Monday, 19 May 2014

Seen from above

Mark, the skipper's father has followed us the whole way and made this. Thank you so much!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Chased by a whale

As promised, here is the video. Dalit was in charge of the editing but did not write the background song.
Click on this link to watch:

Words from the crew

We have all been contributing to this blog. Some of us more than others. However, to celebrate the conclusion of this adventure, the skipper suggested all of us write something.
Don't worry, this is not our last post. We promised a video showing a whale and we will deliver.
These are the messages from our crew:

The late Philip Larkin I believe said that one should try everything once–except incest and Morris Dancing and crossing the Atlantic with this team proved  him to be correct . We have had the most wonderful  adventure. We have been accompanied by lovely dolphins , appraised as food items by Orcas and persued by bonkers whales .
I would like to thank Michael for making it possible and Dalit and Noam for guiding us to safety . To Hans my thanks for good companionship .  (The Doctor)

Tears in our eyes! The end of dream that became true! Crossing the Atlantic on a sailing boat entitles all of us to wear “red trousers”… sadly: red trousers all along. Did they or did they not? Even the last night has been full of adventures:  passing Sagres, the most east point of Europe at about midnight, Noam and Hans enjoyed the company of dolphins: welcome Portugal, welcome waypoint! The skipper had the (good) idea that each of us should add some personal words to our final blog: following the doctor (to whom I am grateful ,not only for curing my cough, but also for entertaining lot of “wisdom time” during the passage) I too thank Michael for his generosity to have us with him – and the crew to deal with elderly men, thinking they are in their twenties. Good future to Yacht 42 Best, Hans

We sailed 3965 miles and are still talking to one another so that’s a first. We had beautiful sunsets, beautiful sunrises, a full Atlantic south westerly gale, dolphins, whales, gourmet food throughout [except when I tried cooking], fresh fish when we still owned a half mile fishing line – that reminds me, somehow in the excitement of it all we omitted to report on Dalit’s cure for her husband’s fishing obsession – I trust you will get a photo of our fishing reel and spot the deliberate mistake – there’s half a mile of fishing line gone missing – was it the biggest fish ever which took the lure? We’ll never know the answer but it’s awfully hard to fish with no fishing line. We’re now sitting in the sun in Portimao marina making up for lost time with cheese, red and white wine, [it’s already a two cigar day] Hans is struggling manfully to finish his half of the bottle of Aguardente Velha and Doc  has rushed off to catch the 8.30 EasyJet back home to the arms of his lovely Irene. 42 has already had a scrub – Noam- and a bath –moi -[she comes first of course] and our first Portuguese visitor, Julie, is aboard inspecting the Spartan living conditions aboard. Noam has even shaved, sort of, for the occasion, Hans is no longer coughing his guts out and I’ve removed my romper suit – fortunately not recorded on film. For those of you in England [and elsewhere] now abed – to misquote the great bard – that crossed with us in spirit via this blog, it was great fun and we’re ready to do it all over again. Thank you one and all for a wonderful trip and a great experience; having a big boy’s toy is really only fun when you can share the enjoyment. (Michael)

I have sailed almost 4000 miles and didn’t lose anyone. Woo hoo. Everyone is still in one piece. (minus one dislocated shoulder, a few scrapes and maybe some psychiatric help for some of our crew members)
I’m ready for another month. How I love being in the 24V world. No news, no TV, no rush, no rat race.  I dread coming in to the dock, also knowing that I have a work list 3 pages long that has to be done.
Good stuff. Good fun. Special thanks to Michael, our owner for giving me the opportunity to cross out a box on my checklist and also to my SISTA, who is responsible for posting all these wonderful words  you all were reading throughout this voyage. Thanks to the dolphins and whales that provided the live entertainment, and, of course (of coursica…) to my beautiful wife for filling our tummies with delicious food.
Portimao is surprisingly tranquil, that is, for a city marina. Very peaceful. I am ready for another 20 hour nap before I get started on that list.
And we’re off to the Med (in a couple weeks, that is). Next stop is Corsica, I’ve heard it is beautiful out there, although it’s going to take a lot to top the magic of the Azores.  Yours truly, SKIPPA.

I don’t know if the salt air has affected my sanity but I did not feel ready to get back to land. In fact, I was kind of wishing to stay in the ocean for another 2 months or so… Waking up just as we were entering the marina and seeing the fat tall buildings of Praia da Rocha, was like garlic to a vampire.
I am very thankful for this trip. I feel lucky and privileged. I am very excited to continue sailing east, but not before I find a big supermarket and buy lots and lots more food J
Thanks to the Doctor for looking after us, to Hans for the witty humor, to Michael for being a great fellow sailor and exceptional boss. And of course to my captain, whom I love even more after this experience.
Until the next adventure – The Chef


A few more pictures from our voyage

The Project of re-furling the Code 0. 

Upon this sight, a woman and her little daughter approached us in the park and asked us what time the show was starting
I don't know anything about the context of this picture. I will leave that to your imagination.

A stowaway boarded us 80 miles from shore

Is this a sunrise or sunset? It is quite simple

Sailing through a shipping lane

Magical moonlight

Arrived safely. Yes, we are holding hard booze. Yes, it is 8am.  

Saturday, 17 May 2014


16 th May 16:45 38 degrees 19 mins N  014 degrees 06 mins W
We are making good progress with a steady Northerly wind. Yesterday was our best day of sailing since we left the Caribbean. We covered 237 miles surpassing the day of the storm, in which we covered 231 miles while trying to slow the boat down. Ironically enough, yesterday we reefed our jib just before dark in order to lose some speed and gain a sounder night.
We are now 280 miles from port hoping to arrive early on Sunday (although the crew has told the doctor not to book his flight just yet).
This is just as well as the crew’s sailmaker has run out of reading matter and will soon be reading pilotage of the Caribbean. More important still is finding out who will be the lucky winner of our arrival time bet. It seems that this time, it will be the optimistic who will be rewarded. [written by one of the optimists]
Last night during a full moon and a clear sky several dolphins entertained us with a spectacular show of leaping and diving, keeping up with our speed of 10 Knots we could hear them clearly breathing through their blow holes.
This afternoon we saw one perhaps two large whales following in our wake at times coming within 20 metres of our stern. They put on a magnificent show; it was a very special treat to be accompanied by a mammal about half the length of the boat jumping around playfully. Perhaps our hulls look like two slim whales swimming side by side?  A video was made but the sound will have to be edited after too many “that’s a f------ing big whale“  were heard  from certain crew members. Technological competence permitting, we hope to put the video on DropBox on arrival, suitably edited, camerawork by Noam. All assistance in identifying the species much welcomed.
I am glad to report that the chef continues to maintain ships morale with her excellent cooking. We can recommend the fresh Azorian pineapple although it’s one hell of a detour and the queijo da ilhas goes down a bomb with either the marmelada or the presunto added to ship’s supplies. Sadly as Henri has previously commented on the sacriledge of consuming camembert sans red wine, we have hidden the bottles of Alentejo wine to await arrival in Portimao.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Good bye, Sao Miguel, good bye Ponta Delgada

Wednesday, May 14 11.00 39’04N 23’08W Distance to Portimao 706 miles

Good bye, Sao Miguel, good bye Ponta Delgada. Tuesday May 13, at 10:35 42 left the marina for the remaining part of the passage: next and last waypoint to be Portimao at a distance of 792 miles.     
All of us enjoyed the island: very friendly cheese and delicious people smiling all the time. Even the police and customs officers were cheerful and welcoming, so very different from the authorities in the Caribbean.
Sao Miguel is much larger than Faial, has a population of more than 150.000 and offers a  great variety of both cultural and sporting activities. Other than Horta, being the entry port for sailing vessels from the West, Ponta Delgada attracts both cruise vessels and has direct flights to, for instance, Boston. (As a surprise one of our short term neighbours was “Norwegian Star” from NCL, the temporary home for 3.000/4.000 passengers). Leaving the city [no sign of mass tourism] there are volcano craters (famous Laguna Verde and Laguna Azul), fabulous mountain formations, lots of trees and flowers. Noam and Dalit explored the island on an overnight motorbike tour, found a beautiful hotel for the night, and did over 200 kms on everything from highways to vertiginous dirt roads round the craters. Michael, Alex and Hans rented a car, did some sightseeing including said dirt roads and craters – at one point the only way to get up was no passengers and the car roaring away in reverse - and visited Batalha Golf Club twice: Sunday afternoon for the driving range only, and Monday to play 18 holes (Course C and A). Michael invested in a pair of new shoes - while our Scotsman played in Clarks ...was it the shoes that carried Michael to victory?               
We left the port on engines as wind conditions were not the best: the expected easterly winds would require lot of tacking: not favourable for 42.  A lack of dolphins for our first day, forgot to tell them we were leaving, but a spectacular show of leaping dolphins greeted Dalit and Alex at first light. The skipper has a line out but since we’re making good progress, albeit not entirely in the optimum direction at around 10 – 11 knots, we’re not, Noam excepted, too optimistic on the fresh sashimi front. The speed made for a noisy night. Michael got up around 5.30 to see Dalit sailing at about 12 knots and found that, after 8 years, she was the first person to discover how to use the Tacktick close hauled indicator. It’s either obvious to a scientist, or to female intuition, or she read the instructions. So useful to have a multitasking chef aboard although a little galling for male amour propre. 

There is a new betting pool open for our arrival time to Portimao. it's anonymous this time. we all wrote it in notes and the captain stashed it in the safe.  you can try and guess when we arrive too, send your guesses to

Monday, 12 May 2014

Ate logo Azores!

After some rest, traveling, golf and reprovisioning we are ready to say goodbye to the island of Sao Miguel.
Tomorrow morning we will be leaving for our next destination, Portimao.
Stand by for upcoming blog entries from the middle of the ocean, and we promise to post more pictures once we reach the mainland.