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Thoughts from Back Home

It's exactly one week to the day since Ruth II returned to her home in Palma and we had a lovely little drinks party in the RCNP bar to celebrate the end of the voyage. Since then the crew have also got to their homes, in my case a cold and damp Cork City, a sharp return to reality following my successful avoidance of the Irish winter since early January. A reality that includes the fact our voyage is already mentally well in the past - there are family and friends to catch up on and jobs to be done. More than a couple of times in the last week I have had to stop and think; was I really out at sea living with total strangers for 9 weeks? Ok, there was the occasional visit to yet another exotic island but mainly the answer is a huge YES. I really was just existing day to day, on watch, off watch, eating, cleaning, reading, listening, learning, just literally sailing through life. For me at least, I loved the fact that there was no contact with the outside world once we left land. In

Final Day - Canary Island to Palma

12:00 - Wednesday 8th March Lifestyle Section. It's been an eventful 36 hours onboard since we last spoke. We are currently sailing downwind in 20 knots on our final gybe to Palma. Less than 20 nm to go now. James regularly quotes Paddy, Tom & Kieran who observed that sailing this boat means you are always flat out. Swimming, cooking, cleaning and actually sailing - it really takes it out of you. However with our arrival imminent we had to get on with it. James started by entering Par's 'Aft Deck Salon ' for a beard trim and haircut - we think he did a good job considering the boat was constantly rolling. For Par the pressure was on to catch a fish before the end of the trip, he proved himself by reeling in a sizeable Bluefin Tuna. An impressive catch but awkwardly timed as we sat down to eat Ramen for dinner. Personally I had set out to make sure I saw at least one sunrise. A helpful knock on the cabin door at 5:30 / 6:30 am this morning

Day 7 from Canaries - almost home

1400 Tuesday, March 7th  Almost there - we dropped anchor at 0400 this morning off what could be a tropical desert island.  The picture seems so appropriate, it could be many of the lovely places this yacht has visited in her relatively short life.  It's actually Formentera, very close to Ibiza, and just 75NM from Ruth II's Palma home. Normally buzzing with large powerboats and all sorts, today being a weekday, and out of season, we have it totally to ourselves.  We will be in tomorrow PG, the end for me of what has been an amazing adventure. The map is from Yellow Brick, which has the voyage trail of all the Oysters on the 22/23 World Rally, and is worthy of examination if you haven't already.  There is probably just one more post in me but it might take a week or so to gather my thoughts. So I signing out for now.  Please do check in though as Jack is going to keep the blog going.... Tom C

Day 6 from Canary Islands

This blog post is being written at 0200 - it's a lovely bright night with the moon practically full again, and I am on watch alone. Appropriately the wind has gone behind and the shipping has thinned away, at least for now.  The genoa is goose winged and the mainsail preventer is on, the engine is off - bliss.   It's exactly like Cape Town to the Doldrums for me and it is so nice. Others reading this will have their own memories of Ruth II's many passages over the past few years. She has had so many people help crew her to this point and I am sure each has their own favorite memory of a fantastic voyage. Last night sometime before midnight we passed Cabo de Gata, the SE corner of Spain and our course from here is pretty straight to Mallorca and Ruth II's home port. The picture was taken sometime in the evening of January 3rd last when I was about 35,000 feet over this spot , and 10 hours from Cape Town. It has taken a bit lo

Day 6 from Canary Islands to Palma

Monday March 6th This blog post was written at 0200 this morning. It's a lovely bright night, the moon is almost full, and I am as ever at this time on watch alone. Appropriately the wind has gone behind and the shipping has thinned away, at least for now. The genoa is goose-winged and the main preventer is on, the engine is off - bliss. It's exactly like Cape Town to the Doldrums for me and it is so nice. Others reading this will have their own memories of Ruth II's many passages over the past few years. She has had so many people help crew her to this point and I am sure each has their own favourite memory of a fantastic voyage. Last night sometime before midnight we passed Capo de Gata, the SE corner of Spain, and our course from here is pretty straight to Mallorca and Ruth II's home port of Palma. The city of Murcia hides behind the next headland. The pic was taken sometime on the evening of January 3rd last when I was about 35,000 f

Day 5 - Canary Islands to Palma

15:00 - Sunday 5th March We have arrived in the Med! A seamless passage overnight through the Straits, keeping well clear of the shipping lanes as we hopped along the southern coast passed Tangier, Morocco. Plenty of boat watching to keep us entertained (look at all the targets on our plotter!) but none of the stress we had anticipated. See James and Par keeping a close eye on the charts on approach to the Straits. This morning around 6am we crossed the traffic lanes to the northern side. We are now motoring passed Grenada and its snow capped mountains. The wind is due to fill in from behind this evening for what should hopefully be a nice sail in a straight line towards Palma. At sunrise the wildlife came out to greet us with dolphins and whales sighted frequently. A small pod of Orca's kept us alert but thankfully they kept well clear. Life Onboard - Winter is here Who would have thought that the Mediterranean in winter would be so cold. Last nights watches called

Day 4 from the Canary Islands

15:00 - Saturday 4th March The Straits of Gibraltar are within touching distance however the wind has died. We are motoring straight towards the entrance which we expect to enter tonight. Traffic has already increased, with every watch now focused on staying well clear of giant cargo ships which pass frequently. Tonight will be a busy night especially for James who will be guiding us through the busy Traffic Separation Zone as we enter the Straits. 12 hours of transiting the channel and then we will be into the Med with (hopefully!) some moderate following winds to bring us all the way to Palma. Lifestyle Update - Day 4 in the Big Brother House Crew activities remain largely unchanged with knitting needles and the splicing kit being ever present in the cockpit. The desire to catch a fish has increased as we head north - unfortunately the success rate hasn't. We also stopped in 1000m of water this morning for a swim with calm seas and the sun shining, perfect

Notes From A Newcomer - Tenerife to Palma

13:00 - Friday, 3rd March Joining a boat as a newbie, on it's last 1200nm of an around the world trip is an exciting yet daunting prospect. The last minute call to join the crew started a mad rush to make it to Tenerife before the boat departed. An opportunity too good to miss. With no idea what to expect or even what to pack I made my way to Santa Cruz. Welcomed aboard by James who quickly reassured me that I was not the first novice ocean sailor to join the boat, which he now fondly refers to as the "Ruth II Ocean Cruising Academy - for those who are considering buying a boat". There is so much to learn and soak up in the first 24 hours onboard. A run through of safety procedures, navigation equipment and how everyone likes their tea. Once settled in life quickly begins to form a routine. The day revolves around watches, excellent food by Par and the learning of new skills. Knitting is the choice of the long term crew and it's splicin

Day 3 from Canary Islands

1030 - Friday, 3rd March We are approximately half way between the northern end of the Canary Archipelago and Gibraltar, our log showing 290NM since we upped anchor at 1800 the day before yesterday. Having motor sailed in light winds and a flat sea up to dawn this morning, as I write this we have just reconnected with the NE trade winds. Right now we have the wind back on the nose with a shortish chop, hopefully not for too long. However Ruth II seems to sense that home is near, she is galloping along through it at 7.5 kts, possibly helped by the enthusiasm and racing knowledge of our latest crew addition, Jack. The Canaries stops, though brief, gave all of the crew time and space to rest and recharge - all of the ocean legs have been a minimum of a Round Ireland, and some two or three - for the first time I have begun to dream of getting to the end, and getting home. Ruth II as ever has us cocooned and comfortable, we have had some adventures, and I for one am v

Canaries Departure

Ruth II is almost back home in Palma. This morning we anchored off the tiny island of Lá Graciosa, a lovely place to stretch the legs before of last 1050NM leg to Mallorca, some 500NM into the Mediterranean. On yesterday's short 150NM trip from Santa Cruz we saw more ships than we had over the previous 5000NM, a feature that will only increase exponentially as we approach the Straights of Gibraltar. A few last photos before we depart: 1. James, our Skipper, with Ruth II at anchor this morning - a powerful yacht that it has been a privilege for me to help crew from Cape Town. 2. The rest of the crew - Jack joined us in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Par needs no introduction. 3. Leaving Santa Cruz yesterday. Most of the Canaries seem highly developed.... 4. ... but then there is our current anchorage, apparently one of the best in these Islands. 5. Right now there are final underwater boat checks underway, nicer than doing it in

Voyage Planning - it's about timing

Today should be the start of the final stage of Ruth II's journey home to the Med. All preparations are done - we are fueled, provisioned, and indeed even personally cleaned and if necessary we could now get the whole way to Palma, some 1200NM away, without stopping again.   However timing is everything - the highlighted arrow on the chart is of a possible sheltered stopping spot at La Graciosa, just N of Lanzarote and some 150NM NE of our current spot in Tenerife.  If we do stop, it will be to try to optimize our passage through the straights of Gibraltar, at the moment the grib files (weather forecast) is suggesting that a 24 hour delay might be beneficial.  We are back up to four with the arrival from Ireland of Jack last night - welcome aboard! TC

On the Subject of Food

I think it was Napoleon who said that an army matches on its stomach. There is no doubt that a well fed crew is a happy and effective crew and one of the amazing features of this voyage has been the food. We have been blessed to have some wonderful cooks on board - to the extent that some of us have gracefully withdrawn from any attempt to complete, and instead have become washing up specialists. I thought when I first came aboard in Cape Town that it would be impossible for anyone to cope with meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the one sitting - however it just happens every afternoon without fuss or drama that everyone is totally satisfied. Some pics to try to illustrate. 1. Ravioli production line in full swing. Start by making pasta yourself (no shortcuts on Ruth II) and take it from there - this particular cook-up is all in Andrew's video - the link is in the last blog post in case you missed it. 2. Pizza Day - somewhere in the South Atlanti

VIDEO - Cape Verdes to Canary Islands

Another of Andrew's lovely videos.  This one includes scenes from the galley, dolphins, and another Birthday party. From Praia to Mindelo to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Click here to watch Unfortunately this will be Andrew's last video on this voyage as he head's home by air from here. Suggest you subscribe to his channel to keep a lookout for fresh videos in the future - I have a suspicion that he could be back at sea, perhaps in his own blue water boat, before too long. Subscribe here Safe home Andrew - Ruth II will miss you and thank you for helping to bring her so far around the world.

Canaries arrival

We tied Ruth II to the marina in Santa Cruz de Tenerife early this morning.  Like the dolphins on yesterday's photo she must have sensed something was near - we did almost as much milage in the last two days as we did in the first five of the leg from Cape Verdes.  At one stage I thought we might be like Columbus and find America such was the initial dog leg to sea. After a couple of false tacks we eventually got a freeing wind, and helped by the engine we avoided falling off the edge of the ocean.  Port arrival always means bubbles and this time Ruth II really needed her bath, her deck, guardrails and anything exposed were salt encrusted after the long bouncy beat. So straight from night watches to hours of hosing and scrubbing, the boat quite properly comes first and the crew scrub later. It will be bed for me once this post sends and God knows when I will get up again.  However this is probably going to be a shortish stop. The weather

Day 6 from Cape Verdes

1530 - Friday, February 24. I am guessing that most people have heard the advice on how you eat an elephant. We have been chewing at ours since coming through the ITCZ, having the wind and currents in our faces instead of carrying us along. Anyway we have now taken some big bites, and while we are still quite a distance from the Med we are getting quite used to chewing at it. Yesterday was another day of slow progress, in fact since leaving Mindelo our average progress directly towards the Canaries was under 100NM each day until this morning. Today we feel were are flying, the sea is quite flat, the wind has backed a bit and finally we are pointing at Tenerife. All going well, another 48 hrs might see us at Santa Cruz where a full boat wash down and fresh food replenishment will be among the priorities. The last few days have been a great experience for me, in particular observing the use of navigation and weather routing systems, something that I couldn't jus