Originally Posted by rpeebles
Thanks for all the great replies! Has anyone done it? Or do you know of any references
to experiences, logs
We did it in 1992 (newport to azores) and 2000 (USVU to ireland). Following is from our website
on the 2000 trip.
May 24, 2000
51 degrees 42 minutes north; 8 degrees 30 minutes west
USVI to Kinsale Yacht Club, Kinsale, Ireland
We made landfall on Fastnet Rock about 9:30 AM local time on Sunday, May 21st. A cold misty drizzle fell, the white clouds touched the wave tops a few miles from the boat, the silver and gray water
flashed green where it turned to the wind. Out of the waves rose a jagged, black molar crowned on one side with a high white lighthouse, stark, remote
and foreboding. Exactly the landfall we had both pictured - a heart stopping, awe-inspiring moment we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Four hours later, we were running under the full main and poled out jib
in 18 knots apparent under a pastel blue sky with a few fluffy clouds playing tag over the mast
. To port, the green and gold fields of Ireland rolled away from dark cliffs that plummeted straight to the sea. Ruined castles, towers and keeps graced every headland. Still two miles offshore
and we were overwhelmed by the smell of the flowers, a heavy scent which I could almost feel as it invaded the boat overpowering the musky odor
of three weeks close confinement. Not at all the landfall I had pictured, but surely one of the most lovely coasts we've ever sailed along. Not the harsh, rugged, untamed beauty of Newfoundland
, but the comfortable, civilized, cultivated beauty of the French countryside made more compelling by the steep cliffs and crashing waves.
took 24 days with a 48-hour stop in Flores, the westernmost of the Azores islands. We had intended to sail north toward Bermuda before turning east, but within a day of leaving the Caribbean
it became clear that the summer season had not yet settled in. Neither the Bermuda nor the Azores highs were in place, and lows were tracking across the Atlantic at 33-35 degrees north instead of 38-40 as would be normal in this season. We ended up sailing the rhumb line to the Azores through the normally calm center of the Atlantic, and spent most of our time close-reaching in 20-30 knots. We spent several days trying to slow the boat down to avoid a large low pressure system converging on us as we approached the Azores. Under staysail alone, Hawk was doing 7-8 knots in ~30 knots 60 degrees off the wind. When the staysail shackle blew up and the halyard
went up the mast
60 miles off Flores, we decided we'd rather retrieve it at anchor
than in the 10 foot seas then running.
So we pulled into Flores, a jewel of an island, over 100 miles west of Faial and the rest of the Azores group. A new breakwall at Lajes on the southeastern corner offered excellent protection from the strong NW winds and allowed us two nights of deep and dreamless sleep. Besides retrieving the halyard
(to find the shackle broken in half from crevice corrosion), we tended to a half dozen other small fixes from repairing the webbing chafe-protection on one batten to caulking one of our fixed ports
which was (believe it or not) leaking. By the time we left on the leading edge of a large high pressure system, we were rested and ready for the next leg.
The high filled more quickly than expected, so we had two days of light air. But on the third day the wind filled in again, and we found ourselves close-reaching once more. The two days before we made landfall we were making 8-9 knots under the double-reefed main and staysail with the wind just forward of the beam. We spent the entire passage
expecting SW winds, and saw all of three hours of wind from that direction. So much for pilot charts
and prevailing winds!
Kinsale is picture postcard perfect. We're on the visitor's dock
at the Yacht Club, and enjoying all manner of luxuries from fresh local cheeses to gourmet meats to organic fruits and vegetables. We'll send you another update on the town and our experiences here shortly!
Hope this finds everyone well and warm, and looking forward to their own sailing adventures.
Beth and Evans