An Atlantic Crossing

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Mon 7 Dec 2009 17:26
Well, I never thought I would be doing an Atlantic crossing, Monday 30th November came and the 1st 10 boats set off, we all stood waving, blowing horns and crying, it was very emotional seeing off our friends on this epic journey, then 1st Dec and the next lot of boats went again, we all stood crying, hooting our horns giving them a fantastic send off, then it was our turn we set off at 9am on the 2nd and the 10 boats that were left all did the same to us, the emotions were high and it was a wonderful feeling of euphoria but also sad as we were leaving our friends for 2 weeks

Now we are 6 days into the trip and in the Doldrums. I always thought the Doldrums were completely flat seas but now I know, you can get all sorts thrown at you. We have had the flat seas, big swells, rain clouds that touch the sea so you cannot see where the sea stops and sky begins, bouncing rain, and humidity of 93 percent & a temp of 32. We have now been motoring for the last 24 hours as the wind has gone from 30 kts to nothing.

Most days the routine is similar, 3 meals a day, inc afternoon tea, so I have been baking cakes and bread, thankfully I picked up a compact breadmaker in Tenerife which does both. The watch system is better and at least I feel alive this trip as Lisa is with us and we can do 4 hour watches. Lisa does the 2000-0000 and then gets a full 8 hours in bed, I then get up at 0000 and do till 0400 then sleep till 9.30 ish. David gets in bed about 10pm sleeps till 0400, he then sleeps during the day after lunch.

What has surprised me is even after all these years sailing, I can still get caught out by feeling seasick when in the galley cooking. I have taken to wearing my seasickness vibrating watch strap all the time now when I am down below. So the meals and cooking times have been carefully modified to suit me.

With regard to Provisioning the boat, we were told that after Tenerife, Dakhlar, Dakar and Cape Verdes have a very limited choice other than fresh veg etc so II did all the provisioning on Tenerife in October, I went to El'Cortes Ingles with my prepared list and ordered a delivery to the marina. 3 hours later my goods turned up in boxes and were lifted onto the boat, what service. Then the hard bit, packing everything away in date order, meal sizes, vacuum packing all chicken, hams, cheeses etc to get rid of bulky packaging. I stocked the freezer and fridge, with Chicken, mince and bought Serrano ham, cheeses, soya flour, yeast for bread making, cereals, soya milk, lots of pasta, couscous, rice & noodles.

I weighed all the flour for cakes and bread before setting off as I have learnt scales don't work at sea. Everything that came on board after Tenerife had to be washed on the pontoon in bleach and any packaging removed, as cockroaches in Africa where rife, Minne B had one running on his deck in Cape Verde and a boat sailed into Cape Verde from Gambia, Africa with rats on board - no thanks. Another boat came in and was surrounded by armed Policia, no idea what that was about, we just ignored it and keep walking.

If anyone needs the list I have the recipes and list in Excel. The only other thing I bought was in Cape Verde is 5kg of Beef fillet, the restaurant brings it in from Brazil specially. Lisa and I did a fresh stuff shop on the last day before setting off, fruit and veg and more beer and diet coke, all items had to be washed before bring on board. We didn't need any alcohol as Suzie Too is a dry boat on passages - the 14 days will do us good, detox us, one exception will be the bottle of bubbly to have going across the equator.

All the recipes I have been tried at least once on route and all very easy, mostly I use the electric one pan as it too hot to put the oven on. So the rule is at 18.00 the generator goes on, charges everything up, David does his 18.30 radio net and after that I cook and we are eating for 19.00.

So far we have had, Chicken Ginger & Noodles, Coconut Beef curry, Beef fillet steaks, meatball casserole with potato wedges and garlic dip, roast dinner all done in my one pan (

During the day, there is a lot of sitting around, so we read, have quizzes on the net, 2 radio nets per day, rub suncream in, stay in the shade, fish, we not been bored yet also lots of dozing off in the cockpit. But we have got another 8 days left yet..wish we where nearly there. Even did the washing today. Everyday is in swimwear, but at night it gets chilly and drops to 28 so you need a top on plus the lifejacket. What a life...

Will let you know what the next few days are like soon,

Love Suzanne