First day out from Horta

Paul Huntley
Fri 12 Jun 2009 07:21

40:11N 26:59W

Friday 12th June 2009

Good morning to you all.

I am writing this on my early morning watch with sun coming up on the starboard bow, a great orange ball rising in to the eastern sky. We managed to get away from Horta at 10:00 am yesterday morning. We were all woken by the boat alongside leaving for Lagos, along with all the rest of the fleet bar one; they were awaiting a spare course computer for their autopilot to arrive at the airport.

Once awake Lucien,Mordecai, and Drew decided to catch a cab to the top of the Caldera, the volcano on Horta .The visit we had made earlier in the week had been shrouded in mist. Dawn showed promising signs that the bad weather of the previous two days had finally passed ,so Guy and I completed the final preparations for departure, topping off the fresh water tanks and checking the rig.

When running up the systems , I discovered our main GPS (Global Positioning System) was not locating satelites.This was most strange and something that had never occurred before, I set up the hand held to see if that would fire up but no, the same problem, surely the Americans couldn't have turned them off? Drew has a considerable knowledge in the matters an took the hand held for a walk along the dock and sure enough fired up with no problem, his deduction was that there must have been a powerful localised energy source just where the boat was moored causing it to block all GPS signals, I then noticed that the VHF radio was also not working confirming his theory.

With the crew safely back from their excursion to the Caldera we let go all lines and cleared the inner harbour for sea. Sure enough the radio and GPS jumped in to life whilst rounding the harbour arm, all systems go.

We motored for about an hour to clear the wind shadow of the island and set full m\in and Genoa on a north easterly course of 060 degrees in a light 8/15 knot breeze from the North West. Although sunny it was still chilly, most unusual for this time of year at these latitudes.

We have had a good run for the past twenty hours averaging six knots. There has been a big swell at times. A remnant of the storm, but let’s hope we can keep up this speed for the next week or so...

I have now modified the watch system to reflect the loss of  Mordecai who caught the ferry to Terceira and Sao Miguel at 11:30 am. We crossed tracts at about two miles distant so maybe he had one last glimpse of Libertad.

Our first meal at sea was fresh chicken with vegetables followed by fresh fruit. The off watch crew headed for their bunks to catch up on some sleep. After a promising start the sun has disappeared behind a large dark cloud and we have had a light shower of rain.

It is good to be at seas again after a disappointing visit to the Azores, the weather laying waste to all our cruising plans, but we are on our way home at a good speed so I shouldn't complain.

I will bog again soon until then, best wishes from us all. We wish Mordecai a safe journey home.