Newsletter – June 2007


Last month we saw how how a major potential disaster was avoided on my voyage with a little resourcefulness and a large slice of luck. So, I thought that this time around we would enjoy some of the adventures of a crew actually out there doing it right now.

I present to you for your reading pleasure two daily logs from the crew of ‘Northern Child’, making the passage from Horta in the Azores to the U.K.

T hese two log extracts are courtesy of a lively and interesting site stuffed full of interesting nautical information and stories.

Northern Child Daily Log 2nd June

Position: 45.28N 13.33W
Speed: 7.5 knots
Course: 050M

Another fine day’s sailing out here – well, fine is the wrong word as actually it has been overcast and cloudy all day. But the thing is, the winds have been great and that is what matters. That full moon and starlight I was telling you about? Nope, not tonight, nada, nothing! Except the wind – beats the hell out of beating!

The low pressure system to the north of us is doing what it should and heading north east, leaving us with nice, constant south westerly winds of roughly 20 knots which means that we can sail along nicely at 7 or 8 knots towards Ushant. This band of winds will fade out in the next 24 hours, but will be replaced by northerlies which, if we position ourselves right, will bring us right into the English Channel. There may be a patch in the middle of the changeover as the high drifts north where we lose the wind, but we don’t expect it to last long and have plenty of diesel if it does go light.

It’s this Azores High! Claire is convinced that every time I say we are being influenced by it, we get bad weather! Trouble is, the damn thing moves! This time….

There was a massively excited call of whale this afternoon as a big whale surfaced right next to the boat. Tom’s watch were on deck, but the rest of us saw the blow of the whale as it moved away from us – apparently it was huge, right next to us. On asking how big, Douglas replies ‘don’t know, it was a whale – big!’ Funny thing was, I had been looking at the echo sounder with Edd just before this which was giving some very odd readings and we had just been joking that perhaps some massive monster of the deep was right underneath us! It’s great to know that they can still survive even this far over towards Europe, there aren’t that many left now.

Douglas and Tom have become the boat’s main fishing team, using loads of enthusiasm where knowledge may be lacking. They bought two huge new lures in Horta and today lost Monty (short for Montezuma) – Monty was an enormous squid lure luridly coloured purple and obviously something big decided they liked it because unfortunately this evening we lost the lure. I am sure that tomorrow they will try again and eventually will be rewarded for all their effort!

We decided that tonight would be party night as it is the weekend and we fancied going out. Obviously there is a slight technical hitch with that part of the plan, so we have decided to have a party on board. As getting slightly merry on board may not be the best answer as we are still in the middle of Biscay, we have decided that each watch and the permanent crew will each produce a dish – I slightly suspect at the moment that we may end up with 3 or 4 deserts for dinner tonight! I will let you know how we got on on tomorrow’s log.

We now have 340 miles to go, having sailed 170 miles in the last 24 hours towards our Ushant waypoint. If all goes well we should be off the northern tip of France sometime on Monday and then be able to sail up towards the Channel Islands overnight. It is still our intention to stop somewhere on Tuesday and have a little relaxation ashore.

Northern Child Daily Log 28th May 2007

Leg 2, Number 1 at 1200GMT, 28th May 2007 Horta

Hello again, Northern Child is back on line! We are all still alive after 3 days in Horta’s bars and restaurants and we are back at sea where both Northern Child and all the crew should be!

Having arrived into Horta Friday morning we found that the two marinas were full! After a little scare where we thought we were doomed, we rafted up outside a superyacht called Mirabella on the commercial dock for the day – better than having to anchor out. Because the winds have been so strong for so long boats have been arriving, but not leaving, so consequently the place was extremely busy.

But we didn’t care, we were attached to land and we had arrived! The first day passed in a blur of getting to know the place and sorting ourselves out from the passage. We were lucky enough to be able to go onto the fuel dock in the evening and refuel for the next leg – a major job done. As the fuel dock was closing we stayed there for the night and Kathy managed to sort us out a marina space for Saturday morning.

We now had a great, safe berth for Northern Child in the marina and we were able to finally relax and enjoy Horta. Peter’s bar became our second home and many a breakfast, lunch, snack, beer or dinner was taken there – anytime you couldn’t find someone, they would normally be found in Peter’s bar. We managed to eat a lot, drink a lot, see the sights and complete the one major crew job, do the laundry. Douglas got the prize for the most mess made of doing your laundry, and got his back this morning, just before sailing!

We were able to look around the Island or volcano on Sunday, depending on which group you were in, and then Monday morning came round far too soon! A last shop in the supermarket, check out with the authorities, last showers and off! We had a fabulous stop in a lovely place, where the locals are really friendly and everything seems cheap – a great stop!

AegidiusHans has now left us and is staying in a very nice hotel for the night before catching his flight back to Zurich – Hans, you are already missed! Welcome on board to Aegidius from Germany who has replaced Hans in his watch – we don’t have a nickname for him yet, but watch this space!

This log is now being sent out to you just after lunch, our time. Douglas and Tom (Ted) have bought a new lure and called it Herbert (?!) and have streamed it out the back of the boat. It is a lovely, warm, sunny day and we are now 20 miles from Horta, motoring clear of the Islands and the fluky winds that persist here. That’s it for now; catch you tomorrow.

Fascinating and fun don’t you think? That could be you out there sailing across the oceans and living your dream. Begin planning now and you will find that you will be able to leave sooner than you think. And don’t forget, you can read more about my own sailing adventures on my website

How is your knot tying coming along? you should be able to tie a bowline with your eyes closed by now – you cannot practice too much. The website have a new knot for you to bone up on this month – try it and see. There is another site also dedicated to animated knot tying. It is and features around fifteen useful sailors knots. You can visit it and enter a knot tyers’ heaven!


SKYSCRAPER: An amazing word in everyday use, originally came from the very highest sails that could usefully be set on the clipper ships. It was a triangular canvas set above the ‘Royals’ in light weather to take advantage of any breeze that may have been up there at that height above sea level – and called a ‘Skyscraper’.

See you all again next month, and in the meantime you can visit me on my site to catch up with the latest news and other links etc.

Happy planning,

Cap’n Vinnie