We did it!!

RAVEN - Atlantic Circuit 2021-22
Richard Foulkes
Tue 17 May 2022 09:35

We’re alongside in Horta marina!

The last 36 hours of the passage ended up being quite heavy and our storm jib training and prep on Friday definitely paid off. Wind was steadily building over Friday evening. A panicked cry of “Richard… I think we need to reef” from Ollie at 2am on Saturday, followed quickly by an accidental tack, led to everyone on deck for a lesson in squall survival. We furled the genoa fully a few hours later and hoisted the storm jib - partly just because we were worried our bandaged furling line wouldn’t be able to cope – and sailed for the next 24 hours with three reefs in the main plus the storm jib.

The wind kept on blowing and for a while it was very wet too. Fortunately we were sailing down wind and the direction didn’t change much, so we were able to keep heading to Horta. Hit some record high speeds surfing down waves with the wind behind us – Ollie had the top speed of 15kts! Nobody slept though, not even Dob. The electrics didn’t enjoy the storm either, the GPS was blinking on and off, and we realised we’d lost AIS too when we suddenly saw a mast and green light quite close to us.

We did manage to keep a full meal service going throughout the storm, although it had its challenges. Dob did a good round of porridge in the morning, but did get thrown and lost his coffee. Louise battled to make some tomato soup for lunch, but the pan got thrown down the back of the stove. The motion of the boat meant that every time we lurched over a wave more tomato soup would come vomiting out onto the floor from underneath the oven, which didn’t make cleaning up very easy! Our final supper of the voyage was a boil in a bag macaroni cheese.

We arrived in to Horta Harbour around 4am on Sunday, anchored, had a celebratory camomile tea and rum, and then collapsed into bed for a few hours. We really wanted to get alongside though because we weren’t sure what shape the original UK dinghy was in – on it’s last use there were a lot of holes in the seams and it was rapidly deflating!

After a bit of faffing with a manual anchor lift (the electric windlass also didn’t seem to have enjoyed the storm!) and a few shuffles around different parking spots on a very wet windy day, we settled Raven into a berth in the marina and packed away sails.

We completed the arrival with The Best Showers Of Our Lives, followed by an excellent celebratory meal ashore. We made it!