July 14, 2011 - Through the straits!

We have just arrived in our marina in Spain. We are officially in the Med as we have gone through the Straits of Gibraltar. The AIS has been a great help as there have been times when we have had more than 20 ships around Astor with some doing 30 kts. Playing dodgem was fun! The weather in southern Portugal and Spain is like SoCal, Hot in the sun cool in the shade.

Cheers, Richard

July 10, 2011 - Checked in - Portugal

Sorry for the slow update, we have been playing tourist. We arrived safely in Portimao, Portugal on thursday July 7th. We were anchor down at 5pm. Southern Portugal seems to have a climate similar to SoCal at least in the summer. We are firmly back in civilization and like it. We explored the town a little and have had lunch out twice. I am trying to find a new water pump for the Detroit, as much as the waist basket and bilge pump solution is entertaining it does take up space in the aft cabin. I talked to a couple of places on Friday and the indication is that there is one to be found but we won't know until Monday.

Cheers, Richard

July 7, 2011 - Day 7 - Making progress... slowly

3:00 a.m.

Lat: 37 13 N, Long: 10 29 W, Course: 100 M, speed 6.5 with double reefed main & fore stay sail, Wind: 16.2 N, Bar: 1022. 70 miles to go.

The wind has continued to build all day so we are down to the comfortable double reefed main & fore stay sail. We should arrive at the cape of lower Portugal at 1:00 tomorrow then work our way into Portemeo to anchor down - hooray!!!

The Atlantic sailing is rough compared to the Pacific as it has very short distances between waves - big chop all the time. I got spoiled for the first 5 days of this trip as we had light winds and calm seas. We are dealing with nasty stuff now and of course, going to weather.

We are finally getting some wind and are sailing at about 7.5 kts. We are 197 miles out and should see land tomorrow. The AIS is working great and it's good to have here. There are about 14 ships within 50 miles of as we are in the lane for Gibraltar. We have had other sailboats see our signal so I know we are broadcasting. The sailboats that have their antenna mounted on the stern rail are only visible from about 2.5 miles out, what good is that?. We are using the mast head so we have much better range.

Looking forward to later today. We will finally see Europe proper.

All is well on board.

Cheers,  ~~~ Lani & Richard

July 6, 2011 - Day 6 - More wind and hand steering(what's that?)

3:00 a.m.

Lat: 37 32 N, Long: 13 55 W, Course: 105 M, speed 6.5 with jib & main stay sail, Wind: 12.7 NNE, Bar: 1023. 240 miles to go.

We motor sailed until 3:00 p.m. as we had no wind. We put up the reaching golly and the jib and were moving along at 5k. Until 9:00 pm when we finally got the wind the grib files had been predicting. So we dropped the golly - no problem except the autopilot drive died just as we set out to do it. I had to drive while poor Leslie had to drag that big thing in by herself as the guys were on the halyards. We managed and then set about replacing the autopilot drive (expertly done by Tom & Richard in the dark-BTW). I drove & Leslie watched radar & AIS. So now we are moving a long nicely with just the jib & main stay sail. The auto pilot is happily doing its thing.

It is Leslie's birthday today. Guess sailing will have to be her gift.

All is well on board.

Miss you ~~~Lani

July 5, 2011 - Day 5 - Making progress... slowly

3:00 a.m.

Lat: 37 55 N, Long: 16 41 W, Course: 105 M, speed 5.1 motor sailing with stay sails, Wind: 9.1 NW, Bar: 1023. 375 miles to go.

We had mostly a peaceful day on ASTOR. We got sailing early and added the reaching golly at 10:00 am but the wind backed off so we were only able to go 3-5 knots in less that 7k true. Still we were not motoring and thus not using diesel. Which was also great as we have the motor box off in the aft cabin with our jury rigged cooling system so it is pretty loud in there - well everywhere. But that sound can be sweet at the thought of not having it!!!!

Richard had to spend 3 hours fixing the generator. We had it serviced under warranty in Grenada and have been paying for it every since. Everything they did to it Richard has had to re-do. Hopefully this is the last of it. Luckily the sea state is calm so working over the generator could be worse.

We celebrated the 4th by having chili and cornbread for dinner. We really did not want any fireworks.

All is well on board.

Miss you ~~~Lani

July 4, 2011 - Day 4 - Water, Pumps and Patches

3:00 a.m.

Lat: 37 48 N, Long: 18 53 W, Course: 105 M, speed 5.1 motor sailing with stay sails, Wind: 11k W (on the tail), Bar: 1025. 475 miles to go.


He has performed miracles before but today may be the biggest ever.

At 10:00 am the raw water pump for the main engine (better known as Roger) froze/seized up. There we were- about 1/2 way across with about 500 miles to go and because of light winds, we were basically drifting. Richard turned off the motor and we hussled to get the Dragon Golly up. At that time we had wind of 5k true on the tail. We got ASTOR going doing 1.5 - 2k. ETA to the tip of Portugal 13 days. Oh-my-God!!!!!

Richard said maybe we can jury rig something --- minutes later he had me gathering the waste basket (empty), spare new bilge pump and numerous hose clamps. 1 1/2 hours later he had cut the water pump belts (thus bypassing the water pump) then he rigged it's hoses to the bilge pump as it sat in the waste basket covered in salt water and pumping back to the main engine (cooling it nicely).

We are motoring along - happily - running as cool as can be.

Tomorrow we may head south for some wind as the grib files have let us down again.

Otherwise all is well on board.

Miss you ~~~Lani

July 3, 2011 - Day 3 - Starry, starry night

3:00 a.m.

Lat: 37 56 N, Long: 20 37 W, Course: 105 M, speed 5.1 motor sailing with stay sails, Wind: 7.7k S, Bar: 1025. 580 miles to go,

We have been motoring through the day and night. the wind gods have abandoned us, we have had no more than 7kts from astern. A front slowly rolled over us in the afternoon with a little rain but no wind. Tonight we have clear skies and millions of stars with flat seas and no wind, hard to complain.

Wish you were here ~~~Lani

July 2, 2011 - Day 2 - The way it should be

3:00 a.m.

Lat: 38 10 N, Long: 23 50 W, Course: 105 M, speed 5.1 motor sailing with stay sails, Wind: 7.7k S, Bar: 1025. 711 miles to go,

We had a lovely day as we sailed along with everything including the advance up. The wind was predicted to die but we made it until 2100 when it went light again and we decided to motor through the night. We all had a wonderful sunny warm day of reaching along in flat seas. What a joy.

 ~~~ Lani

July 1, 2011 - Depart Azores - On our way again!!

Yes, we are headed to Portugal. Ten days ago we sailed 150 miles from the island of Flores to the port of Horta on the island of Faial It was a little sad leaving Horta as is one of our favorite places ever. It is beautiful, with nice people, affordable, and a wonderful protected harbor. What more could you want? Oh yes great restaurants and even fabric stores.

We finally got a weather window and we up anchored at 10:00 this a.m. We have had light wind but have been able to sail all but one hour as we were between islands and blanketed.

3:00 a.m.:

Lat: 38 26 N, Long: 26 28 W, Course: 106 M, speed 5.5 with full main, stay sails, & jib, Wind: 9.4k S, Bar: 1027.

We have Tom & Leslie Arnold on board and are looking forward to Portugal. Then on to Spain where ASTOR and the Arnolds will stay until we get back from Mariah & Daniel's wedding.

All is well on board.

Miss you ~~~Lani

June 6, 2011 - Day 19 - Anchor Down!!

We are in the Azores on the island of Flores. we arrived on Sunday at 1730 Azore time, 7 hours later than Cal. We sailed 2600 miles(2150 is the rhum line) to get here with calms and two 40 kt gales. There was either no wind or way too much. Everyone says that this is the worst weather they can remember for this passage.

Flores is a beautiful island remote from the rest of the Azores. there is not a lot here except for cows and flowers. After a few days rest we will send more info.

Cheers, Richard

June 5, 2011 - Day 18 - Final leg!
2:00 a.m.:

Lat: 38 57 N, Long: 32 22 W, Course: 82 M, speed 5k motor sailing with stay sails, Wind: 17k SE, Bar: 1025.

Well the winds have just picked up and so we will probably let everyone sleep for a while. This will be our last day - hooray!!

We are 60 miles out and should arrive around 2 pm. Looks like we will have sunny weather and the wind is predicted to be around 12. Nice amount for being at anchor. It has been a long rough passage and we are not sorry to see it come to an end.

Looking forward to seeing Azores and Europe.

Miss you ~~~Lani

June 4, 2011 - Day 17 - Calm......
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 38 36 N, Long: 34 45 W, Course: 100 M, speed 4.7k motor sailing with stay sails, Wind: 10k SE, Bar: 1021.

The wind continues to be light and going behind us so not much sailing to day - just from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. Which helps with fuel consumption. 172 miles to go and we have about 130 gallons of diesel left. Should be good.

We had sunshine all day and have a starry night. The seas are fairly calm so all is well on board.

Looking forward to landfall.

Miss you ~~~Lani

June 3, 2011 - Day 16 - Light winds
3:00 a.m. report:

LHi to all:

Lat: 38 05 N, Long: 36 46 W, Course: 100 M, speed 4.4k motor sailing with stay sails, Wind: 10k SE, Bar: 1015.

We are just motor sailing in light airs. Quiet day on board resting & drying out. We had lots of sunshine & it felt good.

We are less than 300 miles out now.

Miss you all ~~~Lani

June 2, 2011 - Day 15 - (report missing)
3:00 a.m. report:

[position estimated and plotted]

June 1, 2011 - Day 14 - Two Weeks!!!
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 38 17 N, Long: 42 22 W, Course: 110 M, speed 8.4k sailing with & stay sails & triple reefed main, Wind: 21k SE, Bar: 1020.

522 miles to go.

We have had good winds all day but a rolly rough sea. At 300 p.m. we put the triple reef in the main. That did not slow us down much just made the ride a little better. We had a sunny day today - the weather has improved.

We are all looking forward to land fall. To give us all a rest including ASTOR.

All is well on board.

Miss you like mad ~~~Lani

May 31, 2011 - Day 13 - Sailing on!
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 38 38 N, Long: 46 33 W, Course: 118 M, speed 8.4k sailing with jib & stay sails & single reefed main, Wind: 15 SE, Bar: 1025.

We finally have some good weather and favorable winds. We are sailing due east towards the Azores on a 14 kt southerly with moderate seas. We are still hard to weather, what's new, but sailing is pleasant. We have about 750 miles to go. This weather should hold for a couple of days before the next low arrives.

We changed the ships clocks by 2 hours yesterday to accommodate the time zone changes. We did it by eliminating Lani's afternoon watch for the day so the schedule remains the same. We will change again when we make land fall.
All is well and Astor is being a good girl.

Cheers, Richard & Lani

May 30, 2011 - Day 12 - A much better day
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 38 18 N, Long: 49 52 W, Course: 85 M, speed 6k sailing with jib & stay sails & single reefed main, Wind: 15 SSE, Bar: 1022.

What a difference a day makes. Thank God!!! Today has gotten progressively better. We are in lighter wind but still good and headed towards the Azores. We are drying out and relaxing.

If you haven't seen it yet- Our daily positions are being plotted on the map page.

All is well on board.

Miss you like mad ~~~Lani

May 29, 2011 - Day 11 - On the backside(hopefully)
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 34 50 N, Long: 51 49 W, Course: 27 M, speed 6k sailing with fore staysail & triple reefed main, Wind: 22.9 SE, Bar: 1019.

Today is finally a little better - yes the wind at 23 k is a lot better than 37 k which I had on my day watch at 4:00 pm. Good planning as the guys had just triple reefed the main. It is finally cold and guys were in full foul weather gear in a full North Atlantic gale. It is nasty out here. Hopefully the wind will lighten tomorrow an allow us to go east. That is according to the latest grid file. We all are sick of hanging on for dear life no matter where we are or what we are doing. Life in the galley is rough. So glad I prepared all those meals.

Otherwise all is well on board.

Miss you ~~~Lani

PS: At 0730 this morning we can see the sun ahead, it's still raining but the wind is down to 21 kts and clocking so we are making some east towards the Azores -- Richard

May 28, 2011 - Day 10 - Rough day
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 34 04 N, Long: 51 04 W, Course: North 90 degrees to the wind, speed 6.8 sailing with fore staysail & double reefed main, Wind: 24 ESE, Bar: 1019. The seas are huge with a nasty cross swell.

The wind came up on my watch at 3 a.m. yesterday and slowly built. We dropped the main staysail at 4 p.m. and I am so glad. It is nasty out here.

I going to keep it short & simple tonight. All is well on board.

Wish you were here ~~~Lani

May 27, 2011 - Day 9 - NO! Not Canada!
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 31 39 N, Long: 51 21 W, Course: 32M, speed 6.5 sailing, Wind: 13 SE, Bar: 1019.

We are moving along nicely now. Today we have been busy with more sails up and down. Mid-day our course was heading to Canada with light wind so we lowered all sails and motored in the right direction for a couple of hours and the wind came up from the SE. So we raised all the sails and we are off again. We are real good at the raise, lower, reef, un-reef!!!

Today we changed our time aboard as the sun was coming up at 3:30. So now we are off UTC by only 2 hours. This should be a lot better all around. Make better for our arrival in the Azores.

Miss you all ~~~Lani

May 26, 2011 - Day 8 - Half way?
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 229 55 N, Long: 51 51 W, Course: 44M, speed 5 sailing, Wind: 10 SE, Bar: 1018.

Well here we are a week into it and we are nearly 1/2 way there. Today was an easy day we shook out the reef in the main early and that was it for most of the day. We were able to have a really comfortable sail doing 6.5 to 8+ all day.

All is well on board.

Miss you ~~~Lani

May 25, 2011 - Day 7 - Scattered winds, squalls and making progress
3:00 a.m. report:

Lat: 27 47 N, Long: 53 26 W, Course: 82M, speed 7 motorsailing, Wind: 10 SE, Bar: 1013. On the "rum" line.

Today was a lovely sunny day mostly. We put up the weather fish first thing this a.m. and sailed well until 1300. Then we motor sailed and late in the day were sailing again. At midnight (just a couple of hours ago) we had a huge squall and reefed everything down again. So we have gotten our exercise today.

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring some wind as we work our way out of this high.

It took us so long to get ready to transit that we just did not have time to write much and we did not know we were leaving until the day we left. The mast project was so huge that we have been exhausted ever since. This put us behind on all of our regular projects too. Poor Richard. I got my provisioning done easily as we were basically back in the US(being in St Thomas). They had great stores with U.S. stuff. One of our projects was to get the old sails hanked back on up top and store our new ones below.

We chose to bypass Bermuda this trip as it adds about 500 miles and we are already behind schedule. Our trip was delayed leaving St. Thomas as there was no wind in the weather window for a week. Richard would have liked to have waited another 10 days or so but we have strong desires to get moving again.  We loaded a lot of fuel on and so far are doing well with fuel consumption. The only problem we have is that the engine driven high output altenator is only charging very little. It is under warranty so we will deal with it when we fly back for the wedding. The jenny is doing great but we are still conserving energy as much as we can.

All and all we are well. Last year everybody that made this trip had 25 foot seas and foul weather so I am not complaining.

Miss you all ~~~Lani

3:00 update - The wind is up so we just rolled out the jib and turned off the motor now doing 7 knots.

May 24, 2011 - Day 6 - Light winds and flying the big stuff!

 @ 4:00 a.m.:

Lat: 26 29 N, Long: 55 08 W, Course: 62, speed 7, Wind: 15 NW, Bar: 1012. On the "rum" line.

Well today was good. We had light wind on our stern quarter so Richard elected to fly the Dragon golly. It was the right call as we carried all day til sunset. So we made good time and still are.

It does feel cooler.

All is well on well on board as we had a great day sailing with the wind aft of the beam.

Miss you all ~~~Lani

May 23, 2011 - Day 5 - Light winds and motoring

Hi to all:
@ 3:00 a.m.:

Lat: 25 36 N, Long: 57 50 W, Course: 87, speed 4.4 motoring, Wind: 7.5 NW, Bar: 1016. On the "rum" line.

We had a lovely morning as the wind picked up a bit and we raised the advance fisherman with a full main and sailed all day until 5 pm. It was lovely. Since then the wind has died and we are motoring with staysails only. The wind is coming from everywhere and is very light. We had a nice late afternoon with sunshine. Great to be out on deck.

All is well on board. We are getting a lot of reading done.

Miss you all ~~~Lani

May 22, 2011 - Day 4 - 

@ 3:00 a.m.:

Lat: 24 27 N, Long: 60 02 W, Course: 90, speed 5.5, Wind: 8.5 true, at 54 degrees, Bar: 1018. On the "rum" line.

Today was another day of light winds and showers. We were busy hoisting sails even the advance fisherman only to take them down with in a hour as the wind dissipated. Can't say we aren't trying. We are rested and watching the weather via the grid files.
Miss you all ~~~Lani

May 21, 2011 - Day 3 - 

@ 3:00 a.m.:

Lat: 23 24, Long: 61.44, Course:62, speed 7.1, Wind: 10.5 true, at 54 degrees, Bar: 1018. On the "rum" line.

It is perfect right now. We are sailing along at 50 degrees doing 7.1 in 10 k of wind and the seas are fairly smooth now. We all got caught up on our sleep today.
The weather is grey and rainy but still warm.

Miss you all like mad ~~~Lani

PS: Happy birthday Will

May 20, 2011 - Day 2 - 

It is nearly 3:00 am. We are having a better day as most of napped during the day except Richard. The 1st few days are alway hard but I do not think he slept at all last night. He is sleeping right now. Our wonderful crew is struggling a little with being tired but all are sleeping well now. We decided to go for a quiet night and rolled up the jib at 11:00 pm. We were doing 9.4 and the seas were rough so we are slower and happier now.

We are making way quite well considering it is on the nose.

Lat: 21.24 N Long: 63.18 Course: 35 mag., Speed 5.5 sailing, wind: 13.6 true @55 apprt, bar: 1017.

Our AIS is proving to be wonderful as we have had 2 incidents that could have been close with freighter but both altered coarse to clear us. I like it.

Love you miss you ~~~Lani

May 19, 2011 - Day 1 - Sails up! We are finally moving!

It is 2:00 am. We are on our way - out of USVI & BVI.

Lat: 19.00 N Long: 64.15 Course: 42 mag., Speed 7.2 motor sailing, wind: 11.6 true @55 apprt, bar: 1015.

We are testing out our AIS as we have a ship just 16 miles out - neat to see the name and everything but is heading our way. So we are keeping our speed up as we hope is tracking us. At 3:00 - the ship is going to pass behind us. We are back to sailing.

Otherwise, we are fine. All a little tired as it takes a lot to get under way.

Love you miss you ~~~Lani