Transatlantic with accompaniment: "Maverick too" on course home
It's always fun to meet another ship at sea. This is not so often the case on the route from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, because as a sailing yacht we stick to the old sailing routes and the trade winds, while the container ships tend to choose the direct route. Up here between the Bermudas and the Azores, however, the bear is going on. Especially this week. Without being warned, we have been in the middle of a regatta since last night.
"A boat is coming towards us from aft," calls Cati, looking at the AIS. It's just after midnight, changing of the guard. "Class B". A pleasure boat, then. "How's the MMSI?" - "Starts with 211 …" - "Hey, a German yacht! What a coincidence!". An hour later, the system spits out even more information. The "Garlix" is 13 meters long and slams towards us from behind at 7 knots upwind, while we only run 4.5 knots. "In terms of its name, it must be an X-Yacht," I suspect. The ship is also about 15 degrees higher than we are. It quickly overtook us on windward and disappeared from the AIS a few hours later.
This morning the AIS screen is full of ships. We count seven of them, most of them from Europe, all heading for the Azores. Between 12 and 14 meters long and therefore much faster than us. We sail bow to bow with the yachts for hours until they leave us in the wake at some point. "Oh, I know where they come from all of a sudden," I remember. "Yesterday the ARC must have started from Bermuda to the Azores!" So we are right in the middle. But it will be the last yacht to arrive.
"It's unbelievable that they have already caught up with us," says Cati. We had already sailed past Bermud the day before they started, but after that we made no real headway. The wind had turned east and gave us an insane cross course. On Thursday a large area of low pressure swung from the Atlantic, we wanted to keep as far south as possible. We heard that the yachts in the Transat race further north had a lot of problems with that. If we stay south of Bermuda, however, we shouldn't get more than 25-30 knots of wind.
But staying so far south is not at all easy, because east of Bermuda there is a current that we first had to fight our way through. The course high upwind gave us the turning angle of a square sailor: 160 degrees from upwind to upwind, more could not be done against the current. So we could sail due north or a course of 160 degrees. Almost due south with a slight east component. So that's what we did all day long to get out of the tide.
Only when the wind turned a little more southerly in the evening we were able to turn around and run a course of 40 degrees. It's good that our tracker on zu-zweit-auf-see.de doesn't offer real-time tracking - otherwise it would look like we've gone crazy. The etching of the last 24 hours therefore does not give a true picture of our progress. We did 102 miles, but only made up about 30 miles on target.
Since Wednesday we have been back on track towards the goal. But we are excited to see how the low pressure area will reshuffle the cards again tomorrow.
Almost all of the ARC fleet has passed us by. We can only compete with the stragglers, two 12-meter ships, to sail eastwards. Nice to know that for a while we won't be the only ones out here.