Well what a disappointment that our Sat Nav died so
early on. Hopefully those of you logging on would have had a look at www.worldcruising.com who were able to log our position. We have SSB
radio on board which means we take part in a daily "Net chat" with other boats
in our vicinity and give them our position, they then email to ARC world
cruising who update our position. We are hoping against all hope that we will be
able to fix but don't hold your breath. It's interesting to look at ARC site
anyway as very newsy about "goings on".
Anyway now on to the interesting bit. WOW! we
crossed the Atlantic! (In case you hadn't guessed this is Kim writing, not John
who would probably say something like "we doodled across the pond - as you do -
just an extended Brighton Sunday morning" - only with a few more expletives I
As I'm unable to log on at the moment - the wifi
here is, well, hopeless - you buy so much air time but can't use it as too much
traffic - so I can't remember what I've written in last log. I think we'd
caught a fish - which turned out to be our first and last. We had several bites,
they must have been big buggers as they bit thru line and took off with lures
and trace. Jackie had a go at "whittling" some home made lures but we decided in
the end that the marine life were just toying with us and having a
The first half of the crossing passed quite
pleasantly and gave little indication of what was to come. We had our mid
Atlantic celebrations (quickest party ever) and all was well. We'd had
squally evenings but nothing exceptional and the moon was still illuminating our
way, albeit waning. I even mention in my diary that it was possible to stand up
straight without holding on (try pulling your trousers up with one hand!) Anyway
turns out to be the calm before the storm. During the night the sea state was
"horrible" and resulted in a nasty gybing session (boom flying to and fro from
side to side out of control). They say down wind sailing is difficult and we had
seemingly such a narrow angle to play with. Weird to find boat locked in irons
and being tossed about by sea. Captain H sorted us out and we were soon on our
way again, somewhat shaken but all the more determined. The morning light
revealed some damage to the goose neck (Erik spotted twist in boom) bracket and
so JH decided to lower main and there is remained for rest of trip until tacking
into Rodney Bay Marina.
We tried polled out No 3 head sail (sorry for
technical bits for you none sailors) with polled out roller furler, goose
winging, worked OK for while but we found ourselves over powered so went back to
just polled out roller furler.
The rain started on thursday morning and just
didn't stop. I think I started to get trench palm. My hands were wrinkled and
cracked - just as well I'm not the manicure type! We had electrical storms which
were awesome and for the most part sufficiently far away so as not to completely
freak us out. We did have some overhead lightening but only
Saturday saw us preparing for storm conditions. The
ARC weather forecasting up to this point had been somewhat "light weight" and
well "wrong". It seemed every day we were hearing "easterlies 15-20 knts"
but more than that was the sea state info of 8-10 ft when it was nearer to 20ft
+. There was some good humoured banter/criticism on SSB about white sticks and
labradors - I think most people couldn't understand why the system that was
passing through hadn't been picked up. These were not just convection squalls,
they would have shown on satellite pictures. I guess the Atlantic is a big place
so generalised forecasting is the best you can expect. Shame we were without our
GRIB files, which of course required sat nav comms. Anyway on Sat 08 we did get
a forecast of Gusts 50+ so we took the necessary action. Had a beer and did
some tango dancing (!) and then set the storm gib. We took the port poll
completely down and raised stbd poll with reefed furler - keep clear of those
rolling seas. We were running off in 40 knots when a may day came through. A
quick look at their position and we realised we were very close. They were a
37ft cat dismasted and 3 on board. Problem for us as no main and we were
struggling. Tough call. Fortunately as we were trying to decide how we might be
able to safley assist, another boat who was nearer came to their resuce.
Horrible situation all round!
The night didn't get any better and we experienced
as Jackie put it a ride in/on "Magic Mountain" (florida theme park ride). At
about 2.30am the wave from hell decided to approach us beam on and knocked us
over. In some ways it was so quick that it was almost like it never happened.
Jackie and Erik were on deck so they took the full force! JH was sleeping in
front cabin and I was in middle bedded down on sails. The boat righted so
quickly that I can't rember it coming back up. The fact that the main was
down (so didn't get as water logged as might have done) probably assisted the
boat in coming up so quickly.The pole was undamaged (rolled to stbd). The spray
hood got a bit mangled and the Silva repeater in cockpit is no longer working
but the point is everyone OK! Down below in saloon everything on port side of
boat was now on stbd side, including contents of cutlery drawer and a litre of
oil everywhere! Various utensils were turning up in odd places days
later. Sounds bad and do not wish to repeat experience but a lot of other
boats suffered a lot worse!
From this point on it was the heavy duty drogue
which worked like a dream. We experimented with warps/bites trailing behind us.
We had 4 levels of handbrake: 3 mtrs, 6 mtrs, the hairy one (not sure how long)
and then the heavy duty cone shaped beast. They all served to slow boat down but
also to stabilise in big seas. They worked particularly well when Gerty
(mechanical self steering) was driving us.
The following morning my life jacket decided to
inflate of its own accord (jealous of previous night's action) - I was sitting
in cockpit minding my own business and the next moment I'm sporting a couple of
bright yellow lungs (or melons as JH put it). The rearming kit that I
ordered doesn't appear to fit/work so rendered useless. Falcon 275 by the way -
yet to speak to supplier - but am hoping for refund! Jackie kindly left me his
Crewsaver 275, so peace of mind.
Apart from the tremedndous swell, the next few days
to the finish saw the weather abating and we could at least sleep better at
night knowing we were under control.
We finished on Thursday at approx. 6.15am. 17 1/2
days. We had a series of tacks into Rodney Bay Marina (after all that downwind)
hoping the reefed main would be OK which it was, but unfortunately the gib sheet
broke so we had a bit of drama right up to the last.
When we finally came to rest we were greeted with
the traditional fruit basket and rum punch - and boy did it taste good. Jackie
relished every last drop, his first drink in nearly 3 weeks. Erik's girlfriend
Nicole was here to greet him and she acted as a guide showing us where to berth.
He was very pleased to see her!
Quite an adventure so far. The boat comes out of
the water on Tuesday for anti-fouling. We are hoping to have a look aroung the
island and I quite fancy doing the rain forest canopy ride. Atlantic crossing
already fading, we are now looking to Xmas and next leg of trip. We have bought
fairy lights for boat so will be festooning the old girl shortly to get us in
the xmas mood.
Well that's all for now folks.
Wishing you all well and sending sunshine from St
Lucia to warm up your Xmas.
Kim and John