Cati keeps watch on the Atlantic
"It was clear that it would have to be tough in the end …" Cati's enthusiasm tends towards zero - we had already hoped that the North Atlantic would allow us to pass with a few major lulls, but without a storm. But somehow both of us were unsettled about the peace, and we had already expected the weather to change.
In any case, I had set our course a little more south than most other sailors. Building on my experience from the last North Atlantic crossing in 2009. At that time we had set course from New York to the Azores and traded 40 degrees north to east. At that time, one or two thick fronts passed between the Bermudas and the Azores every week, and we found ourselves pounding or even twisting into headwinds, which is why after about ten days at sea we sagged a whole corner further south.
Sure, the further south, the longer the way. But we clearly preferred to be on the south side of the low pressure areas. By turning counterclockwise, they give us tail winds instead of head winds - and it is much more pleasant to run in a storm in front of the wind, instead of having the wind from the front and having to turn it.
"The lulls are over for now, but there will be a low in the next few days that you cannot avoid," our friend and weather fairy Jessica wrote to us last week via Iridium email. So dist them: the storm warning that we've been waiting for all this time. After all, hardly any yacht on the northern route is spared from bad weather. What is brewing there on the Atlantic, however, does not look good on the weather map. At the core of the low at 40 degrees north there is over 55 knots of wind, i.e. between wind force 10 and 11. Due to the fortunate circumstances that we are sailing so far south, we would be spared the worst. From the wind, but not from the waves, which should reach heights of up to eight meters in our sea area.
On Sunday evening the wind will pick up as announced. 30 knots, 35 knots, sloping from aft. Shortly afterwards we salvage the mainsail and only walk under the smallest headsail in front of the wind, at 7.5 knots above ground. The waves are getting higher and higher quickly, and on Monday we have to sit at the bike to intervene in the wind control system from time to time when a particularly high wave is passing through. Because the wind control system has no eyes. The wind was still within the realm of feasibility, we didn't get more than 45 knots. But the announced eight meter high waves on the third day of the storm. Pretty impressive in a ten meter boat.
"Maverick too" on arrival at Horta
In the three days I slept maybe eight hours, in the first 36 hours I munched on a few crackers and a granola bar. More was not possible. "Don't we want to buy a camper as soon as we are in Portugal?" I suggested to Cati at some point during the changing of the guard. Her answer: "I don't even know if I'll be sailing with you until then, maybe I'll disembark in the Azores." So it wasn't very fun.
"At night I always wait for the sun to finally rise so that the oppressive feeling of the waves rolling in from the dark ends," Cati explains to me the next morning, "but during the day I see the huge waves and can hardly wait for them Sun goes down again …"
What a feeling to see the rocky coast of Faial on the horizon after almost 3000 miles on the morning of the 29th day at sea. Rugged and wrapped in clouds. "Laaaaand-Hooo !!!!" I shout, beaming with joy, clutching the sprayhood. Waves up to five meters high still roll along the coast and let us surf again and again. Then we reach the offshore island in the southeast of the island, get into the windbreak - and it gets quiet. At last.
The Marinvon Hort is packed. If you have to fly to the YACHT blue water fair in Rostock in a few days, we depend on getting a jetty. But what if the boats are already lying at the pier in a pack of four? We go alongside a French racing yacht and climb ashore over an Ovni and a Najad. There we will be welcomed by the German crew of the "Garlix". "Hey, you blogged about us online on YACHT!" Yeah, we remember. When we sailed past Bermuda, the ARC cast off there, and we saw a German MMSI number on the AIS at night and wrote about it here. "How long have you been here?" Asks Cati. "One week," comes the answer. We almost thought so. With our little boat, we're not really the fastest.
Johannes and Cati in the doldrums
Shortly afterwards we get to know Jörg and Christine, who have already followed our trip on the Internet. Jörg happens to know that a single jetty is still empty and has already tried hard to persuade the harbor master to give us the space. His voice is a little quieter than he agrees. "The place actually belongs to a local boat, but it's in the shipyard right now. So you can have it for now …" What a relief. Cati is overjoyed. She was worried that she would have to be alone on board in the package. "What if someone wants to leave and I have to move our 'Maverick' alone?" One worry less.
In the evening, German sailors take us to Peters Café Sport, the most important meeting place for sailors in the Atlantic. A great flair, because almost all crews and yachts have long journeys under their belt. But the lack of sleep of the last few weeks is noticeable, and we are happy to fall into our bunk at midnight. We fall asleep instantly and both sleep twelve hours.
We spend the next day clearing out the ship. The old Macbook did not survive the Atlantic crossing and is considered the only total failure. Therefore the readership of the blog has to wait a few more days. We fill half a container for plastic waste. After all, we have just come from the USA, where everything is double-welded. I also have to rewire the shore power connection and reduce it from 110 volts to 230 volts so that Cati can cope with my absence. She will spend ten days alone on board the "Maverick" until I come back from the blue water fair in Germany. But she's in good company here …
Further information about the trip: www.zu-zweit-auf-see.de