Sailing from the Azores to Ireland

Lindsay and I along with up to three other crew members sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Ireland in three legs. The first leg stopped in Bermuda. The second leg stopped in the Azores. This is a series of short videos taken during the third leg, Azores to Ireland. The total distance traveled on this leg was 1184 nautical miles.

On June 8th, 2018 we departed from Ponta Delgada in the island of Sao Miguel. The wind had been strong from the northwest over the past couple of days and then it turned north, which is bad. I wish we could have departed sooner but we had to wait for a crew member to arrive. While we sailed northeast over large waves we were pounding the hull for 24 hours. During that time I downloaded an update for the weather forecast. It predicted 40 knot gusts and 14 foot waves when we were due to approach Ireland. I decided to turn back, even though due to his work commitments we would lose the crew member we waited for.

We waited for just a couple of nights in Ponta Delgada for the wind to subside and the waves to dissipate. Besides, it was Portugal Day and there were military parades and events going on to entertain us!

Here is a video of a helicopter fly-by.

This shows how close the navy helicopter was to our boat.

Lindsay and I make comments on the Portuguese Navy demonstrations.

Once we had our fill of Portuguese nationalism and military pride, we set our minds to sailing again.

In June 11th Lindsay and I departed once again but with only two crew members, Charlotte and Svein. Charlotte had joined us in Bermuda and Svein was new to the boat.

The forecast was for 5-10 knots of wind or the first three days. I expected we could fly the spinnaker. On the fourth day a series of cold fronts was coming to add wind from the west by northwest and strong at times. Since we were heading northeast that would put the waves behind us and at worst on the beam. I figured the boat would be fine with that so off we went.

We were able to sail with the spinnaker about half the day and the other half of the day we had to run one of the engines.

Dolphins were swimming with us many times during the day.

By Wednesday the winds are strong around 30 knots so we were surfing down waves on a broad reach in the afternoon.

As that first cold front passed the wind clocked around to the north and then slowed to the point where we could not fly the spinnaker, so it was a frustrating day having to deal with waves.

At dawn on Friday the 15th another cold front came. The rumor here is the remains of a tropical storm added to the front. The wind was steady at the levels of the forecasted gusts for three days, which was until we arrived in Ireland. The swell and wave height combined into levels as high as we have ever seen. The wave energy was much stronger than expected. The crew’s excitement went up with the swell.

The temperatures dropped to 61F and the humidity coated the interior of our cabins. The sheets felt cool and damp when we climbed into bed.

Here’s a view from the aft deck.

When the seas get so big the boat “surfs” down them, alignment to the wave is critical. Unfortunately, sometimes the auto helm would turn itself of by going to standby status. If the crew member on the helm was not watching carefully, or tried to push buttons to correct the heading instead of just grabbing the wheel and turning it, we would turn broadside to a wave. This is called broaching. It’s not good. In fact, with wind so strong and wave energy so immense it can rip sails, part lines holding the sails and break rudders or steering cables. Also, if the boat gets turned the wrong way around it will throw to boom over to the other side and slam the rigging. This is called an accidental jibe. That’s even more likely to break something.

Here’s another video showing stronger winds and taller waves.

Eventually, each of us would broach and accidentally jibe during one of our shifts. In hindsight it’s surprising we didn’t break anything until day seven. This is the last video before something went wrong.

Here’s another aspect angle.

Here’s a view from the aft deck.

Not long after I recorded that video, The autohelm went into standby and we broached. Due to the size of the waves, it was an especially hard broaching event. The steering cable broke and the wheel became useless. Charlotte was at the helm and I was on deck. Lindsay heard the loud bang and a few seconds later heard me yell below “all hands on deck NOW.” Lindsay yelled back “what happened?” “Steering cable broke,” I said, “we need to get the emergency rudder out.” While I was getting my PFD on I was watching the boat turn by the force of the wind on our sails. I was relieved and said loudly “It looks like she’s going to round up and go over the waves,” but I wasn’t sure and for how long it would last.

These waves were friggin’ big. I was pretty sure we needed the emergency tiller connected and propellers spinning to hold a safe course up and over the waves. If a big one hit us sideways it would rock the boat and shake the mast so hard it could break a shroud and cause the mast to fall. That would be very bad.

With lots of communication and good teamwork, we got the emergency tiller in place an tied on both sides.

Next I went about inspecting the damage, formulating a repair plan, and on plan number two feeling confident it will work. I bypassed a block (pulley) and clamped the broken stainless steel cable together with extra cable clamps I got from each of the ends at the tillers. Not without getting lots of water coming into the engine rooms and completely soaking me as well.

This is right after the port engine room got swamped.

In the end, even though it was not the roughest ride or the longest distance, it was the scariest leg of the crossing. Thankfully, we got new cables custom-made on the second day in Crosshaven. Lindsay and I were off the dock the next morning, headed up the Irish Sea for more adventures, hopefully of a more pleasant variety.

Diving for BBQ

Sometimes, the sea gives and at other times she takes. In this case she took something but I was able to dive in and retrieve it.

When we arrived in Terceira, Azores, we were directed by ARC Rally Control to a commercial berthing area outside the protected marina. We had to tie up along a concrete wall. Then another rally boat was directed to tie up to us. It’s called rafting up. Their boat was heavier than ours and there was a large amount of swell and surge along the wall.When we tied up our lines we were very concerned about the amount of load the additional boat was putting on our lines, so we added more lines to other cleats on our boat. One in particular was running close to the dive tanks and the BBQ along the back deck and rail. Unfortunately, we didn’t take the tidal range into consideration. Overnight, the line dropped under the BBQ grill’s mounting bracket. When the tide came back up, it broke the bracket and the grill went 20 feet down to the bottom of the harbour.This is a video of me plunging in after the grill and swimming it back up. Lindsay asked me if I should take a line to tie it so we could pull the grill up from the surface. I thought it couldn’t be THAT heavy, but it almost was too much for me. I had to kick extra hard and swim with one arm as my lungs were starting to ache for a breath! I got it first try, though!

The funny thing is that after we brought it up and we were rinsing out the seawater, we found something inside. A creature had taken up residence during the night and was having a grease feast!

It’s a sea star like I’ve never seen. It has spines! I’m not touching that thing.

Crew member Charlotte Jones returns it to the sea.

Close Quarters at Safe Harbour, Key West

This is a short music video showing my neighbor and his big jet boat. Dave has been refitting MV Boundless. This video shows Dave testing his new docking control system, based on a joystick control. I think he does pretty well after the second try! I’m glad Lindsay and I were there to “fend off” his vessel. In all fairness, when you see this video, Dave would not have gotten so close to my boat if Lindsay and I were not on deck to protect her. This is a fun video using Jimmy Buffett music as any Key Wester would prefer.

The Future of Communication

We just received a satellite phone. It’s called the Iridium Go!, and it’s perfect for what we are doing. It’s a satellite router, essentially, that transmits a satellite connection via wifi to our smart phones, tablets and laptop computers. We pay $130 a month for unlimited data and 150 minutes of talk time.

Right now, the old satellites that orbit the Earth have very slow transmission rates, very slow and we must use special apps that send and receive tiny files of less than 10k. It will do for us for now to get updated weather files, send text or even update Twitter and Facebook with a small picture while at sea. However, SpaceX and Iridium are half way to launching the Iridium Next network of satellites with eventual speeds promised of over 1Mb. We will no longer need cellular phone towers in wide open spaces, just for inbetween buildings where we don’t have a clear view of the sky.

It’s the future of communication.

Click the link below and bookmark our webpage to be a part of it with us.

Current Location

Sail across the ocean with us

Are you seeking some adventure in your life? You’d better hurry up and seriously consider this opportunity before it’s gone. Lindsay has already booked some of the legs of our Trans-Atlantic crossing this spring!

After two years of continuous upgrading (called refitting) and purchasing of new safety equipment, we are now on schedule to cross the Atlantic Ocean in May and June of this year. We are joining the ARC Europe Rally for safety and comradery in the anchorages along the way. We are only asking for a “cost share” on the crossings.

So far we have a couple of people that have committed to two different legs of the crossing. You could go all the way across the ocean, or just a part of it.

If you are considering taking a trip-of-a-lifetime, click on the link to our website below for locations and dates, then get in touch with us for special rates. Discounts for experienced sailors!

A Luxury Sailing Catamaran Chartering in Adventurous Places

The fastest way to scuba dive the Dry Tortugas National Park

Skip the twelve hours of sailing in both directions from Key West to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Choose this add-on product, in addition to any of our liveboard charters from one to seven days. Purchase your ferry tickets and enjoy the 2.5 hour ride to Fort Jefferson.

We will sail the boat the day before and meet you there with eight full tanks of air and a Bauer JRII compressor. Using this compressor, three divers and a guide may dive two tanks up to twice per day in the Dry Tortugas National Park with us!

Dry Tortugas Express Option

How to charter us for as little as $92 each per day!

A Luxury Sailing Catamaran Chartering in Adventurous Places

HOW DO I CHARTER YOU FOR AS LITTLE AS $92 EACH PER DAY?

Read these 5 steps first.

  1. Click the link above and read the Future Locations page on our World Sailing Adventures website.
  2. Choose your type of charter based on your comfort level.
  3. Look at the sidebar menu of locations that have your comfort level and pick one that you’d like to visit. Read that page, too.
  4. Open our calendar and see the exact dates we plan to be there and research your airfare costs.
  5. Use our contact us form to request more information.

 

Evacuation from Irma to Mexico

This is a video of some footage taken during our evacuation from Irma to Mexico. We motored and motor-sailed for a total of 67 hours nonstop, just Lindsay and me. Having enough fuel was the biggest issue, as we didn’t know how to research the exact location of the Gulf Stream, the Gulf Loop or the Yucatan Current. Heck, I didn’t even know about the Gulf Loop until Lindsay discovered it online. We now we know that we were fighting current almost the entire way.

In this video, I try to show you a couple of tactics for conserving fuel. We ended up making it, of course, but I was unsure for several hours along the journey. Oh, and it’s music is Journey: Cool the Engines. Have fun!