blog 2/10/14: Atlantic Crossing
We are safe and sound in Grenada, still recovering from our Atlantic crossing.
Harold flew home today. As usual, our delays only left him with one day to tour Grenada.
Harold is fantastic crew- he always works hard, maintains a great attitude and does more than his part.
However, even Harold was glad for the journey to end.
The last few days were much more comfortable
from a wind and wave perspective- a few squalls, variable winds from mid 20’s to upper 30’s and the occasional
big roller. The final insult came as we were reaching the harbor entrance at about 4:00 pm.
Massive black clouds appeared behind us. Jimmy Cornell had turned out the Atlantic Odyssey
participants, marina staff and everyone else he could find to greet us. A dingy was being sent out
to lead us through the tricky entrance. We called on the radio and said we needed to wait for the big squall
to pass over before we entered the narrow channel. The heavens then opened, drenching us with the most
rain we had for the entire trip.
When the rain ended, the wind and waves were still strong, so we delayed dropping
the mainsail until we were closer in. Just before reaching the marina, we turned into area with deeper
water to drop the main sail. This turn caused great consternation in our audience on the dock since it
appeared we were headed straight into a reef where another sailboat had recently come to grief. The
inflatable dingy raced back to warn us. However, with eagle eye Harold on the bow and me watching the helm,
we felt in total control. Jimmy later compared my move to that of the Concordia captain.
(See http://www.atlanticodyssey.org/category/all-news/ for a more dramatic account of our arrival.)
At the dock, we were greeted by a cheering crowd with
noise makers blaring. The marina staff served us rum punch and presented a nice gift basket.
We have never had a more wonderful welcome. (We have also never had so many people watching
final statistics for the voyage:
Actual miles traveled- 3127
Time for passage- 19 days, 12 hours
Average miles per day-
We are well pleased with our speed and passage time. Although an uncomfortable
passage, we arrived without any injuries and minimum repairs for the boat.
We plan to stay in Grenada for about three weeks and
will then continue on our way.
s/v Georgia J
Moored at Le Phare Bleu Marina, Grenada
Kim's blog 2/3/14
We are now in day 13 of our Atlantic
crossing. Things are much more comfortable on Georgia J with the wind and seas down substantially. We finally
had our Caribbean party last night with rum punch, jerk chicken, flowered shirts and steel drum music. Outside temperature
is up to 77 degrees, so we are feeling tropical. Although we are making good speed, our course is straight down wind
requiring us to zig-zag back and forth as we head to Grenada.
The boat continues to perform well. When
the seas were rough, an occasionally errant wave would hit us broadside with a sound like someone hitting her with a sledge
hammer. Georgia J would be knocked sideways with water streaming over the top of the boat. While we rushed around looking
for broken windows and cracked hulls, Georgia would stand back up, shake off the water like wet dog and regain her speed within
seconds. She is a tough old gal.
So far we have had the following equipment failures:
hatch handle broke off- Harold and I reattached it with epoxy and screws.
Various cabinet latches have failed- They are
now tied shut.
One toilet is not working due to an electrical problem.
A fan flew off its mounting and broke the
electrical wires- fixed it.
Bilge pump counter stopped working when a wave splashed into the open companionway door.
Toilet door latch broke- We replaced with a spare one I had on board.
Overall, these are pretty minor problems
considering that we have now traveled 2,250 miles. We have 791 miles to go. We have enough fresh water for the
remainder of the trip even if the watermaker stopped working. We have enough food to do the entire voyage over at least
two more times. We also have almost enough fuel to motor the rest of the way if the rigging failed.
a bit of excitement today when we saw another sailboat, the only vessel we have seen for 11 days. Sadly, they failed
to answer when we tried to call them on the radio to say hello.
We hope to arrive in Grenada on February 8th.
s/v Georgia J
Sharon's Blog 1/31/14- Halfway Plus
Are we there yet? Okay, there is no real way to sugar coat
it. This has been a miserable ride. Now let me quickly say there is nothing really bad, just a damn uncomfortable
ride. We have no major breakage and no one has gotten hurt (normally that would be me). The autopilot and refrigerator
are doing their jobs. For all of this, we are very grateful. The winds have abated a bit, but the seas continue to pound
us like I have never seen. Fortunately, Georgia is a tank, or as our nephew, Alan, once said, "she's a beast".
(He meant that as a compliment)
We surpassed the halfway mark yesterday. Those who know me well will not
be surprised that I had a halfway party with a special Caribbean menu planned. The conditions simply wouldn't allow
any extensive cooking. In fact, it takes all 3 of us to pour and secure 2 cups of coffee each morning.
Maybe there will be a 2/3 Party or perhaps an arrival party? How about just a calm day at sea party?
let's look at some positives. I am sure this motion is shaking off some pounds. Harold is convinced he is
wasting away, but I haven't seen it yet. And, the almost perpetual lunges we have to maintain to keep our balance
is sure to trim up these legs.
On a true celebratory note, today is my sister, Janet's, birthday. Janet
has had a tough year, but meets every challenge with incredible courage and grace. Today, when the crew has its
half-cocktail hour (and I do mean half cocktail, not half hour), we will wish her a very Happy Birthday.
Well, time to
chase dinner around the galley. Are we there yet?
S/V Georgia J
Rocking and rolling at 19 00.6 N, 42
06.9 W T 15:42 utc on 1/31. Course 232 T, speed 6.5 knots
Conditions are much improved over the last 24 hours. Wind and seas have moderated and now feel like
the normal trade winds. Yesterday we motored most of the day. Harold did everyone's laundry in a cockpit bucket.
Sharon cooked and baked banana bread. Kim fixed the flying drawers and slept. The Captain even granted a dram
of grog for the crew at sunset. I also enjoyed a ham radio call to Louisiana with Felix, an old high school buddy.
Our weather consultant expects one more easy day followed by somewhat rougher conditions on Wednesday. 1,729 miles
s/v Georgia J
Position 23 04.2 N, 033 46.65 W at 01:31 UTC, Jan 28rd. Speed 6.4 knots, course 280 M
Kim's blog 1/25/14
We are in our sixth day at sea. We have endured four days of very
uncomfortable conditions. A large high pressure system over the north Atlantic has created very strong trade winds
and large confused seas (10-12 feet). Unfortunately, our weather router has told us these conditions cover a vast area
and there is simply no way to sail out of this weather. Waves boarding the cockpit, rain and very rough seas have kept
us below for a couple of days, doing our watch via radar and AIS. We have not seen nor heard any other vessels since
the second day of our trip.
The good news is that conditions improved when we gybed today and turned south.
We were able to clean up the interior and stick our heads outside for a bit of sunshine. Georgia J has performed great.
We have only broken the following items:
" Latch for the toilet door- probably died of old age
" One toilet not working due to an electrical problem
" One fan broke
away from its mooring and wiring during the rolls
" One large teak underwear drawer broke loose,
did a perfect 360 summersault and landed on me in the bed. (Neither of us was hurt.)
flag was shredded by wind and waves
Sharon continues to feed us excellent meals most of which were prepared before
we left. We have plenty of food, water and good humor on board with only 2,015 miles to go.
s/v Georgia J
Position 26 28.1 N, 029 30.5 W at 18:00 UTC, Jan 25rd. Speed 6.2 knots, course 225 M
We are in our fourth day at sea. So far, we are making great time and using little fuel.
This is all the result of lots of wind and a very uncomfortable ride. I am over my normal sea sickness and other crew
members are doing fine. Our weather router has recommended a course due west to avoid even higher winds and seas south
of us. Our route is roughly the same one Columbus chose in his first voyage. He chose a more southernly route in all
his later trips. We are looking forward to turn south for warmer weather and tropical trade wind.
There was one
terrifying moment. The toilet door latch malfunctioned leaving poor Harold trapped in the head. Our first thought
was to call the fire department, but we realized they were unlikely to rescue him 350 miles off the Sahara Dessert.
In about 10 minutes, we disassembled the latch and freed Harold from what we now treat as Georgia J's brig.
Position 26 08.85 N, 023 07.58 W at 12:46 pm UTC, Jan 23rd. Speed 6.8 knots, course 270 T
miles to go.
Sharon's Blog 1/21/14 Day One
There are 2 good things I can say about day one: we finally
had it and we got in some miles. After finishing the last repair on Georgia we sailed down to Morro Jabla (a really
lousy marina) on Fueretventura Island to rendezvous with our new French friends, a lovely family with 3 kids on board, ages
13, 10 and 6. They needed a couple more days and the weather was pretty lousy. After a lovely send off on their
boat Sunday night, we sailed off together Monday morning.
During the day on Monday, we had strong winds,
30+, and pretty big seas. Georgia dug in and off we went. Although we were making good time, it was an uncomfortable
ride. It was a good reminder of just what things go flying through the cabin in those conditions. Before sunset, we
reined Georgia in by reefing both sails. It actually didn't slow us down that much. However by midnight, the
winds died and, we had to motor. The winds were down, but the seas were not, so the ride was about the same.
At the moment, we have exceeded VHF range of our friends, and we can't get a satellite phone call through.
Hopefully that will change.
In the first 24 hours, we made 160 miles. Okay, we have a few more to go, but
we are once again on our way. It usually takes us about 3 days to really get in the groove of a long passage.
We all just had hot showers and the sun is shining. All is well.
S/V Georgia J en route to Greneda, N 26
25.88, W 17 27.23 on 1/21/14 at 15:35 UTC. Speed 6.6 knots. Course 243 Magnetic.
1/16/14 - Kim's blog:
fuel tanks are full. The water maker is installed and producing more and better water than when it was brand new. A
new battery sits in the engine compartment ready to start the Yanmar. Small wires have been reconnected and
the bilge is very clean. We leave tomorrow for Morro Jable Harbor on Fuerteventura Island,
about 65 miles away. We are meeting Le Graal (The Holy Grail), a French boat who has also been delayed for repairs. We hope to leave together on Saturday
to cross the Atlantic.
Sharon’s Blog 1/14/14 Good News/ Bad News
We rendezvoused with Harold in Lanzarote
on 1/7, ready to launch the boat and be on our way. Unfortunately, Georgia J and the gods had different
plans. Upon arrival, we found we had a couple of unexpected things which needed to be addressed and we
still had no water maker pump. We had only been working with Spectra Watermakers since September on this
repair! The pump was being held hostage by customs in Madrid.
When we finally
launched Georgia 3 days later, the engine would not start. Captain Kim was able to get it going but that
started an analysis to find the cause. Sadly, all of this caused us to miss the start of the Atlantic Odyssey
Rally on the 12th. The Rally had dwindled down to
only 6 boats, but it still would have been nice to leave at the same time.
Now for the good news- the water
maker is working! The pump was delivered yesterday morning and after a couple of hiccups, Harold and Kim
had it going. We celebrated with glasses of clean fresh water.
The engine saga continues.
We have determined that at least one of our 5 batteries has to be replaced. The woman who manages
the boat yard here is amazing and has become an honorary crew member. She is coordinating workmen and vendors
way beyond our expectations (speaking 5 languages is a real plus)
Once this issue
is resolved, all I have to do is replace the provisions we are using while we wait (totally wrecking my inventory!).
Georgia J moored at Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote Island, Canary Islands.