Day 8: Work Life Balance on a Sailing Yacht

Watching dolphins, reading books and viewing downloaded netflix videos – that’ what we thought the transatlantic passage would offer. However, the reality is otherwise: 24 hours a day the course and security of the ship has to be managed, in the nighttime by two people. Jibing (Halsen) and reefing (Reffen) is work for three people, and for more in bad weather conditions. Navigation has to be planed and weather data to be obtained and discussed. Fresh food has to be prepared, toilets to be cleaned. Repairs have to be done (our saloon table was broken by a falling crewmember in high waves, thank’s to God no harm to the sailor). And skipper Fred’s theoretical and practical security briefings and workshops every
day are mandatory. The passage is demanding, but nevertheless great fun and for most of us a once in a lifetime event.

Day 7: Point of no Return

After one third of our travel, with a speed average of 6,6 knots, we reached the point of no return. At this point, sailing to the Cape Verde Islands would have been well possible. After this point, it is a one way route. The North East Trade Wind, that also helped Columbus - and about 1500 sailing yachts each year - to reach the Caribbean Islands, will push as westwards. So will the current and waves. Sailing back is not a valid option anymore. 

Day 5: Gourmet Cooks

On Orinoco, the day starts with fresh food. Our gourmet cooks serve omelets with onion, pancakes with jam, self-baked bread and banana, apples, oranges and ananas for breakfast. Dinner is clearly dominated by forty frozen tuna steaks. Served as carpaccio or fried, combined with egg fruit (Aubergine), tomatoes, garlic or paprika, maybe with an additional salad and rice or potatoes or pasta. Eating, however, on a small boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with waves as high as four meter, remains a challenge. Knifes, forks and plates never want to stay on the table…

Day 3: Low energy alarm

The capacity of our batteries has dropped to less than 45%. Why? More than 40 devices on board happily consume electricity (navigation system and lights, radar, fridge, two satellite communication systems, a lot of mobile phones and tablets, laptops, torches, water pumps and so on). The autopilot steering system, with its very strong electric motor, is our most energy hungry device (13 ampere). However, only three devices produce energy: wind generator, solar cells and motor. We did have enough wind today with 12 to 24 knots all day (nice sailing), but not so much sun (rain gusts). Therefore, we now try to use our hydrovane wind driven self-steering system as much as possible to save energy.

Day 2

Before even having breakfast, both fishing lines gave alarm. After half an hour, the first 20 kg yellow fin tuna fish broke the fishing rod, but was caught nevertheless. We released the second one of equal size. Our refrigerator: full with fish. Bad luck for Frank and Uwe – they are not allowed to fish again for three days.

Repairs before Atlantic Crossing

Anti-fouling paint is a special coating that is applied to the hull of a ship. The coating is used to slow down the growth of marine organisms such as barnacles, slime, algae and mossy weed. However, disappointingly, after three months in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, our boat had to be taken out of the water and the hull had to be scrubbed.

More than that two days of work was needed to clean the hull, as shown on the right side of the picture. Our friends Frank, Ivan and Stefan helped Fred and me to do the job.

underwater-2

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Additional, some sail and rigg improvements were done by Fred.

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Carribean and Pacific Sailing