Odyssey Log

Day 10 of the Atlantic Odyssey

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We are having fun. Two patches in the leach of the genoa. Old sail, oh well. Watermaker bearing is leaking onto head floor slightly. No sweat because we have a spare. Does make for daily head floor cleaning which is quite the bonus!

We are prepping for Thanksgiving today. Preparing a favorite recipe from each of our land based family members not with us and the girls are making costumes. I have to be Pocohantus, the girl indian that helped the pilgrims survive. I thought I’d make a better Christopher Columbus but the “little directors” won out. Will take pictures to send later on. Smelling sweet…



Celebration day!

Oh boy, what a day. Where to begin? First of all, we’re celebrating the tenth day at sea, which I already find kind of overwhelming. Then we also passed the line of having less than 2000nm left (3704km)!

In addition to that, we reached 20°north, which means we can go straight west with the trade winds from behind!

And, if this wasn’t enough, all the other celebration reasons seemed to pop up, one after one: sail technique success (spree boom), unintentional fishing, first bird photo for SeaBC and first Atlantic dolphin show!

So how did we manage to party this hard?

My dad made a solid beef meal with the most glorious smell I’ve ever encountered. Potatoes, fresh vegetables and real meat – no cans involved! After a little sail rescue fun we finished the meal with exquisite chocolate (as always).


Papy Jovial

Paying the toll

This morning overcast sky and squalls all around us but we were still moving along well with full main and three turns in the genoa. Then, while Jean-Paul was assisting Firmin at the wheel we got hit by a vicious 40 to 45 knots gust of wind and the boat came up to the wind. I took the helm, trying to go back to having the wind in our back while Jean-Paul rushed to the mast to take one reef down. That is when we realized that there was  a hole in its upper part.

Since then Jean-Paul is intent on repairing the sail at sea. By now the wind has settled down into 30 knots from ESE. During a very short respite Jean-Paul has managed to take the main down. His intentions are to set up shop on the boom, with a harness but lying down on the sail. I know Jean-Paul well enough to know that nothing will stop him until he can succeed and we can resume racing forward. Basically we are going to wait for better weather conditions which normally occur late afternoon or early morning.

I keep my fingers crossed, hoping that nothing will go wrong during that daring attempt and making sure that we take all safety precautions possible. We will know within the next 24 hours. Right now we are sailing under genoa alone and doing close to 6 knots.



Bliss diverted to Mindelo to fix technical issues with their generator and with one engine. They will resume the crossing toward Martinique as soon as the repairs are done.

Miss Behaving

We stopped in Las Palmas with the plan to stay for 4 days or so, we then found 2 strands broken in one stay. The new stays are being delivered from the UK tomorrow at noon by a rigger who’s flying with the stays and our plan is to depart tomorrow afternoon for the crossing if all goes well with fitting them. I’m hopeful with good wind that we’ll make it to Martinique by the 12th of Dec…… Fingers crossed. I will start using the tracker when we depart here.

Regards, Justin


Another good day with the spinnaker in the trade winds. But the night… has not been that much fun! Before dark, huge dark clouds. Down comes the Parasailor and we wait… nothing. We go again with the code 0, no wind… then a little little squall on the radar, 10 minutes later 20 knots and nothing. Mmmmmmm. Then another one. They were all big on the screen but in reality no big deal. And they were creating themselves around us and then disappearing from the screen. We did play hide and seek with squalls all night!!! And mainly there was no wind at all. What a pain! You set  sail for starboard running and the wind shifts 30 degrees and drops, then comes back reaching port side. Hell!
Anyhow, up comes the 8 o’clock watch, Christian comes up and the sun shines, the trade winds kick in, all is fantastic, up goes the Parasailor and we are still running with it.

So, I thought to  explain today how we  run the crew’s shift under spinnaker (140 sq metres) and true wind over 20 knots. During the day we have learned to have always one person on deck with the radar on, spying  for squalls. At the moment we experience squalls that remind me a lot of the All Blacks and Springboks Props: big but fast to move about (Australian do not need to have props, apparently). So those our squalls appear out of nothing and tackle us pretty quickly and the person on deck has to be quick in calling all hands on deck.

The Parasailor can handle a lot of wind  but the boat, being small and heavy, does not like to be pushed over a limit. So, when the wind pipes up, you can see a few eyes looking at the instruments, precisely looking at the apparent wind on the boat. Say that we have 25 knots true wind and we make 8,  downwind with the Parasailor, we have an apparent wind on deck of 17 knots. This is the real wind that the Parasailor has to use. But when we start looking at a 22 knots apparent, we get a bit careful and when we see 25 apparent, we know it is time to take the sail down. Christian has transformed the operation into an art and now we can get the sail in the socket with a 30 knots apparent wind, or better we know we can do it but are not keen to repeat it !!

So, during the night, we change the sensitivity of judgment and when the apparent wind  goes to 20 it goes down fast, the spi. We have a young crew, except me that is, so I have decided, after a few trials between Gibraltar, Cadiz and La Graciosa, to run very short watches of 2 hours. Two hours are quick to pass and the attention can be maintained sharp.  We are five in the rota, Indra is still too little, and the turn is taken alone, with life jacket and lifeline compulsory doesn’t matter what. With the spinnaker on, Christian or myself sleep in the cockpit or the couch, ready to flash out to reduce the sail in her socket. As a person interested in philosophy, I tend to discuss a bit longer the cons and pros of taking such a big sail down. Christian instead says unintelligible things  in  Afrikans  or Zulu and rushes to finish the job with speed, blessed by the strong opinion that comes from a young age….
So, that’s it for today, push us looking at the tracker!


Gazel Rebel

French La délicatesse

Pour satisfaire au mieux à l’assiette du bateau nous devons parfois dormir dans le “gourbi”… L’odeur n’y est pas des plus délicates. Chaque nouvelle journée nous apporte un régime de vent plus installé qui nous stabilise dans notre progression. Nous avons passé notre dernier point stratégique nous visons désormais la Martinique en direct mais en tirant des bords.



French Nouvelles relayées par Pierre, leur support à terre:

Bon allez c’est la galère, aujourd’hui c’est le speedo qui lâche. Une petite ailette sous le bateau qui permet de donner la vitesse du bateau. Le soucis c’est que cette connerie de capteur alimente la centrale de navigation. Et cette centrale c’est un peu le poumon du pilote automatique.

Et vous l’avez compris le pilote auto c’est le 3ème barreur à bord. J’aurais même envie de dire le premier. Alors là c’est pas qu’il marche plus, c’est simplement que du coup il faut lui programme une vitesse fixe, approximative, pour qu’il puisse marcher. Bon ils ont tout fait comme il faut, donc voilà ça se passe. Mais bon les emmerdements déjà chez nous on s’en passe bien, alors imaginez là-bas.

Allez on les encourage. Ils sont pas prêts de l’oublier cette transat!



German Tag 4 ca. 300sm südlich der Kanaren

Am Sonntag, Tag 2, ging es dann erneut spät gegen 17 Uhr weiter. Die Hafenträgheit schlägt schnell zu und ich wäre gerne noch etwas geblieben.

Doch die Skipperina hat kein Nachsehen, der Wunsch nach karibischem Rum ist zu stark, vielleicht auch einfach nur der nachvollziehbare Wunsch, mit den Vorausgeeilten aufzuschließen.


Das Bordleben ist noch sehr eingeschränkt, wir versuchen das Wachsen der Seebeine zu beschleunigen, doch die Natur lässt sich hier nicht reinreden, Akklimatisierung dauert seine Zeit. So verbringen wir die Zeit mit Ddösen, teilweise können erste Spiele gespielt werden, und Nette hat sich schon mehrfach durchgerungen und uns leckere Menüs gekocht. Fischfang oder Wal- oder Delfinsichtungen sind leider noch ausstehend, wir hoffen auf ergiebigere Tage.

Was ist sonst noch passiert? Auf unserem Atlantikübersegler, einer Karte im ganz großen Maßstab, haben wir die Positionen einzelner Schiffe abgetragen und mit Vergnügen festgestellt, dass noch keines auf Martinique angekommen ist ;-). Vielleicht kommen wir ja unseren Freunden von der Vida, Hapa Na Sasa oder Triton etwas näher.



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