The days after Bermuda

Paul Huntley
Sat 23 May 2009 10:46

32:37N 60:32W

Saturday 23rd May 2009

Good morning to all you Libertad blog watchers, sorry I haven’t been on line for the past few days but we have been plagued by strong headwinds from the north east and very uncomfortable seas that have affected all but Guy have been suffering with sea sickness. I have just come on watch at 06:00 a.m. local time and for the first time in three days I have conditions suitable to use the computer. The sun is just rising in the east on a relatively calm sea with a swell of 2/3 meters

With the help of medication most of the crew are at least standing watches now. The best course we could sail from Bermuda was south east taking us well into the Doldrums an area of little or no wind. I decided that we needed to head north after receiving a weather forecast promising south west winds to the north of Lat 36 so we changed tack and have been on a heading of 010 degrees for the past twenty four hours , the price we are paying is that we have made no progress to the west at all!

Libertad is performing impeccably as usual making little of the rough weather. Sleep has been almost impossible for the past three days, if you can imagine trying to sleep on the roller coaster at Thorpe Park you might have an idea how hard it is to rest. Whatever position you take up you are being thrown around making it impossible to rest.

Enough of my rants, other boats have had it far worse. A French boat has been dismasted but I am pleased to say all the crew are safe and well, another boat has had an auto pilot failure and is returning to Bermuda for repairs under its own power and a couple of boats couldn't leave Bermuda because they were waiting for vital spares from the Europe.

The north Atlantic even at this time of year can be a very cruel master and something wise men fear. The fleet is now well spread out, some choosing to continue south others like us, heading north and seeking what should be the prevailing south west wind.

The start at Bermuda was from  St Georges Harbour many of the boats jostling for the best position on the line to get the best start We found ourselves right in the middle of this pack of highly competitive yachts and lead the way through the Town cut to open sea, I told the crew to make the most of being in the lead as it wouldn’t last long. Being one of the smaller boats, we were soon overhauled, the racing star of the fleet a 65 ft German boat called Nix several more followed past.

Life on board Libertad is settling down to the normal routine of watches, eating and sleeping It is impossible to read even in your bunk and cooking a meal is very hard work, fortunately I had cooked up some mince with vegetables and sauce prior to our departure that has been converted in to Shepherds pie, Spaggetti Bolognese, curry or Lasagne very quickly. The problem is keeping the contents in a container long enough to heat through. We do have a pressure cooker which is a real godsend in bad weather with a lid that screws on it prevent us redecorating the deck head with dinner.

Other problems we have had to face are the little things that don't work when you have the lee rail awash, the generator we discovered has and oil pressure sensor the will only allow you to fire it up when the boat is on an even keel, we should be so lucky! the salt water intake for our water maker is often out of the water and therefore only sucks air, even opening a locker on the weather side you are liable to be met with an avalanche of stores that fly everywhere. On occasions it has been safer to crawl about the boat rather than risk the bruising you get just moving around. Our admiration for the single handed sailors that circumnavigate the globe via the southern ocean is great, they deserve all the fame and fortune it brings them.

We however, are doing this for fun! Each and every one of us has found it hard, but it is that very experience that makes it so worthwhile, no one said it would be easy.

Mordecai has been suffering along with the rest of us ,yesterday he came to me first with the fridge handle in his hand, whist I was repairing that he comes again clutching a piece of Libertad's finest mahogany ,a fiddle rail from the galley that had broken off when he grab it. At this point I had to ask him to lie in his bunk for half an hour whilst I caught up with the repair work; he was breaking it quicker than I could repair it! They are all fixed now but, I suspect that won't be the last.

The wind is now falling off to less than ten knots, still from the wrong direction but at least the seas are calming, we are all well with plenty of food  water and hoping for more favourable winds that will speed us on our way to Horta in the Azores just 1600 nm to the east.

I have to complete the SSB schedule at 12:55 UTC and download the met forecast from Bruce in Australia. He is very apologetic when he gives us a bad forecast I am sure he is lying awake worrying about us.

That's about all the news from the good ship Libertad at the moment; I will try to get back to regular blogs weather permitting.

Love and best wishes to you all wherever you are from Paul, Guy, Drew, Mordecai (the wrecker) and Lucien (Lulu) and of course Libertad.