It’s All About Money: Sail Loot Podcast

Monday July 13, 2015

I’d have to say that about 70% of the emails we get in our inbox have something to do with money.  It may not be the sole subject of the email, but it usually comes up one way or another.  ”How do you afford this; What did you do to save; What does it cost to maintain this lifestyle”.  We don’t mind these questions, in fact we usually openly talk about our money.  Through our Cost of Cruising pages you can find out what we spend each month and year and where all of our money goes.

To take it one step further though and find out everything there is to know about us and money; starting from the beginning and going up until now, we were contacted by Teddy at Sail Loot to participate in a podcast talking about this subject. We talked about absolutely everything from when we bought our first boat, how we outfitted Serendipity to cruise, what gets covered in our monthly expenses, and how we try to save where we can.  If you’ve ever had a money related question for us, chances are it’s been answered in this interview.

Keep reading to see how our interview appeared on the Sail Loot website, including the podcast.  If you’d like to see the full thing on their site as well as check out more links relating to the discussion, make sure to check out the original post here. For even more podcast from other great cruisers talking about their finances, make sure to check out Sail Loot’s home page.

Thank you so much Teddy for taking the time to interview us, it was a pleasure talking with you!

Matt & Jessica The Baths

“Matt and Jessica decided that it was time to get off the couch and start experiencing life. How they would experience life was the first question. When they decided that sailing was the answer, all they had to do was learn how to sail, find a boat, and figure out how to find their sailing money. Easy enough, right?

They ended up taking some sailing lessons, and getting some sailing practice for about 2 years on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. Their sailing money came with a lot of hard work, some downsizing (of their possessions and their activities), and some budgeting to make sure that they wouldn’t blow through their cruising kitty while sailing across oceans.

Matt and Jessica started with a little bit of money saved up, “normal” jobs, and a dream. They took off with enough sailing money in the bank to cruise for about 4 to 5 years if they stuck to their budget. Enjoy listening to this episode of the Sail Loot Podcast for all of the details!”

A Few Things You’ll Learn About Matt and Jessica, MJ Sailing, and their Sailing Money In This Episode:

  • Their Hunter 240, their first trailerable sailboat.
  • Their jobs on land prior to taking off cruising.
  • How much they paid for all of their sailboats.
  • Their cruising budget.
  • How big their crusing kitty was before they left. You know, this directly relates to how long they planned on cruisng.
  • Where they’ve sailed so far.
  • Crossing the Atlantic…twice within the span of a year.
  • The Re-fit of their new sailboat, Daze Off (the current name).
  • Matt’s hobby.
  • Where they’re living while they re-fit Daze Off
  • How Matt and Jessica keep a low-cost lifestyle.
  • Going the “wrong way” around the Caribbean.
  • Jessica’s sailing money and frugal cruising tips.
  • And Much More!

Kimberly Joy lifestyle photo

Serendipity 3

Daze Off 2

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Atlantic Re-Crossing Part II

Wednesday January 14, 2014

Atlantic Crossing January 1

Day 15 – January 1, 2015

  • Winds NE 20-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 118 nm – 1,447 total
  • Matt was supposed to wake me for a midnight countdown into the new year. He forgot. At the moment he still doesn’t realize it’s New Years. Waves outside are steep and choppy. I wouldn’t call this miserable, but it’s not ideal.

 

Day 16 – January 2, 2015

  • Winds NE 20-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 114 nm – 1,561 total
  • Nothing much different happening. Didn’t bring much soda on this passage with us we didn’t think it would sound good once we were sailing, but now we’re fighting over the last Pepsi.

 

Day 17 – January 3, 2015

  • Winds NE 20-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 110 nm – 1,671 total
  • Put on a seasickness patch but I still feel dizzy & sick when I stand up. Tonight we’ll set the clocks back, the first time since we’ve left, since the sun is now rising at 8:30 am.

 

Day 18 – January 4, 2015

  • Winds NE 20-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 122 nm – 1,793 total
  • Almost broke my foot when I slid off the settee and it wedged itself under the table as I rotated around it. Luckily it’s fine. We saw a big cargo ship this morning visually that never showed up on AIS.

 

Day 19 – January 5, 2015

  • Winds NE 20-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 124 nm – 1,917 total
  • We haven’t seen the sun in days now. Today there was a squall with winds in the 40′s, but it passed fairly quickly.

 

Day 20 – January 6, 2015

  • Winds E 20-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 126 nm – 2,043 total
  • Showers off and on all day. A few more squalls just like yesterday, but they always leave no wind in their wake for awhile and we bob around with the sail flogging and making a terrible racket.

 

Day 21 – January 7, 2015

  • Winds 30-40 knots; Seas 3-4 meters; 135 nm – 2,178 total
  • Today we had a pressure drop of 4 bars in 2 hours. 3 bars in 3 hours is BAD news. This was REALLY BAD. For a 4 hour period we had winds over 50 knots and seas of over 5 meters (16 ft). Kept rounding up into the wind. Prepared ditch bag and waited to be tossed over. Matt trailed lines and fenders to steady us. One wave we didn’t ride down fast enough and it pooped our cockpit. With quite a force, the wave crashed right into our cockpit. Luckily we were down below with all our boards in, but a fair amount of water still forced itself through the cracks. Winds finally died down into the 30′s.

 

Day 22 – January 8, 2015

  • Wind E 25-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 112 nm – 2,290 total
  • Our days have consisted of nothing but sleeping lately. Between our sleep shifts and naps we’re lucky to spend 2 hours awake together each day.

 

Day 23 – January 9, 2015

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 98 nm – 2,388 total
  • Now is the time that I’m really looking forward to land. I want to sleep through a whole night and I want to be able to take a shower without getting sick. Is that to much to ask for? Less than one week now, hopefully

 

Day 24 – January 10, 2015

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 115 nm – 2,503 total
  • I told myself before that I was done making meals for this passage, now I mean it. I almost cut myself so many times while chopping veggies for pasta salad tonight while a rogue wave would toss us on our side and I’d have to use both hands to hold onto the counter while a knife was dangling out of one.

 

Day 25 – January 11, 2015

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 120 nm – 2,623 total
  • Forecast is looking rough for the next few days. Winds over 25 and seas at 12-25 feet. Aren’t we there yet? Only 400 more miles….

 

Day 26 – January 12, 2015

  • Winds NE 25-30 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 127 nm – 2,750 total
  • Storm didn’t turn out to be as bad as I thought it would be. I wish I would have downloaded more movies on our tablet, I’m getting tired of reading and I’m always left with a bit of a headache.

 

Day 27 – January 13, 2015

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 134 nm – 2,884 total
  • We’ve decided on St. Martin for landfall and only have two days left until we get there. Researching everything we can on the place now. So excited!

 

Day 28 – January 14, 2015

  • Wind E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 107 nm – 2,991 total
  • Getting a little worried about having such high seas and then transitioning to the shallow waters of the Caribbean. But…the weather should actually be dying down for our arrival tomorrow. Here’s to hoping!

Atlantic Crossing January 2

Atlantic Crossing January 3

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Atlantic Re-Crossing – Part I

December 31, 2014

Atlantic Crossing December 1

Unlike our first Atlantic Crossing, I am not going to break up the posts into 2-3 day sections and regale you with what happened on a daily basis.  I can’t, or every post would go something like this:  ‘Woke up.  Winds were heavy but steady.  Waves were heavy but steady.  I can’t go outside without getting wet.  Prepared meals, napped, and waited for the next day to come‘.

I can do that for you every day if you’d like, but the truth is I’d still like you to come back to our blog every few days and I know that’s not the best way to hook or even keep you.  So instead I will be breaking our crossing into two posts where I’ll get a little technical and give conditions plus milage, and then a little snippet of something that happened that day, just to keep your interest if even just a little bit.

 

Day 1 – December 18, 2014

  • Winds ESE 10-15 knots; Seas 1-2 meters
  • Before leaving, Matt cut his thumb with a drill. No stitches this time; We finally found the sun outside of Las Palmas; Accidentally woke up Matt with the air horn while tacking; Cuddled in the cockpit listening to UB40 while watching the sunset and watched Gran Canaria light up.

 

Day 2 – December 19, 2014

  • Winds NE 15-20 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 120 nm
  • Still quite cold out, our gauge is showing the water is only 57. That can’t be right. Stayed below deck for most of the day.

 

Day 3 – December 20, 2014

  • Winds ENE 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 125 nm – 245 total
  • Saw a flash in the sky, maybe a supernova? Had to hand feed Georgie her dry food. She wanted the cheese I was eating and kept nudging me, timing her nudges with the rocking of the boat.

 

Day 4 – December 21, 2014

  • Winds ENE 15-20 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 124 nm – 369 total
  • Found a buddy boat. Well, on AIS at least. The first boat we’ve seen outside of Gran Canaria. They’re 36 ft and sailing in the same direction, only 4 nm from us.

 

Day 5 – December 22, 2014

  • Winds NE 12-17 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 115 nm – 484 total
  • Read books and made pasta salad. Without being able to fill our propane in Gran Canaria we have about 1 week’s worth of propane left and have to portion it out.

 

Day 6 – December 23, 2014

  • Winds E 5-10 knots; Seas 0.5-1 meters; 92 nm – 576 total
  • Had a hard time getting a satellite phone signal. With the light winds, tried to lay out on deck and catch a tan. Speeds dropped down to 2 knots.

 

Day 7 – December 24, 2014

  • Winds E 2-6 knots; Seas 0-1 meters; 41 nm – 617 total
  • Drifted in the morning with no autopilot; Made guacamole and enjoyed in the cockpit with a beer; Trimmed my split ends. Not good according to sailing superstitions. I should have known better. Got a text from my dad that storms were on their way.

 

Day 8 – December 25, 2014

  • Winds E 5-10 building to 10-15; Seas 1-2 meters; 60 nm – 676 total
  • Merry Christmas! Warm and productive day. Enjoyed 2 cups of coffee, did a little laundry, and had my first shower since leaving. (Ick, I know). Made a nice chicken and potato dinner. Watched the forecast, we have a depression and front on the way.

 

Day 9 – December 26, 2014

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 89 nm – 765 total
  • Day started with lots of wind and growing waves, but it died down by the afternoon. Debated stopping at the Cape Verdes but the weather looks ok for us to continue.

 

Day 10 – December 27, 2014

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 93 nm – 858 total
  • Went into the night with the spinnaker pole up. At 3 am the winds jumped from 15 knots to 30 and stayed strong until the early afternoon when they died down to 10-15 knots.

 

Day 11 – December 28, 2014

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 121 nm – 979 total
  • Changed our course from S to WSW. Matt caught a tuna but lost it before getting it on board. Got seasick and spent the rest of the day in a foul mood, made Matt cook dinner.

 

Day 12 – December 29, 2014

  • Winds E 15-20 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 114 nm – 1,093 total
  • Sick again. Matt left the dishes overnight for me to clean. Thanks Matt. Caught 2.5 ft mahi. Cleaned and filleted it even though I felt like I was going to throw up in the sink.

 

Day 13 – December 30, 2014

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 115 nm – 1,208 total
  • Still overcast, still feeling blah. Finally washed my hair for the first time in 5 days. Made a nice chicken, potato, carrot stew for dinner.

 

Day 14 – December 31, 2014

  • Winds E 20-25 knots; Seas 2-3 meters; 121 nm – 1,329 total
  • More of the same. Clouds, strong winds, feeling gross. Read the book Slaughterhouse V. It was…interesting.

Atlantic Crossing December 3

Atlantic Crossing Decdember 2

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Our Atlantic Crossing in Video

Ever since we first left Florida for the Bahamas back in March of 2013, I kept telling myself I was going to capture our adventures in little clips and make them into videos.  The clips, I have some, the videos though, never came to fruition.  This time was different though.  With such a milestone in our sailing history I knew I had to record it and actually get it out there.  So I have!

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent hours upon hours going through all the ten second shots I took here and there of our crossing and compiled them into a little video for you.  Let me just warn you that it’s the first one I’ve ever done, and I wasn’t (and am still not) always sure of what I was doing.  Please be kind, and if you are, I’ll keep working to get new ones out in the future.

Without further ado, 46 days of our Atlantic crossing, squashed down into just over three minutes, for your viewing pleasure.

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Trans-Atlantic Q&A

Wednesday August 20, 2014

Fort Lauderdale from the Gulf Stream

Three thousand four hundred miles.  I still can not believe we sailed that distance from Miami to where we sit now in Horta.  I still remember how daunting it all seemed for weeks, even months, before we left.  I spent way too much time over-thinking all the things that could possibly go wrong, and all the rest of my time with my head buried in the sand so I didn’t have to think about it at all.

Yet here we are two months after departing, and we made it across, all in one piece!  To all of you that have told us we’re an inspiration and make you feel like you might one day be able to complete the same passage, thank you so much for your kind words and positive thoughts.  I kind of still can’t believe we made it all the way across here ourselves!

For those of you asking, how did you do it?, rhetorically I’m right there with you.  I’m not sure how we did it either.  Especially for little ol’ moi, who’s not that particularly fond of sailing passages.  But for those of you who had real questions, you asked, and I’m answering!  Here are the most asked questions on our Trans-Atlantic crossing.*

 

Did you bring enough booze?

In short, yes. Unfortunately for me since I enjoy a good sundowner, we have a pretty strict ‘No drinking’ rule while on passage. Matt always wants us at the top of our game so that we can handle whatever might come up while we’re on the water, so getting tipsy is not in the cards. Plus, one good sized drink will pretty much get me there these days. That’s not to say I didn’t sneak in a glass of wine on day 39 though, since I needed a little something to look forward to at that point.

 

Since there is only 2 of you, how did you split up sleeping?

Ever since our first overnight passage on Lake Michigan we’ve been trying to find a sleep schedule that works best for us. We started out with 3-hour-on, 3-hour-off shifts way back when we where headed down teh east coast of the US, but mostly because at that time I didn’t want to be in charge of the sails for any period longer than 3 hours since I didn’t know how to properly trim them myself. The three hours allotted to sleep however was never long enough to fall fully asleep and feel properly rested, so we switched to 4-hour-on, 4-hour-off shifts in the past year, and they’ve worked out well for us.

Matt & Georgie sleeping on passage

 

Did you run into any storms? How did you deal with them?

Between our total 46 days of sailing from Miami to Horta we ran into 4, what I would call storms. The two we had way offshore, on Matt’s Birthday, and halfway between Bermuda and the Azores, were cold fronts passing through. Normally we’d get about 24 hours of winds in the 25-35 kt range, along with seas of 8-12 ft. These ones we actually didn’t worry about so much because we watched them on our Weather Fax and knew they were coming. They built slowly and gave us plenty of time to prepare for the worst part, battening everything down and reefing the sails.

Our 2 storms off the coast of Florida, however? Completely different story. They were both quick, ferocious, and came out of nowhere. The first one we didn’t even see coming until it was on top of us, winds going from 12 knots to 62 knots in a matter of seconds, and then sustaining itself in the mid 40′s for the next 2 hours. For the second one we were given about 30 minutes warning, a broadcast over our VHF that it was moving from inland out to sea. This storm was about 30-40 minutes of 45-50 knot winds and took down all sails and motored directly into it (as best we could) until it passed over.

 

Did anything break?

No. And we are so thankful for that. With that being said though, it’s kind of because we took the coward’s route.  Going south of Bermuda until we reached it and then taking the rhumb line from Bermuda to Horta. Even that didn’t quite work out though when we added an extra 400 nm to our trip by going from 37° North down to 33° North just to avoid a stationary front. While all other boats were taking the most popular route of following the Gulf Stream North until they reach 40° North and then heading East, following the trade winds and currents but also encountering many more storms and strong winds along the way, we stayed in the lower latitudes, hanging out in the Bermuda/Azores high where everything was calm.

storm clouds over the Gulf Stream

Did you ever worry about running out of important supplies? If so, which ones?

I’d say the only supply we were really worried about running out of was diesel which is why we never turned on the engine even though we spent days on end drifting through dead calms, sometimes only covering 35 nm in 24 hours. We only carried 45 gallons with us, and although we refilled in Bermuda, we didn’t want to find ourselves nearing the Azores, in desperate need to use the motor, and finding out we had no more fuel on our hands. We were pretty content to drift in those glass calm conditions though; cooking, reading books, watching movies; so it wasn’t all that bad.

How did you plan for food and water?

The water issue was fairly simple for us since we have an HRO Seafari watermaker on board. We made sure to keep one of our tanks full at all times in case of emergencies, otherwise we’d run the watermaker for 3-4 hours every three days or so to fill up the second tank.

The food took a little more thought and planning. Back in Miami I tried to estimate how long it would take us to reach Horta, ending on 30-35 days, worst case scenario. (Boy was I wrong) From there I planned out meals and how far each of them would get us. A batch of chili could feed us for two days, a homemade pizza would cover two days, naked burritos could go for 1-2, ect. I also planned for days that conditions would be too rough to cook and made sure we had cans of soup, ravioli, or things that could be simply heated up.

I won’t lie, things were looking pretty bleak in the end. Not only did the crossing take 46 days of sailing instead of 35, but we also had 10 unexpected days in Bermuda to feed ourselves through. Plus the only provisioning we did there was a 5 lb bag of rice since that’s about all we could afford. By the time we reached Horta there were still some bags of chicken or ground beef in the freezer to make entrees out of, but the snacks were just about gone and I’d sometimes find myself eating a single dill pickle spear to get myself through to the next meal.

calm day on the Atlantic Ocean

Going non-stop for so long, did you get to spend any time together as a couple?

This question kind of makes me chuckle because most of the time we’re getting asked the opposite question of ‘Didn’t you get completely sick of each other after spending so many days non-stop together?’. But Julie, who asked this question, totally gets the reality of it. The truth is, during this crossing it felt like we never got to see each other at all. Due to sleep schedules alone we were only awake together about 8 hours day. Add a few naps to that number since we never felt fully rested, and that number was much closer to 4 to 6 hours together a day. In our at-anchor life, we spend 14 to 16 hours together a day.

The truth of the matter is, it was actually incredibly lonely out there. Weeks on end with only four to five hours a day to share it with someone. There were so many times I felt like being selfish and waking Matt up before his sleep shift ended just so I could have the company. I was like that mother that pokes her sleeping child, just so it will wake up crying and she can then spend her time soothing it back to sleep. I never did, but I came close a few times.

Did you ever feel your insignificance as this small little spec during your crossing?

During our crossing I kept waiting for this poinient moment. The one where you realize how expansive this earth actually is, or what a small role you actually play in it. For all the deep philosophical questions to come to mind of Why are we here, Are we the only ones in this vast emptiness of space? and so on.

I never experienced these, but then again, maybe I never had the chance to feel cut off. Our boat was full of electronics, and we used them all the time. My afternoons were spent choosing from hundreds of downloads on my e-reader, nights were spent listening to downloaded podcasts. Every two days we’d send out a text message to family members via our satellite phone, and receive messages in return.

We were never cut off. Therefore, we never felt completely alone, utterly insignificant, or hell, even have time to ponder why we’re here.

 

*With a few last minute questions coming in, I’ll probably be posting a Part II.  Let me know if you have more questions and I’d be happy to answer them along with the ones I couldn’t get to in this post. And to the gentleman who asked what’s the most we’ve traveled in a day in all our days sailing, it was 176 miles while riding the beginning of the Gulf Stream from Isla Mujeres, Mexico toward Key West, Florida.  If only they could all be like that.

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Our Atlantic Crossing by the Numbers

8.8.14

Our pathetic attempt at a crossing, I should be calling it.  Wow, looking back at these numbers?  Dang, we was slow!  Check out our numbers below to find out where we were on this globe each day, how many miles we completed each day, and our total miles.  If you look closely you’ll notice that we only had 6 days that we even made 100 miles.  You’ll also get a laugh when you see our 35 mile day.  Or at the fact that we had to jump from 37° North down to 33° North to avoid a low pressure system.

I do have to say though, for the comfort we experienced during this crossing and the lack of hardships for Serendipity made the slow pace well worth it.  An average of 3 knots of speed?  That’s ok.  So far we’re the only boat in Horta that’s not making some kind of repairs after their crossing.  So, here are the numbers of our 48 day* crossing from Miami, Florida to Horta, Azores, Portugal.

 

Day 1 – 6/12/14 –  26°.00 N  80°.02 W –  0 nautical miles

Day 2 – 6/13/14 –  27°.18 N  80°.00 W –  88 nautical miles

Day 3 – 6/14/14 –  28°.56 N  80°.01 W –  95 nautical miles – 183 total

Day 4 – 6/15/14 –  30°.33 N  79°.36 W –  115 nautical miles –  298 total

Day 5 – 6/16/14 –  30°.36 N  78°.48 W –  58 nautical miles –  356 total

Day 6 – 6/17/14 –  31°.14 N  78°.37 W –  39 nautical miles –  395 total

Day 7 – 6/18/14 –  31°.43 N  78°.01 W –  45 nautical miles –  440 total

Day 8 – 6/19/14 –  32°.00 N  77°.00 W –  59 nautical miles –  499 total

Day 9 – 6/20/14 –  31°.39 N  75°.36 W –  76 nautical miles –  574 total

Day 10 – 6/21/14 –  31°.37 N  74°.07 W –  68 nautical miles – 642 total

Day 11 – 6/22/14 –  31°.22 N  72°.24 W –  97 nautical miles –  739 total

Day 12 – 6/23/14 –  31°.21 N  70°.54 W –  80 nautical miles – 819 total

Day 13 – 6/24/14 –  31°.30N  69°.50 W –   60 nautical miles – 879 total

Day 14 – 6/25/14 –  31°.30 N  68°.44 W –  55 nautical miles – 934 total

Day 15 – 6/26/14 –  31°.34 N  67°.26 W –  70 nautical miles – 1,004 total

Day 16 – 6/27/14 –  31°.31 N  66°.05 W –  70 nautical miles –  1,074 total

Day 17 – 6/28/14 –  31°.33 N  65°.09 W –  52 nautical miles –  1,126 total

Day 18 – 6/29/14 –  32°.22 N  64°.40 W –  70 nautical miles –  1,196 total

Bermudian Break

Day 19 – 7/8/14 –  32°.22 N  64°.40 W – 0 nautical miles –  1,196 total

Day 20 – 7/9/14 –  32°.39 N  62°.43 W  - 99 nautical miles –  1, 295 total

Day 21 – 7/10/14 –  33°.04 N  61°.32 W –  68 nautical miles –  1,363 total

Day 22 – 7/11/14 –  33°.33 N  60°.29 W –  68 nautical miles –  1,431 total

Day 23 – 7/12/14 –  34°.07 N  58°.49 W –  89 nautical miles –  1,520 total

Day 24 – 7/13/14 –  34°.36 N  56°.56 W –  100 nautical miles –  1,620 total

Day 25 – 7/14/14 –  34°.59 N  55°.38 W –  68 nautical miles –  1,688 total

Day 26 – 7/15/14 –  35°.15 N  54°.37 W –  55 nautical miles –  1,743 total

Day 27 – 7/16/14 –  35°.38 N  53°.46 W –  51 nautical miles –  1,794 total

Day 28 – 7/17/14 –  36°.12 N  52°.58 W –  53 nautical miles –  1,847 total

Day 29 – 7/18/14 –  36°.50 N  51°.41 W –  74 nautical miles –  1,921 total

Day 30 – 7/19/14 –  37°.03 N  50°.39 W –  56 nautical miles –  1,975 total

Day 31 – 7/20/14 –  36°.55 N  49°.59 W –  35 nautical miles –  2,010 total

Day 32 –  7/21/14 –  36°.36 N  49°.08 W –  56 nautical miles –  2,066 total

Day 33 –  7/22/14 –  36°.03 N  47°.27 W –  86 nautical miles –  2,152 total

Day 34 –  7/23/14 –  35°.28 N  45°.03 W –  129 nautical miles –  2,281 total

Day 35 – 7/24/14 –  34°.38 N  43°.41 W –  87 nautical miles –  2,368 total

Day 36 – 7/25/14 –  34°.31 N  42°.57 W –  47 nautical miles –  2,415 total

Day 37 – 7/26/14 –  34°.10 N  42°.17 W –  44 nautical miles –  2,459 total

Day 38 – 7/27/14 –  33°.47 N  41°.00 W –  68 nautical miles –  2,527 total

Day 39 – 7/28/14 –  33°.32 N  39°.09 W –  95 nautical miles –  2,622 total

Day 40 – 7/29/14 –  33°.07 N  36°.48 W –  120 nautical miles –  2,742 total

Day 41 – 7/30/14 –  33°.08 N  34°.30 W –  117 nautical miles –  2,859 total

Day 42 – 7/31/14 –  33°.25 N  33°.27 W –  64 nautical miles –  2,923 total

Day 43 – 8/1/14 –  34°.55 N  33°.05 W –  93 nautical miles –  3,016 total

Day 44 – 8/2/14 –  35°.25 N  32°.51 W –  57 nautical miles –  3,073 total

Day 45 – 8/3/14 –  35°.54 N  31°.34 W –  87 nautical miles –  3,160 total

Day 46 – 8/4/14 –  36°.06 N  30°.55 W –  43 nautical miles –  3,203 total

Day 47 – 8/5/14 –  36°.54 N  29°.45 W –  83 nautical miles – 3,286 total

Day 48 – 8/6/14 –  38°.31 N  28°.37 W – 114 nautical miles – 3,400 total

 

Now that our Atlantic crossing is finished, at least the West to East part, I’d like to know what questions you have for us regarding it.  Anything you’re curious to know that wasn’t mentioned on the blog?  Please ask!  I’d love to put together a Q & A post about our crossing.

*In the above number I’ve added our first days out of Miami and Bermuda, although it took us 24 hours to actually gain any miles.  So technically there were only 46 days of 24 hours sailing straight.

 

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Atlantic Crossing Part II Day 48: Land Ho!!

Wednesday August 6, 2014

Faial, Azores

When I woke up this morning there were only 45 miles separating us from Horta. A very dangerous distance because it gives you just enough hope that you will in fact be there before the sun goes down, but also allows you enough leeway to completely eff it up and leave yourself at sea for another night. We had 10 hours of daylight left and would have to average 4.5 knots to make it in time. Not normally hard, but the king of ‘I won’t turn on the engine, what’s another few days out here’ has seemed to move on board sometime since the Bahamas.

Luckily for me the winds have shifted behind us and built up enough, near 20 knots, that we were just holding that 4.5 average when I came up on watch. Through my whole four hours I watched the spedometer like a hawk, and even a momentary dip down to 4.3 would result in a sharp intake of breath. I was not going to lose landfall tonight.

Just as I was beginning to go crazy near the end of my shift since the winds were now almost completely downwind of us which was causing the headsail to flop around a bit (and drop into the low 4s..gasp!), Matt woke up from his sleep shift and I quickly ordered that we raise the spinnaker pole to get our speed back. That did the trick and we were comfortably coasting at 5 knots.

All afternoon I kept my eyes glued to the horizon in front of us for any sign of land or life. Directly across from the island we’re landing at, Faial, is another island, Pico, with a volcanic peak of 2350m high. It’s said that on a clear day you can spot it from 50 M away. This unfortunately, was not a clear day. After thousands of miles of nothing but sun and clear skies, our welcome back to terra firma was presented with low lying clouds and mist ahead of us. I had been burning holes into my eyeballs staring into the reflected light, trying to be the first one to yell ‘Land ho!’ while Matt napped below, but I couldn’t make anything out through the haze.

It wasn’t until hours later when I had given up and begun my showering routine to make myself presentable to people again after a month at sea that Matt was able to pick out a shadow through the clouds. After lots of pointing and references I was able to see it too, honestly a little disappointed that this barely visible outline was my welcome back to humanity. It was land though, and we were quickly approaching it with just enough time to eek in before sunset. Although I think it’s high time we finally update our clocks to the proper time zone, a full two hours ahead of what they’re currently reading.

If anyone was even going to be there to check us in at the now revised hour of 8:30, I wanted to make sure I looked very nice and hopefully distract them from the fact that I was handing over veterinary papers for our cat, just in case we didn’t have all the right ones. Plus I was just excited to have any reason to wear something different than the pajamas I’ve been living in for the past four weeks. Now came the very important decision of what to wear for my first night in Europe. Khakis and a cable knit sweater? My llama skirt from Peru?…there were just so many choices! I had finally settled on a pair of skinny jeans, a tank and a cardigan, but Matt stared with disappointed eyes. “I thought you were going to wear a dress?” he asked. “Have you looked around?”, I replied, “It’s cold out here”. I guess a drop down into the low to mid 70′s now makes freezing weather for us, and it was more than my Caribbean geared attire could handle.

Finally I changed into a somewhat nautical themed sweater dress and applied some eyeliner before joining Matt out on deck again to watch that shadow on the horizon grow larger. We were finally getting to the point now where we could make out features on land and spot little houses and villages on the hilltop. The nearly setting sun was throwing rosy glows off the clouds, and even though I had imagined coming in to the crystal clear images splayed throughout our guidebooks, the view of Faial as we sailed in was indelible. It was just as beautiful as I could ever have imagined, and I stood there slack jawed until I remembered that we actually had to begin taking steps to get ourselves in the harbor.

Bringing down the spinnaker pole, we rolled in the genoa and coasted along with just the main for a little bit, until we were well into the channel between the two islands. As the engine was turned on and sputtered to life, we brought down the main and began running dock lines and hanging fenders. I swear, Matt and I can sail a whole ocean together and not have any arguments or communication issues until we’re landing. As I was trying to run the dock line at the bow it kept getting tangled in the wrachet straps for the dinghy, and since it wasn’t being done in a timely matter, a very impatient and agitated person was yelling at me from the cockpit until I became so flustered that I couldn’t touch anything and went to switch places instead. Since it was the only boat related spat we’d had since coming into Bermuda though, I think I’ll still consider our overall travel a success.

Faial, Azores, Portugal

Monte da Guia, Faial, Azores

Matt & Georgie coming in to Horta

Horta, Faial, Azores

Monte da Guia, Faial, Azores

Getting all the lines squared away we pulled up to the reception desk and music blasted from the main road. Unbeknownst to us, we arrived in the middle of Semana do Mar, or Sea Week. Horta’s biggest yearly event. Having read about it in our guidebook we knew that it was at the beginning of August, but we thought it only spanned one weekend and that we had already missed it. But from the sights and sounds on shore, it was still in full swing, lasting ten days instead of 3, and we could not wait to get out and partake.

Before we could go party though, ourselves and the boat needed to be checked in to Portugal. Having called many times on the radio prior to arriving and getting no response, I went to scour the office of the marina but could find no sign of life there either. Getting ourselves tied up to the fuel dock at 8:05, it looks as if we had just missed them. Our passports wouldn’t be stamped until tomorrow, allowing us one more day in a Schengen country. Darn.

We used up our last remaining hour of daylight talking to other sailors that had just come in within the past two days, many of them not faring as well as us. While we had taken a more southerly route and became trapped in the stillness of high pressure systems, most others took the northerly trade wind route and got a little bashed up along the way. We talked with one boat that had their autopilot crap out their second day out, meaning the crew of 4 had to hand steer the whole way. And to make matters worse, the halyard for their headsail broke not too long after, meaning they completed the rest of the journey with just the mainsail. Stories like that make me extremely happy we took the route we did, even if it means it took us twice as long to get there. Time we have. Money for fixing boat issues…not so much. Or at least, not that we’d be wiling to part with.

Bidding adieu to our new friends as our stomachs growled with the recognition that it had been about 8 hours since we’d last eaten, we pulled some Euros out of an ATM and went to join the throngs of people milling in the streets. One small section of park was set up with a stage playing what I’m guessing was traditional Portuguese music, and small food stands were set up all around it. Our noses guided us toward a mini doughnut stand where we happily handed over a few Euro for our first taste of fried sweet goodness in months. Continuing up the road we wandered into a tent filled with other food stands and restaurants.

Getting an eye full of this one stand that was selling huge sandwiches filled with sausage or presunto, we were sold. As Matt grabbed his sausage filled baguette and I asked for my presunto to be slathered in a creamy cheese, we ordered a few cans of Coke and went to sit with our new treasures on a wall overlooking the harbor.

Taking everything in as we enjoyed the food and the sights, I turned to Matt after about ten minutes and asked, “Does it feel strange to you to be sitting here, finally on land after 30 days, surrounded by people, and drinking a can of Coke? Do you feel as excited as you thought you would to be back on land after so long? Like this is what’s been missing from your life?”

He thought about it a second and observed, “No, not really. This is definitely nice, but it just feel like ‘Today we were at sea, now we’re on land’, easy transition, not as big of a deal as I thought it would be.” I pondered on it for a second, kind of surprised to hear myself say, “Yeah me too.” Smirking he looked over at me and asked, “So then you think you could go back out to sea for another month?” Laughing I looked back and him and replied with a resounding “Absolutely not!”.

Horta Harbor, Azores

Horta fuel dock, Azores

Horta insignia

Horta harbor at dusk, Azores

 

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Atlantic Crossing Part II Day 46: Last Days

Monday August 4, 2014

Another windless day!  And just when we were getting so close!  We’re just under 200 miles from Horta now, so I have to assume that we’ll actually be getting there sometime this week.  I’m having my heart set on Wednesday, but I have learned long long ago that getting your hopes up for a specific arrival date or time can be a very dangerous thing.  I’ll just say that if the winds swing around to the south and fill in like they’re supposed to, then just over 48 hours from now I should be sitting in a bar with a cold and well deserved beer in my hand.  In the meantime though, I have to get back to talking Georgie off a ledge.  I’m pretty sure she’s had it with this sailing crap and is about to abandon ship.

8.4.14 (3)

Georgie was getting ready to jump.  I had to talk her down.

8.4.14 (2)

At this point we’re just getting stubborn.  ’Will..not..use..engine.’

8.4.14 (1)

A Zen moment for Georgie.  ’I will never see land for the rest of my life.  I have to accept this’.

 

 

 

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Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 42 & 43: Alien Encounters

Thursday July 31, 2014

I’m not going to lie, it’s starting to get really hard (and boring, probably for all of us) for me to come up with something to put for every single day of this crossing.  So until we make landfall, I’m only going to put down things that are worth putting down.  And then hopefully, just hopefully, I can start getting pictures and stories up of what I’m assuming is amazingly beautiful Horta.

On that note though, something happened that I thought was kind of cool and noteworthy.  Today we crossed a spot on the globe where we had the exact same coordinates for latitude and longitude.  I wonder how often that happens for people?  I obviously haven’t done a lot of research on the subject, but it seems like a lot of areas covered by land (or at least the United States) are higher than 80 degrees West, meaning there is no matching latitude.  So to find numbers close enough to match pretty much means you’re going to be over water.  Maybe something random I can add to my bucket list?  Seems like a cool enough accomplishment.

matching latitude and longitude

Oh, and if you can tell from the photo, we’ve now passed the stationary gale (which has all dissipated now) and we can begin heading north and directly toward Horta again!

 

Friday August 1, 2014

There’s just something about me and night shifts and strange lights. Don’t get me wrong, that fireball I spied just a few days outside of Bermuda was probably a once in a lifetime sight that I’ll never forget and may be worth crossing the Atlantic for itself (mayb-be), but the past few nights seem to be surprising me with questionable lights amidst the dark. Yesterday morning around 2 am I was popping my head up on deck between relaxing with my podcast on the comfortable settee below to see what looked like a flashlight beam oh so briefly shine on our American flag flapping at the stern. There is nothing on the boat that could have illuminated it at that angle so brightly unless Matt decided to sneak up behind me with an actual flashlight, unnoticed by me, while I still stood on the steps. Very unlikely. As my heart quickly jumped into my throat I thought it was another boat trying to identify us, but after frantically searching the horizon and then turning to the radar, we were the only thing out there. Alien encounter? Apparently once they realized we were American it was enough to make them leave us alone.

Which brings me to this morning’s odd light. More astrological than extraterrestrial, but still startling nonetheless. It was moments into my 12-4 am shift when I was just climbing up the steps to do a cursory glance before my more in depth check that would be coming up in ten minutes (what can I say?, I like to stick to my schedule), the sky directly in front of us suddenly lit up as if the deck light had been thrown on. In the split second it took my mind to register that this shouldn’t be happening I saw a very bright greenish-white sphere fall from the sky leaving a bright trail behind it. My first thought was ‘Oh my god, it’s a flare!!’. Although from what I’ve been told, flares are red or orange and nothing else. But this was close! As in, someone must be lighting off fireworks next to our boat close. Surely it couldn’t be a meteor?

Quite startled and still not fully registering what had just happened in the two seconds it took to happen I let out an audible and nervous “Ummm….” as Matt was still settling himself into bed. Asking what was the matter I told him that I’d just seen a very bright light that looked flare-like just ahead of us, and as he raced to untangle himself from the sheets he had just slipped under, I added “But it was greenish-white”, knowing that his first thought would be that someone in a life raft was trying to alert us to their existence. By now my head was finally wrapping itself around the fact that it probably was a meteor. Just a very, very close meteor, and that there was no need to worry. Not taking any chances though, he dove into full rescue mode, not wanting to risk the possibility of missing someone out there trying to signal us. Asking me question after question of exactly where I’d seen the light, how close it was, and what kind of shape it took, he set about trying to figure out our drift and trajectory while trying to find out when and how close we’d come to the source of the light After ten minutes of more horizon scans, scrutinizing the radar, and follow up questions such as ‘If it were you, how long would you wait to set off a second flare?’, I assured him that, as amazing and unlikely as it was, I think we were just incredibly close to a meteor that happen to be falling in this vast ocean that we’re traveling. He finally relented and went back to bed as I promised to stay up there for a while longer, keeping an eye out for any more lights or loud signaling noises.

In non-astrological news, we’re continuing our path directly north as we ride the east winds before they shift east in the next day or two and force us to turn directly east instead. So close and yet so far away. I keep focusing on the miles remaining as the crow flies, wishing we could take that same direct path, trying to count down our arrival based on those numbers, but instead preparing myself for yet another day or possibly two at sea on top of my predictions because we’re forced to travel at 90 degree angles instead. The pressure is still steadily rising, now at 1022, 10 mb higher than we were 48 hours ago, and I guess I should just be grateful for having any wind at all as we make our way into yet another high pressure system.

In more exciting news, I saw another sailboat today. What??!! I honestly didn’t think that would happen until we were within 20 miles of Faial. For some reason this sight makes me extremely giddy. We’re not alone out here, the only thing under 400 ft and carrying cargo. Part of me wants to call them up on the VHF just to say hi and find out where they’re going. Possibly get a little encouragement from someone out here that’s just as crazy as us. Another voice to say, ‘Yup, we’re right there with you’. Except, knowing our luck, they’d come back with, ‘You’ve been out how long??!! We just left the states two weeks ago. You must be traveling extremely slow’. Yup, that’s a much more likely scenario. Maybe they won’t get a call after all.

Atlantic sunset

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Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 39 – 41: Put a Little Leg in It

Monday July 28, 2014

I have no idea how I would handle living in the real world again, because my time management is completely out the window. Even for the simplest things. For example, making dinner. This has been my task ever since Matt and I got married and moved into our new house to start our new life together. In the beginning the food was regrettably abysmal and not well thought out (Oh, you mean you wanted a side with your meat?), but over the years we lived in that house they had improved. And at the end, I knew how to clock each item I was cooking so that everything would finish at the same time and just as Matt was walking in the door from work.

You’d think that with all this spare time on my hands for the past two years I would have mastered the timing issue. I guess I could liken that part to the rising and falling tides. Sometimes I am a genius of cooking where my rice absorbs the last of the water at the same moment my chicken is just cooked and spiced enough, while warm and slightly crispy tortillas are sitting and waiting under a covered plate. Other times I forget that I need to cook rice until my chicken is already almost done, and where the hell are my tortillas, did I forget to buy them?!

The past few days have very much been the latter scenario. I begin preparing dinner way too late, forget to cook certain ingredients, or forget to check that we have certain items before we start. And there is no making a quick Publix run out here. Last night as I stood over the stove at 7:30, thirty minutes before I was supposed to be in bed, and I realized the mahi I had cooking on the stove had been sitting in the fridge, never having been frozen, for about thirteen days now and was definitely no longer safe to eat. Searching through the fridge for new meats that could be quickly cooked up I realized that all of those were safely tucked in the freezer. I threw my hands up and went for the pantry. A can of soup it was going to be.

*On a sad note, our little bird friend did not make it through the night.  Matt made sure to give him/her a nice little funeral at sea during his shift this morning.

7.30.14 (1)

7.30.14 (2)

 Maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much of my afternoon messing around on deck instead?

 

Tuesday July 29, 2014

So 40 days at sea is how long it takes for one to lose their mind. Or maybe it’s 22, since I guess I can’t count that stint on the way from Miami to Bermuda since we did have that sweet little interlude of rest in there. And maybe I’m not loosing my mind, maybe it’s just not functioning to it’s highest ability lately. I don’t know why or how it has not happened once until this point, but multiple times over the past few nights I’ve been comfortably sleeping in my bunk during my allotted time and all of a sudden my eyes will fly open. I’ll look over and see Matt on the settee across from me, usually reading his Kindle, and maybe it’s because he’s in the cabin with me instead of out in the cockpit, but the first thing that springs to my mind is, ‘You idiot, you’re supposed to be on watch!’. And this isn’t directed at Matt since he’s seeking the comfort of a warm and cozy seat instead of being forced out into the elements of the cockpit, but is instead directed at myself. I then fly out of my bunk, search for my glasses on the nav station, and begin bounding up the steps on the companionway to look around and make sure no boats are showing on AIS, or worse, in person.

In my feverish haste to get back to my duties, Matt will just kind of stare at me with a puzzled look on face and ask, “What the heck are you doing?”. In my embarrassment that I was ‘sleeping on the job’, I nonchalantly reply, “Um…you know…just doing one of my checks…”, to which he’ll laugh and reply, “Yeah, but you’re not on shift”. Then it will all come back to me that, yes, this is in fact my time for rest, and I slink back into my bunk until the same thing happens 90 minutes later.

 

Wednesday July 30, 2014

We may have made many, many miles south and out of our way to avoid that stationary gale that has been sitting directly in the path between us and Horta, but I guess we haven’t gotten quite far enough out of the way to not feel any effects from it. Things haven’t gotten incredibly bad, but there has been a noticeable increase in wind and waves in the past day or two. We’re averaging 5 knots of speed now, which is great, but my body is trying to get used to this new rocking back and forth motion that normally accompanies sailing but we’ve been lucky enough to barely experience on this crossing.

I should still consider myself lucky that I can move about the boat at all, considering that basically every passage we’ve made before this one has left me nailed down to the cockpit, incapable of doing much more than making it back and forth between my bunk for sleep shifts. So today as we got back to feeling the motion of the ocean, those past memories barely registered with me and I thought, ‘This would be a perfect time to make bread!’. Long story short, I was able to actually complete this task, but it was done with lots of difficulty and lots of grabbing on to different surfaces to keep myself from tumbling around. I’m just surprised I was able to do all of this without getting sick, which is nice because it means that my body might finally be adjusting to the sea, but I think I may have lots of new bruises to show for my efforts.

After pulling my freshly baked bread out of the oven and finally going back to resting on the settee, it suddenly hit me why my legs have been so sore the past few days even though I don’t remember doing anything besides sitting on my butt. It’s been all that time I’ve spent bracing myself in the galley while I cooked or did dishes. Right foot back; flex; wait. Step together; rotate; left leg to the side; brace. I’ve been getting a first class workout and haven’t even realized it.

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