Boating & Biking Adventures

Category: Bermuda Page 1 of 5

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 15

Land, ho! Land, ho! Land, ho!

30nm to go and Mt. Pico has just stuck his mountaintop (2351m) through a thick base layer of clouds hanging over the horizon with the rising sun coming up slowly making it a warm welcome through its pastell yellow colour. The air is fresh but not cold.

The Portuguese Flag is up under the starbord first spreader bar.

What a magnificant arrival back at the Azores Archipelago!

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 14

The wind eased further during today’s afternoon hours as predicted and we are running under engine towards Horta. Not even worth to motor sail. There is no impact from the sails below 5kn TWS and on top of that, the wind direction is on the nose, first time since 14 days, luckily.

Once the windwaves were complete gone, the sea became very glassy, only left with some wide old swell still giving the surface a ponderous but lively patina. Some dolphins came along and plenty of Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish passing by. We did not spot any more whales unfortunatly.

The waning moon just joined me on my watch. Moon rise was at 3:42am UTC today and it provides a strong reflection on the water at 1 o’clock starboard side just above the waterline. Together with the million of stars under the cloudless sky it feels good to be embraced in a very peaceful ambience.

Traffic is increasing and clearly visible per AIS on the chart plotter. Some known names pop up like SY Northstar, a boat under US flag with a bunch of very friendly and pleasant guys from Israel. They anchored next to us in St. George/Bermuda and left a day earlier. SY Vahine with Skipper Jonas from Finnland has arrived in Horta with his 50 year old heritage SWAN 65, a S&S design as he told me over VHF about a week ago when passing by. Although we are still 45nm away, we can see his AIS signal also on the plotter, strange. We agreed at that time to have a beer together (or two) in Peters Café Sport.

I promised myself to jump into the water for a swim, if it is still glassy at sunrise and take a photo of the lady from a worm’s eye view. It will not be an easy one at water temperatures below 15°C and the temptation is firmly linked to duck pond scenery. Let’s see!?!

Time to enjoy the last few hours of this passage rather than writing more trivia.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 13

Soon we are closing the circle of our North Atlantic Adventure. The idea was born while sailing the Azores in summer last year. We explored Santa Maria, Sao Miguel and Terceira last year.

Our landfall is now planned in Horta/Faial, the most westerly island of the central group and with very good facilities for yachtsmen arriving after an Atlantic crossing. Historically, Horta specifically has not only become famous in the area of seafaring but also aviation, apart from the Chinese bringing the hydrangeas to the island in the 18th century, which is now spread across all islands but left Faial with its nick name of ‘Blue Island’. I have already very much enjoyed this intense vegetation along the roads last year on the bike.

The marina itself first opened in 1986 and has since been developed and provides nowadays excellent facilities for yachts. More than 1000 yachts per year pass by utilizing the more than 300 berth including anchorage and dedicated spots for bigger yachts and superyachts, a category, which is constantly growing. Numerous international and regioinal races start, stop or become home for a short stop-over in Horta.

We look forward to close the circle and explore Horta/Faial, an island, which I missed last year.

ETA, Saturday, 13th May 2023. What a lucky date!

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 12

It appears that there is/was some blockage or at least delay on the logblog entries getting online. Not sure what the technical glitch might be but nothing I can fix from here. Therefore a short update without photo, perhaps that helps.

We have 150nm to go. Another good breeze took us westwards over the last 24 hours or so. The engine is resting but will be needed for the final stretch as per the latest forecasts.

HOT FROM THE PRESS: While writing above lines, I just got confirmation that logblog 11 is now online. I have therefore attached today’s sunrise.

Rainer and myself would not mind to go on for a third week but then we need to plan another passage next time. I keep saying after two weeks: another week and you are in Panama. The following three weeks will bring you to Marquesas. The world has become even smaller for me since seeing it out of the eyes of an ocean going sailor and knight. Fantastic.

As the wind came a bit more easterly overnight and our heading into Horta is a pure West, 90° bearing, Sailmaster Rainer spent hours to optimize the sails for this clause-hauled configuration in order to capture the last bit of engery from the breeze and transform it into boat speed and maximum VMG. There is no line or sail shape left out of this consideration and we talk mm by now rather cm of adjustments. Fine tuning of the fine tuning. The amazing part is that the lady, with not less that 14-15t displacement or better live weight, reacts to it like a sensitive beauty enjoying this interaction with an enthusiatic race sailor Rainer defintely is. I am learning and I am glad not to be asked to sit all day and night on the windward edge to minimze boat inclination. 🙂

Ups, just a small dophine saying hello on port side playing with the bow. There was one yesterday and I wonder if it is the same as normally they come in groups but this one seem to be on his own mission, a bit strange. Now there are a few more, really small, less than a meter in length I would guess.

Time for a second cup of coffee.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 11

It was a busy day under motorsail and Rainer and myself had a good program under a sunny sky. Some boatwork was on the list, another nutcake a la Kalle in the oven, afternoon nap, etc. The highlight of the day was definitely our pit-stop at the petrol station called ”Happy Dynamic”, a cargo vessel operated by Big Lift from Amsterdam taking some yachts from puppy sailors back to Ireland.

Us, currently sailing the Low Wind Challenge requires some diesel and although we had 400L at the start in Bermuda, I thought it would be nice to top-up, especially as we had been under motor sail for some time and the needle started to move downwards. We saw on AIS that Happy Dynamic was comming along with a CPA of 12nm and a corrsponding TPA of 1.5 hours. My call on VHF was answered instantly and after a few minutes the deal was done. 100L of diesel in exchange of 200Euro and 100g Milka chocolate as a token, canisters included. Happy Dynamic altered the course and came to stop at the common point where we transfered diesel, dollars & sweets. We have now peace of mind, in case the wind will not come back at all.

What an attitude towards seamanship!

Our adventure continues.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 10

There was no escape looking at the weather map for the North Atlantic and its forecast. I have not studied this enough in the past but it looks a bit akward and exceptional with these two high pressure systems covering 95% of the North Atlatic surface. On top of that, the centers of the two dominating high pressure systems state the same pressure level of 1031mbar, with little drop towards each other.

At our current position we read 1025mbar atmospheric pressure, which results in 6-8kn true wind speed (TWS) only, sunshine with some distant clouds and plenty of whales.

We keep motor sailing.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 9

The sun is out under a blue sky. The humming noise from the engine still on and that will probably go on for another few days. Sails are up and helping us together with 0.5 to 0.8kn of friendly current to close the gap to Horta, a traditional must destination for any sailor coming from West and arriving in Azores.

We got plenty of water & food. Both of us, Rainer and me, are spreading an incredible positive mindset to make this passage memorable with gale force winds at the start and a glassy sea at the end.

There is no reason to be bored. While the lady gets an extra portion of care here and there, we grab the chance to allow some good quality time for ourselves.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 8

After 24 hours under Genaker sail we got finally stopped in the early morning hours at the time the wind dropped below 5kn. No way we could keep the light wind sails up and the lady moving.

No option. We have to accept. Taking all sails in we started the engine for a couple of hours and had a peaceful morning tea under the emerging sun. Boat clean up was overdue and took us another couple of hours while checking latest weather forecasts. Less wind than predicted from changing directions. Hm, nothing we really need but on the other side we are absolutely aware, that our Low Wind Challenge has only started.

We will grab maximum movement under sails from any suitable winds around with the help of the engine, if needed. I am not a fan of motoring on the ocean but sometimes you need to bite the bullit.

Less than 500nm to go.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 7

Some time has passed since the last logblog entry and its mainly enthusiasm, which drives this. Not that we have been lazy, not at all, rather the opposite. A lot has happended on this very interesting passage.

There are MUST DO duties and CAN DO ones and both filled the days. One of the MUST DO is to take time to enjoy, which very often comes too short. This time I managed better and the accompany I have with Rainer at the moment has got some good influence into this.

A lot of energy has also been put into moving the lady forward. Numerous changes to the sail configuration and constant observation of the weather developments to ensure our route will not bring us into trouble. On this subject I want to state that Uwe/DD1HUR is providing amazing guidance and care taking. It seems he is somewhere here onboard as a virtual passanger. On the sunset attached there is a front visible, which passed through last evening and only hours before Uwe informed us that besides blue sky during the day there will be a front coming through at the later ours of the day. Rainer and myself looked at each other with shaking heads and asking ourselves: where the hack is Uwe hiding on SY Hullu Poro ?!?

++++++++++++extract Uwe/DD1HUR – 8th May 2023+++++++++++++++

Zunächst aber ein kurzer Überblich: Wir haben es jetzt 14:30 UTC und die Satellitenbilder sind von 13:40 UTC. Selbst, wenn man so ca. 1 Std. “processing time” rechnet, sollten die Bilder doch sehr aktuell sein. Danach sollte sich die “Hexe” unter einer etwas lockereren Wolkendecke aufhalten, während die Hullu Poro eher in der Sonne fährt, also, relativ leichte Bewölkung, die im Infrarotbild fast durchsichtig wirkt. Auch das “visible” Image zeigt das so. südwestlich von euch so in einem Gebiet 24°40’N; 055°16’W – 34°05’N;040°08’W liegt ein kompaktes Wolkenband, das nach Norden zu sich etwas auffächert. Das reicht bis nahezu an die Hullu Poro heran, die Wolken müsstet ihr sehen.

++++++++++++extract Uwe/DD1HUR – 8th May 2023+++++++++++++++

A Champagne Challenge was called alive but did finally not take off due to some regulatory issues, which could not be resolved. Therefore our focus has shifted back to maximize fun during this passage while staying engaged in an ambitous way to sail the lady eastwards. This works best for us. The party in Horta is a given.

It has become chilly. After such a long time in warm climate we need to get the socks and sleeping back out again during the nights. It’s good we sail into the summer, so it will be fine soon.

I will try to document a few more points a bit later but now I need some hot tea.

Fair winds…

Bermuda to Azores – Logblog 6

The wind has increased to 30+kn gusting close to 40kn as forecasted. The gusts are rare but we have adjusted the sails for the worst and are in principal under full foresail only plus a tissue sized main sail. Our speed is still constantly above 7kn. We had one rain shower so far, the moon is out in a still milky sky.

For at least the last 12 hours we are running along the 1014mbar isobar pressure line with the low pressure on port side and the high pressure on starbord side. 

We have finetuned our strategy to stay in the race against our friends from SY Hexe. The gap has been closed recently.

The waves are high but pleasant and therefore do not really matter anymore as I have become part of the system. Even prepared a lasagne last night, which Rainer and myself enjoyed accompanied by 100ml of rosé wine, which is the max allowable sip under the regulation on SY Hullu Poro, in case a nice meal got prepared.

Fair winds…

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