Week 1, Summer 2021
Mattis flew back to Praia da Vitoria on the island of Terceira, Azores...
And went straight back to Jingo...
I spoke to Mattis a few hours after he arrived and he was upset about our boat and understandably so... We were both looking forward to a break, going back to the Azores and going sailing again. It was a long time coming. We had only expected to be away for less than a year, not two years, due to COVID-19.
When we left Jingo in the Azores in July 2019, she was in a berth at the marina. There was a festival over June and July and the travel hoist was not in use during that time. Jingo was hauled out in the September and placed on the hard for the next two years.
The last time we left Jingo long-term was in April 2018, when we departed from Trinidad for a year. Jingo was out of the water, we had opened the seacocks to drain any water that came inside the boat, the mast was taken out and we put a tarp over the whole cockpit and tightened this with lines so that no water would get inside the cockpit. When we came back to Trinidad the following year, Jingo was bone dry and there was no mold. We weren't expecting this as we'd heard from other sailors that mold could develop inside the boat over the course of a rainy season. We were extremely happy not to have experienced this when we got back.
Sadly, when Mattis arrived back in the Azores in mid-May, there was mold inside the boat, on the berth cushions, inside the food lockers, on our clothes, the bilges had filled with water... This time, when Jingo was hauled out, we didn't have the opportunity to wrap the cockpit like we had done in Trinidad.
So, sadly, Jingo had been left open over the two years we were away and rainwater came down the mast and in through the companionway. This in turn meant that the mast step that Mattis had rebuilt three years before in Trinidad was sitting in rainwater, for we don't know how long… We were worried to the point that we weren't sure whether we'd have enough time in the six weeks to get all of the jobs done we needed to, let alone any upgrades… and I was under time pressure to get back to work.
With the initial shock of Mattis seeing Jingo again, it almost felt like we were back at Day 1, as if it was the day we bought her. It felt like an emotional roller coaster, what do we do and what can we do in these few weeks. All the jobs we had done, all the things we had bought along the way, things we had stored on Jingo from 2016, brought from the Canaries, Cape Verde, South America, the Caribbean… We didn't know what to do.
We seriously considered whether we should sell Jingo, rather than spending the money on keeping her in the marina for another year or more, if we were not going to sail her this summer.
Other things that went wrong with Jingo while we were away:
- The forward portlight on the port side was leaking
- We had forgotten to take out the battery out of our electrical items i.e. our fire alarm and torchlight. The batteries had leaked over time
- There were new leaks in the cockpit lockers
- Screws in the lockers led to leaks
With the mental stress of COVID, restrictions, uncertainty of travel, it was easy to become mentally exhausted. So to hear Mattis when he finally arrived back in the Azores and the disappointment of how Jingo looked after two years, was really a sad time for both of us. We weren't sure whether we had the energy to:
1) Do all of the repair work again that was required
2) Get ready to sail again
The main thing was that we felt like we were making the right decision for us. Jingo wasn't in great condition, but with hard work and perseverance over the next few weeks, all we wanted was to bring her home to West Cork. But at the time of writing this, an 1100 mile passage seemed daunting. We weren't going to make any rushed decisions and needed time to think things through.
Life in the Azores, Summer 2021...
Cafés and restaurants were open, as were shops. Life seemed pretty much back to normal. Summer was here. There were a few liveaboards over the winter months and they said that last winter was such a hard winter, with constant rain and dark weather. One of the harshest winters for twenty years. With it being May, it was still Spring and it had rained quite a lot for Mattis' first couple of weeks.
How Jingo looked after two years of no sailing...
Mattis made a list of jobs ahead of when I was arriving. I still had a couple of weeks left at work before joining him. Mattis hired a car and drove to the various hardware shops on the island for repairs and improvements on Jingo. There was no chandlery as such on the island.
The list of jobs....
Jobs done so far...
Week 2, Summer 2021
Mattis found out that 'Cynara' was the Classic Boat Restoration Winner of 2021. Two years of hard work! Below are various articles and websites about the Cynara project:
- Here is the blog post on the Cynara project in Japan
- Yachting World article, May 11 2020
- The Times article, 14th February 2020
- Classic Yacht Info
- Cynara - Riviera Group
Thinking our options for sailing, we had the following options:
1) Sail from the Azores to Galicia, Spain then to West Cork
2) Sail from the Azores to mainland Portugal, to Spain, France and then to West Cork
3) Ship Jingo home
4) I sail with Mattis to Galicia, Spain, I then fly home in July and Mattis would get someone to help him sail home to West Cork
Mattis built a new companionway hatch to replace the three washboards we had since buying Jingo. This was much stronger against any waves that would enter the cockpit. Having a new transparent companionway meant that it allowed us to see each other easily from inside the boat...
Week 3, Summer 2021. Mo Joins Mattis!!!
It felt great to be abroad again, to have a break from COVID after over a year. Working in the warmth and sunshine again, wearing just a t-shirt and shorts was a dream. The weather now was fantastic, not too hot and perfect for working in, after the previous months and months of wind and rain.
New Hydrovane sleeve as our old one had gone pink in the sun...
The marina was very quiet for this time of year and Mattis had just the one neighbour. There were thirty boats on the hard and only three boats were going into the water. In the two weeks between Mattis being in the Azores and my joining him, many more boats had gone in the water and about eight boats had gone into the the anchorage.
Today we got stuck into getting jobs done, the pressure was on for us. You could definitely feel the difference when we met people who had lived on their boats over the winter months and were here for the forseeable future, there was no rush for them. In a way, it has always been that way with our sailing, we had a time frame, then we'd have to get back to work, earn more money to continue our sailing adventures!
I went through all the lockers, cleaned the mold off anything in the lockers i.e .the food lockers and put everything away into one locker. For this passage, we wouldn't be reconnecting the gas cooker so we would be eating dry goods.
I hoisted Mattis up the mast, we replaced our backstay and Mattis had a look at our forestay cable. He found that one of the nineteen wires had parted. Our rigging is only four years old and it should in theory last around ten years. We're not sure at what point the wire would have snapped because we hadn't checked the forestay since Trinidad in 2019.
We weren't expecting to see a broken wire, as we had installed our new roller furler just four years ago in 2017 and had only sailed with our new rigging for a maximum of one year. Some people may have chanced sailing back to Ireland with one of the snapped wires. The whole cable itself hadn't unravelled or frayed in any way, but we decided we needed to replace the forestay cable as well as replacing the backstay, which I had bought on the way to Dublin airport a few days prior. This then meant:
We met Dave, who owns the first ever Rustler (31ft). His boat is called 'Rustler of Wessex', the original Rustler. Dave is a liveaboard here and has been here since the winter. He gave us some invaluable information and passed us on to Pete.
Rustler of Wessex...
Over the last day or so, everything was feeling new again, but now, Mattis and I were getting into the swing of being a team again on Jingo. We had our system again. Mattis slowly detached the wire from the top of the mast and together we lowered the forestay down a tarp on the ground. Afterwards, we took off the roller furler and foils and Pete came to have a look at our wire. He gave us a quote for 200 euro for the new cable, including shipping. We agreed and it was made up and shipped out the same day.
Today was my birthday and we caught the bus to Angra do Heroismo, which was an hour to the south coast, our favourite place in all of the Azores so far and we couldn't wait! It was lovely to see Angra again. To enjoy the food and drink. We have been so lucky on the island, it is so well kept, there is no crime, everyone treats everyone with respect and everyone treats each other like family. It is one of the safest places we have been, in the world.
There were no cases of COVID on the island, but everyone still wore their masks in public places.
We caught the bus back to Praia da Vitoria shortly afterwards and continued working on Jingo after the rain.
The transient community at the marina was great. People were just glad to see faces again. Everyone here was very open, friendly and looked forward to hearing each others' stories and future adventures.
Week 4, Summer 2021
New navigation light as our previous one was heavily corroded...
I had ordered two new cylinders for our Crewsaver life jackets in the UK as our previous ones had expired, but the shipment was going to be delayed by more than six weeks, so we bought two new lifejackets on this island instead.
Our breakfasts along the quay wall before starting work...
BIG DAY! Jingo was going back into the water!
- Lots of preparing
- The hoist arrived at 1300 and it lifted us slightly so that we could antifoul the last few areas on the boat and we let that dry for about half an hour
- We were ready to go into our berth!
We were feeling apprehensive and excited, we also wanted to make sure that our engine was still working once she was in the water too. So we tested the engine before and after going into the water. The travel hoist picked us up promptly and we went straight into the water, no messing about. Jingo suits being in the water so much more than being out of the water :)
We borrowed more fenders from Dave, and hung them off the port side as Jingo's stern was facing in the wrong direction for us to motor to our berth. The spot was very tight, and there was a fresh breeze blowing, so I hopped onboard and we used warps to swing Jingo around 180 degrees so that the we were facing the right way. Using the warps worked really well, the boat moved around very slowly, Jingo was facing the right way and Mattis motored us into our berth perfectly, where Dave was ready to take our lines. We were now in our new home. It was time to have a mini celebration!
Our New Forestay Wire Arrived!!
After yesterday's and the last few days' stresses and excitement, today we were honestly zonked out! It was a weird feeling that our bunks would be under the water again if we were standing on the outside of the boat. We went out for drinks at the yacht club for the first time and then we went out for dinner.
Jobs done today:
- Fastened our new liferaft to our cockpit, on the starboard side
- Hoisted Mattis up the mast
- Mended the slider back onto the mainsail
- Filled up our fuel cans for our passage
New mainsail slider...
Sadly, we got set back....
We measured our new forestay by lining it up to our old forestay and it was 4cm too short. We double checked again, and it was definitely too short. We thought to ourselves, how could this be? We were then thinking to ourselves, what could we do to solve this issue. For example, we thought could we add a shackle to the bottom of the forestay to make it longer? In the end, we went back to Pete and told him our issue.
Mattis being a boat builder could completely understand this simple mistake, as they can happen. It wasn't the end of the world, but with having a new forestay made and sent out again, each time taking at least four days or so arrive, we were set back by ten days from when we had the first cable posted and to when the second wire arrived. Tomorrow was going to be Portugal Day, a national holiday, so we'd have to wait until Friday for the new cable to be sent out as everything would be closed on Thursday.
Pete preferred to have a new forestay be sent out from a sailing point of view, which we agreed. Looking back, Mattis felt that if he hadn't seen the snapped wire the second time he went up the mast, we would have gone ahead sailing home to Ireland. But for him and for us, when you see something, you need to do something about it.
It wasn't a real issue for us though, because we still had plenty of other jobs to do on Jingo, lots to keep us busy until it arrived. It would be one of our last jobs then.
Mattis fastened our new liferaft to the starbopard side of the cockpit and I had a very slow day, I felt so out of it with the uncontrollable hayfever I had been experiencing for the last few days to a week! It would start from the moment I would wake up at 0800, get really bad around 1000-1100, I would have to sleep it off for an hour or so and then I would feel much better and be able to continue with my day.
Mattis drained the coolant from the engine, and replaced the coolant with Yanmar 50% coolant (other 50% was water). Mattis replaced three litres. He also installed our new port cockpit drain, both of them have been changed now.
Old and new cockpit drains...
Life on the island had gone pretty much back to normal, and it meant that if tourists come in from outside of the island, they could potentially bring COVID and a new outbreak could occur, which would be a bit of a disaster for the lives of the locals. We were at the beginning of the season for tourists and holiday makers. I really hope that this doesn't become the case and that everyone stays vigilant.
I did the shop for our provisions for this passage. Another job done. We were fully provisioned, for our passage to Ireland and more :)
Mattis installed two new cleats at the stern, for our drogue if we ever needed to use it. And it already looked so much better than the previous cleats we had at the stern.
It was VERY HOT today, there was no wind and with it being the weekend, the beach was full, full, full. The sand was so hot that we had to run across the sand, once we took our sandals off. We had the most amazing swim with a cold beer after...
Being set back by ten days had allowed us to slow down, take in Terceira and actually enjoy our time here and not be go go go all the time. The setback was absolutely a blessing in disguise.
This evening, we hanked on our working jib onto the inner forestay.
We have no refrigeration onboard, so this evening we hung a bottle of wine over the side and let it sit in the water for a few hours for it to cool down :)
Week 5, Summer 2021
We got fuel from the supermarket and carried it home...
In the evening, Mattis spent a few hours on the electrics and wiring as much of it was a bit of a mess...
We were both now well into the swing of life on Terceira and loving it, we gradually had the feeling that we didn't want to leave as we had settled into life here. We had gotten into the swing of waking up at 0730 everyday, having breakfast on the breakwater that overlooked the beach on one side and the marina on the other. We'd do some work for a few hours, go for a swim at the beach to cool down, have a beer and something to eat, then spend a couple more hours doing work. We'd relax in the evening, with drinks in the cockpit and a film after seeing friends we had met in the marina. The weather had been stunning for the last week or so.
Mattis and I noticed 'Ava', a Contessa 26 in the marina...
In the morning when we had our breakfast on the wall, Mattis spotted another Contessa 32 in the marina! She was a darker blue than ours and she was tucked in behind a much larger steel boat on the other side of the pontoon. After breakfast, we popped over to see the owner and met Rob Henshall, an Irishman who was solo sailing his newly bought Contessa 32 that was built in 1975. In our five years of owning Jingo, this was the first Contessa 32 we'd seen that was also on a sailing adventure. We were excited! Rob's Contessa was called 'Maria'.
'Maria', Contessa 32...
In the evening, Rob came over to our boat and we compared sailing stories. He had some inspirational stories. He is 65 and has single handedly sailed across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland. On that trip he fell and broke three of his ribs. To continue sailing, he strapped a camping mat to his chest and was able to carry on. On the same trip, his boat got knocked down and filled with water to his knees and he was getting rid of water for hours on end. As the evening went on, Mattis and Rob were talking about where they were from and where they had travelled and Rob said that he used to drive a school mini bus from Sligo to Schull, Ireland for the regatta races and it turns out Mattis used to be at those regattas! Rob even knew the name of Mattis' headmaster! In Rob's past, he had kayaked around Ireland, windsurfed around Ireland, he has done a lot in his life. What a guy!
The next morning, Rob was up early and Mattis and I just happened to be awake and see Rob sailing away into the distance! He was sailing to Sligo. Rob didn't want anyone coming to say bye to him and wanted to slink away from eyes watching and we wished him Bon Voyage. He made a real impression on us.
We continued with our day, we traipsed around Praia in search of a fire/CO alarm for Jingo and we finally found one in a hardware store. The sun was truly beating down on us today, so at lunchtime we went for a great swim at the beach and had a beer and ice cream after. I can definitely say we had gotten used to this life and increasingly didn't want to leave.
Mattis and I woke up at 0800 and it was raining......for the whole day. The last two weeks had been pure sunshine, with daily swims at the beach. Our new forestay arrived today and we installed our roller furler and genoa in the rain. It was refreshing! With the rain, everyone stayed inside their boats and you would end up watching the rain or just wait for it to pass, but we cracked on with jobs inside and outside the boat and it felt great!
We were now there with Jingo and pretty much ready to set sail!
The next morning we did a water count to see how much water we would have for our roughly ten day passage:
- 11 x 5 litre bottles of brand new water from Guadeloupe (2019)
- 6 x 1.5 litre bottles of water from Guadeloupe
- 3 x 1.5 litres of water in grab bags
- 3 litres of extra drinks as well as a couple of cans of ginger beer (for seasickness) and isotonic drinks (for energy)
In total, we had around eighty litres of fluids apart from our water tank, which holds around one hundred litres. So two litres per day per person, for drinking, eighty litres of clean water (not in water tank) would do us for twenty days. The water in the tank would not be good enough for drinking.
I finally got to grips with my seasickness (I think) and truly hoped that this time I would be alright at sea...
- I had been taking ginger tablets, one a day for at least two months before I left for the Azores
- I took Stugeron for at least a week before setting sail
- Made sure we had fresh ginger onboard
- Had ginger sweets onboard
- I also had a homeopathic remedy onboard that I would try if needed when underway
- I had hand and foot warmers, for when I got cold and for my night watches. When I am cold, I definitely get more seasick more quickly!!!
We were ready to go sailing now, everything was prepared. However, the forecast was telling us that over the next few days, there would be no wind, then there would be northerlies, which is what we didn't want and then no wind again... So we waited until conditions got better for us.
Jobs we did to get Jingo ready...
Making the most of our last few days...
The last evening with friends we'd made on the island...
Week 6, Summer 2021. Day 1 of Sailing...
The passage from Praia da Vitoria, Azores to Crookhaven, Ireland would be 1100nm.
The night before, we decided to have little goodbye drink at around 1830, so Mattis and I went up there to the beach bar a little earlier on to have something to eat and a couple of friends joined us later. What was meant to just be one or two drinks, escalated into an evening session and we were happily merry by midnight when we all drifted off home to our boats. We woke up at 0700 the next morning and we mosied on with getting Jingo ready. We were ready to clear out of the Azores.
We were feeling apprehensive and sad to leave at the same time, having made friends so quickly in the few weeks that we were there. Feeling nervous of the weather over the coming days (it wasn't perfect weather conditions for us, but we’d been watching the weather for about a week and it didn’t really seem to be changing). There were areas of high pressure crossing the islands, meaning not much wind for sailing for us, and when there was wind it was from the wrong direction. We knew there was a low developing north of the Azores in a few days time, but we thought we would be far enough north to avoid the worst of it.
We finally left our berth in the marina, after clearing out with Customs and Immigration and paying our last bills at the marina, we were away at midday. Motoring out was no problem and once we were out of the calm waters of the harbour, the rolling of the sea was gentle and freeing at the same time. There was a bumpy 2 metre swell from the north, the wind was light and shifty.
Sadly, after 45 minutes, I began being seasick. This continued until midnight. We both felt so sad about it, we’d waited two years to go sailing again and bring Jingo home. This was meant to be an amazing trip home. I had specifically done everything I could possibly think of beforehand to try and make sure my feelings of nausea would be little to none. I was so optimistic that seasickness was not going to happen this time. I suppose being nervous about sailing again and knowing that we would be at least ten days at sea, may have had an effect on me psychologically.
There was little to no wind from the time we left the marina, we actually ended up hand steering and motoring for the next 36 hours, until 0300 the next night. When we were finally able to switch off the engine, we were able to sail, goosewinged. It was always bliss when the engine finally went off.
We started using Eddie (our Hydrovane) at 0300 and we were delighted. Our arms and backs were sore from hand steering all those hours. Mattis struggled to deal with me and my seasickness, but always does so brilliantly. We took turns sleeping in the cockpit, to keep each other company on our on and off watches. We had a little more wind than yesterday.
Dolphins came out to play and kept us company! We were super delighted to see them again, it’s always amazing to see other life out at sea and how this could make us feel after the long day and night yesterday.
Mattis and I were motoring during the day and we took turns on our watches. Doing one hour on and one hour off, after Mattis’ first 13 hours on-shift as I was seasick. We were running before the building seas and a front was expected in the next 10 hours.
We found it easier to keep each other company in the cockpit on our off watches. It made it a lot easier for the other person, knowing when we needed them they were just there, but also, when we were ready, we could just sit up and take over on the helm. I, in particular found it laborious putting on all my gear and wellies on again down below and climbing up and out into the cockpit, during the time when I was feeling so nauseous.
We saw the odd plane trails in the sky, this made us feel not so far away from land. We started doing slightly longer watches, they were stretching to four hour watches now as I was feeling better.
We had wind all day and I took over at 2300. At 0100, the wind had dropped and we were literally sailing 0-0.5kts. It was painful. We had already used 20 litres of our 100 litres of fuel for the first 36 hours of this passage and we knew we had around 10 days left of sailing to go. We didn’t want to keep using fuel and continue motoring, because there could be the potential risk that as we approached Crookhaven, Ireland, we would have no fuel left to motor into the harbour. We wanted to save fuel for later on in the passage.
So, we decided to wait an hour or so after having no wind again, to see if the wind would pick up again. It didn’t. Did we start the engine and motor again or wait until the wind comes? We decided not to motor and waited it out for a couple more hours and before we knew it, it was raining more and a front was passing over us. Then we had lightning...
We hove to and went down below in the bunk together to be safe for a couple of hours until 0500. Mattis decided to get up on deck, move the sails and we got going again. Very slowly. It was a horrible night.
The forecasts we’d been receiving before we left the Azores didn’t reflect what we were getting and by the morning at 0700, Mattis and I were feeling weary again after another night of not sleeping. We even started to really consider no longer doing any long passages after this passage.
We had questions running through our heads at this point...Did we sell Jingo when we got back to Ireland? After long deliberation, our hearts and souls of the last five years are in our boat and we just didn't have the heart to do it. We were about to complete our first Atlantic Circuit after roaming the seas, it was the end of a mini era for us and the start of a new one. For us, it was incredibly romantic, as you only get one first Atlantic Circuit.
We had a look over the stern of the boat at 0100 and the phosphorescence around the Hydrovane was unreal. So green and bright in the dark, black sea at night and with the bubbles floating around the rudder too made the phosphorescence all the more glittery.
With the broken 20-30 minute sleeps, we were both having crazy wild dreams, with all of the noise that was surrounding us. We were no longer hearing voices down below at sea, unlike the first few times we were on long passages.
We had Force 3 conditions this morning, with wind coming from the WSW direction. We were sailing between 3-4 knots and our course was now 20-60 degrees. We were going in the direction we wanted to. The weather today was stunning with a cool breeze. The sun was warm as it shone down on us.
Dolphins were about again today and birds were diving into the water, doing their day's fishing. Mattis and I were feeling happy again.
At 1200, we did our daily log and so far we have sailed 180nm. At 1500, we had 800nm left to sail until we saw the Fastnet Rock, Ireland. The day had most certainly made up for last nights' sailing and we had the most glorious day. Mattis and I were sitting in the cockpit for most of the day, chatting about life and our future.
The water was glassy and all of a sudden from the cockpit we could see a dolphin shooting towards the side of our boat. It was absolutely stunning. A few dolphins came to play for a little while and as soon as they had arrived, they were gone again.
In the evening, I was on watch until 0300, we had lightning again through the night, but this time, we decided to power on through and continued motoring. Just as Mattis and I were swapping watches, dolphins were shooting round us and in the calm, glassy water, the phosphorescence was out of this world. Where the dolphins were shooting across, the phosphoresence was out of this world. Like green, fat lightning. I truly wish I had taken a photo of it :)
We were still heading north at this point, the wind and waves were on our beam (side of the boat) and we were soon rolling from side to side, but the direction we were sailing in was the only option for us in order to get any speed or way northeast. We were too far west from West Cork.
I think if we were eating warm/hot food onboard, this would have decreased my nausea, but for the simplicity of sailing home, not using gas on this passage meant that there was less to worry about something going wrong. To ensure we had no gas leaks, no worries of someone burning themselves down below. Less complications in general. Our gas system also hadn’t been checked since we left Southdown, Cornwall in 2017.
Mattis was exhausted from constantly being awake or half awake and I was so upset with myself and for Mattis. We were both utterly teary, these long passages weren’t for us anymore. All I could think to myself was, ‘is this ever going to end?’.
Two-day passages would be fine, but still being seasick again on Day 5 on this passage was getting too much for the both of us. We couldn’t bear another week (at least) of sailing like this and right now, we hadn’t even sailed a third of our journey yet. Mattis let me sleep through the night from 2000 until 0700 the next morning and I did some brief watches for him in the night, while he slept for the odd hour.
To our joy, we were zooming along all night at 5-6kts!! We had sustained ESE Force 5 through the night, covering great ground. We had a starry night and a full moon, with lots of dolphins enjoying the bow wave. We also had a close encounter with a cargo ship in the night. I was feeling much better.
What a glorious night's sail for Mattis and me. We were both up from 0700. We exchanged what our watches were like, we talked for a while and then I was on watch for the day. Mattis tried to catch up on some sleep.
It was 0930 right now and sailing in the beautiful sunshine was perfect. We live for these moments and days if we can, trying to make the most of it.
Honestly, the ups and downs of this passage and sailing in general have been unreal. So extreme. We love the adventure of sailing, the romance of exploring new places and that's what keeps us going...
Hopefully today would continue to be a nice dry, sunny day and we looked forward to seeing how many miles we had covered over the past 24 hours at midday. This last day would most definitely be our quickest day yet! I had been well enough to play around with the Hydrovane and genoa, which has been huge for me.
And today, Mattis and I were laughing and joking again, which I had really missed. We were feeling more like our normal selves again.
We were absolutely loving the weather today. It felt like a summers day here out at sea. We still had our woolly jumpers on, but socks were off and we were enjoying it very much!
The evening was a different story. It was a difficult night. Mattis was on watch from 2030 until 0500 and the lumpy sea and beating into it, so we could keep our NE heading. This was because we were sailing too far north now and we needed to start making easting, otherwise quite soon, we’d be heading to Northern Ireland. It was horrible, during the night, Jingo would lift up on the shelf of the waves and then slam back down onto the side of the boat after the wave had passed. After each wave. Each bang of slamming back down off from a wave meant that it was so much louder down below with everything bashing inside the boat. Mattis was clipped on with both tethers onto each side of the cockpit as there was a real possibility, he could get thrown out of the cockpit.
Mattis started having pain in his right knee during the night and let me know and we were worried that he may have bursitis again. The last time he had bursitis was when we were in Lanzarote in September 2017. He was concerned that he may have it from all the kneeling on the coachroof of the boat to set the sails, making sure everything up front was in working order. If his knee was to get inflamed and infected, we were worried that this could lead to sepsis.
Checking at midday how many miles we had sailed over the last 24 hours, we had sailed a whopping 110nm! At this point, we were beyond the halfway point to West Cork. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day. We had sailed 570 miles and had 520 to go.
We were really wishing and hoping that we could do at least 100nm a day from now on, that would be a great help and something to look forward to each day, rather than drifting aimlessly like we had some of the days, hoping for the wind to pick up and not sticking the engine on because we wanted to conserve our fuel supply.
Today was a slow day for sailing, cruising at 2-4kts to the wind, trying to get east now as much as possible, but only managing 30 degrees with the wind we had in our sails. During his night watch from 0000-0500, Mattis watched a cascade of dolphins swimming in the phosphorescence and he was playing with them, by weaving the boat port and starboard. The dolphins were following him gleefully. The night before, Mattis had 40-50 birds all flying behind the stern of the boat, playing in the air vortices behind the sails. We noticed during the day that birds don’t come near the boat to fish, they came to say hello, being curious and playful, curling in and out of the waves.
Week 7, Summer 2021. Day 8
We logged our miles for the last 24 hours and sadly, we only covered 70 miles. Yesterday was definitely a slow day.
The nights during the summer are very short, getting dark at 2300 until about 0430, when the sun starts to rise. We had a full moon, which meant that it has been great sailing north, with lots of light guiding us along the way. We’d had the summer solstice and it kept getting lighter earlier and staying lighter later the further north we sail. Today’s sailing was like a dream, Jingo felt like a moving bedroom, gliding so smoothly through the waters. We had 475nm to go until we reached the Fastnet Rock, still in a northeast direction.
We had motored all of last night and today there was very little wind, but was a great day to motorsail. We had been wearing just a fleece top and trousers, not too cold at all for sailing. We would motorsail through the night and see what the wind looks like tomorrow.
Mattis’ knee was feeling much better today, thank goodness.
It was 0700 and Mattis and I shared the night watches. Mattis did 1900-0100 and I did 0100-0700, first time in a while that we have shared the night watches more equally and have been able to with no trouble. We both had a nice evening and there was nothing really to report. Headwinds meant that it wasn’t too windy in the cockpit and the evening was cool and the sea was gentle.
Today’s sailing was a dream, Mattis saw a huge whale in the water and we just about got it on video. Magnificent.
Mattis and I spent most of today on the foredeck, it was the first time I had been up there and the views were different from being in the cockpit. We could have stayed there all day and it was definitely the best part of the day. Today was my favourite day. We had front row seats of the ocean. I had also made enough wraps for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s food.
As the days went on, there were more and more cargo ships and yesterday was the first day we saw a sailing yacht in the distance. They were called ‘Otter’s Pocket’. We made contact with them and it was great to speak to other sailors, but we couldn't quite catch everything as the reception was crackly.
At 1900, we’d been sailing all day, approximately 90 degrees east at 4kts. Mattis did the night watch from 1900-0200 and I did from 0200-0930. We were sailing slow and steady and in the right direction. We no longer needed to push north, but still had 300nm miles to go, in an easterly direction. It looked like we were due gale-force winds on Friday. For the last two days, we had had Force 3-4 conditions. We began making plans for what to do as we were getting closer to Crookhaven, West Cork. We didn't want to run out of sea room in the event the low deepened unexpectedly.
Our first plan was to use the storm jib, towing warps off the stern. We historically had weather reports for worse conditions, or worst possible scenario for weather conditions, which was a good thing, because at least we would hopefully be prepared. Being conservative was not a bad thing at all.
At 1915, we had 290nm to go :) I started to forget the days now…
We had a short 3 metre swell and we were hove to from 0630-1300. I woke up at 0630 and felt quite sick from the motion as soon as I got up into the cockpit. So Mattis let me go back down below and I ended up sleeping most of the day. We were both feeling rubbish again because of my seasickness. With Force 6 to 7 conditions passing through this morning until this afternoon, the confused seas afterwards meant that the beam on waves were high and Jingo would fall off of the waves every few seconds. This went on for what felt like hours on end.
Mattis and I talked about the different factors that can make me feel sick, particularly on this passage:
We started thinking maybe getting a catamaran or a trimaran would be better for me because there wouldn’t be as much of a rolly motion onboard. We had been talking a lot about life and felt philosophical and loved sailing this passage on the whole. Sailing always teaches us to push our boundaries, to be outside of our comfort zones and learn about ourselves and each other. That’s the whole point of life isn’t it? And we do it because we can.
We were on the final stretch home!! At 0800, we looked at our course on the chart and we had 78nm to go! We were hoping to be near Crookhaven around 0200 tomorrow. So our plan was to potter around after reaching the Fastnet Rock and slowly make our way to the anchorage, until first light. From which, once daylight occurs and we can see far enough again and we’ll anchor at 0330 or so.
End of Day 13
We made it to Crookhaven and dropped anchor at 0545!
We had a big glass of wine onboard to celebrate. It quickly went to our heads, having not had any alcohol in two weeks. Mattis’ Mum takes her dog for early morning walks and passing the anchorage in Crookhaven. This morning, she had a hunch that we would be there, so she drove by and from the distance I could see her car. Mattis and I were waving our arms with joy to see her. Then afterwards it hit us, how tired we were. Exhausted is the only word for it.
With all of Mattis' hard work, upgrades and adjustments made before leaving the Azores, new companionway, secured mast step, new rigging, meant that we had no issues with Jingo during our last passage. We were delighted and glad to be home with Jingo after sailing her around the Altantic and having the best adventures anyone could wish for.
We were back in beautiful Crookhaven, Ireland...
When things go wrong, we realise that we have to look after the small things, not just the big things. If we look after each of the small things, the bigger things on the boat will be looked after and we in turn. The boat will look after us.
Our latest YouTube after two years...
We sailed across the Atlantic to the Azores in June 2019 and after one month of exploring a couple of the islands, we left Jingo in the safe hands of the marina and returned to work for a little while. I was based in Limerick for the next two years and Mattis worked on a fantastic restoration project in Japan. The boat was called 'Cynara', a 96ft classic wooden sailing yacht built in 1927.
About Cynara and the restoration project....
- The Project
- The Team
- Classic Yacht Info
- Cynara - Riviera Group
- Camper and Nicholsons website
Mattis was in Japan when COVID-19 began and lived about 30 minutes away from the cruise ship 'Diamond Princess' that had the hundreds of passengers who potentially had the virus. This happened around January of 2020, which was a hugely worrying time as the world entered a pandemic.
Below are some photos from when Mattis worked on the project...
Beers on the wall after work, admiring Mount Fuji in the background...
Thank you to Mattis' friend, Richard Burke for some great photos!
In 2019, we had the fantastic opportunity to feature in the Contessa 32 Yearbook! We wrote an article about our adventures off the beaten track in French Guiana, South America... We'd love to head back there some day and explore even more of South America by boat. Thank you to Jessie Rogers for the feature!
Incredible Mount Fuji...
Mount Fuji at sunset...
After the project was finished in the Summer of 2020, Mattis found out that Cynara was the Classic Boat Restoration Winner of 2021! Two years of hard work for everyone out there. Below are articles about the project...
- Yachting World article, May 11 2020
- The Times article, 14th February 2020
July 2020, Mattis was back home in Ireland!!
Classic Boat, July 2021 Edition...