Back on Terra Firma!

Back on Terra Firma!

We made it! After a short delay to recharge ourselves, we’re back here too. Firstly a BIG thank you for all your wishes and gratulations that are still coming in to the iridium satellite powered ‘boat’ email which, out of habit, we daily power up! We won’t use that email anymore but you can of course leave your messages here under comments or at our private email and we look forward to seeing all our dear friends again soon!

Mr ST after successful transatlantic crossing.

Mr ST after successful transatlantic crossing.

We are both fine and very, very content, as are skipper Yvon and dear co-crew Edwin and Pauline. Apart from a few bruises (all of us, hitting furniture and table edges in rough weather), heavy scrapes and bashed thigh (Mrs ST falling down the trapdoor in galley), rope burns (Mr ST not wearing gloves) and deep cuts (Mr ST pierced by his fish filleting knife), we thankfully have no dramatic injuries. It’s incredible to see land in the distance after almost three weeks of nothing but water and the closer we get to the bay, to signs of civilisation and other boats, the more our spirits pick up. For all of us, the mental, physical and emotional discipline we needed to keep going could finally relax a bit and there are radiant smiles and a buzz all around the boat.

Mrs ST Last day on Quarterback

The crossing from Las Palmas to Martinique took us 18 days, a bit longer than expected but we had 15 knots of wind in the last three days which kept everything fun and exciting. The final run along the coast of Martinique was amazing with the Neel giving her best and accelerating to her new home base, hitting speeds of up to 13 knots.

Coming into Le Marin

Pauline, Edwin & Mr ST

Our first stop is the diesel dock to fill up our tank with the 260 litres we consumed and then onto the Autremer Concept dock where a small group await us with waves and hugs. Stepping off the boat onto land doesn’t feel odd at all. No giddiness or rubbery sea-legs. The strongest impression we all share is that suddenly everything is so quiet. Many of you have asked how it felt on the boat. Imagine the worst airplane turbulence you’ve experienced. Now imagine that it never stops over the course of 18 days. The bouncing, swaying, tilting and surging – that’s exactly how it felt. In the last days though, it was the constant noise – the rushing and whooshing of wind, the crashing of waves and water sloshing, ropes hitting the hull – that was hard on our nerves. Though you could expect the constant motion to be challenging, the incessant acoustic stimulation was strenuous, the sounds of sailing are so loud and they never stop. Now, at last, the noise stopped. The marina’s full of life, with people and boats coming and going but it seems like our ears are padded with cotton wool, everything sounds so quiet and calm.

We then leave Quarterback, bundle into cars to Yvon and Anne’s beautiful caribbean hilltop house for a delicious lunch of all we had been craving in the last days at sea: a big bowl of fresh green salad and barbecued Cote de Boeuf!

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Skipper Yvon & Mr ST

The rest of the afternoon is spent packing up our belongings, emptying the cabins, transporting all the leftover food and disposing of all the rubbish before heading to our small nearby hotel to rest for the next few days before we return to work. Still buzzing from our experience and so used to the lovely rocking motion in our boat cabin bed, it is hard to fall asleep and when we do, we are awoken when the alarm rings for the midnight watch!

Now a day on, we are still finding our feet. The feeling of drunken giddiness and walking on shaky ground is stronger than the first day. After a delay, its all coming out, though not sure what ”it” is; feels like a delayed case of severe jet lag.

The transatlantic crossing is undeniably a significant undertaking on many levels. We each experienced our very personal challenges in various moments and have powerful images that will remain throughout our lives.
We’re now enjoying the warm temperatures here in Martinique, the lush greenery, the air heavy with the scent of flowers, beautiful little birds visiting us on the veranda to peck at our croissant crumbs and we will spend Christmas Eve on the plane flying back home. That’s how we choose it and it makes us very happy.

We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and will be back with more photos and video before the New Year!

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Countdown to an Atlantic Crossing begins!

Countdown to an Atlantic Crossing begins!

The Plan: With a good window of weather, set off from La Rochelle on 20th November as a small crew of 4. After crossing the Bay of Biscay, head southwards for a brief stop in Madeira. Moor up in quiet harbours of Funchal or explore one of the many beautiful uninhabited islands. Next port is 300 nautical miles away so a few days sailing before coming into Las Palmas for final provisioning before the main passage and where I come on board to sail across the Atlantic ocean to Martinique.

After a short delay, the countdown begins at last for our first crossing! In the spirit of Slow Tourismo, we endeavour to rely entirely on the trade winds to travel the 4000 nautical miles in 25 to 30 days. ST factor = 10 out of 10,  at least one-way. The return journey will unfortunately be a high carbon-footprint Air Caraibe flight – we do have jobs to get back to after all!

Apart from the adventure and nautical experience, we look forward to:

  • Digital detox – no internet surfing, no email. Reading lots of books.
  • Time  – Passing. Very. Slowly. Time is irrelevant somehow. Primary focus is on the  journey and surviving, come day or night.
  • Beauty and wonder at the grandiosity of elements –  totally tacky but you do feel so humble in a boat on the ocean
  • Power of natural energy – relying on wind, the moving expanse of water, reading and responding to weather

What’s the right boat for an atlantic crossing? You can read more on the speedy trimaran in a separate post. For now its off to pack our gear and double-check those lists! Slight panic as the days race by.

Inhale. Exhale. Slow down. Only 10 days to go.