Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Few Fun Photos

Enjoying a sundowner during Verne's visit

If the Captain has to tell you twice there is gonna be trouble!

Bow duty during departure.

Ohhh, artsy sail photo
Sailing Away
Offshore bliss

More artsy sunsets…

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Azores…

…we had a realization that it's not about the destination.  It's about making yourself happy.

We left St Barth's heading out on a 2,100 mile passage to the Azores and afterwards we planned for  another 1,200 miles to Ireland.  Our forecast was okay - not perfect but it's a long passage and that's the best you can ask for.  As we were 100 miles offshore and close hauled at about 35 degrees off the wind, making 4 kts, with gusts up to 35 kts, we realized that we were heading to Bermuda - almost northwest instead of sailing northeast towards the Azores.  There were also two gales forecasted for the North Atlantic.  We decided that instead of fighting the weather for the next three weeks, we would make ourselves happy and go where the wind blows us, which seemed to be around the Bahamas and back to the US.  With a sister who was recently diagnosed with cancer, it would be nice to be around family and friends again.  The further we went west and the more Baxter and I embraced the change of plans, the more we looked forward to all the fun possibilities and adventures the summer would offer.

On a sad note, but one that reinforced our decision to go west, one of the boats we met in Antigua that was also going to the Azores and that we spoke to the crew at length about the passage, Cheeki Rafiki, was found capsized with the keel missing and the liferaft intact on the deck and no crew members found. We really feel for the crew and their families. 

Our passage was fantastic!!  Downwind sailing at it's best with only one truly squally day and only 1-2 light air days.  I think I wore the crew out saying over and over "I could do this for months" or "…now this is my kind of sailing" or "wow…Do we ever have to make landfall?"

I will let the pictures do the talking for the 12-day, 1,400 nautical miles.  Enjoy the ride - we sure did!
Leaving Anse de Colombier, St Barth's.  May 11, 2014 at 13:30.

Fun times ahead...
Terrapin crew owning the cockpit and everything is under control.
Now this is more like it!
A view from the office.
Our beautiful spinnaker at work again.
On a long passage…different selfie views are fun!!
Can you believe how beautiful this is?  We are so fortunate to experience the ocean this way.
Terrapin on a beautiful downwind sail.
Motion of the ocean causing the blur.  Happy Kala waking up from her nap.

Happy crew with spicy mustard chickpeas and spinach for dinner.

Chilly morning in the North Atlantic.
The locals showing us the way.
Sometimes it IS all sunshine and daisies.
Kala and the Captain enjoying some downtime off watch.

Everyday life aboard…Baxter enjoying his french toast breakfast, Daniel reviewing the Bahamas charts and John reading Surfer's Journal.
Daniel made a tasty loaf of bread.  It was gone before the end of the day.
Japanese car carrier in the channel as we pulled into Brunswick.
Kala keeping an eye on the land…making sure we don't take off again before she gets to run her paws through some fresh grass.
Enjoying some great beer at Tipsy's in Brunswick.  Cheers to a great passage!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Go time! (FINALLY!)

Hello from wet and squally St. Barths!  Below is part of the forecast we received this morning from our weather routers, WRI which gives us the green light for departing to the Azores tomorrow.

We're all ready to get going and will be sending daily SPOT updates which will appear on the "map" link on the blog.

Giddy up!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Never Boring

Having spent a great month in Antigua, it was time to get moving.   Unfortunately, our forecast for the passage to the Azores was squally and high(er) winds, so the crew decided it might be fun to run up to another island and see new things while we waited for the Tropical Wave in the Atlantic to move on.

As we sailed out of Jolly Harbor headed towards St Barth’s, about ten big dolphins danced on our bow and led the way north.  We were on a run with light and variable winds at 8 kts apparent from 180 degrees.  We haven’t seen those conditions in the seven months since we have been in the Caribbean.  

The slow motor sailing gave us time for fun projects, including raising the spinnaker for the first time on Terrapin.  When we bought Terrapin, there was a traditional spinnaker so we had that cut/modified to an asymmetrical by North Sails while we were in Antigua and it was fun to watch it fly.  The spinnaker material is very delicate, which helps it inflate in light air, but it started to slap when we surfed down a wave, so we decided to bring it back down, since we didn’t want to rip it the first time we used it.  The process was good practice and we were able to implement a workable, repeatable system when we’re ready to deploy it again.

Soon after bringing in the spinnaker, Baxter and John spotted three whale spouts in the distance…and then they were gone.  We watched for quite a while since surely they have to come back up at some point, but they eluded us.  It is always such a nice peaceful feeling knowing these beautiful creatures are out there.

We woke up last night to 30kts of wind in the mooring field with higher gusts and rain. Wow, we’re really glad that we listened to the weather router and didn’t leave for the Azores until this low passes.

Until then, Welcome to St Barthelemy John and Daniel!

She's a beauty!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wait for it... wait for it…

Early this morning we provisioned, fueled and watered the boat. While we were provisioning we got an email from our weather router, WRI, Inc., recommending delaying our departure until the 11th due to a trough of low pressure/tropical wave just to the west of our route that will produce a lot of showers/squalls.

"Good morning, and thanks for your latest. If you left on the 07th, there would be winds to 30kts and swells to 9ft. Leaving on the 08th, there would be winds to 25kts and swells to 7ft or so. For both departures, there would be numerous showers/squalls for the first 3-4 days of trip with locally gusty winds. If you are under an increasing time crunch, then we would recommend the 08th over the 07th, though delaying until the 11th would allow more time for the system to move away (it will be a slow mover)."

No doubt we will have squally weather on the trip but we don't feel any need to leave in it. We're probably going to St. Barths tomorrow to have some fun and get a change of scenery from Antigua.

It's great being ready to go at a moment's notice and also nice to have the advantage WRI looking at convective activity in addition to the GRIBS.

Molly and Dan storing food.


A very full dinghy. 

Panoramic Terrapin Interior.

Dan has decided to live on GORP for 4 weeks...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Waiting on Weather...

Here is a snapshot of our route to the Azores and the weather forecast from Weather Routers Inc.  We will receive an update to this tomorrow, but I don't expect too much to change based on the GRIBs.

We are still looking good for a Wednesday, 5/7/14, departure and we are r-e-a-d-y!

Friday, May 2, 2014

New Blog Functionality- MAP PAGE!!!

As many of our friends know, after we sold Stella Blue to new owners, we all became friends and stayed in touch with them.  Logan and Gillian were such great people and we were excited they chose Stella Blue to take them along on many new adventures.

Since we left Virginia, I have been trying to find a way to add a "Map" page to our blog, among other technical issues I have not been able to resolve.  Well, it just so happens Logan is a technical expert (previous experience at Apple right out of college) and he suffered through all my many questions, helping as my tech support desk for things that are just beyond me.

Today we received an email from him:  "I was able to get the map embedded as a page (a tab at the top of the blog)…….If you click on the boat, it should give you information about the date/time, long/lat, and the message sent."

Just like that…it's done.THANK YOU LOGAN!!  

So, just to clarify - there is now a tab on this blog at the top named "Map".  If you click on that, it will take you to a map that shows our position based on our latest Spot update, including latitude, longitude, a brief message and the time of the update.

Our plan is to send at least one Spot update daily on our passage to the Azores and Ireland so it should be fairly easy to see where we are on a daily basis.