On 18 December 2019 I untied the lines at La Restinga in El Hierro and set sail on a 3000 nautical mile journey across the Atlantic to Martinique. I published a daily update on the following seas website. Below of those updates complete with my onboard commentary of the trip.

Stuck in El Hierro
SPAIN, DECEMBER 13, 2019 10:25 AM

27.7853, -17.9010 Got the boat all ready to leave by 15:00 today, but after studying multiple forecasts I’ve decided to delay. I figured I don’t really need up to 5m waves in my life right now. Now I looks like I’ll have at least a week until the next window. With the rising value of the pound you’d think I’d be able to keep myself entertained with blow and hookers. Alas the nearest town is 10km up hill, and there’s not much there of interest.

Day 1

SPAIN, DECEMBER 18, 2019 7:11 AM

27.6074, -18.0119

Going going gone.

I’m off. Hopefully in about 21 days give or take a week, I should be sipping some rum.

If you want to conact me, you can email me at my usual address, or send a message to my sat phone via the website below:

Number: 8816 31405383

https://messaging.iridium.com

Seeeee ya!

Day 2

December 19, 2019 2:26 PM
25.8154, -19.7749

Nice easy day. No wind so far, though i had a little motor sail. Despite the 3-4m swell the seas are calm and gentle thanks to the long wave length. It’s almost like riding a magic carpet.

Enjoying not having much to day. I’m sure once the wind picks up I’ll be busier. Got a lasagna in the oven which should be ready for sunset, and John Wick Chapter 3 queued up on the computer. Justin on s/v Oops thinks he’s already won the fishing competition but maybe after watching John Wick I’ll have some new assassin moves to try and catch them.

 

Day 3

December 20, 2019 2:36 PM

24.4992, -21.2654

“Lazy sail is best sail” – Kim Jogn-un

Found some wind at around 22:30 last night, it was light but it has continued into the day and increased slightly. Of course wind means work and I’d got used to the lazy days.

With the genoa poled out I’ve been making 4-5knts, still a bit less than I’d like, but a couple of more knots of wind would see me make up some ground.

Those following the tracker might notices some strange movements. That’s because I’ve just been following the wind. Being a cutter rig boat, I can’t just swing the whisker pole over when gybing. The stay sail is in the way. Instead each gybe takes about 30 mins of disassembly and re-assembly. I’m too lazy for that. Currently on a starboard tack and plan to keep it that way.

Got an email from Shirley this afternoon. You might remember I posted a link to her page on my Facebook Defylife Travel & Adventure page. She’s setting off on her record breaking row tomorrow. Aiming to become the oldest woman to row solo across the Atlantic. Good luck, and fair winds, or whatever the rowing equivalent is.

 

Day 4

December 21, 2019 9:26 AM

23.4830, -22.8356

“…pilot to co-pilot, looking for life on this planet sir, no sign of it.”
Eminem, Drug Ballad

Got some good wind driving the boat SW on a course of roughly 240 degrees.
Unfortunately wind creates waves so the swells that was comfortable, now also has shorter waves running in a different direction. It’s a little bumpy, but less than my crossings to Madeira and Lanzarote.

After four days at sea, I see the first signs of life. A British ship Berge Kuju passed me en route to Rotterdam. 300m long and 50m wide. Definitely not a small vessel.

Saw ‘Once up on a time in Hollywood‘ last night. Completely pointless film, though the ending was entertaining. Lots of unnecessary scenes, and Tarantino’s foot fetish don’t do it any favours. I give it a 5/10.

In other news, I’m out of Marmite, and down to my last 200g Almond chocolate bar. Still got 1.5kg or chocolate left but none with almonds.

 

Day 5

December 22, 2019 10:28 AM

22.4786, -24.7563

The butter has melted, Kerrygold Pure Irish butter at that.

Earlier today I crossed 23.4367 degrees north, otherwise known as the Tropic of Cancer. I’m now officially in the Tropics, and looking forward to some glorious glorious sunshine.

Traditionally ships would sail south until the butter melted (not sure which brand), then head west. Jimmy Cornell believes this to be around 20N, 25W. The wind and waves are taking me further west than this, and seemingly in a hurry. The waves are pushing past me like a granny pushing her way to the the front of the bus queue. I should be able to go south a bit more on Tuesday.

Since none of the stuff I downloaded via the Netflix app will work, I ended up watching 10 Cloverfield Lane. It’s about someone trapped in a bunker. Perhaps the only difference between that and sailing is that they can set things down without them falling off the table.

Food update: Ate the last frozen pizza, and now have a recipe for banana cake. I guess I can put some of that melted butter to good use.

Day 6 – How fast does the Earth spin?

December 23, 2019 1:31 PM
21.3695, -27.0493

“No sun in the daylight, looks like it’s chained to the ground…”
U2 – Silver and Gold

However fast the Earth spins, that’s the speed I’m going. The last two days I’ve been waking up at my normal time only find that the sun is still still asleep. I hypothesised that I must be travelling at the same speed as the earth’s rotation, but in the opposite directions, hence keeping me in darkness. In reality, I’ve probably crossed a time zone or two.

The latest forecast was showing the wind and waves were going to start taking me west-north-west, so after breakfast I set about doing the gybing dance, and wrestling my whisker pole to change tack. I’m now sailing in a more south-westerly direction. This should result in more stable winds, and of course a bit more sun, but at the cost of waves from the east rolling the boat a bit more. Highest recorded heel is 9.8 degrees Port to 10 degrees Starboard in 2 seconds.

Last night’s film was ‘Den of Thieves.‘ I’ve had it for some time but never got around to watching it. It’s entertaining enough, a bit like a slightly less good version of Heat. I also finished reading A.J Flynn’s ‘Woman in the Window.‘ Not bad. Not as good as ‘Girl on a Train,’ or ‘Gone Girl‘ but certainly decent. I believe they are also turning this one into a film. Next up is Gillian Flynn’s ‘Dark Places‘, ‘Gone Girl’ was a fantastic book, and having seen the screen adaptation of her second novel ‘Sharp Objects‘ this too looks set to be a good read.

Food update: Still waiting for the bananas to get extra ripe. Started on the Vegemite (preferred the tang of Marmite). Tonights dinner will probably be a steak and ale pie with some chunky chips dipped in goose fat.

P.S. less than 2000nm to go. 😉

 

Day 7 – You can have your cake, but can you eat it?

December 24, 2019 12:51 PM

20.736, -28.1187

Just drifting in the middle of the Atlantic. The wind died down around 01:00 UTC, and I motored slowly through the night. Once the sun rose I shut off the engine and decided to enjoy being becalmed.

There’s still another 15 or more days to go and it makes sense to save the diesel for when it’s needed most. Like heating water for my showers 😜

Whilst I was waiting for wind to re-appear I did a bit of housekeeping and baked a banana cake. I could hear the calls of some sort of creatures, dolphins/small whales perhaps, but none chose to reveal themselves. Maybe they just don’t like cake, which was just as well since the cake didn’t quite turn out as expected.

By the time I was finished there was a breath of wind, and I began sailing again. First at 2knts, then 3knts, then when the wind finally picked up to 10 knts, I was able to do half wind speed if not slightly more. Now back on course sailing on a bearing of 242 degrees true.

No idea what is for dinner tonight, I really need to start defrosting some of my killos of meat and chicken. Some good news though, I managed to get my Netflix app downloads to play.