Many will know Robin (former club Treasurer) and Chris Upton, regular Clubhouse Friday nighters (until Covid-19 struck)
Their son Tim, his wife, Gisela , and two small children Chloe 4, and Finley 2 have bought a Discovery 55 and are en route from Gran Canaria to St Maartin, they set off on the 9th March, there follows a daily blog from the yacht.
All ok here, a very rough first day yesterday once we were away from Gran Canaria!
We were hit with 35 – 40 kts and 3-4metres seas for about 12 or so hours!
It was a a good test but we would have preferred it a few days in!
The kids and boat handled it amazingly, all 3 were a bit green but bounced back and everyone slept in the lounge as it was very rolling.
It is much better today so we will catch up on sleep!
You don’t have to keep this as a group email it was just to let you know the address and that we are all well.Sending lots of love and look forward to hearing news from everyone!Problems So far –
our toilet won’t stop filling after flushing so has been turned off (Nico I may need some help on this one!)
The jib furler has stopped working. I. At have to change the belt.At least we have 2 toilets and 2 forward sails!
It’s 4pm and the kids are watching a show and Tim is trying to get some sleep.
We are slowly starting to get back to normality after our baptism of fire on departure day. All signs of seasickness are gone and the kids slept well in their bunks last night even though they begged us to sleep in the salon again. So it seems like they are enjoying the adventure. Today they spotted a big pod of dolphins that showed off their jumps and spins to everyone’s delight.
Tim and I are getting to grips with the boat. She sails like a dream and we are loving her more every day. The weather has improved slightly, wind is consistently 20-25kts and the seas have dropped to under 3m thank god. It is sunny and at night the stars are competing with the phosphorescence in brightness. There is still a bit of a chill in the air and we are getting our money’s worth out of our foul weather gear! I am just wishing I had got the boots too! But Tim has been kind enough to share.
Problems to solve:
1. Toilet still not working
2. Generator shut down on start up and we have to troubleshoot but are waiting for some calmer conditions before we tackle it. So in the meantime we have to watch our water consumption as the water maker runs on the generator. We are down to one tank of water. Hopefully will get it sorted tonight.
1. Jibsheet furler – Tim replaced the belt which had completely disintegrated (probably 10 years old!) Working fine now so we can attempt to goose wing the headsails next. I’m sure some of you will have NO CLUE what I just said!
Sorry if some of you were worried about us, we only just managed to sort out the email again and I couldn’t look at a keyboard until now anyway! Also, it can happen that our email sends but doesn’t arrive. Nico, I did give you guys the wrong email address, but I was only following orders. Glad we have the comms sorted now.
I have just filled in the logbook at midnight on Friday and we have sailed 593 miles so far. We are less than 200 miles from our first waypoint where we will change course to head west for the rest of the trip.
Thanks for all the messages from home, it is so nice to hear from each one and quite strange to be communicating in such a slow way after being so used to instant access. So it makes it even more exciting to download our emails once a day and see who has responded, no pressure!
We have had a lovely day sailing today, the swell has finally started to lengthen into that nice Atlantic roll and that has made life so much more pleasant for us. Even Finley commented when a big roll made him stumble – Weee, we are sailing! The wind is lightening too, but we are still maintaining speed with some clever sail changes. Today we poled out the jib, which took us over an hour to figure out, but the change it has made is noticeably and we were quite happy with ourselves!
The kids have been busy all day with their new magnetic blocks that were meant to be a Christmas present but finally made it to us in the Canaries just before we left, thanks Chris! They were also so busy playing cats that even a pod of dolphins couldn’t distract them. So far we have had them visit us every day at least once. When I called down to announce their arrival the second time today, I heard a cabinet door slam and feet running which is usually a sign of some mischief. Tim went down to check and Chloe had woken Finley with a tube of Smarties and a slab of Lindt chocolate which they had demolished in his bed. Needless to say there were some sore tummies after that.
Tim has been very busy today fixing things and trying to fix things. He also decided it was time to have a shower, albeit a 30sec one, and it made all the difference!
1. Toilet working again woohoo!
2. Figured out how the sail poling system works
Problems to solve:
1. Generator – after two attempts which involve first taking a bit of the boat apart to get to it, Tim has had some successes where he managed to get it running again. But after a few minutes died again. He is working on it with Nico and we are positive we can find the problem.
2. How to catch a fish. The first step will be to put the line in the water, I think we are ready for that now so watch this space…
Lots of love from
The Salty Finches
Days at sea: 5
Miles sailed: 679
Average speed: 7.07kts
Ships spotted: 2Hi everyone,The butter has melted!When crossing the Atlantic from Europe, sailors would sail south until the butter melted and then turn west as they were now able to catch the trade winds which would take them to the West Indies. We reached our waypoint today at noon and actually had some butter on the table for lunch and it was quite soft by the time we made our turn. We are now steering 271 degrees, just about due west, and will be for the next 1900 miles. We have goose winged our headsails and put the mainsail to bed for now and are still maintaining 7+ knots in 15-17 knots of breeze.The temperature has definitely changed and we are hardly wearing warm clothes anymore, just a jumper on night watch. The water temperature has also gone up 1.5 degrees. Everything is a lot more humid and yesterday the whole boat was covered in red Saharan sand. An interesting phenomenon, but makes a real mess of everything!We landed our first fish, but don’t get excited as it was only a kamikaze flying fish. We did get the rod out and it was quite a spectacle. Peter would’ve had a real good chuckle at us. Tim let out some line and was trying to reel it back in, but instead of the line coming in he was reeling more out!?! After having a look I discovered the problem and also showed Tim he was holding the rod upside down. Anyway we think we have it sorted now, so another lesson learned today.The generator is still an ongoing job. Tim was at it again tonight after the kids were in bed. He is painstakingly going through all the possible causes, but it is a slow process as he can only get to it at night when everyone is out of the way and the space he has to work in is as tight as a Jew’s purse strings. He has bruises in interesting places.But we are coming up with ways to save water – my dishwashing station is now on the bow where there is a salt water hose with high pressure. No soap needed, just spray and enjoy the view! We had a three man shower tonight and the kids seem to be getting used to less showers as Chloe announced she was quite clean already before we got in. We have the capability to fill our water tanks from the scuppers (drains) if it rains heavily. Not sure if we will manage that as we will need quite a lot of it to first rinse the boat of all the crusty salt and Saharan sand!Problems solved:
1. Fishing rod is now ready for action
2. Everyone has had a shower in the last two daysProblems to solve:
1. Generator ongoing
The Salty Finches
Days at sea: 6
Miles sailed: 971
Ships spotted: 3Hi and thanks for all the replies!Last night we changed the clock for the first of five changes which we will spread out over the trip. This meant that the kids were up at their normal 7am which is the new 6am, so Tim had them in the cockpit on his watch and they all watched the sunrise and were then greeted by dolphins – not a bad start to your day.Today we had one of our best days sailing with a bit stronger winds which meant the goose winged setup was working superbly. When you are up on the bow it really feels like you are flying. We received an updated weather report and they have suggested we go south a bit more to avoid a weather system on our previous track. So we gybed and this time it took us less than an hour to change the sail setup, small victories! New heading is 251 degrees.After lunch Tim got the Atlantic Ocean chart out to show Chloe where we were going and to plot our position. He was quite thrown aback when, before he could say anything, she pointed to the Canary Islands and said – There is Gran Canaria, its the one that’s round like a ball. She proved to be an eager student and he showed her how to walk the dividers. They plotted our position and drew a little sailboat next to it. Of course Finley then also wanted to scribble all over the chart and Tim had to keep his composure while trying to wrestle the pencil from him. We managed to distract him with some food.Elisabeth has asked how our watch system is working. As you all know we wanted to sail with another couple to help with the watches in case it was hard work with the kids. The reality is that it is working really well with just us two. It took four days to adjust, but that is the same for any crossing – your body needs some time to get used to the new routine. And as any parent knows, you are already prepared for the lack of sleep!
So now we are each managing to get 7hrs of sleep on the following night watch schedule.Tim 7-11pm
Tim 3am-7amTim will give the kids breakfast and do a few things in the morning and then get at least 2 hours sleep before lunch and another nap before dinner.
Gisela has a nap after lunch and about two hours before night watch. Sounds like a lot of sleeping 😀 So we are managing fine and the kids have been so great, playing together and not wanting much entertaining. They are doing lots of painting and drawing, building tents, practising headstands and somersaults on the couch and are really happy little sailors right now.Problems solved:
1. After a good rinse, with saltwater of course, Salty Finch is no longer sandy.Problems to solve:
1. Generator ongoing – Tim exchanged a fuel pump which was completely rusty and not wired correctly and now needs to get the generator primed. Nico is providing 24 hr assistance and moral support.
Ok that’s it for today, lots of love from us four