Thursday, January 28, 2016

Half Way House

Hi Everybody,

January 28th about 1300Z and we're about half way to St. Lucia depending on how you want to look at the possibilities. Distance? Time enroute? 1455 nautical miles under the keel so far. Anyway, we're making good progress in less than completely comfortable conditions. That translates as roll, roll, roll and it hasn't stopped for about four days now. The forecasts call for another day, maybe two, of these strong ENE trade winds with a mixed 6-10 swell from the east through the north, thus the rolling conditions. We've been making about 170 miles per day under the main alone with a single reef. Haven't flown a headsail in days. Come Saturday its supposed to start quieting down and wind is to vear around to being directly out of the east. Hopefully we can make as good a speed with more sail in more comfort. It has gotten warmer and we're not wearing fleece jackets much now. Nothing new has broken, wait a second, we had a winch handle get broken off during our jibe to port this morning. That after being about as careful as possible. There's a lot of power once that boom starts coming across in these conditions.

So we've got plenty of food and water and we're warm and dry. For what more can we ask? Actually………oh well. With a little luck we'll be in port by the eighth or ninth of February.

Love to all,
Bill, Bill, Dan and Booth

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Enroute to St. Lucia, #1

Its a mildly boisterous afternoon in the southeastern North Atlantic. Clear sky, winds ENE 15-20 knots and seas running 6-8 feet from the northeast with a very long duration low rolling swell from the north. We're doing an easy 6.5-7.5 knots under a single reef in the main and about half the genoa, broad reaching on starboard tack heading about 270 degrees true. We're about 150 miles NW of the Cape Verde Islands and had to use this common "southern route" because of the current location of the trade winds. The old saying "head south till the butter melts and turn west" is working for us.

We departed Pasito Blanco at 1200Z on the 19th as planned and things have gone very well. No one has been the slightest sea sick. Dan has been cooking up some great meals and the BS sessions began on departure and have only quit for sleep and food. We have all flown together so long and know so many of the same folks and all have enough history that the stories may very well last the next two weeks till this little jaunt is completed.

The boat is holding up pretty well so far. We did lose a mainsail batten. The retaining pocket velcro came loose. First time that's ever happened with these sails. A mainsail mast car also broke, another first, and the first failure of any kind we've had from this Selden rig in more than 25000 miles. No complaints. My main worry is that these old UK Halsey sails may finally give up. They also have more than 25000 miles on them. Please sails, stay in one piece until we get to St. Lucia.

This blog post is being made via HF radio and Sailmail. Because about the fastest speed we're likely to get is roughly 6000 BITES PER MINUTE there are no photos and updates will be brief. Please follow our progress on the Pangolin Yotreps website as described in the previous post. Presently, 1643Z, our position is: 19.12N, 25.14W.

So all is well. We're reasonably comfortable and very well fed. Wish us luck!

Love to all,
Bill Wickman, Dan Strehlow, Booth Devitt and Bill Norton

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Atlantic Crossing: Preparation

 Ahoy sports fans,

I'm back. Janet will pass on this little voyage and join me on arrival. Tomorrow, the 19th, if all continues to go well we will depart Pasito Blanco Marina on Grand Canary Island to begin the Atlantic crossing bound for St. Lucia.
Prepare to launch!
The boat was in good condition after sitting on the hard since we left in September. Launch went well and most boat jobs have been completed. My buddies who will act as crew, Bill Norton, Dan Strehlow and Booth DeVitt arrived yesterday as scheduled. I’ve been friends and flown with Bill and Dan for forty years and Booth for nearly twenty. They did the New Zealand to Fiji passage with me in 2009 and we attempted the Indian Ocean trip but were stymied by lack of wind. Bill did the passage down here from Gibraltar with Janet and me. So these guys are great friends and experienced crew. The weather looks to be shaping up nicely. We have every hope for a nice passage of about eighteen days.
Same bunch that left New Zealand in 2009
You can follow our progress on the Pangolin “Yotreps” website at:   This site will give you a list of boats reporting a position. Just scroll down to KI6IKE (our HAM call sign) Airstream and click on ‘track’ and it will show our latest reported position and track. We’ll try to update daily. I’ll also be updating the blog via HF radio but since the email capacity of HF is very limited the updates will be very short, no photos, and there will be no email update notifications sent out. Just check occasionally if you’re interested. I’ll fill in with with photos, etc, after arrival in St. Lucia.

So please wish us a bon voyage.  For now, its just us smelly old guys out to have a pleasant (we hope) adventure.

Love to all,
Bill & Janet, and Booth, Danny and Bill