Last weekend the crew of leg 1 (Nahant to the Azores) had dinner together and re-lived some of the events quite vividly. We had lots of laughs and as always great food and good wine.
Quite early on, Peter expressed deep gratitude on behalf of the crew for being given the opportunity to be part of this adventure. And as if that was not enough, Ulf and Dan pulled out a large carton box with a beautiful Half-Model of Tioga. We were quite overwhelmed by this generous gift (and all the work that went into getting this model built) and only later got a chance to reflect on the deep bond between our group and the input each team member provided that we were all so thankful for.
A big thanks to Dan, Ulf and Peter for all their help and this wonderful present, and to Emily and Ulf for hosting this perfect evening.
Here’s to more adventures together!!
PS: The model took over a prime spot in our living room.
This video is a quick summary of the various islands we visited on the Azores over 3 weeks in 2015. Each one had its own character and we had a hard time determining our favorite.
Our first stop was Flores, the western-most island and about 120 nm away from our next stop. While Flores is relatively small and provides only basic facilities, it has a lot to offer and we highly recommend a stop-over.
Faial was our next stop and with Horta clearly the center for ocean going vessels. Just across the straight was Pico, offering great vistas from Portugal’s highest mountain.
While our stay in Sao Jorge was brief, we enjoyed the quaint village and interesting public pool.
Our final stop, Terceira, had a lot to offer with UNESCO world heritage site, Angra do Heroismo, and lots more. It is also one of the few islands with a direct connection to Boston.
Distance traveled: just over 200nm
In case the YouTube video does not play in your country, try the link below:
This is the video of our first leg, crossing the Atlantic in the summer of 2015. It took us 2 weeks from Nahant to Flores, the western-most island, about 2000nm.
Three decent storms made for an eventful journey…
The number of chairs squeezed into our clubhouse last night might have broken a record. It was nice so see such as large and interested crowd during our presentation of this year’s journey across the Atlantic.
Given the close connection between our tour and the various people and places in France we visited, it was good to listen to Commodore Manny’s opening statements where he found the appropriate words to address the tragedy in Paris.
Manny handed over to Philip and we continued with a couple of photos summarizing the highlights of the tour, giving us the opportunity to explain the bigger picture in words and answering questions.
- preparation took about 5 years
- 15 people sailed the boat this year, spread over three legs, supporters: many, many more
- we sailed about 4000nm, roughly 1/3 of the entire tour
- highest waves: about 45ft, strongest wind: low 50s kn, highest tides: approximately 40ft
- sailboats seen between Nahant and Azores: 0
- near collisions with whales: 3
- time to paint mural in Horta: 3 days
- number of significant storms: 3
- highest number of concurrent AIS targets: 86 (North Sea)
After that, Corinna, Ellen and Peter presented the burgees to the Dory Club that we had exchanged at various places:
- Peter Cafe Sport, Horta, Faial, Azores
- Guernsey Yacht Club, Guernsey
- Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes
- Island Sailing Club, Cowes
Videos for each leg followed, showing live at sea and the various places we visited.
Comments about Philip’s choice of music were minimal 😉
Photos we presented to explain overall route;
Summary video of crew and this year’s highlights:
As most people lose interest when watching hundreds photos of someone else’s trip, here is a very quick slideshow to get an idea of what this year’s trip looked like.
A teaser to our upcoming video night at the Dory Club…
Back home after our trip to Europe, I finally managed to sort out the mail and find the August Cruising World edition that Mark Patek mentioned during the King of Clubs/Centennial Cup regatta.
For those that are not yet subscribers:
Thank you, Mark!
Terceira was the fifth (and last) island we visited on the Azores (there are nine in total). And as always, it had its own character and specialties. After the usual struggle to get a rental car, we finally got going and again were pleasantly surprised.
Angra Do Heroismo clearly is an obvious highlight, but Terceira has a lot more to offer. Items that stood out for us, included beautiful drives along the coast through stone-walled fields, dense green forrests leading up into the cloud covered mountains, winding roads to lighthouses and lava rock covered coastlines (such as around Serrata), great restaurants (eg, Caneta or Tasca Das Tias), amazing natural pools (eg Boiscoitos), Praia da Vitoria and Monte Brasil overlooking Angra as well as great scuba diving.
As Corinna and Lauren are preparing to leave Tioga tonight and fly to Germany (via Lisbon) they discovered Lauren’s boatshoes:
Next time, we won’t be storing them in a plastic bag in a wet spot of the boat 😉
We left Velhas on Sao Jorge on Thu evening as the forecast had predicted about 10kn SW throughout the night and not much for the following days. The first four hours were fantastic gennaker sailing in calm seas with the sun setting behind us, Sao Jorge on port and Pico to starboard. As it got darker, the islands’s street lights illuminated the contours of the mountains. The sky was covered with stars. You couldn’t ask for more. When we neared the tip of Pico around midnight the wind died and we motored for 2 hours. As the wind picked up again, Teceira’s lights were clearly visible on the horizon. We hoisted the gennaker again.
Unfortunately, we only enjoyed this nice broad reach in starlight for only one hour, as the wind picked up faster and stronger than forecast. The situation quickly turned ugly, as we were not able to pull the gennaker sleeve down to get the sail under control. We needed Nick’s help (in only his underwear and life-jacket) to pull the sail back on board and settle down.
After that, we slowed the boat to time our arrival so that we got to the harbor after dawn.
Arriving at the reception dock, the first impression is deceiving as the cliffs are dominated by a modern hotel and the reception dock is exposed to significant swell. It did not help that the internet speed set a new record in “how slow can you go”.
However, don’t judge a book by its cover… – Angra do Heroismo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason! The cobblestone streets are lined with beautiful old houses, nice restaurants, boutiques, lot’s of churches, beautiful gardens, outstanding lookouts, etc – there is a fortress on either side of the harbor, which is dominated by Monte Brasil, a former volcano. Angra was first settled in 1460 and you can still feel the history wherever you go. A truly amazing place (it even has hotels with extremely fast internet access…)
After we got checked in by yet another extremely friendly harbor master, we were lucky enough to get a slip offered way into the harbor and close to the facilities. Tioga is clearly way to long for that spot, but we were happy to get out of the swell, closer to the action and to one of the two sand beaches of Terceira. With the scuba park on the other side of the seawall we’ll hopefully get the kids out for their first dive soon.
Posted on July 17, 2015
We slurped the Dom Perignon when we made landfall in the Azores. 2000 Miles in a 44 foot sailboat can be just the thing.
40 knot winds, 30 foot seas, violent storms. 15 days of standing a 3 hour watch every 6 hours. Dolphins, Sea Turtles and whales were our companions. Steering the boat, at an hour well past midnight, to Cassiopeia. The big W in the stars. The Milky Way. First light on the mid-morning watch. We were a lonely spot of humanity surrounded by a thousand mile disc of sea. It is difficult to describe the intensity of a transatlantic passage. The levels of fear, joy and immense contentment are not often felt ashore. Even the ordinary things become more pronounced on a transatlantic. Instant coffee is just wonderful, an hour in the rack is so refreshing and every meal deserves a Michelin rating.
The Captain selected a crew with a high degree of compatibility and positive attitude. This meant that unkind or inconsiderate behaviors, even in tight quarters, never occurred. The mean girls (and Boys) stayed home.
The opportunity to work with some of the finest people I have known, in conditions of great danger, at worst, and significant discomfort at best was a lot more than I had hoped for. The expert seamanship and leadership of Captain Philip made the passage both possible and safe.
We met other sailors, and share an instant kinship with them due to our common relation of love and fear with the sea.
We met a Danish cruising couple at Horta. They had a rugged 40 foot boat. A red hull named Pi. They had been sailing a double circumnavigation including Cape Horn for 7 years. They were both in their mid-seventies. The woman had clear blue eyes and the easy grace of a long time sailor. The older lady said “We are sailing back to Denmark, we have a little flat outside Copenhagen” Then she sobbed “What will I do There?”
I felt bad that I had no answer. No half-time speech of encouragement. I envisioned the cramped senior citizens apartment and the relentless clock and calendar. In retrospect, I know she will do what sailors have always done. She will work to improve the situation around her, encourage the people in her life and still have fond memories of the roaring forties and the blue water.
But for me, it is back to life on terra firma. Sailing aboard Tioga was far more than an outdoor adventure. I begin again with a renewed sense of vigor and purpose in all aspects of life. I am graced with a renewed appreciation for my wife Candace, son Christopher. And daughter Virginia and Sister Virginia. I thank them for their prayers and encouragement. God bless and safe travels to the ongoing Tioga crew. I will now count the days of how many, plus a wake–up until I am back on board.
July 14, 2015