Leg 6 - 2000 : Azores to Ireland
August 3, 2000 2037
39.45N, 27.12W Log: 39,119 mi Baro: 1033 Winds: SSE @ 12kts
Broadreaching @ 7kts, full main & 130% genoa, cabin temp:
Goodbye Azores, Hello Ireland!
Horta Marina, Azores.
The Azores High that has gone walkabout
for many weeks re-established itself the day Leg 6 began. We had
an excellent 96hr forecast from National Weather Service weatherfax station NMF received over our Furuno weatherfax on 9110kHz
and decided to stop at Graciosa Island, 45 miles from Horta, enroute
We used US charts 51002, 51041, 51062
and British chart 1956 for the Azores, along with Jimmy Cornell's
"Azores Cruising Guide". Mid Atlantic Yacht Services
in Horta are helpful to yachties with every service imaginable.
We used their office/chandlery to receive faxes, purchase charts
and appreciated their directions on provisioning and "don't
miss" places to see. For sailors bound for Europe, they stock
a good selection of charts and cruising guides. Watch for our
upcoming article in Blue Water Cruising on MAYS. Their email address
is: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 351-292-391656.
Landfall at Graciosa, Azores.
Nikki and Jeff attaching anchor float and setting the second
anchor at an exposed anchorage on Graciosa.
Graciosa, the second smallest of the
nine islands has a new breakwater at Praia providing a fairly
good anchorage off the town's swimming beach. After anchoring
and a spaghetti feast we went exploring the narrow streets. We
love any kind of live music and the sound of a band playing Sousa
had us following the music. We discovered the town band, members
ranging from a kid whose french horn was nearly bigger than he
was, to what looked like an 80 yr old farmer having a blast on
the cymbals. When they saw the eight of us enter the spotless
community hall, they straightened up in their seats and eager
to have some audience, sent someone down from the stage to offer
us chairs. The music was great and their enthusiasm contagious.
I read that the Azores are famous for their town bands, that there
are more here than in all of Portugal, and that they often have
fundraising concerts to buy more instruments and music.
Yesterday we rented a tiny car, the only
one available, and the other half of us piled into a cab for an
island tour. Spectacular sea cliffs with breakers below, horse-drawn
carts and miles of grapes and corn fields topped by a visit to
a huge volcano, into whose caldera we hiked for a picnic lunch
made for an enjoyable morning. Next we spiraled down 182 steps
into a giant underground cavern and lake formed by lava tubes.
Mud pots bubbled like at Rotorua, NZ and the lake gave off wicked
Dinner last night was at the town's restaurant,
outside, in 80 degree weather. I didn't want our evening stroll
through town to end. Amanda stopped to inquire about the crochet
work two women were doing by an open window, we had a pleasant
time, hearing how much one of the women who had moved to Boston
as a child enjoyed coming back for three months each summer. Many
homes and cars had the keys in the locks, everyone smiled or nodded
as we walked by, and it seemed that half the town from the youngest
to oldest were out walking, or just sitting looking out over the
harbor, or chatting with neighbors. We didn't see or hear a single
television. Two girls who looked about 10 sat on a park bench
in the town square alone, reading a book together. What a magical
safe place for kids to grow up.
One of our sharp-eyed crew noticed a
little tear in the genoa spreader patch on the sail over from
Horta, so this morning Amanda and crew unfurled and dropped the
genoa, then hand-sewed the tear.
This has is our youngest and keenest
crew yet and they hadn't even unpacked before they were asking
about sun sights. Two had been studying celestial navigation before
joining us and the sextant was out of the box soon as we set sail.
Leg 6 crew, the Azores.
28 works for a dot.com company in Seattle (used to work for Microsoft)
is into all kinds of extreme sports including ice climbing and
surfing off the Washington coast every possible weekend, all year
long. With his buddy,
32, also a techno-type who is on ski patrol and mountain rescue,
recently purchased a Hallberg-Rassy 31, a sistership to Mahina
Tiare I. They have an excellent boat and are enjoying tidying
her up and dreaming of distant shores, but for now are having
a blast sailing the San Juan Islands with their girlfriends.
37 is a dentist, originally from Germany. Juha, her husband is
a Finn who works at MSoft and last year sailed from Tahiti to
Hawaii with us. Presently Juha is in Finland with their three
boys, 5, 7 & 9, looking at having a Nauticat 42 built. They
plan on sailing it from Finland to their home near Seattle in
a couple of years before their boys become teenagers. As a child
Nikki did an Atlantic circumnavigation with her family, an experience
she wants to share with her boys.
Doug and Linda Frye, 39 & 38, from the Chicago area are excited
about taking a couple years off and taking their 11 & 13 yr
old boys on an Atlantic circumnavigation on the Taswell 49 that
they recently purchased. These guys are so eager to learn that
I think they have already filled a couple of notebooks with notes
and answers to their questions. Their boys are meeting them in
41 is originally from Guyana, but now lives in Arizona where he
is a tester for GM. This guy is keen to learn, he not only flew
to SF for our weekend Offshore Cruising Symposium, he also drove
to San Diego to see MT and meet us during our Open House. His
wife, Melissa and kids, 5 & 10 are meeting him in Ireland.
August 5, 2000 2031 43.42N, 22.59W
Log: 39,418 Baro: 1030
Winds: SE @ 11kts Beam reaching @ 6.8kts, smooth seas
John, there are no sharks mid Atlantic!"
With only 703 miles to Fastnet Rock,
it's hard to believe we'll pass the halfway point on our passage
to Ireland in the morning. The North Atlantic has been surprisingly
mellow with winds 10-15 knots, always abaft the beam we've covered
168 and 153 miles noon-to-noon on our first two days. We've seen
tons of dolphins, whales, turtles, ships, had two great mid-ocean
swims, got our first sun shot within 2.7 miles of the GPS and
have an amazing sunset tonight. The only thing missing is fresh
Aug. 14, 2000 1924
51.48N 8.18W Log: 40,180 Baro: 1017+ Air Temp: 74 F
Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven, County
Those last few hundred miles whizzed
by when the wind moved aft and piped up to 30 knots - just the
type of sailing this crew was after. They relished the heavy-air,
reefing and steering with fierce competition to see MT perform.
Nikki hit 9.5 kts with ease, not even stirring John from his bunk
to suggest another reef. On the backside of this cold front winds
were light and the sky patchy with fog and drizzle but crew spirits
Linda attaches the Galerider
drogue to a warp during storm practice.
We have chosen to use Imray charts (a
private British chartmaker) for Ireland and Scotland. They are
less expensive than British Admiralty charts for the same coverage
and each chart has up to a dozen detailed inset harbour charts
plus valuable tidal stream diagrams. In the US, Bluewater
Books in Ft. Lauderdale and Armchair Sailor in Seattle stock them. We used Imray C56 &
C57 for landfall and will use C55, C54 & C53 on Leg 7 for
Ireland's west coast to Scotland.
In addition we have the British Charts
on MaxSea CD's and are busy learning their program which differs
from the Nobeltec/Maptech charts which we've used to date.
Our choice of Ports of Entry to clear
into Ireland included Bantry Bay, Baltimore, Kinsale and Crosshaven (at entrance of Cork Harbour).
Because of our excellent winds and a crew attentive to sail trim
we were arriving early, having sailed 1250 miles in 7 days and
Kinsale looked good in terms of daylight and tide.
Kinsale, Our first Irish
We sailed into a narrowing natural harbour
through headlands dominated by impressive stone fortresses. The
harbor quickly became a river and we glided past colorful stone
houses nestled in Summer Cove rounding a bend to view a picturesque
town with an 11th century cathedral perched above the marina.
Kinsale Yacht Club's visitor dock was
chocka, so we passed and tied up at Sail
Ireland's fuel dock next door. The manager
was sitting with the yacht club harbormaster, tipping back some
Irish ale and said they would call customs for us and that we
could stay on the fuel dock for the night. Billy, the yacht club
harbormaster was competing for our moorage and said he'd make
room for us as his marina had better showers!
Beth Leonard and Evans
Starzinger entering Kinsale Harbor.
Kinsale is fun but making a decision
of where eat and drink in this lively gourmet capital is a challenge
as it seems every building is either a restaurant or a pub with
live Irish music. Our crew were out to the wee hours tapping to
the tunes and sampling the brews as sailors are known to do.
The following day Amanda and crew serviced
winches for class, then the rest of the day was for a historical
walking tour of the town and exploring Charles Fort. Saturday
brought sunshine and a following breeze for our passage to Crosshaven.
Crosshaven's narrow channel was jammed
with boats heading out to race but Jeff carefully piloted MT into
the club docks. Started in 1720, the Royal Cork is the world's
oldest yacht club and probably one of the most active and friendly.
The staff looked a bit shell-shocked and explained that they had
recently hosted Cork Race Week - 600 boats and thousands of international
sailors. We found lots of empty berths, only two visiting cruising
boats and the quaint little village of Crosshaven ashore.
Our keen crew took Amanda and I out to
dinner, then stayed out till the wee hours listening to music.
They had expected to hear traditional Irish music, but the open
mike evening produced a line of guys crooning Glen Campbell and
Neil Diamond tunes, with the entire pub singing along!
For our arriving Leg 7 crew, Crosshaven
is a 20 mile bus ride from Cork, past the airport and towards
the harbour entrance. The yacht
club is in the middle of town and MT
is visible on the first dock.
In the meantime, we're off to explore
the Ring of Kerry for three days with my brother David and his
family, joining us from their home in France.
Sail on to Leg 7, 2000
for more exciting adventures!