28th May, 2010
Everyone who has sailed
knows about Peter's bar in the Azores.
I expected a disheveled
bar, spilt beer and a chaotic atmosphere. In fact Peter's bar is actually called
Cafe Sport and was opened by Jose Azevedo in 1918, it was subsequently run by
his son Peter and now grandson Joseph.
The bar has a traditional
interior with simple tables and chairs and walls covered with flags and ensigns
from all visiting nationalities and yachts through time. It is extremely well
managed with tables found quickly and excellent local food.
The atmosphere last night
was fantastic. We immediately re-united with other crews we have met and new
people all with stories to tell. Throw into this a great sense of achievement,
kindred spirits and a drop or two of alcohol and you can picture the scene. The
excitement of hearing where crews have travelled from---Caribbean, BVI's,
Bermuda, Brazil. People in foul weather gear, Caribbean shorts (on Malte in cold
weather), Mexican bandana's, functional, raw, without material fashion but of a
I loved the transient
quality of the traveller's, all hardened sailors no fuss. Everyone knows that
just to be here in the Azores, you will have sailed ' the distance'.
Our evening flowed with
laughter, fun and stories which degenerated with the flow of good local wine and
beer. We met up again with Pete, the skipper of an Open 60 called Ocean Planet.
He was in Antigua as the fast response boat to support the Atlantic Rowing race.
We met him for the first time after he had sailed two handed upwind for 230
nmiles to take food to James Ketchell, little did we know that James would sail
back to the Azores with us.
The Open 60 skipper had
kindly agreed to take a 27 year old St Lucian guy, Vernon on board as crew
two-handed. Vernon told me his story of growing up in St Lucia having lived in a
tent on a beach for 4 years. Sometimes the winds were so cold in winter that he
swam in the warm sea to keep warm. Over the years he watched the ARC--Gran
Canaria to St Lucia boats arrive in Rodney bay and dreamt of an Atlantic
He was promised a berth on
a boat to do the return crossing and so flew up to Antigua, but the boat didn't
turn up. Pete from Ocean Planet agreed to take him despite Vernon having very
little knowledge of sailing, only Hobbi Cat dinghies saying, 'So what is a
spinnaker ?'. The stories of Vernon and his 0--60 sailing initiation on the
often airbourne boat are hysterical.
Vernon on night watch alone
on the helm (tiller on the open 60), so cold that he wore his sleeping bag up to
his chest with the boat screaming along at 25 knots, genniker (foreward) sail
dipping into the water and Vernon shouting P-e-e-e-t-e it's going over !!!!!!
Old sea dog Pete had a quick look on deck said, 'Ah it's fine ' and went back to
The guys also lost their
engine, therefore power and auto-pilot. On arrival in the Azores the wind
direction was unkind to them and without engine Vernon said he had passed back
wards and forewards, ' twenty times going crazy' unable to get into the
Tioram is now sitting
comfortably in the Marina on the harbour wall. It is great to watch boats coming
and going, people waving to one another, even local fisherman who have seen
boats come and go for years kindly wave and acknowledge the distance and journey
everyone has made to be here.
The harbour wall is painted
with the names and insignia of decades of visiting yachts. A tradition has grown
that it is unlucky to leave Horta(Azores) without making a painting on the wall.
Our intention is to do a painting before we leave if it stops raining. We are
all 'liming' today inside the boat and intend to hire a car tomorrow to explore
Tioram has transformed into
a comfortable home for us all, with a welcome stillness.
Photos below----first night
27th in Peter's bar /meeting Open 60 crew, Pete and Vernon.
John and James's last night
29th in Peters Bar.
Interior of Peter's Bar.