For hours now we tried to catch one of the twenty small tunas that follow our boat. But they didn’t like even one of the seven different lures (Köder) we trolled behind our boat. So we gave up and decided to be friendly with them. It is the first time I snorkelled with tunas, I believe they were little tunny (false albacore). As there were some jelly fish around we could not classify as harmless or not, it was a short encounter.
A band of variable winds extends across the Atlantic to the north of the NE trade winds. This is an area of high atmospheric pressure and the winds are often very light and long periods of calms are common – like now. This is the area of the Horse Latitudes (Roßbreiten) and the infamous Sargasso Sea where sailing ships in the old days used to be becalmed for days on end (until they had to kill the horses they had on board). We are crossing this area in direction North. First, in light winds, we set our large and thin light wind sail, the Gennaker. But for 24 hours now we use the engine and expect to do so another 12 hours. Luckily, we loaded 6 extra Diesel canisters…
Moses (Leichtmatrose) oder Salzbuckel (Seemann der alle Meere befahren hat)? Ich denke weder, noch. Man sollte schon ein Stück Erfahrung mitbringen und damit meine ich nicht nur in Hinsicht auf die Führung eines Segelbootes und der Seemannschaft, sondern Teamfähigkeit, Offenheit und Toleranz. Es handelt sich schließlich nicht um eine Woche „lnselhüpfen” mit den Kumpels. Längere Zeit auf engem Raum mit unbekannten Personen, ohne die Möglichkeit auszusteigen. Hier muss man ehrlich zu sich selbst sein, ob man das will und kann. Lässt man sich darauf ein, so wird man neben der Möglichkeit für „kleines Geld” besondere Segeltörns erleben zu dürfen, mit unvergessenen Tagen und Wochen auf See belohnt. Hat man dann, wie ich auf meinem diesjährigen Törn, noch das Glück mit einem tollen Skipper und Crew unterwegs zu sein hat man alles richtig gemacht. (Markus)
We now sailed 1000 miles on the open ocean, away from the Caribbean Islands, heading North to North East, leaving Bermuda to our left. Getting up at 12 in the night for the night watch is hard, but is rewarded by the Milky Way, Jupiter and Saturn and by moderate winds and waves not as high as before . Not much animals did we see the last days, no dolphins or wales. But one bird is visiting us every day in the afternoon for an hour. I suspect the White Tailed Tropicbird uses our wind acceleration to easily fly 50 meters behind us, thus saving energy. Sometimes it even tries to land on our mast.
During long passages things tend to get uncomfortable. The boat is rolling heavily, sailing on one side. To prevent falling, you always have to hold on to something. The boat is laden fällt and the cabins are packed with a lot of stuff that all tend to move leeward (windabgewandte Seite). Everything is salty or wet or both. The front cabin turns into an elevator, crashing down three to four meters in the waves. It feels like zero gravitation from time to time and sometimes I think about those stories I heard from sailors who so broke their ribs. However, the adventure of crossing the ocean, sailing the ship through wind and waves for days and weeks, a dream for many, is well worth a few uncomfortable moments.
The last days we had good North East or East wind 15-25 kn and more in squalls. Some of them with heavy rain and in the night we used radar to avoid at least thunderstorms (successfully). Sometimes we make 7 or 8 knots against the wind, close haul (hart am Wind) North to North East, but squalls are often followed by calms and winds are variable. Waves 3 m. Two reefs in the main (Großsegel) to be prepared for gusts. Only 8 hours motoring so far, so we have most of our diesel left, which is good. On Wednesday, we expect to enter the calm zone (Roßbreiten) between the easterly trade winds of the South and the westerly winds of the North. At this moment, the crucial part of the voyage begins. Thank you, Ivan, for providing us with valuable forecasts and weather routing advices!
The three sailors Finn, Markus and Uwe after four days on the open ocean. The harmony is good, and the boat managent skilled and easy.
As there are no major technical issues so far, even the skipper relaxes from time to time 😉 The food department is excellent. The best bread we have eaten in weeks, but no fish unfortunatly (even if we had a few fish bite into our lures). Thus, the ripe fruits and vegetables determine breakfast and dinner. Good wind the last few hours (15-20 knots) and good speed even when sailing close hauled (hoch am Wind).
In the night, sailing through the darkness, the moon hidden behind the trade wind clouds, the warm glow of the magnetic compass helps to navigate through squalls (local strong winds) with a little rain and through calms. It leads us North East, to the Azores.
Good wind the first two days (3 to 5 Bft.), but no wind the last few hours (picture). Not enough even for our light-wind sail, the Gennaker. Excellent food from Markus (rice salad), his jokes, flying the drone and an optimistic wind prediction help to keep spirits up.
We are beating through the waves and through the night on close haul (hart am Wind). I feel beaten, too. I had forgotten how exhausted you feel when only sleeping full for three hours in the night and half (still wearing the inflatable vest and shoes) for another three hours.