Thursday, November 29, 2012

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 2 and 3

the first night was very rough. strong gusts and a very messy sea had mark and me dreaming of a nice calm anchorage on La Gomera.

day 2 also had lots of wind, but the sea calmed with every hour. we had the water alarm in the stern coming on during the night - some water found its way in through the through-hull fitting of the bilge pump. with the boat now so heavy, every now and then this fitting was half way under water. the fact that bavaria forgot to use a bit of silicone didn't help the problem either - so a bit of epoxy putty had to fix the problem...and it did!

lucky though we had to spend time back there - otherwise we would not have noticed that the top bearing of our rudder stock came lose. this could have turned into something serious...but now all bolts are tight and nothing moves that is not supposed to.

dinner the second night was a veggie-lasagne...

slowly we all seem to find our way into the routine of watch-keeping. we do 4h on 8h off (which is a real treat!) my shifts being from 4:00 -8:00 am and
pm, mark is on 8:00-12:00 - and one shift he shares with michael and steve does 12:00-4:00 twice a day.
we all seem to feel better rested and in a happier mood!

the morning watch for me was great today - the best sailing since a long time and we made good progress. with "vamipre weekend" (danke Pauli) on my headphones I just had a ball!
the wind is still blowing constant and we are goose-winging straight for our way point just 300nm north west of the cap verdes.

tonight we have steak on the menu for the meat-lovers and ratatouille with potatoes or gnocchi for me!
oh... and the lunch today will be "gröstete knedl mit salot" :)
(so no condensed milk and rice just yet ;))

st.lucia, here we come! DAY 1

at app. 11:05 maloo with us on board crossed the start line to go to st.lucia.
the morning before was all about cleaning up, getting everything tied down and being a bit nervous and excited.
the last photos were taken and good byes were said - one more phone call to families and friends.

funny how this start was something so special.
so many months and years mark and I have dreamed of this journey, and even though we started 3 months ago in turkey, this feels like a whole new start again.

so out here now we have rainy weather with more than enough wind pushing us along with 8kn. the sailing is great, just the rain is a bit annoying.
the night has already fallen and with all these clouds up unfortunately no moon is visible.
however - we covered quite a distance already and the weather forecast makes us hope we will keep on doing so the next week.

soon I will get dinner going which is Gulasch alla Mami WIchert for the meat lovers and a beautiful Paprika Kraut for meeee, also one of my mums great recipes with flown in semmelknödl!
can't wait!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Leaving Las Palmas we are!
so many months, weeks, days of preparations for our first big ocean crossing!
the last days were ....bloody hell - well, if you read our blog, you know I wrote quite often how busy we were - but compared to the last days, these days retrospectively feel like holidays.

I got all the fruit, veg and meat order delivered - our boat looks like a fruit market with all the nets up inside the salon now.
all the boat stuff is done, every corner cleaned, every pair of underpants is freshly put it in a nutshell: we are SO ready to go.

today 12:00 - skippers briefing for the trip.
the last safety instructions are given, and then: the final weather report for the next couple of days.
and the weather is looking foul - actually more than just foul! really rotten!!!! 6-8m waves and the wind from a SSW direction with 35kn - a very deep low just north of the canaries is causing all the havoc.
this was probably the first time I got physically sick when seeing a weather chart! - and looking at Mark  I could see he's not well either!
2 days of bashing into heavy weather....if we would not be in the arc, we would never go out in such a forecast!
so we made the hard decision not to. in order to protect our crew, ourselves and of course our beloved maloo and in order to have a good time and a safe crossing, this is in our case the only decision we can make!

thank god the people from the arc think so too and decided for the second time ever in the last 27 years of arc to postpone the start for those who wish to leave in better weather and strongly recommended the "cruising devision" (the one we're in) not to go out! I wrote in the begining: here we are - and we will stay here until tuesday!

finally a couple of days to catch up on sleep! - and time to celebrate my captain mark's birthday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

busy at the arc

well, after a horrible horrible horrible night sailing from lanzarote to las palmas (we were rolling so much that at one stage i flew of the couch down below...) we find ourselves in the middle of the arc-program and preparing the last things for our crossing.

find out what's going on at

so again we are busy as hell....and actually I can't wait to finally get going - so all the organizing will find it's own end ;)

still - some important things are still missing and this is why I need YOUR help!!!! - please send us some book-tips (preferably non sailing) via leaving a comment on the blog! also music-playlists will be highly appreciated :) (please leave Rod Steward out though;) )!

thanks for all your comments!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

good bye monkeys - hello dolphins!

after a long wait for the right weather pattern we finally had the right wind prediction to go south.
the almost 4 weeks in la linea were a mixed experience: annoying, because we couldn't go anywhere, thinking that the weather might change and we'd miss our chance - exhausting, because we tried to use the time to get some boat-things done - cold, because the weather was just awful - funny, because those monkeys are really cute and fun to watch -  great, because we made really good friends I would not want to miss anymore (Lisa, Gill, Cameron and Samuel of Fabiola took great care of us, feeding and entertaining us! thanks so much for not only that, guys! - I reckon borrowing our bikes just won't make up anymore...)

but there we are - out the strait of gibraltar we go, snug along the coast making use of a couple of back currents pushing us out. just after tarifa mark and i landed our first tuna! a wonderful fish, that would be our dinner for the next couple of nights.
with fabiola and a lot of other boats we knew around us, we went into the first night. with no moon out and clouds it was pitch dark- and very very cold. wearing two layers of everything we started our 4h watch regimen. unlike the prediction (which had a nice northeasterly along the route we plotted) the wind died off where we are. 

the night went on, the next day came and in the morning the wind slightly picked up again. but the angle was not as nice as hoped... so we tried "goose-winging" for the first time on maloo. (i.e. poling out the headsail on one side and having the mainsail on the other side - very useful to go as far down wind as possible)

the second night started rather smooth but as the hours went on, thunderclouds built and in the early morning hours I found us surrounded by massive thunderbolts hitting the water - beautiful to watch when in a nice house with a cup of tea - bloody scary when in a boat with a mast alone on sea - so we switched of every antenna (like the vhf right up the top) and took all power off the batteries only steering to the compass to make sure we attract the least attention possible to any flash up there ;)
heavy rain followed and for the next day we tried to avoid one thunder system after the other - they fortunately had little wind in them (at least where we were) - but the wind direction changed like being on some joyride.

other boats - other conditions: just 20nm away from us, other yachts had great wind or even too much and a hell of a lot of bad luck. over vhf we got news of sails being torn and another boat suffering a knock down. horrible things to hear - but thank god no one was hurt or serious damage done!

morning of day 3 had us surrounded by a massive pod of very playful dolphins which stayed with us for over an hour... funny how you feel really knackered in one moment (after two nights of very bad to no sleep), wondering what you ever thought when you decided to do this sailing thing, and the next moment you are surrounded by dolphins and you know that exactly this sailing thing has clearly been the best choice ever made!
we heard them talk to each other through the hull of the boat as they swam left and right and under our boat - just amazing.
while looking at the dolphins i noticed a bit of rope coming out the back of our boat. it was stuck so the first thought was it would be around the prop (and this was not the nicest thought!) we took our little gopro camera and put it on a pole to film under water. we were quite relived to find this rope only being stuck between the rudder and the hull. again we were incredible lucky as this string would come out just after maneuvering in the marina 2 days later without us having to dive)... check out the video below!

a few hours later we got another visitor - a little bird needed some rest and after hanging out outside in the cockpit for a while he decided it was much cozier down below... so down he went. 
he got really friendly and looked for various places to sleep (see photos), sat on my hand for a bit and tried our bed - i wonder what these birds do out there, since quite a few came to have a look if maloo would make a good rest stop.
I gave him a bit of sugared water, which he drank happily and after a short snooze he took off again.

friday the 9th we arrived in Graciosa at 10:00am planning to anchor for a couple of nights - but other yachts had the same idea so the anchorage was full and very rolly so mark and I decided to move on to rubicon marina on lanzarote, where we anyway had to go to pick up the last safety gear for crossing the big lake.
this added another 50nm to our trip - we caught another tuna, unfortunately, as after our first catch we were quite "tunaed out" and both did not fancy one more bite! (it was not wasted however: another boat in the marina was very happy to add it to their paella)
we tied off in rubicon at 17.00 - after 5 days and 4 nights on sea. 
compared to other yachts around us we were incredible lucky and had no damage done to our boat even though the conditions were nothing like expected. the wind came from every possible direction, the sea was sometimes nice, sometimes very messy - it was definitely not an easy sail down and very demanding.

after a late dinner with the fabiola crew, we had a deep sleep and found ourselves the next morning on this most amazing island of lanzarote. unfortunately we will have to explore the island some other time (which is a huge shame) but las palmas is calling and we will do the jump of 100nm on monday night hoping to arrive for breakfast.
the arc-craze will start and we have to get the last preps done before the big jump.

I tell you, it is more than strange having talked about it for such a long time and now have it finally happening!

monkey no.1

monkey no.2

monkey no. cute

catching a free ride uphill

quite scary when you throw something and all of a sudden....

Gibraltar and La Linea

probably the only runway we got to cross 100 times

the first tuna

goose-wingin' maloo

on watch

a new friend!

trying to find a nest...