Back to Europe with ARC Europe 2010
Sun 9 May 2010 02:53
After 5 weeks of vacation at St. Johann im Pongau with the family and friends I arrived to St, Lucia on January 20.  There were major repairs  which were done in between the visits of my family members.
We were cruising in the Windward and Leeward Islands,  So I visited nearly every island ar least once, some like Martinique, Antigua, St. Barth, and St. Martin several times. The last leg form St. Barth to British Virgin Islands I sailed with my  patient and understanding
wife Marina.
The 10 days in the BVI's I  spent cruising form island to island and final preparation of GIN'S for the trip back to Europe. By the way, as you can see the name has changed and so has the port from Gibraltar to London.
My oldest son Igor came 3 days before departure and helped with the final preparation. He changed the bulbs on the mast, helped with packing the tender, cleaning the deck of the GIN'S and provisioning.
GIN'S also got underwater cleaning by a professional diver. Another company checked the rigging. The regular service on the generator engine I did myself as there were no  workers available. Luckily I had still 5 liters of distilled water to treat the batteries as  it was not available on Tortola.
First leg : Tortola - Bermuda, 845 nm Start at 12:00 on May 6.
There were 19 yachts crossing the starting line in front of the Marina Nanny Cay towards the west, passing west end of Tortola and the turning north passing the last island - Jost van Dyke. From there on the heading is 0 degrees - straight to the north.  This the same time one of the sides of the famous Bermuda triangle. On the compass you have to steer some 14 to 15 degrees due to variation and relatively strong current and the drift caused by wind. And add another degree just to sail outside of the triagle - to be on a safe side!  
During the first day and the night we had good winds from ESE ,  4Bf
and we made 187 nm. It was the first night sailing for Igor and he was
mastering his two  3-hour night watches without any problems, tuning the sails in changing wind. One would expect that the wind direction over the open ocean without disturbance of the islands would be somehow stable.  It did change several times in an hour, so adjustments were needed.
We will have watches lasting 4 hours during the day and 3 hours during the night. We will have 2 meals together - breakfast between 8 and 9 and early dinner at 5:30 pm to watch the sunset and save on the electricity (dishwashing in the daylight.) Nights are dark as the moon only rises at 2am and it will dissapear in 4-5 days. It is therefore easy
to admire the stars.
We have enough food for the trip. The first dinner was a gulash cooked in the morning in marina. The sides were mashed potatoes and Roman salad.
We send our position every morning automatically and 2 hours later we receive the position of all boats, miles sailed that day and the miles to the destination. On the first day we were second, but then in the afternoon the wind weakened to 6 to 8 knots. We realized that we would now need the genova ( 67m2) instead of working jib (47m2), but
we decided not to do this complicated swap and sail slower which resulted that on the second morning we dropped to position 5.
In slow sailing we could at least prepare some good dinner - pork steaks rice and green salad.
During the day today we had variable winds between 2 and 3 Bf . Now it is evening and the wind is at 3 Bf . That gives us the speed of 5 to 6 knots
At this point of time we have reached the midpoint of the route. Still
some 425 nm to sail. Tonight we had t-bone steaks with salad only
and Manner as desert. 
According to the weather forecast, which we receive every morning
there will be a gale force front passing close to Bermuda and we may just be there in that time. Therefore were are taking the  slowdown
as wellcome to help us avoid the heavy sea.
Enough for your Saturday morning reading ...