For the first time with a crew, and tired after a rough start: Henrik Masekowitz on the return transfer with fellow sailor Roland
I just got woken up by a radio call from the French Coast Guard. The officer asks about the well-being of the crew and the boat. The way he says "Croix du Sud" is inimitable. I am pleased with the perfect pronunciation of the name and almost feel at home. It's less than 100 miles to my start-finish line north of the Ile d'Ouessant. And only a few hundred more to Hamburg.
But in order:
Meeting my family in PontDelgad was a real highlight. After 30 days at sea, I actually arrived on the island at the same time as Tin and the children, so that we could spend the whole week of Easter holidays there together. A little tinkering on board, excursions sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left side of the island, and an excursion at sea - that gave us a lot of pleasure. I was able to relax and calm down in the company of my loved ones.
Of course, the time then flies by and is, as always, much too short. So the three of them were a bit disappointed not to have seen the promised whales or dolphins. A whale-watching tour by sailing boat is more a matter of chance, in contrast to the planned trips by those who know the area on speed boats. On the way back I only saw a group of dolphins twice. The end of the vacation is a new beginning for me. Not just because I'm throwing off the lines again to make the final blow. For the first time, I won't be alone on the journey through the English Channel. A crew member answered my call here at YACHT online. That means responsibility for two, shared privacy and so on. It was not an easy decision to share my "Croix du Sud" again after such a long time of sailing alone
But with Roland, a sailing enthusiast, personable guy comes on board, who is a welcome change and support for me. And that's just as well!
Our departure from PontDelgad is delayed by two days because an extremely powerful low is approaching far down into the Atlantic and promises winds of up to 60 knots with a wave height of ten meters. Due to the waiting time in the harbor, we can enjoy a live concert by the local cover band, which rocks extremely well. In summery weather on the south side of the island, we relax and pay a visit to the best fish restaurant in the world every day - just the thing before we go on a cold and very wet trip north. Our start to the last stroke of the big eight, my lap Ouessant – Capetown – Ouessant, is a bit rushed. The desire to follow the low turned out to be very promising in theory in order to have a fast crossing. In practice, however, the rest of an extraordinarily high sea from the north-west storm is at an angle against a not exactly small wind sea from the north-east, which has a significant impact on the steering behavior of the autopilot and the seaworthiness of the skipper and crew
So the first two or three days and nights are more like a battle of violence. In the 3rd reef, partly without a foresail, laid in front of the waves, we wait for the weather to improve. Especially the gusty winds with wind jumps of up to 40 knots are difficult to bear - conditions that I would have expected more in the Southern Ocean than here in the Atlantic. But turning around is not an option, so persevere.
Fortunately, things calmed down on Thursday and Friday, and we've been in normal mode ever since. Now again with 1st reef in large and code 5, with 11 knots speed through day and night towards the goal. However, it's really cold and I'm happy to have the Aeroheat diesel heater on board as a convenience update. Also something that was actually intended for the Southern Ocean, not for Spring in Europe …
At least the direction is right, and so is the mood. Although with every mile to Ouessant, the imaginary finish line of the actually targeted world record, I always have to think of my broken dream of a solo non-stop trip around the world.
Instead, I'm on my way home. There are new tasks waiting for me. I am now incredibly happy to spend a lot of time with my family. Enjoying the summer while cycling, walking through the forest, learning to swim with Jana, and and and. In a few days we will moor in Hamburg. In purely mathematical terms, I then sailed three quarters around the world - around 15,000 miles in less than 90 days.
That might be enough for now.