Sailing Yacht SEA BUNNY

Christmas 2001 newsletter

Written mid-Atlantic

After frantic months of preparation in the UK and Guernsey Sea Bunny was properly on her way in July, cruising down the French, Spanish and Portuguese coasts to Gibraltar.  From there, with the Blue Water Rally to Tenerife and then across the Atlantic

A busy year

Hi from 18º51'.12 N 49º56'.97W in mid-Alantic Ocean on Tuesday 4 December en route from Tenerife about 5-6 days from Antigua. It is 1100 hours, the sun is shining. In fact it is 29ºC in the saloon, so it must be somewhat warmer outside. There are two reefs in both main and genoa and Sea Bunny is rolling down wind at 7 to 8 knots. There are four of us on board Mark, Bill and ourselves. We have a passage schedule of 2 hours on and 6 off watch from 1800 hours to 1000 hours, then a free arrangement during the day, giving us all as much rest time as possible. All of us share in the cooking and cleaning rota. After the initial first few days this has settled down well. We are eating our way through a Serrano ham and several whole cheeses. You may have guessed that food is one of the highlights of the day! The halfway mark across the Atlantic was celebrated with a feast of duck cooked by Bill, washed down with champagne and accompanied by renderings of early Christmas carols. We have contact with the other boats on the Blue Water Rally by radio twice a day. At these times we learn if whales have been sighted and what fish have been caught! Although we have all the requisite lures our line has yet to yield us any supper!

Now that you know where Sea Bunny is today, we will give a brief resume of our journey from the UK.

Sea Bunny stayed in Guernsey until the middle of July waiting for a carbon spinnaker pole to be delivered ( now in daily use - the wait was worth it as this lightweight pole makes deck work a lot easier and safer). It was here that we met with family and friends.

Down the Brittany coast it was either head winds or motoring for Sea Bunny. Would we ever use the new down wind sails that had been purchased?

Later than intended, August in fact, saw us in south Brittany sampling the delights of the Morbihan and visiting Barrie and Mary, our friends from the sailing club, who live there.

Early on a pattern emerged of sailing to a new port, anchoring off for a few days to do some jobs, update job and shopping lists, then move on. Our landfall in Spain, Bayona, was entered in thick fog we were glad that the radar had been moved so the screen could be seen from the cockpit and that the GPS told us exactly where we were!

The September 11 disaster was brought to our attention via satellite information that said that the harbour master for New York had closed the harbour. Crew joining us that day in Cascais, Portugal confirmed the worst.

Since we last sailed down the Portuguese coast some six years ago more marinas have been developed and the bureaucracy streamlined.

Jobs took precedence but as always take longer than expected particularly on a yacht, which has lots of awkward angles. Breaks slotted in naturally: a stop at Vilamoura to see family: leisurely days up the Guadiana river, crossing between Spain and Portugal in the dinghy: a visit to a bullfight with fellow Blue Water Rally participants. All this time our new engine was getting personal 'bleeding' attention and this remained so until Gibraltar!

October in Gibraltar was a frenzy of final jobs, parties, accepting a week's help from David Jeffs who will be joining us from Curaçao, through the Panama Canal to Galapagos. To shop in Spain it was a curious to bike over the border waving passport.

The rally start date of 28 October saw our son Nicholas arrive as crew and gale force winds blow. We had a cracking sail of 5 days to Tenerife. Everything worked - what a relief!

At Tenerife we had the hospitality of the Real Club Nautico de Tenerife complete with swimming pools. The weather even at this point was cool, rainy with the odd day of sun.

We stay in Antigua until 27 December for some R and R ( rest and recuperation) after which we cruise the Leeward and Windward Islands to the Grenadines, Tobago Cays and Venezuelan Islands and then to the Dutch Antilles.

San Blas Islands (Panama) 5 to 7 February

Transit Panama Canal Between 11 Feb/ 1 Mar

Galapagos 6 to 11 March

Marquesas 30 March to 10 April

Cruise via Tuamota archipelago to:

Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora etc) 5 to it 14 May

Tonga 17 to 24 June

Fiji 25 June to 6 July

SEA BUNNY may leave the Blue Water Rally in Fiji to continue to New Zealand via Vanuatu a bit later in the year or stay with the Rally to Cairns (again via Vanuatu) arriving 4-11 August

All dates are, of course approximate.



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