The Atlantic Collection

Ahoy Boatbloggers,

For those of you who missed the blogs en transit across the Atlantic, here they are in full.

 

26th November – Day Three Begins

Hello again Boatblog fans,
 
I hope you managed to find us ok on this, our new little piece of cyberspace. I guess if you’re reading this right now, you must have done, so welcome back. Apologies that there will be no pictures in these latest editions, but they take too long to upload. The computer boffin from Mailasail did explain how I could do it by re-sizing everything but I’m still none the wiser. ( HIM:- “You send it as an in message, not as an out message, because there are no ins, only outs which collect the ins, so to get an in you need to send an out, which on the leg in, becomes a leg out, thought it’s really an in.” ME:-  So, you put your left leg in, your left leg out, in out, in out, shake it all about. You do the…”) You get the idea. It’s all very complicated unless you’re a Cambridge graduate or a child of seven, so I’ll just have to upload them when we’re back on terra firma.
 
Our plan for the start of the race was to keep out of all the mayhem on the startline and hang back and let all the racers go first. Not a tactic that would impress Ben Ainslee but it suited us. Unfortunately, everyone else seems to have had the same idea, so it was still like D Day when we actually crossed the line. I’ve never seen so many boats in such a small piece of water. Very exciting, and just a bit scary! But we somehow managed to not hit anyone and we were off. Just thirty minutes after the starting pistol.
 
The first couple of days of our transatlantic adventure have been pretty full on. As you no doubt already know the start was postponed for a day because of inclement weather, but it was still pretty hairy when we left. It was F6 gusting up to F8, which in landlubber terms means very windy with bloody big waves. We were bouncing around like an old sock in a washing machine. And that was before we hit the acceleration zone about ten miles south. For those of you that don’t know, an acceleration zone is where the wind is predicted to go from fast, to ridiculous. And the predictions were right. 
 
But Domini handled it all with grace and ease, unlike the crew who were hanging on tight trying not to be sick. Ju got drenched twice. As in proper drenched. The second time just after he changed into dry clothes. Doh! We live and learn.
 
Then, after all that, the wind suddenly dropped as we got in the lee of the island. In the space of five minutes it went from 30 knots to bugger all (another seafaring term). We bobbed about for a few hours (which if you followed our track is why we went round and round in circles for a bit,)  before we eventually gave in to the inevitable; with heavy heart we hoisted the iron mainsail and chugged merrily into the wind.
 
By now it was night-time, and I’m pleased to see that the ARC committee have arranged for more stars than usual, so thanks to them for that. They really are quite spectacular. And dolphins by the hundreds . Fantastic.
 
Day two was a lot calmer, and strangely that was when Lyn got seasick. Which is very rare for her. So she was completely out for the count, but I’m pleased to say she’s a lot better now.
 
And so my Boatblog friends, there I must close. It’s about 7 in the morning, and I am sat here in the cockpit, the wind on our tail and the sun peeping over the horizon. 
 
It is all rather magical.
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
 29th November – Sailing at Night

Hello again Boatbloggers,

 
I’m not sure why they call this particular crossing, “The Milk Run.” We’ve just been hit by a number of squalls, with winds gusting up to gale force and horizontal rain whacking into your eyeballs. I think I’d call it “The Water Plume,” or “Cyclonic Irrigation.” Even “The Adrenalin Rush.” But Milk Run? Nah. 
But first of all we’d like to thank the ARC committee for the spectacular display of shooting stars that they treated us to on Wednesday night. Absolutely fantastic.

 
Quick quiz…

How big is the average shooting star?

Is it…

a)About the size of the moon

b)About the size of a double decker bus

c)About the size of a pinhead.

The answer my friends may surprise you. According to my Patrick Moore Guide to the Night Sky It is (c) about the size of a pinhead. Apparently a shooting star is little more than a particle of dust bursting into flame as it enters the atmosphere. Though how they figured that out I’ve no idea. 

Hope that surprises you as much as it did me. We here at theboatblog dot com seek to inform as well as entertain.

It’s hard to describe the feeling you get sailing in the moonlight, knowing you are following in the wake of Christopher Colon and the other great navigators on their epic voyages of discovery, with nothing to guide you but a compass and the light of the stars. Well, the light of the stars and the GPS of course. And the radar. And the electric plotter. And AIS. But it’s basically the same idea. You, your little boat, and the great big ocean.

But the night is also the time when things go wrong. Or more accurately, when things go wrong at night, they seem much worse. On Thursday night for example, just as Lyn as coming off watch, there was a loud bang and the autopilot gave up. Now, when you are only two handed, the autopilot giving up is a very big deal. It’s like losing a crewman. Actually, it’s worse than that, because you can pick a new crewman at the next port.  And this is the perfect crewman. This crewman doesn’t eat all the chocolate biscuits during his watch. This crewman doesn’t moan when it’s cold and miserable. This crewman just sits quietly on watch, steering the boat far better than you could ever do yourself.

 
And this crewman just died…
 
Ju quickly crawled out of his pit, and it was not too long before he discovered that the cotter pin that holds the bolt between the RAM and the quadrant had broken. Now those of you that know Ju and his infamous DIY skills will be amazed at this statement. You will be surprised that he even knows what a cotter pin is. He has been banned from any type of maintenance ever since he managed to plumb the washing machine into the gas main. (That is a true story.) 
 
Actually, truth be told it was Lyn that found the broken cotter pin. But that’s just a detail.
 
Now read on…. 
 
Quickly he got out his new set of Halford’s spanners and a monkey wrench, and set about replacing the pin and tightening up the bolt. As you read this in the comfort of your own home, this may not sound so difficult. But bear in mind that this is in a completely inaccessible hole at the back of the boat, in the middle of the night, at a 30 degree angle of heel, bouncing up and down like a fairground ride, and with the bolt moving every time the rudder turned. 
 
It wasn’t easy, but eventually he managed it. 
 
What a hero!
 
And so for now, touch wood, it seems to be working.
 
We have just sailed over The Tropic of Cancer. So I guess that we are now officially in tropical waters. 
 
Not that you’d know it from the weather.
 
 
Keep on trackin’
 
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
30th November – Squall Alley
 
Hi Boatbloggers,

We’ve just been hit by a whole series of squalls, one after the other.

You know, when we talked about trade wind sailing, I always imagined us lounging in the cockpit, perhaps a sundowner cocktail in hand, with the smell of hot bread wafting up from the galley as the freshly caught fish sizzled on the bar-b-que.

And now here we are. It’s four in the morning, it’s cold and wet, and I’m hiding behind the sprayhood in my woolly hat and oilskins, nursing a mug of Cuppa Soup.

And right now, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Ju

 
1st December – Flying Tonight
 
Last night, Ju was attacked by a fish.

 
He was just sitting in the cockpit, minding his own business, when all of a sudden he got whacked in the back of the head by a flying fish.
 
It was all very Monty Python.
 
Later Lyn saw hundreds of them, flying across the water together. At first she thought they were lots of little birds swooping over the water.
 
And then…we sailed through a rainbow!
 
Today’s quiz:-
 
Is it:-
 
(a)a shoal of flying fish?
 
or 
 
(b)a flock of flying fish?
 
 
Answers on a ten pound note please, to the usual address.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
2nd December – Living at Sea

Hello again Boatbloggers,

 
We are often asked, what is it like being at sea. Not the navigating, and setting the sails and all that stuff. What is the day to day living like?

 
In a nutshell, it’s like living in a very expensive caravan during an earthquake. It rolls about. It rolls about a lot.
 
Which makes some tasks more difficult. Shaving for example, is particularly hazardous. So much so that Ju has started to grow a beard. For some time now, his hair has been sun-bleached; I guess it’s the outdoor life that he leads, but we were surprised to discover that his beard actually grows sun-bleached. By the time we get to St Lucia. he’s going to look like Uncle Albert.
 
Eating can also be problematic. With all the rolling, it’s like that Charlie Chaplin film, with the bowl moving from one side of the table to the other. It was suggested before we left that we eat out of dog bowls because they don’t tip up. Dog bowls indeed! It’s not that rough rough. (Ha ha. Geddit?!)  Now we may be at sea, but we still have standards to maintain. Though every time we have soup we come more round to the idea.
 
(A note from Ju: The food is great. I don’t know how Lyn does it given that it all has to be cooked at a 45 degree angle, but we have had casserole de poulet, beef au vin rouge, and cassolet de canard. When I cook we get chicken and mushroom noodles en pot.)
 
And then you have to remember that you are completely self sufficient. So you need to conserve your battery power, your water and your fuel. This means you can’t have a shower every day, and when you do it’s a naval shower (wet yourself, turn off the shower, lather up, rinse and repeat.) You boil just the right amount of water, and use a pressure cooker to conserve the gas. There’s no motoring when you’re becalmed, because you just do’t have enough diesel and so on.
 
It’s all very SAS.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
 
 3rd December – Progress…
 
Hello Boatblog fans,

As you can imagine, the middle bit of the Atlantic chart is a fairly empty affair, with not that many landmarks.

However, it is still good to celebrate significant moments of the crossing, and we are pleased to inform you that we have just gone over a crease.

And a curious thing. Obviously we have been doing lots of ropework over the past week, and this has made our hands lovely and smooth. So much so, that the fingerprint recognition software on Ju’s Iphone won’t recognise his thumbprint!

Which leads us on to…

Today’s Top Tips

Criminals: fool forensics. Before your next major heist, sail across the Atlantic. Then you won’t need to wipe down the crime scene.

&

Ladies: save money on expensive handcreams and manicures. For beautiful soft skin, buy a piece of rope and rub your hands up and down it three times a day

Hope that helps

Ju & Lyn

X

 
4th December – A Long Way South

We saw The Southern Cross last night, so I guess we really must be a long way south.

The wind has really died overnight, so unless it picks up, I don’t think we’ll get very far today.

We’ll keep you posted.

Ju & Lyn

X

 
5th December – We Are Sailing

Ahoy there Boatbloggers,
 
Well the wind’s dropped, and the boat’s stopped, so what does a sailor do in this situation?
 
That’s right. Put the kettle on and have a cup of tea. And then….it’s time for a nice sing song to keep up morale.  
 
So we got out the piano, and this is what we came up with…
 
We are sailing
We are sailing
To St Lucia
‘cross the sea
We are sailing
Atlantic waters
In a boat called 
Domini
 
Spent a fortune
Spent a fortune
Four thousand Euros
At Rolnautic
Now we’re cruising
I think we’re losing
But we should be there
By Thursday week
 
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Or has the sat phone
Gone down again
The autopilot
Gave up on Tuesday
And now the wind’s dropped
Till who knows when
 
We are sailing

We are sailing
To St Lucia
Come what may
Double-handed
But we ain’t lonely
There’s an ARC fleet
Not far away
We are sailing
To Rodney bay
 
The video of this unique event (possibly an ARC first) will shortly be available in all good record shops. To pre-order, please send cash to the usual address.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
 
Ju & Lyn
 
(But mainly Ju)
 
X
 
 
6th December – Cap’n Ju’s Atlantic Waters Shaving Balm

Ahoy Boatbloggers,

 
Today has been a day of slow winds, and little progress, but despite all that there have been a few firsts.
 
To conserve our fresh water supplies, we had our first ever salt water shower. Well, not so much a shower, more a wash in a bucket, but you know what I mean. We’ve got this special shampoo which is rather unimaginatively called, “Sea Shampoo,” probably because it is shampoo for the sea, and today we gave it a go.
 
And we’re happy to tell you it works a treat. Ju even had a shave using it, and it is actually better that a fresh water shave. The salt water heals all those little nicks and scratches before you’ve even done them. It’s brilliant. We’re thinking of bottling some and bringing it back home to sell.  Cap’n Ju’s Atlantic Waters Shaving Balm. What do you reckon?
 
And talking of bringing bottled water from the Atlantic back with us, that is exactly what we are doing on behalf of a couple of Dutch scientists. They are getting a number of ARC boats to collect water which they will then analyse scientifically.  They are looking for things called microplastics, which are microscopic bits of plastic, and it seems that this is going to be the next pollution nightmare. Basically, when plastic rots in the sea, it doesn’t just disappear, it disintegrates. In fact it never ever vanishes. It just gets smaller and smaller. So what’s the big deal? Well, these microplastics are getting into the fish, and therefore the human food chain. They don’t really know the effect of that yet, but it is killing the birds so it’s not good. 
 
Apparently, there are five big “gyras” sat in the middle of the major oceans of the world which are where the currents all meet, and they are like swirling municipal rubbish tips. They’ve got photos such as an albatross who died from eating a cigarette lighter. It’s all very sad.
 
We’re not preaching, sat as we are in our plastic boat, drinking plastic coffee from a plastic cup (all paid for on plastic) but if you want to know more check out www.oceanconservation.org.uk, and in the mean time, don’t chuck any plastic into the sea!
 
And today we got the “kite” out. That’s sailor slang for the spinaker or cruising chute in our case. it is a sail specially for light winds and it was a right old palaver putting it up, Eventually  on the third attempt we managed it. Just in time for the wind to pick up. So we took it down again.
 
It’s about midnight right now and it’s a beautiful full moon; it’s almost bright enough to read by.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
 
Ju & Lyn 
 
X
 
7th December – The world’s most boring blog…ever!

We had a lovely day sailing.
 
 
8th December – 1000 miles to go!
 
Ahoy again Boatbloggers,

Today is something of a landmark!

After thirteen days of sailing – unlucky for some, but not for us – here is our official noon boat position.

140,Domini,At Sea,1D,07/12/2014 12:00:06,15° 55.4′ N,044° 15.7′ W,974.56,5.9

The number to look at is the 974 figure. That is how many miles we have to go before we get to St Lucia. Yes my friends, it is under a thousand miles to go!

Surely a cause for celebration! Well, on the one hand yes, it’s the “1000 miles to go,” landmark. On the other, “Crikey, we’ve been going two weeks and we’re still nowhere near!”

For just such an occasion as this, before we left Lyn prepared a nice celebration lunch  consisting of unbelievably expensive Iberico ham with gourmet cheese and other little titbits from Las Palmas, with chocolate brownies to follow. Unfortunately, we ate it all on day 3. So we’re going to have a celebration lunch of corn beef sarnies instead.

We spent much of the morning trimming the sails, and in particular the mainsail trying to get all the telltales to fly properly. Try as we might we couldn’t get the middle one to stream out. After way too long, we realised it had actually fallen off. Doh! And that was when we spotted it – flying off the end of one of the spreaders. How on earth it got there we have no idea, but it is probably a tribute to one of our many sail mishandling debacles. Anyway, the good news is that it is streaming out horizontally at all points of sail, so the spreader must be set perfectly.

We have been a bit disappointed with the amount of wildlife we have seen. We thought we would see dolphins, and porpoises, and maybe the odd shark fin. Even a whale or two! But apart from scores of flying fish we have seen nothing. If this was a whale watching holiday we’d want our money back. Lyn did see some Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, but they turned out to be seaweed.

And one last bit of news; today we ran out of diet coke. 

So that’s the diet over then.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 
 
 
9th December – LEAK IN BOAT!!!
 
I thought that might get your attention.

 
I should be working on a tabloid, because while that headline is strictly speaking true, it does somewhat overdramatise the situation . But be honest dear reader; if I had put “Boat Has Leaky Tap!” which would more accurately reflect the true postiion, would you have even got this far?
 
But let me explain…
 
From early on in our voyage, we had noticed that the fresh water tanks were going down much faster than we expected. Tank No 1 went down to just 1/4 full in just over a week. We suspected a leak, because we had been quite careful with our water consumption, not taking showers, using the salt water tap which feeds directly from the sea wherever possible and so on, but a quick check couldn’t find anything amiss. So we though it was simply that we must have been using more than we should and vowed to be more careful in future.
 
We switched over to Tank 2, so that if that ran out at least we would know we still had a 1/4 left in tank 1. We were now super frugal in the water usage, other than the salt water tap, which of course we could use with gay abandon.
 
But even so, earlier today, tank 2 ran out.
 
There must be a leak.
 
Quick as a flash, Cap’n Ju grabbed his new Halford’s monkey wrench, donned his multi-purpose Leatherman and set out to solve The Mystery of the Disappearing Water.
 
But perhaps dear reader, you are ahead of me. 
 
Did you spot the clues?.
 
That’s right. It was the salt water tap whatdunnit.
 
When he followed the pipes through, he discovered that it could be set to feed from either the salt water, or the freshwater tanks. And guess what?  Cap’n Ju had it set to come from the fresh water tanks.
 
Doh!
 
The good news is that we found it in time. We still have 1/4 of  tank 1 which is the big tank. We have more than enough bottled drinking water, and so much Red Bull that we could probably fly to St Lucia.
 
But once that’s all gone, we’re down to champagne.
 
832 Miles to go!
 
Keep on trackin’
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
10th December – Hats off to Sir Robin

Ahoy there, Boatblog fans,

We’ve just been reading about Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and how at the age of 75 he recently came third in the Route de Rhum. An incredible achievement. Apparently, when he finished, they asked him how he felt and he said, “Fantastic. Never been better. It’s great to be at at sea.  I feel like a man of sixty.”

I’d just like to take this opportunity to echo Sir Robin’s sentiments. After two weeks at sea, I too feel like a man of sixty. The difference is, when I left Las Palmas I was only 52.

We’re starting to see birds again, so we must be getting close. We saw an enormous one earlier today, and thought it must be an albatross, but when it came closer we realised it was just a lost seagull trying to find its way back to Blighty.

691 miles to go.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 

11th December – Are We There Yet, Dad?

Hi Boatbloggers,

After a fast morning’s sail, the wind has dropped and we’re mooching along at about 4 knots. It’s hard not to get impatient when we are so close, and to avoid the temptation of looking at the log every couple of hours to see how many (or few!) miles we have done.

And we can’t wait to get to St Lucia. Not just for the obvious things like cocktails on the beach and so on, but all the little things as well…

• Standing up without holding on

• Sitting down without holding on

• Eating without holding on

• Cooking without holding on

• Washing without holding on

• Sleeping without holding on

550 Miles to go

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 
12th December – I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clew

Welcome Back Boatbloggers,

People often ask us, “What do you actually do during those miles and miles of empty sea?” Well, no one’s actually asked us that yet, but I’m sure they will.

And our answer will be, apart from the thousand and one tasks that need to be done to keep everything shipshape, we play silly games in the style of I”‘m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clew.” (See what I did there?)

In last’s night’s game for example, the contestant’s were asked to come up with the names of films that they have seen which are connected with our transatlantic crossing. Here are just a selection…

• The Winches of Eastwick

• Shallow Halyard

 
• Reef Encounter
 
• Pinnochio  featuring Bimini Cricket
• Anchorman

• Full Metal Lifejacket

• Boom Raider

 
• About A Buoy
 
• Meet Me In St Lucia

• Ice Stanchion Zebra

• Ocean’s 14

• The Shawshackle Redemption

But the winner last night was Lyn with… 

• RADARS of the Lost ARC

We are doing  similar thing tonight with popular song titles. If you wish to join in, please send your entries to the usual address. The winner of the most original song title will get the opportunity to treat the Captain and Crew to a sumptuous dinner for two in one of St Lucia’s most exclusive restaurants.

Good luck.

To start you off here are a couple of ideas…

• Love Me Fender

• Scarborough Flare

428 Miles to go.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X


13th December – An Apology To Squalls

Dear Boatbloggers,

In our previous dispatches, we may have made reference to “squalls.” We now know that this was not correct and would like to apologise to our readers for misleading them. These were mere bagatelles. Triflings. Barely even a strong shower.

Because last night we were hit by a proper  squall. In fact several proper squalls. How can we describe it?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Only kidding. It wasn’t t too bad really. Though probably not a good time for Lyn to give it smoking.

But that’s all behind us for now. Lyn has just managed to rustle up a fantastic lunch of Canary Potatoes with Mojo sauce, Iberico hams and home made lemonade! All served with freshly baked bread. It’s from an IKEA breadmix, so it looks great when you’ve made it, but  the next day all starts falling to bits.

We’ve haven’t yet seen the entries for our “Song of the ARC,” competition, (in the style of “I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clew,”) but here are ours…

• Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’  Rawhide 

• Becalmed, Bothered and Bewildered

• Soggy Trousers by Madness

• Do Genooooo-a Where You’re Going To (Theme from Mahogany)

• Return to Fender

• Luff Foresail

• ARC, The Herald Angels Sing

• Dan(e) Buoy

• Born To Hand Gybe

• Vangs For The Memory

And those of you who are both fans of Sondheim, and know that the autopilot is traditionally referred to as George (after the chap who invented it) will appreciate the sheer genius of…

• Sunday In The ARC With George

281 Miles to go.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 
14th December – Woo Woo Woo – St Lucia
 
Well my Boatblog friends, it is about 2000 local time (that’s 8pm for the landlubbers) which is about midnight GMT, and Ju is about to go on first night watch. We are about 60 miles away from St Lucia, so all being well, by the time you read this we will be back on terra firma!
 
Woo woo woo!!!
 
And that means…
 
No more trackin’
 
(…for now)
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X

Postponed 24 hours…

Hola Boatbloggers,

Just a brief blog to let you know that the ARC has been postponed for at least 24 hours, because it is windy.

Now I know you landlubbers may than that windy is what a sailor would want, but this is premier division wind, or approaching gale force as we sailors call it. And that’s in the harbour!

This is a good decision by the organisers we think.

Hopefully we’ll be off tomorrow.

Ju & Lyn

Ready to go….

Hola Boatbloggers ®

Once again, thanks to all our readers, and especially to those who have made comments either on our blog page or on Facebook.

The race begins this  Sunday 23rd at 1300, weather permitting. And the forecasts are good. So this will be our last official Boatblog® till we get to St Lucia, hopefully sometime roundabout the 14th December.

However, do not despair. There are still many ways you can follow our travels across the world’s oceans.

First of all, you can got to the official ARC website, which is on….

http://worldcruising.com/arc/eventfleetviewer.aspx

You should get taken straight to the right place, but if you get an option on which rally to follow, select ARC 2014 (not ARC+ 2014). Our boat is of course “Domini.” If you’re looking to see where we are in the race, you’ll probably find us near the back.

If you prefer to follow it on a smartphone, you can do the same thing by downloading an app called Yellowbrick for £1.99.  Again select ARC 2014 when it asks you which race you want to follow.

 

There is a possibility that we will put up blogs on the World Cruising Club site. It all depends on if we can upload them via a satellite link which is not guaranteed. If we do, the way to read them is to go to…

http://www.worldcruising.com/arc/eventlogs.aspx

Then where it says “Search Boat Logs,” select Domini, ARC and year 2014

 

Another completely different way to follow us is to go to…

https://share.delorme.com/JulianRonnie

…which should show you where we are in the Atlantic, but won’t show you all the other boats. If you go to this one, you will have the advantage of being able to send us a message (Highlight  the tab saying “Julian Ronnie,” then click “message,”) Bear in mind that you can only send 160 characters per message. If you type more than this, it will send it as 2 messages, so think of it as more like sending a text than an email. Also, the tracking device only connects to the satellite for a brief second every ten minutes, so even if we are receiving and sending properly you will probably have to wait for twenty minutes or so to get a reply.

Don’t worry if you can’t find us right now. Most of it won’t go live until the race begins.

In the mean time, here is the news.

In the true spirit of showing off, which is most unlike Ju, here is a picture of him as The Standard Bearer for Great Britain at the Official Opening Ceremony of the ARC.

Official Flag Bearer

OFFICIAL FLAG BEARER

The selection process was rigourous and gruelling and was based on one of three things.

1)     Best Sailor

2)     Best Looking Skipper

3)     First PersonTo Put His Name On The List.

It’s hard to be sure, but I’m pretty certain it was one of the first two.

We are getting pretty exhausted, not from all the boat preparations, but from the continuous round of parties. It’s like a Club 18 – 30 holiday. Well, maybe a Club 50 – 80 holiday, but it’s still pretty knackering.

Mr  Mrs Baba

MR & MRS BABA

Fancy Dress

ARABIAN KNIGHTS. With John Vickers from AISLIG BHEAG. (Try saying that after a rum punch.)

Jeanneau even put on a dinner for all their owners (which was very nice of them, but makes us suspect we paid too much for the boat.)

Jeanneau Dinner

JENNEAU OFFICIAL OWNERS’ DINNER 

 Adios for now Amigos. Next blog from St Lucia!

Ju & Lyn

Viva Las Palmas

Hello Again Boatbloggers ®,

 

And huge apologies for the long radio silence.  The truth is, there hasn’t been much to blog about, and I don’t want to risk boring our huge numbers of adoring fan with trivial nonsense. But I have been stung into action by Alan’s blog comment, which for those of you who haven’t seen it, I repeat it here in full.

 

Hi Julian and Lyn,

So I promised to write more in response to the fabulous Rabat Blues and since it is now over a month since I promised that, it seemed appropriate to get on with it!

Clearly there has been something of a radio silence of late and of course this leads of all your blog followers to become a little nervous and apprehensive on your behalf Julian. After all there are many examples of intrepid travellers losing radio contact and the like. One just has to think of those orbiting the moon for example, or trekking to the poles and one is immediately reminded of the tense wait in between communications. So imagine my pleasant surprise just a few weeks ago when I was contacted directly by Julian. It was a wonderful moment and I felt truly special, honoured to be singled out for what was, in my mind at least, quite a tricky procedure. I know that these days modern communications have improved enormously since the days of Morse code and the like, but nevertheless as I heard Julian’s voice on the phone, I was impressed with the quality of the line. As he spoke, I imagined him grappling with the sheets, whilst the wind whistled Domini across the ocean waves. I have some experience myself of ship to shore radio transmissions (more of that in a moment) and so I was both pleased and relieved to hear from Julian. Imagine my surprise then, when in response to my enquiry as to his whereabouts, rather than some kind of nautical co-ordinates involving degrees and longitude, he said that he was in Acton. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. Acton. Now Geography is not my strong point, in fairness nothing is, but even I could more or less point to Acton on a map and understand the relation between it and the Atlantic. Rabat for example is clearly on a coastline, indeed a coastline suspiciously close to the Atlantic, but Acton is West London and not a drop of ocean in sight. The Rabat Blues, so beautifully performed, gave all of we humble readers some sense of the frustration of waiting for just the right weather conditions for departure. But whilst hanging around in harbours of the world sharing seafaring stories with other old salts is surely a regular pastime of the hardened sailor, wandering up and down Acton High Road in search of The Guardian, hardly constitutes the spirit of adventure – mind you, then again, it is Acton. But look, I don’t wish to pour cold water on your earnest endeavours and I am willing to suspend disbelief. It may be that you are not just hanging out at home, waiting for your next sailing holiday around the Algarve. You may well be studying detailed charts in the library and wrestling with fathoms and plumb lines, but I think it may be time for another missive so we can remain truly connected to your holiday, sorry, adventure and so we can set aside any creeping cynicism.


I did mention that I had some ship to shore radio experience and I think you may have heard the story before, but since it comes from a time when I was AT SEA, it seemed appropriate. I had been aboard the luxury yacht, Lambda Mar only for a few hours and was trying very hard to settle into the lifestyle and forget all of my land-based troubles. With a gin and tonic in hand, I was approached by one of the many immaculately liveried stewards and informed that the Captain wanted to see me right away on the bridge for an urgent ship-to-shore radio call. “Who can this be?” I thought to myself. “An urgent call from the Prime minister perhaps, obviously for such an important person as I must be, aboard a luxury yacht, or most likely, an injury to one of our children”. They were staying with their Grandma at our house. My worst fears looked like being confirmed as I took the communication device being proffered by the Captain and heard the voice of my Mother-in-Law. She said she was sorry but felt this was a big enough emergency to have contacted the luxury yacht’s telephone. So what was it? A broken leg perhaps, or a car accident? No, the reason for the call was to ask me what she ought to say to the angry and disappointed parents who had been let down by the breakdown of our Postman Pat van and subsequent lack of party for 4 year old Chantelle. It wasn’t so much being bothered by the seemingly trivial matter by Grandma that upset me, it was more the complete bursting of any kind of illusory bubble that I might actually belong on this super yacht, rather than be the kind of person who was running Postman Pat parties for a living. As I left the bridge I bravely tried to laugh it off, as if this was simply one of thousands of such events I organised around the globe, but the Captain’s smirk dampened any last vestiges of delusion.


So Julian and Lyn, when the right conditions arrive and you really do get cracking across the Atlantic, just know that not only will I be thinking about you constantly, but I will also be awaiting your call.
Love to you both,
Al x

 

Now clearly there are a number of issues with this scurrilous article that I simply must address. In particular the erroneous use of the term, “sailing holiday,” to describe our intrepid expedition into the unknown, as though it were some sort of Sunsail jolly, or a Channel Ferry booze cruise. And yes while technically it may be true that we did return to darkest Acton for a VERY brief period, may I remind our readers, lest they fear that our courage may be waning, that even Christopher Columbus had a break occasionally. (By the way, did you know that Columbus in Spanish is “Colon.” We found that out  at The Colon Museum, right here in Las Palmas.)

 

So, what has happened since our time in Rabat? Or Acton, depending upon which version of the truth you prefer to believe. We sailed South – or more accurately motored as there was no wind – and ended up in Agadir, which is Morroco’s answer to Benidorm.

 

Agadir

AGADIR

The people of Agadir are quite charming, but unfortunately it takes a long time to get anything done, and security is quite lax. (If you’re interested, they key to the pontoon is under the flowerpot by the gate.) The Capitaniere apologised for the state of the marina, but they’d had a storm four years ago.

Agadir Pontoon

AGOHDEAR

And after a few days, we were ready to set sail, this time, across The Atlantic. Let me just repeat that incase Alan missed it. 

ACROSS (a bit of) THE ATLANTIC

…to The Canary Islands. Gran Canaria in fact. We had good wind and sailed all the way, which surprisingly for a sailing expedition, doesn’t happen very often. It was largely uneventful, apart from the rudder getting snagged on some drifting old net.

Rudder snagged 

Grrrrrrr….

Ju had to go over the side again to cut us free. Unfortunately, as he jumped in, he slightly cut his finger on the knife. Nothing too serious, except that this is shark country. And if I remember my David Attenborough documentaries correctly, sharks can smell blood from up to 48 miles away. Lyn didn’t helping by singing the Theme from Jaws.

So there was no time to lose, and soon we were free, and able to carry on our merry way. After about three days we arrived in Las Palmas. 

Las Palmas is the home of the ARC – The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which is the race that we will be taking part in, so we have been busy preparing the boat, kitting it out with safety gear, adding davits, provisioning and so on. As well as attending lectures telling us what to do if the boat goes upside down, or the mast falls off, or we get eaten by a whale.

ARC Flag

RAISING THE FLAG

Other than that, we have just been tourists. Gran Canaria is a surprising place. While the north of the island is quite sophisticated, in the south you feel a bit out of place without a tattoo on your forehead. The centre is stunning; like The Grand Canyon. Well….I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but it’s got lots of big mountains.

 

Lyn Mountains

GRAND-ISH CANYON

We’re just over a week away till we cast off our lines and start the crossing, so it’s all getting a bit hectic in Las Palmas.

Official T Shirt

OFFICIAL T-SHIRT

 

and here is a gratuitous selfie

Waving To Rory

 

 

That’s all for now Boatbloggers ® . Or “Avast,” as we sailors say.

I will be in touch before the starting pistol is fired with a link to “Yellowbrick,” which is a kind of satellite tracking device so you can see us as we go across.

Bye for now

 

Cap’n Ju & Lyn the Cru

Rabat

Welcome back Boatbloggers,

This week’s report is going to be very short, because we haven’t done much boating to blog about. In fact – er….none. We’ve been stuck in Rabat waiting for an area of low pressure to move away and for the Azores High to re-establish itself. Which is a posh way of saying we’ve been waiting for the winds to be right. Sailors and wind are a bit like farmers and rain. It’s never quite the right sort of wind.

Which has not been a bad thing. We’ve had a great time in Morocco. We went to Casablanca and made a pilgrimage to Rick’s Bar.

Rick s Bar

INGRID BERGMAN with SAM

Spent a few days in Fez…

A Fez in Fez

A FEZ IN FEZ

And we’ve met some great people from all over the world, from far flung places such as Chile and North Wales.  John & Janine on Orca Joss have sailed all the way from New Zealand just to be with us. John is an ace guitarist, so we decided to compete with the Call to Prayer and got a band together…

Jam

WE COULD DO THE SHOW RIGHT HERE

(Bootleg recordings will  be available shortly on iTunes – watch this space)

Lyn went native..

.Lyn converts to Islam

…and particularly likes Morroco because it’s one of the few places left in the world where the smoking fascists haven’t taken over You can still smoke inside!!!!

Smoking

YOU CAN’T DO THIS BACK HOME

And this week’s gratuitous photo is actually a short series taken by Lyn, and is entitled “THE SORRY TALE OF A PLATE OF BISCUITS.”

(Ju had left the room briefly, so missed the event that these pictures record.)

Biscuits 1

 

Biscuits 2

 

Biscuits 3

 

Biscuits 4

A bientôt nos amis

Ju & Lyn

 

PS…Tomorrow we weigh anchor, hoist the sails, splice the mainbrace and set sail for Agadir. And all being well, will fly back to the UK for a week. 

Celebrations in the Velebit Mountains – Feast of the Assumption

juronnie:

Hi Dan,

Your adventure sounds amazing.

Yeah – the overnights are quite tough. We do 3 hour watches at night and catch up during the day which seems to work. Unless something goes wrong and you both have to be up at night for some reason. But there’s no denying that you basically feel knackered.

Ju

Originally posted on At Sea:

Every year on the 15th August high in the Velebit mountains the death of the Virgin Mary and her acceptance into Heaven is commemorated. The local Tourist Office in Starigrad tell us about the festival and we are keen to visit, lured by a trip into the hills and the opportunity to watch a local festival.

We are without transport and the location is approximately 20 kilometres away and 900 metres up in the mountains.  We try our luck at hitching a lift, an easier option to walking!  Almost immediately a car pulls over and a young couple inside agree to give us a ride.  We hop in and exchange names.  It turns out by chance that Goran and Anna and their Jack Russell Tara are heading to the same festival, they have an invite from the campsite owner they are staying with.

As we get chatting we find out that we…

View original 1,192 more words

Into Africa

Welcome back Boatbloggers,

Alan is getting very concerned that we haven’t crossed The Atlantic yet, so we decided to do as he suggested in his comment, and sail back down the river from Ayamonte and turn right. Westward ho! as us sailors would say. Towards The Atlantic and across to the New World.

Unfortunately, after about a day of sailing, the wind dropped, and once again we found ourselves becalmed. This time in a bar just outside Portimao…

Bar

BECALMED

…which would have been fine. Apart from the singer. Oh dear… the singer. She howled Tina Turner and Gloria Gaynor covers well into the early hours, making it impossible to sleep even at anchor over a mile away. Not so much a Siren luring unwary sailors onto the rocks, as a banshee making them throw themselves over the cliff, so the result was about the same.

We were planning on sailing to Madiera m’dears, but the wind was completely against us, and the forecast showed no sign of it changing for at least a week. We simply couldn’t take any more God-awful renditions of “You’re Simply The Best,”  and “I will Survive,” so we decided to weigh anchor and head for Rabat on the North coast of Africa instead.

It’s about a two day sail, and was memorable for us for a few reasons. The main one being that we got our cruising chute up for the first time. That might not sound a big deal to you, but for us it takes us onto a whole new level.

For those of you landlubbers that don’t know, a cruising chute is basically a spinnaker for dummies. (And a spinnaker is that great big colourful sail that they always put up when they’re taking photos of racing boats.) We’ve had this cruising chute for over a year now, and never been able to hoist it before. We’ve tried, but the wind conditions have never been right. They have to be just so. Light and slightly behind you. 

So it was with some trepidation that we pulled it out of the bag. The opportunities for comedy with a cruising chute are limitless, as a trip down to The Solent any weekend will show you. We tried to remember what our instructor Clive had told us about putting it up. Which rope got tied to what and so on. We rigged it all up, gingerly pulled on the snuffer, and….

Chute 1

BINGO!

Up it went.

This is so momentous, it’s got to be worth another photo.

Chute 4

BINGO AGAIN!

One more…

Chute 5

And for those of you interested in these sort of statistics, it added about 2 knots to our speed. Which given how much it cost, works out at about a thousand pounds a knot. 

And so, looking like an oversized Liquorice Allsort we sailed on, at times dangling our feet over the bathing platform to cool down. 

Feet

FEET (Ju’s on the left, Lyn’s on the right – just In case you weren’t sure.)

The colour of the water out in The Atlantic is amazing. You won’t find that on the Dulux paint chart. And at night the stars have to be seen to be believed. Living in London the light pollution is so bad that you can barely see the moon, let alone the stars, but we have become quite dab hands at spotting Cassiopeia, The Square of Pegasus, Vega, Arcturus and the rest.

It was about five in the morning. Lyn had just gone on watch, and we were about 25 miles off the coast of Africa. The moon had set, the sun was an hour or so away from coming over the horizon, and it had clouded over, so it was completely pitch black.

And that was when we ran into the Moroccan fishing fleet.

I should just explain. When you start sailing, they give you a book called, “The Rules of the Road.” This contains everything you need to know about the Collregs, or ‘International Rules for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea,’ and deals with such matters as who has the right of way in any given situation, what lights you should show at night and so on. It is a weighty tome. Now I could be wrong, but my guess is that the average Moroccan fisherman sat in his little wooden boat has not read this book. Some were lit up like a Big Fat Gypsy wedding, but most had no lights at all.

Fishing Vessel At Night

MOROCCAN FISHING VESSEL AT NIGHT

And all of them laid out nets. Long nets. Nets-without-buoys-attached-to-show-you-where-they-are type of nets. Nets that are the perfect shape to wrap around your keel and tangle up your propellor type of nets.

Ju sat at the front of the boat with the searchlight, and Lyn steered as we wove our way through this labyrinthine mess as slowly as we could. We did run over one net, but fortunately Lyn was able to stop the propellor in time, and with the boat hooks we managed to untangle the keel and drift off it again. Even once the sun had come up they were impossible to see lying about six inches below the surface. It took over three hours to go just a couple of miles, and was a very tense time. 

Eventually we picked our way through, and shortly after got our first sight of Africa.

Africa

MOROCCO

The river up to Rabat, the Moroccan capital, is quite hard to navigate, so they sent out a pilot boat which guided us in. It was great fun going along the river because of the fantastic welcome from the Moroccan people. It was like being visiting royalty. They were waving, shouting greetings and we had to dodge people in the water as they swam alongside us. We almost ran over one little boy in his armbands.

Rabat 2

VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

Eventually we reached the harbour. Morocco used to be ruled by the French, and the combination of Arabic bureaucracy and French organisation means that getting through immigration is a pretty lengthy process. But here we are. We’ve sailed to a brand new continent! It’s not crossing the Atlantic Al, but pretty good all the same.

We’ve only been here a day, but we love it. It’s so very different from Europe, and would be impossible to overstate how friendly and welcoming the people are. Though if I’m going to have a proper conversation with a Moroccan I’ll to need to learn a bit more about Manchester United. They are all big fans. (Where are you Adam, when we need you?) When they hear my surname they are convinced that I must be Wayne Rooney’s dad, though how they can think I’m related to some short ugly red-headed bloke from up North is beyond me.

Rabat 3

UP THE KASBAH

Tomorrow we go to Casablanca. I’m going to find Rick’s bar, tell them my name’s Sam, and ask what time the gig starts.

A Bientôt nos amis

 

Ju & Lyn

 

 

GRATUITOUS PHOTO OF THE WEEK…

Sweeney Todd

LE SWEENEY TODD DE MAROC

Action & Adventure on the High Seas

Hello again Boatblog®  Fans,

First of all, we would like to apologise to out regular readers for the late publication of this week’s edition of The Boatblog®. This is due to the temporary unavailability of the writers.

Under Arrest

HELPING THE POLICIA WITH THEIR ENQUIRIES

Yes, we had a visit from the Policia Maritima, but I am pleased to report that with time off for good behaviour we can now resume normal service.

We have called this episode, “Action & Adventure on the High Seas.” This is in fact a little bit misleading, but if we called it, “More Holiday Snaps,” no one would read it. So “Action & Adventure on the High Seas,” it is. (I’ve worked in advertising, so these things come naturally.)

The main thing that happened this week is that Rory and Joe turned up. Which has certainly livened things up.

R  J Swimming

SWIMMING…

Joe Fishing

FISHING…

We’ve still not caught anything. We did get a bite, but the fish escaped with the lure. So the score at the moment is 

FISH                   1

FISHERMEN     0

Rory Dive 2

DIVING…

Kayak

KAYAKING…

Cocktails

…and of course, DRINKING.

But the highlight of the week had to be diving with tuna. If you are in The Algarve and do nothing else, make sure you do this. It’s organised by Tuna Dive Tours (www.tunadivetours.com) and it is fantastic. You get driven out to the tuna farm in a super fast speedboat, then you pop on your SCUBA gear and get in with the fish.

Of course, at all times it is imperative that you look good.

 Lyn getting into diving suit

WETSUIT WITH MATCHING LIPSTICK

We got there at feeding time…

Mackerel Gun

That bazooka type thing underneath the crane is actually a Mackerel Gun. Apparently it’s based on an Australian pub game, and it actually fires out mackerel. 

Fish fed, it was time to get into the water. You don’t want to go swimming with a thousand hungry tunas.

Lyn’s Dive.mov

YOU’VE BEEN FRAMED

Now I’m not one to exaggerate, but there were literally millions of them, and they are huge.

Tuna 2

They weigh up to 350kg, which is like five of Ju. Ok maybe four, but whatever it is, they are awesome. 

And delicious.

Rory had to go back home on Friday, but Joe stayed with us as we sailed into uncharted waters, up to The Rio Guadiana which is the river that marks the border with Portugal and Spain.

It was on this voyage that disaster struck…

What the

DISASTER STRIKING (reconstruction)

…and we went over a pot buoy.

We came to a very sudden halt, the engine cut out and we were stranded in the middle of the ocean. With complete disregard for her own personal safety, Lyn told Ju to put on the diving mask and flippers and go over the side to see what it was.

Once in the water, he immediately saw the problem.

Prop caught

The propellor was well and truly embedded into the pot buoy, and the rope was wrapped tightly round the prop shaft anchoring us to the bottom. Even if we could free ourselves from the rope, there was no wind, so we couldn’t sail back to port. Somehow, we had to release the propellor. it really was quite a problem.

Not to worry. Super-Ju to the rescue…

Mr Incredible

Mr INCREDIBLE

With his knife between his teeth he dived into the shark infested waters,  sawed through the tangled rope, and somehow manage to wrestle the pot buoy away from the propellor. All those years in the SAS* weren’t wasted.

Exhausted, but triumphant, he clambered back on board. With bated breath, he tried the engine. 

It worked.

What a hero!

And were were able to sail (well, motor technically)  on our merry way, accompanied by our friends, the dolphins

Dolphins1.mov

And this weeks arty farty photo prize goes to Rory, for his work called simply, “Boat.”

Arty boat

BOAT

And this is a cool picture of our boat too…

Sunset Domini

Adios Amigos

Ju & Lyn

Ayamonte (Spain – but only just)

* South Acton Scouts

Sea Gypsies

Hello Boatblog fans, and welcome back for this week’s thrilling instalment of adventures on the high seas. Actually, it’s not going to be that thrilling because we haven’t left anchor since last week. So it’s going to be more like the average set of holiday snaps. But hey ho. Even Admiral Nelson had days off.

And thank you again for all those who have made comments or sent feedback, and for the likes on Facebook.

This week’s episode is called “Sea Gypsies, which is probably not very politically correct.  However, most yachting books refer to the type of  sailing that we are doing as cruising, but we thought if we called the blog “Middle Aged Cruisers,” it may attract the wrong sort of reader. So “Sea Gypsies” it is. And in it, we will try to give you some sort of an idea of what it is like to live on a boat day to day.

Mostly life at sea is very similar to life on land. You still take a taxi…

Taxi

…and just like London, they go way too fast and frighten the passengers. (Sorry Danny)

Taxi Ride

You still need bread…(and this is boat baked bread – by a Frenchman, so you can imagine how good that is)

Bread Delivery

OCADO

…go shopping

Shopping

SUPER MARKET

…visit Toni & Guy

Toni  Guy

…and do the laundry…

Laundry 2

…before popping over to see the neighbours for drinks in the evening.

Nighbours

With TIM & GAIL on their ketch, “WILD BIRD.”

Which is all very tiring, so it’s a good job that Lyn finally found a use for the spinnaker pole.

Hammock

But it’s not all hard work. We were lucky this week, because our visit to Olhao happened to coincide with the Festival du Marisco, which bills itself as the WORLD’S LARGEST Shellfish and Music Festival. 

Ready to Rock

READY TO ROCK…AND EAT

Now we haven’t been to that many Shellfish and Music Festivals, but it looked pretty big to us.

Seafood  Music Festival

LIVE AT THE SHELLFISH & MUSIC FESTIVAL

They said it was going to be Sole Music, but I thought it was more Clam Rock. (Ha ha ha!  Genius!)

And this week’s Arty Farty Photoprize goes once again to Lyn for her work entitled “Street.” This is in Faro, which you thought was a horrible Benidorm sort of place, but in fact is a delightful old Portuguese town. And we’ve got hundreds of photos to prove it. But we thought we would spare you all that.

Arty Farty Faro

STREET

And now we are getting the boat ready to move upriver to Faro town itself, to meet Rory and Joe who are arriving at midnight tonight for a week of intrepid sailing. Or lying on the beach. We haven’t quite decided yet.

Adeus for now amigos,

 

Ju & Lyn