I did it! I sailed the Atlantic, single handed (well, I really didn’t do much, my boat, Matilda did most of the work. I just followed her…)
Anyway, the last two days, I had good wind (East, 7-12 m/s) and I used it to quickly get to the target. I arrived here just an hour before sunset, so I was lucky to avoid another night on the ocean.
33 days and 7 hour is not a very impressive passage time, but conditions were out of the ordinary. I will create a separate blog entry with a day-by-day description and also a statistics entry with the number of ships seen, etc.
Some pictures from English Harbour:
Well, there seems no end to the obstacles during this trip. On day 28, I had a full day of calm and when the wind came, it soon veered to the West! I spent the day yesterday on a NW course, with limited mileage towards the goal. Basically, 2 days more lost… Last night the wind decreased and we had very light winds during the morning. Hopefully the NE trade wind will now return, as promised…
I have still 320 M to go. It sounds like a walk in the park, but it is like Gothemburg to Scotland… With good winds it should take less than 3 days.
Yesterday, I heard about a volcanic eruption at Montserrat, causing ash rain over a great area. Boats on Guadelope were covered in a 3 mm layer of ash… I hope it will not continue, since I am going into the area. Normally, the winds should blow the ash west.
Well, as I suspected, mother nature did have some more surprises in stock… This time in the form of calms and light winds. I am doing day averages of about 80-90 nautical miles, i.e. a little over 3 knots in average. I have 570 M left to Antigua, so it will probably mean another week on the water.
Someone said it may be that the Azores high has moved south this year and if so, this is the kind of weather you can expect if you go too far north (in normal conditions…).
Anyway, I try to take one day at a time. I have plenty of food and water, only the fruit and vegetables have run out. The rolling can drive you nuts, so I long for a quiet harbor.
Today is the 21st day out of Las Palmas. I was planning for a 21 day (3 week) passage. I have also managed to get supplies to last this long, e.g. fruit is now running out, I ate the last corn flakes for breakfast this morning, I have 2 slices of bread left, etc.
However, the slow start and the 3 days lost in the westerly winds means that I still have some 1100 miles to go. At the current rate, that means 10 more days…. Anyway I am trying to enjoy the perfect weather and the nice sailing that we have now. I hope mother nature does not have more surprises waiting for me.
I was planning to go to Barbados, but am now looking at Antigua instead. I can from there go south to Martinique, where I will meet the crew that will sail the boat home.
They say that the trade winds will be more stable if you wait from November, so I assumed it would be good now… However, in the last days I have had 1 day with no wind, one day with SW wind and I have now a strong W wind that only allows a course due South (to be somewhat comfortable). The 15th day, and I am not even half way across. This will not be a quick crossing, that is for sure.
I have plenty of food and water; only fruit and vegetables will run out in a few days. The sun is shining, so maybe I can work on my body tan, while waiting for the trade wind…
I have read that it is very rare that you meet ships or other boats on the crossing. Even during the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) with 220 contestants and maybe 200 other yachts starting simultaneously, meetings in mid-ocean are rare.
I saw some lights and heard talks on VHF, but thought it was local(!) fishermen. I was then passed by one sailboat in the night. They did not respond do my VHF call. The next day another sail boat passed and I called them. It turned out that this was a support boat for 5-6 row boats(!) that were nearby. These were the “fishermen” that I had seen. Later I heard the sailboat talk to one of the row boats, that was about 2 miles from me. I saw their lights throughout most of the night. I did some 5 knots at the time, so they must have been rowing hard…
I had good wind for a while and passed 1000 miles out of Las Palmas, but now it is back to weak winds…
Result of the first week: Day distances of about 100 miles. With this speed it will take a while to reach Barbados (I have 1960M left now to go there…). Winds are weak (5-7m/s) and there are not much waves.
What do I do all day? My routine looks like this: I get up around 9, eat breakfast and drink coffee. I may change the sails, like today, when I hoisted my light wind genoa. Then I read or rest a little until 11.30, when I talk to people in Sweden and Caribbean on short wave. I note the position at 1200 and some days I take out my sextant to measure the sun at the meridian passage. This takes about an hour, since I do lots (<20) measurements in order to get a good average. The results so far has been pretty good, compared to the GPS position…
Later, I do lunch. This takes an hour too and then I rest or read. When the sun goes down I do supper and when it gets dark, I go into sleep mode, i.e. I sleep and get up every 20-30 minutes to look around.