Message from our captain Michael:
Why do such a voyage?
Anyone sane would choose palm trees, beaches, Trade Winds and pleasant temperatures, or not?
That’s where I came from. But to travel the Winter North Atlantic from Sydney (Canada) to Horta (Azores)?
We’ll come to that again at the end of this report.
In view of the winter setting in with snow blizzards underway there was no time to loose. Right on the first day the crew gets it all: setting all sails, then reefing and dousing some again. And not to forget the seasickness. I feel for everyone, I do remember mine. It’s force 7-8, and it’s one of the slow days. Yet all are brave enough to stick it through, sick or not. Our trip avoids passing over the banks, and we carefully avoid being trapped by Lows. Lots of sail handling keeps all busy and slowly the seasickness disappears. Turns out our bosun Klaus gets everyone wanting to be eagerly in every maneuver. The excitement is clearly part of our routine now.
Taking in sail quickly in an onset of a blow? Furling sail in a torrentious downpour?
Bring it on, and we even want to furl nice!
The 22nd gives us a bit of a break. No wind, a bit of sunshine. Good time to wash, meditate, sunbath, chit chat. As it turns out we shall have such days every now and then, to recuperate, to refuel with energy. And each time the North Atlantic makes sure we won’t forget what he is made of, in a crescendo that is. Gradually we work ourselves up to a proper force 9 to 10 with waves so high one can only have the mightiest respect for any wave breaking on deck. We are harnessed, clipped in, and only ever move about deck in pairs. Bulkheads closed, watertight integrity secured. Oh, I didn’t mention the great food yet, did I? Imagine a ship heavily rolling at times and yet without fail we have delicious meals on the table every day.
All are cooking, and cleaning, and keep watch. And all that with a smile!
It appears we have the worst behind us. We got pooped twice (poop-deck awash), we saw a force 10 (that’s enough, trust me), and when a crew tells me it feels like no wind at all in a force 7 after all this, then I am happy and I know I have the right bunch around me. With less than 800 miles to go Horta is almost there. We can almost taste the beer from Peter’s Sportsbar already. and it gets warmer, gradually.
So, why do we do this again? Because, if one gets lucky, I mean really lucky, one gets to terms with oneself on such a trip. Rarely do we get the opportunity to get to know what we are made of. Here it does not get closer to nature, and with it the sincere feeling that comradship means something.
Happy days, and see you soon in Horta,