Archive for the ‘Ellis Island to Cobh’ Category


Thursday, July 23rd, 2009


Why does anybody live anywhere other than Horta?

I’m serious!

Horta is a small town, on the island of Faial, in the Azores. It’s beautiful. It’s got an amazing climate. It’s a ridiculously cheap place to be. The people are just lovely. Everything is clean. There is a complete lack of efficiency anywhere… But with a fantastic community feel… Are you getting that I like it here yet?

We’ve had two days of island life. The boat is almost ready to go again. Diesel and food tomorrow and we’re ready. Everything is so easy here. It’s the only place for 1,000nm in any direction, so they’re so used to the likes of Dinah and everything is made simple.

Peters Sport Cafe is the place to be, and needless to say we’ve settled in nicely. Beers at €1 each, and fantastic seafood non stop. It’s a mecca for offshore sailors, and tonight we ended up chatting for hours with some good friends of Jan Kees, the line honours winner of Ostar. It is such a small world. Again, meeting people in the most unlikely places, who had folllowed our progress during the race reminds me that myself and Dinah have done something many people dream of doing someday, but for some reason keep putting off. Life’s not about sitting out the storm, it’s about going outside and dancing in the rain!

Tomorrow we’re up early to take the boat over to the diesel berth. Then we’ve got to do customs. We should be back on our berth by 0900. Then breakfast in Peters, and hire a car to go off for the day. See the top of the volcano, see if we can raise Andy Petty on VHF from up there (He’s getting close now, being due in tomorrow night) , have a look at the rest of the island, and most importantly hit Horta’s one supermarket to provision for the next leg.

Depending on the forecast we’ll leave tomorrow night or Friday morning, for the South of Ireland. Aileen flew home today, so for the rest of the trip it’s myself and Andy doublehanded 1,180nm to Ireland. It’ll be good for me to get back to doublehanded sailing, as I hope to do a lot of doublehanded racing next season.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with an image of how laid back life is here in Horta. I must say not being allowed to shoot my on-board firearm, or rock-climb on the marina has been frustrating, but not being able to take the elephant out for a stroll on the pontoons in the mornings just makes life down below unbearable, what with his flailing trunk, huge footsteps in the custard… and the noise…!


Dinah chegou na Horta, Açores

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Showered. Off to find food and beer…
–at 20.32 UTC

–45 minutes after the web cam caught the arrival.

The Home Stretch…

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Tomorrow morning at sun-up we should be able to see the top of the volcano that makes up the island of Faial. This time tomorrow we should be sitting outside Peters Sport Cafe on the quayside in Horta drinking beers, wearing salt free clothes, eating as much as we like, and looking forward to a full nights uninterrupted sleep ahead. The Azores being Portuguese, Dinah will have completed her second transatlantic crossing. We’ll also be celebrating the fact that both Aileen and Andy will have completed their first transatlantic of course. I get the impression tomorrow’s going to be fun.

The last few days have been very non-eventful. This part of the ocean seems to be pretty desolate. The weather continued to be extremely hot,  sunny, and windless until last night, and now we’re running before 25knts of wind under grey skies and drizzle! It’s actually quite annoying  drizzle, as it’s not heavy enough to wash the salt out of our hair, but it’s wet enough to require full oilskins. It would actually be better if  it just lashed rain, in which case we could have a proper shower on deck! Oh well…

Let’s hope tomorrow brings all we have been wishing for. I’ll let you know…


38 deg 38.455N  32 deg 07.123W

Breeze Please?

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

It’s been another quiet day in the Atlantic. Overnight we sailed out of the breeze, and now we’re plodding along under engine direct for Horta. Sometime tonight the breeze should fill in again, but this time from the NW. Again a perfect direction for good speed towards civilisation. In the meantime we’re keeping the diesel tank full, and hiding in the shade as much as possible on deck.

As we travel West the sun goes down earlier, so we moved our night-watch rota forward by an hour last night. At the same time the moon comes up later in the night, and it’s less and less bright as it reaches the end of its waning phase. Last night it was that classic “children’s drawing” type moon, a narrow crescent, that would have had somebody sitting on it and singing, were it a theatrical prop. We all love the complete darkness in between sun-down and moon-up. The show of stars in the darkness is spectacular, and it’s amazing to be able to see the creamy band of the Milky Way overhead stretching the whole way from horizon to horizon.

We haven’t seen any shipping in quite a while now, and even the wildlife seems to be finding the daytime a bit too hot to come out and play. Pretty much the only things to be seen are those funny jellyfish with little sails, and huge turtles each a few feet across. We took a small detour this morning to take some photos of one, who was of course named Terry (we’re an imaginative lot really!), as apparently some people don’t seem to believe that you get turtles in the middle of the ocean!

Supplies are starting to run a little low, although once we maintain our current pace we should be ok for the essentials. Fresh foods are all but gone, chocolate is in short supply, and we’re nearly out of Twistees! That said, the discovery of an extra pack of beer yesterday has had a significant impact on the the daily ration, which is nice.

Must get back on deck before I melt…


At 1600 UTC:   38 deg 13.357N   37 deg 42.030W