Time taken - Just shy of 11 days.
We left Bermuda on June 6th in sunny skies with a good forecast for moderate winds interspersed with the occasional light breeze. Immediately, on leaving the protection of St Georges Harbour, we met large and confused waves and rode them upwind for the next two days. This meant tight grasps on any solid part of the boat at all times. With the constant motion even when sleeping, I’m sure we burned through a quantity of calories that otherwise wouldn’t occur while sitting around for days, walking 20 feet at a time tops. Of course, my slightly ill stomach meant a lower calorie intake as well - although M & Ms tasted good. Luckily, Lee, with her iron gut, took the brunt of the galley work on those wavy days.
|Dense fog on Peter's watch. He was glad that we were able to get the radar fixed.|
Then a couple of downwind sails with spinnaker during the day and wing-on-wing with two headsails at night or single headsail depending on the wind angle.
|Always miraculous to see the ocean so calm - especially when we found out what boats were suffering through north of us.|
A second calm day let us take a dip in the sea exactly midway between the last and the next ports of call.
|The location of our dip. Exactly half way. Our boat looks pretty big on the screen. Sure doesn't feel that way when you see the immensity of the sky and ocean!|
|Portuguese-Man-of-War dotted the ocean with their florescent trimmed sails. We had to keep watch for them as we went for our swim/drag.|
|Captain looking happy.|
|And Lee looking happier. She took two dips.|
|Always a scramble to the bow when dolphins sighted. Great entertainment!|
We set the anchor on Jun 17 in the Lajes harbour on the island of Flores. Stunning beauty of rugged cliffs topped by steep pastoral fields of green with red roofed, white homes nestled in shelter.
|First magnificent views of Flores at dawn, appearing out of the clouds.|
Shortly after arriving, we received an email from previous crew, Connie, who told us of hurricane force wind north of us as we crossed when several boats had to have crew rescued. What?? We knew nothing of this! She sent us details. After arriving in Horta about ten days later we had dinner with a solo sailor who had been taking part in the famous OSTAR race from Plymouth, England to Newport, US. The fleet had been caught in an enormous low, spreading from the Azores to Iceland and the result of two smaller lows from Canada and the US. It had been likened to the "Perfect Storm". David had seen 60 knot winds. All electronics on his boat had failed and his portlights on the leeward side were constantly submerged, he was heeled over so far. He told me over dinner that it was being on a submarine. His friend in another boat was taking on water and had to be rescued by the Queen Mary. The crews of three other boats also were rescued through a major effort of coast guards from four nations. Dave abandoned the race and limped into Horta to recover, fix his broken boat and then head back to England, solo again. He was grateful for his life. There was no loss of life but four boats were scuttled and now rest on the ocean floor.
All this on June 9th while we had 15-20 knot wind! We rode the southern edge of this enormous low all the way to Flores! Predict Wind routed us successfully and Peter who knew there was a “big wind” north of us stayed safely on the reasonable edge.
|The team - safely arrived in our cruising best. It was cold!|