(This is my personal log, as I recorded it daily, on a little Dictaphone then the
Quatre is a 36ft Angus Primrose designed, MOODY 36ft, centre cockpit sloop,
built in 1979.
people cross the Atlantic, East to West, in November or December to take full
advantage of the ‘safe’ season in the Caribbean. This runs from late
November to the end of May.
June 1st to November 30th there is a danger of hurricanes.
In a normal year there are about 10 in the area with the peak
being August. The most frequently ‘hit’ area is between Antigua and Bermuda
across to the Chesapeake and down to Miami and the Keys. (The Bermuda Triangle)
of work commitments in Amsterdam, I
to Bambola until early April. Gibraltar
was where I had left Bambola for the last 5 months, after 4 years
of on and of cruising in the Mediterranean between Television directing
had planned a 3500 mile passage from Gibraltar to Antigua via the Canaries
followed, after a break to re-victual the boat of about 4 days, by
a 1500 mile passage from Antigua to the Chesapeake via Bermuda.
The passage to the Canaries should be about 5 days and then
25-30 across the Atlantic then 10 days to Bermuda and 5 days from there to the
Chesapeake…. That was
I booked my plane ticket from Amsterdam to Gibraltar and telephoned the
crew - John and Jim to let them the trip was definitely on and to book their own
flights. Very privately I feel quite nervous and anticipatory about the whole
thing. I have written a letter to ‘Herb’ mapping out my passage plans and my
head is somewhere out in the Atlantic.
Herb is an amateur weather forecaster who lives in Canada and
radio on 12359mhz @ 19.45 GMT daily.
When you are on his list (he handles up to 150 boats a day!) You log in and when
he calls your boats name during the 19.45 to 20.00 period.
Later in the ‘sked’ he calls your boat by name. You then give him
your position, wind force and direction, sea state and barometer reading. He
then gives you a ‘Personal Weather Forecast’ for the
next 24 hours and outlook for the next 5 days.
He makes routing suggestions to ‘find or avoid’ the wind….. Better
than any professional forecaster in Atlantic Weather, Herb is also a sailor.
GOING WHERE OTHERS HAVE BEEN BEFORE!
Flew into Gibraltar and moved Bambola to alongside. Started hectic
preparations for departure. Boat
cleaning, bending on sails and shopping. £260 worth of food for 3 adults for 30
days…. No time to think about the passage. So much to do and so little time.
Also running on autopilot as the planning takes over. Even sleep well.
if you are interested in how I
crew - Crewing - and
in my boat on ocean passages then please follow
In order to get the tide and despite the wind being Westerly force 4 to 5
we wave goodbye to Cousin Bob and head out of the bay and start beating up the
Straights with the intention of making one of the Canary Islands as a final
departure point for the West Indies.
the motor to help make progress I looked up and saw that we had opened a seam in
the genoa, of a foot long and decided that was no way to start an ocean passage.
With the over enthusiastic help of
the crew getting the main down I caught a batten pocket on a spreader and tore
that. At 18.00 Bambola was alongside Sheppard’s again and the sails were with
the sail makers being repaired for the following day.
First faltering step across the Atlantic followed by a faltering step
back. What can you say?
crew and I had a pleasant evening on board. Drank a couple of bottles of wine
and ate some pasta and sauce. The guys went out for a meal ashore whilst I got
into my bunk by 23.00. The last two
weeks have been very hectic with too many late nights and I am tired. It was good to be sailing again and the decision to return
was excellent as the wind blew a good six in Algersiras Bay all night and the
rain fell heavily. Lay in the bunk
glad to be in port thinking ‘its really windy out there’. Recorded this log
and went to sleep.
Blowing gales out in Cape Vincent – good
job we didn’t go. I think the Gods were looking after me when that seam went
and we had to put back. The sails
are back after a £50 repair – cheap for a Good Friday – the sail maker’s
advice is that I should buy a new suit. (My
intention when I get to the USA - now all we have to do is to wait for a
window.) Have spent some ‘happy
hours’ taking apart my private ‘heads’ which stopped working today and put
in a new service kit of gaskets etc. Going to drink coffee. Ignore the slight
cold that seems to be approaching and read a book for an hour or so.
On with the game.
07.45. Slipped Gib for the 2nd time. – Forecast NE 4-5-6. We
were just clearing the Straights when I picked up a Radio France Inter broadcast
giving a NW gale 8 imminent. As we were only about 8 miles from Tangier we
turned to port and headed in to Morocco where we parked up in the harbour about
took the crew on the short tour of Tangier souk and then spent a couple of hours
trying to talk to Herb on the SSB radio. Propagation
was so bad in Gib I had been unable to raise him.
I couldn’t get him to acknowledge us.
He seemed so busy – a victim of his own success.
Radio France Inter is good but is based on forecasts for huge area’s
and tends to be generalized.
April 06.00 Getting out of the bunk – There was no
gale last night and it is flat calm. I am off to the Port office and customs to
try to get our papers and passports back – be it takes a couple of hours. Feel
really excited. It is time to be
off and the tide is right. We must get going – start sailing south.
to the weather forecast there seems to be bad weather stretching from the UK to
the Canaries across to the West Indies and up to the East
Coast of the USA. Bad weather everywhere. Maybe
because it’s a bit early in the year or maybe El Nino? Listening to the
forecasts, the undertaking seems harder than I imagined but then the weather
must settle down. It must?
Slipped Tangier and out round Cape Espartel. Wind on the nose so altered
to a NW tack to get away from the African coast in light winds 12-15 knots.
Wind Westerly 20-25 knots and sea state rough. Light rain and 2 more rolls in
the genny. Not doing well to
windward at all. Tacking away from
Africa every two hours or so.
Tacking every hour or so we have made about 30 miles
to seaward and sailed 100 miles. On the making tack we seem to just be getting
further into the African bay and not really off shore.
Partly because the sea state is very lumpy and with all these reefs our
windward performance is poor. Radio France Inter has put out another Gale
warning – wind up in the high 20s and I feel we are knocking ourselves out for
not much – The crew are tired and shaken – John is very sick and it all
seems a bit pointless in these conditions. I have decided to drop the main and
run back into Tangier to wait for more favorable winds….
Off Tangier playing hide and seek with all the floating fishing nets in
the water between the traffic zone and the coast. Like a nightmare - a light marks some or the nets but it is
hard to tell which end of the net it is on. Hard to see in the dark. Ran right
over one net but got the engine out of gear and the folding prop folded in time
so no harm done. All this in a lumpy old sea.
Used the radar to find the entrance to Tangier harbour and now alongside
in the old berth. All tired… into
the bunks… sleep.
Walked up into the town with our washing as the wind howled round.
Replaced a few stores and had a meal out. Telephoned Herb from a coin box and he
said that the weather would stay un-favorable for the next few days and he
suggested we should wait it out – he said he would ‘try’ to include us in
his list of boats.
April Waiting in Tangier Port. Dinner out.
April Waiting in Tangier
Port. Purchased two more water carriers and
filled and tied them on deck. Used a false Cyprus amateur call sign and spoke to
the two ‘amateur radio nets’ that carry weather forecasts – ‘Trudy’ in
Barbados and ‘Bruce’ in the UK and got weather updates.
Feeling very positive that we can crack this.
Just got to keep going.
sun is shining – the wind is going north – the guys are playing chess I’m
playing with GPS waypoints and we are off to a fish restaurant tonight. I have
written to ‘HERB’ ready to fax him tomorrow – with luck we can slip about
noon. It will be great to get started with some fair winds instead
of all this negative on the nose stuff. Exciting!
Slipped Tangier at 11.00 and at last at sea – almost no wind and
motoring hard to clear the African coast. Had
our fill of Tangier and this is the first day of calms.
to ‘Trudy’ amateur radio net in Barbados this morning but she worked out
that I do not have a ‘ham’ (amateur radio) license –she was charming
and delightful but did not want me to contact the net anymore but said she would
fax ‘Herb’ and ask him to include Bambola on his net and list of boats.
and behold at 21.00 local time Herb picked us up and ‘God bless him’ he gave
us a waypoint not far from my planned waypoint to get us away from the African
shore. There is a gale forecast in a couple of days time.
We will walk into a gale but we will be well out to sea and if we follow
Herb’s advice we may even miss the worst of it.
have been motoring at about 6 knots all day but all the weather forecasts (Bruce
on the UK amateur Mobile Net and Radio France International) say the wind will
go NE tomorrow and come up. Very, very good news.
We may be burning diesel but at least we are at last on our way.
I feel nervous, excited, and anticipatory at the commencement of the big
trip. It is exciting if a little bit frightening.
We are almost 2 weeks behind my planned schedule. I got the
charts out to look at going direct from Antigua to the Chesapeake. I am
concerned about sailing north from Antigua after the commencement of the
official hurricane season. I would need to purchase three more American coast
charts before leaving Antigua in case I needed to run into an East Coast harbour.
I only have a passage chart from the Caribbean to north of New York.
I think if we go direct we can be in the Chesapeake by early June. Very
C.A.R.D. radar alarm (it warns me if we are being ‘pinged’ by a big ship
radar so I can look out for them) is earning its keep by warning us of big ships
cooked tonight and is on watch, Jim is asleep in the foc'sle and I am in my bunk
in the aft cabin. A bit of
adrenalin pumping – even if we are under motor power at least we are on our
way. Getting away from the Mediterranean, the Straights, Gibraltar, Tangier out
into the Atlantic in the general direction of the Canaries, Madeira and the.
Feel really good about it. Not mad about the forecast gale but we will just have
to cope with it when it arrives.
April 03.00. We have now had
warning from Herb that there will be severe gales in The Canaries for the next
few days and we should avoid getting down there too fast.
(The low forecast to ‘hit’ us has moved south and deepened) I am
trying to make some sort of Westing at the moment but that’s not working too
well. We are beating to windward in
20 knots of wind with one reef in the main.
Made bread today, for the first time on this passage and the crew were impressed
and amazed and found it delicious. We had real problems talking to Herb as the
propagation was bad and then the news that we should not go where we want to go
– the Canaries – is a bit of a downer. The important thing now is that I
stop feeling depressed, get some sleep and wake up in the morning and try to
make some sensible decisions. The boat is bouncing about and I am going to get
some sleep, which is the important thing at this moment.
April Woke up to find the boat really slamming about. On checking our position
I find we have made no Westerly progress at all and that we are still heading
south towards the Canaries and the blow that is forecast.
wind started clocking and we are now heading for slightly north of Funchal in
Madeira. Excellent news. I confess I had made a prayer to my God and he has
answered it and we are on our way. Last night I was rather depresses and
concerned about the voyage and this morning all is well with my world. We have
just put back the reef in the main and she is much more comfortable and we are
now rolling down the road to Madeira.
There is a gale in Gibraltar Straights – a gale in the Canaries
forecast to last several days and we are in a ENE 5-6 on our way to Madeira
which I will now use as a jumping off point for the main Atlantic crossing.
I am having doubts about heading for Antigua.
We are so behind my planned schedule. With a starting off point of
Madeira which is at least two days sail north of the Canaries I am really
doubting the possibility of making the Chesapeake before the middle of June and
well into the official hurricane season. Looking at the pilot chart all the
hurricanes early in the year go into the Bermuda triangle area and it seems to
me silly to risk it knowing so little about those waters.
I have more or less made up my mind to head for Grenada and then perhaps
Venezuela when we leave Funchal. Maybe my wife, will come out and join
me there instead of the USA.
In Madeira. Made a classic night approach. Found the lights and passed
between the two islands and entered the harbour at dawn to be greeted by a
rather aggressive marinaro who didn’t want us to stay at all! Apparently there
is a touring race coming in and they want to keep the harbour free for these
I filled with £50 worth of diesel and persuaded them to let
us berth for the night. We have been shopping to replenish the stores eaten in
Tangier and this 5-day passage. I have sent Herb off $50 US as this seems
a fair ‘gift’ for the personal forecasts he is providing. I spoke to him on
a telephone and he thought that heading up to the Chesapeake in late June might
be risky as he thinks this will be a major hurricane year – what ever that
means. I have decided that we are now definitely heading for Grenada.
How do I feel? I was very tired when we got in yesterday morning but I
felt I had to keep the crew going with re-fuelling, watering, shopping and
preparing for the next big leg of the trip. The weather is bad for the next
couple of days – gales further south. They want to throw us out of the harbour
tonight, which means I shall have to clear customs and go on anchorage.
I guess the thing I am most frightened off at the moment, other than
unexpected things going wrong, is the boredom of it. A month at sea. I am not
certain how boring it will really be..? Watch this space!
I have sent off postcards to the people that care and called
my wife to warn that Grenada is now the destination and to try to find cheap
flights. Funny old life.
Not too sure about full time cruising. Not certain if I want to be single
handed down in Venezuela and Grenada for all the summer.
Maybe I am still a bit tired? I will now go and read the books about
Grenada and try to make a courtesy flag for that Island. Rather a complicated
have developed a very sensitive tooth. I
always have tooth problems when I get over stressed. The trouble with this is it
really hurts and is so sensitive to hot and cold. I will not mention it to
anyone and if it gets worse I will throw penicillin at it.
I feel that if I delay the departure any longer by going to a dentist the
whole project may founder…. A dentist is not an option at this time and at
worst I can pull the thing out. It
feels like an abscess again!
Departed Madeira having discovered that the crew did not know how to
anchor a boat or pull it in and stow it! Just before we left the manual bilge
pump died. The rubber gland had
ruptured and for a moment I thought I would have to wait for a new one to be
sent out from the UK! Slightly to my surprise I found I had a service kit in the
locker and made it all OK in a couple of hours!
feel pleased to be away. The wind
came up after one hour and the ‘iron sail’ was stopped and we started to go
close-hauled south towards the Canaries and then the Cape Verde Islands both
groups of which we planned to leave 60-100 miles to port. We have been making
5.2 to 5.5 knots.
The crew has managed a series of small breakage’s and losses. A
ventilator cowl from a Dorado vent has been kicked overboard, The screw that
hold the plate over the mast gate that stops the sail slides falling out has
been over tightened and broken, a fender has disappeared and the steaming light
has stopped working. Oh well.
am I feeling? Very glad to be on our way at last on the big leg of the voyage.
Heading at long last south and west and en route for the West Indies at long
last. Because the last part of the passage to Madeira was not beating to
windward – was just normal sailing in about a F5. I feel much happier and
confident about it all.
Feeling great having come off watch at 09.00 Bambola is really trucking
along and things are going well. This
is sailing. We are doing all right and the guys are developing into an ‘all
Running under twin headsails boomed out and everyone feeling confident
and enthusiastic. Down wind sailing…. Making around 6 knots and closing the
first waypoint that Herb suggested to keep the wind. We will then head for the
‘classic’ 25N 25W waypoint that is about 400 miles away. It is the earliest
classical turning point to stop going south and start heading West for the
The tooth is feeling less sensitive! I have been taking lots of vitamin
C, eating better and sleeping better… and the tooth is a lot better..
I must say that getting the boat away from Gibraltar was very stressful.
I tried everything I knew but seemed to be constantly frustrated by the
winds and foul weather. Very
tiring. I found the decisions to return to port each time difficult to make and
having made them not easy to live with. Hearing that Grenada was considered
outside the hurricane zone and my insurance covered me there has made me feel
better! (I had telephoned my insurers
from Madeira) The weather is getting warmer already and the sailing is great.
Still going well. Good weather forecasts from Herb. Reduced the size of down wind rig of two boomed out headsails
and still making 6 knots comfortably. We are all getting into the groove and my
tooth is a hell of a lot better. The engine is loosing water out of the heat
exchanger and I am not sure where it is going – I need to run it for an hour
once a day to keep the batteries up for lights and GPS and radio etc. I am
having to put 4 cups into fill it again which is a slight worry as we must
conserve water for a possible 30 day plus passage. The only other slight worry
is major breakages after a spite of minor ones but that is me being over
imaginative – all the rigging has been renewed and the Hydrovane self steering
gear is working excellently. We are all becoming better at balancing the boat to
make it easy for the Hydrovane to steer her with it’s own small auxiliary
rudder. At the moment we are powering along under just the genoa and all is well
with the world.
A little bird joined us last night but I am afraid in spite of
us all trying to feed and water it – is not looking healthy.
It should try and fly off to the Canaries but I think it is lost and
tired. The wind is dropping a bit and in spite of more sail we are down to 4-5
knots. Everyone shares the cooking having to do it for the day once every 3 days
– I have now insisted that we also share bread making as it takes about 1 1/2
hours to make two loaves and I am bored with doing it every other day.
John and Jim not too pleased at this as they feel it is not ‘macho’
or something. I have told them it
is very rewarding and that I will help with instructions and advice….
Started day running under twin headsails but reduced to poled out genoa
as the wind got up. The wind
generator is not putting many amps into the batteries as the apparent wind is
only around 10 knots and the solar panel is not helped by the cloudy conditions.
The heat exchanger needed two bottles (litres) of water which is not good
news for our precious fresh water supply. Whilst
running the engine to charge the batteries its temperature went to over 90
degrees after an hour and a half.
little Dictaphone has stopped working - onto the laptop.
May Now at 22* north and the nights are becoming warmer – possible to
have bare feet in the cockpit for the first time. Had a go at all the fresh
water hoses around the heat exchanger and after one hours running it did not
require further filling – couldn’t be such an easy solution – loose
hose connections – could it?
May A thundery sky – a little light rain but not enough to catch any
significant amount – very overcast but WARM… We are all now in the
groove and sleeping and eating well. The ‘Herb’ show that we listen/talk
to daily between 09.45 GMT and 23.30 depending on when he gets round to us,
suggests that we can start heading further West than south so we have
altered to 240. Engine retaining fresh water better – only needed one cup
to fill. Had a further check and tighten round the hose connections. This
morning we found flying fish on the deck for the first time. (The only other
time I have seen them was cruising the Canaries)
May A hot day…. Herb warns that the ridge we are sliding down the side
off to keep in the northerly winds is moving south with us and we must be
careful not to go too far west or we will move into a South Easterly air
Moon. Wind has gone very light this evening and we are flying my small
cruising spinnaker and the genoa boomed out. Strange but true and it seems
to work with the wind dead astern.
May Very warm last night. The wind has moved onto the beam and the main
and genny are up. Wind speed is 8-10 knots maximum.
a small whale or very large dolphin.
has dropped. Ran the engine for an hour early this afternoon but the boat
speed was way down. 5 knots @ 2100RPM so at the end of battery charging we
were almost stationary so I had a quick dive under the boat to look at the
prop shaft and hull – everything clean – we must be in a counter current
as I was taking the boat speed off the GPS.
May Jim want to be allowed to use the SSB radio to talk to Herb and has
been reading the instruction book and asking lots of questions about tuning
and so on. Of course John also wants to use it so I have said we will take
it in turns to speak to Herb. Jim tonight, John tomorrow and then me
May Yesterday the crew (rather more than I did) because of the weak
winds and on the nose direction wanted to turn further West and North and I
was persuaded that that was a better track than to go Southeast.... When I
spoke to the famous Herb he said we had crossed the ridge to the north side
and that we should head back south west to be ready for the northerly
promised for tomorrow. I tacked due south as that was the only option.
of the total lack of wind by mid day we were able to swim and cleaned the
bottom a bit on the port side leaving the starboard for another day. We had
a long discussion about stores and water. My feeling is that in spite of all
our care we have used a lot and if these light winds continue then even the
food may get low so J and J did an inventory of comestibles and we are sort
of OK for another 24/5 days.
usage is being measured by filling the empty 4 litre squash bottles and only
taking water from them to see how much we are using for cooking coffee etc.
we each are drawing our daily 1/2 litre bottles for teeth etc. but will now
drink from them as well ... only coffee and meals drinks from the communal
wind has now gone north at about five knots and we are sailing again making
about 3.5 on a SW X S heading of 235 which is on course to track beside the
ridge and find the latitude of Grenada so we can turn west.... only 1800
miles to go...
May Last night 'Herb' told us to expect 10 knots from the NE today and
that will increase over the next few days to 15 knots and that the Trades
are starting to re-establish themselves!!!! Great news...
We altered for the first time onto the rhumb line for Grenada. We have
sailed to N17* 30’ W31* 20’ to achieve this and for the first time this
morning we are less than 1800 miles from our destination.
have sailed 1300 miles in the last 12 days - an average of 4.5 knots - in
fact we have only sailed 1220 on the rhumb line but most of that 100 was
wasted going north and west too soon in the doldrums of no wind and the
anxiety of wanting to head west too soon..
sleep pattern is now very good and am falling asleep and having strange deep
dreams every night. The moral of the crew is much higher now that we are on
a rhumb line for our destination as is mine.
is very keen to learn how to master the magic arts of the SSB radio and the
GPS and on the day John's plastic sextant came out quickly lost interested
in the math's surrounding the sight reductions as he could see it was archaic
unless disaster hit both GPS’s and then it would be a matter of some
concentration to get that act together.
feel happier that we are now down wind sailing towards our destination.....
10th May The very good news is that the wind has come up constantly from
the north east and we have been averaging 6 knots on the rhumb line.
Sleeping was difficult as we had a bit of a cross sea and were rolling a lot
but today I am going to reduce and sort the twin head sails so they can be
easily reefed and then with reduced sail we should be all set for the next
few days and the slight daily increase in wind that is forecast. If things
continued like this we could be looking at as little as another 11 or 12
days go by quite quickly with bread making, reading, cooking and the watch
keeping system of 3 on and six off which moves round the clock well. The
Herb show is a great spacer along with Radio France International weather
forecast at 11.40 Zulu each day. I am now going to look in the first aid kit
for the emergency tooth outfit to see if there is glue to fix poor John's
cap which he worked loose eating boiled sweets a few days ago...... French
weather then my watch....
11th May At 09.22 this morning the distance to go and the distance
already run from Funchal was 1550 miles suggesting that we are now half way
there and counting,.. A bit of reality is that when we mistakenly tacked
north we wasted 100 plus miles but as it should all be down wind sailing
under the two boomed out head sails then progress should be better... if we
can average 5 knots then it is 13 days to go. @ 4.5 = 14 days..... Yesterday
boredom crept into my head for the first time.... The demands now are to be
watchful and careful of Bambola and her equipment and to conserve water and
to a lesser extent food but the sailing the last couple of days has been
very uneventful (nothing wrong with that and I am not complaining!)
the trade winds continue and Herb is suggesting that they will strengthen
another 5 knots or so then another 13 days of down wind sailing - helm'd by
the excellent Hydrovane self steering gear (Plain Jane) is with a little
luck fairly straight forward. A long way to go yet and you can never trust
the wet stuff.. As soon as you relax it gets you... How ever the crew is in
the groove and I am looking forward to a trip ashore......
13th May The last two days we have been running on two boomed out head
sails with about 15 knots of wind and averaging over a 24 hour period about
5.5 knots. - forecast for next four days is more of the same... I got really
bored for the first time a couple of days ago - we were passed the half way
mark but only just and there seemed (seems) such a long way to go. The
passage is 3000 from Madeira and the best one could hope for is three and a
half weeks - That is an awful long time at sea.
days go by strangely quickly however and the feeling of tiredness even with
a 3 hours on 6 hours off watch system still leaves one needing naps during
the day and if called out in the middle of a sleep as I was last night to
agree a sail shortening. All the sleep in the morning does not make up for
the broken deep sleep.
a great deck bath/shower today and shaved for the first time since leaving
Madeira and feel better now I no longer look (or smell) like a refugee from
Parkhurst. Lots of flying fish but overcast sky and precipitation within
sight on several occasions.
passed the 40 degree line early this morning which feels like a sort of
milestone and at 17.00 Zulu there are 1245 miles to go - a very long way and
I am more or less out of books to read -- seem to average one a day.
are keeping Zulu time on board so it does not get dark till around 21.00 or
light till 09.00. Because all the weather forecasts are geared to this time
I am loath to alter to local time but will have to remember this when we get
close to land in order to sort out customs and entry officials with out
having to pay overtime..
crew talk of what it will be like this Caribbean island we are heading for
and what they will do next but all I can see is the next TEN DAYS PLUS
stretching ahead like an endless journey... My turn to cook so I will sleep
14th May We have had about 20 knot easterly winds for the last 24 hours
(as forecast) and are now running under boomed out genny between 5 and 6
knots. Jim feels we are now on the run in and the time is passing faster and
that it will all be over, very soon. John mentioned that he would want to be
paid to crew on a transatlantic crossing again which probably means he
thinks it is a very long way and with 1125 miles still to go it probably is.
have just had the 'good' days watch system which is 21.00 to midnight then
sleep to 06.00 and watch to 09.00 (only just getting light) then sleep for
another 2 or three hours. I am feeling less bored and depressed. My wife on
the SSB telling me that the air fare to Grenada is 50 did not help but
that's life I guess.... Will work at the problem - wonder how much a cabin
in the Geest banana boat to Barry in Wales is?? Could be a solution... Never
been to Barry. Wonder where it is and if you can get a train to London from
there??? worth thinking about.
in a Magazine that Pryde Sails (quite a large international sail makers)
have a loft in Grenada so possibly I can get Bambola's new suit made there..
I hope it is not an arm and a leg but her sails are well on the way out..
Beginning to feel like a rather expensive decision to come to Grenada but
the alternative of thrashing about towards Bermuda in the hurricane season
was not attractive... anyway I have made the decision and there is no going
back now….. Could always head for Antigua which is 300 miles north in a
couple of days except that it is still the dodgy season... All this down
wind sailing gives one too much time to think... silly huh?? It is an
adventure but all the time one is praying to one's God for a really easy and
safe passage and at the same time wanting it to be over.. nout so odd a
16th May For the last three or four days we have been running under
boomed out head sail in about 20+ knots and making 6 plus.. On Thursday
night watch I worked out that Antigua was equidistant with Grenada and that
we could be there in just over a week and if we turned the boat round fast
we could make the passage to the Chesapeake Bay in about 12 days and be in
there around June 8-10th... Suggested this to the crew who for different
reasons regarded the idea with shades of dismay!!!
has emotional reasons for not wanting to spend longer in the boat than the
end of May and commitments to friends in early June and John wants a bit of
time to relax after a 3000 mile ocean passage before starting with a further
1500. I was slightly sad as it would be financially better to have Bambola
in the USA but I must say a further 12 days beyond the 8 or so we still have
to do is a bit exhausting,.... I have now had some sleep and do not think
their attitude unreasonable...
this moment (20.00 Zulu) the log says there is 819 miles to the way-point on
the south east of Grenada and we are making between 5.5 and 6 knots and the
wind is out of the south east.
have just eaten and are all feeling more relaxed as we sail into the last
leg of the voyage. I tend to worry about the boat and the gear just hoping
that nothing fails at this late stage. The Genny sheets are taking a fair
bashing where they sit in the spinnaker pole ends but I suppose that is to
be expected. The weather is really warm and pleasant because of the
following breeze and sleep is now delightful and relaxed. From Sunday the
countdown will really be on.
19th May For the last three days we have only the Genoa up, boomed out,
with SE trades blowing us towards Grenada. It has been strange having the
distance to go under a thousand - then 600 - 500 and at this moment (16.00
Zulu) down to 430 which gives us an ETA of Friday or Saturday.
is a very real feeling that the trip is almost done! I have been feeling
nervous that we could start pushing Bambola too much in order to get 'in' a
day or so earlier and... I keep reminding myself the 'the game isn't over
till the fat woman sing'... a lot can and could happen in 400 plus miles.
example my heads broke again yesterday - the old problem of a badly
engineered screw on the end of the stainless shaft of the pump handle
failing to retain it's self locking nut and tearing a plastic fitting.
Trouble is I used the 'service kit' up doing the same repair in Gib just
before we left and so I had to do a bodge this time and lots of 'Locktight'.
crew were grateful that I baked bread before I took my heads to bits! After
a really sweaty time I had a 'bath' on the foredeck - washed my hair and
changed out of my sweaty and smelly clothes into a fresh clean set.
meaning to note that flying fish are every where and most mornings there are
one or two on deck but mainly much to small to eat... and ... birds. Quite
extraordinary. Every day of our passage we have encountered different types
of seagull / sea bird. even when a couple of thousand miles from land.. They
circuit us and are briefly interested then fly on about their business....
the 'chat' frequency on the SSB, has been active the last couple of mornings
with cruising boats already in the Caribbean. Don and Robyn in Stylopora has
given me the names and fax numbers of three yards in Trinidad who will haul
boats and keep them ashore safely. If another 'Dutch' directing job comes up
then I now have somewhere to leave Bambola .... Don and Robyn are planning
to leave Stylopora in one of the yards whilst they return to Australia for
six months. Feels good to have a safety net there.
the end is in sight. Two or three days more. It is a very long way and the
boredom factor is great sometimes. There is the all present feeling of
fatigue. All three of us are in the passage making groove I look forward to
some different foods, a cold beer and to stopping.
21st May How sad. The screen of my computer is broken. Having spent a
few happy ours planning our land fall I got it out to do my log and found
that it had got damaged - no longer gave a complete picture. I can still
write in small areas but it will need a new screen or replacing - what a
is now 174 miles to go.
only problem is that we will arrive near dusk - just too late to enter
harbour in daylight. I have planned a waiting area and we may have to spend
the last night on the West side of the Island of Grenada.
from my broken computer, I am as delighted as are the two crew to be so
close to landfall. There are some strong 2+ knot currents about so I will
have to take care and the forecast is for squalls and thunderstorms - the
game is never over till the fat woman sings.
fact we are so close to our land fall makes us all feel good and there is a
lightness about the crew. I just want to make sure I get enough sleep to
make some good decisions over the next two day and nights as we approach the
end of this very long voyage... 25/6 days and nights at sea are a very great
deal of the wet stuff and in very confined conditions.
I have mixed feelings about the passage. I look forward to seeing how I
still feel about long distance cruising in the future. The plans, as always,
are very un-settled. I must return to the UK at the end of June to see the
tenants out of one of my flats near tower bridge - My wife will fly out to
Grenada in a few days if we make a reasonable land fall and then fly back
with me to the UK. After that I do not know as IF the Dutch directing job
comes up again I will take Bambola to Trinidad and haul her there for the
six or seven months involved. If the job does not happen then I (we) will
have to sit around Grenada/Trinidad/Grenadines etc from July to November
until the end of the hurricane season.
sure about that.. good be wonderful or.... I suspect I am very tired at the
moment and need to stop sailing for a while.
slow – sails banging 82 degrees – muggy 90% humidity. 185 miles to
go. We will be off the Island on Saturday around 22.00 which is too late
to enter by only a couple of hours. Forecast is for lighter winds,
thunder storms and convection activity.
May 22nd John saw a boat, Jim saw rain, Michael saw rain stop and
light winds start. When I took the watch from Jim it was throwing it
down – absolutely torrential. Jim had put on wet weather gear but it
was so hot I just put on my swim suit and had a free warm shower during
We have been flying the kite for a few hours but I decided to get it
down as the sky was so dark and menacing that I didn’t want to risk
being caught with it up in a sever squall. Anyway there is no way we can
make enough speed to enter in daylight so we will have to wait around
till dawn what ever we do.
May 23rd Motor needed 4 cups after battery charging and the hoses
are all ok. Can see the occasional light off to starboard and smell the
go South round the bottom of Grenada. I laid a 3 mile, offshore, course
and I can see the lights of what must be St George’s off to starboard
We are motoring into St. George’s harbour. As always a little
difficult to see exactly where the entrance is. Feels very romantic and
I suspect this view has not changed greatly since the days of Nelson.
At anchor in the Lagoon with other cruising yachts and about to find
customs and immigration. Q flag flying!
total passage of 4025 miles. The last leg Madeira to Grenada was 3152 miles in
25 days at an average of 5.25 knots – two days of flat calms. The most
surprising thing was that every day in the Atlantic we saw at least one sea
bird. – were they lost? The shoals of flying fish became commonplace.
the Cape Verde Islands we did not see one ship until we were 50 miles off
Barbados, in spite of keeping 24 hour watches. After about 15 days of passage I
time I would do it single handed or with one crew and not keep night watches.
The weather guidance of HERB was invaluable and we heard another boat that
talked to him who did not follow his routing advice and motored half way to
only ran the engine for an hour a day to keep up the batteries. The Hydrovane
self steering gear, with it’s own little rudder, was excellent and did a
better job for a centre cockpit boat like Bambola than an Aries or a Windpilot
would have done both of which attach lines to the steering wheel by which they
make course corrections and are therefore less sensitive to light winds from