Le Marin – a natural harbour and big marina..

The wind has been turning towards south and this causes swell to enter the St Anne anchorage. The result is that all boats roll and this is not very comfortable. I am also a bit nervous to get a place in the marina in order to wash off the salt before my delivery crew comes on Wednesday.

So, I moved into Le Marin, which is a big natural, hurricane-safe harbour. I am currently anchored here:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.46487,-60.86919&ll=14.46487,-60.86919&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

I went to the harbour office to ask for a place and was told to come back Tuesday. Let’s see if it works… I have booked a rented car in order to pick my crew up at the airport. I have also looked around for the different food shops and boat part ships, that are here.

The area is the center for a number of companies that rents out boats. I have never seen so many boats in one place.  There are also some Swedish boats – Northern Light is one of them.

The last couple of days, the wind has been strong from the south during the day, but the nights have been calm. Is is a strange feeling to get up in the middle of the night and look at all the bouts around and all the stars above. Almost dreamlike…

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In St Anne

The Fort de France area was not very interesting, so I decided to go to St Anne on the south coast:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.43522,-60.88584&ll=14.43522,-60.88584&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

I am here now since  a few days, the sail down being (as usual) against the wind and waves…

The village is not big, but the water is clear and there are many boats here, also a few Swedish ones. I will move into Le Marin, the marina which is just beside here in order to get diesel and water to clean the boat, before my crew arrives.

Night sail to Martinique

From Les Saints to Martinique it is about 80 miles, too long for a day sail. I did not want to stop at Dominica, so a nigh sail was needed. I set out after lunch and had a good wind. However, it came from about120 degrees, so I could just make the lee side of Dominica. (passing on the wind side was otherwise an option in order to get more wind…)

When I got close to Dominica, the wind indeed died and I used the  engine to pass most of the island. Around midnight, I was close to the southern end of Dominica and there was again some wind, so I set sail again an started my sleep periods. Several ships set of f the radar alarm during the night, so there was limited sleep.

During the SSB net conversation in the morning, I found that I was very close to the Swedish boat Unicorn (on their way north) and I could indeed see them some distance away.

The wind picked up (to around 10 m/s)  and I had a good sail down the Martinique coast. When the wind turned against me I started the engine to help get into harbour. I anchored in the Anse Mitan bay, across the bay from Fort-de-France, and went to clear in. Luckily the French have a computerised system, so this process is smooth. According to the guide book, this is THE tourist part of Martinique, but it is rather worn down and the mighty Meridien hotel is just an empty skeleton!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.55371,-61.05594&ll=14.55371,-61.05594&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Some pictures from Forte de France:

Les Saintes

I did a day sail to Les Saintes. That is, I used the engine all the way, even if there was wind towards the end. I learned the hard way how the trade wind (from E) can turn (to SE) and increase in strenght (from 7-8 m/s to 12-13 m/s) when going round the end of an island. In this case the southern tip of Guadelope.

Anyway, I arrived here and found a place to anchor (deep…). I stayed on the boat and slept and now on the Sunday morning, I went for sightseeing. The town Bourg des Saintes, is not big, but commerce flourishes! Lots of boutiques, small shops and restaurants. There are a lot of boats and tourists here.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=15.86725,-61.58498&ll=15.86725,-61.58498&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

On Guadelupe

I wanted to do a nightsail down towards Martinique, and had identified the marina in Basse-Terre as a good place to stop. I set out from Antigua, but the course was right into the wind, which was S 10 m/s. I  had seen an island, that I assumed was Guadelope, but it was Monserrat, so the course was quite different…. Anyway, I tacked throughout the night and the wind decreased to almost nothing in the morning. I heard on the SSB net that the marina was no good and that I should go to Deshaies instead. The wind came back at 10 m/s, so I spent most of the day to reach harbour. Almost 24 hours to sail 45 miles!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=16.30529,-61.79777&ll=16.30529,-61.79777&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Well, deshaies is a small village in a bay. Very easy going and nice! I met the Swedish boat Mayflower and spent some time with them. Clearance was done at the internet cafe on a computer. I have been here 2 days now and plan to continue south. There is no wind now, so I guess I will have to use the engine….

The Atlantic passage – Statistics

– In total, I sailed 3063 miles (probably more, since this is the sum of  distances between the positions at noon GMT)

– I ran the engine 97,8 hours (using about 170 liters of diesel…)

– I saw:

– 8 ships (talked to 1 on VHF)

– 4 sail boats (Talked to 2 on VHF)

– 2 row boats

Dolphins came twice and a whale once.

The Atlantic passage – day-by-day

Day 1 – 14/1 Left Las Palmas at 16.30 and motored north around La Isleta and towards Tenerife. Light winds from NNW.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=28.12063,-15.40547&ll=28.12063,-15.40547&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 2 – 15/1 Did 90 miles (as the crow flies…) and ran the engine for 12.9 h. I met a catamaran during the night.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=27.68999,-16.9874&ll=27.68999,-16.9874&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 3 – 16/1 Did 79,8 miles. Light winds from SE during the  night.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=26.83728,-18.07161&ll=26.83728,-18.07161&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 4 – 17/1 Did 105 miles and ran the engine for 12 h. The wind died durig the night, so I ran the engine all night.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=25.69797,-19.55212&ll=25.69797,-19.55212&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 5 – 18/1 Did 86 miles and ran the engine for 3 hours. The wind came slowly, but from N and NE, so good going.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=24.75659,-20.73972&ll=24.75659,-20.73972&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 6 – 19/1 Did 112 miles and ran the engine for 8 hours. Light wind so I ran the engine to get further south. Had dophins visiting. I saw a white light and heard voices on the VHF but saw nothing on the radar. (see further down what that was!)

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=23.70042,-22.4228&ll=23.70042,-22.4228&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 7 – 20/1 Did 111 miles. Heard voices on the VHF.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=22.81578,-24.1872&ll=22.81578,-24.1872&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 8 – 21/1 Did 96 miles and ran the engine for 2,7 h. Light wind so I ran the engine.

No SPOT position! I was at 22 08,9 N, 25 45,9W

Day 9 – 22/1 Did 97 miles and ran the engine for 2,7 h to charge the batteries. Saw a white light approaching from behind. Nothing on the radar. When the sun came up, I saw it was a sailing boat (it had passed me then). I called on VHF, but no response.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=21.31655,-27.24811&ll=21.31655,-27.24811&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 10 – 23/1 Did 117 miles and ran the engine for 3.1 h to charge the batteries.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=20.29153,-29.01747&ll=20.29153,-29.01747&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 11 – 24/1 Did 117 miles (again). I saw a sail ahead of me and called on VHF. It was “Ocean Planet”, an Open 60, the mother ship for 5-6 row boats on their way across the Atlantic. This explained the light I had seen earlier! I later heard them talk to “Dream maker”, one of the row boats and I had this boat 2-3 miles out during the night (they kept up with my 5 knots!). I found a flying fish in the cockpit in the morning:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=19.78669,-31.01979&ll=19.78669,-31.01979&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 12 – 25/1 Did 108 miles and ran the engine for 2.6 h to charge the batteries. 1000 miles from Las Palmas.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=19.71462,-32.91779&ll=19.71462,-32.91779&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 13 – 26/1 Did 114 miles and ran the engine for 16.8 h. Had dolphins visiting!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=19.36516,-34.89088&ll=19.36516,-34.89088&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 14 – 27/1 Did 41 miles (!) and ran the engine for 5.8 h

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=18.92539,-35.4514&ll=18.92539,-35.4514&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 15 – 28/1 Did 93 miles. Westerly wind. A rain front passed in the afternoon.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=17.3801,-35.35596&ll=17.3801,-35.35596&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 16 – 29/1 Did 89 miles and ran the engine for 1.7 h to charge the batteries. Light wind during the night

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=15.9131,-35.6177&ll=15.9131,-35.6177&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 17 – 30/1 Did 85 miles and ran the engine for 2 h to charge the batteries. Saw a ship in the morning. Light wind.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.62988,-36.26162&ll=14.62988,-36.26162&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 18 – 31/1 Did 94 miles and ran the engine for 2.1 h to charge the batteries. Saw lights from a ship in the horizon. Wind going towards NW, so I could go a course to W!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.26161,-37.83288&ll=14.26161,-37.83288&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 19 – 1/2 Did 105 miles . Saw a sail – a French catamaran bound for Martinique from Tenerife (talked to them on VHF). Good wind from ENE.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.4306,-39.61938&ll=14.4306,-39.61938&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 20 – 2/2 Did 115 miles and ran the engine for 2h to charge the batteries. Good wind.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.41375,-41.58546&ll=14.41375,-41.58546&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 21 3/2 Did 116 miles and ran the engine for 1.4h to charge the batteries. Found flying fish in the cockpit:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=14.8836,-43.52571&ll=14.8836,-43.52571&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 22 4/2 Did 115 miles and ran the engine for 2h to charge the batteries. I saw a ship on the radar and I saw the lights.

No SPOT position! I was at 15 21.6 N, 45 26.1W

Day 23 5/2 Did51 miles and ran the engine for 1.7h to charge the batteries. No wind from 1800 and most of the night.

No SPOT position! I was at 15 33.7 N, 46 16.9W

Day 24 6/2 Did 65 miles and ran the engine for 1h to charge the batteries. Light wind. Saw mysterious light in the sky. Looked like a distress rocket, but green! Probably a piece of space garbage burning at entry into the atmosphere…

No SPOT position! I was at 15 52.2N, 47 20.6W

Day 25 7/2 Did 89 miles and ran the engine for 2.6h to charge the batteries. Saw a ship in the hortizon. It made strange manouvers. I talked to them on VHF and they had problems with the engine. The probably fixed it and dissapeared later…

No SPOT position! I was at 16 28.3 N, 48 46.9W

Day 26 8/2 Did 96 miles and ran the engine for 1.9h to charge the batteries. I was visited by a Whale! (around 7-8 m long, it swam 5-6 m from the boat for a while…)

No SPOT position! I was at 16 56.6 N, 50 22.9W

Day 27 9/2 Did 85 miles and ran the engine for 1.8h to charge the batteries. Light wind.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=16.90888,-51.8598&ll=16.90888,-51.8598&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 28 10/2 Did 102 miles and ran the engine for 1.2h to charge the batteries. Saw a ship on the radar and I saw the lights.

No SPOT position! I was at 16 41.8 N, 53 37.2W

Day 29 11/2 Did 80 miles and ran the engine for 2.5h. The wind died during the night, so I ran engine for a while.

No SPOT position! I was at 16 53.6 N, 54 59.3W

Day 30 12/2 Did 36 miles(!). Very light winds from SW. I saw a ship on the horizon.

No SPOT position! I was at 17 13.0 N, 55 30.9W

Day 31 13/2 Did 53 miles and ran the engine for 2.5h to charge the batteries. Wind from W and NW. Squalls on the radar during the night, but we only got a few drops of rain – no extra wind…

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=17.62121,-56.33559&ll=17.62121,-56.33559&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 32 14/2 Did 61 miles. Light winds from E and SE.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=17.76866,-57.37743&ll=17.76866,-57.37743&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 33 15/2 Did 85 miles and ran the engine for 1.8h to charge the batteries. I saw lights from a ship on the horizon. The “true” trade winds came during the night and we started to do good speed!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=17.21279,-58.73381&ll=17.21279,-58.73381&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Day 34 16/2 Did 126 miles (until 1200). In the morning, I  saw the lights from a ship and the radar sounded the alarm. I had 48 miles left to Antigua at 1200 and started a race to get into harbour before sunset… Luckily there seemed to be a west-going current in the cannel between Antigua and Giuadelope. I got into English Harbourt and is anchored just after sunset, 7 h after the 16.30 start time in Las Palmas.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=17.00281,-61.76054&ll=17.00281,-61.76054&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

So total time on the Atlantic is 33 days and 7hours. (Day 2 at 16.30 I had spent 24 hours, etc…)