05 Jun 2012 depart St. Martin 05 Jul 2012 arrive Santa Maria Azores 2490 miles.

Weather sucks! You’d think it wouldn’t be so much to ask from the weather gods for a crossing with 15 knots of steady quartering wind on a flat sea under a sunny sky. But I guess that the gods pay little attention to me any more. Another French bridge departure and the Scrub Island Exit out into clear water. Short, hard squalls are the dogs that greet me at the gate. I’ve bought a new set of sails while in St. Martin, main, jib, and staysail. Already they are getting a workout. But three days of long naps and movies made for a good start with 4’s and 5’s out of the east and southeast. The winds have come down to 3’s and I can make pancakes. I’ve acquired the Tres Orvilles. Frontal shifts are starting to bring clouds and some rain. Middle of the night on the 9th a mayday call from a yacht in my area brought the radio chatter to life. Three ships around me responded and I kept a close watch myself until the cancelation was called. In the middle of it all, the ship ‘Loncamilla’ came within 2 miles of my position (24N 59W) to ask if I was the yacht needing help. I never heard the outcome for the distressed yacht. Thunder and lightning the next day. Spares in the oven. Wind and rain in squalls and a lot of water strikes around me. Now 24 hours of lightning around me and the passing squalls have lumped the sea. Winds coming down to 3’s and 4’s and no sign of the Orvilles. Wefax predictions have placed some gale strength lows to the north of me, so I’m keeping a more east north east course for now with a wind from the south. Wind still light. Now one of the lows up north has moved my direction and given me a bit more wind. I see one of the Orvilles is still with me. Good Sunday breakfast (no, not Orville!). Wind’s down to 2. Jul 18 and less than 1000 miles to go for Flores. One of the lows up north has formed into Tropical Storm Chris, this sucks!  But the wind has built to force 5 and veered to the southwest. I have to stay south of Chris so I’m heading due east for a while. 23 Jun and the wind has built to a force 8 gale with total cloud cover and some rain. Orville’s gone. But Chris is moving off and by the 29th the wind is down to 5 again with a little blue sky here and there. Very sloppy with the wind dropping. Over the next two days, the wind stays in the 4’s and 5’s but first comes west and then around to the northwest. This looks better (hold that thought). Now the wind is coming lighter and veering to the north and finally northeast force 4. I’m headed more or less east. Flores is 200 miles northeast of me but I’m not going to tack up there. Maybe the wind will change and I can lay one of the other islands. Horta now lays 120 miles north north west of me but the wind has dropped into the 1’s and 2’s, still northeast.  By Jun 2 the wind’s back in the 4 range but still out of the northeast and if i keep hard on a port tack I can just lay Santa Maria. 2 more days hard on the northeast wind under a partly blue sky and a night hove too off Santa Maria, but the afternoon of the 5th I’m there. All in all, not my best sail to the Azores. This is the first year that I haven’t stopped in Flores, but that northeast wind changed the plan. And with no good anchorage in Santa Maria, I had to stay in a marina. Not terribly expensive at 10 Euros a day, but still out of my budget for a long stay. So the planned 2 to 3 week stay in the Azores turned out to be only a 5 day stay on Santa Maria. Sailing long distances is a lot about flexibility.

About Quinn

20 year solo sailor and developer of Nimble Navigator Charting Software. I sail a Lyle Hess 28 foot Bristol Channel Cutter and have over 100,000 miles on her log.
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