Atlantic Odyssey Day 19, 20 & 21: News from the fleet



Day 19 – Sunday 6 December

Alba, Shapeshifter, New Horizon, QP

Arrived in le Marin today.
See the report.



Distance run today: 129 miles
Total distance run:    2609 miles
Distance to go:   483 miles


Just  had a night we do not want to repeat. I thought I would just sound a serious note.

The battery bank finally collapsed about 6am – it was Pete’s watch. He battled on with no instruments and very little power, helming manually for a while before waking me. We had to address the task of isolating the rogue battery. Pete helmed in very heavy seas and high winds, while I lay spread eagled over the aft cabin floor trying to access the battery terminals through a hatch. Anyway, we managed to isolate the rogue and we believe we are back in business now. Gradually testing various systems and getting the remaining batteries charged using the engine.

So this is a tribute to my good friend Pete. I can’t thank Pete enough for his electrical knowledge and seamanship.

What we both need is a damn good curry – and guess what…?



C Bligh and I have finally solved our power problem. It’s a bit like battery bingo, which we won by identifying the one identical battery in five which was being naughty. It has now been disconnected and sent to voltage limbo.

While all this was going on the boat had to be hand steered. There were a lot of very nasty rain squalls about. We took turns at steering for blocks of half an hour. Now here’s the thing; During my half hours the heavens opened and the rain came horizontally with 30 knot winds. During Bligh’s half hours the sun shone and the wind dropped to 15 knots. Needless to say old Bis clucking on about having connections “up there”.

Today’s meal will be er, uhm, er, Curry!


Happy Koumata

French Hello la terre,
En tant que bons marseillais, nous vous informons que nous devrions arriver
pour l’heure du pastis, entre 12h et 14h, demain (nous acceptons également
le rhum, à partir de demain).
A demain


French Tout va très bien à bord. Il fait beau, la mer est presque plate, et on avance entre 5 et 6 noeuds sous GV et génois tangonné.

Par contre, si le vent ne forcit pas un peu, je commence à avoir des doutes sur une arrivée avant le 18 décembre. On a le temps d’en reparler d’ici là.

Heidi 2.0

French Nous venons de rejoindre les Alizés à 170 Nm au nord de Santo Antao, 025º ouest. Encore faible, ils devraient fraichir dans la journée à 15 kts. Nous faisons route au 270º avec un baro a 1015 mb.

Retour du soleil et de la chaleur, tout ces ingrédients donnent un super moral à l’équipage.

Nous espérons encore pouvoir vous rejoindre avant le 18… si éole nous est très, mais alors très favorable 🙂

Day 20 – Monday 7 December

Deiopa, Shuti, Happy Koumata, Lazy Bones

Arrived in Le Marin today.
See the report


Distance run today: 142 miles
Total distance run:    2752 miles
Distance to go:   342 miles    


Apologies to everyone for the emotional outburst in yesterday’s posting. Normal discipline has been restored.

Of course, my compliments of yesterday went to Grandad’s head and he started strutting about giving orders as if he had been promoted from bucket and mop boy. After High Tea – the usual 3 Jacob’s Crackers (butter withheld); 3 teaspoon sized servings of Chevre; and 3 olives – he was sent packing to sleep off any ideas of grandeur in the guitar case.

The crew are starting to mutter about what they will do with their pay when they get ashore. I may have yet one more disappointment in store for them.



So we have finally started our reach down to our waypoint just East of Martinique. It great sailing, 7 – 9 knots but very lumpy.

Our power problems are just about under control. We may need to run without the fridge and freezer for the last couple of days though. This means, says Bligh, that we will have to eat all the curry at once to save wasting it. Whilst I am not completely against the idea, I can’t help feeling that it might affect our popularity rating in Martinique.

Today’s meal will be: One or more curries



Day 21 – Tuesday 8 December

Elessis, Walden, Lord Jim, Paloma

Arrived in Le Marin today.

See the report.


Diverting to Barbados and expected 10 December.


Turned on the Engine today for the First time, 8/10 Kn E Pos. 15.07N
53.08W 21.00 UTC 8 Dec
ETA 10/11 Dec


Distance run today: 153 miles
Total distance run:    2908 miles
Distance to go       :   189 miles


Breaking news!!! did did did da da da…. The Captain caught a fish!!

It was a hot and balmy afternoon. I could see Grandad down below on deck, frying in the tropical sun. I had warned him that Heinz don’t make factor 50, but he seemed content to smear mayonnaise all over his face and arms.

Suddenly the familiar shout went up – “thar she blows!”. Quick as a flash and without hesitation, I raced below to complete the Risk Assessment Form. Not being one for red tape and bureaucracy, I must admit to only taking 3 copies instead of the obligatory 4, before filing the forms in their appropriate ring binders.

I climbed back on deck and took control of the situation. Reeling in the 40lb line, muscle and sinew stretched beyond what was natural or humane. Then I saw it, gleaming in the sunlight, golden yellow, green, shimmering rainbow colours, as it skidded along the waves, pulled in against its will towards the speeding vessel. It was the famous fish of these waters – roughly translated the “Oh my, oh my” .

I hauled it up to the transom and it looked at me with an intelligence that I was not accustomed to, having spent so long at sea with only the crew for company. I hesitated, I could smell the crew standing behind me – presumably ready to catch me should I fall in – I heard one mutter – “big girls blouse”; then another – “wimp”. It was true, I could not bear to kill this beautiful creature – at that moment – sensing my doubt, the fish gave a last ditch slap of its tail and manged to jump off the hook and back into the deep – free again. Grandad, who managed to get a photo of the event, was laughing so much he did in fact wet himself – he says it was a wave – but.

I was proud that we had complied with EU fisheries policy. I am well on my way now to catching and releasing 5 more fish to die a slow death, while qualifying to land the 6th which will be fit for human consumption, should it comply with the Orthogonal Shapes Directive 1963. We all support the work of the Orthogonal Working Party on Shapes, Sizes and Dispositions of Natural Products Committee. After all it was the OWPSSDNP that put a stop to the abhorrent trade in curved bananas, and oval tomatoes. I shudder when I think of the standards of fresh fruit and veg that my parents had to put up with – while we get to feast on perfect produce being sprayed gently by wafts of morning dew under the soft glow of neon lights with hint of sunshine.

The cruising chute – warp factor 1 at last for the last run to Martinique, we hope. But not without the usual trials and tribulations. First we discovered that we had bent a large shackle on the spinnaker pole with the tension on the furling drum the last time we used the chute. Then on launching the working sheet managed to blow up the Selden block on the toe rail and we had to create a spiders web of ropes and winches to winch the sheet out of the bust block. Finally we are away, and the engine room can sit back and just watch the crystals to their magic.

We are down to two curries – and Chef has promised us both one each instead of sharing as per usual. A real red letter day.



Old Bligh has finally caught a fish! Of course there is a world of difference between catching a fish and actually landing it. Events were as follows;

Yesterday afternoon, I spotted what appeared to be fishy activity on his line, and conveyed this to himself. I’ve never seen him so excited. He leaped to the stern with his usual grace and fluidity of movement, i.e. that of an elephant on iceskates, and starts to reel in frantically. After a few moments it is clear that he has caught a Mahi Mahi. In my mind the garlic butter sauce is already being created.

Of course it all had to go wrong, and inevitably it did. He suddenly starts having a very heated argument with himself. Given the language he was using, it’s a good job we are still in mid Atlantic! To my horror, during this contretemps the fish escapes. I must admit to being less than amused at this turn of events.

Bligh tells me that as he was about to land what had already become a monster fish in his mind, he was accosted by our chap from the ministry of Ag and Fish. During the quota talks says Chap to Bligh, the ministry reduced our quota of Mahi Mahi somewhat in return for some unspecified concessions to do with tractor parts manufacturing in Wolverhampton. When pushed it transpires that our quota is zero. Ahh well curry again.

His Blighness then starts ranting on about the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy, and all the usual popular myths (no straight bananas etc) disseminated by the daily Mail reading sections of the public. I say to him “rules is rules” which causes him to go a very odd colour indeed.

Worryingly, another person has joined the honourable captain’s imaginary entourage; viz Clive from accounts. Apparently as a result of a very poor catch in terms of fish on this trip, expenses are going to need to be examined. I am no fool. “Examined” is finance speak for cutting wages and conditions of the poorly paid, aka me. No doubt finance will not be looking at all the extra layers of management taking on by Bligh (Spock et al). I feel there is going to be trouble!

We are two main meals away from Martinique, and we have two curries left. Smart hey?

Today’s dinner will be: See above.


Russ – Evening email

Just to say that our autopilot has completely collapsed – This is the new unit fitted in Lanzarote, not the rudder sensor that we replaced en route.

We are hand steering the final stretch – 151nm to go.

We may not be very coherent when we arrive 🙂

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