Well, that was the voyage from hell and I’m glad it’s over and done. We’re sitting nicely in the St George Dinghy and Sports Club marina in St George, Bermuda.
What was supposed to take us 7 days actually took us 10 days, with three storms and then no wind in between. The first storm was the longest – while the weather forecasting clowns were showing wind out of the East at 18 knots, we were hanging on to the wheel at 36-38 knots with gusts to 44 knots for 15 hours. One would assume you could see something like that but perhaps you can’t.
The final storm, on the second last day, was a ripper. Padraig actually got flattened in a squall with him hanging on to one side of the wheel and me holding the other side telling him that it was a sailboat and that eventually it would come back upright. The last reading I saw before all the drama took off was 55 knots over the deck. I don’t know how you can be a NOAA weather forecaster and put your hand out for your pay once a fortnight. Still..
Well, we are here now and this is a wonderful harbor and country. It has only 60,000 people in total, about what’s in Bunbury and surrounds. We have spent the last two days doing all those little boat jobs that mount up. Padraig went up the mast today first to untangle the Radar reflector and second to install the Lightning dissipater. Hard work and the second one was beyond where I could lift myself. Boat is running very well, but both sails are off for minor fixes. The Hydrovane is a superb item to have. It’s wonderful to lie back in the cockpit and watch it do all the work.
We had a group dinner tonight followed by a rum tasting put on by Goslings, the oldest business in Bermuda - 1806.
We are all leaving here on Wednesday morning for the Azores, all 37 boats. We’ve already made plans to visit the owner of the other Catalina 42 in the Rally, who has bought an apartment in Turkey, and to cruise in company with some Danes through the bottom of the Med.
We will have a SPOT tracker for the voyage, probably accessible through the ARC website (World Cruising Club)
[Carol] We sailed the final twenty miles in the early hours of the morning, and it was wonderful to see the glow of lights ahead and the flash of the lighthouse on St David's Island. And what a thrill to see the beautiful island in the morning sunlight, and to head in through the narrow St George Cut to a perfect harbour filled with yachts from the rally. We had been listening all night to the boats being hailed in turn by the operators at Radio Bermuda - pleasant and patient chaps who tracked each boat and assisted us all safely inside.
I am quite besotted with Bermuda - if only we had more time to explore this exquisite island which seems to have been blessed with everything - great climate, fertile soil, a relaxed lifestyle but still enough productivity and infrastructure for everyone to live well, beautiful architecture and gardens, the ocean indescribably gorgeous, delightful people, no crime to speak of, interesting history ...