Bermuda to Faial - Start of Leg

Ocean Gem
Geoff & Eileen Mander
Thu 18 May 2017 10:00
Date: Thursday 18th May 2017
Time: 11:00
Position: 34:10.135N 63:39.731W

We had an enjoyable stay in Bermuda, even finding time to watch the America's Cup boats in training, but Wednesday 17th saw the start of the second leg of the rally heading towards Horta on the island of Faial in the Azores.

Our day did not get off to a terribly good start. Whilst we were having an early breakfast, Nat heard a hissing sound coming from the locker where we keep our propane gas. When I looked inside I saw that one of the rubber hoses had split releasing gas into the locker. Fortunately I was able to turn off the gas supply and remove the damaged hose before we had lost too much propane. We have a second hose so we are still able to prepare warm food but I would have preferred to start the longest leg of the rally with full bottles.

No sooner had I fixed this problem when it became apparent that our main GPS sensor had stopped working. It took about an hour to locate the problem; the cable to the external antenna had worked loose. Reaching it to reseat the cable whilst hanging about 6 feet above the water and draped around the outside of the solar panels, using one hand to hold on and trying not to drop any pieces in the water was something I would rather not have had to do with the clock ticking down to an 11:00am start that was rapidly approaching.

Add to that a few tense moments with disagreements amongst the crew and the day was not one our best.

However we managed to leave our berth and get to the start line in order to make a proper start to the leg. The organisers had decided on a start inside St George's harbour. There was very little wind and what there was was coming straight through the rather narrow entrance to the harbour. Expecting 20+ boats to tack through in these conditions was rather dodgy so we held back to let the racers do their thing and as we got close to the channel we started the engine and motored through.

Once clear of the harbour we found that there was practically no wind. The Bermuda High was sitting right on top of us and our weather routing software told us that there was insufficient wind for sailing between us and a point over 100 miles to the north of us. So we turned on the engine again and headed roughly NE with the intention of motoring until we found a sailing wind.

This we found at about 4:00am this morning, and it was blessed relief to turn of the engine and start sailing. We even managed a few hours with the cruising chute, before the wind deserted us again and we were back to motoring. Something else slowing us down is a contrary current that at times is as much as 2 knots. We don't have access to any information about ocean currents so we're not sure how to avoid this unwanted hindrance to our progress.

But the sun is shining, the seas are relatively flat and all is well otherwise.