France to Germany – video

The last leg of our 2015 transatlantic tour took us from St Malo, France, via Guernsey (Channel Islands) and Cowes (Isle of Wight, UK) to Germany.

The Channel Islands are a destination in their own right and in three days we barely scratched the surface. Taking the ferry to Sark was a great experience and we wished we had more time (and less rain).
Sailing across the Channel past the Needles and down the Solent to the sailing mecca, Cowes, was a special experience (especially, when 400 boats participating in the Fastnet Race are going in the opposite direction).
On the Isle of Wight we enjoyed our daily exercise riding bikes up and down the rolling hills.
Finally pushing off to the final sail took us past the cliffs of Dover, lots wind farms and oil platforms and endless lines of freighters. Going through the locks to get into the Kiel Canal indicated that we were getting close.
A large reception with family and friends topped it off before we took Tioga out of the water in Kappeln.
All basic repairs are done by now and the more significant work is in progress. The new mast was ordered.

Distance traveled: about 680nm.

Life is good… (don’t wait too long to live it to its fullest 😉  )

Again, an attempt to provide access to the same video in countries where YouTube blocks this video:


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)


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…

First step towards Guernsey are the locks in St Malo

We decided to leave St Malo at around 15:00 on Tuesday. After the Frauenholzes bid us farewell, we left the dock in time for the first lock opening (2hrs before high tide). As we motored in the pouring rain towards the lock, only 4 other sailboats seems to have the same plan. Unfortunately, a freighter joined us just before the gates opened and filled about 2/3 of the lock. As that delayed the entire process, the sailboats had to rush to get in and scramble to tie up to the wall.
We took the easy way out and tied up to one of the other sailboats. As a result, there was not a lot of space left between us and the freighter and we were happy that we kept some of the fenders on port, as the departure out of the look was a narrow passage where we finally had the opportunity to bump into a freighter… – it all worked out very well and our new crew good a nice introduction into moving Tioga in close quarters.

We set sails, squared away a number of items we had left on deck and sailed into the night past numerous lighthouses, islands etc.

And of course we again forgot to put the battens into the working jib.

Ellen ThomasSt Malo lock St Malo lock St Malo lock

Isle de Brehat

Our only stop on the way to St Malo. What a place!

We had left Roscoff at 5:00 in the morning and enjoyed a beautiful  downwind sail along to coastline. The tide was pushing us forward and the rocks and buoys provided a nice challenge to find the best route. After rounding a few lighthouses we arrived at our anchorage at Isle de Brehat at around 14:00. With about a 30ft tide and a decent current, it took us a while to get comfortable and leave the boat alone to check out the island.

The dinghy ride to shore was short, we pulled the boat up the beach, left it with an anchor to be safe and walked through the deep mud to the pathway (which was filled with visitors, lot’s of them, getting back to their ferry). We rented bikes and had an amazing couple of hours riding narrow paths, visiting the lighthouse. climbing impressive rock formations, taking in the views, the Brittany look & feel etc. Too bad we only had half a day.

Back at that the water, the tide was a lot further out than before and the five of us carried the boat for while to get back into the water.

Luckily, Tioga was still at its original place and we were surrounded by a lot more boats at anchor. A nice meal that Sean cooked rounded of a prefect day.

Isle de Brehat    Isle de BrehatIsle de Brehat

Le bateau americaine – Tioga

There are a lot of British and Dutch visitors in Brittany, arriving under an American flag is still somewhat special.

Guillaume, the local reporter for Le Telegramme, covering Morlaix, found us in the marina. He took a couple of pictures, interviewed us and sampled the delicious piglet we celebrated our arrival with.

You can find his online article here. The paper version was published on Thursday, August 6.



Quick update.

We made landfall this morning in Roscoff, France, and are getting organized. As always, the search for decent internet speed has already started…

Genoa, working jib and babystay are with the local sailmaker and will come back tonight.
Equipment is drying, washing machines running, Chef Davis is working his magic and the crew his ready for a shower.

The Tides are enormous and even the somewhat remote traffic separation schemes out here in the west are quite busy. About 100 boats left this morning for a regatta around Cape Finisterre. After work is done we will check out Old Town and look for a good French meal. So, lot’s of activity.

Life is good (and almost dry again)

more soon…

Roscoff Roscoff