3rd Report from TANIWANIís Summer 2002 Cruise:

 

Today is Thursday the 4th of July; Taniwaniís position is some 380 miles NE of the Azores Islands at 42-09N and 21-23 W. Since the last report, which we sent from an island called Inishbofin, about half way down the Irish west coast, we had only had one other stop. 

 

Since Dominic had to fly out of Cork last Friday, we had to be at our last Irish calling point at the latest by Thursday evening. Our last stop in Ireland was planned to be in Castletown in Bantry Bay, a busy fishing harbor well sheltered behind a five-mile long island called Bere Island.

 

We decided to take this 150 miles stretch in one go, especially since for the first time this year we wouldnít have to beat into the wind. Westerly winds around force 6 provided for a fast dash down the remaining Irish west coast. We missed at least two nice places that I had planned to visit, but given that we lost much time at the beginning, we hardly had better options.

 

So we left Inishbofin last Wednesday around lunchtime and surfed through the night hardly doing less than 8 knots for most of the run. We anchored in Castletown Thursday morning, but found the anchoring space for yachts very narrow and the busy harbor quite noisy. It didnít take long and we left for a tiny marina in Lawrence Cove for miles away on Bere Island. In the evening we took our dinghy, loaded with five people the four miles to town for dinner. We arrived slightly wet for a very nice dinner. Later in the evening we celebrated Felixí 17th birthday.

 

 

 

 

The next morning Dominic took off early, first by ferry across to the mainland and then by bus. We had planned to stay in Bantry Bay until at least Monday, before leaving for the Azores, but studying the weather situation we should have left right on Friday, before some series of depressions was expected to move in. We needed the Friday to stock and prepare the boat, so finally left Saturday around 11am.

   

 

 

The chart inset to the right shows our midnight positions; the last circle is our current position, the first marks the starting point.

 

Until Saturday evening we had the expected strong NW winds and we made fast progress. Later in the afternoon the Irish coast guard gave out gale warnings for the entire Irish west coast. We expected that but also hoped to be far enough south by the time the depressions come in.

 

This approach worked, sort of. We got a reduced version of the gales, but since the winds were mostly SW to W, we couldnít lay course to our destination. The result: All Sunday, all Monday and all Tuesday we were close hauled, beating into force 6 or force 7. Not ideal cruising conditions, but it hardened the crew and brought out a few more things to improve or repair on the boat.

 

Our boat sails extremely well to windward. At itís worst we had 30 to 35 knots of true wind, a substantially reefed mainsail and a somewhat reefed cutter stay sail and we would still go with 7 knots into the big waves doing about 60 degrees to the wind according to GPS. That is great, but extremely wet. Taniwani doesnít crash into the waves, but the bow seems to drill through. Works well, but sends huge loads of water down along the decks. With the still not found leakage of the sail locker, we had the bilge pump cycle several hundred times. Another smaller point of water ingress was found to be the engine room air extractor hose that has its exit on the cockpit coaming.

 

Normally foredeck work isnít required on our boat, since all sail handling can be done from the cockpit. However the foremost block of the cutter stay furling line broke off and also damaged the furling drum cover, so that I had to go fix it. Despite the highly advertised Musto Offshore clothing I was soaked afterwards, but air and water are getting warmer as we progress south.

Yesterday was the first decent day and we can since easily lay the course to Horta, our destination. The wind started veering as promised and than weakened sufficiently to sail with the Genoa since last afternoon. At times it so weak that we add a bit of engine power, also to charge the batteries.

 

During the first, wild sailing days, we used the generator, not the main engine to top up batteries, but the generator failed in a strange way and remains in idle speed when started. Now that it is getting smoother on board, I might look into the problem.

 

Last evening, we felt good enough to install the cockpit table and have dinner in the cockpit. Unfortunately a rouge wave rocked us exactly when Beate was trying to bring some food up the companionway, she fell and bruised herself badly above the hip. Still hurting, but seems otherwise not serious.

 

Iíll have this report go out via short wave today, so no pictures. At our current location, short-wave has been working better for data transmission than has Iridium, which seems fine for voice, but get lots of time out errors on data.

 

We are loading weather routing files from a server in France that is maintained (or not) by the makers of the MaxSea software. Works great, except that when the server goes down on the weekend, nobody bothers to bring it back up before sometime Monday.

Off course it was the weekend we started, that the server had these problems again. We just called my father for some more weather information on Monday and got land assistance since.

In the end we didnít have much choice other than staying close to the wind until it veers and then sail for our destination. 

Before I forget it, many thanks from the crew to those who supplied us with Iridium SMS updates on the Germany - Brazil soccer game.

 

We expect to arrive in Horta sometime later on Saturday.

 

Best wishes from the Crew of Taniwani

 

Report 4:  From somewhere in the Atlantic to Horta (Azores)