With the Blister across the Atlantic

On 23.11. 13:00 o’clock we started our sailing trip across the Atlantic , although a little bumpy, because the marina electrician could not repair the generator despite many efforts, because of the defect of two capacitors and the regulator for the alternator was not replaced, plus the late installation of the wind generators.

Actually our plan was that we wanted to start on 22.11.2019, but we trusted that the repairs would be carried out. We were taught a better lesson. The electrician apologized to us, but the generator did not work, which is a small handicap, because we have 1000 liters of diesel + 100 liters extra in canisters on board.

Start, everything went according to plan, “Cast off” and slowly we shipped from the marina area to the main port, we stowed all ropes and the fenders we keep safe. At the end of the main port we set the Genoa, engine off and we enjoyed the silence.

“Finally the waiting has an end.

Sven checked the Weather with our SSB

Start over the big pond, the inner restlessness was gone, now only new territory was waiting for us! How long will we need for the crossing, will the weather remain normal, there was little wind for the first few days, enough food and water, is the mood on board right? Questions over questions … but now first of all relief !

Shortly before departure I wanted to throw the fishing rod into the water, unfortunately I found an orphaned place, because our fishing rod had fallen out of the rod holder. A bitter loss, but we look ahead.

In the channel between Santo Antao and Sao Vincente there was a nozzle, 25-35 kt wind from west, so a very fast exit was secured and we were happy about a fast successful start.

After 3 hours we left the “canal” and a strong wave cape area was waiting for us, the waves came from all directions and Melanie and Werner got a little seasick, also here we had sailed out after about an hour and there was hardly any wind due to the covering of the mountains. So we drifted slowly in front of us.

From 20:00 o’clock we continued with the engine, because we had only less than 5 kt wind. So it went into the first night, which ran very calmly, before that still the ritual dinner 18:00 clock, noodles and tomato sauce, which accompanied us now almost every evening.

No Wind 🙁

The first day at sea, weak wind expected us between 7-12 kt of wind, this very moderate wind accompanied us now the next days and prevented a fast progress. Our blister sail helped us a lot during this time without much wind, so we made progress between 100 and 115 nm per day for the first days, but when gusts came, we had to hurry to catch up the blister sail and we had our big mark, even with the genoa sails presented, on the Atlantic the wind can change very quickly, that’s what we learned, and that we should catch up with the blister before dinner, because it’s always about 18:00 o’clock a stronger wind at 15 kt set in, which was not suitable for the blister.

On the second day we built two replacement fishing rods from fishing line with baits, which we attached to the rear winch, with which we caught a fish on the third day, we were mega happy. Just when we wanted to get him on board he escaped 🙁

Our new Fishing Equipment 😉

But it spurred us on and we knew that we could catch fish.

On Wednesday we had caught two yellowfin tunas and I cooked a delicious fish soup with them. “Delicious !!”

Fresh Fish with Vegetables

Until Thursday 3:00 o’clock everything was normal, no incidents, we sailed the weak winds.

A muffled bang in the night changed everything, we couldn’t locate the exact bang in the night, in the morning we saw “the big present”, again a rake of the shroud tore on the port side in front.

Only the next day we saw that the wall fell into the sail and left a small crack there.

Better to make a hole there than to hit the hull.

How can our journey continue ?

We were all shocked, but we started to search for a solution.

How can we sail on ? Back to Mindelo 550 nm? Or further to Barbados 1500 nm. We informed Contest, who installed the shrouds new 3/2018. So that solutions could be found there as well.

In the meantime we built a new shroud with a Dynema rope and a shackle and sailed on carefully with little cloth.

A good idea as it turned out quickly, it was not a replacement, but it gives the mast stability.

So we could continue sailing towards Barbados!

We ‘build’ something the stabilze our Mast

At least that was our plan at this time!

An interim solution ?! We went looking for a solution, to maybe find a better idea.

Finally we caught some fish again, this time two Gold Dorades. We fried them in the evening with Rösti. Also again very tasty ;P

After the meal we exchanged new ideas how we can build the shroud even safer. One idea was to use shackles to extend the old shroud and build a new one. The biggest shackle fitted as measured into the opening in the mast to hook the shroud, so that we were able to use it with the rope. The next morning we put on the defective shroud with the new shackles and tightened the shroud, it is definitely another safety. Sailing on starboard is only possible with about 30% and without mainsail.

Since the damage, I check the shrouds daily.

Until Sunday, 1.12. the light wind area accompanied us and most of the time, during the day, we sailed with blister, until Sunday 15:00 o’clock there was a loud bang on the blister and the blister slowly fell into the water.

“What a bummer”!!

The reason for the bang was not clear until then, quickly everyone came out of their holes and helped to recover the blister sail. Melanie quickly took the helm and circled the sail without the motor, while I got the sail back into the boat with Uwe & Werner. Because it was so quickly soaked with water, it had become quite heavy.

The blister was salvaged undamaged, what a “luck. We also saw that the eye had torn open from the fall and therefore there was no longer any hold. We dried the blister by using the halyard on the other side ,set the blister and shortly before 18:00 we recovered the sail with a new repair plan.

The broken Rope from the Blister

Hardly a day when nothing new happened !

Slowly it was enough for us, the nerves were bare!

We planned to pull in a new halyard for the next day, one of us would have to go up to 30 meters high to pull in a new halyard on the mast with a makeshift line. But this work we do only in weak wind.

But it came again everything differently than planned!

Overnight the weather conditions changed, both the wind and the wave were completely different in the morning. The wind rose to 15-30 kt, the wave to 2-5 meters, so a repair in the mast on 30 meters was not to think about!

We sailed with the genoa on port with 50% because of the broken shroud, so we sailed 5-8 kt, again and again small showers brought us some cooling, which was rather pleasant with the rising temperatures. With every night it got warmer and warmer and we could leave out more and more clothes 😉

3.12./4.12. we continued in a fast ride over the wave. The weather remained the same, the wind and the wave became so strong that we had 6-7 kt ride in the meantime. At night the wave was not to be seen and the skidding starts, our Meerlust was so rocking up that it was hardly possible to think of sleep. But we could make up for the deficit during the day.

Sailing across the Ocean

Slowly the board routine came, our bought bread from Mindelo ran out, so today was the first baking day. A simple dough of flour, caraway, mineral water and baking powder resulted in a delicious bread. So the next morning we could enjoy a fresh and self-baked bread.

Homemade Bread

Melanie baked some cookies from the overripe bananas with oatmeal and peanut butter.

Super tasty 😛

Hardly a day when nothing new happened !

Slowly it was enough for us, the nerves were bare!

We planned to pull in a new halyard for the next day, one of us would have to go up to 30 meters high to pull in a new halyard on the mast with a makeshift line. But this work we do only in weak wind.

But it came again everything differently than planned!

Overnight the weather conditions changed, both the wind and the wave were completely different in the morning. The wind rose to 15-30 kt, the wave to 2-5 meters, so a repair in the mast on 30 meters was not to think about!

We sailed with the genoa on port with 50% because of the broken shroud, so we sailed 5-8 kt, again and again small showers brought us some cooling, which was rather pleasant with the rising temperatures. With every night it got warmer and warmer and we could leave out more and more clothes 😉

3.12./4.12. we continued in a fast ride over the wave. The weather remained the same, the wind and the wave became so strong that we had 6-7 kt ride in the meantime. At night the wave was not to be seen and the skidding starts, our Meerlust was so rocking up that it was hardly possible to think of sleep. But we could make up for the deficit during the day.

A Little bit tired after some sleepless Nights

At the moment we are sailing towards the horizon and hope for a calmer night.

Unfortunately, this night was not calm either, but for all nights, on a clear day, the grandiose starry sky, the Milky Way and the many shooting stars are unique, we could fall in love with the sky, there is no need for television… every time new beautiful star pictures.

Here we could stand still!

On into the new day, at noon after 6 days we saw the first sailing boat, we were almost sure that we would not see any more boats until Barbados, but the joy was great to see other boats from far away. Every day there are security checks, to this day our self-built shrouds hold. From Medemblik we got the information via satellite phone that we will get the shrouds changed on St. Lucia, hopefully everything will be ok until then.

It remains exciting, still 650 nm, we expect to arrive on Tuesday 10.12., but without hurry !

Finally we caught a big fish again!

The Mahi- Mahi, has not only upgraded our dinner by 100%, but also lifted the mood.

We catched a Mahi Mahi 🙂

The second weekend on the Atlantic, we follow our routine like every Saturday, there is a boiled egg for breakfast, and in the evening, like the last days a movie, there are only 356 sm 21:00 o’clock.

We all long to touch land again, the infinity on the sea is so fascinating, but it’s time for a shore leave!

Sunday , only 300 nm left, the wind blows well from the west, we make fast progress and beat new records almost every hour. Will we arrive in Barbados on Tuesday?

I can feel everyone’s wish, because everyone is participating in the fast progress and we will be competing to see who has done the most nautical miles during his shift.

Monday, unfortunately another night behind us with little wind, many small intensive rain showers and still a good 210sm. The goal of arriving on Tuesday is a long way off.

But the morning started well, the wind started at 7:00 o’clock and we sailed with 7 kt speed. Around 10:00 o’clock again a lull, we prepared the blister sail. Only fast the larger rain clouds at port passing, which neat rain about 10 nm, but we remained dry.

After the clouds the picture changed, 15-20 kt wind from west, we flew through the wave until the evening.
20:00 o’clock it was only 90 SM, crazy how fast the tide turned, today in our favour.

We will see what the night and tomorrow brings, who calls first

“Land ho!”…

We’ve been longing for it!!!

After a very brisk ride through the night I saw at 7:00 the outline of Barbados

” Land in sight”

Everyone is very happy, but there are still 30 nm to the harbour, wind 20-25 kt, wave 3-4 meters from behind.

Around 11:40 a.m. we arrived in St. Charles, clearing in was very easy, all authorities are sitting door to door. After that we stayed for two days in the marina with our yacht, finally we could sleep in peace.

The bottle of sparkling wine was beheaded immediately, we were all happy to have mastered the adventure!

Now it means to find a Rigger & sail maker and to set off for St. Lucia & Grenadier

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