Good morning everybody!
Hope you are all doing well!
So here I am in mainland Europe after a quite interesting and challenging crossing. Got my first knock down that was funny! If you think 20 degrees of inclination is bad on your boat, try 90 you will see 20 was not that bad 😉
Like usual, here is the fast version of the crossing.
1)Left Horta around 10am, nice SW breeze, I decided to head between 2 islands (Pico and St-Jorge) thinking the view will be nice, even if Anibal told me to not do that(I’ve paid the price!). As soon I was in the lee of Pico, the wind get crazy! Upwind 15 knots, downwind 5 knots, becalmed and back Upwind, All that in less then 5 minutes all day!! Wind driving me crazy! Another French boat is there try to sail too, nice to see another person trying to sail and not motor even if the condition are not right! We both struggle all day to do 20 miles. At 3 miles of the anchorage before the night, the French came close and ask me to throw them a line for a tow to the Anchorage. Well why not! I will getting spoil with all those tow 😉 Anchor at st-Jorge for the night.
2)Try to left this morning, but no wind at all. Seeing another sailboat farther who is sailing, I decided to try to get out of here and reach those wind. Moving the Tiller back and forth like crazy to make Joshua going forward and reach those wind. Nice wind for 1 hours, then back to the same scenario then yesterday! At the end of the day when we’ve pass Pico, steady wind found from the SW again, Nice!! 85 miles
3)Sailing downwind, pole on the Genoa. The bread I’ve bought in Horta is already all moldy. I was going to throw it overboard, when it slip from my hand and the whole thing fell (Even the plastic). Plastic overboard! All hand on deck! Removal of the pole and round upwind, try to locate that lost crew again! Found and rescue it, taking care of throwing just the content again 😉 That was fun! Better take 10 minutes to go search it, then let it drift for years in the ocean that, just to make it remember, is not a garbage dump ;). Wind shifting NE, upwind. 107 miles
4)Upwind, nothing special. All my fruit bought in Horta before the departure is getting moldy. Already losing everything that was fresh in not even a week! Read the book Dune (Again) Found a quotation that I like :
“Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is of gas molecule in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who survive” Frank Herbert. 98 miles
5)Still upwind, When I was putting more sail up, a wave move the boat different and my glasses hit the mast and fall overboard! Great! I have my high school glasses, all round. Look like a teenager again, just need more pimples! 103 miles
6) Hard on the wind, wind shift a little bit more north so I can head toward the goal again … but still hard on the wind! Make a good meal on the stove, with that 20 and sometime 40 degrees it’s quite some extreme sport. Knee again the bulkhead and foot on the side of the stove, trying to stay steady for cooking. Quite funny in a way. You should see when it’s time to use the toilet 😉 If I reduce sail i don’t head enough North, and the pilot chart only show head wind later so if I don’t stay hard on the wind, I will finish hard on the wind and against current later anyway! 106 miles
7)Changed the cable of the windvane, was looking to chafe too much, install a flexible SST wire instead. Open a bottle of wine and watch a movie having a good time. The log book was : “Wine, movie, having a good time upwind. Lat/Lon : I don’t care around 100 miles I guess”
8)SST wires of the windvane broke down. Install U-Clamp and make it work again. 117 miles
9)Barometer falling, wind from the north and increasing. Quite some nice wave sometime, but steep and short. If I head more in it to face them, half of Joshua is in the air when it pass it and I don’t tell you the sound when it fall down on the water again. If I was having any doubt how good the boat was, well I don’t have some anymore! Some waves filled the cockpit of water, I needed to clean it anyway. Got a nice knockdown before the night, What a better feeling then waking up on the wall cover with books. But I need to say that angle was more comfortable for sleeping for a second 😉 117 miles
10)A little before the night, the main windvane piece broke. I guess related with the knockdown. Pilot cannot stay on course with those waves. Foul weather gear dressed up in the cockpit, waves washing myself once a while and helping me to stay awake! Under triple reef Mainsail and storm jib doing 6/7 knots. Doesn’t feel that windy to me!
11)Getting close to land, Portugal giving me protection from the waves slowly. Then as soon I’ve pass Cap St-Vincent, I’ve pass from low sail, to full sail under Genoa doing 3/4 knots. Going slowly toward a anchorage, then becalmed a part of the day under a beautiful sun. Bringing everything outside for drying. 9 days of waves crashing on the deck bring quite some water inside … I don’t know why 😉 Have more things on my never ending TODO list to do now 😉 Anchor at Lagos first, but was having a bad feeling about the anchorage. Move to Portimao (Something like that) later, good because the wind shift and increased during that night!
So here I am, having fun in Europe. Cleaning the boat from that challenging ride and fixing the Windvane. Heading for Gibraltar probably tomorrow to picking up Catherine the 26. Even if the ride was looking rough, I don’t complain. I like challenge, and I never felt in danger a second. It’s part of the adventure, and I even surprise myself enjoying staying at the helm in those waves getting me wet after the windvane broke down, singing song and enjoying the view and ride. What a nice boat Joshua truly is, even with that big cockpit making a nice bathtub when it get fill with a wave! 😉
Having all the time water on deck, I didn’t have chance to take pictures on this trip. I didn’t want to ruin the equipment not being water tight. Sorry about that. I temporary fix the windvane with a aluminum flat bar I found on board today. It’s not crazy strong but will work until I found some Stainless steel. It change the whole transmission of the windvane this way, but look a lot more strong (When it will be wield with the proper side Stainless Steel) and more simple then the one before. I’ve put some picture online, in the “Horta/Atlantic 2” Section.
Thanks to John Vanzanten and William Zellman for their donation. It will help pay the fixing of the windvane, and it’s really appreciated! 😉 Quite a nice surprise at the arrival !