Zurück in Europa!

Hallo Zusammen, hier sind wir wieder, zurück in der alten Welt, genauer gesagt auf den Isles of Scilly vor der südwestlichsten Spitze Englands. Man erkennt Nordeuropa zunächst vor allem daran, dass der Nordwind eine Prise Eis mit sich bringt, und dass unsere Schiffsheizung wieder läuft.

Auch brauchen wir keine ‚Atlantiküberquerungstage‘ mehr zu zählen. Yuana hat uns in den letzten Wochen hervorragend vor dem weiten Meer geschützt, und nun schützen wir sie wieder vor den Felsen der Küste. Das ist der Deal.

Wenn man den Zwischenhalt in den Azoren für den Moment mal ausklammert, so haben wir ab Karibik (Sint Maarten) bis hierher 25 Reisetage benötigt, und dabei fast 3‘600 nautische Meilen oder 6‘600 Kilometer zurückgelegt. Wie Winde waren günstig für uns, und alles ist störungsfrei abgelaufen. Das ist sehr bemerkenswert für mich, denn diese lange Etappe war stets die grosse Knacknuss an unserem gesamten Projekt überhaupt. Diese Nuss hat sich nun als durchaus knackbar erwiesen, und macht uns froh und dankbar.

Die Rückfahrt war trotzdem relativ kurz, wenn man die Rückreisezeit in Relation zur Hinreise stellt. Ab England bis in die Karibik (Barbados) hatten wir uns nämlich satte vier Monate gegönnt. Der Weg war das Ziel.

Der Weg bleibt das Ziel. Auch den nächsten Wochen wird es uns nicht langweilig werden. Nach den Islands of Scilly werden wir wahrscheinlich die Kanalinseln und die Normandie besuchen, und bei Gelegenheit noch den einen oder andern richtig gut englischen Yachtclub mitnehmen. Wir freuen uns schon darauf! Die Schweiz muss also noch ein bisschen warten.

Schöne Grüsse von Markus mit Familie

Atlantic Crossing 2, Days 16-17

Day 16 brings us dolphins, and hundreds of them. One dolphin school goes and the next would come soon. They even travel with us through the night! The baby dolphins move in perfect synchrony with their mums. The jumpers jump and the speedies make crazy quick changes in direction at fast pace. So good to see them!

What feels less good are the cold northerly winds. The air temperature is down to 16 degrees, with the wind chill further lowering it to estimated 12 degrees.

On the last day, we get head winds and this is when sailing becomes either fun or nasty, depending on the view. This time it is an uphill battle. True wind is at 25 knots which my doesn’t sound so bad, but it’s definitely far away from being comfortable. Waves break against the hull, the cockpit gets an ugly shower, and we have plenty of motion and noise inside the cabin.

The chilled Caribbean ‘ting’-lemonades stay in the fridge. Hot tea is the preferred drink now. The writing on the tea bag in German language says something about feeling well and cozy. But also two or three cups wouldn’t bring the Caribbean warmth back into the toilet seat. Everything feels cold and the last bit of Caribbean humidity can be found as condensed droplets on the cold aluminum frames of the windows, what a change 16 1/2 day on sea can do!

Since we were a bit lazy with adjusting the clock, we had to turn it forward by one hour, on four days in a row. That makes us sleeping long into the mornings. The good thing about getting considerably further north is that the evenings get longer before it gets dark. Oh how great this is!

After 2’420 nautical miles or 4’500 Kilometers on sea we are now reaching the outermost post of the Azores Islands. Those nine islands are still pretty far out in the Atlantic Ocean. They belong to Portugal and are part of the European Union, however the islands called Flores and Corvo geologically sit on the Northern American tectonic plate. That means that after Europe, Africa and Central America, our trip comes to a tiny little halt in North America ;-)!

Once more, YUANA did an outstandingly great job. Nothing broke so far on this crossing. So we could just focus on reaching our destination! That can by far not be taken for granted. Again: Great Hallberg-Rassy, apparently with appropriately performed maintenance. Touch wood.

The bigger compliment however goes to Manuela and the kids. Being at sea can be tough. Perhaps we wouldn’t have gone sailing, would we have known how tough such a crossing can be. Why? We wouldn’t have imagined that we can do it! And we did it and it was more all right!

Particularly the daughter wasn’t keen on sailing long distances. To relax, we gave her the option to fly from Azores to our next stop in France, would she be completely fed up with blue water cruising. Looking at her now, we see a pretty proud young lady who is aware of her achievement, with no further discussion about flight schedules. Isn’t that unbelievably great?!

On Flores, our extra crew Michael will leave the Yuana team. Michael experienced some though days with motion thickness. But finally and that is what counts, he realized his dream of an Atlantic Crossing, Congratulations!

We plan to stay a bit in the Azores, before sailing back to the continent.

Sailed distances:
Day 17: 60nm (approx)
Day 16: 130 nm

Auf dem Weg nach Hause

Wir haben heute morgen um 9:30 Uhr Lokalzeit das Südwestkap von Grenada, den Point Saline, in nordwestlicher Richtung passiert. Wir waren damit rund 7550 Kilometer Luftlinie (natürlich mit Erdkrümmung) von zu Hause entfernt und weniger als 100 Kilometer von Venezuela’s Gewässern entfernt. Uns allen geht es bestens und Yuana macht einen super Job!

Vor allem aber heisst das, dass wir nun geographisch gesehen auf dem Heimweg sind. Auch wenn wir noch nicht wirklich bald nach Hause kommen wollen, so ist das trotzdem eine tolle Sache für einen Montagmorgen!

Die Kiddies fragen, was unsere Freunde und Leser an diesem Morgen gerade tun. Also machen wir doch ein kleines Spielchen, wenn ihr Lust dazu habt.

Liebe Leser: lasst uns wissen, was ihr heute Montag gemacht habt, und wie es euch dabei ging. Wir fassen dann anonym zusammen und lassen euch die witzigsten Antworten auf selben Wege wissen.

Yuana’s Mr. Rope Cutter vs. Somebody’s Mrs. Super Yacht

We are exploring the southern part of ‘Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’. The distances from one sandy turtle bay to the next sandy coconut bay are very short. So we tow our dingy Dorie from one place to the next one, instead of taking it on deck. This isn’t an issue at all until the anchor is dropped in the next bay. But then one thing requires special care, and the captain didn’t care enough this time:

Once the anchor is dropped and the anchor chain lies on the ground, then the propeller must be engaged in reverse direction to make sure that the anchor is nicely digged into the ground. Before reversing, the dinghy towing line must be taken very shortly, otherwise it goes into the propeller and jams it.

One of the kids had the task to hold the line of the dingy today. The captain however didn’t check for a second time whether the kid was still doing its job. Sure the kid wasn’t there anymore and the dinghy line went into the propeller. I realized it when Dorie was quickly pulled towards Yuana. I disengaged the propeller, cut Dories line and checked the situation. Worse, the anchor didn’t hold at the first try.

Now the casino starts: we were drifting with the wind, right towards the bow of another yacht. The distance until collision was perhaps 150 meters and that yacht was one of the biggest Super Sailing Yachts I’ve ever seen. The width of her hull impressed me quite a bit.

– Hope that the anchor still grips somewhere. It didn’t look like that.
– Boat boy next to us could have towed us away, but he wanted to agree on a price only later. Sure he would have made his bill according to the prevented damage. Last option, under „Lloyd‘s open!“
– Pull out the genoa to get away from the other vessel: Possible, if we got the anchor in quick enough. „Anchor up!“
– Engage the propeller again an see if the rope cutter would do its job: first choice.

A rope cutter is a da.n sharp disc knife which we mounted on the propeller shaft. It’s task is to cut a rope or netting which is jamming around the propeller shaft.

So we had two options how not to kiss the superyacht. In the first attempt I engaged the prop again and increased the revolution immediately. There was an uncommon rattle from underneath the boat and now, also the rudder was going freely again. „Adrenalin off!“

So we dropped the anchor and Manuela The Mast Climber dived to take the last bits of rope off the propeller.

Now let’s talk about our neighbor, the Super Sailing Yacht which definitely deserves some capital letters. Her name is ‚Mondango 3’ and you can easily google it. The hull is 185 feet (56 meters) long. The 499 tons weight require some proper sails or a couple of thousand horsepower. 100 liters of fuel will only last for 10 nautical miles, according to the charter brochure. And this is the good news, my friends: You can charter it! The cost per high season WEEK starts at 224‘000 Euro, plus ‘a typical 25-50% on top’ of this for the operation expenses.

I‘m sure that some well known faces would have looked over Mondango’s reiling, would we have kissed her. But Yuana’s Mr. Rope Cutter was quicker, this time.

Tschau Schweizerflagge

Auf Yuana wird gerne mal der Klabautermann verdächtigt, wenn etwas unauffindbar bleibt. Ein USB Stick mit all unseren Musikdateien wurde in der ‚Grümpelkiste‘ anstatt beim Autoradio wiedergefunden. In der Grümpelkiste liegt alles, was keinen festen Platz. Die beiden SSD Datenspeicher zur primären und sekundären Sicherung all unserer Computerdaten blieben über vier Monate unentdeckt im Seitenfach von Markus‘ Reisetasche.

Heute hat es leider die grosse Schweizerflagge am Heck von Yuana erwischt. Alleine auf dieser Reise hat sie uns 10’000 km begleitet, und wir waren stets stolz auf sie! Mit an Sicherheit grenzender Wahrscheinlichkeit ist nicht der Klabautermann schuld, sondern einmal mehr der Autor selbst.

Was ist passiert? Während die Kinder Schule hatten habe ich den Ölwechselservice gemacht. Danach liessen wir den Diesel einige Stunden laufen, um für die nächsten Tage 350 Liter Frischwasser machen und die Bordbatterien laden.

Irgendwann bemerkte ich, dass unser Beiboot Dorie nahe am Schiffsauspuff im Wasser lag. Um Dorie vom Auspuff wegzuholen habe ich ihre Festmacherleine vom linken an den rechten Heckkorb von Yuana verlegt. Dabei blieb unbemerkt, dass Dories Leine jetzt um den Flaggenstock gelegt war. Die Wellen haben Dorie rauf- und runtergeschaukelt, und das hat wohl den Flaggenstock aus seiner Verankerung gehoben.

Kurz vor Sonnenuntergang stellt die Bordfrau den herben Verlust der Flagge fest. Eine sofortige Suchaktion mit dem Beiboot hat zur Einsicht geführt, dass der Flaggenstock längst mitsamt Schweizerflagge von der ablaufenden Flut zum Riff hinausgespült worden sein muss.

Nun muss behelfsmässig erst mal eine neue Flagge her. Dafür wird wohl ein rotes T-Shirt über die Klippe springen müssen. Dann endlich habe ich einen Wunsch, Weihnachtsmann!

AO-Xing Day 15, Aftermath

Here we are, having arrived in Barbados after a safe crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The last hour brought the dolphins! Finally arriving and now being here after a planning time of more than three years feels outstanding at every extent.

The crossing took us 15 days and the ocean has been very kind with us. So was Yuana: she kept going so well and didn’t have the smallest technical issue for that longest stretch she had ever done. Last but not least we had (and still have) a wonderful crew. Each day was fun, which couldn’t have been expected in such a confined space.

Particularly the last days were easy and quick downwind sailing. Compared to previous crossings, this one was more relaxed, mainly because of the additional crew. Moreover and due to the length of this leg, the general target was more to survive the day and less to arrive in Barbados. We just sailed without thinking about estimated arrival date and time.

This leg included some strategic route  which was a very nice part as well. On which route would we find the combination of favorable winds, short distance and a good position for the following days of the journey? Each day midday brought the new position update for all the ship.

Who would have gained or lost a bit of ground? Studying the boats and sailing record of some of the crews, I believe that our team has done very well! Congratulations from the Captain!

How was it, compared to our expectations?
– Weather was easier than thought: winds below 25 knots, waves below 3 meters, almost no squalls
– Health: practically no sea sickness
– Fishing: we didn’t catch the big guys (or they took our lures away)
– Family: on & off sleeping patterns and the tiredness from sleeping in motion made it a bit difficult at some times to enjoy the family time. Kids were however happy with movies and pop corn
– Extra crew: reliable, lovely, charming
– No 24 hour news stream: bad, but survived

Last but not least, our daughter who always wanted to fly rather then sail announced that she will be part of the crew also once the time will come to travel back to Europe. Flight ticket saved, hooray;-)!

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