Atlantic Crossing 2021: The voyage so far…

Ahoy!

If you’ve been following our GPS Tracking, you’ve probably read my daily updates, so I won’t repeat much of what I’ve already written. However, after one week of sailing, now entering our seventh night offshore, here’s a brief summary of the trip so far:

Direct route – Cape Verde to Caribbean – 2080nm
Actual route – 2230nm
Distance sailed – 770nm
Remaining miles – 1460nm

Each morning and night we download a fresh PredictWind grib file and consider our options. Six weather models provide route information and from our experience, ECMWF, Spire, PWE and UKMO are most accurate. Where the routes agree, we follow somewhere in the middle. So far, the predictions are reasonably accurate.

Looking back on our ocean crossings, this voyage is our third longest to date. Although we sailed thousands of miles across the Indian Ocean, our longest passage was no more than 1200nm as we sailed from islands to atolls as we crossed. Our longest passage to date was 3800nm, 28 days, St Helena to Martinique (2015); and 2800nm, 21 days from Caribbean to Azores (2017).

So what do we do out here? A lot of sitting, for sure, and laying down to rest. Not so much exercise but simple stretches and some time standing help blood return to numb parts of the body. While everything is fine we can relax, but out here we must also be ready for any unwelcome problems.

I’m reading a book, but it has little story to keep me interested. It’s good to send me to sleep though. Some of my favourite podcasts – BBC’s History Hour, ABC’s Nightlife, BBC’s The Documentary, plus a new one I’ve recently downloaded, the ABC’s ‘Stuff the British Stole’, which looks at how 19th century British Empire ‘acquired’ cultural artifacts and natural wealth from it’s colonies and rivals. Skipper spends his time checking instruments, analysing graphs, making sure we have full batteries, runs the watermaker, kills fish and opens jars for me.

Settled into the voyage, we tend to stay awake during the day, with two x four hour watches at night, providing enough sleep. To stay awake while on watch, I listen to podcasts, watch movies or TV series, with my Bluetooth headphones so as not to disturb skipper below. Away from the noise of the outside world is a welcome break. We’ve no idea what’s happening in the world right now.

Sailing in light conditions is relaxing, but we can’t be complacent regarding the weather. The cruising chute has flown since Monday – the longest run we’ve done I think – and we haven’t had to motor at all (only to charge the batteries and operate watermaker). The forecast for the next few days shows increasing, but not excessive, wind. This will improve our daily mileage and our ETA.

This passage has taken us from latitude 17 degrees at Cale Verde to under 12 degrees, and our destination, Martinique, is at 14 degrees. Our meandering course looks like a dog’s hind leg as we pursue wind to blow us to the Caribbean.

Tomorrow is our 39th wedding anniversary, maybe we’ll do something special!

Ally & Wayne

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Follow our progress here – https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/SV_BlueHeeler

About blueheelerhr39

Sailing the world aboard Blue Heeler
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