Sailing Around The World

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Hello Again “Sailing To Annapolis”

Hello again, it has been a few months sense I arrived back in the Caribbean Sea and not its time to make one last passage on Dragonsbane for at least myself Jacques. My dad Dale has asked me to help him sail from the St. Thomas US Virgin Island to Annapolis Maryland. My friend Carry as most you know will not make this trip so my dad and I will be making the voyage short handed. We plan on heading 1500 nautical miles straight to the Chesapeake Bay and then land in Annapolis. The current weather conditions look ok starting out in lit wind conditions and will increase throughout the 10 to 14 day passage. I will try and update you all as we make our way.

Thank You,

Jacques

Final Passsage Break Down

imageOur total distance traveled from Cape Town South Africa was 6012 nautical miles. We used 15 gallons of fuel which works out to be 400 miles/gallon. We sailed for a total of 921 hours sleeping for 4 hours and then awake for 4 hours. That’s a average boat speed of 6.5 knots per hour. We saw 6 ships during our Atlantic crossing other then that it was all ocean. We broke one halyard, chafed through 9 sheets, blew out five panels in our spinnaker, ripped the drifted head sail, bent two snap shackles, lost two foil screws, fridge thermometer shorted out, spinnaker pole cats paw ripped out, leaked entire bottle of propane, throttle cable control broke, and beat the hell out of our bodies. All items above were repaired under sail and are functioning still. Cary and I both lost 20 pounds each and feel get. We ate almost everything aboard and landed in the BVI with just pasta and nasty can food. Our average wind speed was 22.3 knots, wave height 2 meters, and the biggest wave we saw was the two that broke over the top of the dodger. Our dodger is 10 feet from the water. Had dozens of waves wash over the entire for deck. All in all it was a great time.

Thanks,

Jacques

Day 39 Passage to BVI “Back to the Beginning”

Its so unreal to be sailing back were I began two and half years ago. Its been a long haul and I am excited to have this 40 day passage under my belt. Cary and I are about 70 miles from Virgin Gorda BVI. We should make a landfall sometime tomorrow morning and hopefully clearance formalities will be painless. We are looking forward to enjoy a beer, burger, and then sleep for 8 hours straight for the first time in over a month. The wind is a bit on the lite side so I hope we can keep up our speed but we will see.

Current Position: 22:06UTC, 17deg 51.2min N, 63deg 29.7min W, SOG 6kts, COG 314deg-M, WS 10 -20kts, Swell <1m, DR 67.9, 1017mb

Thanks,

Jacques & Cary

Day 37 Passage to BVI “Almost to Land”

Well its looking good for a landfall arrival on Thursday after noon. We are pushing up the windward side of the leeward Islands. We will enter into the Caribbean Sea north of Antigua and it should be a straight line to Virgin Gorada Island. We are making good time but dealing with a spattering of Squalls and micro gust that are making life hard. On a good note we caught a Mahe Mahe fish and had a great dinner.

Current Position: 22:11utc, 16deg 55.3min N, 61deg 0.2min W, SOG 7.5kts, COG 315deg, WS 18 to 26kts NE, Swell 2 to 3 meters, DR220nm, 1018MB

Thanks,

Jacques

Day 35 Voyage To BVI “35 Days At Sea”

It is hard to believe that we have been at sea for 35 days. Today has been much like the last week but the wind has increased and we have been getting gust up to 28 knots making things more uncomfortable then normal. Cary and I are looking so much to landfall in 5 days “fingers crossed” of course. Our food, water, and propane is looking to be in good shape although our food is very basic now, mostly pasta/rice. All the frozen meat is gone but one peace of ostrich filet. For a fun snack I have tea with some sugar and cinnamon spread out on rice. We have started fishing again but the ocean is covered in a tan/green seaweed that gets snagged on the lure every two seconds so I will try again once that changes. Other then the above we read more books, dream of our first meal on land, and try to work out. ALl is well on board.

Current Position: 22:12UTC, 14deg 13.2min N, 55deg 37.7min W, SOG 8.4kts, COG 305deg-M, WS 22-28kts, Swell 2 to 4 meters,

Thank you,

Jacques & Cary

Day 32 “Hammering Forward”

Once again the waves and wind have decided to increase to unfavorable heights. The waves pound into the side of Dragonsbane like the blacksmith hammer into hot steel with a sudden stop from a iron anvil fighting back against the hammer. The noise is like a thundering clap and as I sleep with my body along the hull of Dragonsbane I can feel the fiberglass flex inward as Dragonsbane rushes down waves. Sheer momentum of Dragonsbane against the ocean makes it seem like a fright train stressing to its limits only slowing up when it meets a new wave. On the top side the water sprays out from port and starboard making even more noise. For the person in the cockpit will observe the spectacle of the night as the moon shines bright and lights the bioluminescent that spark blues and greens. It is as if we sail through black liquid only to turn it up into a rainbow of colors as it continues to spray every witch way. I sit looking at the next few days of weather and see even stronger winds and higher waves. I crack my neck, roll my knuckles and try to relax my stressed muscles from sleeping 4 hours on 4 hours off for the last 32 days copulating the things to come. I close my eyes and realize that this is the dream, the adventure a young boy once dreamt, a real reality that is now happening. I am so close to the end that I hope it will not be the finally end but the humbling of the lion that has been in me for years. It may be only the start of something more because once you have flown so close to the sun you only want to go fast and higher. Were shall I go and who should I meet next who knows but I go!

Current Position: 23:21utc. 10deg 11.0min N, 47deg 51.4min W

All time best distance traveled in 24 hour run to date, in the last 24 hours we have sailed 191 nautical miles.

Thank you,

Jacques

Day 31 At Sea “Happy New Year!”

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!

CHEERS!

Jacques

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

Day 29 Passage to BVI “Bad Current”

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

Thank You,

Jacques

28 Days At Sea “Squalls”

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

Thank You,

Jacques & Cary

Day 24 Passage to Caribbean “Equator Crossing”

12/24/14
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