Atlantic Crossing West -> East – Part Three

Part One and Two of the Atlantic Crossing West to East towards the Azores can be found under this two links: Part One and Part Two.

Day 17
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 54 nm
  • Total Distance: 1708 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 3,6 hours
  • Approx heading: 110
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with applesauce
  • Lunch: Knorr-pasta
  • Dinner: Carbonara
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:49/21:52
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

After drifting through a night with heavy showers and no wind (our autopilot drive unit had given up and we didn’t want to handsteer in the rain all night) we set sail as soon as the sun rose. The wind had picked up and it had stopped raining! We did good speed during the morning, and downloaded new weather files. A low pressure system with strong winds were incoming on our path. We changed towards a more southerly course in hopes to try and avoid it. The wind died out a bit towards the evening, but still enough for sailing, The current was still against us and we didn’t make very good progress…

Day 18
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 105 nm
  • Total Distance: 1813 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 1 hour
  • Approx heading: 110
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked buns with marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Carbonara leftovers
  • Dinner: Carbonara leftovers
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:45/21:45
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 21

We spent the entire day preparing for the upcoming string winds. We hadn’t managed to get so far south that we would miss the low pressure system. The worst winds (>50 knots/>25 m/s) would still pass north of us (according to the latest forecast we downloaded) but we would still end up in winds around 32 knots/16m/s. We cleaned the boat and secured the boat for sea. We also prepared a serious sea anchor set up, as they do it in the book Heavy Weather Sailing (really recommend that book if you’re going blue water cruising). We secured the sea anchor in the bow, and if need be launching it would go fast. According to the forecast the strong winds would hit us sometime during the night, so during the afternoon we just rested and both tried to sleep a bit. During the evening the wind picked up a bit and we took a reef in the sails. It was southerly winds and we tried to sail on a beam reach for as long as it felt safe, so we wouldn’t be pushed to far north and into stronger winds.

Sea anchor preparations.
Day 19
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 144 nm
  • Total Distance: 1957 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 060
  • Breakfast: Buns baked the day before
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Knorr pasta
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:32/21:36
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

We took down the mainsail during the night and started sailing downwind on a more northerly course. The waves had started to build up. During the day we sailed with our smallest headsail. The waves were quite big at times and were breaking. It was sunny almost the entire day, which was very nice. We don’t have any wind instrument, but one boat ahead of us and one boat behind us, that both got caught up in the same system measures around 50 knots (25 m/s) as maximum winds during this day. The problem really wasn’t the wind, though. It was the waves, we are guessing that they were around 5-6 meters high. The breaking waves were big, and we wouldn’t have wanted to been hit by a wave like that from the side. But all in all, we felt pretty safe. We were well prepared for what was coming, our boat is built to handle that kind of weather and in the end it was actually kind of cool to have experienced some heavy weather and see how we handle it.

In the evening a big shower hit us and when it started to get dark the waves were still quite big.

Getting a good feeling for the waves is not easy, but here is one try. The sea looks way calmer on the photo than in real life…

Day 20
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 106 nm
  • Total Distance: 2063 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0,1 hours
  • Approx heading: 100
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Instant Noodles
  • Dinner: Pasta with pesto
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:24/21:30
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

The wind turned to northerly during the night and in the morning we hoisted the main sail again. The winds the upcoming days does not look promising, the forecast said northeasterly, which is exactly where we were heading. We rested a lot during the day and tried to sail as close hauled as was comfortable and possible.

Day 21
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 91 nm
  • Total Distance: 2154 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading:
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Applepie
  • Dinner: Curryfried tuna with rice and carrot/red cabbage salad and chili-mayo
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:20/21:27
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

All night we tried to sail as close hauled as we could, but with the waves and current against us we did almost no progress towards the Azores. Our boat does not sail very well close hauled and when the wind and current came straight from northeast we were not able to hold a very good angle. Think we made less than 1 knot towards the Azores. So we dropped the sails and decided to drift. We launched the sea anchor we had prepared so well two days before and made apple-pie and watched a movie instead. According to the forecast the wind would turn to our favor next day.

Day 22
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 25 nm
  • Total Distance: 2179 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0,3 hours
  • Approx heading: 035
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Salami, olives and breadsticks
  • Dinner: Pasta with ketchup and corn
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:19/21:28
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

First up in the morning was to get the sea anchor out of the water. The winds were still a bit strong and it was very heavy, but with help of the engine we managed to get it out. We hoisted the sails and started to sail close hauled again, still not towards the Azores but with a better angle than the day before. It rained almost the entire day. Spent most of the day inside the boat, with small peaks every now and then outside to make sure everything looked good. We listened to podcast, read and in the evening we watched a movie.

Day 23
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 91 nm
  • Total Distance: 2270 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 060
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Pytt i panna
  • Dinner: Pasta with ketchup and corn
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:14/21:30
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 19

Birthday celebration, Thomas turned 30 years old! No rain today but mostly cloudy. Made mudcake (muddy chocolate cake) as birthday cake. Otherwise we didn’t do very much, had to do a lot of sail changes as the wind has calmed down and turned. We still sailed close hauled and according to forecast it will turn more in our favor the upcoming days. We watched a movie in the evening.

Day 24
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 92 nm
  • Total Distance: 2362 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 2,2 hours
  • Approx heading: 090
  • Breakfast: Scones with tea
  • Lunch: Owen baked cabbage with mashed potatoes and caramelized butter
  • Dinner: Instant Noodles
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:04/21:26
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 19

Sunny and favorable winds all day. We sailed straight towards the Azores all day. Still a bit of current against us. We ran the engine a bit in the morning as the wind died out. An uneventful day, mostly just counting the hours until we reach the Azores. At this point we were a bit tired of being out at sea and just want to see land. Reefed down and changed to a smaller sail in the evening as the winds were supposed to pick up. Watched a movie this evening as well.

Day 25
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 126 nm
  • Total Distance: 2488 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 090
  • Breakfast: Buns with marmalade
  • Lunch: Pasta with tomoatosauce
  • Dinner: Semolina porridge
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 6:51/21:18
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 18

Took another reef in the main during the night due to even stronger winds. We did very, very good speed all day. Same as the day before we didn’t do very much, just waiting for land to appear. Watched a move this evening as well.

Day 26
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 161 nm (record for us!)
  • Total Distance: 2649 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 086
  • Breakfast: Buns with marmalade
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner:
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 6:36/21:08
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 18

Did very good speed all night, and all day we have been sailing very fast for being us. It has been rainy and cloudy all day and we started seeing land when we were quite close (the neighbouring island to Faial, Pico, has a quite high peak and we didn’t even sea that when we sailed into Horta, that’s how cloudy it was). Had a bird that took a freeride with us until we reached Horta. We reached Horta in the evening, did a quick dinner and went asleep. Due to Covid we were not allowed ashore until we had taken a PCR test and gotten a negative result. But as we were quite tired it was okay to just be on anchor and have a good full nights sleep!

SUMMARY
  • Total Distance: 2674 nm (4952 km)
  • Average daily distance: 101 nm (185 km)
  • Engine hours: 113,4 hours (approximately 4 days and 17 hours)
  • Total time adrift: 50 hours
  • Fishes caught: 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *