Mor Toad BVI to Bermuda and out into The Atlantic

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Fri 22 May 2015 05:55
I'm writing this from diary notes that Oliver has sent me from Bermuda. Some of it I don't understand and something's I have struggled to decipher but hopefully it tells something of the onward journey.

When they left Nanny Cay Tortola on 3rd May it was not their intention to go to Bermuda but just start heading north and east which they did for a couple of days but the wind died on them so the decision was taken to go to Bermuda and also the forecast was a showing a wind hole in the Atlantic in the direction they were heading. With the main tanks and the extra fuel they have on board in jerry cans they could do 700 miles motoring at 5 knots but this would leave them little fuel for the generator and certainly not get them home.

After they set sail apparently they saw bottle nosed Dolphins - good omen ( we saw Dolphins as we left St Mawes Harbour at the end of August last year and felt the same.) They were also followed by a crusty grey bearded man and his dog in a rib taking pictures of the boat ( ( these I have yet to find?) Around Anegada where we had been they dodged lobster pots. We forget now after 5 months that this is all very new for Oliver and the other crew as apart from the skipper none of the other crew including Oliver have done an Atlantic crossing. Flying Fish are a novelty for them too. Olis comment 'he is dazzled by the species and their skills' with which I concur - they can fly a long way. We also discovered they are good to eat but we only discovered this once on land having thrown many back into the sea.

They have also encountered a lot of Sargasso weed and plastic - the latter was something we didn't see in our crossings.

For several days they had wind and then it died hence the decision to go to Bermuda.

7th May : Perfect Days sail average 6.5 knots, hot sun cool breeze and gentle 1-2m swell. ' Living The Dream'

8th May : Flat calm - Ol and Louis dived into the deep blue from the bow and swam to the ladder. Pretty scared but they did it.

Stars, phosphorescence ( Mermaid Fairies) lightening and even large flashes under the surface.

Apparently they are doing 2 hour watches so getting reasonable periods of sleep.

9th May: Motored all day and approached Bermuda around 4.30pm. They experienced very stringent customs checking of all registered equipment on board over the VHF before they got into the harbour. Whilst waiting for clearance they were approached by a local who directed them to his marina on the NE corner of Bermuda Captain Smokes Marina where they were allowed to tie up alongside the quay which normally would have had 3 boats anchored astern. Apparently the feeling by Ol and crew is that they are very pro British Boats.

So after 6 days at sea 4 pretty tired people and after a few beers 'proper food' they all had an early night.

10th May: Oliver's 35th birthday which he had expected to be spending at sea. The day started with repairing the autopilot which apparently had stopped working on his watch the previous night. Fortunately there were spares so they were able to replace the plastic cogs. David had been offered an upgrade to stainless steel ones before we left apparently but chose to take spares. ( he David has a theory about not replacing the plastic cogs with stainless) Once this was done they were obviously free to explore and visited beaches and an old fort and then had more than a few drinks!

11th May: 'Hung Over' but jobs still to be done like deep cleaning the fridge and restocking supplies followed by a Chinese for supper. Ol also got his hair shaved by some guy Lincoln he'd met at a bus stop who took him to his house and sat him on his front porch overlooking the sea and charged him $10. A different world.

It's amazing the things you learn - in Celtic Mor means Sea but in Norwegian Mother . So we either have have Sea Toad or Mother Toad

12th May: Waiting game as forecast for little wind. Very frustrating as this is now 9 days after they sailed out of the BVI and they had hoped to have been well on their way eastwards.

13th May: set off at 9.30am feels good to be on the move again. They obviously felt that the people of Bermuda both in shops, restaurants and the marina itself had been exceptionally friendly and hospitable with a final comforting farewell from Bermuda Control who radioed them an hour out of port to check all going ok.

Oliver is obviously perturbed and very understandable by the amount of floating plastic as he is making a timed reports of the different items he is spotting along with several Portugese Men of War and the Sargasso Weed.

14th May: Heavy Rain and then the wind died. Apparently they just crept along and calculated it would take them 3 weeks to get home at whatever speed they were making!!

15th May: 4-6.00am Oliver on watch. Amazing Milky Way, shooting stars, moon, phosphorescence and sunrise with improving wind . Hopefully we shall make some progress today. He later reports ' crashing through big sea 20-30 knots but the sun is shining and this is how I imagined The Atlantic to be'

16th May: from having had very little or no wind all of a sudden overnight they had huge waves, big squalls and wind in the wrong direction. Obviously difficult steering which they had been doing by hand for 24 hours to save the auto pilot (Otto) and his comment is that he just concentrated on a rainbow that appeared in front of the boat. Also the water maker wasn't happy as it was taking in too much air on the tack they were on and the waves ( we too had had this problem coming the other way).

17th May: Much better day able to dry out our gear whilst on watch - weather sunny, good speed and generally heading in the right direction. Obviously in trying to keep morale up over what had been a challenging 48hrs they come up with a ' patent home galley boat experience' after trying to feed themselves in those conditions.

1) a tap leaking slowly over your head
2) spring loaded cupboards to shoot pots at you when you open them
3) gimballed floor
4) 'crap oven'
5) all plates and bowls on ball bearings.
6) foot pump for water

Luxury facilities you can only use for 30 seconds every two days. ( I don't totally understand this but do remember vividly that when we were 'rockin and a rollin' nothing stayed where you put it )

Apparently some time was also spent skinning rotten carrots!! ( we found carrots didn't keep that well either. )

Time was also spent thinking about what they could sell in their 'Unique Chandlery'

1. Microwave and safe all in one?
2. Glow in the Dark Tell Tails.
3. The Ultimo Auto Helm comes in various colours and with a free spare I.e some rope ??
4. Projected HUD on the spray hood screen ???
5. Cannibal Cook Book to make eating your crew more exciting In an emergency !!

Interesting to hear about the different experiences and thoughts and discussions that 4 blokes have on a boat.

He finishes by reporting ' a great day today, all in good spirits and that the youngest member of the crew 19 yrs old had managed to cook his first ever Toad In the Hole referred to as Mor Toad in the Hole. '

18th May: Oliver on watch at 6.00am went to goose wing the sails and then discovered his mobile was no longer in his pocket. I can imagine a few choice words were said but fortunately for him he found it still on deck at the front. Phew! Think phone will now be put somewhere safer!!

Another day of slow winds so a day of cleaning floors heads and cockpit. Grib Files also showing very little wind for the next week. They beginning to feel this could turn into the longest Atlantic Crossing.

Oliver obviously felt at a low ebb and reported 'missing my life at home but I'm sure a good sleep will solve it. '

21st May: everything going OK at present and the crew all happy. The first week felt a bit long with not making much progress we now have 830 miles to go to The Azores. When they arrive back in St Mawes will obviously depend on the wind though I think the younger members of the crew quite impatient for various reasons - seeing girlfriends and little money or rather the need to be back working. Sailing does seem to mean you either have too little or too much wind rarely just the right amount ( some people may argue with this I am sure ) as we also encountered sailing down ( or rather motoring) the Spanish and Portugese Coast and coming across too and certainly in the Caribbean we had several reefs in the main at times.