32 28 870N 64 20 500W - 10 June

Sat 10 Jun 2006 19:13
We're off - left Bermuda at 1200 hrs (1500 UTC).  Next stop, Flores, the Azores.   We are romping along with the spinnaker up.  A medium-sized cross sea is making us corkscrew a bit - Juliet just made lunch and the tomatoes and cucumber rolled around all over the place.  But it is great to be sailing again and we have sunny conditions with a south westerly force 5 and the music on loud in the cockpit.  We are all feeling great and having bets on how long it will take to get to the Azores.  The sweepstake for arrival times goes like this:
Charlie came in with a bold 20 June, 1200 hrs, then Alice who said 21 June at 0600 hrs, then Juliet; 21st June at 1800 hrs, then Geoff; 22nd June at 1500 and Pip was the most conservative with 22nd June at 1800 hrs.  It will be interesting to see.  Poor Penny, Tim, Anna and Eddie on Tamarisk (they live in Suffolk, too) took 20 days from Bermuda to Horta in the Azores, although they had some weather systems to avoid and apparently even had to hove-to for a few days.  Conversely, another East Anglian boat, Barnowl, took only 14 days from Chesapeake to Flores and had a fantastic sail.
At the moment Charlie and Pip are playing "Connect 4" (thanks for leaving that here, Maddy and Archie), Alice is colouring and Geoff is "takin' it eeesy, man".  Keoma is going along at just over 9 knots (taking into account about 1 knot of adverse current).  She is steering herself, under autopilot (called Ernie).  Looks as though we will be using the autopilot as much on the way back as we did on the way over!  Ernie is by far the best helm on board and never complains of lack of sleep.
When we did the ARC, Charlie drove us all mad with his constant tweaking, and Juliet now has double trouble as Geoff is exactly the same!  The winches will be going all day and night in the quest for perfect sail trim.  Charlie has just said that he is trying to catch up with Wild Alliance.  They left a week ago, so it is definitely mission impossible to achieve that.
Pip, Geoff, Charlie and Alice leaving Bermuda
Bermuda has now disappeared behind us - we wondered what it was like for the early 17th century explorers trying to find the island, with only celestial navigation.  So easy for us, with the trusty GPS. 
We have so far covered 8,500 miles by sea and have a trip of 1,660 miles ahead of us to reach the Azores.  I will endeavour to update the website every day of the passage, as long as the (rather temperamental) sat phone behaves.