Tuesday, April 18, 2006

First leg Port Owen to St Helena Island

As we slipped the lines at Port Owen at 12h30 on Saturday 1st April 2006 our emotions were mixed as we left our loved ones behind and looking forward to the unknown. We had fair winds and celebrated Sunday with a roast dinner, living like the rich & famous. The crew quickly settled into the routine of watch-keeping but Monday evening greeted us with rough seas and big swells with wind speeds gusting to 25knts+ By midnight we were surrounded by lightening storms offering a display like fireworks. Mila sailed on untouched by the weather and Tuesday morning the sea was calm enough to attempt the first laundry! The next couple of days brought varied wind speeds and directions resulting to motor sail most of the time. We valued the peace when the engine was switched off and we were able to sail. Mila did us proud and sailed beautifully. A sooty albatross and a storm petrol enjoyed our company on the ocean until Thursday, but Friday, everything changed as were sailing directly into a storm. By 03h00 we were underway with bare poles 30knts+ wind, rough seas, 12m swells and achieving speeds of + 10knts. The crew didn't revolt but took to their bunks and watched the radar screen for the next 36hrs. The rains washed the decks so the crew didn't have to! The following morning the sea state was fair and we were welcomed by Atlantic dolphins playing at the bow. Everyone settled down again, the sails were raised and we sailed on but the next 2 days brought changing wind directions so we were kept busy alternating the sails. Our passage certainly was varied with us achieving 155nm on our 9th day and only 95nm on our 12th day! Milo, the cat adapted well to the sailing, slept most of the way and found a new delicacy - flying fish. He cleaned the deck every morning! Within 100 miles of the island the wind died and we had no option but to motor the last day of the first leg of our adventure. On arriving at 07h30 on Saturday 15th April 2006 we were greeted warmly by Customs, Immigration and Port Control on St Helena Island. Last but not least we have to mention the great efforts of our 6th crew member, he never sleeps, doesn't eat much and safely navigated Mila through stormy conditions. He took over control as we left Port Owen and handed over as we came to anchor at St Helena Island. His name is George and he is our autopilot. That's all for now - we'll update you during our next leg to Salvador.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

WOW, what a rough ride. You rode out the storm with no difficulties? Good Job! Michelle