Anyone to offer a spare rib?

As mentioned earlier, the last hour of our trans ocean passage finally brought us dolphins. Those beautiful mammals are not shy to swim very close us, almost touching distance to the boat. No question, that was GoPro-time.

With the belly flat down on the deck and the GoPro in my left hand I could
submerge the camera into the water. The first five minutes of video taping went quite well. For the sake of even better photos, I leaned further out and down. Were there some question marks in the dolphins eyes? Maybe… Anyway, imagine me leaning that far out on the left hand side of the ship the my lowest rib only on the right side of my body would rest on the rim of the deck.

To make it short, there was an ugly crack with my rib and I was then able to hold the camera even better into the water.

One of the new topics on Yuana is now whether the rib broke or just bent and released. I believe that I kind of know how it felt when it happened and how it feels now. Just by analyzing my answers to their questions the two female doctors on board have their own opinion about the status of my rib: still intact. Well, let’s hope so!

In fact, the photos and slow-motion movies are great and so the rib really doesn’t matter anyway ;-).

AO-Xing days 13 & 14

Crew post by Jeanette:

One month with Yuana for me now! And finally today I introduced the proper rules to the Uno-game that is the very favorite game of the kids. Probably played hundreds of times in the last two weeks by now. And by that I also finally won big time.

Time flies, only two more days to go now and it looks we will arrive at a good time of the day somewhere before lunch. I think everybody both enjoys time but also longing a bit to get there.

Especially Markus talks a lot about all kinds of food he misses, like steak, pizza and espresso. Although fishing has been more successful for a while now and yesterday dinner served a very nice one.

We also ran out of most breakfast, at least for those of us who does not think corn flakes goes with orange juice! But fortunately Manuela let me know where the Bounty’s are hidden, and Markus does not, so I have my night-watch snack still to enjoy.

By now all that is missing is some dolphins or wales. Except from lack of wildlife the crossing has so far been absolutely fantastic!

Nautical miles during the crossing:
Day 14: 144 nm
Day 13: 142 nm

AO-Xing Days 9 & 10: Continuous Cruising

So this is day 10 of what seems to become a 15 day journey across the Atlantic Ocean. We are two third through and there is still the long stretch of 700 nautical miles to go. It is almost as much as from Tenerife to Cape Verde. And guess what, I‘m not the only one who wishes that this could go on like that for a bit longer!

Well, let’s check this again after another three days. The sea rolls the boat quite a bit at times. So we even couldn’t think about the classical mid Atlantic swim. Glad we had our swimming and plunging a few days earlier when the winds were low.

One of the great things on board is that everybody enjoys a sweet water shower and hair wash every second day. The silky dry skin feeling would last for a couple of hours, before the salty air would take over again until the next shower.

There are two equally sized water tanks aboard Yuana. The upper tank is full and closed as a drinking water reserve during a long passage. This is a safety measure, should the water in the lower tank go bad, for example due to a malfunction of the water maker.

The lower tank is refilled with the water maker every second or third day. A water maker processes sea water into super clean demineralized water. We even use a mineralization and hardener station to enrich this water for drinking and easy rinsing of soap.

That water from the tank goes again through a coal filter. It removes any smells from water we would have taken in from marinas. So we have always perfectly clean and nice tasting drinking water available. The six of us consume up to 100 liters of fresh water per day for drinking and cooking, dishes, washing and body hygiene.

The water maker is the largest energy consumer aboard. To get 55 liters of fresh water per hour requires a high pressure water pump working at 56 bar. The electric motor for that pump consumes 38 Amps at 12V. That electric power is generated with the Diesel engine.

Conclusion is that we run quite a complicated process to turn oil into water. The one aboard who understands the whole system appreciates the showers even more;-).

Nautical miles during the crossing:
Day 10: 140 nm
Day 9: 147 nm

Atlantiküberquerung Tage 7 & 8: Bergfest!

Es ist der 1. Dezember. Gestern war ergo der letzte Tag eines Monats und das heisst für uns, dass wir den Rest unserer monatlichen Satellitentelefon-Minuten aufbrauchen. So haben wir fast zwei Stunden mit Familie, Freunden und Schulfreunden in der Schweiz und in Schweden telefoniert.

Stellt euch vor, in der Schweiz war es abends schon dunkel und auch kalt, in Schweden sowieso. Von Schnee und Weihnachtsmärkten haben sie erzählt!

Weil wir seit dem Juli fast täglich die Sonnencreme in Händen haben (ausser in England natürlich), liegt uns das dezemberliche Nordeuropawetter ziemlich fern. Allerdings muss ich gestehen, dass ich bereits im Oktober in einem Aldi auf Lanzarote Eliesenlebkuchen gekauft hatte. Für den Christstollen hingegen schien es mir damals doch noch etwas zu früh zu sein.

Ja, wir sind gerade ziemlich mittendrin und mittendurch den Atlantik. Kleine Feiern sind willkommene Abwechslung im Seealltag. Zum Glück gibt es viel zu feiern. Mit dem 7. Reisetag seit den Kapverden ist logischerweise die erste Woche voll. Für die Kinder hat sich diese Zeit angeblich wie zwei oder drei Tage angefühlt. Für die Erwachsenen waren es immerhin fünf gefühlte Reisetage. Das ist doch ein gutes Zeichen! Wir verdanken dies der spassigen Crew, den leichten Wetterbedingungen und nicht zuletzt unserer komfortablen Lady Yuana!

Der achte Tag bringt nun das Bergfest! In beide Richtungen sind wir runde 1900 Kilometer vom Land entfernt. Das ist doch mal etwas Ungewöhnliches. Der geographisch nächstmögliche Landfall wäre in Französisch Guyana, dort wo die Franzosen ihren Weltraumbahnhof haben, EU-Gebiet also, no Problems.

Französisch Guyana oder auch die frühere holländische Kolonie Surinam sind für uns Ausweichziele, sollten wir aus irgendwelchen Gründen dringlich An Land gehen müssen. Im Moment gibt es allerdings keinen Grund, nicht direkt nach Barbados zu fahren. Alle sind fit, die Wetteraussichten sind nahezu perfekt, und alle Systeme an Bord funktionieren einwandfrei. Wir können also munter in die zweite Hälfte unserer ersten Atlantiküberquerung ziehen.

Normalerweise sind wir während den Passagen ein dry boat, wie die Engländer zu sagen pflegten, welche wir letzte Nacht abgehängt haben. Das heisst, dass wir unterwegs keinen Alkohol konsumieren.
Dies ist eine reine Vorsichtsmassnahme. Sollte sich ein Unglücksfall ereignen, so ist man im Kopf stets auf der Höhe, um sofort den notwendigen Extra-Effort leisten zu können. Mit etwas schwedischem Charme hat sich diese Regel nun kurzzeitig aussetzen lassen, und so gibt es zum Bergfest ein Glas Champagner. Kulinarisch gehen wir mit einem Avocadobrötchen, einer Schale Reis-Linsen-Mais-Gurken-Karotten-Salat durch den Tag, und Abends stehen frische Ravioli auf dem Menü;-).

Dass wir nun die halbe Distanz hinter uns haben heisst nicht, dass die zweite Hälfte der Reise nochmals acht Tage dauern wird. Erstens haben wir nun viel bessere Winde als am Anfang, und zweitens müssen wir wahrscheinlich keine windbedingten Umwege mehr in Kauf nehmen. Karibik, wir kommen!

Etmal Tag 8: 145 Seemeilen
Etmal Tag 7: 125 Seemeilen

Passing the Half Way Point!

Friday December 1st at 11:22 UTC, Yuana and it’s crew pass the half way point on the way from Mindelo, Cape Verde to Bridgetown, Barbados. We cheer with bubbles and enjoy home made guacamole bruschetta, kids opting for Fanta and jelly bears. Everybody is enjoying that particular moment on the sea and in the sun. There are now only 1010 nautical miles to Barbados and we are looking forward to the next days out here ;-).

Cheers to our Friends at home!

Atlantic Ocean Crossing Days 1&2

The first two days are over and we are still waiting for wind. There was some wind around the Cape Verde Islands, and later occasionally every here and there. We reached 7 knots of boat speed during last night. This is generally not overwhelming but still counts for progress if otherwise the engine is consuming limited diesel.

Diesel was really cheap in the Cape Verdes, costing something like 0.90 Euros per liter. We stocked 415 liters. That would keep us going for another 4.5 days in same conditions. But hey, we are here for sailing. Usually there should be plenty of trade winds in our latitude this time of the year, but a big storm system which passed far north of us has stopped every wind where we are. Yes, this might also be part of the climate change which very experienced sailors such as Jimmy Cornell have noticed during the last decade already. Luckily, our Hallberg-Rassy came with two big tanks and so we can carry more fuel than many others in our fleet.

Our fleet is 23 boats and most of the have left Mindelo on Thursday within two hours. The field stretched quite rapidly. Some went for the shortest way towards Barbados hoping that winds would pick up after two days. Others intended to go two hundred miles South first to get into stable trades. After doing our own weather considerations we opted for the Swiss way which is to choose a strategy which was finally in between the ‘extreme’ positions.

By doing so, we saw the lights of ten other yachts in the beginning of the first night, with three lights remaining at the end of same night. Now when being two days into the crossing, we have also lost the last boat which was so far displayed on our electronic plotter screen.

Unfortunately we deviated from our routing strategy already on the first evening. We were then convinced that the extra miles for going Southwest would not be worth the diesel we consume. 24 hours later and with the newest weather data available we re-adjusted our course from 270 to 240 degrees, since wind seems not to pick up here for the next three days.

Anyway, the distance to destination was 2030 nm when we started. Since then, we have seen 2000, 1900, 1800 nautical miles going by. Guess what? The common feeling is that these miles go down too quickly. Let’s see what we will say next week.

The crew works very well together and we have had two lovely days. The calm weather even allowed to stop the boat once for one hour to go swimming and cooling down around the boat, followed by much appreciated shower. Air temperature is 30.4 degrees as water is 28.1 degrees.

Even fish get lazy with the calm and warm sea. Fishing success so far is limited to three small Mahi-Mahi’s, approximately 40 cm long. We made photos of each one to be documented for the fishing contest amongst the fleet, but let the fish go because each one was were not really big enough to give a good meal. So we started to create our own lures which look now bigger than the original ones, hoping that bigger fish would bite.

Jeanette and Joachim furled our genoa out again minutes ago. The 3.8 knots of true wind would give us another 0.5 knot of boat speed, now being back to 5 knots boat speed over ground. With this configuration we will continue motoring and look forward for finally reaching the trades on Sunday afternoon.

Nautical miles during the crossing:
Day 2: 125nm
Day 1: 115nm

Neue Crew!

Nun ist unsere Mannschaft vollständig! Markus’ Bruder Joachim ist vor einigen Tagen mit dem Flieger in Mindelo eingetroffen, um mit uns über den Atlantik zu segeln. Joachim hat bereits einige Segelreisen hinter sich. Sein spektakulärster Törn ging ab Argentinien (Ushuaia) auf die Antarktische Halbinsel, und wieder zurück. Das war ein Törn von insgesamt vier Wochen mit Windgeschwindigkeiten bis zu 65 Knoten und einer mittleren Wellenhöhe von bis zu 6 Metern. Unser kombiniertes Segelwissen wird somit um ein wichtiges Erfahrungsgebiet erweitert!

Mit vier Erwachsenen, zwei Kindern und all dem vielen Proviant an Bord ist unsere Yuana nun schwer beladen, und das Platzangebot weiter eingeschränkt. Das nehmen wir bewusst in Kauf.

Zurück zu den Vorteilen: der praktischste Aspekt der zusätzlichen Person ist, dass wir die Nachtwachen auf mehr Leute verteilen können. Das wird jedem viele zusätzliche Stunden zum Relaxen geben. Besonders bezahlt macht sich das, falls einmal schweres Wetter aufziehen sollte, und nicht mehr alle fit für die Bootsführung sind.

Gemäss dem Zweiwochen-Seewetterbericht werden wir jedoch kein Schwerwetter haben. Es wäre auch recht ungewöhnlich für diese Jahreszeit auf dieser Route. Einigermassen zuverlässig wissen wir, dass die ersten drei Tage sehr wenig Wind bringen werden. So fahren wir nun Kurs Südwest, bis wir auf die aktuell sehr weit südlich laufenden Passatwinde treffen.

Ahoi Joe! Super, dass du an Bord bist!

By the way: nur noch 2005 Seemeilen bis Barbados.