Azores to France – video

This video covers the 2nd leg of our 2015 transatlantic journey, ie the tour from Terceira, Azores to Brittany, France.

Our new crew, Peter & Sean Davis, John Fulghum and Doug Frauenholz, had flown to Terceira a few days before our departure and stocked up lots of fresh food, including a frozen piglet. Corinna and Lauren had flown to Germany while Nick and Philip continued on with the 4 new guys.
We left Terceira in late July and arrived in Roscoff about 10 days later.

While we did not have any significant storms to deal with, the challenges were initially more about sailing downwind as close to the rhumb line as possible, followed by low wind periods that turned against us and increased in strength.
Crossing the first traffic separation zone showed the value of our new AIS system and prepared us well for further crossings later on.
From Roscoff, our formal port of entry, we moved on the Isle de Brehat  and then St Malo.

Total distance sailed: app 1400nm.

 

 

For those in countries where this YouTube video does not run, the link below might be better choice (it takes a little longer to load, though)

 

Azores – video

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:

 

Tioga slideshow and presentation at Dory Club

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.

Fun facts:

  • 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;

when you see dolphins jumping in deep blue water, life is good  our mark in Horta  Overall plan  Islands of the Azores we visited  Britanny and Channel Islands  Solent, Isle of Wight  A busy day on the Northsea  for 2 days we had to take every 90 min against wind in the high 20s  Kiel Canal (about 60nm)  crew of the first leg in Horta

Summary video of crew and this year’s highlights:

Where is Yahoodi?

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…

Terceira

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.

Terceira

Terceira - Boscoitos  Terceira

Cracas

With our new crew (John, Doug, Peter and Sean) in town, we decided to follow our dive master Sergio’s recommendation and had our first team dinner at Tasca Das Tias, in Angra Do Heroismo – just a few minutes from the marina.
Sergio had described it as a bar with tapas-style food.

What an understatement – this might have been the best food we had across the Azores!, and that in a wonderful setting at a very attractive price.
The owner of the restaurant put a very nice selection of appetizers together and followed that by even nicer varieties of main courses that we all shared. Of course the desert and coffee did not disappoint.
The wine, not local but from mainland Portugal, was equally outstanding.

While we enjoyed the first round of appetizers, we asked if there was anything special on offer that we should know about. The answer was “Cracas”. What is Cracas??

Cracas

Cracas is a sort of giant barnacle, common in the Azores and considered one of the most popular seafood. And we were lucky that we came here right in the middle of the sort season for these. After Corinna got a free Cracas to sample, we ordered three plates with giant barnacles and a couple of bent, rusty nails to pull them out of their shell.
What initially looked quite dubious, turned into a delicious appetizer after we got a short explanation as to how to eat them, drink the ocean water and have a shot of white wine out of the empty shell.
We were amazed and will not forget this experience any time soon.

A few impressions of our first night in town:

Tasca Das Tias Tasca Das Tias Tasca Das Tias Tasca Das Tias Tasca Das Tias Angra Townhall

Angra do Heroismo, Terceira

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.

 

 

 

Angra do Heroismo Angra do Heroismo Angra do Heroismo

Sao Jorge

We went to Velhas on Sao Jorge as it allowed us to see yet another island on our way to Terceira and because we were told that there was good internet speed.

As always, our first contact was with the harbor master, Jose. Jose is extremely friendly and helpful. He checked us in without any complications and shared a lot of local knowledge. Unfortunately, the internet speed in his marina was not what we expected. Jose had a solution for that as well, Restaurant Acor, a Brazilian bar/restaurant had very good speed and life was good again.

Velhas is a quaint little town that is worth a visit. A nice little square, some bars, restaurants, a church, passenger zone and a supermarket – all surrounded by steep cliffs and a good view of Pico across the canal make it an attractive stop over.
The marina was well protected, had extremely clean, new and free showers, washing machines and dryers. The supermarket was less than a 10min walk and provided all we needed. Another highlight was the large natural pool with lots of fish and a very steep drop off into the abyss. No jelly-fish and 5 min walk made this an attractive destination.

Velhas - Sao Jorge

Sao Jorge Velhas - Sao Jorge