy sailing, the BAJUvians


From SV Aquamante

Onderwerp: YES, RACE (Who suggested race in the first place?)

Dear BAJUvians,

We do not recall what was at stake, if one wins this race. Since you organized it, could you pls. refresh our memories? Oh, and seem to have missed your position in the mail you sent, are you trying to sneakily catch up on us?

Meanwhile having some 20-25kts of wind for the last 12hrs TWD100-110, slowly pushing us towards the rhumbline. Haven't touched the sails for days, only pushed the remote from the bunk or cockpit to move from AWA110 to 125 and back. With the variable winds we had until some two days ago (so you'll get those first), almost a sore finger, but now the finger is doing a bit better, as we have constant winds (and then, yes then you get these). Position 06:39.0S 122:05.0W at 17.00 UTC, still another 1015nm to go after 10 days.

Is the ocean blue? We've only seen white spray!

Thks for the tip on the stars, we'll be watching!

Why don't you go south a bit and once you've found wind try to keep as much west? Should not be an issue to go purely west with the SE winds in that area and you can always use your spi, if you need to go deeper to have something to spare, once you need to move more south because of more easterly winds. And the westerly currents are still there.

Happy drifting,

The Aquanauts


From SV Baju

Subject: Pazifik Explorer ...

He Aquanauts,

all good at your position? We just see a huuuuge oil tanker passing us on his way fom Cape Horn to Mexico. AIS is a good invention :-)

We tried keeping our sails up last night and... it (just) worked. Now we understand how other boats can do more than 150sm in 24 hours. People should have told us!

And thanks leaving some fish left in teh ocean. Todays catch: huuuge Mahi-Mahi (guess: 140cm lengh, 16kg) - Fotos exists ;-) Now I am not allowed to fish any more, as some boats do not have a freezer :-(

Btw, do you support the idea that the earth is actually not flat but a sphere? For us it is a great relief you being ahead of us. So please keep on mailing us... at least we know that there is still water in front of us.

Position 00:00 utc S 2 09.65 W 103 48.90, 9kn close to the wind, 255°, app wind 12kn, a bit rocky since mid day.


From SV Baju

Subject: Change of rules...

He Aquanauts,

we finally have wind and BAJU starts to surf. What a pleasure. After living in a garden hut in the big plain, it start's feeling like sailing. Last night was just ok but since this morning (as forecasted) the wind finally kicked in. Waves are coming still not too favorable (almost from the side) but some we pick-up and then it's start making fun having 12+kn rides down the hill. I LIKE !

Position: 0:00 utc S 2 59.90 W 106 47.80, half reach Wind (app 13-15kn), COG 270° 8-10kn

I never informed you about the Paramoor II
Was quite a story (again). Shortly after you left the big Coastguard Ship came into the bay and checked them. Telling them that they have to leave immediately - so they left early the next morning after getting water and food. So they left one day later then you guys.

Ah, news about the race:
I had contact to the race community today who are monitoring our progress by satellite, giving penalties for using electric generators (pollution) and advanced equipment (like remote controls). They informed me about slight changes in the rules of the Galapagos-Marquesas offshore race. As not all boats sail the same time and therefore in different conditions, they want to make the passage more comparable between the boats. Because of that, only the middle third 24h run counts. The quickest and slowest thirds are erased and not measured. We told them that in our case that would role in our favor and against you, having such a good ride the whole time. We argued if it's wise to change rules while racing but they refused to listen to our complain. I guess we have to except that - rules are rules. If you like you can file your complain at

We like this change of course - starting to be extremely motivated again... :-))) As a reminder - the winner gets: a) In case we win, free ice cubes until New Zeeland for Stefan, espresso coffee for Heike b) In case you win, a free paddle surf and/or kite learning session

I am trimming the sails every second minute, especially as I am not allowed to fish for the moment, as the giant Mahi-Mahi is occupying our huge fridge :-) ok ok... I am sleeping all night and reading during the day. Ha, I can hopefully start playing computer games, as the wind generator starts to make music (and current) ;-)

Hope your thumb is better, after pressing the remote so hard!
Groetjes from Heike,

Do do not know who NISSAN is? NISSAN is our private slave on board. We didn't introduce you, right? Sorry.He is cooking and doing the dishes, holding the book and turning the pages while we read, does the watches for 22hrs (he is allowed to sleep for 2, as he started to be not 100% concentrated) and give Heike a massage, when I am too tired. Quite handy to have somebody like this on board. The best thing, we does not draw any amps, has no engine which needs servicing and has almost no replacing parts. Perfect. Some yachts prefer having hydraulic furlings.... we prefer NISSAN!


From SV Aquamante

Onderwerp: Galápagos>Marquesas 15-08-2011 (Day 13, 22:10 UTC): DTF 401nm (09:36.3S 132:01.3W)


Upon our request the Race Committee of www.the-not-so-biased-in-favour-of-Baju-but-completely-objective-organising- came back to all racers with only one very simple rule for all, which ends all discussion about who gains or loses by such a rule, nor allows for tweaking the game or changing the rules whilst in play like small children tend to do, and that rule is: LINE HONOURS! Who is first over the finish line at Fatu-Hiva (we can send you the coordinates, once we've anchored there) wins! Ain't that simplicity in its finest. An honest, clean rule which does not allow for dodging it, and best of all, no one is favoured! First prize is unlimited use of Baju's dive compressor until New Zealand, second prize is a bag of icecubes, gallantly donated by Aquamante.

As you can read from our blog below, our Günther let us down, when he broke both legs yesterday. Silly Günther. Luckily we could revive Sam from the dead, who has done a perfect job since, he really is a mean one-legged bastard. Drinks a bit, always under the oil (know that Dutch _expression_?), but hey wouldn't you in his position.

Take care, sail safely,D&V


From SV Baju

Subject: decadence, steam maker and NISSAN

He Aquanauts,

Reefing in sails, that really sounds like stress there. Hope that the squalls let you sail in peace again and not disturb your lunch celebrations.

I found a new definition of 'decadence': So far the perfect example for decadence was 'air bagging' - stealing a luxury car and bump it into a wall, letting the air bags explode. Now, I found a better one: It's to sail through the tropic ocean with a yacht and eating salmon for lunch, ignoring all the delicious fresh ocean fish like tuna, mahi-mahi or sailfish!
Ahhhh, Salmon.... how long did I not have salmon any more. Mmmmmh, lekker..... ;-)

We are at S 3 22.50 W 109 20.76, slowed a bit down now, so did the wind, approx. 8 kn, 240°sailing half reach. Last 24 run was 205 miles. We are starting to get a sail boat again.
Our Spi just came down - halyard broke. Feared already that a 12mm (sheet) rope might not be strong enough - I tell you, it in't. Nothing happened just that we have a wet Spi now with no halyard any more in the top of the mast. Ja, ja, racing take its toll... ;-)

Can you see the island already? Are you taking your shower yet, preparing for landfall? How exciting. It's a shame btw that you do not have a SSB radio on board. Fouling a bit around in this big big ocean would have been fun. When you buy a boat again make sure it does at least have a ssb radio.... next to a generator, hydraulic press-a-button-reefing mechanism, expresso machine, ice- water- and steam (for the foam for the expresso) maker, various remote controls, heating, A/C, ...Ach, better check it is has a dive compressor as well ;-)

Concerning NISSAN I was fouling you. It is our engine we use to get into and off the anchorages. Came out of a NISSAN truck, so we call it NISSAN. Obviously Other colleagues you will find on our boat are 'Günther', our most important crew member. He is steering the whole time without complaining. He eats some electrons - that's it. Great guy - do not mess with Günther. 'Max' is a good friend of Günther' as he is producing the electrons for 'Günther' using the force of the wind. Na, and then there is Heike and Stefan. They just paid for the boat, for the rest, not doing much. Sleeping, reading, eating and pressing some buttons ... and recovering spinnakers, which fell into the ocean, as they have chosen a too thin rope. And loading the boat full of stuff like rum, wine and chocolate that it hardly does not sail any more. If it's about safety and workload ... the boat would be better off without them.

In this sense - enjoy your last xxx miles.Greetings from Heike, Stefan


From SV Aquamante

Onderwerp: Pos: 04:51.1S 115:42.1W (16:44UTC), DTF 1411nm

Hi Bajuvians,

You're absolutely right about the curry, but we felt like it, and don't forget the nice filets Daph cut off only start to stink their way through the not so well insulated bottom of the freezer in a couple of months (right on top of the icecubes we'll be serving you in your cocktails, once you arrive).

This morning early (11:19UTC) we reached our halfway point (DTF 1454) in 7 days and 21hrs, which we'll be celebrating with tournedos and lots of red wine (champagne flutes might fall over on a monohull, as you know!) during lunch. Don't think we'll manage to do the same for the 2nd half, as the actual distance will be longer due to the unavoidable downwind tacks. So far, so good, a walk through the park, as they say. Full sails on a port tack, the tiniest bit of trimming every other day, and the daily chafe check, that's about it. Books, staring over the horizon and the odd tanker on AIS at distances up to 120nm. No garbage floating, no nothing, all by ourselves. Only thing to worry about now, is checking in the rear mirror for an aluminium multihull with crazy Germans on board trying to overtake us. We can't let that happen!

Interesting strategy to cross the equator: indeed more current, and you'll save on the wear and tear of your sails, as they won't be any use in that area. By the time you'll arrive, the icecubes will be nicely marinated with a rotten mahi mahi smell.

Did you guys run into all the big and small fishing boats the first few 100 miles? We saw some 40 boats one night, almost crashed into a small one, and hooked a line around the keel in the morning. For us it was different than you described it: we slowed down very calmly, hardly noticeable, until we were doing some 2-3 kts, which we continued to do. Couldn't figure out why until a small fishing boat rushed towards us with three guys waiving frantically. Lowered sails, but did not want to start the engine and get aline in the prop. In the end they cut the lines, retrieved them on the other side of the boat, and tied them together again, I guess.

We've used our engine for 1 hour and then we took off with some 9-10kts in the first few hours, haven't used it since. Guess we've had a lucky stroke at the start.

Who the heck is NISSAN, and did Paramoor II leave before you guys?

Fair winds, we'll keep a keen eye out for you,


Daph & Vries


From SV Baju

Subject: everything ok

He Aquanauts,

all ok here, just ssb does not get good connection Position S 5 04 W 121 20. racing... ;-)


From SV Baju

Subject: up ..... and down

He Aquanauts,

how is Sam doing? All well? We hold our thumbs and dedicated a toast to him yesterday. Make sure you give him plenty of oil and tell him , that we will permanently replace Günther if he is performing well. Even if not really true. Problem is if you put him back into the spare box, and Günter fails again, he might be really pissed of.

When our Autopilot broke after 3 days on the Atlantik crossing we promised the same to the replacement (an old Autohelm 3000 from the second world w... excuse me, you are dutch - very old) and it worked. He made it to Dominica..... In St Lucia we bought a new one... and threw the Autohelm in the bin. We had to, as the risk would be too high - see above ;-)

After 2 days 410 miles, we are going butterfly now. A course we love. Ass up..... bbrrrrrsrrsmmmmm.... Ass down ...... silence .... Ass up ... bbbbrrsummmmsssuurrrffffff..... Ass down..No no, that is not us making love on the trampolin but BAJU floating like a big raft roughly direction Marquesas. If we would not once a day look at the PC, we might end up in Australia, so comfortable it is. Unfortunately, not the quickest way of travelling. If we put too much sail out, we go sometimes down with 14+ kn which is exciting, but also bad for the nervous system ... and our sleep at night. Therefore average is now down to 8kn or so... so we do a bit less than 200sm a day... as in the Atlantik. Genua is at least half reduced and on the other side is a jib. First time we try this .... works perfectly.

Line honours .... ???? Ha, we know what that means...We raced the Bequia Easter Regatta on a J36 Cruising boat and were first over the line every single day (of 3). But every day we ended up second overall, as an other boat had a better xxx-nummer (can not remember the word). And that's only, because our skipper, a 22 years old colleage boy, failed to give the correct measures to the racing committee. With the true measures, we would have been first all days. Our therapist is working every session on that issue since almost 3 years now.  So, please do not mention 'line honors' to us ;-)

I entered the mast today to the top to bring up the broken spi-line (with also functions as the halyard for the pole). I can tell you, quite rocking up there... but good view! I was looking for you but could not see you. You might be too much in front ....

Enjoy the last miles on the ocean ....

Greetings from Heike & Stefan

Ha, after throwing in the fishing line, I had an other Mahi-Mahi after 2 hrs I think. Now, I am forbidden to fish again....gggrrrr.r......

Position S 4 27 W 116 01

+++++ no connection last 24hrs, sorry.
Changed to beam reach in the morning - fast but uncomfortable. Even my coffee mug flipped on the table.... unbelievable ;-) Position 17.8. 16:00 utc S 4 22 W 118 14

+++++ now already S 4 50 W 119 31, just had a loooooong 17,5kn ride... uuuuaaahhhhhh.... scccaaaaaryyyyyy..... but fun :-)

+++++ 18.8. 18:00 utc S 5 09 W 121 50 .... rolling 210 miles 24hrs-runs now. Was steering myself for an hour: 11kn avg with many 15+kn surfs - big fun but tiring. 'Prost' to Günther (and your Sam), as they have to do this tiring and boring job day and night 24hrs... :-)))


From SV Aquamante

Onderwerp: Galápagos>Marquesas 18-08-2011 (Day 16, 14:00 UTC): DTF 0nm (10:27.864S 138:40.106W)

Hi Bajuvians,

Clearly you're having a ball out there. With that speed you should go back and forth once more before you drop the hook at Fatu-Hiva, otherwise you will not have had the real feeling of a long ocean passage. Luckily you took your time initially ;-).

Baie des Vierges, Hanavave is one of the most spectacular places we've ever seen (see copy of our last blog below), so you've got something to look forward to. It is known to be a gusty bay, but with the squally weather in this area it is more than a bit gusty now with windspeeds over 40 kts. Not rolly though, but that's something you guys never worry about anyway.

Looking forward to welcoming you guys here, have a safe remainder of the trip and keep us informed on your progress.




From SV Baju

Subject: Congratulations !!!

He Aquanauts ,

CONGRATULATIONS !!! You made it through the "longest-possible-leg-to-sail-within-the world". How often did you talk about it - now it's done! SUPER!!! And the entire passage you lost only 2 crew members (Günther and Sam). That's 50% overall and therefore well within the limits of acceptable casualties of ocean sailing. The Captain and the Admiral survived, that's most important. Welcome in paradise!!!

We are bumping from wave to wave which are to my judgment a bit chaotic at the moment. But why should the waves react normal when the rest of the world gets nuts?  Except that we get shaken up, the last days were uneventful. We do our 200 miles a day, avg 9 during the day, 8 at night. The biggest excitement are the Chinese fishing boat surrounding us. Sometimes seen on the AIS, sometimes chatting for hours (on VHF ch 16 of course) and sometimes passing no more than 200 meters in front of us (yesterday during daylight). Well, you have seen them as well. And I thought the first boat we see is a Polynesian outrigger full with the tattooed men and topless ladies with flowers around there breasts. Ok, 450nm to go - still too far.

If everything runs smoothly (***touch aluminium***) we shall arrive on Wednesday - making it a 17 days passage - EXACTLY as forecasted by the Skipper. If that comes true, there is surely no discussion anymore about winning the race - which was never a race between yachts but always intended to be a race against your own judgment and expectations. Overall, we are of course extremely happy that we could put you, as it seem for the first time in your journey, into such a competitive environment as you and your beautiful boat deserves it. Beating your own expectations by full 4 days (20 days was your goal if I am not mistaken - 16 days of your trip) is an impressive job and very well done... but still 4 days wrong from winning. Sooooo, better start your freezer already and fill up your generator. Icecubes - Expresso - WE ARE COMING ....!!!!! :-))))))

The discussion about how stupid the BAJU skipper can be, planning his passage weather so badly, is here not part of the argumentation.... ;-)

Looking very much forward seeing you both in paradies. Don't do all the hikes already, leaving us one we can do together. Well, there are other islands to explore as well, I guess :-) Are your friends still there? Did the backpacker boat arrive already? Is it possible to anchor close to shore where it's not that deep (as our windlass does not work)? How is the green from the trees? Does this color still exist?

See you in a few days, hugs Heike & Stefan


From SV Aquamante

Onderwerp: RE: Congratulations !!!

Dear Bajuvians,


When we're in the racing mood, we never make our real intentions clear to the competition, very silly strategy to do so. That way you never win with line honours!

So you met Si Amigo No English We Chinese too. Did you say hello on our behalf?

Lot's of hikes, and by charming the heck out of Marie-Christine, the 200+kilo official at the Mairie de Hanavave, we can stay as long as we want.Also told her that you would bring us either Günther's legs, or Sam's teeth (i.e. carbon brushes, do you have any unused on board?), so that we simply have to stay here longer.

Backpacker boat nowhere to be seen, only expect another Dutch boat with single hander Maarten in by tomorrow evening. It'll be orange all over the bay, so be warned.

If you arrive in daylight, you might be able to anchor closer to shore, not recommended at night. You can better use lots of chain, as it gets deeper quickly and the gusts through the gorge can be strong.

Green? Is the Pope catholic? Not even Kermit is as green, and he is grééééén!

Kick some ass with that aluminium barge of yours, it's party time here!




From SV Aquamante

Onderwerp: where are you for c... sake?

Hi Bajuvians,

Where are you guys hanging out, are you only heaving to all the time?

Your second prize is melting.

Gorgeous place here, time to come over.

Take care, safe sailing,<