BOAT FOR SALE!
That is what I felt for most of the journey – did I enjoy it? – no
Are we going to LOVE the Caribbean? YES
Are we keeping MAGIC? – yes
Are we sailing an OCEAN again ?– never!
Monday, November 9, 2015 at 12:57 PM
May blogged the whole way across the Atlantic on the ARC website
These are her blogs (and a couple from Tina and Mark) for those of you who would like to read them but who didn’t see the site during her Atlantic Crossing. Blogs on SSDB will resume with a Caribbean flavor soon!
Well here we are on Pontoon T. The anxiety surrounding our adventure seems to swell up every so often – collywobbles! I am hoping that this is only natural. We got one wave of nerves watching the rescue helicopter demo – and another when we watched the ARC+ Boats leave the harbor. We are getting busy with all the preparations. It is odd that we are surrounded by hundreds of people all doing the same thing – so of course the conversations are identical – where have you been, what Pontoon are you on, where are you going when you get to ‘the other side’ and endless conversations about fixing things and preparing the boat. “Are you ready?” should be a banned question!! We are enjoying Las Palmas and have been surprised at how good it is. We will still be blogging at www.saltyseadogblog.com until we leave and then we will use the ARC blog
“A ship is safe in harbor – but that’s not what ships are built for… “
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 8:39 PM
Magic ; Dog Log
Tuesday 24rd November The B’ARC – Day 3
It’s a dog’s life.
I have been sailing for 12 months now and it still confuses me – a lot. When I lived at home in North Yorkshire life was so good – running in the fields chasing butterflies and looking at cows – now life is significantly more weird.
It all began when we arrived in our tiny new home – a boat, apparently. I couldn’t understand why we had downsized. Then things got really strange. The floor in this new home moved and I couldn’t figure out what was outside and what was inside – in other words where should I go to the toilet? I am a Maltese Terrier called May. Such matters are delicate and having fully understood the rules of our house this ‘boat’ situation was a completely different. But eventually I learned where to go and I learned a lot more. I learned that living on board is fun – I get to see dolphins and I especially enjoy being with my owners all the time. In our house they went out more but here they can’t so I get to sit on laps all the time; that is if they are not rushing about pulling bits of string and raising flappy things up a big pole.
My humans are very odd. Having sailed for a year we then arrived somewhere really warm and found that there were other dogs living on boats. We chatted by pee mail along the docks and I discovered that we are a select pack. We are going to be going on something I think is called the B’ARC which sounds perfect. My owners and their friends have been rushing about a lot and doing some really strange things – like dressing up in mad outfits and buying a crazy amount of fruit and vegetables – I don’t like those but the meat order looked inviting.
One not so good thing is that I have suddenly had to go to the vet a lot – I hate the vets but apparently we have to have a lot of paperwork for me because I am special and my passport alone is just not enough. The B’ARC started well for my humans – there was a marching band and lots of excitement. They looked happy but I could tell they were all anxious too. I didn’t like the first day – there were a lot of other boats really close to ours and that made my owner Tina very anxious which makes me upset but then my other owner Mark and their friends Simon, John, Lottie and Nisse were happy so it was confusing. There was a lot of wind and some big waves and I didn’t like that so I hid in my bed and looked after Tina.
Now we have been at sea for two days, things are more settled and we are having fun. Today I met a squid that seems to have flown onto the deck. We have also seen whales and dolphins a big brown turtle calmly swam by and a small bird came on board for a rest. It said hello to me as I looked at it but I only speak human and dog – perhaps someday I will learn ‘Bird’ as you never know when a second language will come in handy. Our home seems to be rolling a lot but we are all getting used to it now. I quite enjoy sliding down the floors. We are apparently sailing well – whatever that means. But the humans are talking a lot about ‘Jammin’ – I do hope they are talking about Parties in the warm place we are going to – but I think that perhaps from the way they keep looking up at the flappy white things – they are talking about something else. There is a weird dance they do around the boat whilst putting on boots and jackets, and why are they up at odd times? One human I do enjoy talking to is Chris Tibbs. We are sailing near him and today we talked on the radio thingy – I met Chris in Las Palmas and told him I tell the weather “rough!” He liked that.
I hope tomorrow we see more animals as people are, frankly – just weird.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 4:24 PM
Being a dog at sea there are certain delicate subjects we don’t discuss but just so you are not concerned for me I have to report that all systems are working well. It has taken me four days to settle and I think the people are the same. It is odd at sea as our address keeps changing – apparently just now we are at 26.17.2N 25 09.31 W
There is an endless amount of entertainment for me on the yacht watching the feeders working. They are a good pack and work together well, but I have noticed that sometimes they are tired and stressed – that’s where I come in to make them smile or give them a hug. They call it May Watch when they have to pick me up and cuddle me – but of course really I am looking after them.
It is 2.30pm and all is calm. Mark is on watch with Tina – Simon is watching a movie and Lottie and Nisse are having a well-earned rest. John is on deck with Mark. I love all the food they are making – spaghetti carbonara (that has Bacon!) Chicken Casserole (I love chicken) Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon (my favorite) They are also eating a lot of fresh fruit – which is frankly weird. I love Lottie – she is a really good cook and when she cooks I sit on her feet – not just because she has pretty feet but also because it stops me slipping across the floor and because she always gives me treats from her yummy food. I love watching Lottie and my mum – Tina cooking on board as it is funny – they have to dance about and help each other hold things as the boat is rolling about like a barrel in a stream. I like it but it makes the feeders tasks seem harder.
I have to tell you though – I am tired this after noon because I have had a lot of looking after to do during the last 24 hours. Things have been very busy on Magic.
I will tell you what was happening.
During the night there were squalls and heavy rain. The people were wearing their funny suits again and looking very serious. Nisse was ill with a fever and Lottie was nursing him. Everyone has been rushing about so much I think they are tired.
Then I heard something I don’t understand – a concerned voice said “ the steering and auto pilot seems to be failing” the feeders all looked very worried and were talking about having to go to Cape Verde as the steering wouldn’t last the whole trip to St Lucia. They had to do something called “hand steer” what ever that is. They didn’t look very happy about it. They worked as a team all night and when the dawn came they focused on the problem they had. Nisse (who was still feeling ill but carried on) and Simon went into the bedrooms at the back of the boat (I think they said the Port and Starboard bunks at the stern – odd?) they took the roof down and saw that there was a wire thingy that had jumped out of a disk thingy –and there was a chain thing that had come out of the cogs I felt that they were worried because all the people were worried. They got out the Emergency Tiller (I thought – good thing that nice lady Anna from the ARC safety check team made the feeders find it and check it fitted.) Then they worked on taking down the biggest white flappy thingy that they had been tending so carefully it made me jealous. John, Nisse and Simon looked like they were in control as they stood on deck. As the big flappy thingy came down they wrapped it up while John and Tina pulled on some bits of string to help them.
There was a lot of noise – creaking and banging and whistling wind. Then Nisse and Simon – the “fix everything” feeders, focused and worked together to fix the problem – meanwhile outside – the on deck team with the “emergency tiller” in place sailed the boat very carefully whilst handing tools and grease to the fix everything feeders.
Soon it was all over. I felt that they were all relived – but they were all very quite for a long time. Then things sort of got back to normal – what ever that is anymore!!
They tidied away the tools and the “emergency tiller” and declared that the now repaired, tightened and greased, steering was better than new – then there was a hesitant moment when they said “put the auto pilot on” not sure what that is but they were all looking at the button and the round wheels. They seemed happy that all was well and when they are happy I am happy.
Then on to more serious matters – breakfast! I was delighted when they decided to have scrambled eggs and smoked salmon – that’s my favorite – it was raining and windy and grey so to cheer them selves then had chips for lunch – My mum Tina has a thing called an Actifry on the boat and it makes everyone very happy to have chips safely. I don’t really like chips that much so I don’t get it – but I love it when the feeders and all smiling. My mum likes that too – that is something she is very concerned with. I think she is like me – she feels it if people are not happy and it makes her unhappy.
So everyone was happy – chips for lunch and there was even sun in the sky – then there was a bang and the big flappy thingy seems to fall. Poor feeders they had just relaxed and now they all looked very worried again. It was very windy and I heard Simon say that “the Main Halyard had slipped dropping the main part way” they do say odd things. They pulled on string and made that grinding noise I hate with the big silver drums and then all seemed to be well.
Now dinner is made – Chicken Casserole and everyone is resting – apart from me as I am writing my blog ….
This sailing life is great for me with all the fresh air, strange other animals to see and delicious food but I am not sure that the feeders are having a good time. I hope that they don’t have any more stress now and that we can all enjoy ourselves.
Mum got the following email from an old friend just now and it made her very happy so she had a little cry – I love my mum so I am off now to give her a cuddle
May the Maltese on Magic
It’s a dogs life.
Friday, November 27, 2015 at 7:36 PM
The days are beginning to blur – but I am happy – I love looking out to sea and spend time watching for Dolphins. The feeders keep asking me about the weather; Tina even radioed Chris Tibbs on his boat Taistealai ( I like Chris & Helen they were nice to me in Las Palmas) I wanted to ask him if he needed my help with the weather! When they ask me what the weather is going to be – I stop and think and sometimes I say ‘rough’ and that makes them all laugh! Funny feeders.
I have been talking to some of the animals I have met – Storm Petrels, Turtles, Dolphins and whales – they seem very interested in me too. A very tiny bird landed on deck for a rest and we had a chat about living at sea.
The feeders had a crew meeting and ran though all the hazards and equipment in detail and everyone looked very serious – routines for fire and man over board were discussed at length – but no one mentioned DOB and that worried me a little.
The feeders are all working hard and every day they are up and happy and then stressed and down. Today was a good example – we began the day with everyone having a happy breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup and Mango and then it all got very challenging – first we have a faulty flux gate compass ( get me with the technical language – not bad for a dog!)this means we have to hand steer on certain headings – then there notice two holes in the very big flappy white thing that were caused because we are apparently sailing down wind and the ends of the – things they call spreaders have rubbed holes. Mark and Tina are sad because they bought sail repair gear but it was the wrong sail repair gear and the sticky tape they have is not strong enough. This has caused some stress and anxiety in the team and I hate that my feeders feel they have let the team down – they did the best they could – I have watched them preparing and shopping and doing lists for a year.
It turns out the big flappy thingy is called a Main Sail – I am learning a lot!
The boys took the Main sail down and did what they could to repair the holes. There was also a baton coming out so that was removed.
Now we are sailing by hand until we change course again tomorrow. I hope that everyone will not be too tired – I will do my best to support them.
Gybing and banging and squeeking makes me nervous I don’t like it at all and the feeders don’t like it now either as they are trying not to bang the sail.
But despite the holes in the Mainsail – the furler head not functioning, the batton missing, the flux gate not functioning, the watermaker not making water, the broken chart table and the stress in the team…
……..We are doing well ..we are talking it out and working together
The wind has dropped and the Weather is great
Information on weather and routing from my friend Andrew is helping us a lot and it is lovely to know that friends and family are supporting us from a far
My main concern is that someone spilled coffee all over me, and the deck, and then I got juice on my coat from a rotting pepper. We all look a bit bedraggled!
John cheered us up at the end of the day by catching a very big Dorado and we are all having that for supper.
I hope today everyone is happier and supports each other more tomorrow.
Tina says the sailing is the easy part …. It is the repairs and the team work that are the greatest challenges
She says “The only way out is through”
My poor feeders are battling
Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 2:03 PM
It’s the week end! Saturday 28th November
Current Status – Moral of the Crew is good – things still breaking and being fixed – water maker not loving the swell.
Tina and Mark have to get up everynight at midnight and are on deck until 03.00 they like it sailing under the stars. I like being with them – everyone is sleeping and my feeders are relaxed and happy. Every hour they go and write somethings in a book – odd. Also they don’t look at me as much as usual as they are always looking out. We
The halyard in just going around in the foil at the head of the Genoa and so it will not furl and unfurl as it should – that is todays problem – everyday there is something and just as the people seem to stop and settle they seem to have another plan. This mornings big idea was to use the Big Black scary sail – the wind had dropped and they thought it was a good idea – there was a lot of mucking about with more bits of string and then the flapping and banging I don’t like…that gave them 2 knots extra and then the wind got up so 15 minutes later the sail was down again. Humans are really, really strange and I don’t think in my dogs life I will ever fully understand them.
Lottie has managed to get what she had been looking forward to – a sunbathe on deck with her music
Nisse is having fun fixing things – the current things are – the block on the first reef at the mast which exploded and had to be replaced, the furler on the head of the Genoa which now seems to be stuck fast and the only suggestion seems to be for one of them to go UP to have a look and cut it down. I don’t like the sound of that as my mum gets very anxious when people are going up the mast.
Mark has been working all morning on deck and putting up sails and taking them down again.
Simon has been on watch since 6am and he has guided us though ideas on weather and route – with the support of Andrew in Lagos – we love Andrew and we miss him and Susan – Lagos now seems a long, long way behind us.
Tina has been on deck and is now watching me write my blog – normally I don’t let anyone see me as it is a bit odd watching a dog type – I am a touch typist and can use all 20 toes which makes it pretty fast.
As I sign off it is 14.00 a beautiful afternoon mid Atlantic – everyone is happy today and even though we are all being tested in different ways we are all focused on the challenge of getting to Rodney Bay. Moral is good and I have enjoyed some of the Parma Ham the feeders had with their Water Melon.
Just off to chat to one of those flying fish thingies – I like them they tell great jokes! – but the feeders cannot hear them.
Our current address is 24.33.14N 33.31.92W (weird)
Monday, November 30, 2015 at 2:09 AM
Saturday 28th/ Sunday 29 November
Well this has certainly not been the sort of Sunday we are used to at home.
We have been going a bit more slowly but that means we are making water, which is great for the feeders, as they seem to like showers. Some of them had a lovely evening listening to opera and hand steering and some of them were a bit frustrated that we were not going faster – we had the slowest 24 hour period yet (who cares?)
Tina says it is more important to arrive safely than fast – some of the boys don’t agree!! They have been mucking around with the clock again with is more feeder oddness – why are they doing that – isn’t the time, the time? Dinnertime and Poo time and cuddle time – I don’t understand what is going on but we are now GMT-2 what ever that means!
As they worked together in the afternoon and evening of yesterday things were pretty calm – like the weather. There were flying fish and birds and everyone was on deck chatting and playing games and just having a relaxed time. It was lovely to see the feeders having some time out. They are happy that they are making water – more weirdness. How can they MAKE water?
They had Spag Bol for dinner – no chicken – what a shame. I am thinking that this is my new forever – I have learned to relax and I can even lean and bend while we are rolling about – the feeders think it is really funny that I am good at it but that is crazy as of course I am good at it – four legs are much better than two.
As they got ready to have their dinner they turned on the Nav lights, the Genoa was part furled out (remember it is not working well) and the Main Sail was full. There was a gentle roll to the sea and the air was warm.
I can remember lots of lovely relaxed Sundays with all my family and friends around and lots of delicious bits of roast meat that come my way. Today I did get looked after really well and had some treats – I also had a lovely walk at the pointy end this morning. It was sunny and warm and there were some more of my favorites – the flying fish skimming along – some going our way and a lot were going the other way – I wonder what they eat or where they sleep or where they are going?
The water seems to be getting bluer and bluer and the people say it looks like thick, molten blue glass and they think it is very beautiful.
Like other days – this day was a rollercoaster too – more incidents and issues.
The first thing was that the wind had dropped too much and there was no speed. We are apparently heading South (what ever that is?) so that we can find more wind. The people said they thought they would put up the ‘scary black sail’ but then the Genoa is stuck and they cannot get it down – what I heard was that ‘the halyard is wrapped around the forestay and the top furler unit is damaged beyond repair’ This means that they cannot furl in the Genoa (not sure what one of those is but I think it is the smaller white flappy thing at the pointy end) The feeders are concerned about this because if there is a squall then they will need it down fast and they can’t . I hate it when they are concerned – I can’t relax.
The hole in the main sail seems to be holding with the tape that Nisse and Simon put on. So that is good and they have –“made water” how amazing is that!!
They didn’t put up the scary black sail, which is good because following lunch the most fierce, dark squall seemed to be hunting us down. It looked dark and angry. Then…Mark – (that is my owner) said “right we need to sort this Genoa issue out, so I will go up the mast” my other owner, Tina was upset and said she wasn’t happy about it at all. Mark is very brave, Tina is not. I will look after her.
Simon and Mark stood at the big silver stick for a long time looking up and discussing what to do. Then Mark got into a big blue nappy (I told you people are weird) and put something strange on his head – he also put on his life jacket and tether and the others attached a piece of strong string to him. The boat was rolling and the big silver stick thingy was moving – a LOT. His friends pulled Mark up the – mast and Tina was so scared that she stayed in the galley and washed and cleaned everything – she sang songs and then cleaned the floor. I looked after Tina, as she was scared when she heard Mark shouting, “stop” or “go”. She didn’t like it at all when she heard the others say “get him down now – a squall is coming”
Mark was very, very brave and went right to the top of the mast and cut the halyard. When he came down again he had hurt his arm – but he is tough and after he had some ice on it he was ok. I love Mark. I forgot to tell you that Tina is sometimes brave too as she has broken a toe and is managing well with it even though it is a very funny colour. My feeders are also all covered in dark marks and Tina says she looks like she is turning into a Dalmatian. I think they said they were bruises – but I don’t have any. Mark had a cup of tea and a rest when he was safely down – he looked like he needed it. Trouble is that he may have to go to the top of the mast again tomorrow as what he did didn’t entirely work. Tina will be cleaning the floor again!
Then it was calm sailing again until they decided to mess about with the Genoa again.
Next thing that happened one of the feeders pulled a big piece of string on one of the silver domes –(they are very expensive and shiny – made by Lewmar and Tina says they are Carbon on the top (which is good apparently??) – It went “twang” in that horrible way that makes all the feeders stop and look stressed – it broke the top of the “Starboard Electric Winch” The list of broken things is growing for the feeders and now they have begun to list what needs to be fixed when we get to Rodney Bay.
Tina says that at the parties in Las Palmas the people talk was all about what had been fitted to boats and what preparations had been done – she thinks that at the Rodney Bay parties the talk will be all about what was broken on the way.
It does seem that the poor feeders have some drama every single day – but I am just enjoying the movement of the boat, the treats and cuddles – the stars and warm winds and talking to the flying fish.
They are about to have a lovely supper of Chili Con Carne with Rice and earlier they had cake and tea – they are talking about how the only engine time since we left last week has only been 90 minutes and that was today – apparently they are happy about that – don’t know why. 90 minutes in 7 days is apparently good but they are saying that the next day or two may have light winds – but the forecast seems to have underestimated the wind – how odd this talk is.
Some of them watched a movie after dinner – they are hand steering as on the bearing they are on (get me learning sailing talk) the auto helm doesn’t work as the flux gate compass is stuck at 225 – yes another thing on the list
I have to go now as it is almost 1am and Tina and Mark are on watch while I write. I think they find it odd to watch me typing and Tina is about to come down below to write the Log entry which they do every hour. She will write that we are sailing at 7.5knots, our course is 240, the wind speed is 13kn and that our new address is
I like sailing.
I think the feeders are planning a party for half way – which is tomorrow. That will be good and some time for them to think about the good things and not just all the expensive bits that are breaking.
List of broken things
- Starboard Electric Winch
- Furler at the head of the Genoa
- Track (Foil) for the Geona which is now twisted
- 2 bowls
- 2 lines that are chafed – they were brand new
- 3 blocks that exploded
- Flux Gate Compass that is stuck on 225
- 2 holes in the Main Sail – currently stuck together with tape
- Bow Thruster (got fouled on the start day and now doesn’t work)
1x Broken Toe – Tina from the deck
1x bashed left fore arm – Mark from the Mast
multilple bruises – everyone
They are all minor things and Tina is the ships doctor and she has a lot of ‘stuff’ to make everyone better – I just cuddle them.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11:56 AM
May is having a rest on deck in the sun so I am writing today… Tina…
We all woke up early following a night of beautiful watches – some of us had more wind than others but everyone had a fair wind, stunning stars and warmth as soft as cashmere.
We are enjoying hand sailing as the watches go faster and our helm skills grow. We are glad we don’t have to hand steer all the way but for this stretch it is enjoyable. Having had a cracking start – crossing the start line on a Starboard tack and making good time we have all now let go of any thoughts of a place in the ‘not’ race – we have had a lot of issues with equipment and we are focusing on moral and teamwork to ensure that the problems we are having get resolved quickly and safely. The frustration and anxiety has been palpable at times. It is incredible how many things have gone wrong – breaking – twisting – chafing or bursting. There is enormous strain on the boat and the constant downwind position makes specific points weak. There are a lot of things that were ‘professionally’ fitted or fixed that have failed – it is frustrating that the Marine industry maintenance industry is so ‘hit and miss’. Especially when the ‘miss’ can mean putting people in danger. The best people we have come across so far in our travels are Rolnautic in Las Palmas – Juan Carlos and his team was excellent and everything they fixed stayed fixed. I was reflecting today on the things that have gone right rather than the things that have gone wrong and that helped – our generator and engine are great – our stern door with its new seal is holding perfectly, the water maker is excellent and makes water – shame that it was fitted badly and we can only make water in certain conditions. The repair to the Genoa is holding well too. The Iridium and the Mail a Sail package works well but we seem to have used up all our credit which is odd as we had a lot… something must have up or down loaded that shouldn’t – ho hum. So there are more things going right than going wrong – but that is easier to see now we are more rested and the sailing is less aggressive.
Initially the issues with equipment caused a lot of stress and fractions in the team. We have had questions over decision making and leadership and about the preparation of the boat but we have all worked really hard together – we have talked over everything and resolved the questions and concerns – the saying “we are all in the same boat’ will never be more true than when things are going wrong in the middle of the Atlantic.
You really get to know yourself and others when you are sailing for weeks on an ocean. In the Yachting press you read a lot about preparation and equipment and less about the human dynamics – but they are connected.
Mark and I have been through a buffet of emotions from – “we are selling Magic and never sailing again” to “We love Magic and want to sail forever” and everywhere in between. Certainly we feel we are not going to sail Oceans anymore and that we would like to sail in the Caribbean and the Med – We are happy we can stay in the Caribbean for a few months to take time to cruise the islands. The current plan (and it does keep changing) is to cruise the Caribbean and end up in the BVI’s. Then we will fly to the UK (have to find a flight for May!) Simon (Seaway Yacht Deliveries – well worth checking out if you need your boat moving) will sail Magic to Lagos where she can be our home in the Med…We will stay in Yorkshire for a bit then drive to Lagos ….it’s a work in progress.
At the moment it is noon on Monday 30th – we are hoping to call Half Way at some point today and have a glass of Pink Moet. It really has been the most incredible challenge in so many ways. Everyone is dealing with it differently but fundamentally we are all supporting each other. Marking the success of half way is incredibly important for everyone.
(Before you read the next part of this blog – please note Mark is fine apart from some bruises)
The weather now is sunny and there is only very little wind. We are doing 5knots but we are heading South in the hope of more wind. We are of course still concerned that we cannot get the Genoa down. Despite Marks heroic efforts yesterday – going up to the very top of the mast when it was swinging like a pendulum – it is still stuck. He has cut the halyard but what we think is that the foil (a piece of metal with a track in it ) has twisted and torn and the halyard is jammed – so we cannot get the Genoa down. This is a problem as if a squall comes we need to get it down or reefed. So, this morning we got up and had breakfast then Mark put on his oilies and harness and Simon, Nisse and Mark rigged lines from the Genaker Sheets up the Mast so that Mark could abseil up ( if that makes sense) the Main sail – he got beyond the first spreaders – which is about half way up – today I watched – Simon said Mark was safe and I should watch so that I knew he was safe – I still hate it. There seemed to be lines everywhere – he had two lines – one on either side of him and he had the halyard above – he had his life jacket on and his safety harness. John attached a Go Pro to his helmet and switched it on. I watched Mark going higher and higher holding the mast with his left hand and using his toes to climb the sail. Then the boat twisted on top of a wave and his left hand was pulled off the mast – hi body twisted and turned on the mainsail like a rag doll and I was terrified. He was safe from falling but not safe from crashing into the mast and breaking bones. He had his crash helmet on and all the safety lines and he was sitting in the new boson’s chair – but I still felt helpless and all I could do was watch in fear. Then he rolled towards the mast – I couldn’t breath and everyone else was watching with concern. It was very quiet on deck and all eyes were on Mark. He grabbed the mast and stopped himself twisting. “Up” he said bravely – but then no ..– the lines were all twisted around and around each other and he could not go up “Down” he said “slowly” thank God, I thought lets get him down – but then he shouted “STOP” he couldn’t go up or down. What will happen now? Mark is stuck up the mast fastened with his safety tether tied around twisted halyards – he held on to the mast with his left hand and used his feet to steady himself – then he worked on the tangled mess of lines for what seemed like an hour. Mark shouted down that he was going to have to cut one of the lines. I just kept thinking this was like some sort of hideous drama – which line to cut! But this was real and this was my husband up the Mast in the middle of the Atlantic – stuck!
I wanted to be sick, or to cry or to run – but instead I was just still and quiet and completely focused on helping where I could – tailing lines as Simon and Nisse helped Mark with suggestions. Then he cut one of the lines and spent 10 minutes untangling the rest – finally he shouted “Down” I looked away. Soon he was sitting on the Boom – he looked exhausted. I felt so relieved and proud and happy. When you are at sea things can go wrong very quickly and then smart thinking and calm, focused teamwork are critical.
All that work and stress and he hadn’t even been able to get up to solve the Genoa problem. That’s it – I said – no more going up the mast we will have to find another way.
When he got down and recovered he had a cup of tea (how very British) and said – “well that didn’t work!” crazy…
I have learned that I hate to be scared for my own safety but I hate it even more to be scared for others. We have it all on video and Mark had a GoPro on his helmet – he is very brave and strong and his motivation was to ensure we were all safe and could take the Genoa down in a Squall. He is our Hero today.
Then everything settled down – we tidied the boat and had lunch – Lottie and I cut the boys hair then Lottie cut mine. Lottie and I just chilled and the guys were on deck – It is so strange – one minute it feels like peril and then calm – cleaning, eating, sunbathing, sailing, relaxing …it defies explanaition really. Perhaps I could say – imagine being on holiday – you are happy and relaxed – then suddenly you have to go up a mountain and jump off with a parachute and you are terrified but you have to do it. Then when you land you can go back and relax by the pool with a cocktail.
That doesn’t really describe it but it is shocking the HIGH highs and the LOW lows
Now writing it is 01.28 – Mark and I went on watch to relieve Simon and John and we brought the M&S Advent Calender with us – Simon opened Window number 1 and got a chocolate Donkey!
We don’t know how many more days we have at sea but we are all happy and apart from a few bruises we are all well.
Finally – we found a way to furl the Genoa – so Mark does not have to go up the Mast again – is seems that having cut the halyard it has worked its way free to turn.
That means tomorrow morning with these light winds we can furl the Genoa away and hoist our ‘scary’ black Geneker. Perhaps we will pick up time again and make up for the time we have lost messing about with broken bits and ripped sails.
The ARC certainly tests the parts of your boat and sailing skills that other sailing doesn’t reach.
Today is the 1st of December – Advent Calendar opened and Christmas Decorations up. We have had bacon and eggs for breakfast and we are flying our Genakker and doing 8-11kn we are chasing an Irish man – Des Cummins in ALPAIRE in his Halberg Rassey 48 – he is doing cracking speed and it is motivational to chase his tail.
What a beautiful Sunny day with perfect wind.
PS The Genoa furled away perfectly – weird
Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 3:02 AM
MAGIC May Blog
Hi ,I am back after a break – I have been enjoying the beautiful blue skies with little fluffy clouds and the sunshine. Mostly I have been sunbathing on deck or having short walks ( I don’t need or even like long ones!) At night from midnight til 3am I sit on deck and watch the moon and the stars and listen to the waves bubbling under the boat as we speed along. When I am not on watch I sleep in Tina and Marks cabin (on their bed!)
Today was the 2nd December – the people have an Advent Calendar they seem to be enjoying and they have put up some Christmas Decorations. They are relaxed and enjoying the sailing. Early this morning they put up a big black sail at the front of the boat and I didn’t like it at all – it banged and rustled and made us go a lot faster. My feeders loved it.
They had to work hard with the big black sail as they hand steered for 11 hours. Tina says she enjoyed her watch hand sailing from 11am til 4pm – she said that when the sun was going down she had a ‘silver road’ on the sea to follow.
They had fun watching their speed and monitoring how far they are going. They have an aim of around 200 nm per day. (I find all this stuff really dull and am more interested in the food)
Food is great on board – this morning they had Bacon and Eggs for breakfast – then for lunch a Spanish omelet with salsa and for supper they had Sweet and Sour Chicken with rice – everyone agrees that we are all eating better on the boat than we do at home – Pasta Carbonara, Moroccan Lamb Tagine, Chicken Casserole, Fish n Chips, Hand Made Burgers, Home Made Bread, Melon and Parma Ham, Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon., Pancakes with Mango and Maple Syrup, Cinnamon Toast…..
I love it because I get lots and lots of treats.
Today the feeders have been talking about arriving in St Lucia and they are excited about it but they all agree that the journey is just as important and there are quite a few days left. They have all had a guess at the arrival date and time and there is a bet on. The winner gets to be king or queen for a day and will get pampered!!
I get pampered everyday and I don’t mind when we get there – wherever there is
As home is where my friends and family are.
Current Address 19.04.31N 40.40.99W
Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 12:24 PM
MAGIC May Blog
Thursday 3rd December 2015
Address 17.35.05N 43.07.19W
I still can’t quite get used to having to get up at midnight and work looking after Mark and Tina for three hours. Why on earth do they want to do this every night? It is odd as they meet Simon and John who say hello from outside and then they go to bed – why can’t we just stay in bed? But we are staying positive about everything Tina says, so I will too even though I am a bit tired. I am quite scruffy now and need a spa day – but I have been promised that when we get to the warm other place.
We have had a quiet day but still a lot has happened. The generator – which is the whirry thing that makes the feeders happy – stopped working. They had to rummage around for a special box of things and found in the box a small black wheelie wotsit they called and impellor. Then Nisse (who fixes everything!) jumped in the hole at the back and after a while the Generator was working again. Tina and Mark thanked Nisse. He is a valuable crewmember.
I think some of the feeders were thinking – oh no! not another thing going wrong…but Tina and Mark just accept that things go wrong and the key is to have a positive can do – can fix attitude and of course the spare parts – the manuals and the ability to fix things. There is a new hole in the mainsail – they say it is a split pin that has been fitted in reverse so it is puncturing the sail when it rests there. They sigh and add it to the list of things to buy or fix.
All is well that ends well Tina says.
Tina and Mark have a watch that is from 11am until 4pm. Today the people messed with time again and the extra hour was added to Tina and Marks watch (again!). They didn’t mind really but it looked hard work. Everyone wants to make the boat go as fast as possible and often that means more focus and more work. So up went the Big Black Sail, that I don’t like at all, and Tina and Mark manually steered so that it didn’t go all bangy and crashy. There is more wind today and we were going 9-10 knots, which is good apparently. Seems slow to me
There has been news from other boats of things happening – one dismasting – other people have had serious injuries on board. When my feeders read these things they are very sad for their fellow sailors and wish them well. They also reflect on what a dangerous place a yacht can be and it makes them renew their safety procedures and respect for the deck and for electric winches especially. Mark needs no reminder of being safe as he is nursing two enormous bruises on his inner thighs – Tina says she will look after them – well she is the ships Doctor and that is why – she says….My people are really careful and also watch out for each other all the time.
Food was good again and I got some great stuff – they had Parma Ham at lunchtime with Melon and then for supper they were really excited because they had home made burgers with chips and home made bread followed by Apple Crumble with Cinnamon and Marzipan topped with Brandy Cream (only a teaspoon of brandy!)
I got some of the burger and it was divine….Lottie and Tina are great in the Galley and they made the boys clear up the pots and wash the dishes.
As the evening drew in Lottie and Nisse were on watch under the night sky – which seems to have grown bigger. There is also something very strange going on as the Moon has twisted. At home when there is a half mood the slide is vertical but here the half slice is horizontal – it just looks wrong and I wonder what is happening in my dog world! The 4pm – 9pm watch is Lottie and Nisse’s and then they are on again at 3am when Tina and Mark go off. Lottie says it is always raining heavily on their watch. Tina says that is because Lottie is a rain Goddess and the rain loves to be with her. There is always something not good about your watch and something better about someone else’s. Just as the other boats have – as Lottie put it “everything we don’t have!” I would love one of those so Tina and Mark feel they have everything – I wonder how much an “everything we don’t have” is and where the feeders would store it.
Mark, Simon, Tina and John were down below and decided to watch a movie. Tina says it is lovely to take time out to watch a movie but it really feels weird being at sea and watching Hangover – I do love to hear my feeders laughing – that’s a great sound.
Into the night and Tina and I go to bed at 9pm before our watch at mid night. We are being chased by two Norwegian boats – In Las Palmas we were next door neighbours with one of them – Vitesse – the owner – Hakon wanted to beat Magic so if you are watching us on the Ais thingy you can see how we do in the Magic v Vitesse contest. We are also watching our Swedish friends on Sandvita and Thindra and wishing them well. My feeders have decided they just want to arrive safely into Rodney Bay. The times are only a bit of fun. But for those of you watching us the first over the line in the cruising sections are not necessarily the winners as there is a handicap system and engine hours are used as a penalty against the yacht too. So the winners are not announced until all the yachts have passed the finishing line. There is a prize giving party on the 19th December.
One of the many unique pleasures of sailing in the Atlantic hundreds of miles out to sea is that I meet some extraordinary new friends – today there are two beautiful birds who are white like me – they are singing and I cannot quite make out the lyrics but I think it is something to do with fish. On the subject of fish – John caught and enormous fish yesterday and he battled with it – Tina hates the thought of killing a fish so she couldn’t watch. I heard the fish laughing as it bit down hard on Johns expensive lure, spat it out and swam deep down away from us. The flying fish that tell the good jokes have an odd and fatal sense of direction – they fly right out of the ocean and hit the feeders and land on the deck – it is so sad. I love watching fish fly.
Now our ever-changing address is 17.01.41N 44.13.35W – it is sunny, everyone is up and has had breakfast – I had egg and cheese – yum I love sailing! We have Gybed (don’t know what that is but I don’t like the noises at all when we do it) I do love to slide across the floor – that is fun and the feeders think it is great too. I have just had a bath and I feel fantastic.
The mood on board is good even though the feeders had hoped to see that there was less than 1000 nm to go – This is a long journey. The sun is shining, there is 23kn of wind and a big blue swell is pushing us towards Saint Lucia.
I wonder whom we will meet there?
Weather Forecast from me – Rough!
Friday, December 4, 2015 at 3:34 AM
Friday 4th December
Well my weather forecasting was right – it is rough. The boat is twisting and turning like a corkscrew. It is funny to watch the feeders try to get their balance as they only have two feet. I am doing well with the balance – it is simple you just lean into the movement and stay grounded. I had a shower today – I think I am the only one who did. Mark and Tina are disappointed that the new Water maker that they had fitted for the ARC doesn’t work when it is rolling – which is pretty much always! The ‘experts’ Marine Maintenance who fitted the Water maker and the Generator in Gibraltar didn’t fit either properly so they suck up air. That’s why the Generator needed a new black wheelie thingy fitted. Mark and Tina are disappointed because they fitted the Water maker so that that everyone could shower when they wanted – they like everyone to be happy and comfortable. But it is only a few days to go now and everyone can cope. John has been unwell still and as a result he sleeps most of the day and night – it is a real shame that he is missing out as the rest of us are really appreciating every moment.
Today was the first ‘nothing’ day the feeders have had. The autopilot ‘Merlin’ was on duty all day and now all night. So all the feeders had to do was some cleaning and tidying, rig checks and be on watch. Nisse was bored as he likes to be busy and fix things. They had the fishing rod out but only caught some weed. There was a lot of weed floating by and it looked very strange in the blue, blue ocean. The waves are incredible – about 5-6meters high and cobalt blue. If you look at them you can see the sunlight shining right through the tops and then the colour is pale turquoise – I am glad that Tina and Mark are telling me the colours as dogs are colour blind. I cannot fully appreciate it but it makes all the feeders very happy and I love that. They have all been talking about wanting to go for a run or a long walk – I don’t mind a short walk to the pointy end but I think the feeders are getting restless. They are fine when it is busy on the boat but today they have had a lot of time to think.
Magic is whooshing along and I love the sound of the water underneath us. It bubbles and glides – whooshes and slides. When the boat twists and slides down a large wave we are all glad that Nisse had fitted all the door retraints and bungees in cupboards – Nisse is very cool and knows what Magic needs.
It is dark now and the sky is full of stars. The air is warm and in the boat it is 31 Degrees. The 23knots of wind is at our back and our heading of 276 is taking us straight to Saint Lucia. Tina and Mark are loving the thought of our friends and family watching our progress and reading my blog and they like it that we have friends around us – Eupraxia – John and Sandra Pickles – are only a few nm behind us and Vitesse – Hakon (the Norwegians) are a few nm to our Starboard side. I know that Vitesse would like to beat Magic and Mark, Nisse and Simon are a bit disappointed that we cannot optimize Magics speed but Tina doesn’t care at all about racing. The Doyle Jennaker (dogs cant spell) does not work as well as a Spinnaker or Para sail and the Genoa does not have a pole to keep it flying right – Tina says we are doing well enough and that we should be happy with our progress.
The food is going really well and there are lots of stores left which is great for me. Tonight the feeders fed themselves home made meatballs with pesto and spicy tomatoes sauce served on fusilli with fresh garlic bread.
They seemed very happy and I was happy as they left me one meatball.
Life doesn’t get much better than this!
We don’t know exactly when we will get to Rodney Bay but we think it might be Tuesday which is only 4 days away.
Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 1:05 PM
Saturday 5th December 2015
We woke up this morning to no water. The water maker was badly fitted in Gibraltar and with the roly-poly sea we cannot make water. Tina is so disappointed because she spent months researching and specifying the right water maker so that the crew on Magic could enjoy showers everyday. The reality is that they have had to ration water and now it has run out. We have enough drinking water but they will have to do the dishes, cook and wash themselves with a combination of salt water and wipes. I don’t mind because I hate to be washed anyway. I am very sensitive to mood and this morning the feeders were tired and irritated. Tina said you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. This is a tough enough challenge for the feeders without the list of challenges they have had. It seems too difficult for some of them to remain positive and moaning can set in. It is hard for them because they can see other boats passing us, none of them have had much sleep due to the 5m waves and swell rolling them about in bed and just moving around the boat is like a work out in a gym they say – what ever that is. I feel bad because we are hove too at the moment as they try and sort out he water maker – I don’t know what to do to make them feel better – I cant fix things, there are too many of them to hug at once and it is too roly on deck to move around them. So I am doing my blog.
It is 10am on Saturday morning – the feeders have been talking about how many miles and days and hours to go. I know they are all wanting to get there now.
Each one of them is coping with the challenges in different ways but it is critical that they work together and support each other. Relationships are straining with the fatigue and the challenges and that is sad. I can feel the stretch on them like the strain on the rigging.
The flying fish have been laughing – I am not sure if they are laughing at us or if one of them has told another good joke. I suppose they have to have a good sense of humour as they are being chased by something scary most of their lives. Poor fish.
I hope that the next few days are kind on my feeders and they have had to manage so many things.
They have done a water audit and they have 111L for four days for six of them and me and they think that is ok.
There is a lot of food left and plenty of treats and sweets too. So that is good. Lottie and Tina are going to make Marzipan and Chocolate sweets for everyone as a treat and moral boost!! Then sausages for tea for the boys..
On the Moral front it has been fantastic to get the weather support from Andrew in Lagos and the messages from friends and family are precious and poured over – thanks to all of you who have emailed my feeders.
Now it is 11am Tina and Mark are going on their 11-4pm watch. The sun is shining and we are doing 7kn which is ok even if the fleet are passing us – the important thing now is to get my feeders to Rodney Bay – safe – happy and still friends.
I think they are all fantastic and I am proud to be part of Team Magic.
Current weather – “Rough”
Current strange Address 15.58.5N 50.30.3W
Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 4:33 PM
Hello from the Atlantic Ocean 421 nm to Saint Lucia:
Another day of sun and rolling begins! It is 10am and we are doing 7 knots (but I can’t see any knots – weird people!)
Last night the feeders had a delicious meal of sausages with fried potatoes followed by a homemade apple cake. That made them all very happy.
I had to work hard last night as I had cuddle Tina, she went to bed early and she couldn’t eat supper as she was feeling very low. That was the first time in 2 weeks. In my blog it is difficult to write about the emotions on board but they are as complex as the boats systems. Tina said I shouldn’t write about all of the emotions as they are private but she said I could write about hers. Tina said all the things that have gone wrong on the boat disheartened her. (Did I mention that the VHF radio has now gone on the blink – outside and inside – good thing that Tina and Mark have a spare hand held one)? Mark and Tina have worked so hard to do everything they could during the last 12 months to ensure the Atlantic crossing would be safe and fun and fast and yet so many things have gone wrong or were not up to the standards that the crew would have liked. Nisse said that doing the ARC is like putting 10 years of wear and tear on your boat so I suppose things may wear and tear on the crossing.
Some of the feeders have been very critical of the boat and its preparation and it is hard for Tina and Mark as they did their best. But they know that it can all be fixed or replaced. And they know that the intensity of the journey and the small space amplifies any issue and that is all that is happening.
This morning Simon had an idea. The water maker has made everyone cross because it was fitted badly and 24 hours ago we ran out of water. Simon’s idea was born out of need – and Tina says there is a saying that “need is the mother of invention” and the feeders need is for Showers. Simon is a genius when it comes to anything with making or fixing stuff. His idea was simple but really clever. The feeders say that the water maker is simple – it sucks in salt water – filters it into fresh water and gets rid of any dirty stuff. Our problem is that because it was fitted badly the water maker cannot suck up water. Genius idea – use a bucket over the side to fill up a larger trug on the aft deck and put the inlet hose into the trug. It worked perfectly – they are making water even though the boat is rolling.
The feeders have been talking about managing resources and all of them are used to having plenty – plenty of water and food and energy. Managing with scarcity is a good experience they are saying. Tina has a suggestion for anyone reading this blog from the comfort of home. An experiment. Do your normal shopping and cooking and for a whole 7 days keep a large black plastic bag tied up somewhere in the kitchen. Put anything that is plastic in this bag. If you do this you will notice how much plastic is used in packaging and it is so shocking.
Yesterday we saw a beautiful pod of silver grey dolphins – I love to hear the dolphins – they are very eloquent but they are best when they are saying – “come on lets play” I wish I could play with them as their games look so much fun. They speed forward and then suddenly chase each other around with sharp fast turns. I could see one of them break away from the pod – it was racing along side us just under the water. He was so close and the ocean so clear that we could see the bubbles racing down his skin – I bet that feels lovely. Then, with impeccable judgment, the beautiful dolphin twisted backwards and around the back of a large building blue. blue wave. I watched the wave build with a bloom of foam on the top and then suddenly I could see the dolphin positioning himself with accuracy right in the middle of the wave, just under the foam. Then suddenly he pushed himself forward – his speed calculated to be just fast enough to punch his whole body out into the air ahead of the wave – his lean, strong muscles flexed into a perfect aerobatic arc and then – splash! nose first back into the warm, blue Atlantic Ocean. For a long time we were all quite staring at the space where he had re-entered the water, mesmorised by the skill and beauty of this wild creature. Tina says she will never forget that sight for the rest of her life. I am happy that she has this movie in her mind for the tough days.
It takes hundreds of buckets hauled out of the sea at the stern to fill the tanks with filtered water – the boys are enjoying it in a way as it is a form of physical exercise and that is something they have missed on the boat. It isn’t really possible to do any exercise when you are swinging around – the rolling around is really hard to explain. Lottie and Tina have been talking about what an amazing experiential gym it would be to have a yacht simulator. Even though you are not doing ‘exercise’ just staying upright uses all your core strength. Sailing Pilates.
As I am writing this I am watching Mark take bucket after bucket out of the sea – it will take about 180 buckets out of the sea to fill the tank. Nisse has now had a creative idea – take the emergency bilge pump hose from under the galley floor and use it and its electric pump to pump seawater into the bucket. Nisse is a plumber – very handy on a yacht.
Bilge pump into the sea from the stern, electric pump up water into the big bucket on the stern deck – pipe from that bucket to the water maker – it is funny to watch my feeders all running about working on solving the problem. They must really want water a lot!
There should be an ARC price for ingenuity at sea – Nisse and Simon would win it!
Saint Lucia is going to Love Magic – Tina says we will be good for the local economy!
PS Bilge pump solution didn’t work so the boys are back on lifting bucket loads of ocean into the bucket on deck – something to do they say
Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 9:55 PM
From Tina and Mark
Sunday 6th December
15.23.4 N 53.51.7W
Dear Suppliers to S/Y Magic
As we sail the last few hundred miles en route to Saint Lucia we are taking the time reflect on and write a letter to the suppliers who have worked on Magic over the past year in preparation for our Atlantic Crossing. For the purposes of this letter, some of the names may have been changed… but you know who you are! It is staggering how bad the sailing industry is supported. There are so many suppliers who think they can get away with shoddy work – because we are passing through.
We have been amazed at the world-class lack of professionalism; skill and integrity you have shown us during our progress from Portsmouth to Portugal, Spain and through to Las Palmas and on to the Caribbean.
Fellow sailors – isn’t it time we didn’t have to put up with mediocre services from people who “don’t care” (yes that’s really what one supplier said when we complained – “ I don’t care”) or are incompetent – it is expensive and worse it is dangerous.
There should be a global – approved marine supplier network of the good guys who do good work and do care.
Having said that there are many people out there who have done great work on Magic – and to you – John, Simon, David, Martin and Juan Carlos at Rolnautic… Pip and the Force 4 guys – Seaway Deliveries etc – you know how much we appreciate your work. You are rare!
So on to our Thank you letter:
Thank you to Andy the ‘electrician’ in Portsmouth who supplied us with all the wrong LED lights so that we nearly burned our boat and ourselves. He also treated us to many hours of delightful small talk for which he charged by the hour whilst not fixing our Webasto central heating system.
Thank you Brian the ‘rigger’ in Portsmouth who took away our mainsail to have a third reef put in and then rigged the sail back on so badly that when we hoisted it, it took us 4 hours to re do the running rigging.
Thank you to Antonio the ‘sail maker’ who taught us the cost of sail repairs. He took away our damaged mainsail – We are sure that 1000 euros for the repair of one small hole and two new batons is a bargain. Again it was really useful to learn all about our reefing system as we had to completely re reef all the running rigging!
Thanks to the Simrad ‘expert’ who charged us for days and days of work to ‘fix’ the autopilot that then stopped working mid Atlantic – it made the adventure so much more fun. We enjoyed hand steering for hundreds of miles day and night. It is great for your arm muscles and your sailing skills.
Thanks to icom (the spell checker wanted to make that i con) for the new VHF that lasted 7 months and stopped working mid Atlantic – it was so much fun to be out of touch.
Thanks to Hugo and his team who managed to create so many paint defects in our new paintwork that we were able to learn all about marine paint. It also meant that it didn’t matter if we got a scratch, as you wouldn’t notice. Thank you also to the ‘professional’ marine surveyor who didn’t know the difference between paint and epoxy.
Thanks to the marine maintenance team in Gibraltar who so badly fitted our new Schenker water maker that the Schenker team who visited Magic in Las Palmas said it would have to be refitted completely in Saint Lucia – you really helped us guys – it would have been so dull to actually have had fresh water on the way to Saint Lucia. The team on Magic loved having to figure out a way of using buckets and bilge pumps to make the water maker work.
Thanks to the rigger who rigged our new mast and seemed to have forgot the bottom rivets and who put the split pins in backwards and didn’t tape them well so that they ripped holes in the mainsail mid Atlantic. We loved taking the sail down and making a repair at sea. We loved talking with our crew about weather we should go to Cape Verde for repairs or not – very motivational!
Thank you also to the ‘expert’ who told us the head of our furling Genoa was fine. When it jammed at sea, Mark had a ball rolling and spinning around the mast trying to fix it in a huge Atlantic swell with a squall on our heels. Once the bruises heal I am sure he would love to pop over and shake your hand.
Thanks to Hanse for making a boat with a stern door that leaks so we had the experience of being afraid because we had to pump out water on our way to Madeira – then have a new seal fitted in Las Palmas. How can you design a door that’s below the water line that in your own words “is not designed to be water tight”? Thanks for the chart table and door coming away from their hinges – it was hilarious fun in a force 7 rolling about trying to grab things that come away in our hands – what a hoot you guys are. Longer screws would have made for such a dull, safe time for our crew. Oh yes, and thanks for the anchor mechanism – it looks amazing until you actually have to anchor and it bends at 45% slamming into the side of the boat and jamming the chain– nice job.
And how we laughed until we cried when we discovered that the diagram of the electrics we have was not the one for this actual boat – good one!
Bloody hilarious too are the hinges on the tables that are supposed to hold up the heavy table tops – they don’t work, leaving you to have the table tops crashing down on your nose or head – it’s ok …purple suits me, thanks.
Thanks for the electronic gauges on the yacht – wouldn’t it be so dull to actually know how much fuel or water you really have. The guessing game is good for the mental fitness of all on board. It is also good for the local economies we have visited, as we have to buy twice as much water and fuel so we are sure we have enough. That’s clever.
And thank you for the new kicker plate that we had made in Las Palmas that lasted only 8 days before cracking. That’s great, as it keeps steel guys busy in the Carribean. But – Hanse – why design a vang that cracks the kicker plate – it’s a “common fault” ha ha ha ha ha ha ha……
So, Thank you …’professional’ marine suppliers – this has all been so not worth the £100 000 we have invested in supporting your businesses. I hope you sleep well thinking of your customers sailing the Atlantic and putting their lives at risk – what fun for yo
Just because we sail away
doesn’t mean that YOU should get away
With, shoddy work
Lets Make Sailing Safer!
Tina and Mark Davies on S/Y Magic
Monday, December 7, 2015 at 10:58 AM
Magic May Dog Bog
Monday 7th December
Now it is 9am and this morning’s issues are
- The Lewmar hatch in Tina and Marks Cabin has been pulled off by the sheets and gone over board
- The auto pilot has decided to keep cutting out so we can’t rely on it
Tina and Mark are now just resigned to the issues and just add things to the now very long list they are keeping.
Good thing we have only 273 miles to go they are saying.
Today was a good day for the feeders, they had great fun playing with ideas to make the water maker work and it did work. They had all manner of tubes and pumps and buckets and tubs on deck. It looked really funny but the result was that they could all had showers and that made them very happy. They have been so inventive – Lottie made ice pops by putting fruit juice into ice bags – they made heart shaped ice lollys which the feeders loved. They had a good day sailing and as the sun was going down they opened a bottle of something fizzy – the brown top wet pop really loud and scared me. They were celebrating only 300 nm to go to Saint Lucia. Then they had some pasta and sauce and into the watches for the night – Lottie and Nisse are first with a 4-9 then 9-0 is Simon and John – Tina and Mark are on from 0-3 then Lottie and Nisse again from 3-6 when Simon and John take over 6-11 and it starts again with Tina and Mark from 11-4
Everyone says there are good and bad things about their times. Lottie and Nisse have said that they always get rain and squalls and Tina and Mark say they have been lucky and not had rain and high winds. Until tonight that is!
As Tina, Mark and I got up we could hear the wind picking up. We took over the watch from Simon and John just as the squall hit us – the rain flooded though an open hatch in a torrent and Tina was soaked as she battled to shut it. The wind was 30knots and there was a very black cloud right above us. We had to alter course to deal with the strength of the wind.
Good news – we are doing 8-10 kn of speed – bad news, we are heading for Boston!
The leech of the Main sail is trapped and they will have to wait for the wind to ease before letting the preventer loose and playing the mainsheet to release the sail – at least that is what I think I heard them say – I don’t really understand when they talk ‘sailing’
We are surrounded by ARC boats, which is great – Hot Stuff – the boat with the girl only crew passed us by – poor Simon was gutted to have Magic passed by so easily! He is a competitive sailor and Magic should be faster. Tina and Mark are not bothered and just enjoy sailing safely and having company. Hot Stuff were on a Port tack and Magic was on a Starboard tack so they should have moved as they were pretty close – half a mile and gaining – Simon spoke to them on the VHF and agreed that Magic would move – what a gent! We also have with us – Toothless, El Mundo, Tapatl, and Zheliko – I think we are all going to arrive around the same time…well Magic will be late – It is odd as Magic is a fast boat – the list of reasons is long – the bow thruster that was damaged as we left Las Palmas – is it down and covered in weed? Is there fouling on the hull? The fact that we couldn’t pole out the Genoa? The holes in the sails …. The route …the wind …the gods wanting us to stay with us longer??? Tina is still just happy to arrive happy and healthy. She is a positive thinker and even said that perhaps our role is to make all those who have passed us feel great! (she did think that sort of comment would not please the rest of Team Magic)
The welcome party is on the same night as the ARC+ prize giving – Wednesday 9th and we are hoping we will get in for that. It will be great to see Liam and Liz from Odyssey and find out how their ARC+ adventure has been. It will be so strange to be in a Marina again and not rolling about all the time.
Tina and Mark had fun writing a letter today and when they read it to the crew everyone laughed a lot – the letter made everyone come together a little and helped everyone understand the issues that Tina and Mark have had to overcome. I am so glad that I am a dog and all I have to worry about is looking after the feeders so the food comes! I don’t think I would like having to ‘deal with suppliers’ what ever that is. It seems a very troublesome pastime. And I am so happy that I don’t have to adjust the sails and manage squalls –
I just snuggle up and stay dry. I wonder if the vet in Saint Lucia will be as kind as the vet in Las Palmas
I wonder if Tina and Mark have all the right papers for me…….we will soon see.
I wonder what jerk chicken is like…
I wonder when we will get there
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 3:16 AM
Wednesday 9th December 00:39
The feeders have loved the sailing today – the wind has been perfect for them and Mark was manually steering for the sheer joy of it – sometimes we were doing 12-13 knots which is more like the speeds Magic should do in these conditions – apparently. There has been much conversation about boat speed and performance – is there weed on the hull? Has the Genoa’s sail angle affected us etc etc but still, Tina doesn’t mind what position in the fleet we arrive she is just proud of our achievement as a team and happy that no one was injured. It has been an incredible journey for my feeders.
It has been sad for John that he has been unwell since the start – but as he says – he is now thin and tan!
Sailing seems to challenge everyone in different ways and this trip has been a significant challenge. I really miss running about on grass or on the beach and I know the feeders really would love to get off the boat for a walk or a run too.
When you will ask us “So, how was the trip?” I am sure there will be lots of people who say that the ARC was all just great fun. But my blogs are always very honest.
My feeders have had fun and laughs and played – they have seen Dolphins, Jelly fish, Flying fish and a Turtle they have seen a LOT of floating seaweed, they have caught a fish and caught up on reading, they have watched movies in the evenings and had delicious freshly cooked meals every night – often with a sundowner before hand. They have had showers on deck, done laundry and played board games too. But there have been a lot of challenges – dealing with things going wrong –the steering, the auto pilot, the water maker, the VHF radio, the holes in sails, blocks and winches exploding, lines chafing, things flying around and breaking – and although I have been fine with four legs the poor feeders have been bashed around for weeks with the continual pitching and rolling.
They have been baked in the sun and soaked in torrential down pours.
They have been cut by knifes and bits of metal and burned by the oven and the sun
They have felt sick and tired
They have been bashed and bruised on the rigging
They have bashed and broken toes
They have had to do with only one shower per week each
They have dealt with continual broken sleep from watches and rolling
They have been hot and bothered
They have cooked and cleaned and fixed and sailed and sailed and sailed…
So – cut, burnt, bruised, tired and dirty they have dealt with all the Atlantic could throw at them.
They have worked hard as a team and supported each other.
They have been creative and innovative making things and fixing things – the Heath Robinson way of ensuring the water maker worked using two black gorilla tubs and four pipes was genius – people are really clever
But most of all
They have had an incredible journey – Sailing gives you time to think about the future, time to reflect on the past (neither of which dogs do by the way – we live in the now) – They have laughed a lot together and they will never ever forget crossing the Atlantic Ocean – out of sight of land for 16 days
Tina keeps thinking how amazing it is to have been under sail the whole way, only using the engine for a couple of hours! It is the most continual sailing most of the feeders have ever done.
It has been wonderful to do the ARC – to have had all the support and help from this amazing organization and to be sailing in the fleet. Everyone has enjoyed the fact that friends and family have been supporting up by watching the tracker and reading my blog.
Andrew in Lagos has been a superstar sending us world class weather and routing information – what a good friend – we miss Andrew and Susan.
The feeders have loved having emails from home.
Now we are nearly there.. Just one more day and night to go
We may arrive breakfast time on the 9th – if we do then it will be check in and do all the paper work and I have to see the vet – then the feeders hope they can get an afternoon nap because at 7pm there is a welcome party!
Tina thinks it is really funny that Magic will arrive into Saint Lucia just in time for the welcome party!!
Have to go now as we are on watch and I need to give Mark a cuddle under the stars
Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 5:38 AM
Magic May Blog
The final Day
115 miles, 18 hours to go
Sometimes the time seems to have gone on and one and on – minutes seem like years. Then time goes faster – like when I am busy looking after the feeders or playing catch with cheese in the galley. This mornings issues are a frayed main halyard – this could pop at any moment and the main will come down – they don’t seem too worried as they are prepared for it – they have been watching the blue string thingy at the top of the mast for a few days – they can see it as they are using special come to me glasses. Another Block has exploded – the one that was being used on the Genoa. They just took it off and put ‘new block’ in their note book.
There is a relaxed feeling this morning – it is the last day – we think we will get to our way point on the North of the island around 05.00 and that means we will cross the finish line around 06.00 into the marina at around 07.00 The plan is then to ‘clear in’ which means official paperwork and all that – clean the boat and begin the jobs and repairs – then I have to see the vet so they can see that I don’t have any horrible things with me like fleas and ticks and they will check that I am well – which I am..
9th December at 03.11 I am just standing down from watch
It has been an odd day today – mostly the feeders were making water and talking, reading books and standing watch. There is still palpable tension around and it seems like an analogy with the rig – strained and tired and chafed but hopefully holding together until we cross the finish line and moor up in Rodney Bay
When we came on watch we could see the lights of Martinique and Mark and Tina talked about how they were going to have Christmas with Marks son Gareth there – I think we will all enjoy being with our families again – we have missed them.
Tina says that she had wondered if having 3 skippers on board would have created issues. One person’s decision on course or trimming or the preparation of the boat v another’s. I knew we would all have to work together and as ships dog I think it is my job to go to whom ever needs a cuddle the most. Tina was saying that it is like when you go on a long haul flight – at the start of the flight you don’t even notice what later becomes a mild irritation and by the time you arrive it is hard to bear. The boat is like that and this has been a long, long way in a small space. Everyone approaches things so differently and believes that theirs is the best way – there has to be support and flexibility but that seems to wear thin too like the sails. So everyone has to deal with this in his or her own way.
Everyone finds a way to cope. Perhaps taking some time out – listening to music or reading a book or just moving to a different space. When the feeders reflect on this journey I hope it will be good thoughts and memories and I hope they will be proud of their achievements.
Yes – things broke and needed repair – yes things were done differently sometimes than some people preferred – some people love to hand steer and it didn’t matter a jot that the auto pilot didn’t function on certain headings and for others this was a major source of irritation. Tina is certainly very interested in crew dynamics and it could well be something to study in the future and perhaps something the ARC could consider having some guide notes on.
The best thing now is we can see the lights of Saint Lucia shining in the distance, there is the most beautiful flashing phosphorescence in our wake like molten stars have fallen under the front of the boat and are being washed under us. There is the gentle whooshing sound of the warm Caribbean sea gently supporting us and we are almost there.. Only a few more hours to go now – then we will all be up to cross the finish line together and take the boat into Rodney Bay to moor up.
Well Done Team Magic
Now – can I go for a walk please?