Sunday, 29 January 2012

Making our way to Trinidad

Hi from Clare,                             Saturday 28th January 2012

When I last wrote we had left Barbados on a slow travel down to Trinidad. We arrived last Saturday at Port Elizabeth in Bequia and stayed for three nights. Bequia had everything we needed, a protected anchorage, lots of cruising friends, wifi, fresh food, and a few restaurants along the foreshore for evening gatherings and rum punches.



Views of Bequia

Nine cruising buddies hired a taxi (truck with bench seats in the back) and traveled around the small island for a few hours; a very pretty and peaceful spot; a good place to visit. 

We left Tuesday stopping off at Saltwhistle Bay on the island of Mayreau.
Saltwhistle Bay
This little bay was Caribbean picture post card perfect but apart from a few islanders selling T-shirts and sarongs there wasn’t anything to keep us longer than one rolly night.

The next morning we sailed 1.5 miles across to Tobago Cays. This is reputably the best reef in the area with turtles, tropical fish and soft corals.  We stayed for two days along with Tony on ‘Tactical Directions’ and enjoyed good company, beautiful beaches and snorkeling in a 28 degree aqua sea, as Tony said “Not a patch on the Barrier Reef” but then we are probably biased.

Tobago Cays

Yesterday we sailed 6 miles to Union Island for supplies and to check out of St Vincent and Grenadines. When we checked in at Bequia, Andrew had a heated discussion with the Customs and Immigration people as they charge a hefty overtime fee between the hour 3-6pm on Saturday and Sunday. The problem is, the times are not published and the overtime rates are not mentioned until after the paperwork is done. So when we came to check out yesterday on a different island they tried to charge an overtime rate between 12-1pm on a weekday because of lunchtime. Once again the overtime hours are not published or written on the door.  Andrew stood his ground saying he wasn’t prepared to pay an overtime fee because this is a government office and the overtime hours are public information. In the end the overtime fee was waved base on our “lack of knowledge”.

So we are now at Carriacou Island in the Grenadan Grenadines. We are in the lovely calm anchorage of Tyrell Bay. Since leaving Bequia last Tuesday we have experienced very windy conditions.  It is lovely now to be in calm waters; people are driving their dinghies around without getting drenched. We have come here to meet Pete and Courtney on ‘Norna’ who we feel we know after speaking with them for many months on the radio Net. It will be a quick hello as we arrived late yesterday and intend leaving tonight to sail 105 miles to Trinidad.

Love Team Atlantic
A, B & C xx

Monday, 23 January 2012

Photos from Barbados

 Hi from Clare,           Sunday 22nd January 2012

Cruising friends at a Rum Bar in Bridgetown before the Cricket

Leeward Islands vs Windward Islands cricket match at Kensington Oval

People watching; one of the many very gorgeous kids

People watching; “Where did you get that hat, where did you get that hat?”

The channel in the centre of Bridgetown; where we parked the dinghy
View of the boisterous Atlantic Ocean on the eastern side of the island
View of the peaceful Caribbean Sea on the western side of the island

Free Rum samples at the Mount Gay Rum bottling plant in Bridgetown

Andrew and Stuart from ‘Matador’ sampling more free drinks at
the Mount Gay plant

Love Candy xx

Atlantic Crossing Photos

Hi from Clare,                                                  Sunday 22nd January 2012

Andrew and Bronwyn enjoying smooth conditions on day two of the crossing

Our first catch a wonderful Mahi Mahi; baked fish with oriental noodle salad for dinner

The next day, another Mahi Mahi: sweet n sour fish with rice for dinner

4-5 kilo Mahi Mahi. Fan fried coated in roasted sesame seeds and a green salad for dinner

More bloody Mahi Mahi ; Thai red curry with peanuts and rice for dinner. Fishing has been banned.

Bronwyn’s Shift, all is under control
A 2-3M swell was rolling for the last 3 days of the trip
Clare, Andrew, Bronwyn and Mark on Balvenie ; a champagne celebrating for our arrival.

Love Candy xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Hi from Clare, Saturday 21st January 2012


Vibrant, friendly and noisy are the adjectives that spring to mind.
The people dress very colorfully in purple, yellow, lime green and shocking pink, just to mention a few. The colour combinations are striking to say the least, like the bank uniform of purple trousers and a bright yellow shirt. The people are very dark skinned with brilliant white teeth and they smile easily. They are openly friendly and helpful; stopping to pick up something I've dropped or helping me up the footpath with my shopping trolley. Music is a big part of every day living. The public busses are fairly pulsating to the beat and the cricket we attended had music blasting from loud speakers throughout the entire match.

The cricket match was a wonderful spectacle at the very modern Kensington Oval. The crowd barracked enthusiastically without being aggressive and chatted/laughed the whole time. One really noticeable aspect is that Barbadians seem not to smoke. I saw one old destitute having a puff but apart from that the smokers were Europeans.

We took the bus around the island giving us a good view of the boisterous Atlantic Ocean rolling in on the east coast whilst the peaceful Caribbean Sea laps at the beaches on the west coast. The beaches have beautiful fine white sand and the sea is a startling aqua. The houses along the coast are small, cute and brightly painted. For example one house had a red roof, yellow weatherboards, pink and blue stripped awning, white windows with shocking pink shutters and a blue door with pink and white rectangles painted on. This was nestled in a rich green tropical setting. The house next door was a combination of mauve, pale blue and lime green. Sounds way out, but it works and looks fabulous - Barbadians must think we are a dull lot!

We were anchored off Bridgetown which is the Island's capital. This is a bustling city with lots of British money spent here in the 18th Century. There are many lovely old buildings and monuments and a fabulous boardwalk which extends along one side of the waterway leading into the city centre.
We were quite welcome to leave our dinghy there giving us good access to the town. We were not hassled by the local people, which was a refreshing change. We like the feel of Barbados and would happily return if the opportunity presents itself.

We left Barbados late yesterday and sailed 100 miles west to the small island of Bequia. We are going ashore this evening to have drinks with the other cruising folk anchored in the same bay. I will be on the lookout for some internet access as I am dying to show you the fish Andrew caught.

Love Candy xx

At 10:58 AM21/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°05.81'N 060°56.23'W

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Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Hi from Clare, Bridgetown Barbados Tuesday 17th January 2012

We arrived at Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown, Barbados after 14 days and 5 hours at sea.
This is the only anchorage on the island and so many other Altantic cruisers are here including our friends Mark and Amanda "Balvenie" and Tony "Tactical Directions".

We had drinks on "Balvenie" last night and popped the champagne cork to celebrate our successful crossing. David and Brenda from the New Zealand yacht "Bandit" joined us as well. Amanda gave us a most welcomed and thoughtful gift of local fruit and fresh bread for our breakfast.

The anchorage is windy and fairly open to the Atlantic swell but it didn't stop us from enjoying a peaceful night's sleep.

I haven't been into town yet but all of the above mentioned plus American couple Rob and Dee from "Ventana" are heading into a 20/20 cricket match late this afternoon. There are two games so we intend catching the last part of one game and then staying for the night match. I'm not a cricket enthusiast, but I'm going to people watch and sing the Reggae tune "I don't like cricket man, oh no - I love it".

We have checked in to the country and have spent some time repacking sails and washing sheets (ropes). It rained lovely clean rain last night as apparently it does most nights. Tomorrow we will shop, wash and then we are free to have a well earned holiday with Bronwyn before we all head home.

Cheers from the Atlantic Team
A. B. C

At 8:19 PM17/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°05.57'N 059°37.06'W

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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 14

Hi from Clare, Monday 16th January 2012

LAND HO (We are hoping it is Barbados)!

In the last 24 hours we have sailed 152 miles. The swell is 3M with a wind speed of 15-20K gusting 25K. We are sailing with the same rig as yesterday. It is a glorious day with blue sky and a sparkling sea.

The highlight of the day is "we have done our last overnight shift". We are looking forward to the simple joys in life like clean sheets, a bed that doesn't move and an uninterrupted night's sleep - yep, we're getting old.

Unfortunately we haven't caught a fish in the past two days. I think the swell is too big. However we did have a bite about half an hour ago. The fish took the lure and snapped the line off at the rod (which is securely tied to the boat). It must have been a huge fish. My ever positive Andrew said "Lucky I didn't have to pull that in".

We currently have 19 miles to Bridgetown, Barbados. After spending seven seasons in The Mediterranean a whole new Caribbean world is about to open up for us; it is very exciting.

I will write tomorrow and let you know about our landfall and our first impressions of the new world.

Cheers from the Atlantic Team
A, B, C.

At 5:41 PM16/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°01.21'N 059°23.38'W

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Monday, 16 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY13

Hi from Clare, Sunday 15th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the last 24 hours we have sailed 154 miles. The swell is 3 to 3.5M with a wind speed of 18-25K gusting 30K. We are sailing with the storm jib and poled out genoa. It is a lovely sunny 30 degrees, the water temperature is 27.5 degrees and the boat smells as sweet as honey.

The highlight of the day is hearing voices on the VHF radio and seeing three container ships - we must be close to civilization. It's time to put the Champagne in the fridge for tomorrow's arrival.

We did have a mini disaster today. Overnight the lid came off a full bottle of honey in the breakfast cupboard. Bronwyn discovered the mess when all she wanted was her morning cup of coffee. We almost lost a full roll of paper towel; Bronny came to the rescue and with the carving knife reduced the roll to a new and improved mini size - no waste on our boat - apart from the honey!!

Today's background information is on an equipment failure at sea. One of our cruising friends left the Cape Verdes mid December heading for St Lucia in the Caribbean. Two days out and in big seas they reported via the Net that they had lost their rudder. We believe that before commencing the journey, the rudder amongst other things had been checked when the boat was hauled out.

So they were now faced with not being able to go back (against the wind and waves) and at that point a reduced boat speed to 3 knots. They rigged up a drogue at the back of the boat which gave them steerage and speed. A few days later when the sea had settled they could see that in fact they had some rudder. The failure appeared to be at a joint about one third down.

Some yachts in the vicinity stood by with them for moral support and when possible additional fuel drums were transferred across to them. Our friends arrived into St Lucia some sixteen days later. Even on their last night they had to battle squalls, 38 knot winds and a 3M swell - hardly seems fair!

I didn't tell you this at the time for fear of alarming you; what a nerve wracking
experience?. We have been very fortunate and at present Andrew has the fishing rod out trying for a little more fortune.

Cheers from the Atlantic Team
A, B, C

At 11:00 AM15/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°19.57'N 056°06.23'W

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 12

Hi from Clare, Saturday 14th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the last day we have sailed 159 miles. The swell is 2-3M with a wind speed of 22-25K gusting 30K. We are sailing with the storm jib and poled out genoa. The weather is warm, overcast with a number of rainy squalls.

The highlight of the day is "rain". Eye Candy has now started her journey back to cleanliness.

Today background information is on how quickly conditions can change. It was Friday 13th (of course) when the calm weather and our glorious spinnaker run came to an abrupt end. The waves changed within halt an hour from half a metre to 2M; we changed from shorts and T-shirts to wet weather gear. Yesterday the waves were close together and coming from all directions. One would think from Eye Candy's motion that she was blessing herself - up, down, left, right, up down, left and right. I served Bronwyn and Andrew some scones in the cockpit. They sat opposite each other at the table. Bronwyn put a scone on her plate. It shot across the plate up over the lip onto Andrew's plate then up over the lip and Andrew caught it. He said "I should have this one" so he put the scone on his plate and the exact same thing happened in reverse; Bronwyn caught it. They had to ditch the plates and settle for paper towel.

Today the swell is much further apart making the movement more manageable. We are encountering dark skies, increased wind speed, squalls, rain and then sunshine. With the wind whistling through the rigging it sounds really wild from below. However once on deck it's not too bad and it is quite interesting watching the power of the sea.

Andrew is hoping to do some fishing this afternoon. I should think it would be quite a challenge trying to land a fish in these conditions - I will have the camera ready.

Cheers from the Atlantic Team
A,B and C

At 5:52 PM14/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°24.51'N 054°11.39'W

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Saturday, 14 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 11

Hi from Clare, Friday 13th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the past 24 hours we have sailed 141 miles. Our spinnaker run came to an end last night when the wind quickened to 20 plus knots as forecast. The swell is 2M and the boat speed is 6-7K. It is a bit of a bumpy ride at present.

The highlight of the day is that we have now completed three quarters of the trip. At this stage we look like arriving into Barbados sometime on Monday.

Today's background information is on boat to boat communication.
We have been in daily contact with other boats crossing the Atlantic. We have formed a radio net at 10.00 GMT that we have named the "Magellan Net". At present we have 17 boats in contact but we have had as many as 30 plus. Each day a different yacht is the "Net Controller" and their job is to call each yacht in turn for their Lat/Long position and sea conditions. There is also an opportunity to ask for any help or advice needed and to have a social chat. It is a good way to meet people. There is a good chance you will meet again at anchor one day. Once the boats reach Barbados they drop off this net and join the Caribbean net. It has been both interesting and comforting to have this contact during the crossing.

Well due to the swell I am just about being thrown out of my seat. I am typing with one hand and holding on to the computer with the other. So until tomorrow (when fishing recommences)

Cheers from the Atlantic Team
A, B, C.

At 5:09 AM13/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°39.03'N 050°16.08'W

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Friday, 13 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 10

Hi from Clare, Thursday 12th January 2012
All is well on Eye Candy

In the last 24 hours we have sailed 137NM. All other conditions are the same as yesterday. This is our 5th day under spinnaker. Part of Andrew's daily maintenance check now included checking the halyard and fitting for possible wear due to sailing on the same angle for so long - not that we are complaining!

The highlight of the day is we have completed two thirds of the trip. We currently have 636 miles to go to Barbados.

Today's background information is on Clare's sailing experience.

Unlike Andrew and Bronwyn who have been sailing since childhood, I started sailing at age 48. I started on Colin and Denise's race boat competing in the winter series racing around buoys in Sydney Harbour. I couldn't understand a word of the conversations with terms like kickers, toppers, tweakers, uphauls, dip pole jibes. These are a few from my earliest memory. However, I did understand "duck or you'll get hit by the boom" and "don't throw up to windward or you'll wear it".

My first offshore experience was delivering Col's boat back from Coff Harbour to Sydney. On this two night trip I threw up fourteen times. One of the more experienced sailors on the boat said "don't worry Clare when I first did this trip I threw up 19 times - you have five to go". Obvious question -"Why did I go back for more?" I guess it was being part of the exhilaration of racing, the laughter, the shouting, the camaraderie, great friendships and my curiosity.

I took some courses with a Sailing School to fast track my learning. For the next seven years I raced in the winter series on the Harbour. My little moment of glory was crewing on the winning boat one year as pit chick. I did a number of offshore races in the summer months. My biggest offshore race was Sydney-Southport (380 miles) and my longest time on Col's boat was six weeks cruising to and from and competing in the Hamilton Island Race week. By this time I had overcome sea sickness and could understand the sailing conversations and important questions like "who's for a black tea" which meant "who wants a Bundy rum and coke?"

Since retiring from full time work in 2003, I have embarked on the same sailing adventures as Andrew and now I am crossing the Atlantic. Do I consider myself a sailor? NO! But I'm having heaps of fun.

Cheers from the Atlantic Team

At 2:35 PM12/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°46.72'N 048°47.68'W

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Thursday, 12 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 9

Hi from Clare, Wednesday 11th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the last 24hours we have sailed 129M. The swell is 1-1.5 M, wind speed is 10-15K and boat speed is 4-7K. We have now been under spinnaker for four fantastic days of sailing. Last night we had about 90 percent cloud cover so no stars and moon beams just a cream colored sky and a grey sea.

The highlight of the day is - you have probably already guessed. "We caught another Mahi Mahi" The tally is now 7 Mahi Mahi and 2 tuna fish. We had previously thrown one Mahi Mahi back (undersize) and one of the tuna fish was caught on the first leg. So in the last eight days we have eaten 5 fish and 2 are in the fridge. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight? Andrew has been banned from fishing. Yesterday's catch was the third consecutive large fish weighing 4-5 kilos. A week ago it was impossible to imagine we could get sick of eating Mahi Mahi.

Today's background information is on "entertainment on board".
This is a serious consideration when crossing an ocean as a lot of time is spent together without the stimulation of newspapers, television, internet or telephone. So it is important to have HF radio, a good library, plenty of movies and TV programs, computer games, puzzles and the like. Some of the long term cruisers consider the ocean passages as boring.

The Atlantic crossing for us has been a wonderful experience. It has been a blessing having Bronwyn on board. Her sailing experience and engineer know how has taken the pressure off Andrew (giving him time to fish). For me I have had time to read and escape into another world.

Andrew who is sometimes known as "a man of few words" has been chirping away like a merry magpie. Every morning as I drift off on my morning nap I can hear the conversations from the cockpit. Everything from different greases and their applications, engine power, propellers, fuel consumption, watermakers and gas bottles just to name a few. This morning however I thought "great it's all turned to shit" they were having an in depth conversation about anaerobic sewage treatment on yachts, bacteria and the purchase of bugs to facilitate the process.

I think I will stick to reading!

Cheers from Team Atlantic

At 3:44 PM11/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°55.37'N 046°34.93'W

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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 8

Hi from Clare, Tuesday 10th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the last day we have sailed 140 miles. The conditions are the same as yesterday. This is the third day we have sailed under spinnaker and poled out jib. It is a lovely 30 degrees and Andrew spent time this morning sun baking on the foredeck. He is now jumping around up there washing the salt from the top deck, boom and bottom of the mast.

The highlight of the day is our fishing adventure. Andrew decided to try out a new lure. The packet states "Gulp, outfishes all other bait - Sweet n Sour Chicken - Catch More Fish". Twenty minutes later we had two huge Mahi Mahi. As Andrew was reeling them in, other smaller fish were snapping at the odor trail. Even Bronwyn jumped clear as the fish fought and thrashed about in the cockpit. It was like something out of Jaws.

Today's background information is on the immediate. We have completed the first week and so my spare time today was spent cooking emergency meals for the next week. I know enough about sailing not to expect the near perfect conditions to continue. All going well we should have another six meals at sea; we are ready.

Love Candy xx

At 6:55 PM10/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°46.57'N 044°40.75'W

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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 7

Hi from Clare, Monday 9th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the last 24hours we have sailed 120M. The 1-2M swells are a long way apart; wind speed is 10-15K and boat speed is 4-7K. We have been under spinnaker since yesterday morning. Today is full sun and so the washing is flapping on the rails.

The highlight of the day is "we will reach the half way mark this afternoon".
We discussed calling into the imaginary island in the middle of the Atlantic for a celebratory dinner. Perhaps we will have to settle for a cold drink at sunset - sounds good!

Today's background information is on the 'beauty of the night'. At present the breeze is warm enough to wear shorts and T-shirts for most of the evening. Last night with the spinnaker up the gentle motion of the boat was very peaceful. The only sounds to be heard were the swish of the water against the hull and a few zzzz's coming from the aft cabins. The full moon illuminated the sky and spread a long ribbon of moonbeam across the water. I chose to listen to Andrew Lloyd Weber's Greatest Hits. To the uplifting sounds of Phantom of the Opera I watched the arrival of the new day. On our starboard bow the full moon was leaving a metal blue sky. At the stern of the boat the sky was streamers of pinks, lemons and pale blues. I kept looking from one to the other and marveling at its beauty - totally awesome!

Fortunately for those sleeping below, every now and again I would come back down to earth and trim the spinnaker.

Love Candy xx

At 5:20 PM9/01/2012 (utc) our position was 13°40.47'N 042°09.89'W

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Monday, 9 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 6

Hi from Clare, Sunday 8th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the last 24hours we have sailed 142M. The swell is 1.5M with a wind speed of 10-15K. The boat speed is has been between 4 and 7knots. Today is lovely and sunny so the dress code is either shorts or swimmers.

The highlight of the day is "we have the spinnaker up". Andrew has been itching to put it up for the past 2 days but the conditions were not quite right. Last night was a slow night with a light wind moving all over the place. This morning after breakfast our two racing sailors (A and B) decided it was time. The boat is now happily sailing with a full poled out jib and the spinnaker.

Today's background information is on Andrew's sailing life.
He started sailing at Lindisfarne Sailing Club in Hobart at age 12. In the same year he bought his first small dinghy - the sailing adventure began.
Throughout his teen years he built three 11 foot Heron dinghies for himself. In these dinghies he won the National Heron Championships three times - once in each boat. This record is still unbroken today some forty years later.
Andrew obtained a Degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked for many years as a Maintenance Engineer and Engineering Manager in heavy industry. Unlike Bronwyn, Andrew did not take on 'boating' as his profession but it certainly has been his life long passion.

He had his first off shore experience at 18 when delivering a boat from Hobart to Sydney. He raced on many occasions in Bass Strait, Port Phillip Bay and up and down the Eastern Seaboard of Australia. He was a competitor in 5 Melbourne-Hobart and 5 Sydney-Hobart races. He crewed on the second place getter in its division in the 1990 Sydney-Hobart.

When he resigned from Engineering we sought a life of Freedom and Adventure. We worked for a season on a luxury sailing vessel in the Whitsunday Is. Andrew was 1st Mate and I was the cook. During this period he passed his MED3 (Marine Engine Driver 3). He also became a HAM radio operator and a PADI Dive Master. We took on two three month crewing positions for private owners; one in Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas, the other in New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Darwin and Phuket.

Eye Candy was purchased in 2005 and Andrew has skippered her for 20,000 miles in the Med and now in the middle of the Atlantic.

As our good friend Colin said in an email this morning.
"Freedom and adventure, well no people around, so you definitely have
freedom and you are surely on a great adventure"

love Candy xx

At 10:55 AM8/01/2012 (utc) our position was 14°24.78'N 039°31.02'W

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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 5

Hi from Clare, Saturday, 7th January 2012

All is well on Eye Candy

In the last 24hours we have sailed 146M. The swell is 2.5M with a wind speed of 16-18K. The boat speed is generally between 5 to 7.5 knots. Today we have full sunshine for the first time. The weather is warming up and the nights under full moon are brilliant.

We have a few contenders for the highlight of the day.
Firstly we have now completed one third of the journey.
Secondly today Eye Candy clocked up 20,000 sea miles.
Thirdly Andrew caught another Mahi Mahi late yesterday.

We just threw one back as it was a bit small. Our tally now is 4 Mahi Mahi and 2 Tuna. However the overall winner for the highlight of the day was seeing a pod of 15-20 whales. When first noticed a long way back I thought they were slow moving fat dolphins. Then I saw they had flat noses. I called out to Andrew and Bronwyn who arrived on deck with a video and still camera. I hope they managed to capture the moment - what magnificent creatures. We were doing about 7 knots and the pod, which was doing twice our speed, just cruised pass.

Today's background information is on 'the menu for the trip'
Bitter experience has taught me to do as much as I can at anchor prior to the trip. I compiled a fourteen day menu which included four long lasting emergency meals cooked and stored in aluminum containers. These can go straight in the oven. The other ten meals have plastic boxes in the fridge with vegetables cut up, sauces and other ingredients included. Each box has final instructions attached, so I don't have to be referring to recipes.

It took me two days of cooking and chopping at anchor to achieve this but it has made the cooking on passage very easy.

I guess everyone does it differently but I came from 'prepare for the worst and hope for the best'.

Yesterday I complimented Andrew on his trimming of the sails and keeping the boat as stable as possible. He said he learnt as a kid how to race a small 11 foot Heron yacht under spinnaker. "If I didn't keep the boat balanced directly under the spinnaker I would end up in the drink" A pretty good incentive as he sailed on the Derwent River in Hobart.

More on that tomorrow in our segment "background information".

Love Candy xx

At 4:09 PM7/01/2012 (utc) our position was 14°39.83'N 037°36.30'W

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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 4

Hi from Clare, Friday, 6th January 2012
In the last 24hours we have sailed 159M. The swell is 1.5-2M with a wind speed of 16-18K. The boat speed is generally between 5.5 to 7.5 knots. The day was warm but overcast. The night sailing was fabulous with a large moon and smooth and steady conditions. I shouted myself some time with my Ipod and bopped along to ABBA.

The highlight of the day was eating Mahi Mahi; thick juicy white meat and as fresh as you would ever get. The cruisers lucky enough to have a freezer are stocking up. We can only fish what we can eat now - but no complaints.

Today's background information is on 'the daily routine on Eye Candy'

The watch roster is:
Clare 6am-9am, 3pm-6pm, midnight-2am
Andrew 9am-midday, 6pm-9pm, 2am-4am
Bronwyn midday- 3pm, 9pm-midnight, 4am-6am

When I finish at 9am I get breakfast, have a sleep for an hour, shower, get lunch, write to the Blog and do any preparatory work in the galley before starting my 3pm watch. Then at 6pm I organize dinner, clean up, jump into bed and read or sleep till midnight. When I finish at 2am I sleep till my 6am watch.

Andrew's shift starts at 9am, he does the Net at 10am and then gets the fishing rod out. When he finishes at midday he showers then sends the Blog email and any others, he does maintenance checks on the rudder, rigging, power and makes water. Either before or during his 6pm watch the fishing rod comes out again. Any fish caught are presented to the galley ready for cooking. At 9pm he is free to sleep till 2am. When he finishes at 4am he sleeps till around 7am. He then downloads the weather and charges the batteries before starting his shift at 9am.

Bronwyn doesn't have any formal duties to perform between her shifts. However she is at the ready with any help needed either on deck or in the galley.

Love Candy xx

At 3:39 AM6/01/2012 (utc) our position was 15°09.75'N 033°40.78'W

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Friday, 6 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY3

Hi from Clare, Thursday 5th January 2012

In the last 24hours we have sailed 147M - a respectable run for a 39 foot cruising boat loaded down as we are. We have now added the mainsail to the setup - 3 reefs for much of the night and 2 reefs now plus the genoa poled out and the little storm jib as a staysail in-between. The swell is 1-2M with a wind speed of 15K. Eye Candy loves the lighter conditions and we are now having a very comfortable ride. The moon comes out early and stays with us until about 5am. The night wind is pleasantly warm and the sea temperature is 24.7 degrees. Today is overcast but we are wearing shorts and T-shirts.

The highlight of the day - Andrew caught 2 magnificent Mahi Mahi. So the score is 4 flying fish plus 3 eating fish. So last night we had baked fish and oriental noodle salad for dinner and tonight we will have sweet and sour fish with rice. We have now mastered fish slaughtering and minimized the blood in the cockpit - goodbye Dexter.

We have decided to drop the 'Mini disaster of the day' report in case we are tempting fate. Instead we will have the new topic (started yesterday) 'background information'

Today's background information is 'other boats on the passage'.
Our cruising buddies 'Balvenie' and 'Tactical Directions' left Mindelo on Monday 27th December. Had we not been waiting for Bronwyn we would have gone with them. We ended up leaving a full week later on Monday 2nd January. We keep daily contact by radio so we know where we all are.

'Balvenie' and 'Tactical' have experienced days of really tough going with confused seas and large swell. 'Balvenie' got hit by a huge wave pushing her down a wave sideways. Their cockpit was saved by having the clears down on the weather side. However inside the cabin, everything not secured down at the time including the bread maker went into orbit.

'Tactical Directions' which is being single handed had one of it's his hulls lifted to the point where Tony reported that "He thought he was a goner"

One other 'Ventana' reported being rolled down and gallons of water pouring into the open galley hatch.

Another reported a tin of flour flying across the cabin and the lid coming off; could you imagine the mess - pancakes on every surface for the next week.

So as you can imagine, we are glad to have Bronwyn with us and very grateful we had to wait in Mindelo for her arrival. Thank you Lord.

Love Candy xx

At 3:39 PM5/01/2012 (utc) our position was 15°20.42'N 032°19.18'W

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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 2

Hi from Clare, Wednesday, 4th January 2012

First I must apologize for dating yesterday's email 2011 - obviously the brain is turning to mush!

All is well on Eye Candy. In the last 24 hours we have competed 139 miles, the swell is between 1-2M and the wind is 15-25K. We had a bit of fun last night dodging rain squalls and lighting but we managed to stay dry. That in short means the boat is still filthy from the endless dust at Mindelo. When it does rain we will have mud running everywhere.

The highlight of the day - Andy caught a fish; no more sad faces.
Mini disaster of the day - We actually didn't have one.

I though I would give you some background info on Bronwyn - just the good bits of course - after all we have watched her grow up. So I won't mention fun nights dancing on rubbish bins at a Jimmy Barnes concert, etc, etc.

Bronwyn started sailing at the age of 10 and came up through the Youth Academy Advanced Squad at the CYCA in Sydney.
At 16 she did her first offshore race (Sydney to Southport)
At 18 she did her first Tasman crossing, delivering a boat back to Sydney and in the same year she did the Sydney to Hobart race.
She spent the next five years studying and at every opportunity racing yachts on the east coast of Australia.

At 23 she moved to Perth for three and a half years working as a qualified Naval Architect. During this time she raced offshore and did a number of Bunbury races and also the Perth to Geraldton race.

At 27 she crewed on the winning yacht in Division 3 in the 100th Newport-Bermuda Race and thus got to met Princess Anne. (Princess Anne can consider herself honored I say)
In the same year Bronwyn also raced in the Cowes week on the Isle of White.
Looking for a change she moved to the Med working as a qualified marine engineer. She spent five years cruising the Med and looking after the engineering complexities on large luxury power yachts.

Now at the age of 32 she lives in the South of France with her fiancée Craig who is employed in the same industry as a Captain on luxury yachts. As you can imagine they don't spend a lot of time together - they are like ships passing in the night.

So Bronwyn recently resigned because she wants a more normal lifestyle. Now this is where it gets funny. Her first try at 'normal lifestyle' is crossing the Atlantic in a forty foot yacht. Most of her friends thought they had heard wrong and said "you mean a forty metre yacht?" Bronwyn said "No I mean a forty foot yacht". So then her friends asked the obvious question "WHY!" but our mate in typical Bronny fashion just grinned, shrugged her shoulders and replied "WHY NOT"

Love Candy xx

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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Atlantic Crossing - DAY 1

Hi from Clare Tuesday 3rd January 2011

We left Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands Monday around 2pm. It is now 2pm Tuesday and so our first day has been completed.

We went into town early yesterday to check out. This was a third trip on three separate days before we found the office open. It was 9.30am and once we were stamped out, the customs guy left the building for the day. There were a number of other very disappointed cruisers who missed out. Oh well in Mindelo there is always tomorrow - maybe!

The ATM machines were out of money for the fourth time in a week, so last minute shopping was not possible. I think it is fair to say the 'Highlight of the Day' was leaving Mindelo.

The trip is 2023 mile to Barbados. We celebrated with a beer when we reached the 2000 miles mark - a bit premature but why not. Our next celebration will be at 1500 miles to go.

The sea is rolling and confused. Last night we had 3M waves and 20-25 K wind. The swell has now dropped as forecast to 2.5M and the wind is around 18K. The sun is out and the breeze is warm, we have completed 138 miles and so we roll on.

Our roster for this trip is 3hours on and then 6 off in the day and 2 hours on and 4 off between 12 midnight and 6 am. With three of us we will have plenty of rest and time to do other things.

The 'Mini disaster of the day' is Andrew didn't catch a fish with his fishing rod. However we did get four flying fishing on the deck overnight. The score is 3 Starboard side and 1 Port.

Until tomorrow
Love Candy xx

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