Horta, Faial, The Azores – we made it.
The last 3 days of the
passage was much of the same – positioned just Southwest of a low pressure
system and keeping up with it, we had NW winds between 20 and 30 knots filling
the genoa and pushing us East and ever closer to the Azores. The seas were lively, often with very
big swells that would heel us severely, i.e. assorted missiles flying across the
cabin and waves over the decks. It
wasn’t comfortable but it was a godsend for our progress under genoa only, as we
continued to average about 5 knots.
Eventually we got down to 130 miles to go and could start to think about
when we would arrive and what we were looking forward to: Stopping. A shower, a restaurant
meal, more than ONE beer, a good red wine, from a real glass. A walk. The list was pretty endless.
The food was also
getting rather low and unexciting. After the black mouldy carrots expired,
it was only spuds and onion for fresh veg, and whatever protein we could find in
In some of the calmer
weather I did manage to check out the problem with George, it proved to be a
sheared bolt that connects the push-rod to the wheel/quadrant. It was then
photographing it and sending to Robin who thankfully managed to source a
replacement at Waypoint One in Plymouth.
watch 11.00h to 02.00h on 3 June, the wind began to decrease, we had to run dead
down wind which proved difficult for Maggie, so some manual helming came into
play. At the end of the watch, we
thought we could just make out the lights of the islands. Within half an hour they were quite
clear – not as special as seeing the mountain on Pico appear in the middle of
the Atlantic, but a very welcome sight nonetheless. The wind continued to decrease
unfortunately, and we resorted to the engine when we had only 6 knots of wind
and speeds dropping below 3 kn. The
last bit, as always, dragged and seemed to take forever even with some
motoring. We gradually gained our
bearings and began to separate Faial from Pico – the first land for 16
days. The marina was pretty full,
some of the ARC Europe boats had beaten us in, but they were bigger than us, and
finally we rafted alongside a German boat we had seen in the BVIs. We've made it. Horta looked warm and welcoming, the
clearing in process was painless (& free) – we’re in Europe again. 1800 miles in 16.66 days, 600 miles of
which was just under genoa, not bad going.
Who would like a cold beer, or TWO!
Pics: Before and
after treatment for the mouldy carrots. Pete and Maggie, the perfect
couple. George's broken bolt. WM approaching Pico.