Leaving Cape Verde and approaching Grenada

The following 9 days

The whisker pole was a great help

Were better than expected. We had hoped for a perfect wind and actually got that. The wind speed stayed between 18-26 kn the whole journey which in total, from Cape Verde, took 16 days despite our southwesterly course the first two days. Pretty good! The wind was enough for the use of the genoa only with the help of the whisker pole.

Only minor problems during the way, a toilette hose got jammed which only took 5 hours to fix and a reduction valve for a gas bottle had to be replaced. And, actually on our way to Cape Verde the boost pump to our watermaker died why we did not have any possibility to produce water on our way over. We had enough water but needed to be cautious of course. Well on Grenada fixing the watermaker is highest priority.

A beautiful day on the Atlantic ocean

No Blue whale or any other whale for that matter as far as we could see. We noted however that the ocean is full with flying fish. It was a pleasure to watch the fish emerge from the surface and sometimes glide an impressing distance. Maybe they were scared by Peach, hunted by a predator fish or simply they just took off for the fun of it. We believe the latter…

The Atlantic Ocean

During our time out there we talked about the mental stress being alone in the middle of nowhere, and yes, there is such a stress. Not because there is a reason to be afraid but the uncertainty whether something bad will happen is there. A really bad change in the weather is very unlikely this time of the year and we trust Peach completely, still, well you know, one is lonely out there.

Anyway and finally, Grenada is emerging from the sea ahead of us and our first Atlantic crossing is a fact. Will be nice to moor in Prickly Bay for a couple of days.

We’ll be in touch

———-

The 7th day
Position at UTC 19.30

13007’948′ N, 37036’988′ W

After leaving Cape Verde we went south to avoid a strong westerly wind normally increased by the Islands. Those of you who have read about our rudder problem prior to Cape Verde fully understand our wish for lighter winds. After 48 hour we turned west which was a good decision. The wind came from northeast with a speed of 22-25 kn for days. On the fifth day the wind decreased to about 16-19 kn why we had to set the whisker pole for the first time since leaving Puerto de Mogan. The set-up lead to nice sailing where we do not need to worry about our foresail.
Surprisingly several fishing boats turned up around us and because of their rather high speed we believe they were out catching big fish like Tuna and Blue Marlin perhaps?
The weather forecast downloaded from our SSB promise nice sailing conditions for at least 2-3 days.
By the way, no Blue whale yet but instead a number of flying fish and squids is thrown back to sea every morning after the standard, morning check is carried out. Today it was in all seven of them”

———-

Finally after 11 days it is time to leave Cape Verde. We have done a lot of maintenance and repair work.  The weather forecast for the coming week looks good and even better for the next week provided this can be trusted. Our plan is to arrive in Grenada at the end of this month. Again, will we spot a Blue Whale or is it still a dream only…

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Cape Verde

Happy New Year from the crew on s/y Peach

Below a copy of a Swedish article to sailing organizations in Sweden regarding rudder failure on Peach in the Atlantic on the 22th of December 2017.

Peach roderhaveri på Atlanten

(Information till Krossholmens båtklubb, JRSK och OSK.)

S/Y Peach ligger säkert förtöjd i Mindelas Marina, Sao Vincent, Kap Verde efter roderhaveri. Olyckan inträffade ca 300 nm från Cape Verde, kl 01.30 den 22 december. Orsak okänd. Vi fick lägga kurs mot Cape Verde (hade planerat att segla till Västindien direkt från Kanarieöarna), riggade vindrodret som nödroder, använde adekvat segelyta till rodrets kapacitet och seglade i 1,5-2 knops fart, under ngt dygn 2-3 knop, i vindstyrka minst 33 knop i åtta dygn.

Under första natten byggde vi ett nödroder av vår mindre spirbom och en träskiva. Det blev en tung sak och med den vind och sjö som var aktuell bedömde vi det som riskfyllt att försöka montera det. Vi informerade försäkringsbolaget samma dag som händelsen inträffade, dag två skickade vi tre Pan-Pan meddelande för att varsko fartyg i närheten om vår belägenhet men vi fick ingen respons. Seglade därefter med tänd däcksbelysning och ankarbelysning under nätterna för att visa att vi inte hade manöverförmåga, hissade också signalflagga D. Vi skickade begäran om hjälp till JRCC och i vår värld avsåg det hjälp i form av bogsering. Vi hade fått info i mail om att bogsering skulle kunna vara möjlig om vi kom närmare Cape Verde. Vi skickade inte mayday eller utlöste vår Epirb då vi själva inte bedömt oss vara i absolut nödläge vid ngt tillfälle. Vi fick erbjudande dag 2 om att bli hämtade av fartyg men tackade nej då vi bedömde att det trots allt gick att segla båten och vi inte ville lämna Peach och vår segeldröm. Vi avvaktade sedan information om bogsering under hela haveriseglatsen men det visade sig i slutänden att det inte fanns ngn som hade möjlighet att genomföra uppgiften varför vi själva seglade hela vägen in i hamnen och till bryggplats utan hjälp. På båten har vi agerat utifrån att vi själva måste klara av uppgiften och navigerat, seglat, vaktat, kommunicerat, planerat för mat, ätit, sophanterat och sovit precis som vid ordinär översegling. Vi tog oss också tid till att packa för och gå igenom rutinerna för att lämna båten för att klättra ombord på annat fartyg eller lämna via livflotten. I övrigt läste vi en del, kollade sjökorten för Västindien, pysslade, plockade flygfisk från däcket, räddade en trött fågel, tittade på guldmakrill, pratade med delfiner och vi firade julafton med skinka, sill och köttbullar men avstod Janssons frestelse eftersom det trots allt var ganska gungigt. Peach har visat sig vara segeldrottning och vi är mycket tacksamma för hennes fantastiska sätt att klara av att parera den kraftiga och varierande sjön, i den utsträckning det varit möjligt. SSB radion har varit till stor nytta men vi kommer att komplettera med satellittelefon, hur det än är så vill vi kunna kommunicera omedelbart vid planering/samordning av åtgärder och inte avvakta att möjligheten ges ett halvt dygn senare först när konditionerna tillåter. Dessutom har det visat sig att kommunikation med ovana SSB radioanvändare är en utmaning.

Ett stort tack till Gunnar Bulukin som med värdefullt engagemang arbetade för att få till stånd bogsering och hamnplats, samordnade/vidarebefordrade information, och som vid ett tillfälle hjälpte till att ta bort mail i Winlink, mail som var för tunga för att kunna hämtas och som helt enkelt låste oss ute från kommunikation. Tack också till vårt försäkringsbolag Pantaenius för bra samarbete som nu fortsätter i fråga om reparation av rodret. Tack till JRCC/MRCC och fartygen Stemnitsa, CTS Unity och Giovanni DP. Slutligen tack till skeppare och crew på T/S Gunilla som höll kontakt med oss när vi närmade oss hamn och som mötte upp med jolle ifall vi hade behövt hjälp med ankring.

Vi planerar nu för kontakt med varv och reparation av rodret och hoppas att vi så snart som möjligt kan fortsätta vår seglats till Västindien.

Med tillönskan om ett trevligt nyårsfirande och ett Gott Nytt 2018

Göran och Karin på s/y Peach

(www.sypeach.se)

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En route to the Caribbean

Breathtaking sunset in Puerto de Mogan, October 2017

After Months in Puerto de Mogán with trips to Sweden for business, it is finally time to cross the Atlantic. The trade wind seems to be stable, indicated by the grib files we have looked at. The first week our course will be approx. 210  degrees towards South-southwest which later will be changed to a course towards any of the windward islands of the Caribbean.

Our Christmas celebration will be somewhere on the Atlantic ocean with Swedish Christmas food we have struggled to get. Thank you very much IKEA.

 

Jessica has promised to publish texts from the crossing provided our SSB and the email function works properly. Our dream is to spot a Blue whale which of course will be highlighted in our report to Jessica. Some of you would probably say, dream on…

Take off is planned for tomorrow, Saturday the 16th.

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Puerto de Mogán

A beautiful place

Due to the RAC soon occupying Las Palmas Marina we have moved to the south of Gran Canaria. We were lucky to get a berth in Puerto de Mogán which turned out to be a very lovely and quiet place. Suits us perfectly. The marina is small and a large number of restaurants are close by. Our plan is to have Peach here until December, relax and decide what to do next. Meanwhile we can do some business back home.

Peach has also been taking care of, we have initiated repair of our autopilot, ordered a Bimini and asked a sailmaker to change our main sail to fit the new distance from the mast top to the boom.

The weather, well it has not yet rained this year and no one expect this to happen for a long time to come. The temperature today is 29 C and knowing the weather in Sweden when winter is knocking on the door, we cannot have chosen a better place.

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Cascais to the Canary Islands

Day 1 Pilot whales We took off from Cascais at 10 am in lovely weather. Unfortunately no wind at all why the engine, again, had to do the work. The water looked like oil. It was expected but we hoped for wind later in the afternoon. The good thing was that we could easily spot animals which we also did. Small sharks were swimming close to the surface at several occasions. The nice surprise was a bunch of small pilot whales that came very close to Peach. Actually they crossed our path and dived under our yacht. We got a good look and took some pictures. No dolphins today so far though. Still at 15.30 pm no real wind even if the “oil” has disappeared. We have left the shelf behind us and the depht has reached 1500 m and we will soon cross the north and southbound ship lane. Will probably go close to a couple of merchant ships. At least it looks that way on the AIS. Night is approaching and still no wind but instead fog which is with us the whole night. Nothing in particular to tell other than it was pitch black. We hoped for the sun in the morning but no such luck, still the fog. Really nice to be able to see through the fog with our radar as well as see all AIS markers on our plotter. We did not expect small crafts without AIS this far out.Day 2In order to save fuel we did not press our engine and so far, 10.00 am, we had made 140 nm. We have not enough diesel for the whole journey to Las Palmas why wind is essential. We needed to set up our third crew member, the Hydrovane, as soon as possible. But, the weather refused to change, more fog and we started to feel hopeless. The temperature was ok of course this far south but where is the sun! It took until 10.00 pm before we detected a slight wind of 8-10 kn. We celebrated with a piece of chocolate. Finally it was possible to get under way by sail. It was direct tailwind why we just set part of the genoa with a whisker pole. Tricky to use a full genoa for the forward lower shroud. Anyway everything worked and we made 4-5 kn the night through.Day 3At 10.00 am the trip log displayed 250 nm which made us feel ok. We always calculate with 5 nm/ hour when doing long journeys and everything more than that is just bonus. It might be appropriate to mention the weight of Peach which is around 13 tonnes. Fully loaded as you may have expected. As we have been used to, the day started with, well not fog, but a grey sky why the sun still was missing. The Hydrovane did its work perfectly and the wind had slightly increased although we wanted more. 20 kn would be perfect, comfortable and a little faster. Man of War When suddenly the sun turned up, and then disappeared early afternoon, we noticed that the colour of the water was violet which was fascinating. I looked for a Portuguese Man of War ( see picture) to show Karin but nothing. In fact, no animals except some birds, and no ships were to be seen other than the AIS markers on the plotter. The depht under our keel has reached 4000 m. Early evening it is time to start the engine for hot water and at the same time produce 200 L of water. The Vane needs to be calibrated due to the increased wind and a look at the whisker pole is on the agenda as well. All is good and what is left is to meet the night and to prepare a nice dinner which Karin takes care of. The night pass without problems and day 4 is emerging.Day 4Starts at 10 am as you know now. A little more wind, 26 kn, and powerful waves from behind. We reduce the sail area a little bit and prepare to download a grib file. The weather conditions seems to have changed. Sure, that is exactly what the file show us and even more, the weather further south seem to have gotten much worse than expected. We need to think! Is it wise to continue south and face a wind speed up to 35-40 kn? Or should we alter course? Madeira is at 270 degrees and in that direction we might be able to go around the coming low pressure area which seems to have hit the Canary Islands. It would only take around 48 hours to reach Madeira. We decided to set course for Madeira at lunch time.  The wind increased even more and during the night we had a lot of wind, 30 kn from behind. At four in the morning the wind disappeared. Funny how unpredictable it can be far out. The engine had to kick in again. We were in the area north of the strong winds further south. No surprises during the day. Weak wind, some help by the engine and the weather is nice. Night is approaching and the wind increase of course. Never a quit night.Day 5Weak wind most of the day although nice weather and all is great. In the afternoon early evening we suddenly get 30 kn from behind and the night is, as you already know by now, never quit. It is a strange feeling hearing the waves (2.5 m) approaching Peach from behind and feel when she just move out of reach at the last moment. Anyway, at 2 am it gets better and we can see the lights from Madeira. When we get close, approx. 15 nm from our destination, the wind suddenly increase again due to the effect from being close to the islands. After arrival we actually consider waiting until daybreak before we enter the marina which is Quinta Du Lorde. When get even closer to the mountain, a stone throw, we got some shelter and we consider it safe to berth. The time is 05.10 am. Straight to bed.Day 6 Madeira, in the middle of the ocean, mighty mountains, beautiful environment, clean and quit. No wonder the island attract tourists. Commercials flights are arriving and leaving constantly. We would have loved to stay for more days than we did, walk the mountains, do some diving in crystal clear water and drink the famous Madeira wine. Unfortunately we had to leave the day after our arrival for the Canary Islands where we had business to attend to. Moreover on Thursday (we left on Sunday) a massive area with very strong winds was supposed to arrive all over the ocean where we were. We are a little tired of strong winds. We left at 09.30 am on Sunday and set a direct course for the Canaries. The marina we left behind was beautiful, connected to a nice resort and the people were very friendly. A shame to leave. Good sailing throughout the day at 20 kn but in the evening the vind disappeared and the engine had to work again. The night was calm and was it not for the engine noise it would have been perfect. We were visited by our first “flying fish” and hurray, the dolphins were back. By the way, a small squid landed on the deck and we will always be reminded due to the black ink it left on the deck impossible to get rid of.Day 7Still no wind. Ilhals Selvgens, the Portuguese islands more than halfway to the Canaries can be spotted in the horizon. We are alone at sea, no ships or small crafts except us are out there. Nothing worth telling happens during the day. We pass the islands at 8 pm with 100 nm still to go before we reach Las Palmas.Day 8At 10 am we can see Gran Canaria. At 3 pm we enter the Las Palmas port and go directly to the visitor’s pier in the marina. We have finally arrived. Now the real challenge begin. To get a berth in the marina despite the upcoming Atlantic Rally Cruise (ARC) with all the boats taking up every single space. Well, we got a berth for a couple of days and we’ll see what happens next.
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