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)
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:
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…
After eight relaxing days in Terceira, it was time for Tioga to return to sea. Our departure had an auspicious beginning. Don’t be alarmed but we had a couple of incidents.
While preparing the boat to leave, tidying up the cabin, Peter found the wrong end of a scalpel. Some gauze and a couple of bandaids later, we were ready to leave. The spirits were high and so was the wind as we left our slip. We will soon find out if the amazingly low prices for food and wine also apply to boat repairs, as Tioga left her mark on the swim platform of a local powerboat… In return, slippery stairs at the fuel dock left their mark on Sean’s foot.
Despite this somewhat painful start, fair winds filled our sails and dolphins escorted us to the open ocean. Our appetites were ready for chef Davis’ first meal (pulled pork) after three sail changes.
We are now settling in, getting used to the motion of the boat, and enjoy the fast broad reach towards France.
Boa niote to the Azores and salut to France
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.
The four new arrivals look forward to continuing the culinary delights they’ve experienced on the island thanks to the attentiveness of the Azorean customs officials (who didn’t confiscate Peter’s precooked deliciousness). Lest the US officials claim to be more on their game, TSA let Doug through security with his HUGE sailing knife.
The new crew now feels accepted as part of the Tioga crew after having been initiated into club Lulu. They were tested by Lolo’s and Nick’s challenges involving feats of agility, artistic ability, physical strength and a good old fashioned baptism.
During their pioneering of the new island, the new crew tried to blend in with the locals. Having an incredible lunch where they were asked if they had reservations (at 1:30 pm on a Wednesday) and then fishing at a local spot perched high on the side of volcanic cliff more than 100 ft above the crashing ocean. Doug cast out but was immediately crowded out by some locals who apparently needed to test his conviction because after a couple of minutes, he was welcomed back in. He fished for about 30 minutes during which time the man to his right caught 4 fish and the man to his left caught five! Of course I’ll leave it to you to guess how much we caught… Following our fishing adventure, we decided to take a dip in some volcanic pools but forgot to take the keys out, shorting the electronic key signal. With some clever engineering (taking the key apart and wiping it with a wet t-shirt) and then pushing the car up a hill and doing a rolling jump start, we got the car going and made it back to the boat.
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 😉
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 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:
Yesterday, our new crew arrived in Terceira:
They brought along quite a few goodies:
1. New, lighter windvanes – Peter built a varieties of shapes with much lighter woods as we believe that the current vanes are too heavy to steer efficiently
2. Cross bar & velcro – Peter also built these. They will be installed inside port storage, where all the canned goods are located. Goal is to install these bars in a way to keep the cans inside the storage even if the doors open. This had been a problem when the boat heeled over to starboard and the can open the door from the inside
3. Check valves and hose clamps – Peter also got those for us. We learned that when connected the starboard fresh water tank while heeling over heavily to port, that the water drained itself via the newly installed handpumps in the bathroom (on port). We will install a valve in all line to handpumps to control waterflow going forward
4. Two new LED domelights – John got those. They will replace the broken one in the bathroom and kitchen
5. New Genoa halyard – Built by Kevin and NorthEast Rigging to replace the one we broke during leg 1
6. Rotor guards – finally available for the Phantom 3 and shipped to MA just in time, they should make flying our drone while sailing a lot safer and hopefully reduce the risk of losing the drone significantly.
7. Phantom 3 backpack. This also came to market just in time and now enables us to actually bring the drone back home without breaking it on the plane
8. Protection filters for HD drone camera. DJI finally offered a lens protection for the currently quite exposed camera
9. additional goodies that Peter sent along, such as Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce or self built cork work to protect the cockpit cushions during out meals (corks were collected on the Azores)
Thanks to all that helped in getting these items and bringing them over to the Azores.
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.