Showing posts from June, 2012

The float switch saga

Although I am not feeling 100% OK I am getting antsy about getting out of Horta and on to Ireland.  I have a couple of repairs that I want to accomplish before I leave.  Top of the priority list was to replace the float switch for the "everyday" bilge pump.  (There is also a high level bilge pump and switch that is working fine.) I pumped out the last of the water in the bilge, took out the switch and headed for the marine parts store.  They didn't have a float switch, but they did have a switch and pump combo pack for 85 euro.  (Food and booze here is cheap, boat parts, not so much.)  I then spent a couple of hours hitting every story within walking distance that might have a switch.  No luck.

While out I stopped by a drug store to purchase vitamins.  I hoped that they would help me knock down the last of what ails me as I had run out while on transit from Bermuda.  I guess not only boat parts but US drugs  don't come cheap - a 100 pill pack of Centrum 50 + vitamins…

Voyage Summary - St. George's, Bermuda to Horta, Azores

SITREP Departed St. George's Bermuda on Sunday, 10 June at about 1635Z.  Ran over to the fuel dock and customs via dinghy so I didn't have to deal with bringing Reboot into the customs dock again.  When I arrived it was blowing 20 knots and it was a royal pain.  I bent my plough anchor when I finally put Reboot into the dock so that I could get a line over.  I obviously misjudged the speed and distance but it is difficult from 40 feet away.  As my day by day summaries indicate it was a very unusual weather pattern for the North Atlantic in June.  Instead of going up to 40 N and riding the westerlies I stayed down in the low 30's and road the south side of the progression of lowes including Hurricane/Tropical Storm Chris that were roaring across the higher latitudes.  Came into the Marina da Horta.  No radio communication - wandered further into port until I discovered the marina office building - a couple of guys were waving at me so I went over …

Horta, Azores

I have now been in Horta for a couple of days and am feeling better.  About a day before I got here I started to get flu like symptoms.  I didn't think it was possible to get sick in the middle of the ocean (except for seasick of course.)  So my first couple of days here have been mostly on the john or in bed.

Acores (the Azores) is truly the crossroads of the Atlantic.  The marina in Horta claims to be able to hold 300 boats.  In truth it is like the end of the Chicago - Mac race.  Most everyone is rafted up three or four deep.  The inside boat is always the one about to leave so one spends a bit of each day shifting around the stacks.

In my raft today it is just Reboot and a boat from Poland.  Yesterday we had a boat from Ireland, the boats behind me are from England, France (I wonder if they realize that the channel is between their boats - reminds me of Rockefeller Center.) and Germany.

One of the traditions here is to paint your boat name, crew, and date on the seawall.  The …

In Port, Horta, Azores

Arrived yesterday morning.  Not feeling well so I have been sleeping a lot.  More when I feel a bit better.

XO Delivers a fish

To my face in the middle of the night.  Ugh!

... And a wake up

Noon Position - Monday 25 June 2012
N 37 06
W 029 55
108 NM to Horta, Azores

1. The last couple of days have been miserable weather. Yesterday I had winds in excess of 40 knots. I have experienced this before off Newfoundland but it doesn't make it easier or better. In addition I had a loose halyard that went bang bang bang bang bang for about 4 hours while the front passed. Another lesson to the wise, make sure everything is tied down and not able to bang. Of course I could have gone up on deck and secured it except (a) I was taking large quantities of green water over the deck - including waves that didn't break until they hit the deck and (b) I love myself too much to be that crazy. Eventually it did calm down and now I have light winds in the 7 to 10 knot range.
2. One thing that has kept me sane is my nightly radio contacts with Bill (KI4MMZ) and Fred (W3ZU.) Fred has also run telephone patches to Spencer and Trevor. It is quite a treat to hear their voices even…

12th Night!

Again I am sending this the following morning:
@ 0000 Z 23 Jun 2012 Reboot was as:
N 35 02
W 35 58
1. Have been dodging storms but still have very strong weather. Last night winds were in the 30 to 35 knot range, seas 10 to 12 feet. The first time you see a wave above the level of your solar panels gives you pause.
2. It is amazing what small course changes (and wind changes) can do for the ride. Last night was terrible, wind on the beam, waves crashing over the deck, a couple of halyards doing their version of the Chinese water torture. I learned in Newfoundland to never run with a main at night. The danger of trying to reef while taking green water over the side is just too much. Last night I was running with about 50% jib which was more than enough for 30 knot winds. While being thrown around in my bunk I just put up with the halyards slapping. This morning after dawn I altered course about 10 degrees to stay on track. The entire ride calmed down and (relatively) smoothed…

11th Day Out

0800Z (Next Morning)
N 34 14
W 37 38

Long day and night dodging the effects of Hurricane Chris. Question - why do you cross the Atlantic in May and June? Answer, because there are no Hurricanes! Of course.

All OK, just tired from the constant bashing about in the waves.

Fair winds and following seas.

10th Day Out

N 33 30.6
W 041 06.3
1. Winds have been relatively light all day. Also got the beautiful "red sky at night" at sunset. I am watching this carefully because Tropical Storm Chris is to my North and West. I an transiting the top of a high pressure area. Hopefully this will insulate me from the T.S. winds until Chris dissipates in the next couple of days. At this point I will head up to Horta in the Azores as the track to the Azores and to Kinsale Ireland are just about the same.
2. Most of today has been quiet but the Tropical Storm Chris low has created some confused wave trains. This may amaze some people but there are times underway when I wake up from a nap that I can't perceive any motion in the boat. It is as if we are actually on shore. It is one of the very weird things that happen while on these long transits. The contra is when Reboot is jerked around by confused seas and all I want to do is keep my back from breaking.
3. I keep loosing distance to …

9th Day Out

N 33 17
W 43 22

1. Don't know what I was thinking the other day but the proper coordinates for Horta (the port in the Azores) is 38 12 N 28 37.5 W. That is about 600 miles east of where I told you it was the other day.
2. Good communications with Herb today. Quite a major storm brewing Northwest of me. It looks like I may be South and East enough to miss at least some of the brunt of the storm. It should be a function of just reefing down and riding it out. I have experienced winds as forecast before while up in Newfoundland and St. Pierre. Still, does give one pause.
3. I will be continuing due East for the next three days. This will put the Great Circle route to Kinsdale just about thru the Azores so it looks like Horta is in my future.
4. Light winds all today, have not been making as much progress as in the previous couple of days. I should enjoy it while I have it as the winds will build quite a bit over the next three days.
5. An interesting experience is tha…

8TH Day Out

N 33 12
W 44 52

1. Quiet day of light winds - made good progress but not as fast as the past couple of days.
2. Was able to talk to Herb (Southbound II) and Bill (KI4MMZ) today with respect to weather. It looks like if I go to Horta (Azores) I might arrive in some strong winds but if I were to bypass Horta and head direct for Ireland I would be heading right into the low so the winds would be worse. This is 5 days out so we will see what actually happens.
3. Have shifted from the Western Atlantic Weather Faxes and forecasts to the Eastern Atlantic - a sign of progress.

Fair winds and following seas.


7th Day Out

Writing this the morning of the 8th day.

N 33 29
W 46 06

1 Radio communications yesterday were difficult. I could not download the weather charts or talk to Herb from Southbound II
2 Starting to see the influence of the Azores High. (Horta is at N 38 30 W 38 50). Horta is 120 east of the western Azores Islands

6th Day Out

N 32 53
W 050 22

Nice 24 hours - no rain - winds got very light this morning but filled in later in the day.

1. I moved into a new time zone - I am now in GMT - 3. Sunrise and sunset are aligning better with what my body expects the clock to say since Reboot runs on GMT.
2. Also a new record - I am now east of St. John's, Newfoundland which was the furthest east Reboot had ever been.
3. Played with the bow light this morning while it was light winds - I just have to replace the light fixture. All my clever repairs seem for naught.
4. Maury - I am trolling a line. I will let you know if anything strikes.
5. I listen to Herb (Southbound II) for weather every day. It is interesting to hear the other boats making the transit, we are spread about 120 miles apart in a line (since that is the weather advice track we are getting.

Fair winds and following seas.

5th Day Oot

N 32 38
W 52 26
1. Quiet day. Steady winds, now veering from west to southwest. Doing crosswords and some computer gaming but the gaming computer eats up the batteries.

Fair winds and following seas.

4th Day Out

Rex: I heard you today on the MMSN but could not establish coms. I am on my way from Bermuda to Cork, Ireland, although it looks like I will stop in Horta in the Azores.

32 16 N
59 01 W

1. When I left Bermuda there were 4 other sailboats with me. I lost track of them the first evening. Channel 16 has been quiet and the AIS has shown no targets until today when I copied a conversation between two boats (ships?) Neither showed up on the Ais. it's lonely out here!
2. As I mentioned to Rex it looks like I will stop in the Azores (Horta) and look for a weather window to Ireland.
3. Played some Civ V today. Very complex game, still don't think I have a handle on it.
4. Screwed around for about 1/2 hour trying to make the printer work to print out the weather faxes. Did all sorts of stuff on the computer only to discover that a cable was loose on teh back of the printer. LOL
5. Failed to mention that the preferred mooring field in St George's Bermuda is "Co…

3rd Day Out

32 52 N
057 20 W

1. Continue heading East per weather routers Herb (Southbound II) and Bill (KI4MMZ). Tough 24 hours with several squalls and rain. Wind gusts to 30 knots but most of the time wind from the west at 15 knots. Using (and learning) the Scanmar "Monitor" wind steering more and more. One thing I like is that when a squall hits the Monitor tends to just let Reboot head up into the wind to ride it out. With the Autohelm autopilot we would maintain course. This would often result in quite interesting angles of heal. The Monitor also demonstrates just how confused the winds are after the squall. I have had to learn to give it 30 minutes or so to go back to the original course. That is because the winds are still veering and backing all over the place just after the squall passes.
2. Have been downloading the weather faxes and am learning to read them. I have Steven and Linda Dashew's "Mariner's Weather Handbook." Between my weather r…

2nd Day Out

Currently around 32 43 N 59 36 W
This is the second day since my departure from Bermuda.
1. Mostly good sailing until hit by a line squall 32 knot winds. Now have 5 to 6 knots. Mostly convective activity from solar heating.
2. Water maker still giving me fits. Worked fine yesterday, would not work today. Fortunately have lots of water on board. But I am going to get this handled one way or another - this has not worked correctly in the 3 years I have owned it.
3. Still about on track for distance covered. Sailing due east to avoid a big low to the NE and adverse winds. If this keeps up I may end up in the Azores as they will be on my track
4. XO is happy or sad depending on the weather. Oh well.
5. Got the gaming computer out today to play a little bit since the Kindle doesn't work. Of course the squall hit about 15 minutes into my game so I stuffed the computer back in a safe place before I dealt with the sails.
6, Could not communicate with Herb (Southbound II) fo…


Departing Bermuda for Ireland about 1700 UTC today.

Day in St. George's

I took advantage of the fact that Larry of Serengeti needed to go to the hardware store to join him and get fuses for the refrigerator. It is working again, Yea! I also ran the cleaning chemicals thru the water maker. I think I will have to replace the filter tomorrow and clean it again.
I spent a good part of the day walking around St. George's. I visited the oldest Anglican church in North America. I also got a number of pictures that I will post again when I have Internet.
Weather here is warm days and cool nights, good for sleeping and getting the boat ready for departure to Ireland.
Fair winds and following seas.

Half Way to Bermuda

It is Monday 4 June and I am a little more than half way to Bermuda.  The first days of the trip have been rain and overcast.  Interestingly the rain has brought very little wind with it.  In fact, wind has been my problem. Too little wind.  I have spent quite  few hours bobbing along at 2.5 to 3 knots in winds of 5 or 6 knots.  The waves rock Reboot around quite a bit so the sails are doing a lot of banging. I did rig the whisker pole only to have the halyard on the pole break.  The upper part of the halyard is now wrapped around the upper rigging.  I was concerned since it flipped around the forestay that I would be unable to furl the jib but I did get it furled without incident. I raised the main and it was blanketing the jib so I figured better find out now than later.  I still have a single reef in the main as I don't want to risk the top of the main fouling in the halyard that is wrapped around the top of the mast. The refrigerator went out on the f…

Kindle Fail

For the second time in a year my Kindle has crapped out.  Since it is loaded with the books I intended to read on this trip you can imagine how delighted I am. Anakin Skywaker AGHHHHHHHHHHH!!

XO Catches Two Fish!

Actually the fish committed suicide by leaping on to the deck in the midldle of the night.  This did not prevent XO from dragging them around the cabin leaving me a bit of a mess (not too bad) to clean up.  Interestingly he had no interest in eating them. About 230 miles left to Bermuda Fair winds and following seas

Voyage Summary - Lake Worth, FL, USA to St. George's, Bermuda

SITREP Departed Lake Worth about 10 AM local after fueling and waving goodbye to Ed and Claudia Davis.  Hot and sunny, was becalmed the first day until the afternoon thunderstorms started.  Gulf Stream running strong.  Since I was not trying to make the Bahamas I did not compensate and was carried about 80 miles north by the current. The remainder of trip in overcast skies or rain.  Herb routed me below 29 N as a series of lows were passing North to keep me out of stronger winds.  Turned North at 67 35 N.  Waves ranged from 3 to 10 feet on the beam or stern; winds averaged 15 to 20 with gusts to 30 in storms. Arrived St. George in 15 to 20 knot winds (inside the harbor!) and was directed to make fast to the customs dock.  Took two tries to get tied up.  Cleared customs and immigration without incident,  Typical of the efficient British I was contacted by radio about 20 miles out and asked for all the information they needed to fill out the forms in advance.  C…

Long First Night in St. George's Bermuda

As I mentioned in my last blog entry when I arrived in St. George's Harbor the wind inside the harbor was blowing 20 knots.  The weather forecast was for the wind to increase to gale force overnight.  Given my recent experience in dragging anchor and the fact that the mooring area was sufficiently crowded that I could not put out all of my desired scope I was pretty nervous.  I put out as much as I dared and then added the concern of swinging into another boat to my list of frets.  I took out my second anchor (the Fortress) and laid it and its rode out on the deck.  I figured that this time if I dragged I would at least be able to throw a second anchor over the side! The long and short of it was that I did not drag.  This morning the winds are calm, although we are having rain showers.  The forecast is for improving weather and we may actually see the SUN tomorrow for the first time since I departed Lake Worth. I was in pretty blue spirits last night. Aft…


Arrived June 7 to Gale Warnings. Reboot in St. George. Weather to clear Saturday. More to follow.