Its been another year and once again I am out in the middle of the ocean. It looks like we are about 9 days from landfall if all goes well making it a total of 40 days at sea sailing nonstop from South Africa. We finally made it out of the really big waves and counter current. We are now screaming along at 8 to 9 knots under full canvas with the aid of a 1 knot current that should bring us very close to the Caribbean Islands. The mood on board is much better today even if we submerged Dragonsbane twice under some rouge waves but blasted right out from under them, great fun. Not sure on the hight because they both broke over the top of our binimi canopy at the cockpit, we both needed a good bath anyway.
I will be ringing in the new year roughly 800 nautical miles from shore with a shot of Rum and my good friend Cary. I have been taking the day and reflecting on the past year and remembering the good and the bad. Things I am still sad about is a broken heart, and disagreements with a person close to my heart but I choose to leave it at that. Things that I am happy about is the journey that will soon come to a end. In the last year I have sailed from New Zealand to South Africa and currently working on completing my around world sail voyage as we speak that has lasted over 2 years now. I have sailed to 9 more countries, bungy jumped, climb volcanos,scuba dived ship wreaks, hiked over mountains,through island tropical forest, met new people and learned about new cultures. I have been pushing myself this past year and only have a few regrets but that’s called living. As for the future I will try loving myself more, love my family more, love my friends more and work harder on things that matter to me. I wish you all a Safe and Happy New, God Bless!
PS. Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog.
Current Position: 22:40utc, 8deg 54.9min N, 45deg 19.0min W,SOG 8.6kts, COG 316deg, Swell 2 to 3 meters, 1014MB, DR 1,265NM
For the last day and half we have been fighting a 1 to 2 knot counter current that is right on our nose. This counter current is slowing us down by 1 to 2 kts and it is very hard to deal with. Dragonsbane sounds like it is ripping through the water as if we were doing 7 to 8 kts but when you look at the actual speed over ground we are doing 4.8 or 5 knots. We are hopping that as we struggle our way 700 nautical miles off the coast of South America we will finally get out of this stupid counter current. We have been averaging 110 nautical miles in a 24 hour period which is just dreadful in the 20 to 25 knots of wind pushing us. We should be making 140 to 160 nautical miles per day but I guess we have to pay our due to the ocean. Looking ahead the North Atlantic East Trade winds are going to build up to 25 knots with 10 to 15 foot waves. This is a bummer because we will be taking all the waves on our beam based on our current course. BUt all is well on board and looking forward to finishing up the next two weeks.
Current Postion: 22:17utc 6deg 15.1min N, 40deg 35.8min W, SOG 4.6kts, COG 324deg, WS 22kts, Swell 2 meters, -2current, Overcast, DR 1588nm, 1014mb
Over the last three days we have been fighting our way through the lite air and squall filled ocean. This lovely area of the Atlantic ocean we are currently in is the doldrums which is a stretch of ocean near the equator that has very little wind. Luckily we have been getting low winds of 8 kts to high winds of 25 knots and is staying on our beam to stern starboard as we continue to the Caribbean BVI’s. The problem with doldrums is the amount of sail changing that needs to be done to keep Dragonsbane moving safely and on course. In any given 4 hour shift the sails may be change 2 to 6 times because of the continuing squalls that plague the area we sail in. Our worst squall so far was two days ago. It began in the morning around 10am and continued with heavy rain and 20 knots of wind that swirled from bow to stern along our starboard side for 8 hours. We had been running our lite drafter head sail on a spinnaker pole making way at 5 kts but do to the length of the squall we were in and the bluster winds I decided to drop the drift headsail and switch with our heaver cruising sail.
I waited till the winds died down to 18kts and the rain slowed a bit to allow us to see what was going on. Cary and I came up with our plan and dropped the pole and drifted with out a problem. I stuffed the drifter into a sail bag and dropped it below. We then prepped the headsail, Cary would feed the sail into the foil track and I would grind the winch hoisting the sail. I put Dragonsbane on a pinch course to the wind to make hoisting the sail easier. The wind picked up to 22 kts and I wanted to take advantage of the wind so I proceed with hoisting the sail. The sail went up with no problem except for the last 6 feet of sail. The luff cord on the front edge of the sail that feeds into the foil groove jumped the foil track and was jammed. Cary told me to release the the halyard so I did dropping the sail 10 feet, Cary managed to get the sail un-jammed and working again. I winch the sail up again and once again the sail popped out of the track. Cary could not get the sail un-jammed and at this point the sail was flogging violently shaking the whole boat and rigging. I went forward to help and saw the luff cord had ripped a bit and would catch on the feeder when you tried to take the sail down. SO now we could not raise the sail or take it down. I decided to roll the sail up and did so wrapping the sheets around the sail. This was a big mistake. The wind pulled the lose sail off the fuller and began flogging uncontrollable. The sheets were now swing at our heads hitting both Cary and I in the face and body. The sheets wrapped around the sail now knotted and I could not unroll the sail now. Dragonsbane now crashed up and down in the swell and heavy wind. The headsail banged, and slapped the haul of the boat. From cranking on the winch so much I was out of energy and Cary tried to control the sheets from hitting us. But I managed to free the sheets from around the head stay. I then ran down below grab a screw driver and unscrewed the foil feeder from the foil. Cary released the halyard and the sail dropped to the deck and into the sea. I pulled with everything I had to get the sail out of the ocean as it filled up. Cary ran forward jamming his toe and helped pull the rest of the sail to the deck. We lashed the sail to the rail and hoisted the Staysail instead. We were exhausted from the 30 minute ordeal. We are now battling a 1 knot counter current under full sail and makeing slow progress as the squalls still swirling around us and soak our already soggy souls and sails.
Current Position: 22:43UTC 5deg 18.9min N, 38deg 52.2min W, SOG 4.7kts, COG 320deg-m, Swell 1M, WS 14kts, 1012MB, Overcast/Rain
Jacques & Cary
Happy to finally be back in the northern hemisphere, but it is hoooooooot! We crossed the equator at 14:00 today and are working our way to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. We hoping to be there in 17 days. Right after the sun went down today I made out what looked like Santa’s reindeer crossing the Atlantic ocean. I am pretty sure because his running lights were blinking the song Jingle Bells and he winked at us in the ocean well calling us crazy laughing all the way. I laughed back because he was wearing a speedo as he crossed the hot trophic’s, I don’t blame him because I am about there. So if your one of those kids waiting for Santa he is on his way.
Merry Christmas Everybody and God Bless!
Jacques & Cary
Current Position: 18:33utc, 0deg 25.0min N, 30deg 44.1min W, SOG 5.8kts, COG 344deg-m, WS 10kts, Swell <1m, DR 2297nm, 1010MB
HI! it has been 22 days of non-stop sailing action. Most of the sailing action is rocking from side to side causing a little bit of stress or humor if you laugh at what happens. By funny I mean watching Cary or myself chase stuff around the cabin or cockpit as we get tossed around, it can be a real challenge especially when its a kitchen knife. Its funny out here in the middle of the ocean watching dolphins swim by, falling stars, crazy schools of flying fish running into the side of boat, and squalls because I am so bored. I joke with Cary and ask him to change the dam channel as I look out over the ocean. All you can see to the end of the horizon is many shades of blues with white clouds. In the last week we have seen two ships. Luckily the weather has been outstanding and we just sail along at 6.3kts. Based on my outlook schedule for landfall we are still on track for a mid-day landfall on January 9, 2015 but who knows what will happen in the next 19 days. I guess the hardest problem we have to deal with is our limited supply of LPG “propane” so making snacks is out of the question. Not to add to the problem but all our popcorn went bad so we had to toss even that into the ocean. Also all the snacks we did bring are now all gone except for a few, mostly jerky that I bought and you can only eat so much of that. Some snacks we could eat but in the event that we run out of propane we will have those items to eat because you don’t have to cook them. So for snacks we make a extra cup of rice when we make dinner or couscous. I just add some kind of sauce and bam you have a really bad snack but its better then chewing on you thumb. But all in all it is amazing to look at the chart and see how far we have come. We have sailed 3,329 nautical miles as of this afternoon and only 2614 nautical miles to go. I haven’t had to run the engine except to dodge a ship at night that was asleep at the helm so we are getting great gas mileage. Right now I am at 1/2 gallon per 3,329 nautical miles not bad, i should sell green credits to big companies. Our fresh water is holding up and we are looking good there too. Anyway I am looking forward to watching for some reindeer flying by here in a day or so. That should be a great sight to see, I will let you know that minute I do. Well I guess I will go back to doing pushups, pull ups, sit ups, and I may read another novel too.
Current Position: 02:33UTC, 2deg 16.1min S, 27deg 44.9min W, SOG 5.9kts, COG333deg, WS 10kts, Swell <1 meter, 1013MB, DS2600 NM, Sunny & Hot!
Marry Christmas Everybody,
The weather has been very nice and is now becoming more organized. We do get low flying clouds that add a few extra knots of wind and makes flying the spinnaker a bit exciting. We have flown the spinnaker for about 48 hours and early this morning we had to change it up with a head sail. Looking forward at the weather it looks like we may have wind to cross the doldrums hopefully and then the wind picks up to 20 plus knots in the northern hemisphere. That extra bit of wind should push us quickly up to the BVI. Systems on Dragonsbane seem to be holding together for now other then chaffing through head sail sheets but I guess that happens when you sail 24/7. Currently making contact with another ship off our starboard. The ship is not transmitting a AIS signal so extra care will be given to this vessel until we are clear of her, always a fun game at night.
Current Position: 22:09utc, 5deg 51.6min S, 23deg 19.1min W, SOG 7kts, COG 314deg-M, WS 12.5kts, Swell<1m, cloudy sky, 1014MB, DR-2852nm
Jacques & Cary
Not such a bad day today as we make our way I produced 30 gallons of fresh water with the water maker. I also topped up the batteries and charged our laptops too. Its funny when you complete the above taskes its like having fresh laundry folded and put away. BUt the sad news is last night around 2am our headsail halyard snapped at the mast head and the jib sail fell into the ocean. We had to struggle to get the sail back on deck and then used our secondary jib halyard to raise it back up. Looks like I will be climbing up the mast when we get a calm day to fish the halyard back through the mast, fun stuff. I also did a look ahead based on our current average speed of 6 kts. We should arrive in the BVI in 24 days 8 hours, fingers crossed.
Current position: 17:04utc, 11deg 52.9min S, 15deg 08.1min W, SOG 5.8kts, COG 335deg-m, Swell <2meters, WS 12kts, DR 3,456NM,1014MB
Its been two years of liven on the edge of a dream, reality, and the dark salty sea. Instead of a slug crawling across a razor I am on Dragonsbane rocking and rolling along its salty sharpened edge. For months on end I have sailed through squalls, and storms that foam with roaring shrill . Whistle winds that sound more like a freight train then butterfly wings. Blood filled with adrenaline for days till my stomach aches. Sailing on this tight rope, holding together and repairing my Dragonsbane I only hope to make to the next port.
I have Thirty Five Thousand nautical miles to go! I dream of fare winds, star nights, and sunny days to put my mind at ease. But as I write the clouds are dark, my jib sheets groan, my heart quickens, and the sea roars. For tonight I go into the dark night that shrouds my sight. With only hope to see me through to the sight of day I go with fear and fright to accompany my night.
After hours of icy dark night a light is cast through the shadows. The sun rises and shows the sight of angry sea around me. I am not afraid anymore, for I made it through another night on the salty razor. God give me strength and courage for next 35 nights as I live the dream!
Current Position: 19:05utc, 13deg 06.8min S, 13deg 13.4min W, SOG 6.7kts, COG 329deg-M, WS 15kts, Swell <2m, 1015MB, ALL IS WELL On BOARD!
At 00:02 hours we made contact with a west bound ship traveling at 15kts that was overtaking us. I was awaken by Cary to point this fact out to me. I haled the ship VHF 16 indicated on our AIS as “AURORA BULKER” listed as a cargo ship, destination SOuth America. I did make contact via VHF but the night watch could not speak English. We were on a collision course and by this time I could see the bridge windows and noticed that the bridge lights were on, on the inside of the viewing deck for night watch. Its a well known fact that you cant see out a window at night when you have your bright lights on inside. So sense the ship would not deviate its course I decided to drop sail and turn the motor on and run in a perpendicular direction. I based this decision on the fact that both the white, red, and and now the green running lights were both coming into view meaning that the ship was coming right at us. No sooner did I do this when the ship passed right off our stern by 5 boat length or so. I used the Chart plotter to find our distance. I can not believe in the middle of the south Atlantic ocean we almost got run over by a commercial ship because they did not give a rip about what was around them. Sometimes I hate stupid people. But all is well on board.
Current Position: 19:25utc, 14deg 31.2min S, 11deg 3.3min W, SOG 7.6kts, COG 343deg-M, WS 12kts
Well it has been a interesting few days to say least. So far we have not seen another ship, boat, or anything for 6 days. It has been overcast which makes energy a bit tricky but we survive. So far I have had to repair the spinnaker pole by drilling, re-taping screws and re-installing the female socket end after it got ripped out in a squall. Repaired the snap shackle for the head stay after a squall stretched the steel clasp apart. like always I had to repair three sheet after the spinnaker pole cat paw ate them after running for 48 hours each. But the real ball buster was that our 9 KG tank LP propane connected to the solenoid leaked out our LP gas Now we have one 5 KG tank for the next 30 days. I guess coffee is out! I find it funny because the LP solenoid is supposed to stop leak not make them what a POS!!!!!!! FIXED NOW!
But on a high note we are under 4000 nautical miles to go. Hope I can keep this machine running till we get to the BVI lol!
Living out in the blue dessert,
Jacques & Cary
FYI SSB radio station transmition are very hard to get and so few blogs will be seen, just getting weather gribs is a full time job.
Current Postion: 18:58UTC, 15deg 58.8min S, 09deg 01.0min W, SOG 6.8kts, COG 330deg-M, ws 15kts, swell <1M, 1017MB, DR3,946NM
The weather has been steady blowing out of the south east at 10 to 15 knots. We have been switching between a spinnaker and double head sail combo. I have been keeping real busy with repairs due to chaffing of sheets and spinnaker rips. So far I have had to sew 5 panels back together because the stitching just let go. I have had 4 sheets chaff right through during the night. Really good news is that we crossed over into the western hemisphere, glad to be back!
Current position: 19:21utc 19deg 32.7min S, 05deg 27.7min W, COG 318deg-m, SOG 7kts, WS 12kts, Swell <1m, DR4177NM, 1019MB
Jacques & Cary
Survived another birthday at sea and looking for to dry land someday. For now we are making our shifts and feel like we can go forever. The weather is nice but a bit overcast. Made about 7 sail changes/configurations and now running with the spinnaker. All is well on board. Should be passing St. Helena in 7 days.
Current Position: 08:48utc, 23deg 7.5min S, 2deg 36.7min E, COG 319deg-m, SOG 6.5kts, WS 14kts, Swell <1m , Cloudy, 1017MB, DR4744nm
The wind and waves are beginning to steady and hold at a 20 to 25 knot average and the swells match the wind speed. We are making good speed at 7 kts and only had to make one sail change today.
CUrrent Position: UTC18:18, 28deg 45.1min S, 10deg 03.0min E, SOG 7.1kts, COG 326deg, WS 20 to 25kts, swell <2 meters, 1021MB, Cloudy overcast
Jacques & Cary
It was a wet evening taking in the odd white capped wave into the cockpit every hour. BUt at last around mid morning the wind dropped down to the mid 20kts and sometime we see high teen wind speed. The good news is that at the winds current angle we are making a easy 7.5kts average, so we are ripping off the mileage now. All is well.
Current Position: UTC 18:19, 30deg 21.1min S, 12deg 29.5min E, SOG 7.8kts, COG 322deg-M, 1018MB, WS 20 to 25kts, Swell <2meters, Clear skies
We are making good speed but have had really strong winds and big waves tossing us around. I hope by tomorrow we will be out of the westerly band that shadows South Africa. Did have some fun last evening when our freezer control thermostat broke because a few drops of salt water shorted it out. I spent the evening and morning rebuilding it with old parts and we seem to be back in business. Rocken and Rolling Jacques and Cary
Current Position: UTC 18:67, 32deg 0.5min S, 15deg 8.4min E, COG 327deg-M, SOG 7.1kts, WS 25 to 35kts gusting to 40kts, Swell 2 to 6 meters, 1015MB