Friday, May 11, 2012

Three Swedish Boats Win the Rally

S/V Trillium
The crew of S/V Trillium was hopeful that we had won the Atlantic Cup Rally with the lowest engine hours and crossing the line early in the fleet. There was only one boat to steal our thunder left out at sea. When the double-handed S/V Cosmic Dancer V came in 14 hours after us, we became concerned because they had less than 20 hours of motoring. In the end, they took first place by a mere 10 minutes!

Actually, they deserved it! S/V Cosmic Dancer V is a Sweden 38 with no dodger or bimini, and a smaller engine. They had sailed from Europe, through the islands and now are heading to the USA. Their plan is to sail all the way to Chicago. We have invited Clive and Angie to stay with us when they come through Lake St. Clair. I don’t think I am hardy enough to do what they are doing in that boat. In fact, I know I am not!

Ron and Dennis
As a result, we have a great second place finish and the third place went to another Hallberg-Rassy: S/V Kia Orana, HR 39. Also in the ARC Europe, the Hallberg-Rassy 48 Emilija from Ireland made an early arrival so there may be more Hallberg-Rassys in the winners’ circle! There are nine of us that left Nanny Cay to the trip to Bermuda. Two of us are heading to the east coast on Saturday. The rest are heading to Europe.

We are sitting out a major rain storm here in St. George’s harbor. Originally we were to have left today, but now it will be a Saturday departure. There are five of us going to Hampton, VA and then to various places in the Chesapeake Bay area. 

Three others are headed to New England. The ninth boat in the Rally took a different route. They planned to go west and catch the Gulf Stream north, but they are holed up in Marsh Harbor, Bahamas now.

We can't complain about the rain since there has been no rain here for weeks. They really needed the 15 hours of downpour!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Crossing the Finish Line!

Trillium crew at the Rally dinner before the Start:
Tom F., Tom B. Sherry, Dennis & Ron
We set sail from Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI on Thursday, May 3, 2012. The Start of the Atlantic Cup Rally to Bermuda was at noon and there was very little wind. In fact, the wind was so light that it took two hours to go two miles with a asymmetrical spinnaker up! Even the two catamarans in the Rally couldn't get enough speed to move!
Putting up the gennaker just before the Start 

After two hours at the helm, I asked the Captain if we could drop the gennaker and put on the Iron Genny (i.e. motor). There is a penalty for the time motoring, but we were going to be a day getting out of Sir Francis Drake Channel! A couple of the boats turned on their engines as soon as they crossed the Start line. Since we had nearly 900 miles to go, who cares if we motor a few hours to get outside of the islands!

Trillium at the Start
              There were only nine boats in the Rally this year. The ARC Europe fleet was to leave the dock two days after the Atlantic Cup Rally. The boats ranged in size from a Discovery 55 to a Hallberg-Rassy 39. Since we have never done any racing, we don't really understand the handicapping system. We did know that we should sail and not motor everywhere possible as there is a penalty for hours motored. In the end, we came in with the least number of hours: 34 hours and 37 minutes. That should help us in the final calculations.

Ron with the first catch: Tuna
We have a great crew. Ron was constantly finding things to fix. Tom F. has great sailing skills and even dove under the boat to free the three fishing lines we managed to wrap around our prop! Tom B. kept us entertained with toys: many gadgets and he even flew a kite off the stern.

Of course, another past time while sailing is fishing. Ron caught a tuna the first day out. So they had seared tuna for lunch the next day. Since I like my protein cooked, I passed on it. We had several mahi mahi on the line, but only got on into the boat. So dinner was determined by the catch of the day.

Dennis & Tom B. with mahi mahi dinner!

We celebrated Cinco da Mayo with a Mexican dinner. We also had a "thanksgiving" dinner of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy on our final night before crossing the finish line. It is nice to have a crew that is appreciative of my cooking and menu ideas. My corn chowder was a hit with this crew as well as previous crews.

Tom B. flying a kite off the stern
Trillium really loved the winds once we got through the lulls in the Horses Latitudes. She loves a close haul so we were flying most of the time. I had to admit that I was getting tired of living on an angle! There are only so many things you can grab at one time in the galley when they are flying at you. I am bruised all around my hip area from slamming into the galley rails!

Dennis and Tom F. motoring in the Horses Latitudes
All in all, it was a great sail. Everyone had fun. It was a good race to the finish. We were racing against one catamaran who claims we beat him by 30 hours. I don't have a clue as to how he calculated it, but he was running a spread sheet and hoping that we would turn on our motor. We didn't! We were also watching him and recording their hours. We knew were only had two hours on him and were not going to give in to motoring until we heard that he had done so. I never realized how competitive we could be! It was fun!!!

Now we can have some time to clean the boat and catch up on our rest before continuing on to Hampton, VA for the final leg of the Atlantic Cup Rally.We are looking forward to another few days of good sailing. We will leave on Saturday after the storm passes through Bermuda Friday night.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Casting Off for Bermuda

Trillium is in the middle with the larger flags!
Today is the big day! We are heading north to Bermuda as part of the Atlantic Cup Rally. 
This week Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI, the World Cruising Club has brought together the boats of the Atlantic Cup Rally going to the east coast of the USA and the ARC Europe boats heading to Europe. We have met new sailing friends from everywhere: Ireland, Norway, Wales, France, Sweden, Germany, Texas, Colorado, California, etc.
We are one of four Hallberg-Rassy vessels berthed here on A Dock. Two of us are headed to the USA and the others are going to Europe, returning home after a winter of sailing across and then up and down the island chain. We plan to sail with ARC Europe next year if things go well. The Rally is such a great way to meet and make new friends from around the world.

The boats on the docks are decked out in their finest dress flags. It is quite impressive. There are six or seven Hallberg-Rassy vessels in the fleet. Four of us are together on A Dock.We don’t see many other HRs so it is fun to be together. We have essentially the same boats and all agree that our HR’s are the best!

Dennis took this photo from on top of the mast!
In the photo above, the one on our left is from Ireland and the one on the right is from Norway. Further down to the left is another one going back to the Chesapeake Bay with us. 
There are Sun Downer events each evening where we can get to know other sailors. It is fun to hear about their cruising experiences and learn a little more about them and their families. We will all rendezvous in Bermuda again before heading our separate ways. 

We come from many lands!
What does it take to make a party? Two sailors and some liquid something! Now multiply that by the 40 or so boats here and you can guess what happens. It is great fun and we will miss everyone when we return home for the summer. At least we have new contacts on the other side of the big pond!

We are expecting a slow start as the thunderstorms arrived on Wednesday afternoon and will be around for a while. There is hardly any air and it is hot and humid. The winds will be light at the start and then we will meet up with a storm coming off Florida with some big winds of 25 knots plus. That will move us right along, but it will be a wild ride in the swells. 
You can follow us on the Fleet Tracker which is located in the upper right on the Atlantic Cup page of the World Cruising Club site:
At first we thought we were going to have great winds for the first two days. Now the forecast is forecast is for light winds for a couple of days and then we will meet up with a storm coming off Florida. Hopefully we sill catch the back side of it and get good wind. Who knows! It's the weather! Always changing.

Looking down at Trillium's deck. 

We have a great crew with various skills and experiences: Captain Ron from Cincinnati (a great fix-it guy), Tom from Chicago and Tom from Richmond, VA (both are HAM operators). Trillium is one of the Net Controller boats so I will have help with the radio call-in sessions. It will be a little different having five on board so I hope my meal planning works out! It gives everyone more rest as we sail 24/7. 

Once again, it is great to be part of the World Cruising Club. Their safety standards are high and they follow the sailing rules of the "rest of the world" so we have to measure up. Good discipline. 
They make things more convenient by having the Immigration and Customs people at the docks, staff to assist in preparations and to greet us at the next port, organized events, etc.We left Tortola two days ahead of ARC Europe who will join us in Bermuda for joint events.There we will say good-bye to many we hope to see on the other side of the big pond. We plan to sail with the World Cruising Club in the future.
This is the last entry until we reach Bermuda. Hopefully the Internet connection will be better there than last year! It is very difficult uploading photos with these island connections. Until we connect again, wish us fair winds and following seas! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Time to Say Goodbye to Friends

Dennis is not the only one who has to work in tight
spaces and uncomfortable positions!
Well, here we are preparing to head back to the Chesapeake Bay. The Atlantic Cup Rally from Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI to St. George's, Bermuda is scheduled to start on May, 3, 2012. In Bermuda, we wait for a weather window and then everyone departs toward home!

We are preparing Trillium and getting the provisions organized. This time we will have a crew of five: Ron, Tom and Tom plus the two of us. Provisioning will be more challenging for me this time as I am arriving at the boat directly from a training meeting in Germany and only a three days to get everything ready.

Nirit & Chris's boat is registered in London.
It is a little like leaving summer camp here on the docks complete with sadness. We will be saying "Until we meet again!" to many sailors we have met along the way. Most likely, we will not see many of them again as we all head in different directions. Our European friends will be returning home after a year and a half of cruising in the Caribbean and the east coast of America.

Chris & Nirit on a rainy day in Nanny Cay. They were
 heading off to race in St. Thomas before leaving for
the Mediterranean and home to Israel.
We met Nirit and Chris from Israel last year when they arrived in Nanny Cay to join the 2011 Atlantic Cup. They had sailed across the Atlantic and throughout the Caribbean and were heading to New England. After a summer of east coast sailing with the fall and early winter in the southern US and Bahamas, they returned to Nanny Cay to prepare to sail back to the Mediterranean.
Nirit & Sherry saying "so long until we meet in the Med!"
 in the pouring rain at Nanny Cay. 

They are not going with a rally but on their own with a couple of other boats. (In fact, as you read this, they are probably somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic!)  I am not ready for that, but they have been sailing the Med for years!

Chris is a professional news reporter and producer so their boat blog has great videos. You can find them on YouTube if you search ccslaney. Chris has a wonderful voice and the videos are a guided tour of everywhere they have explored. Check it out.

I will stay in touch with several couples through email and following their blogs. Some of them are in the Pacific and others heading to Europe. Many are just returning to their summer home ports in the USA.

Trying to dry things out after three days of rain!
It has been a wonderful experience meeting so many nice people who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. And everyone is ready and willing to lend a hand at the dock or when a repair is needed. There truly is a "sailing community." And by being part of a rally, you have the chance to spend time getting to know one another socially.