10 Days to the Caribbean

Friday February 25, Day 1, by 6:15am the anchor was up and we were on our way. Fernando de Noronha was certainly a great stop! The sky is blue with few clouds, 15-17 knots of wind, we’re cruising at 7-8.5 knots.

For dinner Baja Chicken Bowls, chicken, red pepper, corn over rice topped with grated cheese and salsa.

The moon set at 2pm, making for a really dark night. The plus side of that is the stars! The Milky Way, the Southern Cross, the Big Dipper and Orion always the standout. Also there is Bioluminescence in the water. Twinkling sky and water tonight. 🌟

Saturday February 26 – Day 2, Total nautical miles traveled 164.

*Sourdough Notes* started the levain at the end of my watch last night. This morning it was ready to mix. Baked a Belle loaf in the afternoon as well as banana bread.

We are heading toward shore to catch a ride in the North Brazil Current. It is a well-established western boundary current that carries warm water from the South Atlantic northwest along the coast of Brazil, across the equator and into the northern hemisphere.The Mercator current chart shows a 3-4 knot current flowing northwest. We’ll jump on the ride for awhile then turn north to Barbados. There is also less intense wind closer to shore. This is also the path all the PredictWind weather routing models take.

New time zone GMT-3 It’s 1:30pm in Maceio, Brazil, 11:30am in Philadelphia.

Today’s matinee “The Vault”.

Oh my the stars! The Southern Cross, The Milky Way, The Big Dipper and more! Without the moon and not a cloud in the sky, the stars are very brilliant.

Sunday February 27 – Day 3, Total nautical miles traveled 355, 191 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Yes! Pancakes for breakfast! It was however the last of the maple syrup but we have Vanilla syrup from Reunion Island.

Cruising in 2.5knots of current, with 13knots of wind we’re moving at 8-8.5knots! Sails are all wing on wing. Radar shows squall line behind to right of us, looks like we won’t get that rain.

Spinner Dolphins swam our bow for while in the afternoon, it’s always fun to watch them.

Late afternoon we hit the “sweet spot” in North Brazil Current. With 16 knots of wind, our SOG (speed over ground) was 11.2 knots! The current was flowing 2.5 to 3 knots. The majority of the night we were cruising over 10 knots SOG.

The night sky was quite cloudy with lightning to the south over land. Few stars are visible tonight however the ocean is twinkling with bioluminescence.

Monday February 28 – Day 4, Total nautical miles traveled 570, 215 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. A Trance record for distance traveled in one day!

Through PredictWind there are features that allow you email, text and track other boats. We are part of an email chain of messages between several cruisers that are all currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean. These 9 we are tracking are all are headed towards the Caribbean.

Afternoon matinee, episode 1 season 4 Ozark. For some unknown reason the downloaded episodes of Ozark are playing incorrectly from my phone. An episode will pause then the following episode starts to play, so we switched to a movie, “Unhinged” starring Russel Crowe, intense movie!

Tuesday March 1 – Day 5, Total nautical miles traveled 775, 205 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. This is the fourth time we’ve traveled over 200 miles in a day.

This morning around 7am we uneventfully crossed the Equator, hello North Atlantic Ocean!

The afternoon wind was steady around 12knots, still playing in the 2knot current.

Wednesday March 2 – Day 6, Total nautical miles traveled 991, 216 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. Trance breaks a new distance traveled per day record!

Wind was pretty steady today 10-12knots, blue sky, partly cloudy. We’re still riding the current train.

*Sourdough Notes* started the levain last night after my watch, mixed then bake the bread in the afternoon.

In the late afternoon the wind increased 16-19knots, the seas are bit rougher, the sails are triple reefed and still cruising 8-9knots.

On my watch, I noticed a tanker ship approaching from behind us, pointing directly at our location. At about 7 miles away the ships AIS details appeared, showing its name, size, speed as well as more information about it. There is also a squall getting closer. I radioed the ship asking the captain if he sees us, he replied he did. I told him I felt he was a little too close to us (Closest Point of Approach was less than 1 mile) especially with the storm approaching. The tanker altered its course now parallel to us just under 2 miles apart, going past us into the dark at 16knots.

Thursday March 3 – Day 7, Total nautical miles traveled 1199, 208 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. 4th day in a row over 200 miles!

The wind is over 20 knots this morning, seas still pretty tough. Sailing 9-10knots with triple reefed sails, 8-9ft swells. Pretty uncomfortable ride for the next three day, ugh! Can we put some seatbelts in the cockpit?

Today’s matinee “Snowden”.

Friday March 4 – Day 8, Total nautical miles traveled 1407, 208 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. 5 days in row over 200!

Upon reaching another waypoint, an eight degree turn to starboard was made. The Genoa fluttered a bit then a huge tear appeared in the sail, not near the small tape repairs we recently did. Then another tear, next thing we see the sail totally shredded! While we were furling it in the flapping sail cloth wrapped around the forestay. We would have preferred to leave the sail furled but the top half of the sail was loose and flapping. We had to unfurl the sail to drop the halyard. This was difficult because the sail wa so twisted around the forestay preventing the sail to unfurl. In 20knots of wind I raised Dan up in a bosons chair on another halyard so he could cut the sheets as well as part of the sail so we could take it down. What an afternoon!

The staysail was deployed but running the sheet to the rail through the turning blocks used for the Genoa sheets. A few days ago the end fitting on the staysail Hoyt boom broke. Dan had attempted to fix it for the past two years. He expected it would eventually break. This fitting connects the staysail sheet and the boom traveler to the Hoyt boom.

By 8:30pm we had exited the North Brazil Current stream, there is still however 0.5-1 knots of favorable current. These days it is best to keep a safe distance from Venezuela, the northern section of the current stream flows too close.

Saturday March 5 – Day 9, Total nautical miles traveled 1607, 200 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. The 6th consecutive day of 200 miles or more traveled! 370 miles to go to Barbados.

The wind has been 16-19knots all day with 6-9ft waves, it’s a very bumpy ride! SOG 6.5-7.2knots.

Today’s matinee “The Impossible”, it’s a true story about a family’s struggle during the tsunami in Thailand a few years back.

The day was cloudy gray all day with occasional squalls. The main is triple reefed, the staysail is full. Winds 16-18 with 6-9ft waves.

Sunday March 6 – Day 10, Total nautical miles traveled 1776, 169 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. 203 miles to go!

They say the Atlantic Ocean is the calmest one but I think she’s having a few bad days. It’s been a rough ride! On Dan’s watch the wind topped out at 28knots.

Radar shows another sqall passes behind us.

Today’s matinee “Submission”.

Monday March 7 – Day 11, Total nautical miles traveled nautical 1944, 168 miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

On our approach to Bridgetown we were hit by a squall bringing 30.4knots of wind and a down pour of rain. Glad to get some of the salt off of Trance with that. Arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados at 9:45 local time, total trip distance 1983 nautical miles, 10 days, 5 hours.

The group of 9 boats we’re tracking are crossing the Atlantic Ocean together from South Africa to the Caribbean in relatively the same time frame. From there everyone will go their own way! Of these 9, 4 of us are circumnavigating and on our way home. It’s been great to socializing and sail with these friends! LostGirl, Hylite and Northern Pearl are going to Grenada. From there Northern Pearl will be going to Panama, through the canal up the west coast and back home to Vancouver, BC. Not sure of Susan’s or Michael’s long term plans other than to stay in the Caribbean for a while. Ohana from South Africa and SeaDancer are both going to Surinam, Ohana from Argentina is headed to St. Barts where family will be meeting them, then to Florida. Steel Sapphire headed to Ascension Island then onward to Scotland. Lazy Lightning is heading to Antigua then the USA. Fair winds my friends!

12 thoughts on “10 Days to the Caribbean

  1. Glad you are in Barbados through some of those rough ocean days and the ripped Genoa! I was surprised that the big tanker boats would alter their route for a sailboat, thought they would ask you to adjust for them.🤔 Hoping for some smooth enjoyable Caribbean Island sailing.Enjoy!
    Love you❤️

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    1. Yes ripped beyond repair! We used the staysail like it was a Genoa she did great! It happened actually a few times to us especially at night where we’ve asked a ship to alter course for us. Rules of the road on an open, ocean sailboats under sail have right of way except to a fishing boat that is trawling.

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  2. Great journal of your passage……can’t wait to read your last legs to home. Bet you can almost see it from Barbados.

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  3. Wow, what a journey!!! That is terrible about the Genoa, but glad that the staysail did a good job for the rest of the passage! I can’t believe you guys are ‘almost’ home! I am hoping you’ll share your plans for the future — that you’ll keep Trance, too, I hope! Back in the mid 90’s, my folks had a Tashiba 42 that they sailed out of Lake Michigan (from Waukegan, Illinois), through the St. Lawrence Seaway, out to the Atlantic, and then they sailed in the Caribbean 1500 from there. They spent almost 2 years cruising the Caribbean and they visited Venezuela as well. Speaking of which: I noted that you mentioned steering clear of Venezuela — I don’t follow the news very often as it gives me such terrible anxiety — so, curious about why you avoided the country? Anyhow, after their almost two years of cruising on their sailboat, they sailed back towards the U.S. and got only about as far as half-way up the coast of Florida, where they then threw in the towel — there were terrible fires in Florida at the time making the sailing miserable with all of the smoke. They ended up leaving the boat in FL and put her on the market with a broker. They ended up buying a Grand Banks 36, and years later, their current boat, a Back Cove 37. My dad also bought a Buzzards Bay 14, but just listed that, this year, to sell. When I told him that I was buying a sailboat a couple years of ago, his reply was ‘Sailing is too much work.” 😆 That never stopped me, of course, and I’m hopefully going to be the new owner of another sailboat very soon — a bit bigger than my sweet lil’ Sunny. Fair winds to you both! P.S. I have another online sailor that I follow here on WordPress (SY Saoirse) who is currently cruising the Antigua/Barbados area — his name is Tomas Fehrling aboard his beautiful SY Saoirse, a Dufour Performance 40e — he crossed the Atlantic from the Canaries, back last Dec. into early Jan., making landfall at Martinique. Maybe you will run into him! Very nice person! ⛵️

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    1. It was sad to watch the sail just shreds in the wind $$$$. Yes we do plan to keep Trance. Our next journey will be to Nova Scotia, Canada, hopefully next year. There are few thing we need to upgrade before another long trip, mainly refrigeration and of course a new Genoa and staysail. What is the name of the blog for SY Saoirse?

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