We have almost sailed 2500 nautical miles, 4500 km, from Tenerife towards Barbados. Champagne sailing is clearly over and it is rough now. We expect another 4 days until white beaches will welcome us in the Caribbean.
Looking back over the past few months, we decided to discuss the 10 most frequently asked questions. Let us know which answer surprised you the most, and if you have additional questions! Today the first 5 questions in part one.
1. Do you sail continuously or do you stop during the night?
S: When we have to sail several nights to get to a new destination, we sail continuously. In general, there is no way you can ‘stop’ during the night.
J: Currently we are sailing over water 11km deep with no land around us for days. There is no way to “take a break”.
S: There are exceptions of course; when you’re near land, you may anchor. But that does kinda mean you reached a destination. Another exception is the possibility to position the boat in such a way that it is a bit more stable. “Bijliggen” in Dutch. People do this in heavy storms to get some rest and sleep. But it also means; no progress. So we continue sailing during the nights, and that’s why we have night shifts! See Q2.
2. How do you sleep when sailing?
S: Good question! Our sleeping on passages developed quite a bit. Since we sail continuously, we take watches during the night.
J: Suus starts with 3 hours sleep right after sunset around 19.00h local time. Then I go to bed and when Suus slept again, I take a 4 hours sleep. Around 9 in the morning, I had 7 hours of sleep and Suus will take a small sleep of an hour or 1.5 to also make 7 hours in total.
S: We have started a tradition of having a cup of warm milk after dinner right before the watches start. It helps us calm down and to discuss the day together.
J: Oh, another “tradition” is to tuck each other in. With a kiss and a hug we wish each other a good sleep/good watch. We really miss sleeping together for almost 3 weeks now and this is a nice alternative.
S: At the beginning of our trip, we have slept in our normal bed during sailing nights. However, as the sea got more wobbly, and Jur once had left the bed with matress and all, caused by a big wave, we adjusted our sleeping plan.
J: We have two beds, on each side of the boat. On portside (left), we created a bed on the couch. Depending on the way we sail, we choose a side to sleep on. The boat rocks a lot from left to right due to the ocean movements, so we secure ourselves with lots of blankets, pillows and wooden planks. This goes pretty well in general.
S: But on nights when we shake a lot, this might result in some neck pain and blue spots due to the fact that you’re constantly adjusting and moving. If anyone has a solution for that, let us know!
3. What do you eat?
J: We eat pretty normal, to be honest. After 17 days of sailing we still have fresh vegetables and fruits. We bake our own bread. Pancakes are a big treat, it never tastes as good as it does aboard! In general, we adjust our meals to the sailing conditions. Heavy seas? Let’s just go for a one-pan dish like a pasta or a chili-sin-carne bowl.
S: Everything becomes a bowl-dish anyhow since a flat plate does not work with the waves. The quick one pan dishes are mostly Mexican styled with lots of beans etc. Easy, nutritious and tasty!
J: If the seas are easy, I also really like to cook a good dinner. The fish we catch for example, turned into cheviche, sushi, grilled chunks with baked potatos and a nice white wine sauce. (In Spain and Portugal they have really nice small fruit-juice-like packages of cheap wine, perfect for cooking). Sometimes we can even open our outside table with precaution. Only the beer and wine (for drinking) are missing…
S: When sailing, we focus on eating healthy, more than at home or when we arrive somewhere. We feel that it is important to be as fit as possible during any passage. It’s just the two of us, we have to rely on ourselves and therefore we take good care. We are thousants of kilometres away from doctors. On a passage, we do not drink, thus we are a so-called “dry boat”. Our bilge is filled with wine for our arrival, though 😉 Tomorrow we will answer the question “what if one of you does become sick?.
4. Do you shower?
S; Yep, luckily we do! Not as often as we’d normally do, due to the fact that the movement makes it so much harder, and that water is scarce. When the sea is calm, we sit on the deck on the back of the boat and shower first with salt water. Rinsing off with only 1.5l of fresh water, which we put in a pump to water plants (a so called plantenspuit in Dutch).
J: Yesterday I also took a shave and Suus a scrub. This “quality cleaning” really makes us both happy and gives a healthy and energizing feeling on the middle of the ocean.
5. Are you continuously steering the boat?
J: Fortunately not! We have two systems that can steer the boat. A mechanical and a electric one. The electric one, a so called autopilot, operates our hydrolic steering system with a pump. You can set it up on a specific course and it will follow this course. We are really happy with our auto-pilot, but since it uses a lot of power we mostly use our mechanical system. We call him Vannie.
S: Vannie is magnificent. When the sails are up, we set it up and it steers the boat without digital intelligence or power needed. With no sound of a pump or electric powering. It is like a invisible third person took control over Yndeleau. This feels as sailing as it is supposed to be. Vannie is a Hydrovane. Which is a pendulum based steering with his own rudder. We put the normal rudder in a fixed stand and then operate the Hydrovane. It is wind steering, which means shortly that you set it on a course towards the wind, it will make sure that you always sail at that same angle towards the wind. Quick explaination: the large vane on top moves from left to right. When it is exactly in line with the wind, on course, it does not move. But when the wind pushes it to the left, it means the boat is off course and the vane creates power to move the rudder. This will steer the boat to the correct course until the vane stands up right again. The harder the wind, the more power Yndele au
needs to be steered but also the more power Vannie creates.
What if we are confronted with a storm and what do we like the most about our first ever crossing? We continue our FAQs tomorrow
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