31. January 2013 · Comments Off on Trans-Atlantic Day 4 · Categories: Posts

Our position at 9am this morning was: N 22’55.691′ W 23’05.288′
Our GPS put us 2206 nm from first land sighting of Martinique.

The humans have all this gadgetry to tell them how far away from land they are.  I keep it simple and sniff the air.
Right now I have been sniffing the air regularly hoping there might be land on the horizon.
We are moving into our 5th day at sea, and this is the longest passage we have done yet.
The humans tell me that we will be at sea for another 2 or 3 weeks!  I can’t even imagine how I am going to fill each ‘rolly’ day.

They did give me some excitement yesterday when they finally caught a fish.  Tuna for dinner tonight!
Other then that they do not do a lot more then cook, eat, read, sleep and clean up.

They say we will continue a little further south before turning west.  The winds already seem to be picking up, they just want a little more north in the easterly direction of them.

If you have any questions about life at sea, feel free to put them in the comments section and Aunt Helen and Uncle Steve will send them to me to answer. I have had two questions so far.
1) Is anyone traveling with us during this crossing?
No, we left later then most of the acquaintances we met a long the way.  A few that left earlier then us are in the Cape Verdes.  Check out our links to see Lochmaire and Limbo.
2) How do you have a bath at sea?
If it is not too rough we fill the sink with a little water and use a cloth.  On rough days the pressure through the sea cock forces the plug out and you just have to rinse the cloth out.  On really, really rough days (which luckly we have not had yet) we will resort to wet wipes.

Stay safe.

Click here for larger image……..

Click on this one for larger image.,,,,,,



30. January 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: Posts

Well just another day for this sea dog.

The winds are still from the East, pushing us due West, when we want to be going South West to pick up the more constant trade winds.
We brought the port (left) side head sail over to the starboard (right) side to over lap the existing starboard head sail.  This meant that we could sail with the wind a beam (from the side) rather then a stern (from the back) so we could get a better angle South West.

It worked and you can see from our position this morning at 9am, N 24′ 48.288′  W 21′ 35.800′, that we have made some progress south.

Not a lot because the winds were lighter so we moved slower.  It was nice to have a calmer day and the humans did a little sun bathing and fishing.  Did not catch me anything.  Don’t imagine that it is still not rolly.  The rolling is just calm enough that you can move about and do a little cooking.

Speaking of cooking.  You know how stoves on boats are gimbaled (move with the tilt of the boat).  Why do they not make sinks gimbaled?  Have you ever tried to do the dishes at sea.  Even if you use the smallest amount of water it still swishes about in the skink doing nothing more then splashing up onto the counter top. Inventors get to work on this one!

We did get a good idea from friends Steve and Carol on Innamorta (add their blog link later) that left last year on the same trip.  They are just making their way back south from the Bahamas.  They suggested using large plastic water bottles as garbage cans for the crossing.  Sealed with the lid shut you can save up rubbish without the smell.  It is legal, and not largely environmentally damaging, to through organic (food) waste, glass jars and tin cans out at sea.  It is illegal and very environmentally damaging to through any plastic packaging or products into the sea.  We just fit one water bottle at a time in our garbage drawer and slip any plastic packaging in it.  Easy peasy.

Last night was very clear and the stars were amazing even with a bright moon.  It is warming up but was very humid and wet last night.  We thought we were going to see our first ship last night as a ship appeared temporarily on our AIS system.  But either they turned their signal off or the system picked up back ground noise, as the ship disappeared as quickly as it appeared.  Some fishing boats do that so you do not find their best fishing spots.  We had a beautiful sun rise and it looks to be a nice day.

We are disappointed that we have not seen any dolphins yet, but glad that the weather is fine and we are making good progress.
The fishing lines are out and hopefully we will catch something special for dinner.

Our blog provider has not been updating our SSB transmitions onto the internet.  Naughty Yacht Blogs.  Not a lot we can do at sea, so Aunt Helen and Uncle Steve, back in England, have volunteered to up date it for us all.  We will all have to really thank them, in the comments section, for their hard work over the next few weeks.

Everyone keep safe.

Double click to see progress chart full size.

Spirit Of Argo’s Progress, days 1,2 & 3

29. January 2013 · Comments Off on Trans-Atlantic Day 2 · Categories: Posts

At nine am this morning we were at W 20’21.43′ N 26’16.47′.

It was a rather ‘uneventful’ day really.
The winds shifted from NE to East.  That was not the best for a twin sail arrangement.
Twin sails prefer to sail down wind or on the quarter (that is the wind coming over one stern corner).
We did not have a ‘custom’ set of twin sails made.  We just used our new Jenny (fore sail) and our old 30 year old Jenny (that one of the humans restitched when it blew apart a few years back).  The old Jenny is larger then the new one so we stuck it on the port (left) side thinking we would get predominantly NE winds. Well we would have if we were leaving from the Cape Verde Islands instead of the Canary Islands.

Well we are in Easterly winds instead.  We are heading West, but will probably enter an area of little wind ahead, if we stay on this track.  We really need to move further south to pick up the stronger and more consistent trade winds and current.  Besides we want to end up in Martinique not Florida.

So early this morning the human’s were on a mission to try and switch the sails around.  They furled the two sails up and proceeded to  switch the boom and the spinnaker pole, and all the associated lines acting as forward and stern preventers, to opposite sides of the boat.  All in the end to figure out they could not switch the sails around with out dropping them and raising them on opposite sides of the front foil.  Opps!  So they had to move everything back again and let out both sails on one side.  Some thing they should have done, with no effort, in the first place.  Human’s!  You just can’t teach old human’s new tricks.

The winds have died down a bit and so have the waves.
We are still rolling around a bit, but we all can get about better.  This is quite important for me, as it is my responsibility to get the humans out on deck cleaning the place.  It also means they can have a bath and get the fishing lines out.  Maybe catch me some dinner.

We are heading SW now and have 2365 nm to go before my first sight of land!

29. January 2013 · Comments Off on Trans-Atlantic- Day 1 · Categories: Posts

Well gang, I can not say it has been uneventful!
A bit of gear failure, but the human’s were pushing it.
The maximum for the day was 13.5 knots down one wave….that we know of.
The topping lift for the spinnaker pole came free, when it went for a dip, and generally made a nescience of itself.
It managed to wrap itself around everything including the fore sails.
But the human’s got it sorted in the end and all is fine.

We almost missed a sea turtle during the whole ‘hub bub’.  He was a big fellow. A mixture of green and brown. We thought at first he was a log, until we were close enough to see his head and flippers.  He was just chilling out on the surface.

The ride on the boat is a little rollier then we hoped.  We are down wind sailing and the waves are tossing us side to side as they pass underneath.  Our whole world seems to tilt 30′ one side then 30′ the other.  It makes it difficult to move around the boat, cock down below and even stay on your seat in the cockpit.  We are enjoying the ‘brisk’ sailing, but hope the waves calm down a bit to make life easier.  We were warned that conditions could be like this.

At 9am this morning our position was: N 26’25.43′ W 17’51.88′.
So we are making good headway.

We will keep our eyes peeled for more wildlife out here and send you another update soon.

23. January 2013 · Comments Off on The Canary Islands: Gran Canaria-Las Palmas ‘We are stuck again!’ · Categories: Posts

Hi guys.

The human’s have had a big debate here and they have decided to skip the trip to the Cape Verde Islands.

Pros of stopping:

-breaks the trip up into smaller sails,

-safe place to repair any equipment failures,

-top up on fresh water (although you will have to pay for it),

-top up on basic fresh fruit and vegitable,

-see some spectacular islands and beaches,

-learn about the history and culture of another place.


Cons of stopping:

-lenghtens the journey to the caribbean,

-weather will determine which anchorage you can use and which islands you can visit,

-theift of anything ‘not tied down’ on the larger islands is a problem,

-some of the most protected anchorages are difficult to land a dingy anywhere so I may not get regular walks,

-might feel pressure to move on or skip islands to avoid missing good weather windows for the atlantic crossing.


It really comes down to the bad weather this season.

It has delayed us terribly.  We had planned on being here in the Canary Islands by the first of November and to have had all of December in the Cape Verdes.  It is the end of January, so we are about two months behind schedual.


But we feel we want to get over to the Caribbean before the weather windows get shorter.  We are afraid a visit to the Cape Verdes would be ‘mared. by our desire to get across the pond.  So we decided together to just go straight across.


Only trouble is we are kind of stuck here by the weather…..again.

Strong winds and rough seas are forecast for the next few days, but that is not our only problem.  The top of the foresail furler is stuck up at the top of the foil.

This has happened before.  The boat has taken a bit of a beating to get here at times and the force and shaking of the foresail foil makes the allan keys along it’s length slowly twist out.  We thought we solved the by securing them in place with ‘red gunk’, but that was over 5 years ago.

So the humans need a light wind day to go up the mask and shimmy down the foresail foil, out front, to release the foresail to the deck and re-tighten the allan keys with ‘red gunk’ again.  So far there has been only one evening when the wind has dropped enough to risk unfurling the foresail safely, and that was at midnight two nights ago, and that was when they discovered the furler was jammed.  It does not look like the strong winds will calm down until Friday or Saturday.

But that is boats for you.


The weather has been a bit of a mixed bag as we are stuck here in Las Palmas.  But we can not complain as friends we left behind in Brighton are getting snow and temperatures below 0’C !!!!!!

Uncle Steve and Aunt Helen’s boat Alligrinni snow bound in Brighton Marina on the south coast of England.

The first thing about Las Palmas that is special is the chandlers.  There are three of them here and they are geared up to have or find you anything you need for an Atlantic passage.  We used ‘google translate’ to find the translation to spanish for a 30 amp rectifier for our wind generator.  We gave the translation  to the sailes clerk who read it with a quizzical look.  Warning; google translate does not always make the best translations.  The sales clerk obviously did not understand.  ‘Do you speak English?’ he asked.  The human’s killed themselves laughing.


The second thing you will notice about Las Palmas Marina is there are a lot of ‘live aboards’ from every natiion and a lot of boats for sail.  Most are small to medium size boats and it seems people get here and stop.  It is economical to stay in Las Palmas Marina and we have met a few people that have decided to stay a season of make it their new home base.


The third thing you will notice about Las Palmas is there are a lot of ‘new age’ travellers looking to catch a lift on a boat, usually to South America.  We were approached a couple of times in Graciosa, but we have been swamped here in Las Palmas.  You feel sorry for them as many are sleeping rough on the beaches.

A fellow solo sailor was talked into interviewing of chap who was very persistant.  The solo sailor asked the traveller what experience he had.  ‘None’, he replied ‘But I will work very hard’.  ‘What will you contribute finacially to the trip’ the sailor asked.  ‘Of, I was hoping to work for my passage’ the travellor replied. ‘So’ the sailor replied ‘You want me to teach you to sail, pay for all your food and give you a place to stay on a promise you will work hard?  Does not sound like a fair deal to me!’

Many do get lifts.  Most a picked up by couples that have made it this far, but are afraid of tackling the Atlantic short handed.  I have told the human’s that I will help by taking a watch.


We have not had a chance to see too much of the city or the island yet.

But we have enjoyed the beach here and I have picked up a new trick.

I have learned to catch a frisby.

Not just off the ground.  No I am too clever for that.  I can catch it in the air!

The humans have tried to capture it on film.  But they are rubbish frisby throwers, even without the camera in hand.

Finally-the money shot

A little cooling off between catches is required

You try doing this in a fur coat and tell me you don’t need a lttle dip to cool off.

Hopefully get time to see the city and get you some shots.