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Third Atlantic crossing

by SV Taipan 10 Apr 2019 12:27 UTC 28 March 2019
Taipans Track across the Atlantic in March 2019 © SV Taipan

Not as many as some but more than most! 2850nm in 19 days.

On balance it was a fairly slow trip from Las Palma Grand Canaria ES with winds not much above 25knots at any time during the passage. We were four aboard this trip so with the cooking job looking like a whopper I made the decision to keep to the lighter winds.

Las Palma disappeared astern in very light wind on the 6th of March. What follows are the Facebook posts I was able to post on passage using the Iridium Go and Opera Mini Web browser.

March 6th: We've moved into some wind now. It's still chilly but Taipan enjoying the rock n roll. Barnacles seem to have fled and speed is improving with some nice favourable current. Crew settling into watch routine.

March 7th: 2365nm to Grenada. Winds overnight up around 25+ over starboard aft quarter. Polled out headsail n main. Roller coaster. Quite a lot of cloud. One dunny on the blink! All good otherwise.

March 9th: 2247 nm to Grenada. Dunny running. Watermaker running. Running downwind. Still!!. 15 to 25+knots. It's bumpy out here! I can't remember ever having a reef in the main for so long on any previous passage. Oh yes! Southern Indian Ocean! Great crew though! All well

March 10th: 2064 to go. 770 done. Genoa poled our starboard 1 reef in main port, staysail sheeted into port. Eating some miles now the seas have dropped a little. Still heading west. Probably jibe in a day or so. All well. Cheers

March 11th: 1961 nm to Grenada. Nothing's changed except wind and sea down a little. Slowly going in the wrong direction. Might change sails in a day or two to relieve the boredom. It's warmer. That's a good sign I think. The crew all well. Taipan trundling along.

March 12th: Haven't touched the sails for 6 days but will have to turn left soon or we'll run into Florida!! Martinique?? Maybe? 1700 odd miles away. Had avidity from a little bird. Stayed the afternoon. Popped below for a look around. Ate a few crumbs and was dead on deck this morning. Poor wee thing. Exhausted.

March 13th: 700am Gybed! Heading to Martinique. 1690nm, Trucking! Reaching in 12 to 15 knots. Could be flatter but overall very pleasant. Dead squid on deck and 3 Tropic Birds did a bit of a flypast today. 1564 to Martinique. Fridge settling down. Having fun

March 14th: 1380nm gone. 1425 to go to Martinique. Eight and a half days gone. Wind may lighten up but Hey! No problem. motor on. Washing, deck scrubbing, cleaning and we'll be off again.

March 15th: I'm on watch. Sitting under a blazing half moon with 1256nm to Martinique. Today the wind dropped and we started motoring over beautiful cobalt blue seas with just the occasional snowy white caps. The wind dropped to just 7 knots from behind. A couple of Fin Whales passed during lunch, showing off their white bellies, in a spectacular breaching display. Our first flying fish was sighted. Afternoon tea was a team event, taken in the laundrette! (Cockpit full of hanging washing). Life goes on!

March 16th: Still motoring. 1140nm to Martinique

March 17th: Sailing by the light of the moon. Beautiful day here. A short shower late in the afternoon. Now 10 to 15 kn on the beam. Bit variable but making progress and enjoying the journey. Been out 11 days. Probably 7 to go to Martinique looking at the weather. 979nm 1799 done

March 18th: By the light of the silvery moon La la la. Another beautiful day. Motor off an on. Fickle wind. Nice beam reaching motor sailing. Seas building so wind coming. All fed and clean and enjoying the ride. 860nm to Martinique

March 19th: Still waiting for more wind but it's warm, foods good, company's good And we are sailing slowly in the right direction more or less so who's counting. 717nm to Martinique. The Iridium Go Satelite tracker communication thingo lost signal today for an hour. Glitch! So if we disappear.... don't panic!

March 20th: Here's the tracker link again

Wondering why we are wobbling all over the Atlantic? Well, we're using the Predict Wind Router. We decided to stick to its recommendations this trip and see what happens. So we put in Taipan s parameters and set up a few preferences and away we go. It's been mostly reaching which is a nice point of sail but we are kind of wandering around out here. Forecasts keep promising more wind. We keep waiting! One of the parameter choices was comfort or speed. I chose comfort. It's certainly been comfortable but not really speedy!!

March 21st: Really slow day. Very pleasant though. 600nm to Martinique

March 22nd: Ship! There was also one a couple of nights ago. Sheep transport. Flukey winds. Some sailing, some motor sailing. Some squalls. Yes, we're in the tropics again. Yeah!!! No fish. Too much weed. Counting down now. 433nm to Martinique. 2381 gone under the keel.

March 23rd: 260 to Martinique. 5.00am. 12 to 15kn. Slightly aft of the beam. Short swell.

March 24th: Sea state crap. Wind gusty to occasional 30kn and variable direction. Two reefs in main still polled out furled Genoa. Speed reduced after a quite good run for the day. 130 nm to go at 2.30am local time. Looks like a midnight arrival onto St ANNE. Martinique

Later on the 24th, Sea state still crap. Current forcing us north. Will round the northern end of Martinique. 47nm away

March 25th: Howdy! A few unexpected issues. WX crap but now finally motor sailing south down the west coast of Martinique

We arrived in the anchorage at Le Marin on the southern end of Martinique on the 25th of March. The only issue we had was the departure of the top three feet of the mast track for the spinnaker pole. The captain accidentally put the pole too high on the track and the 20 or so rivets parted company. This part of the track is only for carrying the pole and was not meant to be loaded. Oops. The mainsail sustained an 8-inch tear from the flying piece of the track but no one was hurt, it happened in broad daylight during the dogwatch so everyone was up and the offending piece of the track did not go overboard so all in all it was OK.

We had a fantastic crew. All aboard a small boat for a month together and all rubbed along well. Thank you for your great contribution to our last Atlantic crossing and for all you help at the Dock in Las Palma!!!.

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