Completing a Solo Ocean Passage on a Contessa 26 and Arrival in the Iconic Port of Horta

Completing a Solo Ocean Passage on a Contessa 26 and Arrival in the Iconic Port of Horta

The Port of Horta is iconic for a few reasons. Firstly it’s the only all weather full service port in the mid Atlantic, and by all weather I mean that Wave Rover weathered hurricane Lorenzo here without incurring any damage. Secondly it is an oceanic crossroads, sailors having spent a season(s) in the Caribbean and returning to Europe will stop here to rest and reprovision. Sailors coming from North America will stop here on their way to Europe, the Mediterranean,…

Read More Read More

Solo Ocean Passage on a Contessa 26

Solo Ocean Passage on a Contessa 26

The passage to Horta (on the Island of Faial in the Azores) was the first passage where I was able to get a complete weather picture before departure. The passage was quite straight forward in the sense that it was basically open ocean and only 140Nm. I simply cleared the Port of Lajas  (on the Island of Flores in the Azores) and set the MK 3 to steer a course of 115 degress. After exiting the harbour of Lajes I…

Read More Read More

Last Sailboat out of Lajes before Hurricane Lorenzo Destroys the Port

Last Sailboat out of Lajes before Hurricane Lorenzo Destroys the Port

I had been watching the weather for about a week and the 25th of September was shaping up to be a great day to leave the Port of Lajes on Flores Island and proceed to the iconic Port of Horta on Faial Island. When I went to the Port Captain earlier in the day, as part of my clearance duties, he informed me that it was a wise choice to leave. A hurricane was fully formed and although at least…

Read More Read More

Touring Flores

Touring Flores

The Island of Flores is the Western most point of Europe, and it maintains a somewhat rustic but European flair. I loved my time there and truly enjoyed every minute of the stay. The Island is very lush and green and boasts twice as many cattle as inhabitants. The people are warm and generous and the visiting sailors tend to be real characters. I toured most of the island over my 4 week stay but the West coast really makes…

Read More Read More

Lajes Harbour during an East Wind and Traditional Azores Whale Boats

Lajes Harbour during an East Wind and Traditional Azores Whale Boats

The first week in Lajes Harbour was great in every way. The weather was sunny and clear, the people friendly, and my fellow sailors are characters all. The wind didn’t even attempt to blow as a high pressure system rested above us. Shortly after, the dreaded Easterly wind appeared. It started blowing 20+kts for several days. Under these conditions a large swell sets up from the East and enters the harbour where it bounces off the harbour walls as it…

Read More Read More

Solo Sailing: Ripped Sails in the Mid Atlantic and Landfall at Flores Island, Azores

Solo Sailing: Ripped Sails in the Mid Atlantic and Landfall at Flores Island, Azores

The heavy weather sailing that I described in the previous post put a toll on my sail. The leach (trailing edge) of the sail developed a 2 foot tear that had to be dealt with for fear of it becoming even bigger and consequently being impossible to repair at sea. The old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” is very true.   Repairing the sail wasn’t difficult except trying to find room to spread it out and working on…

Read More Read More

Heavy Weather: Solo on the Atlantic Ocean in a Small Sailboat

Heavy Weather: Solo on the Atlantic Ocean in a Small Sailboat

The barometer had been falling over the previous few days and clouds were building. A change of weather was in the cards. By day 7 of the voyage Wave Rover was about to be tested with her first North Atlantic Gale. Sustained winds of 35-40Kts and waves in excess of 12 feet. I put in the first reef on the main sail around 11 pm. Put in a second reef on the main by 11:30 and reefed the jib. By…

Read More Read More

Sailing Solo on the North Atlantic in a Small Sailboat

Sailing Solo on the North Atlantic in a Small Sailboat

The only misgiving I had, as I set the sails leaving the Strait of Canso, was the self steering gear. During the limited sea trials I conducted I was unable to get the vane gear to interface correctly with the trim tab. This was a major problem as without effective self steering the voyage would be impossible, one person cannot steer a boat 24/7. I had put considerable effort into designing and building the gear over the previous winter. Individually…

Read More Read More

Entering the Atlantic Ocean on my Contessa 26

Entering the Atlantic Ocean on my Contessa 26

Day 1, Wednesday 31st of July, 2019 Departing Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada Bound for Flores Island, Azores   Again I was up early, 5:20 am.  Quite a few items still had to be done before I would cast off.  Although I knew I would have time at sea, once things settled down, to reorganize and stow everything properly.  But certain important things needed my attention.  My series drogue, a piece of equipment I built last winter, had…

Read More Read More

The Beginning of my Solo Circumnavigation on a Modified Contessa 26

The Beginning of my Solo Circumnavigation on a Modified Contessa 26

For most the last year the Wave Rover, my 40 year old 25.5 foot sailboat, has been resting on my drive way. I’v prepped her for a 2 year solo circumnavigation. Rebuilding her from the ground up. It was a big job and made even more challenging by keeping to a budget of $7500 USD. Sunday morning at 0400 I’m on the boat trying to cram all the extra supplies I’ve prepared. I told friends that I would be departing…

Read More Read More