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Showing posts from December, 2021

Merry Christmas!!

Ruth II is happily spending the Christmas holidays in the historical Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua. Built in the 1700's by the British Navy and home to Horatio Nelson from 1784 to 1787, this picturesque hurricane hole is now harbouring a fleet of Oysters getting ready to sail around the world!! ....but for tonight, a few bottles of champagne is as far as the plans go.. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. xx James, Amanda, Stephi and Stephan

Batten down the hatches

After our goodbye breakfast with the Kneafseys who are staying on for a while, we left St Lucia for Martinique this am. We rounded the top of Pigeon Island and headed straight into large waves and 27 knots of wind. This time we were on a close reach rather than our usual downwind sailing during the Arc so had dramatic waves coming over the boat, through the Bimini, and giving all the crew a refreshing shower! A bit of water splashing below decks so we had to close the hatch for the FIRST TIME on Ruth II!! It was a beautiful sail over. Following us were some sea gannets which quickly grew in number and soon we had up to 20 of them dive bombing around us to catch the flying fish that were jumping away from the boat. Amazing to watch them torpedo into the water and occasionally come up with a fish in their beak. Chasing a boat gives them easy pickings. Next we had a pod of dolphins jumping clear out of the water beside us! Waves and wind settled as we approached Martinique - a beautiful h

And so we have arrived !

17ish days & 2956 miles later we arrived in St Lucia  We sheepishly made our way into the very narrow approach for Rodney Bay  Marina  at 3am , Wednesday 8th Dec on to then not so sheepishly celebrate our arrival for another  3-5 hours, depending on who you might ask. Rum punch, a large bottle of Moet  & a number of heavy handed Gin & Tonics were enjoyed by all the crew who had  gone a record time without a beverage in hand  Thanks to everyone for following along! We did let the level of support get  to our heads a little bit, with talks of books, movies & licensing deals to  be awaiting our arrival in St Lucia. We look forward to retelling these stories over and over again when we  arrive home. Just today we were  sitting on the beach looking out over the  sea and it reminded us about the time we sailed across the Atlantic... (You  see how easy it is)  On behalf of the crew I'd like to thank Liam & Ruth for bringing us all on a  trip o

Day 16 - 250 miles to go ! And lots of company...

After 16 days and 2,700 miles of ocean sailed across the Atlantic in Ruth II, with only 250 miles to go to St. Lucia, we have plenty of company! There are 3 yachts also doing the ARC who all left Las Palmas with us at the same time within 5 miles of us, and a fourth non-ARC French yacht only 10 miles away! This morning we passed very close to a Finnish yacht "Another Brick" (captured on photo), there's also a Belgian yacht "Sylvia" just behind on our port side and a Croatian catamaran yacht "Jolie" just behind on our starboard side. We also keep in touch with other yachts within 100-200 miles around us with daily position and weather updates using a local SSB (shortwave band radio) net, so we can all keep up with progress, weather conditions and any issues each yacht may have, offering advice, support and help if necessary. Life on board carries on as usual with a watch roster and 3 hourly changes, daily rig and chafe (rope wear) checks, reading, eati

No need for the Sushi kit anyway ! !

With only 450 miles to go excitement is building on the boat as we turn our heads to the spring clean ! We are now at sea for 15 days had time today to reflect t on the trip so far (whilst sunbathing off watch ! ) Liam had told me food becomes so important and never a truer word ! This was an area that I knew I could help in the preparation and try and take some of the load off him and of course under his careful guidance I am happy to say I think we got the provisioning spot on . The only thing we forgot so far was the Sushi kit and as we have yet to land a tuna despite Chris's best efforts( he has lost 2 giant blue Marlin so far ) . Otherwise fresh food has lasted so well . We have all become addicted to white and red cabbage we may never return to common lettuce! Even our soft drinks lasted, rationing to one a day seemed slightly mean but it still meant we needed to stow 120 cans in the bilges . We have had delicious homemade white and brown bread made daily and endless

Prep and Vang Failure

Much about bluewater sailing is about preparation and planning. There an endless list of maintenance jobs, and spares to be specified, purchased and stored. You try to anticipate what may fail and have a backup plan. In preparation for the world rally, we carry some 1700 spares on board from split pins to a spare prop, and everything in between. Our book and chart data base has well over 600 paper charts, with two full sets of worldwide electronic charts, each independently operated. It has been a huge task getting this all together. And things still go wrong. On this crossing our Vang ( Harken ) has failed, and we have rigged a jury rig on our boom to get us to St Lucia. This is the second vang to have failed on a transatlantic crossing for us - the first ( also Harken ) failed as well although later in the trip. We are lucky that we have adequate gear to rig an alternative. We are definitely on the glide path into St Lucia. The weather is benign - 20 knots with 2 M seas beh


So, apparently it's Friday. I can tell you time is a challenge but more of that later. Big in news today was a gybe - aiming to head in a more southerly direction. The downwinds continue at about 20-25knots with occasional squalls. Current record is 38 knots the other night. Nights are great hurtling along with the wind and waves into the blackness. Very little moon light now as it wanes. Keeping time important for knowing when your watch is scheduled but otherwise its really only the night/day cycle that's important in living here. We reset 'boat time' by an hour today so officially we are now two hours behind Universal Time or GMT. (St Lucia is 4 hours behind GMT). Resetting time can be tricky as we have to agree what time to do it at - never mind what time we will have the meeting to discuss it! The days are very chill. Sails set and trimmed, we have a rolling breakfast depending on when your watch (or watches, Chris) was overnight. Clean the boat, meals


We thought that the non-sailors might be interested in knowing about the nights. Someone asked me, before we left Ireland, where would we stop at night? The answer is, there is nowhere to stop. We keep sailing! There are about 11 hours of darkness. It gets dark very suddenly as we are now down at 17* latitude. The sun sets around 19:30 (depending on whether we have kept up with the changing time zones). We have timed it to have our evening meal and tidied up before that. By day, most of us are on deck, most of the time. Through the night we have two people on deck, on watch. The watch rota continues throughout the 24 hours. There are two teams of four. Two people, one from each team, are on watch at all times. A watch period is 3 hours, followed by 6 or 9 hours off, depending on the day. The start of the watch is staggered, so one team starts 90 minutes after the other. This means, for example, that one person starts at 21:00, for a 3 hour shift til midnight, 00:00, when a team-mat

Who wants to be your next watchleader

Dear diary, The race for Ruth 2's next watchleader is really starting to heat up. The two contestants, John Cooney and Ruth Shanahan are vying for that last remaining spot with the ultimate prize on the line - One way ticket on the round the world trip! John has taken an early lead using tactics as old as time such as presenteeism and lick-arsery. However, John still doesn't really seem to understand what he's meant to be watching while "on watch" (See photo). The bookies still have Ruth as odds on favourite... Today went a little bit on the slow side. I finally made it on deck for a sunrise - no thanks to the roster (thanks Tom). Jobs before lunch began and ended with laundry - and that was the day. Steady 20-30 knots behind us from a slightly more desired direction allowing us racking up some decent miles towards whichever bar is closest to the marina in Rodney Bay Yesterday there was some murmurings of wishing the trip away. First meal back, first cocktail