Before we leave and go venture around, we had to check out the work done in the last months and make sure it was all good. What’s best than having the company of two good and well experienced salty man for that kind of check? It was a good time on the water, good laughs and careful look around. It was quick but how good it felt to be sliding on the sea again. The good news is that everything is fine, only a few adjustment on the rigging that have been solved in less than an hour.
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
By John Masefield (1878-1967).
The time has come to see our mast meet again the deck of Netzah. It always is a stressful moment to check this operation out. This big crane grabbing our mast and making it turn from horizontal to vertical. The noise, the vibration and this little free dance that it does once it is at 45 degrees from the ground, it is not for me and I could never get used to it but I guess it is just not so much of a woman thing: the machines on the big truck making these kind of business with the objects I like. But anyway, that is how it should be and there was nothing to fear because everyone on the ground knew what to do (except me :-). We also had the company of our two friends, Gerard &Jacques that came on saturday morning to give a hand, so that made a strong team. Dao was around getting some filming done to feed that movie on the making.
We are working on the last important details, we are doing good and every hour since saturday, Netzah looks like more and more like a sailboat ready to go.
Netzah is filled with goodies to keep 3 people well fed for an offshore passage. We succeeded to find a room for every thing, whether in the bilges, cupboard or fridge. Provisioning means almost ready to go. Just missing a big detail:the mast! Scheduled to come into place tomorrow morning. We had a little delay due to some misunderstanding but everything has now come to an agreement. All good!
Not too fast but not slow neither. The right balanced speed was kept by Netzah on the two days it took us to come from Madeira to Gran Canaria. A dream sail, with our ship maintaining continuously well her average speed. The wind on the beam, sometimes a bit forward and sometimes a bit aft. Full sails for most of the time. A gentle and neatly timed swell. A crew that was cold and drowsy at the beginning, but eventually sank in the ocean rhythm. What a blessing!
I sat down to write this text with my mind filled with the magic imagery from the sea on our last passage and I hoped to be able to described all that down. However the words faded away when in my mind as I picked up the thread of our last sea wandering. Too much and at the same time too little to be described this time.
Hope that the images will do some justice…
Bueno, por ahora; Hola y buenos dias Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Netzah is ready with a new bank of batteries so let’s go give a breath of air to these sails. We are heading south and are delighted by the idea to be on the sea for a little while again. Madeira was not a stopover planned but we are more than happy to have spent some time here. We met good people here and the scenery of this island is jaw dropping.
To send us a message at sea, follow the instructions on this link and you will need our number which is 870776470251.
Leave you with the words of the wise Leonard Cohen: ‘If you don’t become the ocean, you will be seasick all your life’
SEA you later
As said earlier on the blog, we had one battery popping out in smoke last week. It was a sulfuric experience that was better dealt with while on shore . For technical reason ,we are now changing the whole set of battery of the boat. We took them out last weekend which left us in the DARKNESS…and it is quite a good experience. Forget about the fridge, forget about the lights. We cook with a head lamp and candles glow on the table for dinner. We hit the bed early and wake up with the sun. It is way more simple in a way…But not quite ready to give up that comfort so we are waiting for the new batteries to arrive soon by cargo. Big unexpected expense and waiting while we would maybe keep on the route. But I guess it is also that to be sailing the world...
May the light be with you people of the sun!
Tchau! We gave a big kiss to Mag before she jumped on the dear little green ship and left Madeira. We were supposed to sail together but the work on Netzah delayed her travel plans. Things fell at the right time, two french canadians were leaving so she got the ride down south. We loved the time with our friend and with a little luck, we will see each other again on the blue road.
May the wind take you well to the next port belle amie.
So now, it is to us three
Claudia, Tassio & Netzah
We left Horta under a rainbow in the late afternoon. Our compass was pointing south west and Netzah sure felt happy to play with the sea again. The air quickly freshened up as we slowly saw the 2,351-metre dormant volcanic cone of Pico fading away. The sun went down in no time which left us with a chilly nice breeze. Netzah under full sail was running like a great lady. We were back on the watch rythm, three hours on the cockpit, together with the stars, the wind and the sea. The body getting tired on this new schedule until it gets used to it once again. October on the water of the Azores, it was smelling different. Netzah’s firm way of cutting the waves was already whispering to me that it was going to be salty. Gentle, but very sraight forward …
Days 1-2-3 were great, slowly getting our sea legs back. We ate very little and but found joy in our dehydrated meat lasagna food. The wind strenghten, Netzah too, responding great. The clouds thickened, moved fast and shaped in a curious manner. The swell had been building up since our departure three days ago, which was giving us the idea that some weather was coming. The barometer confirmed the thought with it’s drop. Late afternoon of day 3, as the light was slowly fading away , the air was cold so was the look of the sea. We reefed and went with it. I went to bed in a disturbed sleep, with waves crashing on Netzah hull the more and more often and in a more and more brutal way. I stood up 4 hours later, Tassio hadn’t waken me up for my watch. I went outside to meet him, he was at the helm and said:
-Looks like our friend the autopilot let us down…
At this moment, it is not his words that caught my attention, but the size of the wave that was lifting Netzah’s stern. I had never seen anything like it. I know this feeling, I call it” my first biggest”.
Tassio had set the wind self steering, which was helping a lot but it still needed a hand to keep course as we were flying down the waves. Tassio was already soaked by the spray of the waves and as the weather didn’t seem like it was going to improve anytime soon, I offered him to take the helm for a bit. I put on the foul weather gear, my lifejacket and harness and assumed position in the cockpit. Tassio showed me how to take the waves and stayed until I felt comfortable enough. He went in to get warm and try to rest a little. It was then Netzah, the sea, the nigh and I. The sea and the wind had built up in the biggest rough weather I had ever experienced. The black clouds were passing over us, dragging with them each time a stronger gust. Each wave needed to be negociated and Netzah somehow was showing me the way, clearly telling me what she liked or not. The wind strenghten more, making the helm more heavy. An hour later, Tassio came back on position. It is hard to say what was the wind strenght at this point as we do not have an anenometer on board. At this point, the wind generator had already given up and was only screaming with its burned bearing. The sea was more and more confused, one wave came from nowhere and caught Netzah on the beam and threw her in an unusual angle, the noise of the water crashing in the cockpit filling it with bubbles. An instant that appeared like an hour long.
And it balanced back in position.
I hurried out to check if everything was fine with Tassio, he looked at me and said:
- This one was salty
Minutes and hours passed in this almost unreal growing motion. The speed of our boat was increasing like each wave was a little more steep, a little more powerful. 11 tons of aluminium suddenly felt like a grain of rice. I screwed the floorboards down, I secured all little things that were dancing around.
As I was giving the last turn of the screw of the floorboard, another wave took Netzah by the side, this one was stronger than the other. My thoughts froze the time of our travels through the inclinaison.
And came back.
By the time I made my way in the cockpit, we were already turning into the wind, Tassio was preparing Netzah to heave to, a storm tactic position. We secured everything on deck, attached the tiller and both went inside closing all hatches carefully behind us.
The wind kept screaming and Netzah kept behaving like a great warrior.
We waited 12hours in that position and in the end afternoon of the next day, the swell and the wind had calmed down. We made way again.
We pointed our bow to Madeira and ate miles after miles. The sunny weather came back the day after, we dried our soaked gear and had a great sail until Madeira.
We arrived in Funchal at the end of the day, the stormy weather left us with some problem to fix on the boat, which we will take care of here.
‘Smooth sea have never made a skilled sailors’ they say…
Happy to be at port.