Hello from the Azores!

Hello HaveWind followers.  While our stop in the Azores was unexpected and due to necessary boat repairs, Phillip and I have had an incredible time exploring and immersing ourselves in the lifestyle and lush greenery of this incredible island.  Enjoy a few of the travel logs we posted to Patreon while rummaging around the Azores!

Posted June 19, 2016:

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Hello from the Azores!

Patrons! Greetings from a tiny island two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic. I don’t have much wifi. I am trying to upload a new video for you all sharing some footage from our passage around the halfway mark (approximately 1,000 nm ago), so this will have to be short. But know that every day on this journey has been an incredible adventure for Phillip and me. We have had some very trying times, some very tiring, exhausting times and have also experienced some of the most incredibly rewarding moments that I know will stick with us for years to come. We saw a whale spout and wave a fin at us yesterday just after we spotted land and it was a breath-taking moment for the entire crew.

As you may know if you have been following the Delorme tracker, our auto-pilot went out the last few days of the trip. Upon disassembly, we found we had literally ground the bearings into metal bits and dust. Auto worked very hard for a very long time getting us as far as he did. But, once he threw in the towel, the crew had to pick up the slack and hand-steer two hours at a time to bring the boat safely into harbor in the Azores. Thankfully we have four crew members which made it easier (2 hours on watch, 6 hours on rest) but the crew was growing weary. We had no sense of time. There is no morning rise, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime. There is only “on watch” or “on rest,” and you find yourself snatching any small pocket of sleep that you can. That may not sound like a wondrous adventure, but you will also find yourself in the early hours of the morning, your horizon lit only by a brilliant moon river, your hands gripped around the worn leather of the wheel and you, and you alone, are in control of a very tiny boat that is sailing across a vast, mysterious body of water and THAT, my friends, is wondrous.

We do not yet know what the future holds for us on this trip. We suffered another significant failure with the starboard engine just hours before we made it into port yesterday evening. Thankfully, the port engine continued chugging and we were able to limp in to the Horta Marina where several deckhands graciously helped us tie up safely. We are inspecting the engine today, washing clothes (and our filthy bodies!) and assessing plans from here. We will update you all once a decision is made. But, for the moment, know that Phillip and I have definitely experienced more in the last few weeks than we will ever have time to tell or recount. There are not enough hours in the day for me to write my adventures, as I am too busy living them, and I consider that an exquisite blessing. Life is exceedingly full for these two sailors. We are grateful every day for your support and hope that you all have enjoyed following along on this adventure vicariously.

 

Posted June 24, 2016:

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Set In Stone

Hello Patrons!  Another quick fun post from the Azores while I have found a pocket of internet.  Phillip said yesterday (and this kind of surprised me as he has traveled so much) that, of all the islands he has traveled to, this, Failal Island in the Azores, is his “favorite”!  It does have so much to offer.  We have been wearing out the soles of our shoes exploring this little town and so many things have impressed me.  First, the many streets, sidewalks, walls, driveways, gates, facades that are handmade from stone.  I’m not sure I have seen any concrete (other than the massive rip raff near the harbor).  Everything feels so handmade and ancient.

Everything is also SO much smaller in the best way possible.  Many people say the cruising lifestyle is meant to be a smaller, simpler, more rewarding lifestyle (in that you live in such a smaller space and consciously consume so much less than you do when living on land, often in huge, sprawling estates) and I feel that is true of every aspect of this place.  The cars are smaller.  The streets are smaller.  The doorways, tables and settings are smaller.  The coffee servings are smaller.  And, the entire “small” experience has made us savor every aspect of it that much more.

The island also has a very connected, organic feel.  The lush rolling hillsides are littered with cattle.  Some of them sporting huge, hanging udders (down to their ankles almost!) and suddenly I know where the incredible cheese I have been indulging on every day comes from.  The fish market boasts a huge, iced display of fresh whole fish every morning that I know have been harvested just hours before out in the vast salt waters of the Atlantic.  The “new whaling” industry (they call it — watching as opposed to slaying) offers a majestic view of the magnificent creatures that grace us below the surface and you can see the passion and excitement, even in the eyes of our guide and driver who have likely seen hundreds of whales in their lifetimes, each time we had a new sighting.  The industries here (agricultural, tourism, retail) seem to have more synergy and purpose.  It is always enlightening to immerse yourself in a new culture and try to truly feel and understand their way of life.  I have enjoyed that endeavor more than any other on this, our “favorite” island so far.

Thanks as always for your support and for making these travel logs possible.

 

Boat #8: 1988 (Slow Boat to the Bahamas!) Island Packet 31

Celebrity boat tour here!  Our very own fellow sailing author, blogger and podcaster, Linus Wilson’s, 1988 Island Packet 31 — THE Slow Boat to the Bahamas.  Not only do you get a glimpse of my SlowBoatSailing video podcast interview, but also an in-depth insightful tour of Linus’s boat — rigged out for Panama via Cuba — but ALSO a live vocal performance from his recently-recruited crew member: Stevie Vagabond.  Thank Linus for his hospitality.  Be on the lookout for my podcast interview to publish on his SlowBoatSailing website (it may already be out now!) and — most importantly — enjoy the tour!

If it’s June 24th, I can’t even begin to imagine where I’m at right now.  In France?  In the middle of Atlantic?  Pinned down in Bermuda waiting on parts.  I have no clue.  Only adventure is in store.  Join the journey.  Get inspired.  Get on board on Patreon.

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Happy Buns in the Sport-a-Seat

“We can’t have you crossing with unhappy buns!” Christian said.  Love that guy.  Do  any of you have these: the famous Sport-a-Seat?

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To be honest, I didn’t know we did until the fine Sport-a-Seat folks reached out to me.  What I DID know was that we had as set of the best, most functional deck chairs anyone could dream up.  Ours (two forest green ratchet chairs) were on our fantastic Niagara 35 when we bought her back in 2013.  We started using them during our inaugural shakedown Salt of a Sailor passage and after that, we NEVER left the dock without them.  These seats are our chairs, our cushions, our couch, our everything.  Even before we brought the cockpit cushions back on the boat after the re-fit, we brought the Sport-a-Seats first and went out for the weekend with only those.

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Hard bare decks meet Sport-a-Seats and a happy magic happens.  They’re literally all we need!

So, recently the Sport-a-Seat folks reached out to me via my YouTube channel asking if the deck chairs we were sitting on in some of our videos were Sport-a-Seats.  Having no clue, I said “Of course!” but at the first chance, I confirmed and sure enough they ARE:

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Once I told the Sport-a-Seat people how much these ratcheting bun pleasers really meant to us, they said they simply could not see us crossing the Atlantic on unhappy buns.  Couldn’t agree more Christian.  Now, our old tried and true comfort companions are going to make the trip with us:

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We have now donated them as incredibly valuable new boat assets for our French Captain, his wife and family for their years of live-aboard cruising to come.

Captain says: “Could there BE any more comfy seat?”

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No, there can’t.

Now, when Phillip and I fly back from France we’ll have fresh new Sport-a-Seats waiting here for us to use during our local cruising this summer as well as our trip to the Keys, Cuba and beyond this winter.  Thank you Sport-a-Seat!  And, to share the love, I also asked them if they could offer you all a discount for your very own bun pleasers and they happily agreed.  Enter Promo Code “HWWT15” for a 15% discount!

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Thank Christian and Patty at Sport-a-Seat for their generosity, contact them at 800-870-SEAT or sportaseat@aol.com if you have any questions about their fantastic deck chairs and tell them Annie from HaveWindWillTravel.com sent you!

#69: Meet Hydraulic Auto (a.k.a. Mr. Roboto!)

“Don’t nobody got no Mr. Roboto!”  This is a really fun video guys.  You’ll get to see, from start to finish, the installation of our below-decks hydraulic auto-pilot.  Video Annie loves her some new steering!

Enjoy the show and if we haven’t docket yet in France, get on the boat!  The tracker link is up on Patreon.  Join the journey.

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Written Interview on SailNator.com!

This was pretty cool.  I had a fellow sailing blogger reach out to me and ask me to do a written interview for his blog — SailNator.com “Learn to Sail Online.”  I found the questions he asked were really fun and insightful and I had a great time letting my Writer Annie let it all hang out in the process.  I hope you enjoy the interview!

WRITTEN INTERVIEW with HaveWindWillTravel.com on www.SailNator.com.  Dig in!

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And, I have no idea where I’ll be as you’re reading this, but it may be somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic as we departed the end of May on our non-stop voyage from Florida to France on a French-built Catamaran.  The tracker link showing our little blinking dot as it travels across the ocean along with daily messages to our followers and a world of photos, footage and stories from Atlantic crossing await on Patreon!

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Boat #7: 1997 Norseman 43

Wow.  This is an exquisite Catamaran.  A comfortable, durable coastal cruiser that looks like and feels like a five-star condo on the water.  Thank you Tom and Karen for Sunday Funday drinks and the hospitality.  Enjoy the tour!

Want to tour another Cat?  We’re crossing the Atlantic on one right now!  A French-Built 46′ Soubise Freydis.  Tour, footage and videos from repairs on the Soubise are up on Patreon now!

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Thank You West Marine!

It’s a lesson I’m still learning but one that keeps ringing true.  It’s amazing what you can get if you just ask.  “All they can say is ‘no,'” Phillip keeps telling me.  I reached out to several marine apparel companies to see if they would like us to test their foul weather gear during the Atlantic-crossing in order to provide testimonials, photos and write-ups when we returned, and guess who stepped up!

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I have been using their Third Reef Gear on the boat this past winter and was already impressed with the intuitiveness of the functionality and performance (think hand-warmers in the right places, waterproof seals where you want them (around your hands and neck) and easy access in the bib (ladies, you know what I’m talking about).  I’m excited to give this gear a true run for its money across a big, sometimes cold and angry, body of blue water.  Thank West Marine for the generosity and stay tuned here for a write-up of our thoughts on the gear during the crossing.

I thought when this happened (a real live HaveWindWillTravel sponsor?) that I might be getting a little too big for my britches, but turns out they have triple XXXL, so I think I’m good!  Special thanks to Mike Montgomery at West Marine for jumping on this opportunity and helping share my story with more cruisers and West marine shoppers.

#68: How NOT to Run Steering Cable

Another valuable lesson from Video Annie: “Don’t Shoot the Messenger!”  I keep telling myself I’m learning how to fix things at sea if they break in the most inopportune way (like back up in the steering column).

Hope you’re enjoying the free how-NOT-to lessons while Phillip and I are crossing the Atlantic.  Follow us on our ocean-crossing voyage by becoming a Patron on Patreon!

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