02 - Atlantic Crossing
The folks at work might get a good laugh out of this... During the Atlantic crossing all the Rally boats would check in via SSB radio every morning at 1000, reporting their position and current weather conditions. As you may have guessed it didn't take long before I had a spreadsheet that would give me relative distances, distance made good, etc. for each boat and also plot positions and weather conditions on a LAT/LON grid (see picture) - old habbits die hard...
A few short video clips taken during the crossing…
The first one is of a group of dolphins playing off Namani’s stern between the Canaries and the Cape Verdes:
A short voice over on day 6, still between the Canaries and Cape Verdes:
We finally did arrive at Jolly Harbour at approx. 1330 local yesterday (Wed, 12DEC)... very nice place, very nice to be on land again and see the other rally boats & crews. Unfortunately, Peter had to leg it last night already to catch his flight back to the UK - 26 days at sea and 6 hours at the destination, that's got to be some kind of a record... Very nice to meet Ralf here who will be staying with us until Sunday.
We raised Antigua (or a land mass that we hope to be Antigua) at 0815 local this morning and will have English Harbour abeam in one hour with an ETA at Jolly Harbour, our destination here, at 1500 local today. Another good 24 hr run with 147 nm on the log finally saved us and we hope to make happy hour tonight!
After some favorable winds and keeping the "pedal to the metal" for the past 36 hrs we now hope to be in Antigua tomorrow (Wednesday) late afternoon. The final sprint is taking a bit of a toll on boat and crew especially with having had to hand steer in big and confused seas with the boat going 7+ knots. Doing a 3-hour shift of that at night leaves you somewhat jaded especially while it is hard to get decent sleep during the off-watch as the boat is tossed around in the waves.
Did I say the trades are back a few days ago? Well that was short lived... after dealing with rain and thunder squalls all day yesterday (and actually making good progress) we were becalmed 14 hrs during last night. Now there is a gentle 10 knots of true wind from behind which only gets us about 4.5 kn of boat speed with ~420 nm to go to Antigua - and even the occasional squalls don't provide much of a push currently... hence our ETA now has slipped to Thursday morning.
Wow - an unusual view this morning: shortly after sunrise we had a pod of 4-5 whales (type to be determined, each one approx the length of our boat) swimming approx. 20m off Namani's beam before crossing our bow and disappearing into the distance. Quite an awesome sight - if a bit close for comfort though... With a good 24 hr run behind us and approx. 625 nm to go we're still hoping for 12DEC arrival - stay tuned...
Finally... this is what we imagined it to be all along: 15-20 knots from the ENE, a gentle and long Atlantic swell and sunny skies with lots of cumulus and the occasional squall - let's hope it stays this way until Antigua! Between contrary winds, being becalmed and some technical problems we are now looking at a 26 day passage (vs the hoped for 21-23 days), hoping to get into Antigua on Wednesday, 12DEC. In any case - all is well aboard, Nicky continues to enjoy his Lego and Peter, Nana and Markus enjoy the tropical sun.
Oh boy what happened to the trade winds?? After the first week of hunting them south of the Canaries it looked like they had finally moved in for good but 3 days ago the weather has started playing havoc with our progress again - everything from contrary winds to totally becalmed and nothing of that nice ENE at 20kn from behind... Our ETA in Antigua has now slipped to Wed, 12DEC which in face of current weather forecasts might still prove a challenge.