Cubaneren & The Books in Deep Ocean Mode
Get daily updates from Cubaneren crossing the big oceans!
We are now about to start the climbing up the river in towards Brest. It will for sure feel like climbing a river because we have not timed the tide very well as we will have falling water the whole way in and can probably expect up to 5 knots of current on the narrowest passages. Hopefully we will be docked before 2200 ready for a good night sleep!
Cottee, Maren and Karl Otto
We may not have too much time to cross this Bay of Biscay. We will have quick conditions in the beginning and hopefully the whole way. If we get to Brest later than Friday evening, we may get nasty conditions. We are planning on getting there early in the afternoon. The tricky thing with crossing at this time of the year is that you have to hang on to the east of the depressions which are filling in from west. Hopefully we manage to stay east and north of this depression all the way over, so we can have the wind on the tail.
Mads has not exactly recommended us to go on this window, but as long as we are quick it should be good. With 200 NM pr. 24 hours we have a fair margin. With 180 NM pr. 24 hours we have no margin.
We found a 40 feet fishing boat out here which tells a little about the conditions here now.
Cottee, Maren and Karl Otto
The Bay of Biscay may give us some challenges. Close to our route it will be 2-3 small but very aggressive low-pressure systems. Most likely we will be just ahead of them, but we will have to make a smart decision tomorrow afternoon if we shall cross the bay directly. We have had a short chat with Mads, our weather guru today and he will give us some good advices tomorrow.
We have had some training sessions with Cottee today so she has now learnt to; Sit, sit as a teddy bear, lie down, present herself with the right paw and fetch and deliver various things we throw away. We have also had a walk around on deck.
Cottee, Maren and Karl Otto
When we started the trip towards north yesterday, we knew it was going to be rough. We did not expect it to be as bad as it turned in to, but even in 30-40 knots of wind on the nose and 4 m steep waves this ship made a fair progress between 5-6 knots. OK – occasionally it was some slamming, but not much at all and all in all it was a «happy ship» and we were satisfied with the situation. Not many boats would have managed what (In)Sana did!
On the other side – at one point, (In)Sana started to think by herself, and pretty self-destructive thoughts too. As Karl Otto and Cottee were having a nap inside an alarm started screaming! No indications on any panels, and the boat felt as before. Once on deck we discovered immediately that the garage on the transom was open. As long as the alarm was on it was not possible to close the garage, but some times it stopped for some seconds so we could close it with the buttons. We had a short discussion and turned around back to Lagos to sort out the problem.
The last time we had to turn around on a sailing trip was exactly on the same day, 5 years ago. That time we were sailing Cubaneren around the south coast of Norway from Bergen to Åsgårdstrand and got stuck in solid ice in a narrow sound, Blindleia. As the say, both on the ocean and in the mountain, turn around if the weather turns against you!
In Lagos we gave the garage an all the stuff in it a good fresh water rinse. The technichians at Hallberg Rassy called us and gave some good advices about how to disconnect the hydraulics and now we are off again with the garage closed and no opening possibilities for it either.
We have planned for laSAgNA for dinner today and are looking at two days by engine. First in headwind and later in no wind. Right now it still looks OK to cross the Bay of Biscay in a couple of days.
Cottee, Maren and Karl Otto
Postponing the departure with one day gave us an opportunity to explore a little bit of the area. We have met Arve and Jannicke Eriksen which are here with their Bestewind 50. We have had lunch and dinner together, nice conversations and we also borrowed their rental car for a trip to Sagres and the Cabo Sao Vicente. We walked around the fortress, had a look at the weather and the waves we are heading towards right now, and experienced the enormous forces from the underwater caves on the tip of the Cabo. When the big swell and waves hit the coast and fill the underwater caves with water, air is pushed vertically up 50 m where there is an opening with a vertical storm is blowing – fascinating!
A lot of new sounds and movement for Cottee, but she seems to be settling down well on board so far.
We will round the Cabo Sao Vicente in about one and a half hour. Hopefully we can obtain some positive speed over ground when we will point the bow towards north.
On Saturday we will set off from Lagos, on the Algarve coast, south in Portugal with Sana. Sana is a Hallberg Rassy 64 which is going back to Scandinavia for the summer, and we are basically going to sail as far north as we can during the eastern. We will try to keep the good old blog, which at some point will need a «rebranding» as Cubaneren still is in San Francisco with Ian, updated. If the sat communication works and we stay afloat we will give a daily report from the Iberic-Atlantic coast, The Bay of Biscay and the English Channel trough the eastern days. We are expecting a pretty cold passage, as the water temperature is about 12 degrees Celsius. It is still some days until we are there, but it looks like we will hang on to the south part of a depression across the Bay of Biscay giving us favorable wind conditions for that part. The first 2 days we are expecting to motor a lot of the time in headwind.
We are looking forward to spending some time on the big ocean again!
Maren, Karl Otto Book and the new crew Cottee (our dog)
On the way in the last 100 miles we had some nice spinnaker sailing, Code 0 sailing and in the end enough fuel to get in in no wind. Outside Farallone Islands it was whale bonanza. They were huge, probably the Blue whale, but we have to confirm that after having looked in a book that shows how they do look. One whale thought he was a spinner dolphin and took a spin in the air, creating a big splash in the landing. Two other ones did a blowout and rolled 50 m in front of Cubaneren. Yeah it was spectacular. This happened on Karl Otto`s watch, Maren got to see some frightened ducks.
We have had a fantastic reception here at San Francisco Yacht Club by Torill and Bob who also have followed us on our trip. Torill is from Stavanger but have lived in America for 38 years, Robert is form here but speaks fluid Norwegian. We have got clothes washed, been served lunch and dinner and feels like being kings!
Mvh / Best Regards
S/Y Cubaneren NOR 8620
Maren Magda and Karl Otto Book
The swell here is amazing now. It is at least 250 m between the tops and the height is impossible to say accurate but a guess on 4 m would not be way off. We don’t really notice it on board but it is fascinating to see. Tomorrow the wind from NW along the coast is going to be back and we guess the big swell is pushed in front of the wind.
We have seen whales today – big ones, but they have been busy with their own so we were not closer than 150 m. It was another sound on the blowout than from the dolphins. The dolphins are by the way around us all the time.
The breeze should begin to pick up now and we are expecting nice speed on the last stretch in towards Golden gate. We should pass under the bridge in the morning (15 hours from now). Still weekend in San Francisco though!
Good luck to our sailing league team – Åsgårdstrand in this season`s last match against the other 14 best clubs in Norway. Goal number one is to keep the second place in the total, but wouldn`t it be nice to win this weekend’s match?
Slow progress with no wind and current against us was what we had to deal with through the night and up until 1600 (local time). For the last 4 hours we have sailed with our biggest spinnaker (S2), and now that is our only alternative as we are out of fuel. The gauge for the main tank did not move for the last 3 hours before we shut the engine off but we still have probably 20 l (5 gallons) on the small extra tank so we have enough to get in to the slip.
We have got a question from Berit, Sindre and Håkon about how much garbage we have counted on our trip. This garbage patch out here is circulating around the pacific high-pressure system as that is the driving force for the ocean current. On this trip, back to the mainland we have been north of this, at least for the last half. The first 2 days after we left Hawaii was not too bad either. Day 3-8 was like doing a slalom run between the plastic. After that it has not been too bad. With bad we mean we have counted 5-10 pieces in the half hour we have had lookout, the other days we have seen 2-5 pieces. The last two days we have not seen anything. Off course it was a lot of plastic, fishing nets, buoys, bottles, Styrofoam etc when we did not have the official look out too. As mentioned earlier, during the race to Hawaii, we sailed in the middle of the garbage patch and that was bad. We haven`t seen anything like that before. We believe the North Atlantic is not as bad as this since all the countries surrounding do have garbage handling systems which probably is the problem here.
Yesterday we thought that this report was going to be the last one but it will probably be at least 30 more hours until we are docked. 190 NM to Golden gate now and light but at least sailable conditions as we have made it to the south side of the remnants of the low-pressure system that has blocked the normal wind pattern. Normal wind will be back on Friday. Thanks for all the bottle posts again, you have made us speak and discuss again! Also thanks to Jack Bauer which as entertained us during the engine hours!
Thanks for the bottle posts with updates! Bob and Torill in SF have arranged a slip for us for a couple of days in San Francisco yacht club, which will be great! Alexandra; congrats with the bronze medal, and yes, maybe we should join that «Duck kid?», which is a boat, (andunge) championship one year. It ended up in a discussion over maybe we should try a year with doing as many Norwegian championships as possible in one season. Kristine; Sounds like busy days! When it comes to the election we may have been smart to vote before the last rush from the politicians. Lucky for us maybe, we haven`t got any news from the campaigns so we have voted based on the programs, not really on the people.
The first welcoming committee, dolphins, have been around today. Otherwise it has been an indoor day with «new» 24 episodes. Pasta with peperoni and pesto for lunch.
It is on the other hand good therapy to do some lonely long crossings occasionally. No internet makes the mind work a bit better and dig up knowledge from the old days as there are no alternative. However – 14 days is the point where our minds don`t manage to dig up more.
If you have some good gossip about yourself, someone we know, someone we don`t know, a good story or whatever..! Drop us a bottle post so that our throats won`t dry up.
435 NM to Golden gate – we will have the weekend in San Francisco!
Karl Otto woke up to the smell of fantastic bakery this morning; bread, cinnamon rolls and raisin buns. maybe – but haven’t got any translation program for that last bakery. (rosinbolle – hakke google translate!). In other words – a great food day!
WHAT! Someone was just making noise on the VHF – that must mean we are not totally alone out here! 575 miles left to go, and yes, we have seen two other ships today too.
Hopefully we will have OK, or at least relatively quick sailing conditions for the rest of the trip and it looks like we will arrive in San Francisco some time on Thursday.
If you are sending us bottle post you would like to have replied, please write your e-mail address as we cannot see where they come from!
Yesterday evening we had movie session, seeing three episodes of 24. Last night we also saw two ships, the first ones in more than ten days. One of them passed only 2 miles in front of us, and after not having seen anyone in 2 weeks that almost felt as we should have changed course to have more distance between the boats.
Apart from that, not much to report today. We have had some good dialogues around selling Cubaneren, and buying another boat, and what if we do not find a buyer for Cubaneren. We have concluded that both options are good as we do have a fantastic boat. On the other hand, we are very motivated for trying to do this boat change to try something new.
697 miles to Golden Gate. Expecting the wind to veer from NE to E and then S during the night and drop. Hopefully we can glide at proper speed with our Code 0 most of the time but we are expecting to run the engine occasionally too.
Yesterday we had an impressive visitor, an Albatross. Our host for the Transpac race in Long Beach have a lot of knowledge about this animal through her engagement at the aquarium there. We hope it is OK to share that information and looks forward to seeing you at Shoreline when we are passing there in a couple of months again Jane!
The adult plumage of most of the albatrosses is usually some variation of dark upper-wing and back with white undersides.The wingspans of the largest great albatrosses are the largest of any bird, exceeding 340 cm although the other species’ wingspans are considerably smaller at no more than 1.75 m. The wings are stiff and cambered, with thickened streamlined leading edges. Albatrosses travel huge distances with two techniques used by many long-winged seabirds: dynamic soaring and slope soaring. Dynamic soaring involves repeatedly rising into wind and descending downwind, thus gaining energy from the vertical wind gradient. The only effort expended is in the turns at the top and bottom of every such loop. This maneuver allows the bird to cover almost a thousand kilometres a day without flapping its wings. Slope soaring uses the rising air on the windward side of large waves. Albatross have high glide ratios, around 22:1 to 23:1, meaning that for every metre they drop, they can travel forward 22 metres. They are aided in soaring by a shoulder-lock, a sheet of tendon that locks the wing when fully extended, allowing the wing to be kept outstretched without any muscle expenditure, a morphological adaptation they share with the giant petrels. Albatrosses range over huge areas of ocean and regularly circle the globe.Their adaptation to gliding flight makes them dependent on wind and waves, however, as their long wings are ill-suited to powered flight and most species lack the muscles and energy to undertake sustained flapping flight. Albatrosses in calm seas are forced to rest on the ocean’s surface until the wind picks up again. The North Pacific albatrosses can use a flight style known as flap-gliding, where the bird progresses by bursts of flapping followed by gliding. When taking off, albatrosses need to take a run up to allow enough air to move under the wing to provide lift.
Life is good on board and at daytime it is still shorts temperature. We have been digging out the thin wool clothing for the first time since some time in the Atlantic for the night sailing. Taco Lunch and freeze dried something for dinner today.
In Norway there is a song about «maybe the king will arrive to the party» and so on.. Maren was singing that song yesterday and although our own king unfortunately could not show, another majesty did. You were all invited by the way but last time we saw other people (or at least a ship) was on our second night after leaving Oahu. This is a pretty isolated place to have a birthday, about 1300 NM to San Francisco, 1100 NM to Honolulu and the same to the closest of the Aleutian Islands to the north west, so we do understand that it was hard to get here. So, who showed up here was the king of the sky – an Albatross. We have never seen this fantastic bird (airplane) other than on television before and he did a fly-by three times with about a half hour in between. We are saving that photo + some more facts about the bird for tomorrow.
Karl Otto made some fantastic Cinnamon rolls and they were served on the birthday present – freediving fins.
It was taco lunch today but after the cake we are not sure if it is room for dinner.
Maren says thanks for all birthday wishes and will probably not celebrate this isolated.. again!
Our progress has been good so far and we are leading the race against our 4 competitors in our routing program. Every second day we are downloading weather forecast and routing. Predictwind which we are using have 4 weather models which again give 4 different routes to sail between the waypoints we are setting. We are trying to guess (together with our weather guru back home Mads) where we can be during the next 5 days and then we ask the routing program which is the quickest route. On downwind as we are sailing now, we have used the polar diagram (theoretical speed on all wind angles and strengths) from an IMX 40 but we have tuned up the speed a little bit. We are sailing a little bit quicker than this right now and the explanation is probably that it is always a little bit more wind in reality than the forecasts. Another thing is when sailing downwind on the ocean the boat is doing more downhill than uphill.
Tomorrow it`s party day! Maren is having birthday and we are going to have cake. You are all invited we have enough. At the end of the day tomorrow we may also celebrate half the distance sailed.
The bottle post link on the blog has had some issues but is working now. We cannot see what`s going on at face before we get to normal internet connection again, this also explain our lack of interest about what is going on there.
How it works is that we are logging visible garbage to one of the sides each day for a half hour. Everything out to 60 feet (20 m) on one side of the boat which does not sound too much but in the speed of 7 knots it is 260000 m2, approximately the same as 45 soccer fields. We are doing as best as we can but the waves are high and our boat is low. Yesterday it was no wind and we see that we are probably under reporting on the normal days out here since we saw a lot more garbage in no wind. Especially the very small plastic fragments which really are the worst as the small fish eat them and after a while there is no more room for normal fish food in the stomach.. I have heard some place that if we are keeping up the same speed as today with dumping plastic it will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.
In the afternoon yesterday the wind disappeared and the engine did the job through the night. In the morning we came out on the other side and have had a quick spinnaker ride today. 15,1 knots boat speed is until now maximum and that was even with the watt&Sea hydrogenator in the water. Very good sailing conditions but the weather is now grey and we have had some squalls. Max wind speed in a squall was 33 knots and then we dropped the spinnaker for 15 minutes.
Lunch and dinner today is chicken in some kind of Indian sauce – pretty nice!
1620 miles left to go to San Fransisco.
When the sun had set he tried a couple of places before settling down. First he was going for the mast top but realized that would probably be an extremely bumpy night as we were sailing upwind in 2,5m of waves. The next place was to try to get on to the radar dome that is always horizontal. Between Panama and Costa Rica we had a guest there over the night but that was a small one. This big bird simply could not fit in the long wings between backstays and various antennas. This ended in a lot of wing flapping and what looked as an attempt on rape on our AIS antenna. Where he ended was on the bow at the pulpit. We thought that a bird living out here in the blue should have Donald Duck – swimming feet but this one had claws. After a couple of dives with the boat were the bird lifted off and came back again the wind eased off and even though it can`t have been the most comfortable ride it was definitely the only available and he stayed with us until sunrise when the fish was beginning to fly again and he could fly in to the breakfast buffet.
Life on board is now very easy as the wind has disappeared and we are motoring NE. Hopefully we will have the wind back tomorrow morning (in 10-12 hours from now) and that will be wind from behind that will hopefully give us pleasant spinnaker sailing for the next week.
Hamburgers for lunch today and cinnamon rolls for dinner. Shower, shaving and tanning the rest of the day. Could be worse!
It is just incredible how salt everything gets. Our wire lifelines are now all white, the sails have got plenty of the white stuff, mainsail up to the sail numbers. After 3 hours on the helm it is necessary to rinse face and hands with fresh water before sleeping otherwise you can`t open the eyes after 3 hours sleep.
Today we have also had some time together in the cockpit, discussing the future, plans, sailing and people. A good thing with being out here in the blue is that you get to be creative with your mind and reality check will not be before a couple of weeks anyway.
Lunch today ended up with being freeze dried Mexican something, very good so hope we have more left of that one. It will be freeze dried for dinner too, hope it won`t be the stroganoff which is not stroganoff but mushroom soup!
Still thousands of flying fish and some birds out here. Cubaneren is chasing up the flying fish so we tend to be followed by the birds for often up to a half hour as we are a good place for hunting.
Kristine has asked about what we are discussing while sailing. Today it hasn`t been too much as we have been together only in watch shift, but during lunch today we were talking a bit about the election which is coming up back home, were we have already voted, and what if the ones we have voted for are making fools of themselves just before the election day and if we have voted wrong for that reason.
We have got a couple of bottle posts (and welcome on board in San Fransisco Berit!), but we have also got an e-mail that the bottle post link does not work. Obviously, it works sometimes? We`ll send a question to our webmaster and he will look in to it. News from the mainland are very welcome!
Lunch and dinner today; rice with chicken in red curry. Pieces of pineapple will be mixed in to the dinner serving to make the portions to proper size without too much effort.
Flying fish and flying birds today as well. We have also seen a couple of jumping squids
This trip may be a bit different. Where is the Pacific high? Where it normally would be situated it is a weakening hurricane «Kenneth» messing it all a bit up. Having said that it does not look too bad as a big low pressure system is taking a trip south from Alaska during the next days. We will hang on to the outer edge of that and it should give us nice sailing wind. How the weather and temperature will be is another part of it..
The drive unit for our main autopilot shut down today. We have a backup, a small tiller pilot that steers well with the wind from the side as we have now or when using engine so no big problems. We have also picked the unit apart and together again and it`s working now. Autopilot is of course an important device when sailing doublehanded but on the other hand, we still like to hand steer and in these big waves the autopilot is steering too much to try to keep the course instead of joining the waves a bit, making the boat find the best way to go.
Animals to report today: Flying fish and birds. No turtles or whales.
We are close to have been sailing straight north for 24 hours. The wind is as predicted, and will be tomorrow too so more about that then. Even though the water is splashing over the boat rather often we are not complaining about the temperature. The sun lotion is in use on places that has not seen the sun too much before. (no pictures)
Dinner yesterday, lunch and dinner today was a pasta bolognaise prepared before we left but now it`s finished. Will be exciting to see what (if) we can cook anything tomorrow – or it will be back to the freeze dried already on day 2!