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

Atlantic Crossing West to East – Part Two

Part One of the Atlantic Crossing West to East towards the Azores can be found under this LINK.

Day 8
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 64 nm
  • Total Distance: 799 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 2,7 hours
  • Approx heading: 045
  • Breakfast: Youghurt with musli
  • Lunch: Poke Bowl
  • Dinner: Carbonara leftovers
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:10/22:41
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 23

After drifting the entire night because the engine made strange vibrations, we started the day with testing the engine. The vibrations were gone and the engine was running smoothly again. It was probably something stuck in the propeller that had gotten loose during the night. We didn’t run the engine very long since the wind had started to pick up, so we hoisted the sails instead. We made good progress during the day. We tried to fish, but didn’t catch anything this day either. It was sunny but we could feel that the air has become a lot cooler than when we started.

Poke Bowl for lunch.
Day 9
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 124 nm
  • Total Distance: 923 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 055
  • Breakfast: Buns with cheese/marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Carbonara
  • Dinner: Poke Bowl
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:00/22:36
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 22

During the night, at Petras nightshift, she woke up from her nap by a loud bang. Took a look around and realized that the genoa halyard had snapped, and the sail was in the water. We took the sail up from the water and hoisted one of our other headsails for the cutterstay. The night itself was also very cold. During the day we tried to make sure that the genoa got dry. The genoa halyard is made out of wire and we didn’t have material and so on to fix it during the crossing (when we got to Horta we replaced the wire). Our main goal was therefore to make sure we got the genoa nice and dry so that we could store it. We made good speed during the day anyway, with the biggest headsail for the cutterstay and the main.

Day 10
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 98 nm
  • Total Distance: 1021 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 1,7 hours
  • Approx heading: 050
  • Breakfast: Buns with cheese/marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Knorr-pasta
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 8:51/22:33
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 21

Cold and humid during the night. The boat was covered dew in the morning, so we got rid of all salt. It hadn’t rain anytime since we left Sint Maarten and the boat was covered with salt crystals. When the dew came it took most of it away. During the night we saw some lightning in the distance, fortunately it didn’t come close to us. We ran the engine for a while in the morning to catch up with Sanuti once more. When we stopped the engine and hoisted the sails again we soon realized that we had lost the steering! We quickly took down the sails again and launched our sea anchor so we could investigate what had happened. When we took down the sails we had a pod of dolphins jumping around the boat. When the boat stopped they all looked very confused and stayed for a while to see if we would start moving again anytime soon. We started investigating the steering and quickly saw that it was one of the wires for the steering that had snapped, so we took a part of the genoa halyard and replaced to replace the broken steering wire with (once in Horta we replaced it again to a new one). After 4 hours adrift we had the new steering wire in position and we could continue and took up the sea anchor. We noticed that it had spun around a lot and thus it didn’t work as it should. A lesson learned and when we launched the sea anchor again a couple of days later we did some adjustments, but more on that later.  We set sail and ate lunch, we were both very tired and hungry. We did some sail changes during the day, ran the engine and then hoisted sails again. At one point when we hoisted the biggest headsail, we noticed that it had teared a bit. We took it down again and hoisted the second biggest instead. We were too tired to take care of the sail this day so we left for the day after. In the evening the wind died and we started the engine. We had a lot of current against us (1-1,5 knots).

Trying to fix steering wire, not easy with all the waves making a lot of movements on the rudder. We have an emergency tiller which we fixed the rudder with while we worked with the wires.
A cool sunset.
Day 11
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 89 nm
  • Total Distance: 1110 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs:  20,2 hours
  • Approx heading: 060
  • Breakfast: Buns with cheese/marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Poke Bowl
  • Dinner: Pizza
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 8:42/22:28
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 23

It was a calm night on engine without anything major happening. Yesterday was cloudy weather but today the sun is shining. We saw a bird that looked like some kind of eagle that tried to land on our mizzen mast. We have seen a lot of Portuguese Man O’War (a colonial organism which looks like a jellyfish, they sting quite badly). We spent the afternoon repairing the sail that teared yesterday. It is no wind so we have used the engine all day, and still have a lot of current against us. We also saw Bottlenose Dolphins, when we see dolphins we usually see Common Dolphins. The Bottlenoses were much bigger!

Sail repair!
Day 12
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 98 nm
  • Total Distance: 1208 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 22,4 hours
  • Approx heading: 070
  • Breakfast: Buns with cheese/marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Instant Noodles
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 8:34/22:24
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

A calm night by engine with current against us once more. Hoisted the sails after breakfast, wing on wing. Got visited by some dolphins. Did some more sewing on the biggest headsail, added some extra fabric on places that looked worn out in hopes that it won’t tear up again. It was sunny all day and we had halfway celebration with real champagne (if you read about our Atlantic crossing towards the Caribbean you know that we bought very cheap sparkling wine in Cape Verde for halfway celebration and it turned out to be non-drinkable).

Halfway celebration!
Day 13
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 108 nm
  • Total Distance: 1316 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 1 hour
  • Approx heading: 070
  • Breakfast: Newly baked buns withe cheese and marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Canned Gulasch-soup with homemade bread and creme fraiche
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 8:24/22:18
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

Still a lot of current against us in the morning. We are starting to loose Sanuti after sailing together for almost two weeks. Since we don’t have the genoa anymore we have a hard time keeping up with them. Saw dolphins this morning as well. Our autopilot drive unit gave up during the day and our windvane had some trouble steering the boat in low winds but we managed to get it to steer good enough. But we realized that it probably needs a thorough cleaning session. In the afternoon the current changed direction and after a couple of days sailing against the current we had it with us.

Day 14
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 127 nm
  • Total Distance: 1443 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 080
  • Breakfast: Buns with cheese/marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Garlic bread with salami and olives
  • Dinner: Quickfried tuna with potatoes and chili-mayo
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 8:12/22:10
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

We have had good winds all day. The windvane has been able to steer the boat, and we have been sailing straight against the target. We have had some current against us, but not so much and sometimes no current at all. Today, just before lunch we had less than 1000 nautical miles left. Have spent some time reading and so on.

Day 15
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 116 nm
  • Total Distance: 1559 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0,3 hours
  • Approx heading: 090
  • Breakfast: Buns with cheese/marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Garlic bread with salami and olives
  • Dinner: Quickfried tuna with potatoes and chili-mayo
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 8:01/22:03
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

During the night we had to do some sail changes since the wind picked up a bit. In the morning we had a lot of waves in the cockpit. After lunch it calmed down. We got notice that some bad weather that was incoming in about 3-4 days, so we changed to a more southerly course. We saw a Spanish fishing vessel from Galicia. The wind died out even more during the afternoon and we had to start the engine and hand-steer. It started to rain, so it was not very nice. We got some wind late afternoon/evening again but when it died out again during the night we decided to drift a couple of hours instead of handsteering in pouring rain.

Hand-steering in the rain…
Day 16
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 95 nm
  • Total Distance: 1654 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 9,2 hours
  • Approx heading: 095
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with apple sauce
  • Lunch: Knorr-pasta
  • Dinner: Canned Gulasch-soup with creme fraiche.
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 7:55/21:56
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 20

After a couple of hours adrift during the night we had some wind in the morning and could sail again. Since our windvane hadn’t been working very well and our autopilot had broke down we decided to take down the windvane and to do a service of it. It rained almost the entire day and Petra sat out handsteering while Thomas serviced the windvane. After the service the windvane worked much better! It continued to rain all day and evening. When the wind died out and we took down the sails we decided to drift the entire night. We really didn’t want to handsteer in rain all night.

To be continued….

All our blog posts related to Atlantic crossings can be found under the link HERE.

Atlantic Crossing West-> East – Part One

Our time in the Caribbean had come to an end and it was time for us to start the Atlantic Crossing, west to east, back to Europe.

Day 1
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 0nm
  • Total Distance: 0nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 000
  • Breakfast: 
  • Lunch: Spagetti Bolognese (pre-prepared)
  • Dinner: Pasta with creamy chicken sauce (pre-prepared)
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:41/22:34
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 27

We left Simpson Bay at the 10:30 bridge opening together with Sanuti. We first sailed west around Sint Maarten and passed Anguilla on the west side. It was a chill, sunny day and we focused on getting into the rhythm of the sea. We had very good speed during the day (5,5-6 knots) and were able to sail on a more northerly course than we had expected we would be able to do.

We left Sint Maarten together with Sanuti to start our Atlantic crossing, from the west to the east.
Day 2
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 147 nm
  • Total Distance: 147 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0.8 hours
  • Approx heading: 030
  • Breakfast: Yoghurt with müsli and bananas
  • Lunch: Spagetti Bolognese (pre-prepared)
  • Dinner: Pasta with creamy chicken sauce (pre-prepared)
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:36/22:35
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 26

The night was calm, we did good speed during the evening. The wind died out a bit in the morning. The GPS on the autopilot behaved a bit strange, so we had to calibrate it. Thomas saw a fish swimming around the windvane. We haven’t been seasick yet, but it has been calm sea state. We still sailing close to Sanuti, but we been having some communication issues with the radio.

Trying to communicate and download weather…
Sunset at sea on our second day of the Atlantic crossing, west to east.
Day 3
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 124 nm
  • Total Distance: 271 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 000
  • Breakfast: Yoghurt with müsli and bananas
  • Lunch: Spagetti Bolognese (pre-prepared)
  • Dinner: Pasta with creamy chicken sauce (pre-prepared)
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:31/22:38
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 26

We still have very nice sailing conditions, good winds and not so much waves. Sunny and warm weather. We are still sailing close to Sanuti. Tried to catch fish during the day but without any luck. We spent the day in the sun listening to music. We managed to get contact with the radio and downloaded some fresh weather files. Had a lot of current against us the entire day.

Day 4
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 132 nm
  • Total Distance: 403 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 010
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Pizza
  • Dinner: Spagetti Bolognese (pre-prepared)
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:27/22:40
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 26

Still good conditions. During the night a Norweigan container ship called for us on VHF, but it was far away (and we had already passed each other) and we barely heard the call so didn’t answer it, unfortunately. So far we have seen way more ships than on the crossing to the Caribbean. We see at least 2 ships/day. Tried to fish today again, without any luck. Took a swim and read. Quite an uneventful day in general.

A lot of seaweed in the Sargasso Sea.
Lunch pizza!
Day 5
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 123 nm
  • Total Distance: 526 nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 0 hours
  • Approx heading: 010
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Pizza
  • Dinner: Spagetti Bolognese(pre-prepared)
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:27/22:40
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 26

We had good winds during the night and morning, which died out during the day. We started the engine in the afternoon. We took a swim today as well, since it was very hot and sunny, and also a shower! We have read a bit and given each other a massage (easy to get stiff when not moving so much). Tried to fish, but didn’t catch anything. We ran the watermaker for when we went by engine. We shared a beer and had some nice snacks in the afternoon. We passed a ship quite close by (5 nm) and later in the evening we passed a big tanker that was just drifting out at sea.

Day 6
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 104 nm
  • Total Distance: 630nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 23,5 hours
  • Approx heading: 020
  • Breakfast: Newly baked buns withe cheese and marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Carbonara
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:21/22:41
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 27

No wind and we have used the engine the entire day. Petra saw a fin in the water in the morning, which we think was a shark. It didn’t move like a whale do. We took a swim later anyway, together with Sanuti. It was extremely calm and you could see the sun rays fight there way down to the deep water (7000 meters). It was a very pretty and red sunset. Had some oranges and almonds for snack in the afternoon. Read a lot and downloaded a new Grib-file so we could plan our sail.

Very calm when we took a swim together with Sanuti.
Very cool to see the sunrays in the deep blue ocean.

atlantic crossing west east

atlantic crossing west east

atlantic crossing west east

Day 7
  • Distance last 24 hrs: 105nm
  • Total Distance: 735nm
  • Engine hours last 24 hrs: 22,5 hours
  • Approx heading: 010
  • Breakfast: Buns with cheese/marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Quickfried tuna with rice, mango salsa and chili mayo.
  • Sunrise/Sunset (UTC): 9:15/22:41
  • Water temperature (Celsius): 24

After the very calm day yesterday the wind picked up a bit, but not very much. We decided to hoist the spinnaker! We had a really nice afternoon sail with the spinnaker before we took it down. Sanuti caught a fish, a tuna, and were so very kind and shared it with us. Thanks! The fish was very good but we had a not so nice evening. Big swell started coming in and the sails were not able to fill, as there was quite little wind still. We started the engine and noticed that it was vibrating more than it should. We suspected that it was some seaweed that had gotten stuck in the propeller, and we tried to reverse to get it off. It had gotten dark so we couldn’t dive down and look at the propeller. We didn’t dare continue with the engine so we turned it off and decided to drift through the night instead. Sanutis autopilot was not working so they decided to drift with us.

atlantic crossing west east
Spinnaker sailing on the Atlantic ocean, can you see the ship on the horizon?
Sanuti also hoisted spinnaker.
“Sauti” shared the tuna they caught with us! 😀
A night adrift, the current pushed us backwards.

All our blog posts related to Atlantic crossings, West -> East and East -> West, can be found under the link HERE.

Towards a new country – Antigua and Barbuda

After a month in Dominica it was time to sail to the next country, which for us would be Antigua and Barbuda. Before leaving Dominica we took an exit test which was necessary to enter Antigua and Barbuda.

The sail from Dominica to Antigua was very calm, it was not much wind during the sail and behind Guadelope the wind died out completely so we out on the engine for a while.

We arrived to Antigua just before lunch and went to do the check-in procedure. It was no quarantine needed for us and once we had all the paperwork done we took a walk around English harbour. In English harbour Nelsons Dockyard is located, an UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is full of buildings from the colonial era and is very pretty.

English harbour in Antigua.
Very pretty buildings

When we arrived to Antigua there was a curfew in the night and restaurants were only allowed to serve take-away. So we didn’t get to see this area in its full potential I guess, not a massive amount of happy hours as the cruising guides says it usually is.

Not only pretty houses, a lot of fancy boats here. Most in Falmouth harbour but a lot in English ahrbour as well.
And also some boats that have seen better days…
First night in Antigua we had a very spectacular sunset!
One evening we took a walk to the fort by the entrance of English harbour and also continued further up the hill.
Stairs into the water…
Goats jumping on the cliffs up at the hill.

Once we got to Antigua we wanted to sail to Barbuda as fast as possible. As it is quite uncertain time we didn’t want to miss it in case there would be a lockdown or something like that. But the winds were not very favorable so we decided to do a stopover in Deep Bay on the north west coast of Antigua. We have heard and read that there is a cool wreck in the bay that we wanted to snorkel on. But when we arrived to Deep Bay the water was very murky, couldn’t see anything in the water, unfortunately. It was also quite rolly and during the night our hook to the anchor snubber line broke…

Another walk to a fort, this time at Deep Bay.

The fort by Deep Bay.

As Deep Bay wasn’t as nice as we hoped (we were probably there at a bad time, other days it might be better) and winds to sail up to Barbuda were not so favorable as we would like we decided to go into the marina in Jolly Harbor for one night. In the marina we were able to charge up our batteries and we also took our first proper shower since Cape Verde!!

A night in the marina before continuing to Barbuda.

Motor problems and a windy sail from SVG to Dominica

When we had taken our exit test in Bequia we did the last preparations to leave for Dominica. The sail would take more than 24hrs and the forecast promised quite strong winds. We left Bequia quite early in the morning. As it was a lot of wind we had quite little sail up but still manage to sail above 7 knots between the islands (in the lee of the islands we made less speed). We tried to sail as close hauled as was comfortable and thus followed the islands instead of sailing strait north (if you look at a map you can see that Dominica lays almost strait north of St Vincent. The reason for following the islands was that we heard that you can easily get pushed west by currents and by sailing as much east as you can you don’t have to tack, if the winds are coming a bit from the northeast.

Sailing along the coast of Dominica.

All in all, it was a good sail. Even though it was quite strong winds it felt very safe and controlled. It really gave us a good feeling for the Atlantic Crossing back to Europe. We arrived to Portsmouth at the northern tip of Dominica (we were not allowed to enter in Roseau due to Corona) just before lunchtime. When we were just outside Prince Ruperts Bay (were Portsmouths is ) we started the engine and heard some strange sounds and saw that there was white smoke coming out from the exhaust…

We had no idea what the issue was and didn’t dare to push the engine, so we took up the sails again and turned of the engine. We managed to anchor without turning on the engine (first time we ever done that) and prepared for some engine work during our quarantine days. The quarantine would be five days and then we would take another test, and we would be free to go ashore when we had received the result of the last test.

The following day we went ashore to take our first PCR-test and after that we started with the troubleshooting of the engine. We were really, really afraid that there would be something wrong inside the engine, and that we would have to order something to Dominica. The white smoke that came out from the exhaust gave us some clue that it could be water or diesel that hadn’t been burned.

After two days of troubleshooting we realized that the issue was the diesel injection pump. We removed and started taking it apart, and it didn’t take long until we found the issue. A screw to the injection timing advance system had gotten loose at some point and started getting worn down. Amazingly nothing else inside the injection pump had gotten damaged!

Trying to find the issue on the engine.
Taking the injection pump apart in hopes that we will find the issue.
The screw to the injection timing advance system that caused our problem.
Cleaning the injection pump.

Before we left Sweden we found another injection pump in the trash room back home, almost the same model as the one we have. We brought that injection pump with us, and could use the screw from that.

We took apart the pump completely, thoroughly cleaned the injection pump, reassemble it once more and put it back on the engine. And the main issue was solved! 🙂 It was not completely prefect though, we still had some follow-up issues with high rpm when running idle that started after mounting the pump back. After a couple of turns playing and trying different adjustments for the injection pump it finally behaved normal again. By this time we only had one more day in quarantine, so it was pretty good timing.

All in all, it was really good that the engine problem happened when it did. As we could solve it ourselves and didn’t have to order anything it was really good that we could work on this while we were in quarantine.

We took our final PCR test and got the results, which was negative and we were finally allowed to explore Dominica.