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Canaries to Caribbean 2013

by Art on

Information

Sailing
269.10 hrs
Motoring
63.20 hrs
Total
332.30 hrs
Distance
3305.00 nm
Average
9.95 kts

We're ready to begin our passage across the Atlantic to the Caribbean tomorrow. The crew and boat are ready and we have so many provisions, we could go across and back again! We wanted to have all our favorite items onboard from Europe from the winter season as it's difficult to find what we want in the supermarkets of the islands.

There are big storms hitting the Canaries today with schools and government offices closed due to high winds and very heavy rain. We think by tomorrow it will OK for us to depart and head south. After the storms leave the area, the confusion to the sea state will abate and the trade winds will build back in. We expect a nice, steady crossing with the trades blowing at a steady 15-25 kts all the way across to the Caribbean.

As often as we can, we'll update this post to let you know what is happening onboard. Ciao from all the crew!

Tracy painting our logo on the wall in Las Palmas

12-Dec

Sorry, we didn't get off on the passage today. All is well with the boat and crew but the weather has not been very good. Rather than launch in a hard weather situation, we've decided to sit back another 24 hours and wait it out. It's now almost 18:00 and the skies are clearing and winds coming down. All set for an early morning departure tomorrow.

13-Dec

At 10:00 in sunny skies we left Las Palmas and headed out to the Atlantic to begin our journey to the Caribbean. With our foghorn blowing and people waving we had a wonderful send-off. The ARC crowd had long since left but the marina was full anyway with the next wave of boats ready to handle the crossing by themselves.

We started out with the main sail hoisted but little wind to fuel it so the motor assisted for a while until we rounded the southern end of the Gran Canaria island. A nice, northeasterly wind filled in allowing us to put up the genoa and shut off the engine. After an hour or so we hoisted the genaaker and really took off with nice downwind speeds. What a sight to see that big 500 sq meter yellow sail up!

As the sun was setting we took the genaaker down and put a reef in the mail sail and hoisted the genoa. As the winds built steadily throughout the evening and the seas as well we found ourselves flying along in winds approaching 40 kts so the genoa came in and the staysail went up along with the second reef on the main.

14- Dec

24.9 kts boat speed with 260 nm in 24 hours. It was during this latest sail change that we hit our fastest speed over on the boat. During the evening we all had a turn at the helm and each routinely saw 16-18 kts of speed which we considered pretty good. However, with the crew up front at the mast finishing up the second reef, Carmen on the main sheet and Art on the helm we encountered a huge wave at just the perfect angle with winds hitting 40 kts. As we crested the top of the wave and started down the backside it seemed like we were falling off a cliff. The boat went almost straight down and the speed quickly started to spin up faster and faster. Carmen was calling out the speeds and finally I heard her yell "25 kts" just as the side of the wave broke over the boat soaking all of us!

We took a photograph this morning of the data page in the chart plotter to verify what happened last night. It also shows our first 24 hours on passage covering 259 nm (10.8 nm average). Not a bad first day at sea! We gybed west for a long time today and now are heading back south to make sure we don't stay too high and lose the trade winds that are building nicely along the route from Cape Verde to the Caribbean.

We're taking it a bit easier today and all of us are exhausted from our helm time in the heavy weather. A tasty Thai Chicken curry from Tracy for lunch and nap time for most of us!

17-Dec

Sorry for not being able to update the post lately but our main source of internet while at sea, the KVH vSat system, has failed to work properly so we've had to go to our backup plan of using FBB Sailor 150. Anyway, we're back online now.

Putting in a reef Four days, 1000 miles, 100 hours and only 50 liters of fuel consumed (by the generator and motor combined), and the waves are huge! Its been a surfing run the past 48 hrs. 25 kts of wind seems a bit slow lately, the guys are no longer impressed with 15 kts of boat speed, they have to see at least 18 on the B&G or better: 20+ to get excited- “Guys!”, Giamma shouts up from below, “Ok, Ok, she’s a fast boat, everyone knows this already!” Yet the battle for the helm continues, as soon as a crewman comes on watch- regardless of the hour, he’s eager to take a turn at the helm; the auto pilot has been idle since crossing the Gulf of Lion so long ago.

Down below its a different story, yes, we’re sailing fast but that means cooking at a 15 degree angle, opening cupboards tends to send things flying, and all the normal everyday tasks: taking a shower, brushing your teeth for example, become serious challenges. We’ve been getting a lot of rogue waves coming in at odd angles, we’ve battled a number squalls each night and dealt with winds over 40kts which has meant many sail changes but life on board is pretty amazing. Everyone is eating well, we’re enjoying the Iberico ham mounted in the galley, we had a birthday party for Rich complete with cake and candles, and Art’s focaccia has been a crew favorite: we are feeling good!

We're still too fast for fishing. We've lost a number of lures as the fish strike but then can't keep up with the boat! So, bad fishing but great for progress on the passage.

Another item... we just passed 10,000 nm sailed so far with the yacht since it launched at the end of June. Off to a good year!

20-Dec

The past several days have been tiring for all of us as the sea state has approached 5 meters and the winds have been between 25-35 kts fairly steadily. On top of that we've had squalls starting at about 20:00 every night and running all night long until morning. Drenching rains, high wind gusts and confused sea state along with a tiring crew contribute to a exhausting time for all. Tonight the winds dropped off to 5 kts and the seas going to 1 meter so the motor came on for the first time on the passage. Disappointing in some ways and welcome in others. At least we can get some solid rest for a while before the winds build back in. Regardless, we have been making excellent time continuing to average over 10 kts and >240 nm per day. The crew has been working really well together and having a great time. Today we celebrated with bottle of nice Proseco Italiano at passing the half-way mark to Grenada.

Gustavo, our friend from Svizzera has written something for family and friends back home. Enjoy! Saluti e Aguri per Natale from all the crew on Feelin' Good.

Buongiorno Ticino!

Gustavo at the helm of Feelin' Good Dopo un turno notturno al timone e di guardia con Carmen e poi Dan dalle 20.00 alle 24.00 abbiamo battezzato metà attraversata Gran Canaria - Grenada con dei “Groppi” fino a 35 nodi (con punte di 40) e una pioggia che non ho mai visto fino ad ora!

Feelin' Good freccia costantemente dai 10 ai 15 nodi al lasco - grand lasco con delle punte di 21 fino a 25.1 ottenuto con Art al Timone.

Il feeling in barca è fantastico con Tracy chef di cucina non ci mancano i spuntini e degli ottimi pranzi e cene con la collaborazione di Carmen (Napoletana,”ho detto tutto”).

Non dimentichiamo le ottime focacce preparate à la minute da Art.

Il nostro Comandante Giamma sempre presente con la sua tranquillità e serietà a gestire l’equipaggio le rotte e la manutenzione della barca in collaborazione con Art.

Non dimentichiamo Ricky, un po’ il tutto fare, esperto alle manovre sotto l’albero e a preparare ami da pesca. Purtroppo la pesca non sta andando molto, magari perchè la barca è troppo veloce!

Alla fine ci sono anch’io, il mozzo tutto fare, un po’ distrutto da questi turni a volte “roccambuleschi” da mari e venti e piogge che non vedi tutti i giorni, magari su qualche filmino su Youtube.

Il problema di tutti è la stanchezza di non riuscire a dormire, un continuo movimento della barca i rumori del mare che batte e scivola lungo lo scafo lo scricchiolio delle sartie e del albero in carbonio che scarica sullo scafo in più il caldo che si fa sentire e il sole che ti ha disidratato durante la giornata.

In ogni modo ancora pochi giorni e ci troviamo a festeggiare il natale sotto una palma con un bel “Umbrella Drink”!

A presto e buon Natale a tutti!

Mozzo, Gustavo

22-Dec

It happens on all passages... you are stuck with a wind angle that leaves you 40 degrees too high or 40 degrees too low. After all our wonderful downwind sailing with a (more or less) direct line to Grenada, we find ourselves in a position where we are making fast speeds but not in the direction we want to go. This morning we tried something different as we furled the genoa away and are just flying the main (at first reef). We have 35 kts of wind and are able to go more downwind (with the preventer line on the main) as we don't have the genoa flapping about. The result is 8.50-10 kts more direct to Grenada.

Rich finally gets a nice fish for us! Finally, Rich caught a nice fish for us. He had just put the line out at dawn this morning and went to take a shower. Within minutes we had a fish on and we shouted for him to come but he thought we were joking! Eventually he clued in and came running up on deck to haul the fish in, a beautiful 14kg Wahoo. He's all filleted out and ready for Fish Tacos at lunch today. Yum! Funny thing is that Rich augmented the rubber squid lure we had on with some Christmas tinsel. Seem the fish was in the mood to celebrate the season with us!

It's hard to give an accurate date for arrival in Grenada but we are about 980nm away now and making 8-10 kts so perhaps we will arrive late on 26-Dec. Regardless, we have had a terrific crossing and will enjoy every last minute of the next 4+ days.

Not to make you all feel bad but we have been enjoying sunny skies and warm temperatures (27c) with no rain. The night watches are fabulous with millions of stars to look at. The moon rises about 20:00 and helps us with keeping the horizon in sight. Shorts, tee-shirts and bare feet are the norm now. We've started playing Caribbean music on the aft deck and find ourselves dancing and singing. Last night we had a rainbow that ended right off the bow and I couldn't help but start singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow" from the Wizard of Oz. Life is good on board.

In some ways, it'll be a little sad to arrive in Grenada and end this beautiful and peaceful time far out to sea.

24-Dec, Christmas Eve

Greetings from the crew of Feelin' Good! Aguri! It's Christmas Eve and here at sea we are planning some celebration on board! We have festive decorations and Carmen is in the galley making a special cake. Later we will be having spaghetti frutti de mare and lobsters al forno- buono! We are currently averaging 12kts with surfing at 17+ so our Christmas party is traveling at a high rate of speed. This morning we were greeted by the beautiful Bermuda Long Tail, a very special sea bird of the Caribbean- a sure sign we are getting very close!

Yesterday we were visited by dolphins, we also came in visual contact with two yachts- one was crewed by a solo Frenchman and the other had nine crew. The second one was a Polish flagged yacht, we radioed Christmas greetings to everyone, the Polish crew offered us vodka in exchange for fresh bread, the Frenchman was just happy to speak to someone, thankfully Gustavo speaks French so he made this lone sailor very happy. Gustavo also has the new speed record on the boat- 25 kts!! Congratulations Gustavo! You are a true high speed sailor!!

We have now done our 'making gybe', that is the last big gybe which final turns us directly to Grenada. If the winds hold and our speed remains somewhat the same we should be in the marina in the afternoon of 26-Dec. A good rest for all then massive cleaning of the boat inside and out in preparation for the start of our winter season sailing in the Caribbean. It's 550 nm to go...

Merry Christmas and Buon Natale a tutti!

25-Dec, Christmas

Christmas Party on Feelin' Good Christmas Day and we find ourselves motoring along as a hydraulic problem is affecting our ability to put out sails properly. As it turns out the seas are fairly flat and the winds have died off anyway so not a big deal. Actually easier to prepare our Christmas dinner without the heeling as well. Tracy is roasting a couple of turkey breasts with new potatoes and Art has made his sweet potato soufflé. We all sat in the guest cockpit and enjoyed a wonderful meal in bright sunshine and warmth, far from the cold and snow of Europe. A little Proseco and gift giving followed the meal and it was a lovely time!

Apparently while our YellowBrick unit is putting out position information every 4 hours there is something not working right on the YellowBrick website. We'll look into this upon arrival in Grenada but don't worry... we are making progress and everything is fine.

Tomorrow morning we will be passing by Barbados and continuing on toward Grenada. Now that we are approaching the Caribbean, we are starting to see other sailing boats in the area all making their way across 'the pond' as well. It's a quiet evening here onboard and the watches are easy as we are just monitoring the motoring. It would be way more fun to be sailing but a good night's sleep is always welcome.

Our first Christmas at Sea and a very pleasant one shared with wonderful people, it won't be our last!

27-Dec

Early morning arrival in Grenada The lights of Grenada come up on the horizon early in the morning and around 02:30 we arrive at the entrance to the harbor of St. George. The channel in is a little tricky but we navigate it easily and call to the marina over the radio to find out where we should put the boat. At 03:00 we are tied up alongside and popping the top off a bottle of champagne. Another Atlantic crossing for some of us, and the first for Tracy.

With a fast boat the crossing is much easier on everyone in some ways as we are at sea for less time however the faster the boat the more vigilant you need to be at the helm and the fatigue of being on watch for 13 days really starts to catch up with you. All of us have enjoyed getting a couple of good nights sleep in since arrival.

The marina here at Port Louis is a really nice facility with good services around and the town of St. George has everything you'd want. With 28c for the air temperature and 27c for the sea, we are definitely in paradise!

A few days of cleaning up the boat, some maintenance and we'll be ready to enjoy sailing in the Caribbean. Thanks for following along on our passage!

This passage was crewed by art, carmen, dan, giamma, gustavo, rich and tracy

Passage Track

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