2008 Atlantic Crossing E to W

 

 

The Chequered Flag

Posted by on 13 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

The Chequered Flag

Dec 13, 2008 @ 14:14 14:04.51N 60:57.01W As Dawn broke on Saturday at the ridiculously late hour of 1000 hours, we all sat in the cockpit silently contemplating the likelihood of crossing the finishing line later in the day. It didn’t seem real as St Lucia was still not anywhere to be seen. The odd word about “ no wind so how are we going to get there?” was mumbled, breakfast was foraged individually and time seemed to stand still. I ordered the engine to be started, reluctantly I add, as we have used it so little on the trip it seemed...

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A Special Blog for Class 5S Wessex Primary School

Posted by on 12 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

A Special Blog for Class 5S Wessex Primary School

Dec 12, 2008 @ 14:12 14:45.9N 58:05.9W On probably our penultimate day at sea, time is passing very slowly. We have started watching the miles clock down and of course this is a pretty slow process. The sun is beating down, the beautiful blue seas roll under us and swoosh melodically and Oboe rides along proudly. If she could smile, she would have a grin from port to s’bord beam! The winds have dropped a little, adding to the chilled out atmosphere in the cockpit. No one says much. Conversation seems unnecessary among a group of such close...

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Just Another Day in the Office

Posted by on 12 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Just Another Day in the Office

Dec 12, 2008 @ 14:11 14:53.9N 55:21.2W So what exciting things happened today to distinguish it from the rest? Well, we had pancakes for breakfast and home made pizza for lunch. Oh, and the sun shone, the Trade Winds blew and the sea was blue. And we also accomplished our biggest noon-to-noon run of the passage – 179nm – which led to John recalculating our estimated arrival time yet again! The good news is that the Trade Winds have continued to blow and we’ve been sailing along at 6-8 knots all day and night, sometimes reaching 9-11...

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In the Zone

Posted by on 10 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

In the Zone

Dec 10, 2008 @ 14:09 14:56.5N 52:20.5W The Trade Winds are blowing us directly towards St Lucia. It is as if someone simply forgot to switch them on, on realising he/she rather quietly did so and slipped away, hoping not to be chastised for the oversight! I received a verse of a John Masefield poem via email from a good friend following our progress and providing us with info. regarding our progress from daily reviews of the ARC website. Thanks Willie for such a thoughtful touch. You cannot imagine how closely we motley crew aboard Oboe...

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Red,White & Blue

Posted by on 10 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Red,White & Blue

Dec 10, 2008 @ 14:07 15:08.2N 49:15.71W Another day in paradise, as Oboe marches onwards towards the finish line in St Lucia. With the Trade winds varying slightly in strength and direction a number of sail plans were tried as the day unfolded. Nigel’s favourite, the red asymmetric (or cruising chute) was deployed after breakfast for a number of hours, while Mike slept. After lunch Nigel caught up on some much needed rest after this sail had been replaced by ‘racer’ Mike’s preferred option, the spinnaker, or ‘Blue Beast’. Just...

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Domestic Bliss

Posted by on 9 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Domestic Bliss

Dec 09, 2008 @ 14:05 15:11.6N 46:32.7W Yet another day has passed in high spirits and with good sailing. We have sped along with the cruising chute flying most of the day and now, at 2240 hours with the moon shining brightly overhead, the chute is continuing to fly well as the winds build. We have at last found the Trade Winds which bring good speed and wonderful sunshine and delightful fluffy clouds in the distance. Today Oboe has been a hive of domestic activity. The day started with a spectacular sunrise quickly followed by a very large...

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Flying the Red Kite over the Blue Atlantic

Posted by on 7 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Flying the Red Kite over the Blue Atlantic

Dec 07, 2008 @ 14:03 15:26.6N 43:58.4W Today was completely different from yesterday’s storm. We exited the storm late last night and almost immediately were under a cloudless sky with the receding storm clouds forming a wall stretching from horizon to horizon occasionally illuminated by lightning. The wind died and we spent some of the night motoring! Iona, Nigel and I were up for the pre-dawn watch and with enough wind the engine was turned off at 7:30am. With the wind coming from the north west, we set the sails for a close haul into...

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Running Hot And Cold …

Posted by on 6 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Running Hot And Cold …

Dec 06, 2008 @ 14:00 15:46.5N 41:49.9W Today has been a day of opposites. We agreed last night to set the spinnaker for a full day’s sail and to meet in the cockpit before breakfast to do the hoist. So dutifully all of us appeared at 0800 hours, still in the dark and waited for dawn to break at 0830. Move now to 1200 Midday and … the spinnaker is still in its bag! Firstly the chafed line from the night’s antics had to be replaced, requiring a technique known as mousing. The spinnaker halyard had to have its shackle cut off and...

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Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Posted by on 5 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Dec 05, 2008 @ 13:58 15:58.9N 38:30.6W As I sat down to write the blog entry yesterday evening after dinner in the cockpit, I first ran my usual system checks at the chart table. Earlier we had evesdropped on a ship to ship conversation concerning squalls approaching from behind, so I decided to switch on the radar, which can detect approaching storms as far as 24 miles away and there they were, heading our way. We had rehearsed squall routine on paper but not yet for real – here was our chance. Calmly, we talked through the reefing...

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Experience Building by the Day

Posted by on 3 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Experience Building by the Day

Dec 03, 2008 @ 13:50 16:39.7N 31:32.9W After a tentative experiment with the big blue spinnaker yesterday, our spirits have been raised. Frankly they were sinking a little due to the very light winds, which are completely untypical for this time of year. Basically, the Trade Winds disappeared soon after we departed Las Palmas, leaving us becalmed several hours a day here mid-Atlantic. There are no signs of the Trades returning either. At breakfast this morning (pancakes, bacon and maple syrup), we held a team meeting and decided to fly the...

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Fish and spinnakers, champagne and whisky …..

Posted by on 1 Dec 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Fish and spinnakers, champagne and whisky …..

Dec 02, 2008 @ 13:48 17:00N 28:30W Our luck finally changed yesterday evening, and the first fish came aboard Oboe. Two huge Dorado last night and another first thing this morning have left the crew feeling even better fed than usual. More light winds today presented Mike with an opportunity to give the rest of us a master class in spinnaker handling, and we kept up a very respectable 6-7 knots until the wind died completely late this afternoon and it was time to ‘test the propeller’ again. Nigel seems to have spent most of his day in...

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Pointing at St Lucia – Yippee!

Posted by on 30 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Pointing at St Lucia – Yippee!

Nov 30, 2008 @ 13:46 17:26.10N 25:56.50W Sorry we didn’t get a blog entry out yesterday but we had one of those days when nothing seemed to go right! Where do I begin? Rob swinging violently in sloppy seas and strong winds at the top of the mast, suspended from a halyard attached to a plank of wood masquerading as a bosun’s chair. Cruising chutes that won’t go up and then won’t come down. Winds that die at dusk and show no signs of returning ever. Perhaps worst of all the realisation that we have a bottomless pit of ripe tomatoes...

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The Chocolate Melted So We Headed West

Posted by on 28 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

The Chocolate Melted So We Headed West

Nov 28, 2008 @ 13:45 19:42.80N 21:50.70W Winds have picked up over the last 24 hours and we are now really making good progress, when compared with that of the last few days. Furthermore, The decision has been made. Based on the latest forecast from World Cruising’s weather guru Chris Tibbs, the weather data (grib) files and more importantly, the fact we could hold our nerve no longer, we nervously gybed onto starboard tack, shook out the single reef in the main and headed due West. At last it feels we are now actually bound for St Lucia....

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Rocking & Rolling towards the Cape Verde Islands

Posted by on 27 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Rocking & Rolling towards the Cape Verde Islands

Nov 27, 2008 @ 13:42 21:23.60N 19:37.40W The winds picked up last night around 2200 hours and have held all day in the 12-17 knot range with the seas steadily building to about 1m (3ft). We are running dead downwind maintaining a boat speed of 6-8 knots with some rolling, given the seas on our stern. After the light winds of the last few days, it feels great to be moving with some speed – Oboe has certainly picked up her skirts! Due to a couple of depressions in the mid-Atlantic that are disturbing the Trade Winds, we – along with most of...

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South, South, South

Posted by on 26 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

South, South, South

Nov 26, 2008 @ 13:39 23:20.09N 18:28.50W It doesn’t matter how hard or for how long one studies the weather forecasts, Mother Nature will decide in her own good time whether to take pity on us or to continue to tease us. Each day at 1100 hours we receive an email from the font of all maritime weather wisdom, Chris Tibbs, which we dissect avidly only to conclude that today is not the day to turn west. If we were to, we would fall into a wind hole. So, south we continue. At 1300 hours we join in with an informal radio chit chat with yachts...

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Gently Sliding Down The African Coast

Posted by on 25 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Gently Sliding Down The African Coast

Nov 25, 2008 @ 13:36 24:34.40N 17:19.40W We’re having a great time! Having easily slipped into cruising mode we are sailing downwind, soaking up the sunshine, as we go about our daily duties in shorts by day, (don’t worry Valerie, by night Mike is wearing all that expensive ‘ocean kit’ he convinced you was a must for crossing The Atlantic!!). After a variety of sail plans we have opted for a poled out genoa & cruising chute with the mainsail bagged for now. The sails make a wonderful sight against the sunny blue skies. This...

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Champagne sailing without the champagne

Posted by on 24 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Champagne sailing without the champagne

Nov 24, 2008 @ 13:32 26:09.64N 16:14.98W All boats assembled for the cruising start at 1300 hours yesterday. Oboe’s tactic was to stay in the Marina as long as possible, in order to avoid the melee near the start line. However the excitement overcame us and we left slightly earlier that we had intended. We had a good start and managed to keep away from the highest concentration of boats. The radio was alive with jubilant, if slightly nervous, voices after the start and from what we heard all boats got away safely. The sky was blue and the...

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All set for the off!

Posted by on 23 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

All set for the off!

Nov 23, 2008 @ 11:19 28:07.75N 15:25.54W It is 0900 hours on 23 November 2008. The start of the ARC2008 is less than 4 hours away. I have been working towards this date since February of this year and it seems almost impossible that, at last, we will be off across the Atlantic, heading for St Lucia. We are all chatting nervously and carrying out designated tasks to prepare for leaving: Canvas covers off, sailbag undone, halyards attached, bacon and egg on the stove, courtesy of Iona. The quality of the food we have on board has been...

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The Food Arrives – What a Stowage Headache!

Posted by on 19 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

The Food Arrives – What a Stowage Headache!

Nov 19, 2008 @ 16:09 28:07.75N 015:25.54W The day has come to stock Oboe with provisions for the passage. This has been long-anticipated and the subject of extensive planning, led tirelessly and meticulously by Iona, who has lots of little (and big) boxes waiting to be filled, sealed and buried in the bilges. Imagine, three meals a day, snacks and the odd surprise treat for 6 people who might be at sea for 21 days. That is nearly 200 meals. A tiny sample of what this requires by way of ingredients is: 20kg potatoes 10kg of strong flour for...

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The Count Down Begins with a Parade

Posted by on 16 Nov 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

The Count Down Begins with a Parade

Nov 16, 2008 @ 20:12 28:07.75N 015:25.54W ARC2008 officially started today, although there have been endless happy hours and parties ever since we arrived here in Las Palmas. At midday it all kicked off with a flag parade, brass bands and fancy dress antics in the water. There is a real family atmosphere building and every nationality is represented. Inevitably, the Scots, Welsh, Guernseymen and Jerseymen declared independence from the UK and marched under their own banners, leaving only the English marching under the union flag! We have...

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Las Palmas. The ARC Fleet Assembles

Posted by on 31 Oct 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Las Palmas. The ARC Fleet Assembles

Oct 31, 2008 @ 22:21 28:07.74N 15:25.55W We set off from Lanzarote at about 11.00am Thursday. The weather forecast was not good but promised to get worse if we stayed. We were soon in among the longest highest rollers we had experienced so far and we were down to 3 crew. Nonetheless, we now have great confidence in Oboe’s ability to look after us and in our ability to sail conservatively and safely. We still blew along at over 6 kts most of the time, weathering the odd squall when winds gusted up to 40kts for brief moments and our speed...

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Lanzarote Marina Rubicon

Posted by on 29 Oct 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Lanzarote Marina Rubicon

Oct 29, 2008 @ 23:15 28:51.46N 13:49.01W We arrived at the entrance to Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote at daybreak yesterday and tied up on the reception pontoon, where we remain – a bit of an attraction for large numbers of British families taking the opportunity of a half-term holiday in the sun. After a short sleep we set to and tidied up the boat and then went “off duty”. A skipper’s job is never done it seems. On passage several issues arose and so I picked them off one at a time. Problems with power management meant phone calls to...

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460Nm Out of Sight of Land

Posted by on 27 Oct 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

460Nm Out of Sight of Land

Oct 27, 2008 @ 9:32 30:45.083N 013:23.752W We continue to make very good progress. We covered 182 nM yesterday averaging over 7.5 kts. This seems quite remarkable, given that we are using only a reefed headsail! The swell is enormous. Long slow rolling waves approach our stern and lift us up and over. We then surf gently down the wave at speeds up to 11kts and watch the roller disappear into the distance. A minute or so later the cycle is repeated. We have sailed 460 Nm out of sight of land and are beginning to get excited about seeing land...

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Off the African Coast

Posted by on 26 Oct 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Off the African Coast

Oct 26, 2008 @ 8:46 33:24.00N 012:37.00W Good morning from Oboe in the Atlantic 200nM off the African coast on Sunday 26 October! The crew for this leg comprises: Nigel (skipper) with Iona Smith (who will also cross the Atlantic to St Lucia with Oboe next month), Simon Figures (a distant family friend and far to young and fit!) and Richard Keeling, a towering ex-cavalry officer and experienced sailor, who is working his passage in the Galley, as well as taking on first mate duties. Despite good intentions to make daily entries when on...

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The End of the First Leg of the Journey

Posted by on 30 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

The End of the First Leg of the Journey

Sep 30, 2008 @ 15:02 37:06.40N 008:40.40W Early this morning (Monday), shortly after sunrise, we headed in to our final destination for this leg of the journey, Lagos. There on the reception pontoon was our friend Nimrod, who had left Cascais a few hours before us. Soon we were directed to our berth, which we reversed into, albeit with a little pushing and shoving! Lagos marina will be Oboe’s home until 24 October, when the second leg of the journey begins with a new crew. Until then, she will be pampered, which is no more than she...

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Five Hours to Cape St Vincent

Posted by on 29 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Five Hours to Cape St Vincent

Sep 29, 2008 @ 21:38 37:36.70N 009:11.63W Sailing due south at a respectable 7 kts under headsail alone, we are about 5 hours from rounding Cape St Vincent and so into the Algarve. Unless things change in the next few hours we have picked a good time to round the notorious headland, as the seas are calm and the winds abating. We left Cascais at 1000 hours this morning, just the 3 of us. Sailing has been a bit on and off, with rather variable winds. We decided to head 10 miles out to sea to find some wind and our decision proved a good one,...

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Arrived at Cascais

Posted by on 27 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Arrived at Cascais

Sep 27, 2008 @ 23:21 38:41.58N 009:24.90W We motor sailed an uneventful night. Daybreak revealed the famous Cabo da Roca cliffs, topped by an imposing church and the huge statue of Vasco da Gama. These majestic cliffs are held proudly by the Portuguese to be the most western point of Europe. Soon we turned into the Ria that leads right into the heart of Lisbon and then immediately left into the very new marina development of Cascais, by far the most luxurious and well-organised marina so far. Tiredness dictated a few hours of sleep before...

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The Best Day So Far – Heading for Cascais

Posted by on 26 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

The Best Day So Far – Heading for Cascais

Sep 26, 2008 @ 19:49 39:58.81N 009:20.9W 1930 hours and John is busy in the Galley cooking chilli con carne with rice. Nigel is, of course, sitting at the chart table concocting this blog entry, while Mike and Richard are on watch, as night falls. The morning saw us burble gently on the motor for a few hours until the sea breeze came up, after which we deployed the big red cruising chute, switched off the engine and speed increased to an average of 8 kts for the rest of afternoon. The sun beat down and we relaxed with books, chats and the...

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Leixões

Posted by on 25 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Leixões

Sep 25, 2008 @ 18:35 41:11.17N 008:42.33W We are 1/3 of the way down the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal. As dawn broke, with Nigel and John finishing their 0400 to 0800 hours watch, the annoyingly variable winds of the night passage disappeared, leaving a flat calm sea and a close up view of white sandy beaches, seemingly stretching for miles, near enough to reach out and touch. With the engine on slow ahead, we burbled south in an early morning heat haze, shorts and T shirts donned. Each of us in turn took a long shower! Oh the...

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Heading for Portugal

Posted by on 24 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Heading for Portugal

Sep 24, 2008 @ 23:46 42:22.3N 009:08.5W It is midnight Wednesday. John and Nigel have just gone off watch, to be replaced by Mike and Richard. We left La Coruña at 1000 hours this morning and are making very good progress south. All day we have had perfect winds, calm seas and warm sunshine. Occasionally we are visited by dolphin, who eye us inquisitively for a half hour or so and then disappear as quickly as they arrived. Mike spotted a basking shark earlier too. The weather has deteriorated over the last few hours, which required “all...

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La Coruña Day 2

Posted by on 23 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

La Coruña Day 2

Sep 23, 2008 @ 19:48 43:22.10N 008:23.70W The weather around the corner of Cape Finistere threatens near gales and high seas, so it was not a difficult decision to stay a while in La Coruña. The day has been spent catching up on sleep, mending one of the heads (John drew the short straw and armed with face mask and rubber gloves …) Safety checks were made and a number of other chores undertaken. Not a lot to report except to say that that La Coruña is an easy place to while away the time. Nigel Backwith Skipper 23 September...

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La Coruña

Posted by on 22 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

La Coruña

Sep 23, 2008 @ 19:48 43:22.10N 008:23.70W Safely ensconced in the old harbour marina of La Coruña, we reflect on the challenges of south Biscay, over a well-earned bottle of Albarino, the local white wine. We variously pottered or caught up on sleep and talked to other crews also on their way to Las Palmas for the Atlantic Crossing. I guess we will soon get to know the boats and see them from time to time as we travel south. In the afternoon we soaked up the sun in the immaculate collonade-lined Plaza de Maria Pita in the heart of old La...

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Biscay Day 2

Posted by on 21 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Biscay Day 2

Sep 21, 2008 @ 8:35 45:49.20N 007:30.20W What a difference a day makes! It all started off well. Full sail and wind on the beam lifted our speed and spirits as dawn broke. The barometer started to drop a point an hour, clouds rolled in and by 1300 hours we had reefed down. By 1600 hours we had 3 reefs in both the main and the headsail and so began our battle of endurance for the remainder of the day and the night. Eventually, with no more than a pocket handkerchief of sail aloft and seas breaking violently over the decks, we all sat it out,...

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Biscay Day 1

Posted by on 19 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Biscay Day 1

Sep 19, 2008 @ 21:36 47:46.76N 005:57.90W The winds we hoped for accompanied daybreak and have lasted all day, pushing us steadily south west and out into Biscay. Being right on the stern of the boat, progress is slow but steady, averaging 5kts, under goose-winged sails. It is a bright sunny day, with bright blue skies, typical of the high pressure system for which we are so grateful. Flat calm, with a hint of a swell, allowed us to enjoy a buffet lunch in the cockpit and even Richard’s famous Hungarian paprika dish for supper. (Agnes’...

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Motoring South West in a Flat Calm

Posted by on 18 Sep 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Motoring South West in a Flat Calm

Sep 18, 2008 @ 22:32 49:27.8N 003:33.6W We have settled into the watch pattern easily and with such beautiful weather and calm seas we are able to relax, chat and listen to music. John, sitting up in his bunk doing Sudoko, drinking a cup of tea, makes for a comic scene. Mike seems to need little or no sleep; what little he gets being taken in 1 hour power naps interspersed with the consumption of snickers bars. Richard and Nigel seem to be able to sleep for England! A few technical snags raised their ugly heads but were quickly dealt with....

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Oboe Resting in Home Port of Northney

Posted by on 5 Aug 2008 in Log Entries Atlantic E W | 0 comments

Oboe Resting in Home Port of Northney

Aug 5, 2008 @ 20:14 50:50.00N 00:58.00W Welcome to Oboe d’Amore’s weblog. This first entry marks the run up to Oboe’s first adventure.  Four long passages from her home in Northney Marina, Hayling Island, UK to Antigua in the West Indies via Portugal, Gran Canaria and St Lucia. Right now Oboe is getting a lot of care and attention as she is upgraded to blue water standards.  A mixture of UK coastal skippered charters and formal sea trials is keeping her busy right up to the time when she is due to head south and away from UK waters...

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