Bound for the Azores

gbowdish - May 18, 2010

Splendido has been in Bermuda now 6 days, and we are itching to get out to sea again. It's been fun to be part of this international community of sailors, and now that we have gotten to know the other crews better, we are looking forward to our twice daily SSB radio nets. During leg 1, Splendido could hear other boats on the SSB but they could not hear us. Barry repaired our antenna connection but we have been unable to test our transmission. We will find out soon enough if the repair did the trick as we are scheduled to depart on leg 2 tomorrow at noon local time, or 1500 UTC. Now that we are going east, we'll be crossing a time zone every 15 degrees of longitude so instead of changing the clock we will observe UTC aboard the boat.

We had a crew change here in Bermuda. Nathan and Amy arrived on Sunday, and Janie departed today. There will be five aboard for the rest of the trip to Portugal, and the longest leg of 1800 miles to Horta, Azores is expected to take us about two weeks. The initial forecast looks good for a beam reach with southerlies expected the first five days. In this part of the Atlantic we can expect a front to move through the fleet about every three days, and one is expected on Thursday. We'll get the detailed forecast at the skipper's briefing this afternoon.

We learned yesterday morning that Splendido placed 6th on corrected time for leg 1. We are motivated to do better on leg 2, and because we owe everyone time, we will have to sail well and minimize time under power to place well within the fleet. It's a friendly competition and we still sail pretty conservatively, reefing early and tolerating a boat speed of three knots before turning on the engine. We don't carry enough diesel to motor the entire way, and we can actually sail faster than we can motor, so we are hoping for enough wind to sail in, but not too much.

Everyone is busy with last-minute preparations: filling water tanks, provisioning, doing laundry, inspecting the rig and changing oil and fuel filters. Our ARC Rally hosts are preparing a send-off BBQ for the fleet at the Dinghy Club tonight. We are ready for the next phase of our journey, the longest blue-water passage any of us have ever completed. Azores, here we come!