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December '06: Transatlantic - from the Canaries to the Caribbean

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After a big hello and get together with Don and Sandy from S/Y DESTINY we went shopping for the crossing. The next couple of days were filled with more shopping, checking our boat from deck to mast, weather, weather, weather, organising spare parts from chandlers and “goodbye” dinners. S/Y WATERAAP joined us in Tenerife a couple of days later – they stopped on the way in La Graciosa, a small island off Lanzarote. They will leave a little later than we and sail to the Cape Verdes first to pick-up friends and then cross over to the Caribbean from there.

On December 2nd our “crew” arrived in Tenerife. Marc’s sister Mireille decided to join us for the crossing. After a big hello and family get together on S/Y WATERAAP it was time for us to set sail.

December 5th around lunch time we left Santa Cruz de Tenerife – our boat full of diesel, water and food! Somehow we were exited but also a bit nervous. The first couple of days we had heavy winds and high crossing waves, all from behind! The sea was uncomfortable as the waves came from different directions (swell from Northwest, the wind waves from Northeast). Our life on board was not too easy, but we cooked daily meals and tried to sleep as well as we could. We believed that it can only get better… and it did: dead calm sea and no wind at all for almost two days. We tried to catch up on our sleep, relaxed and took a bath in the Atlantic! Then we decided to pole-out our drifter (light wind sail) – and we really sailed again. Slow at first but then we eventually caught up with the trade winds. Unfortunately the sea state was still “a mess” – waves still from all different directions. “Rocking and Rolling” over the Atlantic!

Christmas came and went like any other day except for a special meal, asparagus and risotto with good Spanish Jamon (ham), Christmas carols and a sparkler. No Christmas shopping, no Christmas stress, just the wind, the waves and a beautiful night sky, filled with stars! We had fixed watches during the night – two hours watch, four hours sleep. During the day we just took it as it came. After starting off with the full moon we got used to the “darker” nights and were looking forward to half-moon again at the end of our crossing. We saw and crossed a couple of big ships but no other sailing boats during our journey – we only knew that we were not alone out here because of our daily radio network where we were able to chat to other sailors on their way to the Caribbean – thanks again Don from S/Y DESTINY to set up and control the “NARC-net”!

After 24 days and 2904 miles we reached Rodney Bay Marina on St. Lucia – by rain! But the temperature was much nicer than on Tenerife. After a “Sangria” breakfast (we had to make a toast to the crossing!) and another big hello with S/Y DESTINY we checked into immigration and customs. That done you would think all we wanted to do is get some sleep – wrong! Our energy levels got so high and we were so happy to be here, that we cleaned the boat, did laundry, washed out everything that was “salty” and joined Don and Sandy with their friends from Australia on S/Y DESTINY for dinner. But after that, we did collapse into our beds – no more watches – no more waves – just peace and quiet!

Conclusion of our crossing: it was more demanding than many promised us it would be. But we were and are very happy and also a bit proud to have finished the crossing without any real damages. Now we enjoy and dive into a new world: “TAKE IT EASY, MAAN”

pictures to this logbook entry: Transatlantic I - Preparations on the Canaries Transatlantic II - Rain and Waves Transatlantic III - Driftersailing and Xmasmeal Transatlantic IV - Arrival in the Caribbean

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