Wednesday 18 May -the official start to Azores was scheduled for 1pm in St Georges Harbour. Nineteen boats, 1800 nm. Twenty minutes before the start we could not get our anchor up. Poor Mojito was trying her best to pull it out as we, and all the other boats in the rally, giving advice, thought it was stuck fast in the mud. “Fred” ‘s three surfer dudes, diving masks ready, came alongside to offer assistance. Trevor, Mojito’s our own “surfer dude” from the desert, said no-way those young guys will touch his anchor! [Read more…]
Patricia Storbeck’s overview (Hermanus, South Africa):
Hampton to Bermuda – a notoriously difficult passage of some 650 nm. Crossing the Gulf Stream, navigating between a warm eddie to the north where a stream run counter clockwise just under the ocean surface and a cold eddie to the south turning clockwise. Two opposing forces of nature – think Bermuda Triangle horrors of planes and boats swallowed by giant whirlpools in the ocean. After navigating a boat between those two eddies and actually seeing images on our weather charts of them – you realize just how powerful nature are. AND then you are only halfway to Bermuda! After that giant weather systems also comes into play. Gales forming without much notice in higher latitudes. So ferocious that their wind field cover 700 nm miles in diameter. That same gale can travel more than 600 nm in 24 hours! It was just such a gale that threatened all the boats that left from Hampton for Bermuda. Mojito has a professional weather router, Bob Cook. He is an expert weather forecaster and has become Mojito’s guardian angel. He routed us north of the rhumb line between Hampton & Bermuda. Urging us to sail as fast as we possibly can. We had 4 days only to make landfall in Bermuda. Well we made it!!!
On average most boats will take about 5 to 6 days to cross from the USA to Bermuda. But time was of an essence and a gale was moving southwards towards Bermuda. We crossed the start line in the Thimble Shoal Chanel at 12.20pm on Friday, May 6th, outside Hampton, Virginia. The seas started building by Monday morning and we had wind gusts of 40 knots. We knew that time was running out. The gale was approaching fast. Two other boats decided to try and get away from the storm by sailing south and to try approaching Bermuda from that direction. Which is safer if you are in a storm situation. We were aiming for the northern tip of Bermuda. Less safe because of the very dangerous reefs that surrounds Bermuda, we knew that we just had to triple check our navigation as this was the shortest route to safety. By Monday afternoon, our weather router, whom we keep in contact with via email and satellite telephone,warned us that we had less than 24 hours before the storm will hit Bermuda. We crossed the finish line at 11:47 am on Tuesday morning, the 10th of May and 4 days after leaving Hampton. Two hours later the storm hit with a vengeance. Mojito was safely at anchor in St Georges Harbour, Bermuda and I wish I can say we were drinking Mojito’s in celebration of crossing the finish line first. But we spent the rest of the day washing the boat that brought us to a safe harbour, in stead.
At the time of this post – Thursday, 12 May, 11am, local time, those two other boats are still out there, having been forced hundreds of miles off course by the gale. Hopefully we will see them soon.
Larkin Wright’s thoughts on sailing (Cocoa, Florida, USA):
ARC Europe from a Power Boater’s slant:
Grabbed the opportunity!
Wife said I had lost my mind!
Got to Bermuda!
Talked to wife.
Admitted I had lost my mind.
Said “Boat has dribbled my ass from stem to stern like a basketball!”
Got 5 to 6 weeks left!
Your guess is as good as mine!
Don Mack writes (Houston, Texas, USA) :
Hampton to Bermuda – I’m moderately stressed because the weather router is saying go, go, go. you can beat the bad stuff. Skipper says we’ll go. Nice trip, a “little” bumpy, dead down wind. Only problem is it’s way too cold. Fabulous crew, great food. Personally, I think this must be like being on a Norwegian Cruise Liner. Thank God, we beat the weather.
From the iPad of Gerda Möhr (Hermanus, South Africa).
Rock, Rattle & Roll from Hampton to Bermuda. Leaving Hampton, Virginia, we knew the crew of 7 were going to Rock on Mojito. We were not Rattled by the weather report. We can ride out a storm….! and we did a lot of Rolling doing just that! We all look swell in our green Mojito gear and luckily we can hide all our black and blue bruises under our luminous green shirts.
DEBS BLOGGIE BIT (Deborah Smales, Hull, UK)
How is the water so incredibly blue? Why does the moon appear so very bright and the stars twinkle so? What makes the island shimmer in the sun light? How is it possible for the marching band to be in step and in tune? My first impressions of Bermuda are lovely. A tiny mid atlantic island surrounded by reef. We were blown into her safe harbour by gusting winds. Overhead clouds billowed into massive white heaps warning us of the forthcoming storms. The following rolling waves continued so that Mojito played and danced her way into port. Cherrystone Hill was our beacon to safety. We navigated slowly through town cut into a harbour filled with colour from the pretty houses and fine yachts displaying their global colours. We have made it. Proud and happy that our first leg of this incredible adventure has been successful and with little mishap. Others are less fortunate than ourselves and are still battling with wind and waves to reach us. But we are here and are looking forward to absorbing more of the friendly atmosphere of this very British colony of Bermuda.
Trevor Mulkey reports (Nevada,USA) :
Well, two of four legs of this sailing adventure are over. Each leg has not been long enough to really get into the swing off offshore passage
We bought Mojito (a Hunter 50, American built, South African flagged) in 2008 – on a whim – and without much, if any sailing experience. Kicked the kids out of the house, sold everything that we can’t use on a boat and packed our bags for adventure [Read more…]