Velvet Lady is now in Ijmuiden

This is our route for Summer 2012.  We have just completed the first leg (purple line) from Plymouth to Ijmuiden.  We had an interesting thrash, as we beat to windward in a Force 6 with lots of ships and not much visibility!

Lucky for us, once we arrived in Holland, the sun came out and Richard and I have spent the past few days living in shorts and t shirts, doing jobs and even managing a day off in Amsterdam.  We are ready now for the next two milebuilding  legs, yellow to Oslo and then blue to Copenhagen.  We take a bit of a breather in Copenhagen, and instead on focusing on mileage, we will spent July cruising amongst the islands in the Danish Archipelago.(Green area)  Steeped in history there are many stunning castles and viking museums to visit as well as pretty anchorages to relax in.  Apologies for the brief blog, the internet connection is at best dodgy! and we are hoping it will be better in Oslo.
The weather in Denmark looks to be great in the coming weeks and we are looking forward to our summer – why not join us for some fantastic sailing in this Viking land!

Wild and Bumpy passage from Azores to Plymouth

Well we bill the Azores to Plymouth as the roughest toughest passage we do and we were not to be disappointed!  We are now back in Plymouth and tidying up from one of the most extreme passages I have ever done.  Those of you who follow the weather forecasts will know that all of last week it continued to blow harder and harder in the North Atlantic.

Early on Monday morning, 23rd April, I wrote wild and bumpy in the comments passage of the log book as the wind strength increased from the forecast Force 8, to Force 9 and then Force 10.  Luckily the analogue wind meter in the cockpit stops at 50 so we could not watch as it reached 55 knots but Martin sitting down below saw the meter read 64 knots true.  This immediately reminded me of my days in the Challenge Business, and a clip on U tube called ‘I had a hurricane for breakfast’ well as it appears so did we.

Velvet Lady as usual was perfectly well behaved and relentlessly carried us up and over the ever growing sea state.  We deliberately slowed down to miss the worst!! of the weather system and stay in deeper water.  We were nearly home, only 250 miles SW of Lizard point, and really looking forward to getting in before the next blow started.  At 11 am a phenomenally big wave, finally got the better of us, and as well as getting a lot of water down below it  tore the mainsail, washed away the sprayhood and washed away the starboard liferaft.  Everyone on deck were safely tethered on and I gripped the wheel so much that it bent!

Needless to say, this has given us a bit of a long jobs list for our 2 weeks in Plymouth.  All the repair work is in hand and a new liferaft ordered.  Some of the cleaning is taking a bit longer.  Today we are sending all the saloon cushions away to be professionally cleaned and we have already used 6 machines washing oilskins. Next up is the bedding so I will keep this blog short.

We have 2 more weeks and we will be ready to set off for Denmark in time.  The books and charts are here and already I am studying them.  Whilst we cannot guarantee sun for the summer, we can promise cruising in sheltered waters and no night sailing.  The nights we will spend at anchor in peaceful anchorages or alongside in bustling towns.  it will be a bit of relief from the Wild and Bumpy Atlantic Ocean.  There is still time and space to join us!