A Day by Day Summary Cape Cod to Flores, the Azores, 2230 nm, 20 July to 05 Aug 2014
20 July, 06:00, we left with the tide, as had a few hours on the Narragansett River, then Buzzards Bay to the Cape Cod Canal and across the Bay, anchoring at 21:00 that night. 91 nm,
21 July, anchored in Provincetown Harbor. Very foggy, had to top up the tanks and repair VHF antennas, none of my VHF radios was working! Discovered that I had connected two antenna cables to each other, and one old Loran cable to the PH VHF, let the Shenanigans begin.
22 Jul, NO GO, Water maker not making water, changed fuel polish filter and one primary engine fuel filter. The shenanigans continue as it takes me hours to figure out I have water maker valve set to Clean, thus no water. We finally leave as fog breaks at 12:00 noon. An hour later, the one and only boat we talk to the entire trip asks if I have seen any whales, I tell him we’re headed to the Azores. He doesn’t get that answer very often. Yes, all the radios now work.
23 July, A strong S to SW winds 15 to 20 knots all night has kept us from turning more east (as many of you have noted). The great circle route does pass just south of Nova Scotia, so with the winds pushing us that way, we take it as an omen to stop. We pull into Shelburne, NS at 14:35 on the 24th. We refuel, three times I say gallons and they give me liters. Luckily, I’m not a 767. That night, when paying we realize the mistake and top up the next morning. Yes, that counts as a shenanigan.
25 July, Underway again, hopefully next stop, the Azores. Keep rpms between 1500 & 1600 for the next 5 days. The sight tubes on the tanks do not come into play until the tanks are about 1/3 down, therefore I will not have an accurate read until then. Southwest swell only 1-2 ft., light westerly winds all day and night. Water maker auxiliary pump stops working, and the water maker was not working since it lost it prime. I work on pump, pulling it out and finally just bypassing the pressure switch. All is working OK. With the light winds, we were trying to get as far south as possible, knowing the SW winds would return.
26 July, No change in weather (wx) or course, at 9:00, the water maker was stops working again. No power at all. Thought it was the relay, change relay, no change. Discover it is the tube fuse had toasted itself. I put a spade fuse in, but the wires were too small and it cooks itself within minutes. Luckily, I’m feeling all the wires as this is going on, and no other wires got even warm. I decide to go without the fuse. Never had another problem (but it doesn’t stop you from worrying about it!) and it was just now in writing this, that I remembered I was supposed to get new fuse.
27 July, Broken clouds all day with rain showers and thunderstorm, changed course to 135°, Southeast, speed is changing from 4.2 to 7.8 knots, we are clearly in the Gulf Stream eddies. We go all evening close to 8 knots. This is the first day; we did not have some minor mechanical problem to deal with!
28 July, rain showers and Thunderstorms all day, winds getting stronger, south or SW 15 to 25, at 9:00 turned off all electronics for about an hour as we passed thru one line of cells, by 10:30 we were past that and all was normal again, the winds are strong from the south, so the paravanes are really working. At 11:30, we hear a noise that sounds like a pistol hot. Not having a pistol on board, we were worried. I look to see that the 3/8” bolt for the mast cleat for the starboard paravane has sheared off. Quickly, neutral, to get pressure off of mast and I go up to fly bridge as boat is rolling around. I re tie up-down line, which transfers force from paravanes to mast, and make a hitch around mast and tie it off at the boom. This turns out to be really effective and in a few days, I retied the other cleat too. Oh, I forgot that wasn’t my first solution; my first solution was to tie it on another cleat that was on the mast. As I watched it bend that cleat as we got underway, I decided that I needed a new solution.
29 July, at 2:45 upon our watch change, I decided it was a good time to add to quarts of oil to the running engine. After much ado, it was a non-event. Much messier in a car. Scattered clouds, SW winds at 10 to 15 continue. 1080 miles to go 😮
30 July, Sct clouds, winds still SW but less than 10 kts, no whitecaps!, we stopped at noon to pull in paravanes (they slow us up about ½ knot). Took this opputunity to take a swim. The water was so blue. Also took this relatively calm period to tighten the paravane stays and the mast stays. We spent the next 30 hours without the paravanes. This was the only time all trip without them.
31 July, nice weather continues. I tell Julie that this is what I had hoped for for the entire trip. By 18:00, the southerly swell causes us to put the paravanes back out. We had also gotten an easterly wind on our bow. This was causing a pitch that coupled with the roll was becoming unpleasant, so the birds went out and the ride became ok, though still pitching.
1 Aug, another nice day, light easterly winds continue, so the ride wasn’t that smooth, but OK. Later on in the afternoon, I do what I told everyone I wouldn’t. I stopped the engine. I wanted to check the new fan belt tension, I also changed the other fuel filter and added ½ qt. oil. (I was proud of my 2 qt. guess the day before). Fan belt was fine. Before stopping the engine, I did start the Gen. why, who knows, maybe the start battery would be dead.
2 Aug, our 4th day of nice weather, Julie took a swim too. Winds are SSW at 10, so paravanes are needed. But still nice, Saw dolphins. This nice weather really helped our morale, we were more than half way and also we had stopped having a problem a day.
3 Aug, we’re making good time, 160 miles in last 24 hours. We also saw out whales today, but winds are out of NE causing again that pitch and roll.
4 Aug, Thunderstorms in the early morning, I change course to avoid them and get further south. A few hours later, we return to our easterly course, as the winds have picked up since noon. They are now up to 20 kts and the seas are building to about 6 ft., though we have kept it behind us, off the rear quarter. For the next 48 hours this would be our challenge.
Our roll has increased, winds continue 240 at 15 kts gusting to 25, and we’re rolling 15° in each direction with the paravanes. That’s not normal. We are watching the birds in the water and they are doing this little circular motion, the port bird is running next to the hull of the boat, while the Stbd bird is running three feet outside the pole. Very strange behavior. We’ve had these smaller birds on since Rhode Island, and thought we saw no difference.
At 16:00, we stop, to reposition the angle of the poles, thinking, it will help. We have a strange evening. The port pole occasionally jumps vertical, which makes us stop the boat, so it falls out again. Finally, at 23:00 I try to go to sleep. It’s hard to sleep, for the first time all voyage, and sure enough in an hour I hear the pole go vertical again, but I figure Julie can handle it and she does. An hour later, the same thing. The boat is also rolling a lot, like 15 to one side, 20 to the other, that a delta of 35°, that’s like pre-paravane numbers.
The third time it happens, I figure I better get up, as Julie has had enough practice with the shenanigans. I first try to change the AP, the boat does clearly not like some combination of something, so I do the easiest thing first. No change.
Finally at 02:00, 05 Aug, we pulled the old bird out of the lazerette and changed the port bird. Now remember, we were hesitate to do this because the boat is rolling like a.. And trying to retrieve a 40 lb. object can be dangerous.
As soon as we get underway, I see the port bird is now tracking straight AND the Starboard bird which had been coming out of the waves sideway, since it was also doing a circular thing, is now tracking straight. At 3:00 Julie goes to a well-earned bed and we power along with strong SW winds now up to 25 knots.
But I know we’ll be at Flores within 15 hours, in fact, we can see the cap cloud over the island, the boat is going well and we still have 9” of fuel in each tank (about 160 gal). At noon, we decide not to wait for port, but to change the stud bird also, the seas have continued to build and are above 6 ft. and the roll is delta 20°
At 17:30 we sight the lighthouse, of Porto do Albarnaz. While we have seen the islands on the radar for the entire day, that doesn’t count.
It was nice to see land, especially after the last hard 48 hours. But it wasn’t over.
Because of the large waves from the SW, we were not able to turn more southerly, so we had to keep a course that put us north of Flores, even though we were heading to the southern tip. I hoped that once in the lee of the island, NE of Flores, we could turn south and the wind and waves would be smaller. They were, but not at first, we had an hour after we turned on=f now going into these 8 ft. waves, being slowed to like 3 knots. It was at this point that we had a strange thing happen. We got hit by a float?? It came flying across the bow, hit the pilot house window and bounced off into the dark ocean.
3 miles, one whole hour later, we were in the lee of the island and the waves were less than half.
We anchored in 35’ water outside the Porto das Lajes, 39° 22.897’N, 31° 09.991W at 22:00
Our first part of our Atlantic Passage was done.
And that’s why I didn’t write. I was resting.
Stay tuned to the same channel next week.
Thanks for joining us.