The sad truth about plastic in our oceans!

During our crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from the Cape Verde Islands to St. Lucia in the Carribbean in January / February of this year (2015) I took six samples of sea water to let them analysed for microplastic by Adventure and Science who have a laboratory in Maine where my samples and those of many other sailors who crossed the Atlantic on a similar route.

The first sample

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learned about this project from Marjo and Edwin of Oceanconservation when I met them in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria in December 2014.
In this map you can see where the samples were taken and how many pieces of microplastic they contained. Map of microplastic samplesMap of Microplastic samples

 

Here a short description of how the samples were analysed: (Taken from the e-mail informing me about the results):

„First, let me briefly explain the process that the samples go through in the lab. After Abby receives your 1L bottles of water at her lab in Maine, she vacuum pumps the sample over a gridded 0.45 micrometer filter (meaning a filter that lets through only pieces smaller than 0.45 micrometers). After the sample has dried for a minimum of 24 hours, the counting process begins. Using a microscope at 40x magnification, Abby looks for pieces of microplastic (>5mm). The filter is systematically counted, moving along the grid lines, and each plastic piece is categorized based on shape (round, filament/microfiber, angular, other) and color (blue, red, green, black, transparent/white, other). The volume of water is recorded and the final count for the sample is divided by the quantity of water, which helps to standardize the results, because often samples are not exactly one liter of water.

To date, 94% (399) of the 426 samples collected have contained microplastic. Over 8,300 microplastic fragments have been counted. On average, we are finding 17 plastic pieces per liter of water. You can check out the number of plastic at each of your sampling sites on the map on our microplastics page.  “

And this are the results of my samples:

Seabelow
Grand Canary Island to Cape Verde Islands
Sampling platform: Sailboat

Jan Prahm collected 6 samples while sailing across the Atlantic from Grand Canary island to Cape Verde. In total, 152 microplastics were counted, with an average of 20 pieces per liter and a maximum of 62 pieces per liter. All 4 of the samples had at least 1 piece of plastic. 146 of the 152 pieces were fibrous/filamentous. 50 pieces were transparent/white, 50 were blue, 28 were red, 19 were black, 4 were other colors (including some blue/transparent pieces), and 1 was green.

What is the problem of microplastics and where do they come from?

Microplastics particles, which are smaller than five millimeters in size, likely pose a massive environmental and human health risk when they enter our natural waterways.Toxins including DDT, BPA and pesticides adhere to the particles, and because they can resemble plankton, they’re often ingested by small aquatic life. The toxins biomagnify as they move up the food chain, accumulating in birds, fish, marine mammals and potentially humans.Microplastics have several sources: They’re laundered from nylon clothing; they wash down the drain with many common cosmetics and toothpastes; and they weather from debris like drink bottles and shopping bags.

The poetic dimension of the problem of energy

Under spinaker

Under spinaker on the Atlantic Ocean towards the Carribbean

This was the motto under which the Atlantic crossing from Mindelo on Sao Vicente of the Cape Verde Islands to St. Lucia in the Caribbean stood. Marcos was the first 10 days almost completely, at least mentally, occupied with a report about his PhD he had to send in by the 2 February and this was the tiltle of the paper.. So he made also Sören and me work on it by either lending him a computer, or the satellite phone to communicate with his professors or friends or the administration of his university or by running the engine to charge his computer or to ask sometimes what we thought about certain aspects.
But let us begin at the start. We left Mindelo on 22. January in the afternoon on a sunny and as usual quite windy day. When we backed off from the pontoon we caught one of the mooring lines behind the skeg and I had to dive to free it. But that was quickly done. At first we had only half the genoa and no main sail. Only from the second day we added the main sail after the wind had gone down. That were for most of the time our sails.
On the fourth day we heard the thunder of a distant thunderstorm but we also saw it coming closer so we prepared for it. We got the main sail down and reefed the genoa to one third of its size, everybody got his foul weather gear on (Segelkleidung) life jacket and life line and I disconnected all radio antenna cables. Luckily the thunder storm just passed by with only a little increase of the wind.
During the next night and day and the night after this day we saw in the very distance and sometimes up in the clouds lightning but never heared the thunder but in the night of the fourth day we had almost all the time a light rain. Unfortunately it was not enough to rinse off the salt from our clothes and the deck but it was enough to make everything wet.
Luckily after that we did not have any rain or thunderstorms any more, it got gradually every day warmer and warmer. At the beginning it was 21°C in the night and we were wearing our sailing jackets and trousers and several pullovers but later it was also at night 25°C warm and the wind was lighter so one pullover without a jacket was enough. Because there were no clouds we had beautiful moon lit nights.
On 30.January, my birthday we also had arrived in the middle of the distance so we had two good reasons to celebrate and opened a bottle of sparkling wine. Despite it was not cooled because we did not run the fridge to save electricity, we enjoyed it.

Geburtstag und Bergfest

Birthday and half way celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 24-hour distances varied between 150 nm on the best days and 80nm on the worst days when the wind was especially calm but on the average it was somewhere between 110nm and 130 nm.

Soren and Marcos greeting

The SeaBelow crew showing their respect to their captain

Marcos playing guitar

When Marcos was not writing on his text he was practicing on his guitar

Marcos playing guitar with sea weed on ears

and he was making fun of the sea weed that was floating around us everywhere

Marcos after the rain

We used to have our lunch at 16:00 because until 12 always somebody was sleeping and it is not nice to start your day with a lunch. You rather want a breakfeast. So during the afternoon everybody is awake and nobody is disturbed when a meal is cooked. And because the cooking takes time and to leave some time between the last one´s breakfeast 16:00 turned out to be a good time. It was then also possible to wash the dirty dishes before sunset which was usually around 6:30, depending on how we decided to set the clock.

Marcos am Bergfest
From almost the first day one of the highlights during the day was the daily radio round on SSB (Single Side Band) (Kurzwellenfunkgerät) with several other fellow German sailors but namely with the reliable Dietmar on his saling yacht Summer on the Canary Islands. He always provided us with the latest weather forecast. This way of communication had two advantages. The first is it is nice to talk to somebody out in the world so you do not feel so alone on the big wide ocean and secondly it saved me from starting my laptop and setting up the satellite phone to get a weather forecast by e-mail which also costs money for the phone connection. Sometimes other yachts participated and often people sitting in Germany, e.g. in Dresden, telling about the winter weather in Germany and we made them envious with the weather we had. It is incredible to have a conversation with a group of people thousands of kilometres apart. E.g. from Dresden to the Canary Islands it is 3800 km and from the Canary Islands to us was 4700km, so from Dresden to us it was 8500km. And the quality was better than on skype in the respect that the connection was not disconnected as it with skype often happens due to poor internet. Although it has to be admitted that on SSB the conditions were varying and not always a good communication was possible, sometimes impossible. But then often someone in between could make a relais, meaning he or she passes the information on. So all in all I am happy that I made the effort in Las Palmas to get my SSB working and therefore thanks again to Alfred Deubler who told me how to do it and who repaired the actual SSB radio.
In the last third of the journey it go really tropically hot with over 30°C during the day and not less than 25°C at night so we were only wearing shorts and taking a shower with sea water every day. We were soon run out of sun screen (Sonnencreme).
Talking of which, we were a bit short on fresh fruits and vegetables. They were almost all gone after the first ten days but we still had potatoes, yams (Süßkartoffeln) and onions. We also should have bought more eggs. But that are only side aspects and luxury problems.

 

 

 

What do you do all day on the ocean? Good question. First of all you have your watches which make up 7 to 10 hours of the day, depending on which watch you have. We used the so called Swedish watch system where you have watches of different lengths. As on the leg from the Canary Islands to the Cape Verde Islands we had 4 hours during the day and 3 hours at night.
So after sleeping you get up and have breakfast. That takes up to two hours, because such a simple thing as to heat the water for coffee or tea takes time because every hand move has to be planned because nothing stays in its place. Also filling the cup with coffee, milk and sugar needs a lot of thinking and routine. First you put in the sugar because it is not much volume in the cup and does not spill when the cups moves, then you put in the milk, which also is not so much volume and then you add the coffee to fill up the cup to the possible maximum and then you have to keep in your hand until it is empty. The possible maximum is determined by your ability to balance the cup in one hand while climbing up the companion way (Niedergang) with the other hand. If you filled the cup too much, the sea takes its share and you have to clean up the mess afterwards. To eat we often had muesli or porridge which of course had to be prepared before the coffee because with a cup of coffee in your hand you can do nothing else any more. Porridge was more useful because it is thicker than muesli where the milk could still easily spill when the boat was heeling (Krängen) over.

making pancakes

Frying pancakes

Having a salad

Salad (note the pullover, this is a picture from the first half of the trip. Later is was so hot that during the day we were not even wearing a t-shirt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there was navigation to be done, either by plotting the position from the GPS into the sea chart or as in my case I enjoyed to determine our position also by sextant which again involves a lot of skilled climbing on the boat with the precious high precision sextant in your hand. You don´t want to drop it nor to hit it somewhere. And if you know how often you hit your own elbows, knees and head somewhere you can imagine what a stressful action it is to climb with a sextant in your hand over deck to a place where you can see the sun and the horizon without an guard rail or the sails obstructing the view.

An Deck

Ready to measure the angle between the sun and the horizon with the sextant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sextant

And the result is: 54°45`

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The the daily rigg check where I checked the conditions of the shrouds (Wanten) to make sure no damages leading to the loss of the mast remain undetected.

Riggkontrolle

During the daily rigg check. Here I am checking the shrouds (Wanten) and the screws (Spannschrauben)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we had to empty the water out of the bilge every day, cooking dinner took two hours for cooking and one hour cleaning up and often something small has to be repaired like the locking mechanism of the front hatch.

Jan and Marcos on repairs

Doing little repairs

Atlantikueberquerung
And yes, then I collected six samples of sea water to be analysed for how much micro plastic it contains. Microplastic are all plastic particles smaller than 5mm which means also the ones that are so small that we can not see them any more but which are still in the oceans. Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental problems of ocean pollution of which unfortunately most people are unaware. Plastic that has found its way into the ocean is rubbled to microscopic small pieces by the sunlight and the movement of the waves. Sea animals like fish eat the plastic and by this way enters the food chain.
And for us sailors the plastic comes quite directly into our food when we cook our potatoes with sea water or wash our dishes with sea water. Reason enough to be concerned about the problem. I collected the samples for an initiative called “Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation” which resides in Stonington, ME in the USA. The bottles with the sea water will be sent there by mail and they analyse them and by that they get an overview where how much micro plastic is in the water.
I learned about the project from Marjo and Edwin and their organisation “Ocean Conservation” in Las Palmas. They had already supplied 100 sailing yachts of the ARC 2014 with six sample bottles each.

Filling the bucket

Rinsing the bucket to take a sample of micro plastic water. Because the bucket and the bottles are of plastic themselves they have to be rinsed before taking a sample to make sure to micro plastic particles from the bottle or the bucket end up in the sample. So first the bucket is rinsed three times, then the bottle three times and then the actual sample is taken. So the bucket is filled seven times. The bucket is necessary because the deck is too high over the water that you can not reach it with your arm, even me with my extra long arms can not reach it.

The first sample

Every bottle got a label stating the date,, number of the sample and the ships name. In list the position, water temperature, wind strength and direction were added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, long story short, there is a lot to do and no real boredom. We read our books, look into the waves, sometimes we see flying fish, once we saw one or two whales passing by in the opposite direction. Sometimes sea birds show up and we ask ourselves how they can survive so far away from land. How do they for example drink? Where to they find sweet water? In the sea weed (Seetang) which is floating around everywhere on the last third of the trip?

Seetang

A picture of the patches of sea weed that were floating around all over the ocean during the second half of the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We opened a second bottle of sparkling wine after Marcos had sent away his text on 2. February because now we where relieved from the stress he was creating and also he himself felt very relieved because only now he could start to enjoy the trip.

 

Marcos on sat phone

Marcos at a typical task. Phoning via satellite phone to his university colleagues to arrange things for his paper.

One day we had very little wind and there was a lot of sea weed caught behind the skeg and we decided to the boat by taking the sails down and take a swim in the ocean using the occasion to clean off the sea weed from the skeg. But actually it had already fallen off when we had stopped the boat.

Online in the ocean

Online in the middle of the ocean

Marcos with sea weed on head

Marcos with sea weed on his head (no further comment)

Wind vane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is really a big joy to take a swim in the middle of the ocean.
The journey went on with light winds which brought us around 110 to 120 miles per day, the nights usually moon lit and clear. Only the last two days we had an overcast sky and some drizzling rain.

Sun over the horizon

One of the many sunrises and this was the last one at sea.

Rainbow

A rainbow (under the boom) after light rain during the sun rise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the last day of sun I had very successfully got a position using the sextant. Successfully means the position I got was only 4,7 nm differing from the GPS position. But when I tried it a second time three days later when the sun had come back after the rain I got it 100 nm wrong. So I need to practice much more to make it reliable.

Two days before we reached St. Lucia we printed the SeaBelow name and logo onto shirts for Marcos and Sören.

Applying ink to sieve

Applying ink to the sieve to print the SeaBelow logo and name onto t-shirts for Marcos and Sören

the ready shirt

The ready print

Shirts haning on guard rail

Drying the ink on the guard rail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had hoped to make land fall on 8. February before sun set but due to the light winds we were not quick enough. Instead we were rewarded with a nice sunset over St. Lucia.

St. Lucia in the sunset

The last sunset at sea with St. Lucia already visible at the horizon.

 

 

 

 

 

Angekommen

The proud skipper and equally proud crew on the morning after arrival.

Angekommen 2

At anchor in Rodney Bay with St. Lucia in the back ground.

 

So it got night but I was not worried to arrive at night because I knew the place and that there were no navigational obstacles except the other anchoring boats. Normally everyone should set an anchor light but not everybody does so when approaching the anchorage we had to be very careful to detect the unlit boats. Eventually we arrived at 1 a.m. local time on 9th February in the Rodney Bay of St. Lucia where we dropped the anchor and then just slept.
The next morning we were very curious to see how the bay looks like. It is all green, many other boats anchored there and we took a swim.Afterwards we went into the marina to get rid of the rubbish, wash our clothes, stock up with food and water and to register at the immigration office.
On arrival at the pontoon we met two Germans with their catamaran Blue Note who I had met before in Lisbon. That was a very nice coincidence.

Christmas and New Year in Las Palmas

On 15. December my mother arrived for a over christmas visit. The first two days it was awful weather with rain and wind but as usual not cold.

Sonntagsfruehstueck mit Gille

One day we went out sailing with Jonas, who originally wanted to sail with me but later decided to sail on a boat in a paid position back to the Mediterranean, which he thought was the better option for his life than to sail across the Atlantic ocean. Let´s hope he is right for his case.

Gille winkt am Ruder

Gille am Ruder Arbeit mit Jonas

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day we rented a car and went onto a tour through the mountains. It was one of the few days during her stays which was just perfect because we had a spotless blue sky.

Las Palmas aus den Bergen gesehen Gran Canaria Inland Nordseite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went to the small village of San Mateo were they were setting up a life chrismas story in front of the church with sheep, goats, a donkey, rabbits and other farm animals and a real shepherd

Schaefer

 

 

 

 

 

and we went to the famous Roque de Nublo on the top of the island.

Rocque Nublo

Rocque Nublo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Christmas Evening we went to a barbecue party for all the sailors in the harbour away from home. The barbecue party was organised by a German woman whe does this every year since 6 years. You bring your own stuff for the barbecue, something for the buffet and some drinks. There were many people something around 50 to 60 people, mostly Europeans.
On Chrismas day we went on a bus tour to the north west corner of the island to the little town called Gaidar. There is a cave with paintings and a museum but of course on Christmas day it was closed. But because it was beautiful weather we sat on the beach and had a coffee in the nearby cafe.
On 27 December she already had to leave back home.
On 28. December my dear friends Lennart and Silke, both now living in Berlin, but I know Lennart from Hamburg, arrived for an over New Year visit. We mostly met in the evenings because I was busy preparing the boat for the big crossing over the Atlantic Ocean which was now scheduled for the 4. January 2014 with its first leg to the Cape Verde Islands. Also I had to solve my crew problem after Jonas had already said good bye.
I thought I was lucky because Romy, a German woman, contacted me writing that she had seen my ad in the harbour that I was looking for crew. She said she had some sailing experience So we met, she brought her friend with her, I showed her the boat and she asked a lot of questions. She said she would contact me. I also had talked to a young swedish lady who was looking for a boat because her boyfriend wanted to sail single handed on his Folkeboat and she needed another boat to get across as well and I was not sure who of the two ladies I would prefer. Anyway, this situation was resolved by Romy who wrote me an message that she liked our conversation and wanted to sail with me. Ok, I thought, that is a clear answer, I take Romy with us (Marcos and me) and tell Elin, the Swedish lady, that I had found someone. So I did.
Romy came along the next day and we started planning the shopping with a shopping list. Lennart, Silke, her, her friend and me went out in the evening for dinner. On 31. December we five went sailing, there was a lot of wind onshore creating quite high waves. Lennart, Romy and me liked it but Silke and Melanie got sea sick after alreay 30 minutes so we went back to port, with a short stop at the Diesel pontoon to fill up with diesel. Lennart, Silke, Romy and Melanie went home to recover and we met again in the evening to celebrate new year with the two starting with a barbecue on the roof top terrace of their hostel on the Las Canteras beach. It had been agreed that Romy would move onto my boat on 1 January.
But while Lennart, Silke and me were on a walk through the dunes of Maspalomas in the south of the island Romy called me telling me that she had thought about it once more and said that she came to the conclusions to stay on a boat and the ocean for 5 weeks is not what she wanted to do with her free time. I was very disappointed but from  the experience with Jonas I had already learned to take the word of sailing hitch hikers not so serious and that nothing is guaranteed until you left the harbour with them on board. I do not know what happened, may be because her friend was so scared by the waves and the sea sickness Romy as well got her doubts whether she wanted to go or not.
Ok I thought, I will have to explain the situation to Marcos when he arrives on 2. January and try to convince him that we could do the trip also with just the two of us like so many couples do it all the time. Why should we two strong and heathy men not be able to do it?
When Marcos arrived he was always. Talking a lot, 100 things at one time to organise but always laughing and in a good mood. Only when I told him that we might have to go only by two he got a little bit silent. But he was so determined to go especially because he had taken every effort to convince his PhD tutors to postpone the delivery of the next version of his PhD by some weeks he got accustomed to the idea.
So the next day we went shopping to the super market and after it was delivered to the boat we stored it away, especially the water. We were still planning for three people because in this harbour you never know who comes along the next day. Especially I had contact to a man who was coming on 4. January in the evening which was still ok, because we had to wait until 5 January because Marcos needed his last shot of vaccination against Tetanus.
On Saturday 3. January we went shopping to the fruit market for fruits and vegetables, took them by taxi to the boat, washed them on the pontoon and stored them in the nets under deck and in the evening went went with Silke and Lennart to have a farewell dinner.

Essen m Lennart, Silke und Marcos

 

 

 

 

 

 

So on Sunday 4. January we were actually set for departure on Monday 5 after Marcos would have returned from the doctor.
But then, shock horror, when I climbed off board on Monday morning to take my last shower before departure I noticed a crack in the welding of the stainless steel mounting (Bugbeschlag) where the fore stay (Vorstag) is connected and which holds the whole mast.

 

Bugbeschlag

I thought, we can not go with such a crack because we would risk the mast. I told it Marcos who was of course disappointed that we would not leave and it was unforseeable how long the repair would take. Plus the next day was a holiday on Gran Canaria and therefore on the afternoon of the 5. January most shops were closed.

 

 

Riss in Bugbeschlag
So I immediately started to see how difficult it would be to get the mounting off. Luckily it turned out to be one of the easiest jobs I had done on this boat. Basically I only had to unsrew 5 thick bolts and fortunately all nuts came off without greater problems. I only needed a second hand to hold the bolts from one side while I was turning the ratched. This second hand was lend to me by Elin, the Swedish lady. So with her help after not more than on hour the damn thing was off.
I had already contacted the sailmaker on my pontoon who was also doing stainless steel weldings whether he could weld it. He had said that if I give it to him that lunch he could do it.
Because I had been ready with the demounting before his lunch break I could give it to him in time and he promised to weld it either the same day or if not than certainly the next day (which was that holiday).
Meanwhile Sören had come along, the man I had been in contact about the Atlantic crossing. He turned out to be a very friendly and sociable young man from Copenhage in Denmark. Marcos was around as well and we three had a nice chat together. And because we found each other so sympathetic we soon agreed that he would come with us. He only had to go to his hotel to pick up his clothes. After his return he washed them in the marina laundry, hung them up on board and afterwards we went to Decathlon to shop a sleeping bag and a towel and I had wanted to look at a Decathlon shop anyway. It took us about one hour by bus to go there and one hour back.
Because it was the evening before an important holiday it was a party evening and I had been asked by some other sailors whether I wanted to join them the evening to go out. I said yes and despite our trip to Decathlon I still managed to take a shower and to be in time to meet our party gang.
We went to the old town of Las Palmas which was packed with people. First we had beer with some pinchos (finger food) in one bar, then another beer with some tapas until we eventually found a dancing club where we stayed until 4 o´clock when they closed.
So when I got up with a slight hang over I went to the welders boat and was very happy to get from his wife the welded mounting.
I had bought new nuts and bolts already the day before so Sören and I could mount it back on. We slowly but determined did our work and after something like two hours we had everything back on including the genoa hoisted and furled around the forestay.

Am Bugbeschlag Der neue Bugbeschlag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcos had been out the evening before and had stayed there over night.
Already some days ago we had met the mutual friend Esther of Marcos and a friend of him when Marcos and I had been out one evening with Lennart and Silke. It must have been the 2 January, his first day on the island. Esther is an artist originating from Las Palmas and had just recently come back from London where she had been working. She is doing sculptures, paintings and many other materials. She had been contemplating to come with us to the Cape Verde Islands but eventually had decided that she did not have the money for the trip and the flight back. But she had instead invited Marcos and me for dinner on 4. January and during the dinner had developed to travel with us virtually. So on 6 January she came along to take some pictures of the boat not only from the outside but also the inside in order to write messages to us onto them, messages she would only send to us by e-mail after we had arrived on the Cape Verde Islands.
We will see what that messages are like, they will be in Spanish, so Marcos will have to translate them to me.
So, after all these ups and downs we did our last shopping of bread, a little bit of water and most important gas for the cooker on the morning of 7. January. After a little lunch and the safety instructions for Marcos and Sören we left Las Palmas at 16:00 to Mindelo on the Ilha de Sao Vicente of the Cape Verde Islands.

870 miles from Las Palmas to Mindelo

After we had left Las Palmas we soon had a strong wind from the back and put away the main sail during the first night because a reefed genoa was already enough to give us a decent speed of 5 to 6 knots.
Sören and me became sea sick and threw up from time to time. In the beginning of the trip the weather was very rough with 7 Bft. of wind, although it came form behind we still had rocky movements of the boat. And at least in my case when I am sea sick my blood pressure is low and I also get very cold although the outside temperature was still around 18°C. But together with the high wind speed it was very chilly. However, we all did our watches with three hours during the night (20-23, 23- 02, 02 – 05 and 05-08) and four hours during the day (8-12. 12- 16 and 16 .- 20) and such a three hour watch was bearable time despite the cold.

The usual outfit during the first half of the trip.

The usual outfit during the first half of the trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Atlantic Ocean as it presented itself most of the time.

The Atlantic Ocean as it presented itself most of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good thing was that there were literally no other ships to be seen so a sharp look around every 10 minutes was good enough and in between one could hide away as far as possible in the cock pit. We got often waves splashing into the cockpit so we were all the time wet and of course under deck it was difficult to maintain things dry as the foul weather gear (Seglerkleidung) was wet. Once we had a big wave coming into the cockpit from the back and it filled the cockpit all the way up to the lids of the storage compartments. But with in 20 seconds the whole was gone through the self draining wholes in the cockpit floor. But Sören was all wet afterwards because he had been directly hit by the wave. Luckily we had the wash boards (Steckschotten im Niedergang) in so no problematic amount of water came in. Only the role of kitchen paper go soaking wet and could only be thrown away.
On the fourth day the weather had calmed down and we could enjoy sunshine in the cockpit. But appetite had not yet really come back.
But on the fifth day everybody had gotten back his healthy appetite so we had a fine tuna salad, we had cofffee, Sören and Marcos interchanged with playing on the guitar and we put out our fishing rod (Angel).

Playing the guitar and harmonica on the high seas between Las Palmas and Mindelo

Playing the guitar and harmonica on the high seas between Las Palmas and Mindelo

 

 

 

 

 

Sören

Sören

 

Marcos at a typical activity: Setting his GoPro camera

Marcos at a typical activity: Setting his GoPro camera

 

Apparently we also caught a fish but the moment we had it on the hook, it was already gone and when we pulled in the line all the bait was gone and some blood on the line. It must have been a big fish, too big for our line and it broke.

On the sixth day which later turned out to be the last day, the conditions again got a bit rollier. Around the middle of our trip I had hoped to arrive at Mindelo just before sun set on the evening of the sixth day but it turned out that we had been not that fast enough. So the arrival time was just before midnight, meaning at darkness. I had been worried to arrive there at midnight because the pilot books were talking about unmarked wrecks in the anchor bight I had been thining about to slow down sothat we would arrive at the next morning with sun rise. But then I thought, damn it, why should we stay out a whole night for nothing. I took a closer look at the sea chart and thought that if we keep close to the commercial harbour we should be safe from possible wrecks. So let´s try it.
Coming from sea we first aimed for the light house on the little island Ilheu dos Passaros at the entrance of the Mindelo Bight. From there we turned almost south to head for the outer breakwater (Hafenmole) of the commercial harbour and from there directly east to the ferry terminal. And from there we could see the mast of the yachts in the marina. I originally wanted to moore at the fishing club but there we were told that everything is full and an friendly man in a dinghy guided us through the anchoring boats into the marina. He and another man from the marina helped us with the mooring lines and so on Tuesday 13. January 2015 at 23:45 UTC or 22:45 local time we had arrived after 870nm in six days and 8 hours.

 

Sea chart of the bight of Mindelo

Sea chart of the bight of Mindelo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That makes an average speed of 5,7 knots! Not bad! And all just under a most of the time reefed genoa. So, as usual, after all everything went well. I wonder sometimes how helpful some pilot books are if they seem to describe things more complicated then they actually are. Why can´t they just describe how the straight forward way is and what the restrictions are, i.e. what dangers are to be observed. Then everybody can take his own decision whether he/she wants to do it or not.
Despite we were tired, after our mooring beer we headed for the town because after all that sitting and lying in the boat we wanted to walk. After some looking around we asked a local lady for a place to eat and she guided us to a bar where we got pizza. It was the worst pizza we had ever eaten but under the given circumstances it was great. After the dinner we went to sleep and all three of us we dreamt wild dreams.

Decksschuhtest / Deck shoe test

Ganz überraschend bekam ich vor ein paar Wochen eine nette E-Mail vom 12seemeilen.de-Team. Ich wurde gefragt, ob ich eines ihrer Schuhpaare testen wolle. Dazu habe ich sofort ja gesagt und bekam zwei Wochen später ein paar Sebago Docksides zugeschickt.

Am Mast stehend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Die in marineblau gehaltenen Schuhe gefallen mir optisch sehr gut.

Schuhe von vorne Schuhe von der SeiteSie haben den für Decksschuhe seit Jahrzehnten, Segler sind ja sehr konservative Leute, typischen umlaufenden, die Hacke einschließenden, Lederschnürsenkel. Mir gefällt bei diesem Modell besonders gut, dass die Schnürsenkel Weiß sind, weil sie gut das Blau des Leders kontrastieren. Der umlaufende Schnürsenkel ist wirklich umlaufend und dies dient dazu, dass der Schuh gut am Fuß anliegt und guten Halt gibt. Dies ist eine für Decksschuhe sehr wichtige Eigenschaft. Die Schuhe sind formschön und gut verarbeitet. Innen ist der Schuh an den Seiten mit Leder gefüttert, dadurch nimmt er gut die Feuchtigkeit von den Füßen auf. Dadurch wird ein angenehmes Schuhinnenklima geschaffen. Auch das Fußbett ist aus einer leicht herausnehmbaren Lederinnesohle gefertigt. Die ebenfalls weiße Außensohle ist durchgenäht und aus richtigem Gummi. Durch das Durchnähen wird eine optimale Verbindung von Schuh und Sohle erreicht. Es können sich also keine Verklebungen lösen. Gummi in der richtigen Mischung ist der eigentliche Faktor, der für die Rutschfestigkeit sorgt, das Profil ist zweitrangig. Aber auch dies fein grillt, wodurch eine guter Kontakt zum Untergrund hergestellt wird. Und dank der weißen Farbe hinterlassen die Schuhe auch keine schwarzen Streifen auf dem Deck.

Sitzend an DeckLeider mußte ich feststellen, daß die Größe bei diesem Sebago-Modell  offensichtlich kleiner ausfällt, als sonst üblich. Jedenfalls habe ich normalerweise Schuhgröße 42/43 bzw. 8 ½ , aber diese Schuhe sind mir in dieser Größe etwas zu klein, ich bräuchte bei der Marke Sebago offensichtlich ungefähr eine Schuhgröße größer. Das wäre also zu beachten, wenn jemand sich diese Schuhe kaufen will. Aber das ist gerade bei Schuhen im Onlinehandel das größte Problem, dass man nicht mal eben, wie im Schuhladen, viele verschiedene Paare in mehreren Größen probieren kann. Da müßte man sich ja immer ein Paket mit 10 Paar Schuhen bestellen und am Ende 9 wieder zurückschicken. Es wäre gut, wenn man einen Fußabdruck mit der Bestellung einschicken könnte. Z.B. ein auf ein Blatt Papier gemalter Umriss der Füße.
Aber mal abgesehen von der Schuhgröße, würden die Schuhe in der richtigen Größe an meine eher breit geratenen Füße gut passen, das Leder war sehr angenehm auch mit nackten Füßen zu tragen.
Die Rutschfestigkeit auf dem Deck entspricht dem, was man von solchen Decksschuhen erwartet, nämlich daß sie bei trockenem Deck eine hohe Rutschfestigkeit aufweisen und bei nassem Deck immer noch ausreichend gut halten. Wenn es zu feucht wird, sollte man sowieso auf Gummistiefel wechseln.
Was diese Schuhe, wie leider die meisten Decksschuhe dieser Art vermissen lassen, ist eine Sohle mit einer guten Dämpfung vor allem an der Ferse. Das ist an Deck zwar nicht relevant, aber wenn der Segler im Hafen an Land steigt, dann hat er oft viel zu laufen. Als erstes zum Hafenmeister, dann zur Toilette, dann den Ort erkunden, noch einkaufen und Abends ein Zug durch die Gemeinde. Da man auf dem Boot meistens weder Auto noch Fahrrad dabei hat, läuft man in so einem Segelurlaub so einiges mehr an Kilometern, als man das zu Hause im Alltag täte.
Und weil der Platz sowohl in der Reisetasche als auch im Boot begrenzt ist, kann man auch nicht für jeden Einsatzzweck einen Extraschuh mitnehmen. Da wäre es sehr gut, wenn die Segelschuhe eine gute Dämpfung hätten und man auch beim Landausflug angenehm zu Fuß unterwegs sein könnte.

Im Cockpit Fuesse an Cockpitbank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ich habe die Schuhe kostenlos zur Verfügung gestellt bekommen und kann sie auch behalten. Man könnte das also Sponsoring nennen und natürlich ist mein Blogeintrag Werbung für den Onlineshop und die Schuhe. Aber dennoch kann ich versichern, daß ich meine ehrliche Meinung dargestellt habe und auch kein Blatt vor den Mund genommen hätte, wenn mir die Schuhe nicht gefallen hätten.

 

Link zum 12Seemeilen-Onlineshop: http://www.12seemeilen.de/

Frohe Weihnachten / Merry Christmas

All my dear readers, friends and relatives,

I wish you all a Merry Christmas 2014 and a Happy New Year 2015! For me it has been a very exciting year. First the finalisation of my project Co2olBricks, where I always like to think back to and all the nice people I met during this project all over the Baltic Sea.

During my sailing trip with „SeaBelow“ I had together with my changing crew and the wonderful people I have met on my way from Hamburg via Amsterdam, London, Cherbourg, La Rochelle, Bilbao, La Coruna, Lisbon, Madeira to up to now Las Palmas a continious summer and one of the best times of my life.

So, I wish you to be as happy as I am and that the 2015 becomes as good as 2014!

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015 from Las Palmas on Gran Canaria!

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015 from Las Palmas on Gran Canaria!

Rain and sunshine in eternal spring

I spent a few days on the anchorage while my crew mustered off (hat abgemustert) to pursue their own itinerary. Because a storm was forecasted and the ground of the anchorage had not a good reputation for its holding character in storms I asked in the marina despite it was still full with boats waiting and preparing for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). And luckily I got a nice berth in the central area of the marina.
Anyway, these days before the ARC were really crazy. People everywhere, queues in the chandlery, in the toilet and showers, everyday more people arriving by plane or boat, the bars packed with people. But I had planned to be here because I wanted Jörg Drexhagen of Yachtfunk.de to take a look onto my SSB. It took a few days until he came on board. Meanwhile I was reading the ads of people wanting to crew on a boat that crosses the Atlantic. I hadn´t tied the last knot of my mooring lines and already people came along the pontoon and asking whether I need crew. I answered yes I need but only for January. For most of them that was not interesting at this moment but this way I met some really nice and lovely people. And also old aquaintences arrived with their boats from the various surrounding islands like Fuerteventura and also Madeira. E.g. Makara who had left Madeira with us but had spent a week on Tenerife or Trude who had left Cascais with us.

Checking the SSB
Ok, I had Jörg on board and after looking and checking and doing some tests with whistling into the handset of the SSB-radio he said that the ground of the system is not good enough and that I should paint the bilge with copper paint he is usually selling but he was out of stock, that the radio is transmitting with only 50% of its capacity because it is built this way and that I need 3 to 4 stand offs for the antenna cable which I could buy from him for 25 Euros per piece. For a better ground he offered me to buy as a makeshift for 180 Euros three cables I should lay along the bilge. He also took a look at my VHF-radio and said that it is sending only with a fraction of its normal transmission power and that I should better exchange the decades old Danish VHF for a modern one. The analysis of the two radios cost me 50 Euros.
I at least ordered a new VHF in Bremen at SVB which was sent to Leo in Hamburg because he was coming to visit me that coming week.
When he arrived the weather was quite bad so we spent the first day to install the VHF which all in all was not a difficult job. So now I have a proper DSC device and we even managed to connect it to the GPS so that it also transmits the position in case of an emergency.

Sailing to the south of Gran Canaria

Helicopter rescue demonstration for the ARC participants

Helicopter rescue demonstration for the ARC participants

The next day the ARC had its start and after we had seen off some boats who I had met, like the boat and same skipper I sailed the ARC two years ago, we also set sails to sail just 9 miles south to Taliarte. We arrived there a little after dark. I knew from the hand book that they had no facilities for visiting yachts but we saw a nice swimming pontoon where we moored. But instantly a security guard showed up and told us in Spanish that we should leave and go to Las Palmas. We asked why we could not stay there and he said very excited and determined that the pontoon belonged to the city council and nobody was allowed to moor there. When we did not immediatly showed a will to leave he asked us for our papers. The problem was that the pontoon had no connection to the land so we could not just hand him our papers. He then told us to come with the boat to the quay wall. I did not like that idea at all because the wall was made for fishing boats with big dirty tires as fendrs, rusty chains and bollards big as our boat. And even worse the wall had an edge jumping back almost exactly at the height of our deck and there was still some swell in the harbour. With fenders hanging quite high we could just avoid the boat being pushed against this edge. This was the situation at low water so after a while the water had risen and the edge was no problem any more. But due to the swell the boat was still moving forward and backward a lot and I was all the time afraid of it hitting the really horrible looking wall. At low tide it was so high and no ladder anywhere we had to build a rope ladder from some lines to get onto the quay to give the guard our papers. He drove away with them and came back 10 minutes later. He handed us our papers back and said we could stay for one night.
Ok, „thank you“ we thought (and some more things I will not write here) and so we stayed. We cooked a simple pasta dinner.
In the middle of the night I woke up at high water although I had not set my alarm clock. I checked the mooring lines and the fenders, adjusted their height a little bit but overall everything was fine. Now at high water it was no problem to reach the quay, I could step down from the deck onto it.
The next morning after breakfeast we set sail, just the genoa, and sailed in a beautiful downwind course to Posito Blanco. The wind was blowing with force 6 but only until a certain point where many wind mills were installed.

Tarjana - Posito Blanco

Leo and me on our way from Taliarte to Posito Blanco

Beyond that point the wind had almost completely died and we even had to tack (Kreuzen) the last few miles.
Posito Blanco is a yacht harbour next to a golf course in the middle of nowhere. When we moored at the reception quay Senem and Didem, two Turkish women from  Istanbul, who were looking for a boat to cross the ocean and who I had met in Las Palmas, visited us and we walked to Maspalomas, a well known big holiday place with only hotels and holiday apartments but it has a wonderful beach with big sand dunes.

Palm Trees

Lying under palm trees!

SeaBelow from mast top of neighbouring boat Lisa

Picture taken by the crew of the German yacht Lisa who we had met first in Cascais in Portugal and who were lying next to us in Posito Blanco.

On Maspalomas beach walk

With Senem and Didem on the beach walk of Maspalomas

Sunset Maspalomas

Sunset at Maspalomas light house

Im Cockpit

Perfect sail back to Las Palmas

We admired the sunset and went to one of the many restaurants there. They had to go back to their hosts and Leo and I sailed the next day to the just 6nm distant Puerto Rico. A place even more purpose developed for tourists. It was a beautiful sail, no ocean swell, bright sunshine and a light breeze. We had beer on the beach and afterwards checked the bars out. It was off season so in most bars were not many guests, only in the Rock´n Roll bar were many people. We got ourselves a beer and because it was still early in the evening, we sat at a table with anti-slip stainless steel sheet metal as cover. I found that strange but took it as just a design item. But not long after I had put my glass onto this surface a waiter came and politely asked me to put the glass in the Rinne that was on each side. I did not understand why but did as I was told. Not long after Leo had come back from the toilet we learned why. One of the body builder shaped waiters jumped onto the table and started to dance. Immediatly several short skirted and high heeled girls jumped onto the table as well, now dancing right in front of us with skirts short that you could see almost everything.
Aha, we thought, are we men supposed to dance there as well? At least for me it would have been a bit difficult, because the beams of the ceiling were so low, that I constantly would have hit my head.
Anyway, after a while this dancing was over and because it had gotten late, we drunk and we wanted to sail 40nm miles back to Las Palmas the next day we went to sleep.
The next morning we found much better wind then forecasted meaning we had the wind from the back almost all the way up the coast. One hour before sunset the wind died and came back very weak from ahead so for the last 8 nm we turned the engine on because we wanted to be in the harbour at a reasonable time.

Back in Las Palmas

The next day the skipper of the German catamaran Cayluna celebrated his birthday and had invited us among other German sailors to the Asian restaurant Wok in the El Muelle shopping centre near the cruise ship terminal. It was really excellent all-you-can eat-buffet where you could choose also raw meat and sea food and get it cooked in front of your eyes in the kitchen. Especially the meat was excellent, seldom found in restaurants.
The next day, Saturday, Leo and I went to the Las Arenas beach on the west coast of Las Palmas to watch the high waves because a storm was blowing like it had not for ten years the people said. The beach was closed for swimming and we were hiding behind a corner of a house for not to be hit by the rain and wind and in the evening we went out dancing with Senem and Didem. The next day, Sunday, Leo already had to fly back home.
The following days I spent with working on the boat and with Senem and Didem and their skipper and his first mate, because they had meanwhile found a boat. They left on 6. December and hopefully they have a safe journey.

Senem good bye on True blue Didem good bye True blue True blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New try to fix the SSB
So, after everybody had left I was able to concentrate again more on my boat. I called an old German guy to look once more into my SSB. He was the first one to examine the machine in a way I thought it should be done. I brought a device with him to measure the sending signal and the reflected signal, which tells how good the radio is working. He said the antenna tuner was ok, but that the radio had a problem and he took it with him. When he brought it back he was very pleased with its function. But he said as well as others before that I have to improve the ground of the antenna. For that we went to a shop to get 3,5sqm of copper foil I put into the bilge, soldered the stripes together (die Blechstreifen zusammenlöten) and he also wants to make me a new antenna because the thing also did not work properly.

Madeira to Las Palmas

At 11:45 on Thursday 13. November 2014 we lifted the anchor and set course almost south to Las Palmas, 285 nm ahead. As usual the wind was blowing much stronger than forecasted and from south west so we were going high up to the wind. Therefore unfortunately Maria got sea sick but far severe than the last time and she had developed a strong will not to let herself be put down by it. Luckily we could most of the time could sail almost on the rhumb line (direct course) and we made good progress under three reefs and a small genoa. During the night the wind got less strong and we could reef out and it also turned (this time as forecasted) to a northerly direction and we could sail butterfly. The wind was nice through the second day and on the morning of the third day it had calmed so much that we were not doing our usual 6 knots any more but „only“ four to five. But we any way arrived at Las Palmas in the afternoon of Saturday 15.11.2014 and went to the anchorage of Las Palmas.
Some hours later Mike also arrived and he brought a huge Bonito fish with him, about 20kg heavy. So we had Sushi and fried fish that evening with him, and the next evening with some neighbours and also on the third evening.

Breaking sheets! / Brechende Schoten!

On Friday 07. November we had tried to sail from Porto Santo to Madeira but 2nm after we had left the harbour the wind died and it did not look as if it would pick up again during the day. So the girls took the chance to take a swim and we tried out an 33 year old automatic life jacket. Maria put it on and jumped into the water. And surprisingly after ca. 10 seconds it started to blow itself up. I was very surprised that it still worked after being not serviced for many years and looking quite rotten. Julia and Maria swam an hour next to the boat back to Porto Santo where we joined the other boats in the anchor field.
But the next morning, Saturday 8. November, the wind was fair and from north east which meant a downwind course. We left the anchorage at the same time as Mike and Asa on Seahawk, the Dutch boat Pacific had left a little earlier and the American catamaran Makara had been the very first to start.
So we started with Seahawk by sunshine and under spinaker. We were considerably quicker and were even able to catch up with Pacific because they had not put up their full sail area, otherwise we would have had no chance with them being twice as long as us. We were doing well over 6knots, sometimes even 7.
After we got out of the swell protection of the island Porto Santo the wind increased, it started to shower occasionally and the speed went in the surf to over 8 knots. Time to get the spinaker down. I had just said to Julia and Maria that this is getting to dangerous when with a big bang the windward sheet of the spinaker broke. So I went to the foredeck and pulled the cover over the spinaker and it was almost in. I then saw that the sheet apparently broke exactly within the knot because there was no piece of rope on the sail left. Now I know how much the 8mm ropes hold.
We carried on just under the mainsail because we were not really slower than with the spinaker. When later the wind decrease we rolled out the genoa and put the sails in butterfly position.
Meanwhile Pacific had overtaken us so we just could follow them without staring at the compass all the time. When we approached the north-east tip of Madeira with its light house we also saw Makara coming from the south east but they took a little detour to a natural arch in the cliffs.
After rounding the corner we tacked up the coast for 2,5nm to the anchorage in the Baia de Ariba. Pacific had arrived literally a few minutes earlier and it took them two attempts to find a spot where their anchor holds. We luckily found at the first attempt a spot that had a very good holding ground.
But the weather was not the very best. Strong gusts of wind made a howling wind in the rigging and the occasional showers of drizzling rain continued.
Soon after us Makara arrived and then also Seahawk sailed into the bay. She managed to sail all the way to her anchor spot.
In this bay we finally managed to hollow our pumpkin we had originally bought for Halloween a week earlier and it gave us a delicious Pumpkin soup.

Later we went over to the American Catamaran Makara and had a little party evening with our hollow pumpkin and a freshly backed chocolate cake. Unfortunately Mikes dinghi had flipped over and the outboard enginge had gotten wet. He tried to fix it immediatly with my tools but in the dark with only a head lamp on and a wind shaken boat it was too difficult. So he left it until the morning, being grumpy at the beginning of the evening. But then with sun light and calmer conditions in the cockpit of his boat, he got it back running after a short while.

Here are pictures of that day: Porto Santo to Madeira

Stormy passage to the Madeira Archipelago

After we had changed from Seixal to the marina Doca dos Nacoes at the former Expo area of the Expo 1998 we once again changed to the marina Doca de Alcantara where I had asked a technician to come onboard to check the SSB. But all he did was to tune in to a normal short wave radion station to show me that the SSB was receiving a signal. To his opinion everything was alright. He did not even connect the simplest measuring device to check the strength of the transmission signal. He had not understood that I had a general problem with the thing and that I actually wanted the whole system systematically checked whether everything is alright. But he gave all the impression that he was absolutely not interested in repairing an SSB. He regarded it as old fashioned and dead technology. He said that the Portuguese Coastal Radion Stations had stopped to operate SSB services because the commercial ships now all have satellite phones and hardly anybody of them is using it any more. So from his point of view it was pointless to have one.
Ok, at least he did not charge anything for telling me that.
That had been one of the reasons to stay in the Doca de Alcantara, the other was that we thought it was more central. By geography it is but effectively it is not much closer to the interesting Barrio Alto and central Lisbon districts than the Doca dos Nacoes, instead indeed noisier from the big bridge and the neighbouring container terminal. The advantage of the Doca dos Nacoes is that it is really quiet, they have the nicer showers and a proper office building with a nice sitting area.
So there were no more reasons to stay there and we changed to Cascais, at the mouth of the Tejo where Mike was at anchor and where we wanted to wait for the right wind to go to Porto Santo. In Cascais we met several other long term sailors almost all on their way to the Canary Islands. The weather fore cast said that there was a good weather window when leaving on Thursday 30. October or on Saturday 1 November with the latter one seeming to be the better one because one would have northerly winds from the beginning.
The challenge of this passage is that you need the right wind for 3 to 5 day because it is a distance of 465 nm to Porto Santo. Almost all boats decided to go on Saturday with the disadvantage that for Monday Night a strong wind band of up to 30 knots (Bft.7) was forecasted. But with the good winds on Saturday and Sunday one should be ahead of it.
So Mike already started a 7 am, we started at 12:00 pm and others started at around 3pm.
At first we had even to point south, but once we got off the coast we could directly 225° to Porto Santo. We decided not to go a bit more west first hoping for the forecast to be right that the wind would change to north which would have given us a nice downwind course. We said „No“, the direct course is the quickest because one never knows how correct the forecast is“.
We had a beam reach (Halbwind) course on the first day and a force 4-5 Bft in the night so we had only the mainsail up because we had to fix something on the Genoa sheet (Genuaschot) which we had only noticed at sunset. So we had to leave it till the next morning. But even with that small sail we did 5 to 5.5 knots. And we had a sailing yacht directly in front of us all through the night. The distance did not change, which was very strange because usually boats do not travel at the same speed.
But at night fall we all started to get seasick. Even me threw up (sich übergeben) and nobody was interested in the good food or even the pumpkin we had bought. But everybody managed to do his / her watch. We were doing 6 knots on the average so we had already covered 150 nm until Sunday noon, which is a third of the distance. But unfortunately Julia and Maria did not get over their seasickness a were bound to their bunks (Kojen) occasionally trying to eat and drink something which sometimes stayed in the stomach, sometimes came out a bit later. So Asa and me were sharing the watches which worked actually quite well because thanks to Peter Förthmanns Windpilot the watch keeper did not have much to do besides taking a look around every ten minutes. Usually there was nothing although I have to admit that at least during the first half of the journey there were several ships, probably on their way to the Strait of Gibraltar. And also during the second night we had sailing yacht all the time some miles either in front of us, behind or net to us.
With a little bit reefed sails also the Monday was ok.
But on Tuesday morning we were hit be the strong wind band. The boat was sometimes falling from a wave and banging heavily into the wave valley and one time I thought we had hit something solid swimming in the water when a wave hit us directly from the side. All the time we spray coming over, also sometimes flying all the way to the cockpit. But at 10 am a lot of water flew into the cockpit, filling the holds in the sides of the cockpit (Schwalbennester) where apparently were some wholes through which I got wet in my bunk under the cockpit. And simultaneously Asa shouted „Jan, Jan, I need your help here“. So I jumped into my foul weather gear (Ölzeug) and went on deck. It was clear that reefing the sails would ease the situation. So I bound the third reef into the main sail and furled in the jib down to storm sail size. With that sail area we were still doing 6,5 knots but the boat moved much smoother and we had almost not heavy water coming over any more. So I could go back to my bunk, to get some more rest until I had to release Asa on watch. From that point we had still another 60nm to go which at the speed meant we would reach Porto Santo around 9pm. The visibility was excellent, the temperature around 20°C so only the chaotic waves were the problem. But with only 12hours left the end was getting closer.

Sturmbesegelung

Under storm sails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tired and exhausted after three days with little sleep

Tired and exhausted after three days with little sleep

 

 

And so at 10pm we rounded the Ilheu de Cima Light House on the north eastern corner of Porto Santo and were finally in calm waters as the island protected us from the ocean swell. From there it was only another 2 miles to the port. Although the marina in the port was badly lit we found a berth.
At 11 pm we were readily moored (waren mit Anlegen fertig). But the usual mooring beer did not yet really taste, at least my stomach was still to accepting beer, but the sausages Asa had managed to fry underway despite the rocky movements of the boat tasted quite good.
The next morning after sleeping in (ausschlafen) we rinsed the whole boat, insideand outside, the fould weather gear and dried the wet sleeping bags, towels and polsters.
Mike who we had tried to contact under way via VHF radio (UKW-Funkgerät) had also arrived during the night so we mutually happy to see that had arrived sound and safe. Ilko, the dutch skipper of a big ketch, had arrive earlier but had to keep the watch for 72 hours because his whole family crew had been seasick And then we were waiting for the sailing yacht called Gegenwind. They arrived a day later because they had heaved to because the were hit by even Bft. 10 in gusts (in Böen) as they said. So eventually everybody had arrived well although we had gotten our good dose of strong wind.
The more happy we were to have beautiful weather on Porto Santo, perfect for a barbecue on the beach. So in the evening of Thursay we were about 20 people from Scotland, USA, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and England around the barbecue. One of the American crews had caught a Mahimahi fish which was so big they were eating on it since a week and still had loads of it share with us as it had to be eaten because otherwise it would go bad.
Due to the weather conditions not many pictures were taken, I only managed to take a few, but I made little video (in German): On the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and Porto Santo