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Old 27-11-2011, 18:41   #1
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Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

So my bf left Madeira on or around the 10th of October on his Westsail 32 heading back to the Caribbean. I am unsure of the exact route he has taken but it has been nearly 50 days since I have heard from him. When should I worry? I calculated that the trip should have taken around 38 days, if he sailed to Cape Verde, then across to Antigua and then up to the VI. He is sailing alone. Anyone sailed this route or similar at this time of year? Thanks for your advice.
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Old 27-11-2011, 18:55   #2
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

I don't know the answer to your question, but this is the type of situation that a spot messenger was made to handle. For your own peace of mind you should get him one.
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Old 27-11-2011, 19:00   #3
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

This does seem a long time, what is the name of the vessel? He must surely have told you a little more of his plans, landfall etc, can you share these. Also, do you know what communication aids he has.
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Old 27-11-2011, 19:00   #4
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

Thanks for your reply. I will look into the spot messenger for him. I have only sailed with him once, when we went from Tortola to Bermuda, so sailing is a new adventure for me and I don't know a lot about it. I had to go to the states to help family and he continued on. The last I heard, he was on his way back to the islands so we could meet up. We both live on the boat.
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Old 27-11-2011, 19:04   #5
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

He has a single sideband and a VHF. He went from Bermuda to the Azores and from the Azores to Funchal, Madeira. He said he was sailing to around the Canaries/Verdes and the heading across. I know it was still hurricane season, but no storms got going in that end of the Atlantic around that time. I just worry because he's sailing solo. He has a radar detector, but no radar.
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Old 27-11-2011, 19:06   #6
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

The name of the vessel is Valkyrie.
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Old 28-11-2011, 04:07   #7
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

If he's still out there, he's got a lot of company. The ARC cruising rally left the Canary Islands on November 19th, headed for St Lucia. The image below is from their Fleet Viewer. Your boyfriend would likely have been following the same route, working around the mid-Atlantic High.

50 days does sound long, but if you don't know for sure that he departed on October 10th, it's certainly possible that he could have been delayed by boat maintenance issues or some other reason. With a VHF and SSB he's got good comms capability and can access weather forecasts. Do you know if he has an EPIRB on board?
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Old 28-11-2011, 07:38   #8
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

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Originally Posted by horseshoecrab View Post
So my bf left Madeira on or around the 10th of October on his Westsail 32 heading back to the Caribbean.
The good news #1 is that there has not been any severe tropical storm activity across his track, and #2 he left early in the season and usually the winds are very light early and it can be a slow trip.

His track could be 3500nm. Normally a westsail 32 should be able to do 100nm/day, but given the early potentially light winds, lets say 80 nm/day = 44 days. There have been cases of 30' boats only averaging 50 miles/day along this route early in the season. I did a delivery to the BVI a couple weeks ago and a combination of Sean and a tropical wave meant there was almost no wind for a week there. (so lets say + 5 days to the trip, which gets you to 49 days expected), and if he stopped at the Cape Verde he could well have added another few days (lets say 5) which gets you to a round number of 55 days.

If he has an epirb and it has not gone off, I would not worry yet. 50 days is slow, but sometimes these passages just take more time than anyone ashore can understand. 99% of the time in cases like this everything is ok and he will turn up. We will just all keep our fingers crossed for you and hope you hear from him soon.

Also, quite frankly, there's unfortunately not much you can usefully do in any case. You could check with Madeira to see when he actually got off and the Cape Verdi authorities to see if he stopped, which would give you a little better sense of the timing, but otherwise its a big ocean and without any sort of location, there's not much search and rescue could do. If you contacted the USCG, they might put out a notice to shipping to be on the look out for a small yacht but without any real idea where he might be that is not likely to be very productive.

Do please let us know when you hear from him, and we can all toast to the safe return of seamen.
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Old 28-11-2011, 10:13   #9
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

Thank you Hud3 and estarzinger...I will let you know what happens. Your advice and information helps. He's sailed across the Atlantic before so he knows what he is doing. I'm just worried because it is taking a long time. You're right about the wind. If he's conserving fuel, he may not put on the motor to make time. Plus he had engine trouble in Bermuda that he rigged to work again. So I'm hoping everything is functional. He does have an EPIRB.
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Old 28-11-2011, 10:24   #10
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

HE MADE IT!!! OMG! I'M SO HAPPY!!!
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Old 28-11-2011, 10:35   #11
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

Fantastic news! Phew!

Tonight I will hoist a cup of rum to you both.

P.S. Ask him to stop by Cruisers Forum and tell us the story of his crossing.
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Old 28-11-2011, 10:42   #12
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Smile Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

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Originally Posted by horseshoecrab View Post
HE MADE IT!!! OMG! I'M SO HAPPY!!!
Terrific. Very happy . We shall toast to successful passages tonight.
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Old 28-11-2011, 13:00   #13
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

Great news, horseshoecrab! Did he make Antigua?
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Old 29-11-2011, 07:23   #14
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

There was absolutely no wind. He was conserving fuel and didn't want to run the motor too much. He said most of the way it was flat calm or nearly so. He sighted land around St. Martin and Antigua and took the Anegada Pass around to here. The trade winds took a long time to finally pick up and get him moving. He also left 5 days later than he thought he would, waiting on weather to leave Madeira. I'm just happy he's ok. Thank you all for your good wishes. So we left the Virgins in late July for Bermuda. He then continued on to the Azores, arriving in September and then to Madeira before heading back around Oct 15. He said he was 45 days at sea from Madeira to here.
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Old 29-11-2011, 07:35   #15
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Re: Westsail 32 Bound for Virgin Islands from Madeira - Solo

I got to this thread late, but very glad to read the happy ending without having to spend time worring about the outcome. That is a lot a ocean miles in a Westsail 32. Congratulations and fair winds to you both.
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