Beautiful, just beautiful. 1307 nautical miles in 9 days. We have just had a fantastic trip home to Plymouth from the Azores. A good mix of wind direction, sunshine, moonshine, starry nights, and occasional rain. The sailing was varied, close hauled, close reaching, beam reaching,broad reaching and some motor sailing. Whales, dolphins, birds, the occasional turtle and even a squid joined us on our journey. Fantastic sunrises and sunsets in the early part of the trip, dramatic clouds in the second part. We saw a few fishing boats, lots of ships, 2 yachts, 2 naval vessels and even on arrival in Plymouth a submarine. What an adventure.
After the gales and big winds of our passage home last year, and also the passage from Madeira to the Azores we had watched the weather forecast with interest. Where was the Azores High, in fact, would there be an Azores High.
The guys in the marina in Ponta Delgada informed me that it was the worst winter they have ever had with never ending wind and rain. Sure enough, the weather maps suggested that the first 3 days of our trip would be 6m waves and high winds. It didnt take much to decide that we were not going to leave until after the very low pressure of 949 had passed. We waited 3 days in port, a great chance for our ocean yachtmaster candidated to find their way thoroughly around the boat and also have time to hire a car and visit some of the sights of the island. It was bright and sunny when we left and little did we know that our main worry on this trip would be making sure we had enough diesel to get to Plymouth. Yes, the Azores High was finally here, we were in the centre of it, and it moved with us towards the English Channel..
We allow extra days on all of our trips to be certain that we do not have to go in a bad weather forecast – and also to allow for bad weather during or at the end of a trip. We also have to set a minimum speed in light airs to make sure that we reach our destination on time – or very close. When we decided to wait out the gales, we were all aware that this might make us late back in Plymouth. Better safe and late though than being caught out in horrid weather. As it happened, once we left there was no more horrid weather and we were perfectly on time after spending 2 days motoring in light winds. After fantastic hot showers in Mayflower Marina, Jolly Jacks was a perfect venue for a welcome drink and meal to celebrate.
Now we are in Plymouth preparing for our milebuilding trip north to Oban on route to Norway, 2 spaces available if you fancy a sail up through the Irish Sea – should be fun. Only a few places left in Norway, so if you want to join us book soon.