We are flying towards Barbados. Sissi runs almost 6 kn most of the time. However, we cannot make it to Port St. Charles before 5 p.m., we have moored until 5:15 p.m. The official target time for the who is closest to the arrival time game is January 19, 2020, 5:15 p.m. So that's cleared up now. Now all we need is decent internet and then we can also determine the winner. That will probably happen in the next few days.
The clearing in Port St. Charles was done in 45 minutes. The people there are extremely friendly, the authorities are all in one building in three adjacent rooms. You should take enough copies of the crew list (at least 3-4 pieces), then you save yourself filling out many forms. Since you cannot stay in Port St. Charles, the port is made for yachts of more than 50 meters in length, we moved to Carlisle Bay in Bridgetown. Here we are at anchor.
We'll let ourselves go for now - for a few hours. Then Burti and Jörg come on board. Jakob has already moved to Björkö, which is also in the bay here. Jens tested the water temperature, it is very pleasant. I will not be blogging in the coming days, my fingers need a break. And the time at anchor is even more boring than the time at sea.
I still have a slight headache, somehow one of the beers didn't really survive the transport across the Atlantic. Why do I always get such beers? It couldn't have been because of the appler. That's why END OF TRANSMISSION is now.
Remaining distance: 34 nm We have 2199 miles behind us.
With the best weather and light wind we sail the last miles towards Barbados. We are spared again from squalls, instead the wind refreshes in the evening and we can turn the fridge on again. He is loaded with our anchor drinks. Our mood is euphoric. We take a final photo together in the cockpit, listen to Buena Vista Social Club at high volume and a little Harry Belafonte (Jens calls it trash).
The wind allows us one of the best times on this trip, although we were very, very slow in the first four or five hours. We learned a lot on this crossing. Some pieces of equipment have proven their worth - such as the Oskar bin for the garbage, which has taken up all our garbage from three weeks and does not smell. Or the ocean-going coffee pot holder in the cockpit, which also holds smartphones or Fanta bottles. If you can't imagine anything under “Oskar-Tonne”, you are welcome to enter the term in the search function here on the blog.
We have been seeing Barbados on the horizon for a few hours. We can hardly wait for the arrival. We are likely to be seen again on Marinetraffic. Hopefully we will be able to clarify to the authorities before 5 p.m. Whoever comes later will have to pay an overtime surcharge. If the wind doesn't let us down, we'll be on time.
19th time: 127 nm 12 o'clock position: N13 ° 21 ′ W59 ° 20 ′ 23 nautical miles to Port St. Charles in Barbados, we have 2165 miles behind us.
The last days of a multi-day sailing trip are like chewing gum. On a sailing trip of several weeks, this is much worse, the chewing gum pulls longer strings. The North Sea crossing and Biscay were each about 400 miles away, just two days to get used to the routine and two days waiting for the arrival. The distance from Lagos to Lanzarote was almost 600 miles, the distance from Tenerife to Mindelo about 900 miles. In all these cases, the last two days were the worst days, because you are almost there, but you have to stick to the routine on board. I will call the days of chewing gum these days.
We don't have 200 miles to Barbados. A ridiculous distance, the last 10 percent of the route. I sit in the cockpit and enjoy my penultimate watch. It has cooled down to 27 ° C, it feels very pleasant. The starry sky is once again sensational, the moon will only rise in four to five hours. The waves are very pleasant right now, Sissi glides almost silently through the water. Again and again I can see illuminated plankton in our bow wave, because I have switched off the complete lighting - also most of the instruments, because I don't want any artificial light around me. As a Frankfurt boy, I am not particularly familiar with the constellations, because in Frankfurt you can only see the big car. Incorrectly parked on the bike path during the day and in the sky at night in good conditions. With the help of the compass I find the Polarstern - I think. Can you still see that at 14 ° north latitude? No idea. I'm going download an app for my cell phone. It is a gift to be able to experience everything.
Yes, it is a gift. However, we have worked hard. Small bruises, bruises, strains, oven burns, abrasions and cuts are just a side issue of sailing. Another is constant fatigue, although we can all sleep enough. However, sleep is not as good as on a ship that is calmly at anchor or in the harbor. On our delicate hands, which have been hardened by computer keyboards and mice, there is now cornea, some of which has come off. We have our home remedies for constant hunger. Today Jakob baked one last onion bread, now we have run out of onions. We need a supermarket and a harbor bar.
And what does the wind do? It is getting less. As if we hadn't had enough of the little wind. There it is again, our Sissi arrival problem. Sissi drives fine until the cruise gradually draws to a close. Then it becomes slower, slower and a little bit slower.
Since we were less than 500 miles from the destination, we would like to fly the last few miles to the destination. We want to put our feet ashore, take a shower of several hours in a shower cubicle that doesn't move. We want to eat a meal with more cutlery than just a spoon without constantly holding the plate with the other hand and having to tip in sync with the ship's movements. I personally don't feel like stew anymore, but what else is not practical in the Atlantic threshold. Of course I can make a meal in several pots - cooking is easy. The serving is more complicated, usually the individual components of the food do not want to remain on the plate while you scoop from the next pot. Afterwards, eating is a huge problem. We want to sleep in our bed for one night without being flung around.
In any case, we are all looking forward to the investors beer, for which we will have sailed over 2000 miles. Sailed! I called in the weak wind yesterday that we would start the engine and be in Barbados a day earlier. But nobody wants to start the engine. We prefer to rock to our destination at the current speed of 3 knots. A matter of honor. With 5 liters of diesel across the Atlantic. Then the chewing gum days last a little longer.
Fortunately, the wind picked up a little in the morning. Jens was able to point his camera at a dolphin school for half an hour. The Watermaker is humming fresh water into the tank again. Electricity production is slowly starting up again, and around midnight we will be able to switch the refrigerator on again. Tomorrow's feeder beer must be cold.
18th time: 99 nm Position at 12 p.m .: N13 ° 24 W57 ° 12 148 nautical miles to Barbados, we have 2038 miles behind us.
Since driving from Lagos to Lanzarote, we have always had the problem that a certain screw on our wind vane loosens. At first we didn't notice it as dramatically, only when we lost the second screw did we wake up here. Unfortunately, by continually tightening these screws, we managed to pretty much destroy the associated thread. We noticed that on the last Monday of Tuesday night. I wrote an email to Peter Foerthmann in Hamburg and asked for a spare parts delivery to Frankfurt am Main, because this Friday Burti and Jörg flew there to meet us in Barbados. With an express delivery, it should be possible to get the part to Frankfurt on time.
Peter Foerthmann also responded promptly and the spare part immediately went on a trip with UPS. He even packed longer bolts that we can't lose so quickly. Jens and I were reassured because this parcel service has always worked. I was totally blown away by the invoicing. We should send some nice pictures of Sissi driving the wind vane or lying in a picturesque bay. Wow! That's what I call fast, friendly, accommodating and inexpensive service. Many thanks at this point!
Unfortunately UPS could not find the address in Frankfurt in time. Boom. Out. End of the story. We can still keep the original part functional. Let’s see how long that’s going to work. Maybe there is a locksmith on Barbados who can make us a spare part.
We continue to try to empty the Atlantic. We also pull a fat catch out of the water every time. Unfortunately, the catch is vegetarian and nobody likes to process it into a salad. For days we have been driving through gigantic fields of seaweed, which stubbornly sticks to the fishing rod in seconds. Good for the fish, stupid for our menu.
17th time: 100 nm 12 o'clock position: N14 ° 24 ′ W55 ° 57 ′ 226 nautical miles to Barbados, 1939 miles behind us.
Sissi shakes her butt twice. I'm now used to sleeping on a dancing surface, but that's too much for me. Once I fly against the right wall, once against the left wall of my bunk. New bruises are added to the bruises that I already have. I can't go back to sleep like this, I get up. At exactly the right time. I'm just putting my coffee cup on my mouth when Jens shouts "Oh, oh, oh!"
Several whales swim next to Sissi. They emerge, blow out and submerge again. You stay with us for a really long time. Sometimes we see bright spots in the water, these are whales that swim upside down and let the sun burn on their fur. A cup or two later I grab my camera and climb into the pulpit. The whales have been with us for almost 20 minutes. Maybe I'll catch you with the camera. I was lucky on the Biscay. A few minutes later I land a hit. Better than on the Biscay. Great!
Seconds later I accidentally manage to give Jakob a deep blow. He just wants to do his job well and wash the coffee dishes. Only he cannot see that I still have coffee in the pot when he wants to take the cup from me. Anyone who has ever tried to separate a pit bull from a steak can imagine what it means to separate me from my coffee.
I feel sorry for the moment the words leave my mouth. I drive him to tears, that was not wanted. 16 days of crossing and a weak wind tug at your nerves. On all our nerves. But something like that mustn't happen to me, that's poison for the mood on board. I try to apologize. We are having a clarifying discussion and I am now confident that at most a few scars that are difficult to see will remain.
I mean the saying really seriously now: Sailing is hard and hardship-rich! When three people live together on 12 square meters for several weeks, practically without privacy and without being able to stretch their feet in front of the door, it is a state of emergency for the psyche.
Last night there was pizza one last time. Now we have nothing left in the fridge that could spoil us. We stopped fishing for cheese, sausage, meat and fish. The fridge is now out. At the moment, we cannot harvest enough electricity to run it properly anyway. The wind is simply missing. However, should a fish bite, we will put the refrigerator back into operation immediately. The wind should come back on Saturday, the day after tomorrow. We stay slow for so long. We don't turn on the engine, we sail it out. I turn on the Watermaker and let it produce so much water that we can all shower extensively. At 28 ° C and just under 80% humidity, this is a short, but great pleasure.
The joint venture arrived in Barbados the night before yesterday. She first tried to clear in Bridgetown, but got no answer from there. Then they drove to Port St. Charles and were able to complete the entry formalities in an hour. It is clear to us that we will also clear in Port St. Charles. From the Grace we receive the news via the Roede Orm that they can see the Barbados lighthouse. The Björkö wants to arrive tomorrow. We are the slowest again. But we are showered very well!
After 15 days at sea I would like to write a few lines about our energy and water supply. A city is not supplied, so we call our energy supplier the "Sissiwerke", a basic supplier with horrendous tariffs and poor service that does not even appear on one of the comparison portals. Unfortunately, we cannot switch to another electricity provider. So a few lines on energy production and consumption:
First, a little comparison. Of course he limps, he has to, otherwise he wouldn't be a comparison. Everyone knows a standard household light bulb with 60 watts. If we were to operate this on the Sissi, it would have a power consumption of 5 amps. So it would consume 5 ampere-hours (Ah) in one hour or 120 Ah in a day. Before departure, I measured the power consumption of the individual devices on the Sissi last winter and came up with a consumption of 144 Ah for a normal sailing day.
In the first 14 days at sea we generated a total of 1946 Ah electrical energy. With that, the mentioned light bulb could shine for at least 16 days. However, we consumed 2124 Ah of energy in the same period, so we were not completely energy self-sufficient. We have 540 Ah in the batteries, of which 50%, i.e. 270 Ah, can be used. From this the difference between the generated and the used energy is contributed.
Wind energy A 350 watt wind generator is installed for our wind power. According to the manufacturer's data sheet, it delivers a maximum of 23 amperes, so theoretically it could generate 552 Ah every day. But it doesn't, the wind is never that strong. I have always been persuaded that a wind generator does not do much on the downwind courses that we always sail. I can only say that the wind generator is the most important pillar of the Sissi power supply, because it usually supplies electricity 24 hours a day. In total, we generated 920 Ah from wind power. For the first five days the wind was so weak that we could hardly sail. Accordingly, the wind generator generated only 165 Ah in the first five days. On normal days, it delivers around 80 to 100 Ah a day.
Solar energy Our solar power comes from four panels with a total of 400 WP (watt peak), a theoretical value that corresponds to a peak power of 33 amperes. This peak performance is of course only achieved in the manufacturer's laboratory under optimal conditions. Not if the solar panels are not optimally aligned with the sun, covered with a salt crust and partially shadowed by sails, masts, trees, radar or clouds. The solar panels provided us with 832 Ah of electricity. You have to keep in mind that the time for solar power production is between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Not much comes before and after. If the solar system charges with 15 A, we are very satisfied.
Fossil fuels Since we could not generate enough regenerative energy in the first five days, the engine had to be started on the fifth and sixth day. We have converted about 5 liters of diesel fuel into 194 Ah electrical energy.
What have we done with the energy? We operate the entire boat with the energy, i.e. the lighting, navigation computers and instruments, radar, refrigerator, waterworks and four smartphones, a tablet, two notebooks and the satellite phone.
Top consumers Fridge (1008 Ah), electronic small animal zoo made up of smartphones and laptops (336 Ah), navigation (235 Ah), watermaker (160 Ah). The remaining 207 amp hours are shared by the pressurized water pump, ship lighting, coffee grinder and other electrical devices, such as the vacuum cleaner, which are not used every day.
Water production From the 160 Ah electricity that our Watermaker used, we were able to produce 480 liters of the finest drinking water. We always keep the water tank full so that we can take a shower when we need it. Otherwise we drink the stuff by the liter, make our coffee and food with it and wash the dishes. Our water consumption is still very reasonable, because we only use about 11.5 liters of water per nose and day.
So what do we do if we have a hole in the wind power supply in the coming days? We turn off the fridge, but we still shower. The last foods that need cooling are used this evening. Then we only need it if we want cold drinks. Cola doesn't taste cold or warm, so it doesn't matter if the fridge is running. It only has to be switched on again on the last day, because we obviously need a cold feeder beer. The Sissiwerke will take care of that. By the way, the book that Jens reads in the photo uses 0 Ah.
15th time: 128 nm 12 o'clock position: N14 ° 09 ′ W52 ° 28 ′ 419 nautical miles to Barbados, we have 1723 miles behind us.
The fourteenth sea day begins no differently than the thirteenth has ended. We decide to play skat again. Before that, Jens made the fishing clear. The bait has not been in the water for a minute, then Jens is already shouting "Fish!" I can hardly believe it, the spool with the fishing line unwinds quickly. Jens jumps on the fishing rod, begins to crank and quickly realizes that he has caught a whole bunch of seaweed or algae or something. The stuff swims all around Sissi. We try another bait that can dive under the seaweed. He does this for two minutes, then the string purrs off the spool again. A real fish, Jens cranks, cranks, cranks ... Then the train on the line is gone, then the bait is gone and the fish is of course gone. Too bad. Afterwards we play skat, we can still fish tomorrow.
After dinner, Jakob and Jens disappear into their bunks quite quickly, although we have another long night tonight. We set the clock back an hour and then it's Barbados time. This is roughly estimated geographically, but at some point we have to change the clocks. So I sit alone in the cockpit, guard the ship and ponder sailing on the ocean.
What is most annoying? The waves? Loneliness? Feeling captive on the boat? The swing? The crackling? Daily duties? Round-the-clock operation? The rudimentary internet? The answer is easy. The salt. They poured so much salt into the Atlantic that it cannot be used as pasta water. You have to dilute it with fresh water. The Atlantic splashes over and over again and that is where the problem begins. Salt.
We have salt on the cockpit benches, salt on the cockpit floor, salt on the rudder, salt in the gas box, salt on the back box, salt on the cockpit roof, salt on the solar cells, salt on the deck, salt on the pods. There is salt everywhere. A thin, greasy film that is all over the ship. We are also splashed with it. Salt is in the shirt. Salt on your pants. Salt in the hair. Salt on hands. We have salt, salt, salt. I already put my water bottle on my mouth and was amazed at the salty taste. Salt in the drinking water tank? No, there was salt on my lips, salt on the thread of the bottle and salt in my beard. This salt is on my biscuit. We carry it all over the boat. Salt on the salon floor, salt on all handles, salt in the pantry, salt on the toilet pump, salt in the bath towel, salt, salt, salt.
The problem can only be mastered with fresh water. We regularly desalinate the cockpit, the salon and ourselves. The shower day is always a happy day. After a shower, I love sitting in clean, dry clothes on the desalinated cockpit bench and watching the raging Atlantic. I usually like that for two or three minutes, sometimes only for a few seconds. Then a wave crashes against the side wall, the water splashes and there is salt again everywhere.
I'll drag the salt into my bunk at some point, my bed sheet is full of salt. My pillow is full of salt. Everything is full of salt. When we cook, we probably take way too much salt. We always have the salty taste on our lips. The last chilli canned food from the Haase butcher was very tasty, but the salty taste of the chilli tasted more like hospital food. That is bad. So much salt. Small wounds that you inflict on everyday life heal pretty badly. We now know where the saying "sprinkle salt in the wounds" comes from. From salt. If something really annoys me about sailing on the ocean, it's the salt. I don't like pretzels anymore.
At night, the problem screw on the wind pilot is once again abandoned. The thread is gone. I order a spare part in Germany. Hopefully Jörg can still bring it with us when he comes to visit next weekend. Hopefully the manufacturer can deliver quickly enough and hopefully the parcel service will work within Germany. We are going to continue with the electric autopilot, we currently have no end of electricity. In daylight, I still manage a (presumably last) provisional repair the next morning. Salt is also on the wind vane.
14.Emal: 129 salt miles We will be salted at 12 noon here: N14 ° 10 ′ W50 ° 19 ′ 544 salt miles to Barbados, we have 1595 salt miles behind us.
Our 13th day at sea is routine. Morning coffee. Fresh bread, but we're slowly but surely running out of flour. Make water. Then ship inspection, the starboard upper shrouds around a bit, even though it is on the windward side. She screams for a wrench. The wind vane is inconspicuous, all screws are tight. For the first time. Take a rest. Then play skat. We forget to hang the fishing rod while skating. Jens fishes later and does not catch anything. Of course not! We all had bites while playing skat, but only when the fishing rod was outside. Have a shower. Pasta Bolognese for dinner. Take a rest. Do the washing up. Jens and Jakob go to bed, my watch begins. I pull the sail back a little because I think a sound from the rig is suspicious. The night is calm, no squall, no rain showers. I still make midnight coffee for Jakob and Jens. The next morning we drive a jibe, the want is tightened. Another throat, Success control. The noise is gone. We'll work it out again. End of the story.
We have set a record for data transmission. We emailed a picture of almost 3 MB to our sister. I started the upload around midnight and when Jens took over the watch at 4 a.m., the picture was already sent. If only the data line weren't so skinny ... what would we have a great internet life. So seafaring is only hard and hardship-rich.
And the frenzy. In the past 24 hours we had the best times we ever drove between Sao Vicente and Barbados. This also flushes us with a lot of electricity in the batteries, which we will need on Wednesday / Thursday, because then the wind should abate. Hopefully not too much, I don't want to repeat the first two driving days. I want more times like today! I took the picture of the day yesterday from the pulpit. The best place to enjoy the waves is there.
13th time: 131 nm 12 o'clock position: N14 ° 10 ′ W48 ° 09 ′ 669 nautical miles to Barbados, we have 1466 miles behind us.
After dinner we have enough. We have had enough of the waves that keep running across the ship. We have had enough of hitting the sail. We have had enough of rattling in the closets. We jibe in the hope that we can now set up a usable course towards Barbados and make a more comfortable journey. And we do it. With a constant wind between 22 and 24 knots, we are now driving a course at just under 6 kn, which sooner or later will leave us stranded on the Barbados coast. There is no panic, the stranding will only take place in a few days. Wind and waves come exactly from behind, Sissi glides over the wave crests and through the valleys, it is a real pleasure.
Since we only have a few sweet potatoes left (absolutely necessary, keep forever!), A few fresh onions and garlic, we now eat cans. Of course, that creates a problem, a garbage problem. While the organic waste is thrown into the large, blue organic bin when preparing fresh food, we cannot do that with the cans. Throwing the cans directly into our Oscar bin is also not a good thing, because the bin is then full after two or three meals. Our solution to the problem is an improvised can press that consists of our pipe wrench. We use it to flatten the cans as if they were a sheet of paper before we throw them in the bin.
As always, I have the first watch at night. In my watch, Mr. Atlantic visits the cockpit twice. Luckily, we almost never took out the bottom half of the bulkhead. It's always uncomfortable to climb over it, but it keeps the salon dry. In addition, Mr. Rainshower visits my guard twice. The wind rises to 25 to 30 knots, I have to help the wind vane a few times and then the haunt is over again. No squalls! Just a few showers. The showers are pleasantly refreshing when the outside temperature is still around 27 ° C around midnight. It can be so beautiful on the Atlantic.
I tried what I read in early circumnavigation books, namely showering in a squall. But that's not fun, it's more fun under our on-board shower. The whistling wind, the massage through the raindrops and you have to keep an eye on the wind course, that's not a shower pleasure. This is the romance of cross-country skiers of days gone by.
Dear readers of this blog, Sissi is on the home straight to Barbados. That's why I'm opening a little guessing game. What time will we arrive? Write it in the comments to this post. The date and time are required. The winner will receive a great photo that was not on the blog and shows the Atlantic in all its beauty. Anyone who has commented before, his comment will be published automatically. I can only release the other comments when we have normal internet again.
Where have we stowed fenders and mooring lines?
12.Emal: 124 nm 12 o'clock position: N14 ° 21 ′ W45 ° 56 ′ 798 nautical miles to Barbados, 1335 miles behind us.
Our course line has developed further north over the past few days. That is why we decide to jibe in the afternoon to get more towards the 13th parallel. We also don't want to lose sight of the goal. We get the news from the joint venture that with the existing wind you can easily drive along the 13th parallel and keep going in Barbados.
The jibe is a real loss of comfort. So far we have had the waves somewhat straight from behind, only occasionally there was an outlier that shook us. Now the waves come diagonally from behind and shake us through, only occasionally there is an outlier that gives us a few minutes of rest. However, we are in good spirits and watch the fish fly. We have only collected very few in the last few days, Sissi is obviously not a good landing platform.
Our internet connection is still stable, my repair with armored tape and screw glue keeps very well in the shaking, shaking and rocking. But this is not a "real" internet connection. We can send and receive email. We can also download the weather forecast. That's all. If, for example, someone is waiting for a comment on one of the blog posts to be released, that person must be patient until we have installed a usable internet line in Barbados. We cannot access WordPress from here. I will come up with something for the future.
However, we also cannot access the websites of relevant news magazines or newspapers. So we don't know what's going on in the world out there. In this regard, we are wonderfully offline. We don't really care much about the world outside. We have our own problems in our microcosm that arise every day or have been there for a long time. We have to solve them, then we will arrive safely and comfortably. Only the relatives and friends with whom we exchange emails are an important link to the outside world.
At the next opportunity, I will also install the web browser for Iridium, then we will use the brutally high speed to read news and watch the news. You should be able to download a normal daily news program in 25 hours.
We will keep the current course as long as we keep it up mentally. Then we take another jibe and hope that the ship movements will be more pleasant again. The Atlantic is below us, around us and sometimes comes on board for a visit. The Atlantic is still beautiful, blue and picturesque. I still can't get enough of this film and I don't understand my two fellow travelers who stare at their smartphones for hours and watch films from a can. I like it here and I think it could all take a few weeks longer.
11th time: 112 nm Position at 12 noon: N15 ° 07 ′ W44 ° 08 ′ 907 nautical miles to Barbados, we have 1211 miles behind us.