Monday, September 29, 2014

St. Johns to Bermuda

Cape Spear - most eastern point of Canada

We welcomed Rob Tape aboard in a classic NL downpour - but by afternoon it was all sunshine again. A weather window to Bermuda -or anywhere - eluded us and allowed time to tour and be hosted by friends Brendan and Val O'Connell.
Who knew? Fog is a golf hazard as well.
They took to their new role as SJ Yacht Support Services brilliantly! We drove to Cape Spear and later to our sister club - the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club. My SSB radio troubles were diagnosed by fellow cruiser Max - SV Velo and a loaner antenna tuner was provided by Ocean Cruising Club Port Officer Ted Laurentius. My gratitude is beyond words and beggars description! Still no Bermuda window so we decided to sail to Halifax and try again from there. The now legendary NL hospitality continued with a magnificent feast at the home of Ed and Sharon followed by a jam session.
Jam session at Ed and Sharons
The trip began at first light and soon we were sailing at 8 knots towards Cape Race. That night the infamous Cape lived up to its reputation and gave us a rowdy ride as we close hauled westward. Things improved as we had St Pierre abeam and next day lightened enough to require us to motor sail. We had a fine spinnaker run the last day to arrive at RNSYC in the dark almost 4 days out from St Johns.
Downwind to Halifax
Our first mission was to pay homage at the sailors mecca that is Binnacle, Halifax. Before we could catch a bus there we were adopted by RNSYS member Hugh Vincent who was our guardian angel for the duration of our stay. Member Rich Knowles rebuilt out windspeed unit and 6 mast climbs later we were ready to go again.
Rob takes on mast climb #6
Just in time too as a window opened up despite the march NE of Hurricane Eduardo Following a final briefing with weather guru Chris Parker to confirm our plan we set out Sunday night. Robs racing skills soon had us sailing  fast as a North Wester blew us south for 2 days. We dropped the Bimini for better sail trim and to enjoy the beautiful starlit night sky.
Another day of mixed bag weather had us motor sailing to the Gulf Stream crossing called the I 65. Despite the latest guidance downloaded from Saildocs and our weather guru we spent a frustrating 2 days fighting a 2 knot adverse current that sapped away our previous progress. Ironically, the delay caused us to be late for our appointment with a nasty Low from the US Carolinas and we motored sailed in pretty calm seas to our destination.
Running from squalls
Dinner prep on the Ole pans
We picked up an exhausted passenger  who stayed for 3 days all the way to Bermuda! By Friday the heat increased and it was sweltering on board. Robs Mexican Tacos were the perfect meal for the conditions although Gatorade is no substitute for Cerveza and not likley to catch on! 
The airport beacon was our first glimpse of Bermuda in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and by noon we were approaching the Customs dock in St Georges harbour.

Chantey V at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club
Bermuda is a delightful island that punches far above its weight in terms of beauty and history. We spent a few days touring until Rob had to bid adieu. Thanks Rob for sharing in the adventure! Next to arrive is brother Kieran and we will have a week of R and R together before I return to Victoria to wait out the rest of Hurricane season.

Ferry ride home with Kieran

          "When the wind is from the west
           All the waves that cannot rest
           To the east must thunder on
           Where the bright tree of the sun
           Is rooted in ocean's brest"

Rumann son of Colman,  from 8th century gaelic by  Frank O'Connor