Friday, 26 December 2014

…...well, at least we're moving...

and so it became both the mantra and epitaph of this trip and this life. But first the trip.
Toots in her sea-berth logging up 66,000 miles

We left Rosario on Sunday 23rd Nov with a favourable forecast. For the first week or so we made good progress south and then edged toward the SW as we worked away from the Canaries toward the Verdes and the hoped for steady Trades. I'd been looking at Passage Weather since we'd been on the Guadiana and the winds seemed consistent; perhaps not 20knots but steady enough for us to log 110 -120 mile days. 

Good enough to knock us along at 5k+ & get power

By the first week of Dec those daily runs began to drop by 20 miles or more. Boats from the ARC had passed us and we garnered weather info from them. Nothing exciting and we carried on. By the 3rd week we appeared to have entered an area of high pressure and daily runs dropped to 40-60 miles. Drifting at night obviously helped keep the figure low and we tried motoring during the day but found the heat build up in the saloon unacceptable. 
A great anchorage - unfortunately this is mid-Atlantic

A difficult time. We had kept up a south of destination course but obviously we weren't far enough south as we were still N of 17. At times the weather became very humid and 30 knot squalls would savage us for several minutes before disappearing leaving us wallowing in a slop with 5 knots of wind for company. In the first week when winds were at their strongest we had pulled the cringle out of a headsail than our friend Tony had given us; and the repairs we'd made to the genny had been similarly trashed. We repaired both but were now loath to leave anything up that couldn't deal happily with 30k gusts. Some of the downpours during those squalls were something else – monsoon like but just a tad cold to stand out there and shower. Not so now me thinks as we're south of 16 and it is hot. The latest info we got from a ship this morning suggests we should get E10 to E18 over the next 5 days. We'll see.

As with all things eventually we made the trip across. We had planned to go to Antigua to meet up with my sisters, one of whom was flying home on the 28th and the other sailing south the same day. When days slipped by our destination was changed to Martinique, as the arrival procedure has been greatly simplified. Once in phone contact again we sent out texts warning them of our non arrival. With sunset around 6pm we opted to anchor off St Anne for the night after 32 days at sea. Later that evening we got a text saying the sailing sister wasn't in fact leaving until the new year and why didn't we come up anyway....... The following day we left for the 173 mile trip to English Hbr but temperamental winds and very slow progress had us finally abandoning and motoring the 8 miles back to St Pierre on the north of Martinique where we finally booked in today. Walk into the Tourist Office, sit in front of a terminal and enter in your details, print out the result, hand the form over for stamping. Sign it yourself and leave.....bliss.

When the winds were good we were joined by several whales and watched as they swam around us, under us seemingly for several days. The highlight was watching them surf inside the 3 metre swells that were following us.

St Pierre


  1. Great to hear you are ok. Was speaking to Uncle Trevor R yesterday about you too. :-)
    Have a great 2015 will you. A&E

  2. Glad you arrived safely, your crossing sounds similar to our first one also 32 days! Love to bee and Toots x Gerry and Geoffrey

  3. After two weeks of enduring wallowing off the coast of Panama before we found our trades just north of the Galapagos our heart goes out to you!
    Hope you have a lovely time in the Caribbean.