Going west

The whole of last night there hasnt been much chance for sleep as
anticipated. First i had to clear land, then the traffic separation
scheme and when finally things got calmer the usual fishing boat on a
converging course made sure i couldnt go for a kip.
Later in the night i sailed right through the eye of the first low, the
wind went lighter and started coming from all directions, it would
literally swing around me leaving me almost unable to move, as soon as i
set the sails it was coming from exactly the opposite direction. After

Space Technology

I was still playing around with my satellite connection but had given up almost all hope, on
fact i had resigned to the idea of no blogs and worst no up to date grib files for the next
10 days. Luckily i have Navtex which is going to give me at least basic info, i thought,
when i turned my head to see if i had any new forecasts: the Navtex was dead! The digital
world of marine technology at its best, now it works, now it doesnt, nothing in between the
two state.

Navtex is a very simple piece of kit, you think nothing can go wrong with it, so i decided

Plymouth Sound

The first time i had heard of the Plymouth Sound i had imagined a
vibrant city home of jazz cafes by the waterfront, with a refined
atmosphere rich in culture and creativeness. Little did i know that this
place seems to share the same historical roots of australia, everyone
appears to be a descendant of a thief, murdere or rapist and if silk is
smooth Plymouth isnt. However, after a couple of days in Mayflower
marina, getting the boat ready for this trip, i started to feel guilty
about such harsh judgment of Plimoudians, nothing was stolen, i hadnt

Land good bye

i'm about 7 miles south west of the bishop rock, the last bit of land i
should see for a while. the scilly lie very low on the horizon and only
a few lights disclose their presence. the sky is not yet pitch black but
now it should be a matter of half an hour or so.
Getting here so late means that i have yet to clear the traffic
separation scheme on the other side of the isles, there is no one about,
the closest ship is 20 miles away on AIS but, nonetheless, i'll have to
wait before i can catch some sleep. i guess it'll be approaching

The fat lady sung

I'm on my way back to the UK, headed for Plymouth, still fealing tired
after the race after partying. But it was well worth it we had a great
time offshore as well as on shore. Luckily my being "solo" is over and
i'm here with the help of my friend Philippe.
Yesterday it was prize giving and i was well pleased with the results,
British Beagle was one of the underdogs in the race so i couldnt believe
i was taking home a second overall in Cruiser class, second overall in
Class 1 and third overall in IRC and in case you wonder, yes this is

From dusk till dawn

There we go, the clock ticks and the mile counter drops slowly but
surely... As I write i assume at least the first 3 or 4 boats have
crossed the line if not more. I still have 65 miles or so to go and
since this afternoon the wind swung north west so i have the extra
pleasure of beating to Chausse de Sein before freeing the sails and
speed off to the finish line, I'm sure the guys at the bar with a cold
beer in their hands are really gelous of the privilege of another
extra hours of bashing to windward in 15-20 knots of wind - at the end

Sarkozy proclaims national offshore fishing day

I just spent hours going through an enormous fishing fleet, at least 50
boats blinking on the horizon and near me. They seemed well behaved and
no one came after me, all kept their course and dodging them has not
been too difficult. I find judging distances of lights at night very
difficult, certainly Graham Wilkinson knows this well, as i once tried
to park his boat onto the shore of the Lizard lighthouse. Anyhow, alone,
tired at night i take no chances and for peace of mind i stick the radar
on. When i identify a boat that seems to be closer than the others i do

British Beagle from the Club Real in Santander

Hi all, first of all thank you for all the messages of support i received during this tough leg from kinsale to santander, from friends and family, some from well wishers that i met only once and even from strangers that simply wished me luck.

bluQube Solo 1000, leg 2, day 4

The stormy weather we had on the way down seems a distant memory,
sailing now under bright sunshine, blu skies and steady westerly winds
on a perfect reach to the finish. The angle is just to shy for the kite
and i could risk the assymetric kite but the wind goes down a few knots
for me to consider it then up again to think forget it. One of the
retirees of this race retired because of a nasty spinnaker wrap and
there couldnt be anything less entertaining to have to deal with now
than a sail gone crazy in the wind. Plus, with my electric autopilot

Qualifier - day 3

the last 24 hours have been quite something, in all respects, sailing
and personally. first of all this is now the longest I have been alone
at sea on my boat and what a perfect choice for weather than a near gale
in Bay of Biscay.
When the wind slowly shifted westerly to southerly we all knew this was
going to be followed by a blow. this of course started in the middle of
the night, just off ushant and its traffic separation scheme and all the
shipping that comes with it. from when the wind picked up to this
afternoon when it came down a bit there has been no peace, first the

Finally into the trade winds

The struggle to reach the stable trade winds seems to have lasted an
eternity, the fleet progress has been very slow compared to the schedule
we had imagined when leaving Punta del Este and only Cessna at the front
has been keeping steady averages since reaching these steady winds a day
ahead of us.

So far and for several days we seemed to have fairly stable winds at night
then we'd get stopped during the day in flukey winds and sudden rain
showers caused presumably by the high temperatures and moist air becoming
unstable. This morning for the first time the winds held strong after
sunrise and the sky is unmistakeably changed, little white fluffy clouds
are scattered regularly around instead of massive cumulus formations
typical of the unstable air masses of the last few days, see the photo for
an example.

We've emerged from this section of the race in second place squeezing a
lead of 60 miles over Phesheya, our gamble to go offshore at Cabo Frio
paid off eventually. I think we can now expect a drag race to the doldrums
where things could get shaken again. I may be wrong so we'll certainly
keep a watchful eye on the Dutch and the Southafrincans and try cover our
backs from a likely attack...

We had a few issues with the NKE electronics suddenly losing the boat
speed reading, then the compass reading, all misteriously working again by
simply powering off an on the system, luckily all the problems occurred
in light airs and not while sailing with the big spinnaker in strong winds
like during leg 3 when a similar failure caused the boat to go off in a
big gybe resulting in the big spinnaker to be torn in half (and
subsequently repaired in Punta del Este).

Another misterious source of worry came from the primary alternator we
rely on to charge the batteries, for 2 consecutive days it seemed to have
given up the ghost, only to wake up gingerly this morning and resume
service as if nothing had ever happened.

So far, save for a spinnaker sheet which I quite stupidly lost overboard
during a manouvre we havent really had any damage or serious problems,
let's hope things carry on like this to make Charleston a stress free and
cheap stopover. The budget has long ago been totally depleted. In Punta we
were being hosted in free accommodation by the Yacht Club Punta del Este
and for the other expenses i relied on the generosity of many readers who
have sent donations through www.marconannini.com/help which i'm very
grateful for. We're hoping to find a host family during our relatively
brief Charleston stopover and hopefully the price of food will be no where
near the inflated prices of Punta del Este where an espresso could cost
over 3 euros! For now we're getting in the swing of our freeze dried diet,
the last fresh item, an apple, was eaten yesterday.