Saturday, November 29, 2008

Go One, Go All!

Sunday November 30th, 2008
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

The day of departure for our Atlantic crossing has finally come. We have filled every nook and cranny with food, topped up on fuel, finished the last load of laundry, repaired, replaced or rendered every project that needed to be done. The exception for that would be the new head sail. That project never came to fruition so we'll roll along with our newly 13 patched marvel, attach the storm sail and hope for a nice down wind run. Though there is visibly no wind around here at the moment, we may have to motor out a day before it fills in. Then according to our weather faxes it's filling in nicely out of the NNE. Just the way we like it. As the old sailing adage goes, "Sail south until the butter melts, then head west". This is supposed to be the best way to find the trade winds that are to take you off to the Caribbean. Again though, according to our weather faxes, it ain't quite filling in yet. The risk of waiting too long is that we might not make landfall before Christmas and we would like to avoid that. If we get stuck in the doldrums it could take a really long time. 2700 miles to go and we carry enough fuel to make it roughly 160 motoring hours, or about 7 days, so we certainly want to conserve that as much as we can.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends tomorrow. 2008 proved to be a record breaker as the weather officials had predicted. For the first time on record, six consecutive tropical cyclones (Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike) made landfall on the US mainland and a record three major hurricanes (Gustav, Ike and Paloma) struck Cuba. This is also the first Atlantic season to have a major hurricane (Category 3) form in five consecutive months (July: Bertha, August: Gustav, September: Ike, October: Omar, November: Paloma). Now that it's over on paper, let's just hope mother nature realizes this and doesn't throw in a late in the game hit like 2005 which delivered one after Christmas. We always pray for wind, but now we're going to be specific, not too much, not too little. Picky aren't we.

Go one, go all! So there are many ways to get across on ocean or around the world. You can single hand it like the competitors in the Vendee Globe Challenge. They solo sail their 60 ft. beauties easterly around the world. They departed from France in November, with their newest technologies and designs they are even trying to set records of making it around the world in 80 days! Then there is the mass exodus of the ARC or Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. A rally, as the name suggests, promotes strength in numbers. Numbers they certainly have, 240 of them. We wished them well and waved them off as they departed out of Gran Canaria last Sunday for their own Atlantic crossing. What a zoo that was. For many it is their first ocean crossing, for some, repeat offenders. We are sure we'll be seeing many of them once we have reached the other side.

For us, this crossing is the beginning of the end in some ways. Our last major puddle jump. We can hardly believe that 8 months ago we were working our way across the Indian Ocean and in 8 months time we are likely to be back at home. 4 years in the blink of an eye. It is a dream journey to be on. We will be sending out regular journal entries to this mail list and the blog site. You can also track our daily position from the tracking link on the front page of our web site. With all this time on our hands, hopefully we will catch up the web site and upload the last few countries at our next internet connection. Time will certainly be on our side, lets hope the wind and waves play along.

So that's it. Feel free to write us any time. We love to stay connected. We'll be thinking of you all while you chop down those Christmas trees and shop till you drop. See you on the other side!

Won't you join us and ... Sail on!

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