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Atlantic Day 17: 2,000 Miles Down

Atlantic Day 17: 2,000 Miles Down

Tacking continues, and whenever we get a wind shift, that pushes us too far away from our target of Flores, Azores we tack.

We expect to be tacking for the next 48 hours at least, and then hopefully curve north on a port tack all the way to the Azores, hopefully ahead of the low pressure that is forecast to pass beneath the Azores.

The forecast is still changing day by day, and we currently plan to make landfall on either Monday 29th or Tuesday 30th May with around 550 miles left to sail.

We have had a few more container ship sightings, but more interestingly we probably came within 200 meters of a French sailing catamaran a few days ago, so close we could wave to each other 😀👋.

Podcasts have become our latest focus of entertainment during the mornings, and yesterday we also spent some time trying to get some great pictures of Portuguese man o’ wars. After managing to snap 20-30, here are two of the best.

The temperature continues to drop as we head north, and the days are noticing longer with the sun rising at 5 am and not setting until after 8 pm

One thing we really should have done before setting off was taking down the ensign we have on the mizzen topping lift, it really hasn’t enjoyed a month of sailing

We are still in contact with the other boats we have met along the way that all set off at roughly the same time.

One thing we like to do by email is riddles and quizzes.

Here is a copy of the music quiz we just created. We might put the answers in the next post!

The first 10 questions are lyrics, please guess the song name and artist!

  1. You were always on my mind, you were always on my mind
  2. Here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note
  3. And I would do anything for love, I’d run right into hell and back
  4. I tried so hard, and got so far, in the end, it doesn’t even matter
  5. You’re my doll, rock’n’roll, feel the glamour in pink, kiss me there, touch me there, hanky panky
  6. Are you ready, are you ready for this, are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
  7. I was scared of pretty girls, and starting conversations
  8. In one single moment your whole life can turn around, stand there for a minute staring straight into the ground
  9. I wanna love ya, and treat you right
  10. Instinctively you give to me, the love that I need, I cherish the moments with you

The second 10 questions are general music trivia

  1. How old was Michael Jackson his song ABC was released as part of the Jackson 5?
  2. How many times is the name “Jolene” sung in the song Jolene by Dolly Parton
  3. What are the first 17 words to the song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen?
  4. What is the first instrument you hear in Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash?
  5. What was the first major sea shanty to become popular on TikTok? Bonus points if you know the original origin of the song.
  6. What year did daft punk disband/retire?
  7. Who is the lead singer in the band Gorillaz?
  8. What comedy band features in the song “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie?
  9. Where does the artist “Tones” come from, who sang the recent-ish hit song “Dance Monkey”?
  10. Who sang the latest James Bond theme song? What song? And what film?
Atlantic Day 14: Hammocks and Heaving to

Atlantic Day 14: Hammocks and Heaving to

The crossing has continued to progress, we have sailed around 1,515 nautical miles at this point, and estimate we have another 1,000 to go at least.

We continue heading north east close hauled with full canvas during the day and some reefs in the main and Genoa at night on starboard tack.

Currently we have 15 knots of wind, equating to 19 knots apparent wind, and doing 6.5 knots in moderate swell with chop. Saga, who are around 80 miles ahead of us, have flatter seas and less winds now. We are looking forward to reaching this lower wind portion of the journey.

We are not alone out here and have had a few chats with other boats over VHF, including a French sailing boat called “Mustang”.

Last night in the darkness the AIS alarm went off as a 1,000 ft container ship approached us from behind. After a quick check on VHF at 3am they adjusted course to pass behind us with around 1nm clearance.

If your curious what we get to see on a night watch, here you go.

No dolphin sightings since the early days of the crossing, but the number of Portuguese man o’ wars floating around is increasing dramatically (at least we think that’s what they are).

Sorry for the low quality slightly blurry picture, it’s hard to get a good one of them!

We have been experimenting with our comfort aboard, and setup a hammock in the cockpit that we use sometimes. It’s not free swinging, as you’d swing all over the place, but is a lovely place to sit on the starboard side to not need to have to wedge yourself into the seat.

For the 3 days we have been heaving to for half an hour each day over lunch to bring a bit more stability to our lives.

This provides a lovely opportunity for a quick little shower / rise, using the loo while not being thrown around, eating some lunch and doing the dishes.

When heaving to for 30 minutes, we travel at roughly 1 knot backward, which is around 0.5 miles, but you also loose the 2.5-3 miles that you would have travelled forward. So this 30 minutes break looses us only 3 miles a day.

Over the coming 5 days we will likely be tacking east while still making some progress north. All of the forecast now seem to agree on this. Though the approach is still yet to be decided upon with a small low pressure forecast to be somewhere, and the position of the Azores high still also up in the air.

Day 77: Lisbon (ish)

Day 77: Lisbon (ish)

From Cascais it was only a 5nm sail to our chosen marina near Lisbon, we hoisted the mainsail whilst still at anchor and sailed like a pro out through the other anchored boats quickly unfurling the genoa too

The sea and sky were kind and with lake-like seas, we sped toward Lisbon, this was Andrews’s final day of sailing and it was going to be a fun one, early that morning we had seen a pirate ship approach our anchorage and drop the hook a little way offshore, the ship was huge and could have easily been taken right out of Pirates of the Caribbean! We looked it up online to find that it likely had around 75 people on board, what was funny was that it also had two washing machines and dryers on board too, the luxuries of pirate living!

As we sailed out towards it we tried to get as close as possible to get a good look at it and take some pictures, we waved at everyone on deck.. sadly not a single one waved back! 

But anyway we did get some great pics of it

As we carried on we decided the conditions were perfect for Andrew to do some single-handed sailing, with and without the use of the autopilot, so first I demonstrated how to tack the boat and change the sails without using the autopilot to hold the wheel and then we handed the boat over to Andrew to have a go doing everything himself, he did a very good job at being quick enough to not let the boat tack back again after transferring the headsail to the other side whilst not holding the wheel!

We also tried to sail a circle which obviously had some tacking included but really not a bad effort! You can look at our track on the map

After we had had enough of that Andrew announced that he hadn’t been in the water the entire time he’d been on board!! A whole month on board and he hadn’t dipped his toes in! We had completely forgotten about that as the water before this point had been pretty cold oh and he did get covid for a little bit too :0, so we sailed a little further from shore and decided to ‘heave to’ (stall the boat under sail, like anchoring with no anchor) and drift whilst we all had fun jumping in.

However, not long before we were going to jump in we spotted something in the water that stopped any of us from getting in the water!.. jellyfish and lots of them.

I wanted to get a good picture of the interestingly shaped jellyfish so I jumped in the dinghy with the underwater camera and snapped a few of these, apparently, this is a very common jellyfish found off the coast of Portugal with a moderate sting. We think it is a Catostylus tagi.

We probably spent 40mins admiring the jellyfish before we stopped seeing them.. no time like the present we thought so got into a swimming costume and we all jumped in the sea, Adam and I even tried to halyard swing into the water with some pretty funny results… (you can judge who is best)

So 11.5nm later we arrived at the marina, radioed in, and got a space, luckily the conditions were good as the space they had given us was very tight! With lots of fenders out on both sides, we edged our way into the slip and had a nice little relax before going to check in and find the shower block!

We headed into Lisbon via taxi in the evening to have a final meal with Andrew.

On the way back, we did some much-needed exercise after a big meal and lots to drink!