Hope's and Howard's Sailing Adventures

Atlantic Cruising on board Mazu

Delayed Start

Having listened to the wind howling all night, we were very relieved to hear Andy’s decision in the 9AM broadcast to delay the start until Monday at noon. By then we should still have wind in a favorable direction with less punch and seas that are diminishing. We are even provided with suggested entry and exit coordinates for the Gulf Stream to have the shortest point to cross it and.. Read More

Customs and immigration

Entering and leaving countries by private yacht is interesting. In fact we Europeans are not allowed to enter the USA as a normal tourist, and had to get visas to fly in. When arriving by boat, the boat’s home country flag must be flown at the stern of the boat, the new country flag flown high up in the rigging, and the yellow ‘Q’ flag for quarantine flown below it… Read More


There was a definite air of something around the marina on Friday. It was hard to identify, but could probably be diagnosed as the jitters. We’d all spent the morning listening to a presentation by a swimmer for the US Coastguard on disasters at sea, complete with statistics, much from his personal experience of rescuing distressed yachtsmen. His underlying message was that mostly it could have been prevented before the.. Read More

Weather to Sail

Friday Morning, weather briefing.  Even Patrick in Australia texted to say it’s a cliffhanger  🙂 So far we know we’re not leaving on Saturday, and probably not on Sunday, but we have all to be ready to go then.  As soon as this deep Low passes through, we are off.  The weather will be good to carry us across the Gulf Stream before the very light winds from the High that is to.. Read More

Food, one way or another

Thursday’s agenda started with an excellent lecture on rigging by a really practical professional rigger, with lots of simple tips and checks to ensure the mast and sails stay put! He also offered to come on board and check over the boat, and provided short term and longer term advice. He suggested increasing the diameter of the staysail sheets, for instance, as they will take a lot of load in.. Read More

Follow the Yellow Brick

Wednesday was scheduled as a free day so we decided to divide and conquer. Hope and Karen headed off to the nearest coffee shop with Internet access, while Howard and William stayed at the boat and worked with the local expert on swinging compasses and fishing for tuna. Same guy. We had noted that the compass was reading off by up to 30 degrees and since we will be steering.. Read More

Crossing the Gulfstream

Tuesday, 9am and we are all back in class for Andy’s lecture on what to expect as we cross the Gulfstream. This is generally the hardest part of the trip, unless a new low pressure system develops in the tropics….. It is fascinating stuff. The current flows North East along the USA coast before crossing the Atlantic to Europe, keeping both coastlines warmer than they would be otherwise. Around where.. Read More

Seasickness and Deisel

Monday morning, 9am and the back room in the Sports Bar is full of expectant sailors ready for the morning seminars. Today’s topics are provisioning, mental preparation and boat gadgets. Mia, the lovely Swedish wife of Andy, (who as a duo run the Arc1500 rally) gave us the benefit of her experience provisioning and cooking for ocean passages. Top tips were avoid alcohol and coffee, over-provision by 50%, expect to.. Read More

Safety Inspection

Sunday. We expected to have a few days to prepare, but our inspection time was booked for 10:00 am on Sunday, which was good, because it would give us the whole week to resolve anything that arose. In the end, Howard and Hope’s amazing commitment to the boat paid off, and we were pronounced complete, after a rigorous review by Lyall from the Rally staff. He took an hour to.. Read More

Saturday in Portsmouth

At 5am in darkness we slipped our mooring and motored out of the creek, following the navigation lights through the buoyed channel to the open bay. Chesapeake Bay is a major shipping area for tankers and container ships heading to and from Baltimore and other ports in Delaware and Maryland, serving the East Coast. They are generally travelling at 30 knots plus, so appear out of nowhere quite quickly. Since.. Read More