We were incredibly lucky. After 13 days and 2 hours, we arrived in Port St Charles, Barbados after 2083 miles at sea. Our conditions were almost perfect, the trade winds we had been waiting for had arrived. Two hours out of Mindelo we turned off the engine, only to turn it on again to enter the marina in Barbados. We had between 15 -25knots of NE winds, and reasonably comfortable seas, about 80% of the time between 1-2 metres, with the rest 2-3+metres. Apart from the expected squalls, which came later in the passage, we had pretty good weather. The biggest issue was coping with the relentless movement, a bit like being in a washing machine for a few weeks. Any activity is tricky.
What did we do for 13 days? Most of the way, Sea Cloud’s sails were set as below, genoa poled out and a little mainsail held out by a boom brake and a preventer.
We ate well – we rotated responsibility for meals
We had 3 hour watches, most of us slept at every possible opportunity. Having 4 of us to share the night watches was wonderful.
After six seasons in the Med, we hadn’t caught a fish. We have a good rod (thanks to Sel at Pruva Hotel in Gocek) and reel (thanks to John Bowyer) and, according to the man in the fishing shop in La Gomera, the perfect lure.
The fishing in the Atlantic was fantastic – put out a line, catch a fish…
Our first fish caused a lot of excitement. When the reel ran out Ian was in the shower, Tine and Gordon were showering on the back deck.
we managed to land the fish, anaesthetise him with Amorgos Raki,
and cook him – a great meal for 4. It was even calm enough to eat at the table with proper plates rather than our usual plastic dishes
Gordon caught his first fish, a very respectable MahiMahi. The fishing was so good, we had to limit Ian from putting out the line. No one wanted fish EVERY night.
We spent time relaxing, sewing, reading,
sunbathing (not the Aussies, of course!)
Ian tried his hand at celestial navigation
We celebrated Gordon’s birthday with Tine’s freshly cooked bread,
Checking the boat daily for chafe and damage was an important task
and for flying fish – we had 10 of the smelly little things on deck one night, plus one which joined me in the cockpit at 5am!
We saw whales, dolphins and had a blue marlin chasing our Watt and Sea hydrogenerator.
A very tired bird joined about 200Nm out of Cape Verde. He rested on the foredeck for about 12 hours, then at about 5am decided that it looked more comfortable in the cockpit. Time for him to leave.
While on watch we tweaked Ted, (the Hydrovane) who steered us across the ocean.
We enjoyed some wonderful sunrises and Atlantic clouds
Squall management became important later in the passage. The radar was really helpful in determining whether or not we were likely to be hit. We could see the rain, but had no idea how much wind we’d get or from which direction it would come.
Our last night was the worst of the passage. We had 12 hours of constant squalls, wind shifts and strong gusts with very confused high seas. No one slept. We were pleased to have experienced this short taste of not so pleasant Atlantic weather. It reinforced just how lucky we had really been.
A beautiful day followed, so Ian put out the fishing line for his last chance at an Atlantic fish. We were all cursing him when minutes later the line ran out – Sea Cloud was doing 8knots, we had 2-3m seas and 20+knots of breeze! Gordon and Tine did a great job of slowing the boat down while Ian and I wrestled with this very frisky fish on the heaving back deck.
The sight of land was pretty exciting! We arrived in Port Charles, Barbados, a delightful small marina, and a very easy place to check in. Once Sea Cloud was safely berthed we enjoyed a bottle of Moet, a lovely dinner in the yacht club marina overlooking Sea Cloud sitting in the turquoise blue lagoon and most importantly, a full night of sleep in a bed which did not move!!
Having delivered Sea Cloud and crew safely to the other side, the skipper could finally relax!