Atlantic Crossing/Circumnavigation/Happy New Year S/V PEACE AND ALOHA Update, January 7, 2006
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2006! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! JOURNEY CONTINUES!
WE DID IT! S/V PEACE AND ALOHA has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and has sailed around the world!
On January 7, 2006 we completed our world circumnavigation when we anchored at St. Anne, Martinique (14 26.5N 60 53.1W) by crossing our outbound path south on June 24, 2000. Our mission was completed in 5 years 6 months 14 days sailing 40,535 miles with 208 nights on passage, staying in 451 different anchorages or marinas in 54 different countries and 16 US States since leaving Port Stanley, Lake Erie, Ontario, Canada on July 10, 1999. After enjoying lots of sleep, rest and relaxation in the warm sunny waters of Martinique, we will ponder what we have accomplished, all that we have experienced, all that we have learned, and consider the remaining journey of 1200 miles to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in the USA and the new adventure of returning to "life after S/V Peace and Aloha" in our new home to be built in Olowalu on Maui!
We crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands to St. Anne, Martinique, a distance of 2100 miles in 15 days 6.5 hours from December 23, 2005 to January 7, 2006. Both Christmas and New Year's were celebrated at sea. We have promised our entire family a double celebration next year! We actually began our Atlantic Crossing on November 2, 2005 (Eric's 30th Birthday, his fourth birthday of seven spent on passage during our journey!) when we sailed to Isla Graciosa in the Canary Islands from Gibraltar, a distance of 595 miles in three days 21 hours. Unfortunately, we experienced 40 knot winds with dangerous cross seas of 20 feet. We dragged four warps (ropes) from our stern to slow us down when surfing the waves and to prevent broaching. This was our second most dangerous passage with the first one experienced off the coast of Cartegena, Colombia en-route from Curacao to Los Pinos, San Blas with 16 foot breaking seas and 36 knots of wind which was against the current.
While in the Canaries we experienced cold, windy, rainy weather and tropical cyclone "Delta" with 46 knot winds in Las Palmas Marina on the island of Gran Canaria on November 28, 2005. Definitely not the weather we had expected! We left Las Palmas on December 1, 2005 for Mindelo, Sao Vicente Island in the Cape Verdes, about 100 miles off the west coast of Africa, en-route to the Caribbean Island of Martinique. We experienced light winds on this passage of 870 miles in six days five hours and needed to refuel in Mindelo because of another tropical cyclone "Epsilon" which almost eliminated the usual trade winds at this time of year. The ARC, the Blue Water Rally and several other rallies left Las Palmas on November 20 and experienced damage (a de-masted Oyster and a sailboat which had been towed into Mindelo after the crew abandoned ship while in the storm were transported by freighter from Mindelo to Barbados on December 20).
After medical problems of David's, thankfully a short but scary episode of atrial fibrillation and a severe intestinal flu "bug" which was shared with Eric and purchasing a 55 gallon drum to carry additional diesel on board, we finally departed Mindelo on December 23, one day behind other cruisers on an excellent weather window, according to Herb (Southbound II at 1930Z on 12359), Buoyweather, Grib files and our personal weather router, Neil on Keeshond. It finally looked like the trades were in, however, that was not the case! We experienced the full gamut of weather: no wind, 30 knots of wind, large lumpy bumpy rough cross seas, squalls with rain and wind, and finally "Zeta" (the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet used to name yet another tropical cyclone) waltzing around the Atlantic being upgraded and downgraded daily for over a week!
The Atlantic Ocean Crossing Net, with Ellen as net controller, met at 0800 local time on 8173 and helped 36 boats safely across to the Caribbean. There were many problems but thankfully nothing serious: a single hander lost his forward lower but was able to tie it securely and made landfall safely in St. Martin without losing his mast; an overheating engine and generator were both remedied en-route; spinnakers were lost in the water or shredded while other sails were ripped and mended en-route; poles were broken or bent; a broken halyard made one fore-sail unusable but the remaining fore-sail was enough for their safe arrival; seaweed/fish line/rope net wrapped around a prop but the yacht arrived safely sailing into Marigot Bay, St. Martin where the net was cut off and no damage was sustained to prop or shaft; another boat questioned the quality of fuel purchased in Mindelo causing worry among the fleet; another yacht could not receive on their SSB radio, but transmitted their position nightly to other yachts, correcting the problem after arrival; and a loose set-screw on a genoa pro-furl roller furler could not be tightened at sea, but the yacht arrived using their spinnaker and main. We have heard that Andy and Jill with Bruce as crew on S/V First Light lost their rudder on January 10, 2006 approximately 1000 miles from Barbados. They were unable to rig up a temporary tiller and a tow from another boat failed, so t they abandoned ship at 1600 UTC on January 13. The towing vessel does not have a transmitting SSB, so we are waiting confirmation that they are safely aboard and will arrive in Barbados in a week. We are sorry for the loss of their yacht but at least, we are praying, that they are safe. We are now very grateful for our low wind and small sea passage, even though long and rolly!
The passage times for all boats crossing this year has been long. In fact, we think that some rowers made it across faster than the sailing yachts! The passage times from the Canaries were all more than 21 days, with the passage from the Cape Verdes averaging 14-18 days. We compare our passage time of 15 days 6.5 hours for the Atlantic Ocean Crossing of 2100 miles with our passage of 18 days for our Pacific Ocean Crossing of over 3,000 miles from the Galapagos to the Marguesas. We found the Atlantic Ocean Crossing to be our most difficult ocean passage for us. Thankfully, we had a current with us all the way with very little winds and rolly seas. We are wondering what future years will bring for the Atlantic Ocean Crossing? Where will cruisers spend their time after departing Gibraltar in October and the Cape Verdes in mid January with the Canaries experiencing December hurricanes with damage to boats and marinas? We were amazed at the number of boats making this crossing: 250 in the ARC, 50 in the Blue Water Rally and French Rallies, 36 on our small net; with marinas and anchorages filled in the Canaries, we would estimate at least 500 and possibly more crossed, and are continuing to cross. We never saw another yacht and only three freighters on our crossing.
We enjoyed delicious fish dinners of mahi mahis caught underway, we watched the stars at night with the phosphorescence of the sea as it lighted up the ocean, and we never tired of watching dolphins playing in our bow wave in the incredibly beautiful blue of the ocean! However, we will not miss the constant rolling, the lack of sleep, standing watch in the middle of the night, the concern about "Zeta," a hurricane that should not be there and heading towards us, the worry about possible damage to the boat from too much or too little wind, and worry about the possibility of contaminated fuel purchased in Mindelo. We are very thankful to be here in the Caribbean enjoying the warm sunshine and the beautiful blue seas!
We have crossed our final ocean and completed our circumnavigation; however, the journey will continue for several more months with 1200 miles until we return to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where S/V PEACE AND ALOHA will quickly be sold, we hope, to her new owners who will take her around again. We know that she will take good care of them as she has of us! She is much tougher than her crew and has been our home for seven years! We hope to travel visiting friends and family on the mainland before returning to Maui. Please email us if your plans take you to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, or Florida this spring, we would love to see you.
We hope this update finds you well and happy after a Season of Joy and Peace over the holidays of Christmas and New Year's. Please keep in touch via this email. We hope that Julie (with Chris and Paul) will be bringing many Christmas letters (with photos) from all of you when they visit us in March in the Virgin Islands. Remember if you no longer wish to receive our periodic updates, email and we will remove you from our mailing list. Please do not simply hit your reply button and send this email back with your reply. Attachments and pictures will be deleted, since we are not connected to the internet, but continue to use only our SSB radio. If you change your email address, please write from your old one so that our acceptance list does not block your email. Thank you for your continued patience while we answer your personal letters and send out so many belated updates.
Take care. Stay in touch. Happy New Year with Abundance, Peace and Joy in 2006! Fair winds and calm seas to our fellow cruising friends on the oceans of the world. Be safe. God Bless.
With Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
January 7, 2006
St. Anne, Martinique Caribbean Sea