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Sailing the Atlantic

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I say 'yes' too often? 

I sailed the Atlantic last month: Nov 21st to Dec 14th. Home on the 19th and five more days to recover; I was 'land sick'. They don't tell you about that one sad The world slewed about whenever I got up. I reached out to grab things as if I was still onboard.

Ximera, pronounced 'Shimera' is quite a vessel: 58ft with a mast 25m high. Made in Germany then sailed by the owners (brothers who split the ownership 95/5%) to England, then around to Barcelona- I joined her from Gibraltar last year for a week.

Unable or unwilling to sail her for longer I joined Ximera in Gran Canaria towards the end of November. Two days prep then we sailed for Cape Verde.

It blew hard without hesitation. We sailed 8 or 9 nautical miles an hour, 200nm a day in a Force 5 with gusts of 25 knots. This impressed the two guys who had sailed the Atlantic 9 and 12 times before. I was seasick for a few hours: pitiful but it went. Just as well the swell was 3m and we bounced and lurched all of the way no matter how much sail we put up.

We are six: two have 40 years each of ocean sailing and multiple Atlantic crossings. The others have sailed since birth around the UK or Med. I feel like a passenger as I have at most 20 weeks of 'leisure' motorsailing and dinghy racing experience. I have responsibilities though: the inventory and cooking. I am made the 'quartermaster'.

Then three days in Cape Verde, in the only Marina 'Mindelo'. A crew change and onwards across the Atlantic to Barbados.

With six of us the 'watch' in pairs runs as follows: 06h00 to 10h00, 10h00 to 14h00 and 14h00 to 18h00 then overnight 18h00 to 21h00, 21h00 to 24h00, 24h00 to 03h00 and 03h00 to 06h00.

I learnt a good deal about people, about me, about teamwork and tolerance, about learning too. And I pushed my capacity to sleep anywhere - with the noise, sometimes violent movement and increasing heat and humidity. Half way across the Atlantic we went around in shorts and slept on towels - or didn't sleep at all. By the end of it I just collapsed and slept for 12 hours at one stage: we all did. Sailing through the night with powerful squalls damaged the kit and we came into Port St Charles minus the gib and geneker - both out of action from excessive gusts.

And I read three books (I review histories of the First World War), and I read five novels (the Poldatk series, nothing but light escapism after the first week) ... And we cooked our way through some memorable meals. 





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The experience will never leave you.  Sailing a small yacht across an ocean leaves indelible marks on the character, everything else fades.  Discovering you'll eat anything when hungry and sleep anywhere when tired.  Good, isn't it?



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Way to go Jonathan! ☺
Design Museum

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Well, I'm restless for sure. Sitting still and going nowhere doesn't seem the same. We ate very well and could have kept going on what we had for another week or so - I made sure of that. Paella the night before we got into Port St Charles and we had only just got through the last of the spuds.

'It'll change you' they said.

I get onto or by the  sea most days. 

Next up Antigua Sailing Week and bringing Ximera back via Bermuda and the Azores.