Montag, 29 . November . 2021

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The latest mystery remained unsolved: How did we get diesel in the bilge? A leak? The last time we had that was on the Omega 36 in 2002 and it led to Sheila demanding a new boat. Probably won’t happen this time. The four engineers on next week’s „Pinse tur“ will probably solve the problem.

Having lots of time and great weather we hoisted our sails early in the morning and slowly, in the beginning very,very slowly sailed back to Gelting. With moral support from AndreasTemple Karsten managed to fix the water heating. (The 220V plug must have fallen out during the sail to Bagenkop.) Instead of going straight home we enjoyed another evening in the cockpit with our table grill.

The forecasted sun with only little wind materialized and we motor-sailed to Bagenkop. The passage time was spent productively dreaming about the planned trip to the South Pacific in 2020-2022. The glorious weather really „forced“ us to take a long walk along the coast of Langeland. A great day was ended by a grill dinner alongside virtually every other boat in the harbour taking advantage of the real first day of summer.

We took it very nice and easy. A slow morning breakfast, an ice cream at the local ice cream place, then shopping and we left in the late afternoon. Our stop was Port Olpnitz, previously a navy base, now they are trying to convert it to a holiday village. A very nice couple was managing the marina and proudly showed us the facilities. The highlight was the bathtub with a view (one-way) of the marina.

A canceled dinner allowed us to go the boat early. A scrumptious dinner and we fell asleep quickly.

The forecast was for moderate to strong winds from the east increasing to gale force in the afternoon. By getting up early and sailing with great speed under just the genoa we made Gelting in good time and could enjoy listening o the howling wind in the rigging while snugly in the harbour. Picking up the car left behind in Haderslev while dinner was being cooked appealed to skipper’s love of efficiency.

A gentle breeze from the NE allowed us to motor out the fjord and then sail across to Sæby on Ærø. Only issue is that the code halyard is caught between the forestay and the genoa halyard. Hopefully some young person can be found to climb the mast and deal with that. To our joy it turns out our crew are learning to play bridge so a great dinner was followed by some serious card playing.

In a major logistical endeavour, Charly & Sabine, crew from our Fiji to Vanuatu trip, helped us get to Haderslev to pick up G XL. By meeting up in Gelting, trans-shipping the gear to one car and then driving on to Haderslev the driving was kept to a minimum. The yard & Andreas² had prepared her well and all systems were go. A scrumptious dinner on board ended a long day.

This week our season starts again. Andreas & Andreas have shined up the boat, made some repairs and replaced some old gear. Friday we sail her back to her summer home in Gelting. Fair winds to all. (but first Karsten has to fly to India for 2 days.)

11 Sailors and 4 „Leichtmatrosen“ got together at our House in Rissen to celebrate Sheila’s birthday and plan next summer. Seeing it was a Sunday night (Spaghetti of course) and 4 young ones were there, the alcohol intake was modest (but not the food intake, everything was eaten and the pots licked clean), so the plan made was less ambitious compared to other years. Just a 6 weeks cruise around the Kattegat. Summer 2017, we are ready.

There Sheila and I were having an ice cream in the harbour of Rapa Nui/ Easter Island during our 2 day stop over between doing business in South America and Australia when this British guy comes up to us. I was wearing my GUNVØR crew shirt but was really surprised when he asked: „Where you the guys that ripped 5 spinnakers during the ARC in 2011?“ Turns out his father sailed the same ARC and he joined them during the prize-giving ceremony. Now he was crew on a Super Yacht in Tahiti and was doing a small holiday on Easter Island as well. It is a small world indeed.

An early evening allowed us to get an early start. Again a breeze from behind and we were quickly in Haderslev. The fjord welcomed as usual: Seals, dolphins and a kingfisher. Another good sailing summer is over.

A gentle breeze from S allowed us to motor and sail to Æreskøping. We just missed the wedding of a friend of Birgitte, but managed to see the bride and groom. They are both in the military and decorated. Unusual to have blue being the NATO decoration for a tour of Afghanistan. Some of the guests spent the Happy Hour on GUNVØR.

Sailing back under foresail only. Then the worst docking maneuver the past 20 years. Hopefully no videos on You-tube. At least no shouting.

A super day. First an extended walk around the town out to the beach admiring the kite surfers making daring jumps. After a scrumptious Danish lunch a thorough visit to the maritime museum. Probably the best in the world. By focusing on maritime history as it relates to Marstal it is informative but also very touching with many personal histories of people/ families from the town. A mouth watering dish of plaice (but no desert) in the company of a couple having sailed around the world with MS sufferers was followed by singing along with an English singer/ song writer at the Irish pub to all hours.

Motoring against the wind to Marstal.

The stories of our summer cruise has been posted in our logbook section.

Benkert was on board and got the plotter fixed (hopefully) and the display for the charging system was replaced. The heater he took home with him for some TLC. At least the mystery of the heat in the front was solved. The front pump was partly disconnected.

Arne and his crew have officially been named cleaners of the year. Exemplary job. We even forgive them for having taken skipper’s phone charger home with them. In general very little has broken down this summer. The fairly short list is mainly issues that we started the season with and which haven’t been fully fixed. Every year there is less to do in the winter months. That bodes well for 2020 and the South Seas.

After a tough trip from Gdansk to Gelting Arne and his remaining crew made it to Gelting. 450 nm close hauled. The last day even topped the rest. They had to beat into up to 35 knots of wind. Even the current was mainly against them. But 2 reefs and using the stay sail meant they made reasonable progress. What a strange summer weather it has been this year.

Pictures of Baltic trip uploaded. Check it out.

Having gone up wind all the way from Gdansk to Rødby, the pregnant crew left for home, while the rest took a lay day. Tomorrow they will blast through to Gelting, wind and weather permitting. Time was well spent cleaning the oven: 1.5 hours!

Über Nacht hatte die Crew Wind von vorne 5 bis 27 Knoten, aber großenteils ein Anlieger. Dazu aber viele Stunden Kreuz. Am Ende kein Wind, so das mit Motor Nexø auf Bornholm früh morgens erreicht wurde. Programm jetzt schlafen und Insel erkunden. Die nächsten Tage: Weiter kreuzen.

G XL ist in Wladislawowo. (Heißt wirklich so!) Es war zu viel Wind von vorne und eine ätzende Welle. Das hat nicht so viel Spaß gemacht. Aber der Strand ist toll und die Triathleten  haben 850 m in der Brandung geschwommen.

Herrliches Segeln in der Danziger Bucht. Sonne, 10 kn Wind und natürlich Kreuz. Sind nach einem schönen Segeltag in Hel angekommen.

We have had a great time in Gdansk. We had a great cross over from Hel, light wind and sun. Here in Gdansk we have seen the fancy old town, seen museums, ate pierogis. Fabian, Caro and I went to a gun range and shot hand guns, shot guns and assault rifles. Astrid left first, then Fabi, then Caro this morning, after she went to a hip hop festival last night with me.
Arne and crew have arrived now and Michael and I are preparing to leave. It has been a great trip, thanks to everyone involved.

We had a nice calm motor over from Kaliningrad and spent the night in Hel, Poland. The next day we chilled on the beach, washed clothes, drank rum punch and felt like the World ARC was back. Everything is great.

Carole arrived in the night after a long trip. The next day we had decided to take a small trip out to break in the new crew. Carole, being a mountain girl, didn’t take too well to the high and choppy swell and had to make acquaintance of a resident bucket.
The afternoon was free and we met to go to dinner at an Armenian restaurant. We are now waiting for the Lithuanian border guards to come and check our documents before we do our night sail to Kaliningrad.

With rented bicycles we made our way to the Curoninan spit. A beautiful place but marred by Elizabeth’s bicycle developing a puncture which even a change of inner tube didn’t cure. With the arrival of Fabian & Astrid the dinner group was complete. Just Carole didn’t make it since she went to the wrong airport in Switzerland and had to rebook her flight.

After a boat wide sleep-in, operation „Clean Boat“ got under way with a vengeance. Since many hands make light work we found ourselves having lunch in the Old town of Klaipeda. The ladies then dismissed the men and bought up the town. The highlight of the day was Ian arriving at dinner time.

We got away at 5:45. First we motored for 6 hours before the wind turned up from the north. Wing on wing we stormed towards Klaipeda. The last hour we got rained on a little, but with pleasure we threw our lines to Michael Rüter. After almost a Russian comedy with the harbour master we got power, bathroom access and email. A great stir fry ended the day.

A semi early start got us to Kuldiga, a very well preserved ancient town often used for period piece film making. It also has the longest waterfall in Europe (but only 1.8 m high!). After Ivande Manor House we visited the amazing Edole castle were the von Behr family lived for 13 generation up until 1920. A walk on the beach and back to the boat. The plan is to leave tomorrow at 6 am for Klaipeda.

An early start saw us heading towards Riga. The very old used car showed low oil at the same time as the boat alarm went. A visit to a gas station solved not only the oil issue, but we were helped in making a call to the harbour master to get the all clear. After some nature walks it was off to see Riga. Back late, tired but full of impressions an early and good night was had by all.

Sleeping off the effects of driving through the night we got up at noon, managed to rent a car and saw the sights of Ventspils such as they are. At least a large supermarket provided all we needed for a nice grill dinner.

Hiring some very  dodgy bikes we did Kurresaare and had a pleasant lunch in the main square. After a sauna and a spaghetti dinner we decided to take advantage of the lull in the wind and motor through the night to Ventspils in Latvia. An unpleasant swell made for a very uncomfortable ride. We were happy to make it at 6 am.

An early start and an efficient grocery shop allowed us to leave Munalaid just after lunch. Luckily the forecast was wrong so we had a superb sail with light winds to Saaremaa.

A rambling drive and a good hike to some old fort (incl. Lesser spotted eagle) saw us back in Tallinn. Airi took over our laundry and her mother spoiled us with tea and great cakes. The entrance of the evening’s restaurant which was a taxidermist’s dream did not detract from a great meal.

6 people can do a lot of cleaning, so after a few hours we could take off with a good conscience to go sight seeing in Pärnu and pick up the rental cars. The high light was visiting the new stadium where Raul has done the interior design. The great dinner cooked by Veronika and Joachim was over shadowed by Germany losing to France in football.

After a fantastic wedding anniversary celebration last night today was a more low key day. A gentle sail to Munalaid was followed by a Karsten’s pancake lunch. The evening we took a boat to the neighbouring island of Manilaid and had a traditional Estoninan herring & potato salad dinner at a small farm. We will now stay at Munalaid, where we are the only boat in the harbour for the next 3 nights.

Strong winds of up to 25 knots accompanied our departure from Rohuküla. With just the Genoa unfurled we stormed southwards landing in Kuivastu on the island of Muhu. After a lazy afternoon (although some of the crew went jogging) we were given a tour of Muhu before ending at the Pädaste Manor House. 11 (!) courses and a lot of wine later we were driven through the white nights of Estonia back to G XL. A quiet morning followed.

The most perfect sail from Dirhami to Rohuküla using the Code 1. A taxi to Haapsalu where we visited the fort and the most interesting Estonian Swedish museum. Dinner at the old Kurhouse where already the Tzar and his entourage dined. On the way back we descended on a Swedish/ Finnish/ Estonian film crew at the abandoned Tzarist train station with the most amazing collection of old locomotives.

A late start to Dirhami saw us close hauled in grey, uninspiring weather. But walks & bicycle rides around the marina more than made up for that. Karsten also saw a new bird.

A beautiful sail to Lohusalu with topped by a dinner at Kristel, Airi’s sister at her amazing house. A walk to the pheasant and peacock cages, shooting at their gun gallery and a sauna bath with a dip in the pool was followed by watching Germany beat Italy in the EM sitting in the home cinema.

The Canada Day party to end all parties. 18 of us on G XL grilling in the Olympic harbour of Tallinn. The German crew bonded with our Estonian friends and crew over innumerable drinks.

Der Wind blieb weg und wir motorten aus dem Hafen. Ida und Jella haben beim Steuern geholfen und es geschafft, den Autopiloten zu überlisten. Trotzdem haben wir es bis zum Festland geschafft. Abends haben wir in der lauschigen Bucht von Lohusalu das Gummiboot aufgepustet und ausprobiert.

Von Kuivatsu ging es weiter auf die nächste Insel nach Kärdla. Der Skipper probierte ein Segel nach dem nächsten, aber der Wind nahm und nahm nicht zu. In Kärdla angekommen probierten wir den örtlichen italienischen Italiener aus, Pizza für alle.

Früh verließen wir den Hafen in Roomasaare mit seinem netten Hafenmeister. Bei Nebel und Regen konnten wir bald Segel setzen, und als es trocken wurde, kam bester Wind aus bester Richtung, schönes Segeln! Schneller als erwartet erreichten wir unseren nächsten Hafen Kuivatsu, wichtig für Daniel: gerade rechtzeitig für Kaffee und Kuchen. Der Regen war schnell vergessen, abends grillten wir bei herrlichster Sonne im Cockpit.

Es war ’ne lange Überfahrt, aber nun sind wir in Estland! Erst war es zu flau zum Segeln, dann kam der Wind direkt von vorn – der Motor hat viel Arbeit übernommen. Nachmittags haben wir dann bei bestem Sonnenschein Kuresaare angeschaut, eine hübsche Stadt mit alter Bischofsburg und einer riesigen Eiskugel für kleine Matrosinnen.

Check out our newest video: A stroll down memory lane from 1985 and 1987

Die unbeständige Wettervorhersage hat uns zu einem weiteren Hafentag verleitet. So sind wir zum schwedischen Midsommar auf den Festplatz gelaufen. Beim Tanz um die Midsommarstange haben wir quakquakquak gesungen. Morgen stechen wir wieder in See.

Champagnersegeln! Auf nach Gotland. Kleinste und neue Matrosinnen üben steuern. In Visby fiebern wir mit den Schweden um ihren Einzug in die nächste EM Runde…

Noch ein Hafentag! Mit Bastelei und viel Wäsche haben wir den Regen abgewettert. Nur der Spi muss noch warten bis alle Teile da sind. Kleinen Matrosinnen gefiel der Strand, allen großen die Räucherei.

20.6. 2016
They are off. The owners are following every move on the AIS tracker. They wrote: Welch perfekter Segeltag! Bei viel Sonne und moderaten Winden sind wir die Küste Ölands entlang bis nach Byxelkrok gesegelt. Hier gab es sehr schwedisch Färse potatis zum Essen. Für kleine Matrosinnen endete der Tag mit ein paar Liedern auf Jörgs Gitarre, alle großen genießen den Sundowner im Cockpit.

Strong winds and bunkering. Not time to leave yet. Nina used the time to tidy up the medicine chest throwing away a lot. The Baltic fortunately is closer to civilisation than Nuie.

Daniel and Andreas B. made it to the boat and immediately started fixing the VHF & AIS. It turned out that the antenna cable hadn’t been connected at the top of the mast when the boat was rigged. That was a long way to go for a simple problem. Nina, Jan, Telse plus 2 children and a Telse’s sister with husband also made it safely to Borgholm.

Great to have C-Pod. The system reported that battery was low. A phone call to the harbour master in Borgholm confirmed that the power was not on. He reconnected the boat and the batteries were saved.

The nice harbour master in Borgholm moved the boat with the help of a nice German sailing couple. She is now „parked“ in the inner harbour, well protected from the wind and waves from the Kalmar sound.

Some pictures of the summer trip so far.

The weather continues to be so bad that we leave in driving rain. Fortunately the harbourmaster agrees to move the boat for us to a more secure spot right inside the harbour when the weather improves. We had a great Pinse with super food, great company, mostly glorious weather and basically no sailing.

Henrik must have been very bad this year. His birthday starts with terrible weather of driving rain and unpleasant seas. Fortunately he for once doesn`t get seasick and we make Borgholm at 5 am. Some sleep, a busy day with getting Janne and Røsly`s bicycles; sightseeing at Borgholm is then topped by another great spaghetti dinner made by Leif.

First item is to visit the Sehested bastion made famous by one of Leif’s ancestors. After a walk around the fort and a scrumptious herring lunch, off we motor into the glorious sunshine. While approaching Sweden we take in the ESC. Sadly Sweden didn’t win this time.

26 hours of motoring later (with glorious sunshine) we arrive at Christiansø.

Again the Pinse gang meets up. This time in Årøsund. After grilling we set off at 11 pm so as not to set sail on a Friday the 13th (?!).

What glorious weather for the first sail of the season. We couldn’t get away until Friday morning, but after 2 hours in Haderslev we motored out to Årøsund. Next morning a gentle gliding just under Genoa til Middelfart. Serious provisioning for next weekend followed. Today we then motored back to Årøsund. A few more things we need to get in Hamburg and collect some extra sails. Pinsetur you can come.

6 people on board today making her fit for the season! Especially the new underwater camera is supposed to be awesome. More importantly the heating system seems to be repaired as well. Unfortunately a business trip to India means we will not be starting the sailing season until the beginning of May.

Today we are celebrating Super crew member Peter Worning. He turned 15 today (60 for those of you who are less pedantic.)

Planning for 2016 has really started. The newest cruising guides for Estonia & Latvia have been ordered as has a new top swivel for our codes.

X-Yachts have already gotten her fixed for the summer. The heating system is repaired, the railing has been mended and the bottom paint applied. Also Tempel is almost finished. The „holes“ in the sides have been gelcoated and shined up. Also most of the polishing has been done. Now only Benkert needs to install the new underwater camera and fix a few minor electrical details. Kaliningrad, we are getting ready.

The „plan“ for Baltic 2016 is on line under „VOYAGES“.

A few pictures from our WARC/ crew weekend are now uploaded.

Never a dull moment. Andreas & Andreas went up to Haderslev for some TLC for GUNVØR. It turned out that X-Yachts had forgotten to turn off the inverter/ plug in the power supply. Result: The brand new batteries installed in August are ruined and X will have to replace all 12 of them. Also they had forgotten to air the boat and dry it out. Result: Mold various places. That the damage to the gel coat that I got in Eckernförde last summer is larger than expected please don’t tell Sheila. A few other nice things were installed as well. A new sonar giving us pictures of the sea floor and a remote control of the plotters onto the computer screen will make life better in the future, we hope.

Aargh, why do electronics salesmen expect you to be 100% on top of new technology. Aren’t they the ones to tell you that tablets need sometimes „nano-SIM cards“, especially when they not only sell you the SIM card (for a few Euro), but also the tablet (for a lot of Euro)? Well we can soon get that fixed. Then I can lie in my bunk and navigate like the pros. Even better the Raymarine-remote App will allow me to lie in my bunk, check up on the crew and even take over one of the plotters complete with controlling the autopilot. Yeah, Captain Bligh is back.

Our WARC guests Caroline, David, Magalie, David, Willi and Susie did not get any recuperation time before heading out for a heavy duty sightseeing trip around Hamburg. The ladies‘ itinerary included a book club luncheon, while the men toured the factory in Pinneberg and the Maritime Museum in Hamburg. We hopefully made up for that with a scrumptious dinner at Le Canard.

Yet another memorable G XL night. About 30 of us squeezed into our dining room for a Danish Christmas meal with lots of fish, shrimp, meat, cheese, beer and of course aquavit. The eating was interspersed with lots of singing from our new GUNVØR song book. Well lubricated the signing up for next year’s cruise to Kaliningrad and the Baltic states went easily. Fortunately an email next day reminding everyone what they had signed up to did not elicit any protests.

Caroline, David, Magalie, David, Willi and Susie, our friends from the WARC, joined Sheila for a round of Hamburg Christmas markets with Glühwein and Curry Wurst. Karsten managed to avoid that with an „important“ meeting. None the less the impromptu party in Rissen afterwards made up for that.

Hi crew. As can be seen on the satelitte tracker G XL is now safely ashore in her hall in Haderslev. That is it for the 2015 season! Only around 700 nm, but who has to prove anything to anybody? Friday the 4th of December we will have our 2016 warm up party here in Hamburg for our trip around the Baltic (Germany/Sweden/Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania/Russia/Poland/Germany June – August 2016). Let us know whether you want to join us.

A very comfortable return sail from Gelting to Haderslev. Joachim Vogt joined us for a weekend with beautiful weather, but little wind. GXL is now docked at X-Yacht for the winter.

The plan was to have a dinner with some good friends Friday night, sail to Marinaminde, have dinner Saturday night at the „Gamle Kro“ (from 1749) in Gråsten and then sail home next day. Partly it worked. We celebrated Pea’s birthday Friday night, but the wind was so strong (35+ knots) that we took the car and had lunch in Gråsten instead. This made it possible to crash the Rotary Elmshorn sailing weekend dinner (they had 11 boats and also did not go out.). Sunday it still blew gale force so we did a day excursion to Ribe (oldest town in Denmark) and went to the North Sea. Since the sun was shining virtually the whole time it was a great weekend after all.

A quick tidy up before writing the inevitable lists. Benkert will replace the 2 plotters. One is really sick and the other just keeps producing error messages. One winch button is sick too, as is the electrical fresh water pump for the crew toilet. Very disconcerting with the bowl filling continuously and overflowing. Unfortunately also a big job for Tempel: a piece of metal sticking out in Eckernförde removed a largish section of the port side gel coat. It never stops.

The wind had freshened and the current was running out of the Förde, so we had a very uncomfortable beat before we could turn the corner towards Gelting. But then we were flying going 9.5 – 10.5 knots. Quickly we were back in Gelting and could enjoy another leisurely evening.

I must have been really good last year since the weather was outstanding on my birthday. A gentle motor sail took us to Eckernförde. Well there we dressed for the church wedding of Nina and Jan. Henrik and Rösly took us back so we could rest before astounding the whole marina by walking by dressed in a long evening gown and white dinner jacket. What a great party they had organized (just for my birthday?)

Sheila and I had a marvelous sail from Gelting to Schleimünde. A gentle breeze followed by a wonderful dinner in the cockpit enjoying the sunset. We were tied up to „Fortuna“ an old 2-master that sails mainly with handicapped kids. The kids were absolutely delightful. Interested and very polite. We had spent a weekend on board a couple of years ago with the whole crew doing a survival training course.

Now G XL has full power again. Dr. Benkert installed 10 new gel batteries and sorted out a number of small issues. She is perfect again.

Pictures from the Gold Cup can be found in our picture gallery.

check out:

GUNVØR rocks!

15.7 – 19.7.2015
We were one of 60 boats participating in the Gold Cup. In a way we were misplaced. We were really only 2 boats that were not out and out racers and at least 60% of the boats had professional crew. Fortunately we got a „1st prize“ already before the race for being the first boat to correctly sign up with all forms completed correctly. There were between 1-3 races per day with some distance races and some triangles. With 8 – 10 guests per day (on top of Sheila, Fabian and Ian) we had a marvelous time and did not embarrass ourselves despite being 5th in our class (of 5 boats!), which even the new sails from Mads and the scrubbing of the bottom by Fabian could not change. The dinners were really scrumptious and we augmented the experience with even more friends and guests showing up every night for more partying.

Had a great sail from Varberg to Tuborg havn. A mixture of Genoa 3 and Code 1 all the way. Less than 11 hours for 90 nm. Ready for the X-Yacht Gold Cup.

And it wasn’t over yet. We all headed north with 2 cars towards Kungsbacka where Henrik and Rösly served us a scrumptious lunch at their new summer house. Somehow the crew then squeezed into a small French car and were driven home, while Sheila and I started more house decorating chores at IKEA (and of course the obligatory visit to G XL.)

Most slept while G XL sailed the final 40 miles to Sweden recuperating from the night before. Then part 3, the dinner at our new cabin started. Rösly and Janne joined Sheila in hosting us. We were tired but not enough that we couldn’t laugh the night away.

Henrik’s 60th birthday started a bit late after the early morning arrival. His first wish was a hike to the lighthouse 10 km away through the Anholt „desert“ in blazing sunshine. This was followed by a scrumptious dinner at the local Kro with a Blues night following.

It started grey, but turned better and better. Half wind, beating, some spinnaker sailing and then motor took us the 170 nm to Anholt where we arrived in the early hours of next day. It was a great sail through Denmark looking its best.

The usual Whitsun crew showed up a week early in Gelting. (The reason is that we have a date with the Danish Queen next weekend.) A grill night with lots of laughter led to an early night to be ready for next day.

We did get up before lunch time, but just. A lazy morning was followed by a little less lazy afternoon before closing her up and heading home. Good we went sailing this weekend. It will allow Benkert to fix some of the details before we set sail for Sweden.

A major walk around Lyø allowed us to enjoy this beautiful island with such fascinating history. However the economic problems of being in „Udkants Danmark“ were to be seen everywhere. Lots of properties for sale. After lunch we then unrolled the Genoa and sailed comfortably towards Gelting. That is, Jan sailed and the rest of us slept or dozed. Discovering that Ida had a fever we quickly upon arrival got the cars in Haderslev. After dinner the little family decided to head home to be better able to nurse the little angel.

Mit Nina, Jan & Ida mit VW Bus nach Haderslev. In aller Ruhe dann unter Motor nach Lyø. Eine kleine Perle in der dänischen Südsee. Ein wunderschönes Spargelessen mit einem spektakulären Sonnenuntergang.

Thank God for professionals. I did myself figure out the reason I had no sound on the stereo was that it was set only to play in the cockpit, but it was raining so hard I didn’t hear it. I also (after having gone home) figured out being low on fuel was the reason for the heater not working. However Andreas turned the switch from generator to shore power and magically restored land based battery charging. He also (finally) found the fresh water leak. A dry bilge this year?

C-Pod is aktive and working again.

The season has started. G XL is swimming again. The mast is also on, but needs a bit more TLC. Down below the accumulated dirt of the past 6 months needs removing. At least she has already received the liquid supplies needed for the next few months. However with the house in Sweden needing to be moved into and a McKinsey alumni event in Düsseldorf we have to wait until May 1st to leave Haderslev.

Spent a delightful day visiting with Christine and Scholli from 12 Moons in Wiesbaden (Frankfurt). They had a very professional video made from their trip from Europe to New Zealand. Since we accompanied them most of that way it was a deja vu of many shared memories and beautiful locations. Their helpful advice means that we in 2020 will send G XL by freighter to Curacao and then sail via Panama to French Polynesia instead of trying to slog upwind from New Zealand. So November 2020 Curacao, March 2021 Marquesas and then winter 2021/22 in New Zealand. Crew, get your passports ready: we need you again!

The dinner invitation to Hanna from „Working on a Dream“ came with  the surprise and delightful addition of her father Hans. Very cordially they feigned interest in our book and even looked through it all before we sampled the good food. Luckily the service was very slow so we managed to cover a lot of territory before arriving at the dessert. Hans is planning an Atlantic circle, starting with the ARC+ this summer. Lucky guy.

Pictures of the party are under Fotos. Enjoy, we certainly did. Thank you all for making it such a great night.

What a great party. 50+ GUNVØR XL crew came together in Rissen.The house was heated up to 30°C, so all guests who came in Hawaii shirts and shorts did not freeze. Everywhere they looked  they were greeted by South Sea paraphernalia. After the rum punch welcome drink we sat down in the tent we had put up in the garden. Continuously interrupted by songs, we enjoyed „Poisson Cru“, grilled pork with sweet potatoes and a great dessert. Everybody signed up for our return to the South Seas in 2021. As far as we remember the last guests went home at 4 am.

Happy New Year to you all.
The plans for 2015 are firming up. We have signed a 5 year lease in Gelting, so that will be our base for the immediate future. However we will sail to Sweden in the middle of May and keep G XL near our newly-built summer house just south of Varberg. All sailors are welcome to come by and enjoy the luxury comforts of a shower with unlimited water and a non-rocking bed.23.10.2014
Important developments-not. But anyway we have a new television. The old one didn’t like moisture, so it is being put into the new house in Sweden. Andreas & Andreas and their people dealt with many small problems. G XL likes the attention and now will hibernate happily.

Today we should be getting a print copy for the last possible corrections to our circumnavigation book back from the printer. In about 4 weeks we should be (self-) published authors. James Joyce, Hemingway, Tolkien here we come – not.

So that was this season. GUNVØR XL is safely in her winter lair in Haderslev. Andreas & Andreas will go there next week to give her some tender loving care, although not that much is needed. It has been a nice season and having a spot in Gelting a great decision.

Having done only 1000 nmiles this year and the Rotary crew having done such a stellar job cleaning the boat after the last sail, we quickly could put her away for the season. There will be a few jobs for Andeas & Co. to do over the winter, but nothing major. A few scratches, some servicing and the unending battle of man against electronics on boats. Looking forward to sailing on her when the weather turns warm again.

We were so protected that we hadn’t noticed the wind having picked up overnight to 20 – 24 knots from the south . Lazily we unrolled the foresail and steamed north doing 7.5 – 8.5 knots the whole way. The docking manoeuver at X-Yachts in Haderslev was not one of our best, but nobody saw it, nothing was damaged and we were not mad at each other for long. Another scrumptious dinner on board was followed by a rare treat: watching a Danish movie in a local cinema.

As is almost now tradition Sheila and I used the German Reunification Day – long weekend to end the season. A nice dinner party at our house with Indian friends and business partners meant we could only get away next morning. We took advantage of having our car in Gelting to unload untold bottles of wine (no need to buy that this winter, thank you to all who sailed with her this summer for your gifts) before setting off in glorious sunshine, alas under motor. In a beautiful secluded bay near Aabenraa we spent the evening at anchor with some of the strongest bioluminescence we have ever seen! The water temperature was only 16°C, but that obviously is enough.

Early in the morning is a different thing for different people, but at least we got underway at 9:30. The advantage was that G XL was scrubbed top to bottom and even some of the stainless steel was polished. It didn’t leave enough time for a visit to Dybøl Mølle, but a prolonged visit to the new displays at Sønderborg Slot was a good alternative. Tired but happy we all went on our way. Certainly a very harmonious weekend. Let us do it again next year.

Despite a very good dinner there were no red eyes next morning. The good weather and light breeze had remained. Under full sails, with a poled out Genoa and full Code 1 we hummed along. One highlight was passing the 3 masted full rigged sailing vessel Artemis to eeward with the music at full blast doing 9 – 10 knots. But the chili con carne cooked by Michael Günther in Dyvig was another highlight.

A beautiful beat all day in bright sunshine saw us arriving in fine style in Svendborg. I had mistaken the date for our dinner at Broholm Slot by a week (!), but fortunately they made room for us. Our bill probably made more than up for that. All enjoyed seeing the castle and the stone age collection.

With much too much food we grilled with 8 Rotarians in Gelting. In dribs and drabs they had all arrived. Gitte joined us for a while before leaving all these old people to themselves.

It rained and then it rained some more. Fortunately we could put up our sprayhood extension, turn on the motor and (most) of the crew could sit being dry nursing the aftereffects of the previous day’s party. (Although truth be known everybody looked very fresh.) Since many hands make light work it didn’t take long for everything to get shipshape as soon as we arrived back in Gelting in the early afternoon. Tired, but very content after a memorable sailing weekend we all went home.

It was kind of early, but we got going in good time and were right on the start line when the gun went off. Unfortunately we could not keep up that good performance ( the new keel does mean reduced performance up wind), but a lot of spinnaker sailing with immaculate manoeuvres provided sailing at its best. Quickly we managed to find a good berth in the as-usual very crowded harbour in Æreskøping and could settle down to the serious business of partying. The evening was the usual spectacle of 1500 mainly men dressed in blue blazers half asleep listening to innumerable speeches. But they woke up to the free bar and good music provided by the organisers. It is unclear when all the crew did return on  board.

A beautiful evening provided a great welcome for our guests for the Schifffahrtsregatta 2014. A tasty dinner in our local restaurant (Thank you Frank) with lots of good stories and lot of laughter set the standard for the rest of the weekend.

What a great birthday here in Lucerne. The „Swiss Patrol“ flew by and gave me a 45 minute air show flying directly over the apartment multiple times. In the evening Charles and Marie from yacht „Dreamcatcher“ and 6 other friends celebrated a raucous dinner party here with us, joined at midnight by another friend Herve from France (but not Herve from „Ruby“) who will stay with us over the weekend. Thanks to all of you who sent their best wishes.

What a nice WARC weekend. We visited Caroline and David from yacht ‚Peat Smoke‘ on Islay, Scotland. Good food, great scenery, super conversations and lots of good whisky. Definitely worth sailing around the world for.

A typical clean up day. Sheila worked under deck while I „enjoyed“ the tropical downpour that accompanied the thunderstorm and my scrubbing of the decks. However with a pair of swimshorts and a light sailing jacket doing so in about 30°C it was almost like being back in the tropics. Sad to leave the boat, but it has been a great week of sailing proving that the two of us can handle G XL all by ourselves.

A great sailing day. With a gentle SE breeze we left Lundeborg sailing towards Taasinge & Thuro. Under motor we went slowly through the beautiful Svendborg Sund. After that it was full on sailing again. The additional breeze allowed us to pass everything in sight, even some slow going motor boat. 25 knots made the docking a bit challenging, but help from a Dutch sailor and a good wind direction let us also finish our week long sailing trip here in Gelting. A whole week with great weather and great sailing. Ok 220 nm is not a lot for G XL, but why push when you can glide along slowly?

A beautiful lay day in Lundeborg. After a long walk up to the „Landevej“ and a visit to Broholm Slot, we took a bus to Svendborg .A few hours of visiting there we tried to take a taxi back to the boat. Again an example of the changes modern times and government interference is having on the small local communities around Denmark. It took 30 minutes to get a taxi. There are just too few people in the town of Svendborg for taxis to live off private work alone. The government cancelled contracts with the taxis for work such as sick transport, old folks ferrying to and from appointments etc. and this has undermined the infrastructure. Being too cheap is sometimes very expensive. Back at the harbour we had a nice swim, my pancakes, a beer with the harbour master comparing ocean passages and then a live band playing in the harbour to round off another nice day.

We changed our plans, dodged a few rain showers and sped towards Lundeborg. A couple of times we had to reef to keep the sailing comfortable, but it was a lot of fun and the waves are soooooo small. The harbour master in Lundeborg had reserved a nice spot for us. It turned out he had sailed around the world last year non stop (I had read about him.), but was looking forward to go to French Polynesia in October for 3 month. Envious.

The plan was to sail to Klintholm and have dinner with friends on Nyord. Ups. After setting the course I decided to check the 2 bridges in our way. Ah well 26 m is just not enough, so I changed course to Guldborg and our friends came for a nice lunch instead. Tomorrow we will really do a lot of miles. Femö (5 nm away) here we come.

It is almost embarassing to talk about yet another wonderful day. After a slow morning (for Karsten) we bicycled with the Leverkuses around Vejrö and loved it even more. The dinner the night before had been great (although out of Poilly Fume) and the rest of the island was first class as well. But we had to say our goodbyes and set the genoa to slowly glide the 13 nm to Karrebaeksminde. We are a bit too big for the marina but wedged ourselves into a spot and had dinner at Leif and Mie´s. Actually better than at Vejrö. Tomorrow we will dine at PIW´s. Yet another culinary delight. We would be surprised otherwise. Sheila is already planning the diet when we come home.

A perfect day of sailing. After a brief shopping in Nakskov we set off in glorious sunshine. The fjord is very long, about 7 nm, but finally we could raise the sails and with 6-8 knots of wind we beat towards Vejrö. A tack in Storebaelt and we could soon ease the sheets as the wind became more favourable and increased to 9-10 knots. It was uncanny to see the island rise out of the sea. One could almost imagine being back in the Pacific. For a second Sheila believed me when I claimed to spot palm trees. After running aground in the harbour we got to our reserved spot and went to the beach. Tonight we are having dinner with the Leverkuses at the local kro, which is supposed to be superb. Will keep you posted. (But we only did sail 28 nm!)

Majken knowing me well quickly went to the beach before breakfast. As there was no wind, they all could enjoy their breakfast while we motored around the tip of Langeland. At least it meant we arrived early in Nakskov and had lunch at the finest place in town. Which was not so great. The whole town, which is more than 800 years old has clearly seen better times and is decaying visibly. Empty stores and for rent signs everywhere. The kids left for Copenhagen and Hamburg while the old folks cleaned and scrubbed. A scrumptious spaghetti dinner and another thunderstorm finished a nice and relaxing day. Tomorrow Vejrö and dinner with the Leverkuses.

Finally Cam, Majken and Eleanor arrived. In the end Gitte had to drive to Vojens and pick them up. We grilled that night in Gelting. After an extended breakfast we set off next morning. First towards Nakskov, but the wind changed so we decided for Svendborg. Yet another wind change and a big thunderstorm and we ended up in Bagenkop. The marina was hopping and we chatted with a lot of passersby. Eleanor did what babies normally do on their first sail. She slept.

A week of sailing beckons. Birgitte, Majken, Cameron and of course little Eleanor will join us for the weekend. After that Sheila and I are on our own for a week practising double handing in the Baltic. We are not worried about the sailing it is the docking that has us concerned. Probably we will phone ahead, claim old age and ask for help. Apart from that we will celebrate. Gitte got accepted for her 2 year Erasmus Masters programme and Ian has had his first acceptance for Biology from Aachen. But it leaves less time to help your old folks sail.

We spent the weekend with 40 Rotary members on 15 boats as part of IYFR (International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians) ‚Fleet Nord‘. Five friends from our own Rotary club accompanied us. After a nice grill evening and a tour of the Scalar Yachts yard in Grauhöft, we sailed next morning to Dyvig, Denmark. A first for us. With only 2.6- 2.8 m in the entrance this beautiful spot had been off limits to us before. But not now with our new shortened keel. The good food at the great Dyvig Badehotel was a little marred by the offical Rotary part. But thankfully it was brief and we could retire to the boat for more drinks. The Sunday also had a full programm: A long walk on Als, motoring back through the rain, helping Pinckernelles get a car mechanic to open their car (in which they had locked the key), rushing home for dinner and finally becoming World Football Champions. It was a tired but happy  Karsten heading off to work Monday morning.

Exactly 1 year ago we celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary by arriving home in Hamburg from our circumnavigation. This year we did our travelling by car with Gitte and Ian acting as drivers and tour guides. Highlight was a side trip to the marina in Kiel-Schilksee where we said hello to Hans from Working on a Dream and a lot of Yellowshirts from the ARC Baltic. It was great to look at the fleet just before they set off on their Baltic jaunt. It was easy to see that the level of anticipation was similar to the ARC, but without the nervous tension.

So how many weekends can we spend on the boat without going sailing? I am afraid it will only be two, but it was great. A good walk and even better dinner with Petrea & Heinz-Werner. Today we had another walk along the beach to Wackerballig before going home to our spagehtti dinner.

We have fully arrived. Now we have joined the legions of boat owners who are sitting at the dock and never leave the harbour. It was great. Eating well, doing an excursion and watching football on TV. Soon Sheila will start buying potted plants!

It is so good to be back onboard. First weekend in months not traveling or having (great) guests. Too much wind this weekend so we will tour the region, read, eat a lot and watch football. Bliss.

It never stops. Today Benkert is on board to update the software and hopefully make the autopilot perform properly, set the rudder off-set correctly, replace the freshwater pump (it lasted all the way around the world) and rewire the fridge. The idea of minimum power consumption with a special control unit has proven not good. We couldn’t choose between fridge and freezer anymore and that was a pain. Looking forward to a restful weekend with just  the two of us. Probably will not sail, but rather tour the region around Gelting.

By coincidence we discovered the local art museum from 1915. It had a very representative cross-section of the „Fyns Malere“, i.e. artists from the island of Funen. The visit was enhanced by a choir singing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. In perfect sailing conditions we started our return journey. With a beam reach in 8 knots of wind, no waves and lots of sunshine we soon made it back to Gelting. After a short clean up it was back to Hamburg. We may not have created 2 new sailors, but a good time was had by all.

Not wanting to scare our new-found sailors, we took Barun and Ranjani for a long walk in the local nature reserve. The weather was beautiful and they pretended to be interested in all the birds we saw. Finally the wind died down a bit and we set off for Fåborg. We managed to sail for a bit before we had to turn straight into the wind or whatever was left of it. The evening we spent at Falsled Kro and an 7 course meal with just a „little bit“ of wine.

It is always interesting on GUNVØR. We arrive with Barun and Ranjani from India, first time on a boat like this and the freshwater pump kicks out. Four years and no problem. With a lot of swearing Karsten manages to switch over to the deck pump, but the grilling was postponed. At least it didn’t interfere with the WM in football.

On board GUNVØR you do not need an alarm clock. Karsten and his anchor winch will do the trick. Again some motoring
while Leif cooked a scrumptious breakfast. Finally the last few hours gave us some wind and we approached Gelting in style. 152 nm and lots of good times.

No Whitsun trip without some culture. This time a visit to the Johannes Larsen art museum which boasts a lot of beautiful bird pictures. After that we hoisted the spinnaker and sailed around the top of Fyn. But soon the wind ran out and we motored through Lillebælt all the way to Kalvoe. At anchor we sorted out the world situation until early in the morning, but not until the sun came up.

After the most amazing shower block was used by all, we took the bicycles which are available for free on the island and took a tour. The green houses look rather like the Crystal Palace in London. There was even a Californian Quail in one of the buildings. The hotel looked really luxurious and all the various farm animals seemed very content.  After such a hard morning we just motored to Kerteminde. Hundreds of dinghies greeted us at the entrance to the bay. We also had a nice visit by Carla a friend of Sheila’s from Winnipeg.

With boisterous wind from behind of up to 32 knots we flew towards Vejrø. Henrik kept the tradition and became seasick, while the rest enjoyed the ride. Being one of only 5 boats in the 100 boat marina we grilled again and conversed with all the other boats. A magical evening with a night that never really came.

The traditional ‚Pinse-Tour‘ commenced! It was nervous driving up with rain chasing the car, but the sun came out and Leif surpassed himself with the gigantic T-bone steaks. Before that we enjoyed artichokes, the remains which the cows in the adjacent field devoured. Obvbiously it got a bit late as far as we remember, because ‚rise and shine‘ only happened after 9 am.

We are signed up for the Schifffahrtsregatta in August again this year. For that purpose we have applied for a new ORC certificate. Interesting to see whether the shorter keel and 300 kg more lead in the keel will alter our rating significantly. Keep an eye on this website.

Benkert to the resuce again. The bilge pump was replaced, the winch button replaced, the antenna improved and the port plotter can receive its data again. Maybe one can sail without all that, but it is pleasant to have it fixed. Interestingly he has also increased the time before the bilge pumps stop to more fully empty the bilge.

A quick breakfast and we went hiking to Graasten. It is the location of the Queen’s summer residence about 4 km away from Marinamina. Under a clear blue sky we set out. The route was maybe not too well chosen. It led us straight through the local industrial area, but the garden around the castle made up for that. After 2 hours we were back on board. Just under genoa we slowly sailed back. Quickly we rigged the cover and were on our way. A great 2 days on the water.

A beautiful day of sunshine and a light breeze beckoned. With Jan Keppler, Henrik Homann and his girlfriend Anette we sailed to Marinaminde. Sailing is saying a bit much. Mainly it was gliding slowly through the water interspersed by some motoring. It was really cool to arrive and find a big sign: Reserved for GUNVØR. Nice people and great public grills. We will certainly come back.

Benkert fixed the Wifi. It was just loosely attached to the computer. However he did determine that one of the buttons for the halyard winch is dodgy and the TV cable/antenna is somewhat in need of improvement. Always something to be done.

Sheila and I snuck into the back of the village church and witnessed part of the confirmation ceremony. 2 girls and 2 boys were being confirmed, one of whom was black. Even the furthest corner of Denmark has joined the global village. The weather continued to be fair, with a good breeze, but cold, very cold. We still managed to beat our way back to Gelting quickly, with skipper only damaging the „sprayhood extension“ aka „Kuchenbude“ and the main sheet, but hey, our support network also needs to make a living. Surprisingly quickly we were able to drive back to Rissen for a well deserved spaghetti dinner.

When you sail less is often more. Just under genoa we stormed the 15 nm to Æreskøping on the island of Ærø. The city had its heyday at the turn of the previous century, which can be seen in the whole city (or rather village) having many nice house which slowly are now falling into gentle disrepair. Ian tried out his new kite surfer, but found it tough going. It is a great but challenging sport. The night life was somewhat restricted. All villagers were busy preparing for the confirmation ceremonies next morning.

It took some time to get the young heros going, but we had a great sail all the way to Svendborg. We did some beating, some backstay breeze sailing, a bit of drifting and motoring the rest. Ian did a beautiful landing maneuver at the dock in Svendborg. Dinner was in a very alternative restaurant with great service and atmosphere, but with only passable food and very average wines. Not that that in any way dampened our mood.

After a few more hours of preparation and last minute SNAFUs (X-Yachts couldn’t find our second backstay) we cast off. After a beautiful trip out the Haderslev Fjord we tied up at the Årøsund Hotel for a nice romantic dinner. Next morning we steamed down to Gelting, picked up Birgitte, Ian and Elliott and headed for Sønderborg. Needless to say that after dinner the young ones hit the town and allegedly had a great time.

X-Yacht has finished preparing the boat, even the mattresses have made it from Poland. Andreas T. and his guys went up this morning took a lot of our additional gear on board and they are going over the boat to see whether all agreed upon tasks have been executed. It seems as if most of them have, only small details have been left for next year. Sheila and I are going up this afternoon. The plan is to have dinner at Aarøsund Hotel at the mouth of Haderslev Fjord and then pick up the kids in Gelting tomorrow at midday. Elliott Cooke, their cousin from Canada, will join us this weekend.

Yes, we are a sailboat again. G XL is swimming , has her mast on and her sails. Yesterday 2-3 people from X-Yacht were busy putting the finishing touches on her refurbishment plus getting her ready for the season. The new bed boards looked very good, a bit too good actually: The reupholstered bed mattresses have not yet come back from Poland! Hopefully they will make it by Wednesday when we go sailing for the long weekend. I can’t see Sheila being very happy having to sleep on bare wooden slats. (Some new fotos under Haderslev 2013/14.)

Amazing progress. Andreas Tempel has installed a ventilation hatch over each of the aft cabins. They are located in the aft part of the cabins at the foot end of the pilot birth. On deck they are set between the genoa and mainsail winches. They can be opened/ closed from below and can also be closed from above in case of bad weather. The pictures look really good. (see „GUNVØR in Haderslev 2013/2014“ under Our Fotos). We hope that having to sleep in a stuffy cabin is now a thing of the past. With the hot water boiler also having been relocated, the comfort of sailing on GUNVØR has taken yet another step forward. Any more ideas?

G XL is doing really well. X-Yachts have finished many of their to-dos. The new keel looks great, the deck has been sanded down by Andreas, the table is varnished, the rudder bearing replaced and she has been professionally cleaned inside. Waiting for the floorboards and cushions to return and she will be ready to go into the water. New date of departure is 30th of April so we can go sailing over the 1st of May weekend with Ian and cousin Elliott from Canada.

The speech at the Rotary sailing „flotilla meeting in Flensburg went well, but the attendees seemed a bit overwhelmed. This tour was a bit more challenging than they are used to when sailing in the Baltic.

We will get presented with the „Fahrtenpreis“ of the SVAOe at our annual „Gründerfest“. Unfortunately Sheila and I are in Chile that day so Fabian will go to receive it.

The date for relaunch in Haderslev is the 2nd of May. Anybody in the G XL crew who would like to take part in the inaugural cruise of the refurbished GUNVØR?

She has a new keel! Draft now 2.5 m instead of 2.9m. Will we now run aground less often? Probably not.

Next week we should have a new keel and new cushions. The most interesting question this week is whether we are still married after Sweden beats Canada in the final of the Olympics in Hockey on Sunday?

As expected the Ker 51 Varuna won the German Owners Offshore Association’s award for 2013 as I had told Sheila just before the award ceremony. It was interesting to see that compared to the 2 times GUNVØR was nominated, the level of yachts honoured has become much more professional. Just like the racing scene in other countries, the boats are now made of carbon and with a sprinkling of professional sailing crew, the campaigns are conducted at a much higher performance level. I believe that is great. We can all benefit from enthusiastic owners pushing the envelope. Well done Ger-OO.

Sheila is slowly getting worried about me. I thumbed through a complete boat equipment catalogue (AWN) and found nothing I „need“! (Well almost, those covers for the mooring poles at our new berth do look enticing. I wonder whether Sven Zoller our new neighbour in Gelting has them for his boat already?) But honestly, G XL is so ready to go out again. Just a bit more tender loving care by X-Yachts and she will be raring to go.

Had a lovely evening with Michael Rüter reminiscing about past glories, present trips and future adventures. One amusing story he told was how at this year’s ARC in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, he got the yacht LUV a mooring discount by pointing out his past role on GUNVØR. Michael, we will certainly want to use your many skills and talents next time we cruise the Pacific. Hopefully we can still entice you to join us on more mundane cruises in the Baltic.

The first boats of the WARC 2014 have made it to the San Blas Islands. The fastest boat will have taken around 10 hours more than Gunvor did. Our average speed was 8.5 knots versus 8 knots for this years First Ship Home. (We are still ahead.) It will be interesting to see how the whole round the world results will compare in terms of speed. One leg is obviously not enough to judge, although if anything, this time the wind conditions were more favourable with no gale force winds forcing the boats to sail more conservatively.

Kay and Monica Dennert invited us to a great dinner in Clouds, the highest and probably hippest restaurant in Hamburg. Apart from enjoying our time together it was a thank you for them being able to join GUNVØR (Galapagos – Hiva Oa and Mauritius to Richards Bay). Thank you so much. You certainly will be part of the crew next time we sail the Pacific! But we can’t promise cooking like tonight.

Phew, Robert Redford is still charismatic and handsome, but Sheila has decided not to go sailing with him. Thank god for: Satellite phones, handheld VHF’s, solar panels, EPIRBs, AIS PRB’s, AIS SARTs, reverse osmosis water makers, automatic electrical bilge pumps, emergency 4000 gl/h emergency pumps, DSC VHF emergency buttons and SSB emergency frequencies and all the other safety equipment a reasonable skipper carries today. Not to forget having great crew that know what the priorities are when you face a crisis situation.

It is a strange feeling to follow the WARC 2014 setting sail from St. Lucia to Panama, which started 2 days ago. Reading the various blogs about the last minute preparations, the crew issues, the start and the first 24 h at sea certainly brings back memories. Interestingly for Sheila and me, it only makes us twitch a bit. Really wanting to be out there with them would feel different. The most overwhelming feeling is to shout out advice and part with unwanted experience. It will be great to follow them around.

Tomorrow the keel and the rudder come off. Interesting whether there will be any further damage revealed from the whale collision? The price for the modified keel was reasonable, so next season we will have a 2.5 m draft instead of 2.9 m. The floor boards and saloon table have also gone to be revarnished. Hopefully we can see her Saturday next week when we go and visit Zollers/ Bajazzo in Gelting. WARC 2014 will start on Saturday.

What a great cheese fondue. We spent 2 great days with Willi, Heather & Jonathan in Klosters. Maybe it’s the now traditional annual Mr. Blues Cheese Fondue? Next time in Dubai?

Spending New Year in Switzerland. Gitte and Ian had a great road trip in Germany. We are looking forward to meeting Willi from Mr. Blues and Jonathan & Heather from Matilda for some skiing in Klosters after New Years.

Andreas and Andres managed to make a lot of further improvements. The deck has  been sanded down to 50%. The new autopilot has been installed, the Cpod repaired and PC display fixed. (A 12 V relay is just not very good for a 24 V display!) X-Yacht have in the meantime polished the whole boat and repaired the small cuts and bruises. Still waiting for the quote for a new keel.

Had a really strange phone call tonight. A women with a Spanish accent asked whether I knew where Jacqui (?) from Cameroon  was. Apparently her roommate, Jacqui, has disappeared and left all her stuff. The only „contact details“ the Spanish phonecaller could find were our contact numbers from GUNVØR XL. She had met Jacqui’s German boyfriend once, could not remember his name, but knew he was planning to sail with us and had left the numbers for her to contact him if necessary. Hmmh. The woman did not mention a rich uncle who was a government minister in Cameroon and that we could get $millions. So the story may even be true. So all you crew out there, will one of you own up and confess?

Yet another nice Rotary luncheon at Rotary Hafentor followed by a tour: „To paradise and back“. Unfortunately you can talk about anything at Rotary, but never more than 25 minutes, so I had to leave out the videos, which give such a great understanding what it is like to sail on  G XL.

The SVAOe rocks. The LUV our X-482 sister ship which has seen many G XL crew over the years did it again. First ship home in the ARC+ for both the Cape Verde Islands and St. Lucia. (We do not count multihulls!) They also won both legs on handicap. Well done guys! Super crew Michael Rüter, who was on many G XL legs around the world must have been their secret weapon, we are sure! Obviously the SVAOe is good at teaching us to sail boats fast. Too bad they are not continuing around the world.

We have a new boat! A 3.25m long rubber dinghy!

We have turned the Yellowbrick tracker off for the duration of her stay in Haderslev.

Spent a great day with Andreas Tempel in Haderslev with GUNVØR. She is sitting in the exact spot where she was build 4 years ago. A bit of a deja vue. First though we almost had a heart attack. The service manager Niels Ebbesen quoted € 40.000 for a new keel! We could breathe more easily when we found out that this was the cost for a new keel, whereas modifying the existing keel to a draft of 2.5 m will cost much less. After having gone through all the other wonderful modifications and repairs for this winter Karsten gave an almost 2 hour speech about the trip and lessons learned to the staff at X-Yacht.

The surveyor from the insurance company has visited X-Yacht and confirmed that the keel needs to be take off to inspect the bolts. It seems that we sustained a little bit of damage when we hit the whale in Australia after all.

Well we did buy a new boat, but it is not the one we thought. Instead we are getting a rubber dinghy one size smaller as the 3.6 m is not made anymore. Life is full of surprises.

We are becoming famous. Old Table has published our speech in their magazine and online. A copy is on the homepage under press coverage.

We bought a new boat and a new sail today! Ah well, the boat is 3.6 m long and the sail has only 10 m². A Zodiac rubber dinghy and a slightly used kite surfer for Ian. Especially Ian is very excited and can’t wait until spring.

The next date for stroking G XL has been set. The 22.11 we will go to Haderslev, discuss what needs to be done this winter and Karsten wil give a talk at X-Yacht about our trip including some lessons learned that may be useful for the yard. Already 40 staff have signed up. It is not hard to excite people about the South Seas. Rightly so. We often miss it.

She is now in a nice temperate hall resting for winter. It turns out that the steering problems the last day of our passage to Haderslev was caused by the main rudder bearing having failed. Lucky it happened literally the last 20 nm of our last 34.000 nm circumnavigation.

Today we became mastless in Haderslev.

Yet another great evening at Round Table. We gave our speech about the trip, well lubricated by sufficient wine and grappa. Whether anybody can remember any of the pictures we showed or stories we told we are not sure of, but it was momentous. In well-proven GUNVØR tradition, by the end of the evening they had all signed up for our next trip. So 20 crew are all ready to go sailing with us, now we just have to find out when and where to go. South Seas in 2018?

Here we are sitting in the Alps, almost snowed in, with no power for 10 hours at our friends‘ place near Innsbruck. And what is skipper thinking about? Yes, Christmas aka the Hamburg Boat Show coming up in 2 weeks‘  time. Already the first meetings have been arranged. Maybe a new gyroscope control for the Autopilot? With 9 (!) sensors it may do the trick and keep us flying downwind even without the great GUNVØR crew at the helm. The BOAW (Best of all Wives) in the meantime will do all she can to keep her skipper away from the sailmakers. New mainsail anyone?

How do you keep track whether anybody is really working on your boat as they say they will do? Install an alarm and have it send you an SMS whenever an „intruder“ steps onto the boat. At least today nobody came aboard to bother her. Hopefully this will change soon. She is scheduled to go into her winter storage hall week 43. How long can we manage to stay away?

It took some doing leaving Høruphav. Over night the east wind disappeared and so did 0.5 m of water. With our strong motor and the bowthruster we managed to leave the dock and rather ungainly motored out of the harbour backwards. During this manouveur we probably snagged some floating rope, because the steering was rather hard afterwards. However we had no problem motor-sailing the remaining 30 nm to Haderslev. Quickly we covered her up under her tarpaulin and caught taxi, train and car to get home the same evening. GUNVØR has truly returned home.

The wind continued blowing at over 30 knots so we hiked the 10 km to Sönderborg, had a great lunch and an even better afternoon snooze. An added bonus was having Sven & Silke Zoller with X-50 yacht Bajazzo pulling in as well. Probably a few glasses of wine are called for tonight.

A perfect day of sailing topped by a great dinner. After again making use of the „Canadian Yacht asking for permission to enter the lock“ trick we very quickly were out of the Kiel Kanal. With bright blue sky and 20-25 knots of wind from the aft we practically were flying to Hörup hav. With an average speed over 10-11 knots and a top speed of almost 13 knots we were there in a little over 3 hours. The docking was more problematic. The wind was gusting at more than 30 knots. We got moored to the dock without problems, but the fenders were threatening to burst. A dinner at Hotel Baltic was fantastic.

A quiet morning of cleaning the boat and getting everything ready for continuing the trip to Denmark on Wednesday. The sun came out and we managed to fix a few small problems. We even had time for a little sightseeing before taking the train home.

A perfect day. After coming home late the night before from Brussels/ Belgium we managed to leave with the tide at 11am. Blue sky and a light breeze allowed us to quickly make Brunsbüttel. Our old trick to pretend not to speak German helped us again to go directly into the lock with no waiting time. With the last light we made Rendsburg where we enjoyed a scrumptious ham.

A familiar feeling. Getting ready for her to leave again. Karsten brought some sails, cushions, odds & ends and most importantly some box wine on board for the 2 of us to take her to Rendsburg on Saturday. She looks fantastic. Olaf P has even managed to replace the botched leather spreader end covers with some really nice looking new ones. It will be good to go sailing again.

Four more days and GUNVØR will again leave Hamburg for the first stage of her trek to Haderslev. Andreas Tempel is doing the last improvements and is fixing/ servicing many small details we didn’t even know were causing problems. For example, the saltwater supply in the galley sink has a new hose and has been attached properly. Shoddy installation was probably the main reason for the bad smell when using the saltwater tap (which we then never did).  Another major improvement is the repair, cleaning and better installation of all the saloon cushions. It feels more and more like a new boat.

We are now allowed to wear green pants. After successfully sailing across the Øresund  in the ØRC Rally for Cruisers (The name is not a coincidence. It is organized by our friend Mads who sailed in the ARC with us.) from Copenhagen to Malmø on a X-41 together with Eskil and Jens also from our ARC trip, we gained the green pants right. 92 boats, with over 400 sailors were out in force, many decked out in imaginative outfits. The 14 miles in 2 hours was beautiful spinnaker sailing at its best.

We have a new stove. Yesterday first the shocking news: Our ENO „Le Chef“ is not being produced anymore. No other large size stove with 4 burners will fit the galley. Lousy mood. Then today: Andreas has managed to find the last „Le Chef“  stove in Germany, he quickly bought and installed it. Super, now we can continue to cook our mega meals.

Great dinner at Mr. Blues. It was so good that Sheila took advantage of Karsten having left the room and devoured his dessert. (Well, Karsten could tell that she had that in her mind and happily gave it to her. Let’s be honest, I/ he has put on a bit of weight since having come ashore.) It is weird watching the America’s Cup sitting in the middle of Switzerland, but isn’t great to see the Kiwis win? Everybody loves an underdog.

Tomorrow night we are looking forward to having dinner with Willi from Mr. Blues in Switzerland. Hopefully we can talk him into watching the America’s Cup race in San Fransico. It really is worth it. What amazing action (and the Kiwis are winning so far.) They go even faster than GUNVØR.
Meanwhile the contracts for winter storage in Haderslev and a spot next year in Gelting marina have been signed.

Andreas Tempel, when cleaning the air conditioning water filter found a veritable vegetable garden inside including a plastic bag to „protect“ the kelp & sea weed. Really „nice“ looking. Also the bilge pump filter was in serious need of cleaning. It is so nice to have ample time to meticulously check and bring everything up to standard again.

We have added our lessons learned/ tips for long distance cruising under Miscellaneous.

The work of Benkert & Tempel in Hamburg is almost finished. We can now see on the instrument panel which pumps are running. At night we have a red night light in the bathroom and the CPod, TV/ Video/ DVD system plus SSB are 100% again. The water temperature is also shown correctly and in the galley we can boil water and make toast at the same time with new electrical outlets. With an inverter for the PC screen we can work on the computer while the inverter is off. The cockpit table has also been refurbished, especially the hinges are now level again. We wonder how long it takes before somebody wants to rest their weary head on it and bend them out of shape again. The only certain thing is that the work will never end.

Since Sheila doesn’t like „Kuchenbuden“ we now have a „sprayhood extension“ instead which has been delivered and mounted today. Also the hot water boiler has been moved.

It was nice to see the GUNVØR entry in the Tanna Island guest book that Tim and Cathy on their yacht Helen May just posted on their blog this week. Also Klaus and Beth honoured GUNVØR by posting a photo of Klaus wearing a GUNVØR crew shirt during their circumnavigation of the Med this summer/fall with their yacht Setestrelo.

Slowly making progress. Ian has helped Andreas T. this week in moving the hot water boiler to the aft. A new gas bottle holder for the 6 kg aluminium gas bottles has also been installed. In the meantime Andreas B. has started working on the DVD-HDMI converter, replaced the diminished instrument displays and been slowly working down the  to-do list. It was nice to see the GUNVØR entry in the Tanna Island guest book that Tim and Cathy from Helen May just posted on their blog this week.

This year we celebrated Karsten’s birthday with a scrumptious dinner at the Lake Växjö in Sweden. Last year it was on Horne Island in the Torres Straits on top of Oz. Literally worlds apart.

Now Andreas T., Andreas B., Petrowski and Ian are working on the boat. Lots of progress. A new sprayhood is installed, various counters have been polished, mainsail repaired, „Kuchenbude“ half finished etc., etc. Full action. Next sail is not planned until September 30th. She will be almost perfect by then, just leaving some special projects for X-Yachts to fix. However Andreas T keeps finding things that also need TLC, so I expect a few more weeks of work. If any of you feel the need to come „basteln“, be my guest.

The local paper has published a nice article about our trip. You can see it under Miscellaneous/ Press coverage

A new time is dawning. The home page is being rebuilt to accomodate future adventures. For all the crew you can find the 6 songs we have written so far under crew info incl. Daniel & Telse’s wedding song. Enjoy!

The indepth servicing of the motor is complete. Today she is getting a new name. No it is still GUNVØR, but new letters. The old ones were terribly worn.

How did Gunvør arrive in Wedel? Have a look at the new logbook and photos!

To get rid of the smells of over 70 people sailing in the hot and sticky tropics may take some time, but yesterday another milestone was achieved. A professional cleaning service took advantage that the boat has been stripped of all equipment and did a thorough cleaning job. This will be repeated again at the yard, when all the floorboards have been removed, but already now the smell inside has considerably improved. Also the tanks have been chemically cleaned and repeatedly flushed.

Another milestone accomplished. The boat has been emptied completely, the water tanks cleaned and rinsed and she is covered by a tarpaulin. Sheila will come next week with a cleaning detail for down below. Then the next phase can start. Small repairs, servicing of a lot of equipment, replacement of worn things and some upgrades. Getting a new stove, replacing all mattress covers and all the canvas outside will especially make a big difference. After that we will slowly bring selected items back. We have also made contact with the marina in Gelting Mole (near Flensburg, by Denmark), where we will probably keep the boat the next few years. But first (tomorrow) Karsten has to go to Singapore.


Now the boat is completely empty except a bit of kitchen gear and some tools. Next week a cleaning staff will come and do a thorough clean up. After that starts the servicing of equipment, small repairs and some upgrades. Thank God. It was hard to remove basically 2.5 tonnes of stuff. It is as usual: the bigger the boat you have, the more junk you accumulate. At least the boat is empty, but our GUNVØR garage is bursting, despite some rigorous throwing away of not needed things. Also we can live off tins for many months.

We continue to unload the boat. The garage is almost full and the basement as well. Next step is to do the tough thing and actually throw things away. It is a great feeling every time something is unloaded, but it certainly is hard work. Many small to-do’s remain. At least Andreas Benkert (marine electronics) got his to-do list today. 34 individual tasks, but we have until the spring to do all that.

It took us some time to get going this morning. We did multiple loads taking stuff off the boat. Amazingly we can now see the top of the rudder for the first time in 2 years. By the time we’re finished in a few days’ (weeks?) time, we will be floating 10 cm higher! It is a lot of work, but very satisfying.

At 12 noon alltogether 17 of the circumnavigator crew with their fuchsia (hot pink) circumnavigator crew shirts piled on to GUNVØR and set off down the river. To be safe from running aground (again) we took the westerly exit from Glückstadt. At 14:30 sharp we tied up in Wedel and were met by a great welcoming crowd. After innumerable drinks and some songs the party went for dinner at Tonne 122. We believe we also had a good time there.

A great final sail under the Canadienne spinnaker up the river Elbe to Glückstadt. Everybody oohed and aahed at the spinnakler until it was time to pack that very big & heavy sail. We just made the last sitting at the Kleiner Heinrich.

Tomorrow, as planned, a core crew will sail GUNVØR from Cuxhaven to Glückstadt. All WARC crew who can, will join us there Saturday morning, to jointly sail to the yacht harbour in Wedel. Arrival is timed for 14:30. There will be some refreshment for the crew and all guests who want to celebrate the arrival with us. See you then.

That was cold & wet. Andreas Tempel went to the boat to fix the motor. After having cleaned all filters in the fuel line they concluded it was the propeller. Since Sheila had packed away the wetsuit and couldn’t remember where she had put it, poor Andreas donned a semi-wetsuit top, jumped into the cold water and discovered that there was nothing caught in the propeller.

Now Karsten is an orphan too. His father died this morning in Cannes after a prolonged illness, aged 84 years. We have gone from 3 grandparents to none in 6 months. But they all had very full lives. Lady Bracknell from Bernard Shaw’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” would call it careless.

We got woken up very early i.e. 8:30 (It did get late last night) with breakfast buns brought by Susanne Rüter and her boyfriend. They helped Peter take the Cuxhaven ferry to Helgoland while Fabian, Ian and I cleaned the boat and took lots of gear off. When Sheila arrived we crammed the car full, while Ian and Fabian took the train home to Hamburg. We are ready for the final sail home July 5th-6th. Details to follow for circumnavigation crew.

After almost 2 full days of motoring, the wind came up at noon today and so finally did the sails. GUNVØR experienced the strongest winds of the circumnavigation: 38 knots and  Ian hit his own personal GUNVØR speed record while helming: 18.1 knots of boat speed. The crew, having experienced some difficulty with the motor earlier in the day, decided to continue on sailing straight through to Cuxhaven, bypassing Helgoland, and tied up in the marina there this evening around 10 pm German time.

A few hours after departure yesterday, Karsten, using our AIS (Automatic Identifcation System)  saw WARC yacht Working on a Dream on our electronic plotter. They were also motoring  in the English Channel, just a few miles away. It’s a small world! So of course they arranged to motor up to each other and had a water-based rendez-vous. Today was a another calm motoring day.

GUNVØR and her crew of 4: Karsten, Ian, Fabian and Peter Siemssen departed the Hamble Marina today at 15:00 UK time. Winds are very light at 3 knots so they are motoring. They expect headwinds soon and so are happy to put some peaceful miles behind them for now.

Most bizar taxi pick up at Gatwick airport: First the taxi was 40 minutes late. Then we went to the car park and her couldn’t find his taxi. For 20 minutes we walked with him to try and find it. Then he left us, but came back 15 minutes later to say he was still looking. After that we did not see him again and eneded up after 1.5 hours to take another taxi. We wonder whether he is still there looking for his car?

Ian & Fabian have already left for the UK, Karsten is leaving tomorrow and Peter S. wll arrive on Wednesday. HYS claim they have painted the bottom and will have her floating for us when we arrive on Wednesday. The weather forecast is good as well, so we should be able to leave on Wednesday for Helgoland/ Cuxhaven.

The VHF is working again. Today HYS hauled her out to give her bottom paint.

HYS have started to repair the VHF antenna. Hopefully they are successful. We can always see when they go aboard by having the CPod Alarm activated anew every day. Whenever they go onboard the alarm sends an SMS to Karsten. Too bad we don’t have a web cam as well. Karsten has regretted that many times when he was not onboard. Next circumnavigation.

Sad to leave GUNVØR behind once more, but she is safe here with Hamble Yacht Services. Gitte must have behaved very well the past 12 months as the sun is shining very brightly both here in the UK and also in Bruxelles for her birthday.

Don’t be surprised if you see GUNVØR at the same spot and with an old date. The Yellowbrick tracker has gone home to the manufacturer for some TLC. Hopefully an improved tracker will come back next week.

It is strange to be in a marina where GUNVØR is the slow boat. All around us are Farr 40s, Farr 45s, Class 44s and other “dinghies” getting ready to race around the Isle of Wight tomorrow. Instead of catching racing fever I played golf.

Sometimes problems have an easy solution. The reason our VHF hasn’t been working is because when we repaired the antenna holder at the top of the mast in Bequia we forgot to reconnect the antenna wire. Andreas and Karsten did a few more small jobs before Andreas left for Germany. Not much left to do before going home across the North Sea. We are in great shape.

We spent the day doing odd jobs. Embarrassingly, the TV now works for the first time since Tahiti. It was a 250mA fuse in the antenna system that needed to be replaced. Ups. The winshes also needed to be regreased and we found another freshwater leak to be dealt with. By the time we come home there won’t be anymore water in the bilge.

GUNVØR is a sailboat again and not deck cargo. Very effectively they launched her just 45 minutes after arriving in Southampton.
We are in the Hamble river and will get hauled out here. Andreas Temple is also here and has already started giving her some tender loving care.

GUNVØR is being steamed with 13.5 knots across the Atlantic. Weather forecast is good. ETA is 28.5 12 :00 in Southampton.

GUNVØR has left St. Thomas and is being steamed across the Atlantic.

GUNVØR has been loaded onto MV Fagelgracht 3 days late. Interesting to hear when they tell us the new date of arrival in Southampton.

Made it home safely. Used the 8 hour layover in Miami to rent a Mercedes Cabriolet and cruise up from Miami Beach to Fort Lauderdale. GUNVØR supposedly will be loaded tonight. We wil be following her progress on Yellowbrick.

Left GUNVØR today. 2 new logbooks online with pictures.

It feels soooo good to throw things away. Food, gear, used up tools etc.. The tanks are empty, GUNVØR rides as high out of the water as she has not done since leaving Haderslev in 2010. We are looking forward to the last sail across the North Sea, but even more we are looking forward to completely emptying her out and getting her into super shape again. The final hurrah was a last rum punch and dinner at the nicest restaurant on St. Thomas. We spent the evening reminiscing about the amazing, really 4 years, we have had. Thank you all so much for what you have contributed. Everybody’s name was mentioned at least once tonight.

Spent most of the morning giving unnecessary advice to 60 ft catamaran ViIVo (USA). The two couples on board (to be joined by 2 more crew) are signed up to sail the WARC in January 2014 together with our friends from SY Koko (Norway) and SY Clementina (Hamburg). They graciously claimed it was very interesting to get the full dose of Karsten’s list.  They did look a bit shocked when Karsten pointed out that almost no crew made it together all the way round. They are very nice and we believe very organised, so we hope they will be the exception. It will be fun to follow our firiends around the world and experience it all vicariously again without getting wet. No envy, we are very much looking forward to going home on Monday. Visited a XC 50 that is being shipped as well. We still like the X-55 better, but if they made an XC-55……

Today it was finally possible to play the Mahogany Run golf course, where Clinton & Obama have also played. Especially the holes by the ocean, playing over water, are spectacular. It certainly was worth taking a rain check for. After lunch Sheila and I took advantage of there being no cruise ships on the island today. The people in the stores were much friendlier and had lots of time. With prices similar to Germany, but without VAT we got some good bargains. A thunder storm in the evening made it really cozy to watch a movie, just the 2 of us.

Karsten had to take a rain check on the golf as it was pouring cats & dogs. At least this kept Sheila inside and she could finish one of her 3 remaining long blogs. (to be posted today) Also we could watch movies without feeling guilty. We always love a rainy day now and again so we can be a little lazy and not have to tour or otherwise be active.

We have decided that St. Thomas is probably the Caribbean Island we like the least. The Main Street/ Kronprindsens Gade in Charlotte Amalie has been tarted up more nicely than most other island main streets we have seen, with about 50 jewellery stores for the 2-3 cruise ships that seem to dock every day. But the rest of the island doesn’t have much charm. Today we drove around the island. Everywhere there were villas and houses dotting the landscape, most it seemed for rent or sale, but nowhere was it particularly pretty or inviting. Magens Beach was lovely, but marred by lots and lots of taxi vans dropping off a large number of cruise ship passengers. The nature trail around there was (not surprisingly) completely devoid of people, but except for a new type of parakeet also devoid of birds. The island also has few restaurants, instead everywhere you turn there are shops, shops and more shops. Great for cruise line passengers, but not for cruisers. Lifers: 1.

We continue to enjoy that it is all over and we have no more responsibilties or real chores to do. On top of that we can explore the Danish heritage here in the American Virgin Islands. We are even considering going to the Danish/ American Lutheran Church tomorrow for a service. The evening we spent at the nicest French restaurant/ bistro in St. Thomas gabing away to the other patrons and enjoying the good food.

US Immigration Take 2: We dutifully reported to US customs and immigration upon arrival back in St. Thomas (USVI) just after lunch. The 2 ladies dealing with us were very courteous and even made some jokes. The main joke however was, that during all the time spent with us on Friday, the Immigration officer actually had forgotten to stamp Karsten’s passport, so officially he was not issued his Visa. It was back to cooling out in the supervisor’s office! Fortunately it did not take them long to sort it out, but what would have happened if we had cleared into a different office? Not impressed. The nice part of the day was meeting a UK couple who are shipping back their X-46 on the same transport. Needless to say we had lots to talk about.

Motoring the massive distance of 3 nm we entered the main town of Jost van Dyke to officially clear out of the BVI. After a lunch at the “world famous” restaurant Foxy’s we decided to go back to our fantastic anchorage. A few more boats had had the same idea compared to the night before, so we were a very international group having sundowners on the local dock. The attitude of some of the American sailors astounded us: “Nobody ever bothers to put up the BVI/ UK courtesy flag. (Well, actually, everybody, except the Americans, actually do!)

We haven’t written in 2 days, not because we were arrested by US Homeland Security, but because we left Tortola, watched some of our World ARC friends start in the ARC Europe and then went onto a beautiful, secluded anchorage at Jost van Dyke (BVI) without internet. The almost total lack of wind probably made most of the ARC Europe boats tear their hair out, but we enjoyed having a very calm anchorage and no waves. Some bird watching was also possible. Lifers: 2.

Today we were “entertained” by Homeland Security. The absolute worst country to sail to in the world is the US. It even beats Russia where it took 6 hours to clear in 8 years ago (but helped by a lot of wine). Nowhere else in the world did we spend more than 1 hour. In the USA you have to enter on a “registered” carrier, i.e. fly in by plane or ferry. So we had to take a ferry over from the BVIs to the US Virgin Islands today to do the first step of clearing in. We had to stand in line for an hour. In my case, when they, due to a mistake of mine, saw that I have 2 Swedish passports (so I can get visas and still travel) they completely freaked out, escorted us to a freezing room and let us wait for another hour. Needless to say we missed our return ferry. But it is not over, when we sail to St. Thomas in a few days, we have to anchor off, I have to take a dinghy in and the whole clearance procedure only starts then. Basically you need 1.5 days to enter the USA. To really cement our “high” regard for that nation, Sheila sat beside an American woman from California. She certainly scraped the barrel in ignorance and totally lacked any sense of proper behaviour. Even having had a drink or 2 you do not show and discuss your stool sample (poo) with fellow travellers. This is a country that brings to mind the end of the Roman empire, just in accelerated form. Wish we did not have to go there to load our boat! Get us out of there as soon as possible!

We did a 1.5 h hike through the national park here on Tortola and saw – nothing. We could hear some birds, but not see any. To make up for that Sheila guided us to a nice restaurant, only to be mortified that it was a lot nicer than she expected and that the guests included the Prime Minister of Tortola, the Governor and some officials from the Commonwealth in Britain. She is not easily impressed by VIPs, the mortification stemmed from her husband’s attire. That morning he had decided to wear a hot pink “wife beater” (sleaveless muscle shirt) just to tease her. To the credit of the restaurant they did not bat an eyelid as to her husband’s very touristy attire and served us with great friendliness.

Going to Nanny Cay, Tortola was a bit like travelling back in time. The ARC Europe is setting sail in a few days and the docks was buzzing with crews preparing to leave and Yellowshirts trying to get some order into the mayhem. Being part of the World ARC family, we took part in yet another goodbye dinner there and have been invited to the goodbye party for ARC Europe tomorrow. Truth to be said we are not sorry to miss that race, especially as the first leg to Bemuda looks like one long upwind leg with almost no wind.

Imagine a great morning: Slowly getting up and then a massage/body scrub for couples in the local Spa. Afterwards you then sit down for lunch at the local water side pub, when friends (yachts Anastasia and Zoe) unexpectedly show up to join you. After yet another leisurely afternoon you join your friends on a perfect little island with a large bar for sundowners. Eating dinner on the boat just tops a perfect day for the two of us here on a mooring at Bitter End Yacht Club. Maybe a movie to end the day.

My planning had fallen short, so we had to go to the chandlery at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda to get the right guest flag for the BVIs. Then it was off to the Bitter End. Not our trip, but a beautiful lagoon in Virgin Gorda. After a disappointing snorkel (Tuamotus where are you?) we had a cool Happy Hour and an even better Tète a Tète lobster dinner. Nice to be with your wife.

A lovely night, our last night of sailing this side of the Atlantic. A full moon, no clouds  and a following breeze meant we could glide along wing on wing at 6-7 knots all night. A bit of drama with our anchor chain, first running free and then jamming gave us a final challenge. Proudly we sorted this out without even having to raise our voices. Working on a Dream directed us to Immigration here at VIrgin Gorda-BVI and kindly invited us over for sundowners. It is comforting to get weened off the WARC in small doses. We all ended up having Sunday night spaghetti dinner on WoD. Karsten’s mission to civilize is bearing fruit!

Gustavia, St. Barth is very much like a seaside resort on the west coast of Sweden. They have done a great job restoring many houses, churches and the forts from the Swedish era. We did our duty and did a 2.5 h walking tour of the town, fortunately in the early morning before it became too hot. The other aspect of the town is the shopping, which has been modeled on the French Cote D’Azur, including the prices. But they have everything a woman’s heart could desire. Unfortunately the harbour is subject to appalling swell, so we fled to the anchorage and will sail tonight to Virgin Gorda in the BVI’s. There always is something wrong, even in paradise.

Zoe beat us to leaving, as did most of the boats anchored at Montserrat. We did not find leaving at 6 am to be late, but we guess the rolly anchorage had something to do with the other boats rushing off. The sail to St. Barts was absolutely stunning. Nice breeze, sunshine and small waves made for a great passage. The contrast to Montserrat could not be greater. We have arrived in the 5 star shopping mall of the Carribbean. We shudder when we look at the prices at the fancy label and jewellery stores which abound here in the town of Gustavia, but all is really pretty and fantastically well maintained. Tomorrow we will be walking down memory lane, i.e. part of Swedish colonial history.

The weather was one of the finest of the whole circumnavigation. In 10-15 knots and sunshine we sailed to Monserrat. After a very quick clearing in we took a tour of the island with “Avalon” Tours. It should have been called “Prickly” instead. Our guide proceeded to get more and more offended the more questions we asked. Apparently it was our job to listen to his information in the order he chose to give it. But we did see the after-effects of the volcano that has made about 1/3 of the island an exclusion zone and buried the capital and the airport under large amounts of ash. A pretty rolly anchorage, but we have had a lot worse.

That was a day of walking down memory lane. We sailed into Deshais Bay in the north of Guadelope. Like 25 years ago this was our first anchorage without a crew. We hiked up to the rock pools where we swam at that time as well. We took a lot of reenactment photos and frolicked like we were much younger. We even managed to find the house of the then Danish Consul in Guadelope, which sadly now was differently occupied. We could not but reminise over all we have done and experienced since. It certainly has been a wild ride. Having believed we would never return it was a truly magic day ending with a lobster dinner at a (new) restaurant.

Dragged Ed from Yacht Zoe out bird watching in the National Park of Guadeloupe. Traipsing around in the mud in the rain forest we had a glorious morning. In the afternoon, when we took Elizabeth to the airport, the rain came back. We were sad to see her go, but after this wet week she was probably happy to go back to spring in Toronto with lots of sun. We are having our first evening alone on board since Gran Canaria 1.5 years ago. Naturally we had a spaghetti dinner. (Sunday we ate out.) Lifers: 6


At least initially leaving the extremely uncomfortable mooring at The Saintes did not improve things much. A very umcomfortable cross sea, large waves and a strong wind on the nose made the first hour not very pleasant. It did calm down, but entering the Marina in Guadelope we did get rained on, just in case we were too happy at the prospect of a quiet night. After having solved yacht Zoe’s autopilot problem (The well-known polarity issue when switching autopilot motors) we had our last crew dinner. No only did Elizabeth sing for her dinner by telling good Best and Worst stories, she also treated us.

A very uncomfortable morning of tropical downpours and large swells. My continous optimism, that the low front would be over at noon, was (fortunately) proven right, so by mid morning we could finally leave the boat and explore the island. It is really very pretty, but we had a terrible lunch. This was more than compensated by a great dinner together with Zoe & Ed from WARC yacht Zoe. The really great news of the day is that Daniel and Telse are providing (longterm) more GUNVØR crew. Congratulations!

During the sail (yes, we actually sailed, although still too lazy to put up the mainsail) from Dominica to The Saintes, Elizabeth spotted a whale broaching 3 times. That was enough excitment for one day. So we installed ourselves in a water front restaurant for the rest of the day, drank wine and read newspapers extensively. Hopefully the almost continous rain will soon stop and we can explore this beautiful island.

It rained cats and dogs, but we got boat boy Alexis to come and take us up Indian River. Since the path to the river cafe was flooded we were alone there, especially after we had to help clear some tree trunks from our path up the river. Needless to say we were the only tourists doing that tour today. After a nice pancake lunch, Karsten went with Alexis to do some rainforest birding. Very successful. This evening a nice lobster dinner ashore finished a special day. Lifers: 8

We got up at dawn and motorsailed the 85 nm to Dominica. All day we managed to dodge gigantic rain clods/ squalls. The rain clouds lifted just long enogh so we could get a good view of the vulcano on Martinique. Elizabeth and I managed to convince Sheila to stay on board and eat our simple dinner. This was good because we all collapsed into bed very tired. The rain we had managed to avoid came back during the night and it looks like it is here to stay for a while.

Karsten was challenged today: He had to tour and shop the capital city of Martinique with his two female crew – and he managed to fall asleep on sofa while waiting in a shop for his lovelies. They did point out that hardware stores do not provide sofas for tired and bored wives. Back at the boat Elizabeth burnished her crew credentials by hand-sewing a ripped seam in the super tough bimini, complete with leather and iron sewing glove & she joined Karsten in chiding Sheila for refusing that compact sewing machine 2 yrs ago when outfitting the boat with gear. Then she watched her first Top Gear and even managed to keep awake until the last few minutes.

We continue to challenge Elizabeth. She saw the largest waves she has ever seen sailing from St. Lucia to Martinique. Then we had to hang around the marina at a mooring because our reserved spot wasn’t ready. While having drinks on SY Ruby we experienced the mother of all tropical rainstorms. All dinghys at the dinghy dock where completely flooded. The following  dinner was delightful, trying not to get completly soaked on the way to the restaurant with Herve and Margret, but Elizabeth had to speak French all night.

Today almost 1 year of sailing came to an end for Ian. With joyous anticipation of finally going to a country with proper infrastructure, there was still mixed in some sadness at what he is leaving behind and probably some trepidation at the prospect of having to join the job market. Gitte on the other hand was sad to leave some of her girl friends behind, but she did manage to squeeze yet another party in on Working on a Dream before heading to the airport and very much looking forward to returning to her job in Brussels.

Sheila’s friend Elizabeth was immediately thrown in at the deep end. Almost straight off the plane she was dragged to a Japanese cooking class/ drinks on the WARC boat Umineko. This was followed by a big dinner together with Glenn at the Big Chef steak house. Before she had the chance to go to bed, to make up for having risen at the crack of dawn in Toronto, she then finished the night with Sheila doing Karaoke onboard Anastasia. Long days.

The World ARC is over. We started the day with a sail parade from Marigot Bay via Castries to Rodney Bay. That is, for us we started with being stuck at the dock in Marigot Bay having to have our friend Glenn with his motor boat drag us free. It was a strange feeling to pass the finishing line in Rodney Bay after 15 months of sailing around the world, before again being stuck at the marina. Fortunately it was only mud so we could plow our way to our berth. The fleet assembled (fully dressed) in the pool before the dinner/ party in the evening. After many speeches, prizes and endless thank yous & goodbyes it was done. It has been great, time to move on.

Excursion to the ‘drive-in volcano’ of Soufrieres. We viewed the boilling & bubbling lava pools plus steam vents and then covered ourselves with lava mud (Ian went a bit mad) & bathed downstream in the slightly cooler sulpher spring pools. Yet another goodbye party, this time at the Marigot Marina Hotel, we went home relatively early in order to have energy for tomorrow’s FINAL bash.

We had a great pool party at Glenn’s place. At 17:30 we had a shuttle service from the marina. Everybody oohed and aahed at the magnificent view. Having prepared a strong rum punch and providing lots of wine and beer, the party quickly took off. Glenn’s friend Sonja helped with the grilling, while many of us frolicked in the pool. Another friend of Glenn’s provided a return shuttle service with our van, so we got everybody safely back, more or less ready for tonight’s party.

We had to say a sad goodbye to Airi and Raul, who were heading back to cold and rainy Europe. We then went down memory lane when we had lunch at Spinnakers. In the evening the marina had invited us to a Barbeoke. (BBQ and Karaoke). It  would be an understatement to say that Sheila got into the singing. We almost had to drag her off the stage when the party was finished.

In line with the motto: La vie en rose, we celebrated our circumnavigation in our new hot pink crew shirts with a scrumptious crew dinner at Rainforest Hideaway with great food and lots of Pouilly Fumè. Raul’s ‘Best’ was being up the mast 7 times to fix the broken antenna holder. Airi had loved taking the helm, while she was less happy when the skipper got grumpy because something (as usual) had broken. We have really been lucky with all our crews around the world. Today the next parties start and will continue for another 4 days.

A beautiful sail to Marigot Bay. Gitte helmed the last few hours before we went to the marina. Soon after, our friend Glenn arrived and we ended up having a beautiful BBQ at his house. Seeing the Pitons from a distance was almost like coming home. In a way it feels like St. Lucia is the true end of the circumnavigation, since this is where the WARC started. Gitte did suggest we just turn left towards Panama and do it all again. Can’t have been such a bad trip around the world after all.

Up early and off to St. Vincent. On arrival we ended up in the middle of a shouting match between boat boys trying to get our business. But we made the right decision to go with Sam’s Taxi. They organized our moorings and all our clearing in & out of the country. However, when we were in the middle of the jungle, Gitte phoned from her stopover in Barbados as Immigration there was giving her grief regarding her flying into St. Vincent and leaving from St. Lucia. But Sam solved the problem and Karsten saw 3 Lifers incl. the endemic and threatened St. Vincent Parrot. Great celebration dinner after Gitte’s arrival to crown a very busy day.

A new logbook Brasil-Grenada is online! There is also an update on the Twitchers blog for those bird nerds amongst you!

So it finally happened. After 1.5 years of sailing around the world Sheila finally got her day on the beach. Well half day actually. We were supposed to sail to St. Vincent today, but even the boat boys here discouraged us. So we had a very, very lazy day including an afternoon on the beach. But tomorrow we are going. Promise.

Karsten solved the generator problem in the early morning so that he could then relax on our taxi tour of Bequia. Our guide was a 6th generation Bequian whose uncle was the most famous whaler of the island. Whales are still hunted, the island has an allowable quota of 4 humpbacks per season – 3 have been caught so far and sighters are watching the waters for the last few weeks of the season. After swimming at the beautiful Princess Margaret Beach, Raul went up the mast again multiple times to finish the antenna repair. Our crew treated us to a lovely dinner ashore and we partied afterwards with the whole WARC gang.

While Karsten went scuba diving, Ian and Sheila did some errands and Raul and Airi explored the neighbouring beaches. Then the afternoon was work, work, work as Ian and Raul went up the mast multiple times trying to repair the bent antenna and Karsten sweated down below trying to repair the sickly generator. Ian then cooked his signature stir fry and headed out to the beach bars while the rest of the crew collapsed early.

Lovely gentle sail to Bequia – and Gunvør completed the circle of her circumnavigation!! It was 1.5 years ago that we celebrated New Year’s Eve in Bequia between finishing the ARC and starting the World-ARC and thus the “loop” has been closed here on this charming island. It is great to be back and the same fellow took our mooring lines and spread our news so fast that a couple of dinghies passed by to give their congrats. There was another X55 in the harbour and we spent the afternoon comparing our “twin” ships. Then dinner with the WARC yacht ‘Zoe’ crew at the pirate-y Devil’s Table restaurant with a Swedish chef and waiters and even Swedish guests.

Well for some reason we woke up very early after the preposterously expensive dinner at Basil’s. I thought the wine was in EC, but it was US$. Ah well, getting up early had the advantage that the light helped me locate Sheila’s towel underneath the boat that I had not fixed properly to the railing for drying. Nothing for it but donning scuba gear to get it up. Sheila and I then had a long walk on the island, slept with air con on in the afternoon and were ready for sun downers with more WARC crews who have arrived. Scrumptious dinner on board cooked by Airi and Raul.

In 20 – 25 knots of wind we motor-sailed to Mustique, the island of the really rich. After 3 days of WARC parties we decided – –  to have another one. So have booked a large table at the famous Basil´s Bar. It is really nice to be in a mooring field with little wind and waves, just a bit of swell. HAPPY EASTER ALL OF YOU.

If possible the wind picked up even more and the anchorage was quite rolly. This did not stop the WARC from having yet another party. Brizo organized an egg hunt and an egg tossing competiton. Not surprisingly some of the WARC sailors got really competitive on the egg hunt (no not the GUNVØR crew, we reserve our competitiveness to the waves.) The little kids were having to work very hard to get a share of the spoils. Sheila and Airi made it to the final of the egg toss competition, but lost in what must have been due to sabotage, their egg just fell apart almost by itself.

Five packed dinghys of WARC sailors braved the rolly sea to venture beyond the reef to the oneTobago Cay islet which lies unprotected. “Petit Tabac” is where Johnny Depp was marooned in Pirates of the Carribean. We donned pirate-y gear and searched for the trap door leading to all that rum. In the evening with almost all WARC yachts, 48 of us sailors had a fantastic beach barbecue with steel band. The beach restaurant had to turn off their lights and nag us all to leave or we would have partied til dawn.

Last night upon return from the Rasta bar we discovered a tear in the dinghy from the rusty old dinghy dock. Pumping air into the damaged section, we motored back to Gunvør’s anchorage. Then late-night repairs on the foredeck under the spreader lights. This morning the repair looked good and we’ve motored three miles over to Tobago Cays, a series of 5 islets forming a lagoon. After snorkeling with turtles and rays, we had drinks on the beach with the WARC gang.

Us young ones were in town for the party, there was also a pre-Easter party in the village. We danced on the beach and hung out with some Spaniards. I ended up sleeping in an empty beach bar by our anchorage as the watertaxis were nowhere to be found.
We motored over to Mayreau, a taxing distance of 4 miles. I stayed on the boat for some quiet time while the others went ashore. I think tonight we’ll stay in. Or go to the well-known Rasta bar here.

We started where we left off with sleeping in, except Ian, who went to learn to kite surf. He got up on the board during his first lesson. The rest of us swam, snorkeled and read a lot. Happy hour again on the beach followed by dinner. The young ones are going to the village of Clifton on the other side of the island to the Full Moon Party there.

A “hard” day. We motored 6 miles around Union Island and dropped anchor in a beautiful bay. A lot of snorkling, a bit of diving and a great happy hour on the beach. (Sheila fell in the water getting back in the dinghy.) Ian cooked a scrumptious dinner again before we fell into our beds at cruisers’ midnight.

Left in the early morning for a new country only 10 nautical miles away: St Vincent & the Grenadines. We arrived at 10am at the tiny island of Union. Winds were on the nose again at over 25 knots, the anchorage at the beachy/hippy town of Clifton is pretty rolly. Our cocktail hour on board was rather nail-biting as the large supply ferry came within 10 meters of Gunvor’s topsides while manouvering into the ferry dock.

Goodbye to all our wonderful Danish crew. Ian and Karsten and Sheila have now left Grenada with our last WARC crew, the Estonians! It was Airi”s birthday and after our 31 nautical miles motor-sail (not fond of headwinds) to the island of Carriacou, we had cake and drinks and a fantastic “tuna in three variations” dinner cooked up by Raul on board at anchorage.

All WARC sailors were kind of quiet on the island bus tour today. Dutifully we inspected the nutmeg works, a rundown estate and a rum distillery. Not even the free tasting could really get the group going. It was just nice to be mindlessly driven around this nice island. Probably one of the nicest in the Carribbean. Tonight crew dinner before we leave for Carricou and the Grenadines tomorrow.

The WARC prize-giving maybe wasn’t the party to end all parties, but it was a blast. With 17 crew and guests GUNVØR kind of swamped the party, but a great song by crew Bjørk, mentioning all the women in the WARC made up for it. Winning first place overall certainly did not dampen our spirits. Just when all started jumping fully clothed in the pool did Sheila and I leave the party.

Total activity day. First snorkling at an underwater sculpture park. Various sculptures had been sunk inbetween sections of a nice reef with lots of colourful fish. Lunch at the Belmont Estate in company with the Prime Minister of Grenada. Obviously a nice place. And it even produces organic chocolate, yum. Then more touring and finally a major grocery shopping trip. At this point Ian, Airi and Raul had thrown in the towel.

With Airi and Raul arriving from Tallin we now have had our full complement of a total of 10 different nationalities sailing with us on this trip. Meanwhile Sheila and Ian cooked up a storm for cousin Ben and his 2 roommates plus some of Ian’s WARC friends. The evening ended with a bit of dancing at the marina restaurant which had organised a live band.

We had planned to tour the SE part of the island, but only managed to get to a beautiful beach resort. The joy of being in the island spirit! After sundowners on GUNVØR we had dinner at one of the best restaurants on the island. Paying our dues to this hard programme we retired early. Fit for another day of working hard at doing not very much.

Spa day: Sheila & Karsten enjoyed various treatments. This was in preparation for a wonderful dinner at our Canadian friends’ rented villa – a 2 storey house with magnificient views, beautiful pool & terrace and each bedroom with an amazing ensuite bathroom & balcony. And there was even a housekeeper/cook.  So that is how non-sailors live on holiday. Could get used to that.

A day of doing your own thing. Following a long passage and after arrival a good boat cleaning, it is beneficial for all to take some private time, in this case touring the nice island of Grenada. This was topped by, what else, a scrumptious spaghetti dinner and an early night.

With no repairs to do and 7 pairs of hands we quickly got the boat shipshape. Getting a rented car (allegedly to be picked up at the airport) was then a major goose chase  – ending up where we started at the gas station by the marina. The “crew” has now grown to 12 people with Kim’s wife Janne arriving and our good friends the Maitlands from Montreal with 2 more friends. This makes for very large dinner parties, but fortunately most of the accomodation is on shore.

At 12:15 LT we crossed the finishing line as First Ship Home (again!) 1680 nm in 7 days 1 hour and 15 minutes for a avaerage speed of 10.04 knots! Anastasia crossed the line about 30 minutes later. The rest of the day was spent celebrating. Sheila’s nephew Ben, who is studying in Grenada, came along, bringing his guitar which was a super addition to our party. I believe we went to bed early. Sailing (and celebrating) is an exhausting  business.

Anastasia catching up to us could not dampen our spirit. The carnival must go on! Kim with a Mor (mother) tattoo taped to himself, Sheila as Carmen Miranda, Bjørk as Justice, Eskil B as a Portuguese Man of War plus ocean, Ian in drag, Eskil P as a knight with paper helmet and sword and Karsten as a Polynesian beach bum rocked the boat. Polonaise around the boat, limbo dancing under the boat hook, apple on a string eating contest and a dance routine contest made a lot of waves and noise. So we may come in second boat tomorrow just after the noon hour, but with great pictures.

Yet another new record run. 261 nm noon to noon! The betting on the arrival time is taking on dangerous aspects. Skipper having the fastest estimate and with the predicted time becoming sooner and sooner is fearing sabotage to slow the boat down. No more fish, but pancakes for breakfast, a great stir fry from Ian and an enjoyable pop quiz rounded off a great day. Tomorrow CARNIVAL :-)

We continue to fly towards Grenada. Noon to noon we had our all time record run of 258 nm in 24 h! We celebrated that and our half way mark with a cake. The other main activity on board is to prepare for the Caribbean carnival party the day after tomorrow. How we are going to manage to do a Limbo dance under the boat hook at an angle of 20° heel we will see.

Less than 1000 nm to go. With a positive current we are averaging almost 10 knots. A skip jack tuna (After loosing 4 fish we got Nr. 5) and a great fish dinner; we are living the life. Having gone through the doldrums without breaking pace we expect a quick passage to Grenada, arriving the 16th or even the 15th if the current holds up.

We crossed the equator last night at 23:05 and enjoyed a shot of rum. But today was the full celebration with the arrival of Queen Neptune, bearing crown and trident. She tested the crew with several tasks, the hardest being a race around the deck, while being at all times attached via safety harness. Songs were composed and sung and we all got a sea water christening. After placating the sea gods, we had a great day of sailing and are making quick progress to Grenada.

After 11 month GUNVØR is back in the Northern hemisphere. The equator was crossed at 11 pm. This was celebrated with Gl. Dansk, King Neptune was not forgotten. The equatorial christening will take place tomorrow so that Sheila can see the face of her victims. Everybody has been busy writing songs hoping to placate her (i.e Queen Sheila).

All boats managed to extract themselves with little problems from the Fortaleza marina. One old anchor as pulled up, the rest had mainly to contend with the mud and clay on the anchors. We managed to nail the last start of the rally. With a very favourable current and good beam reach wind we are steaming towards the Caribbean.

Clearing out procedures in Brazil: the officials were over an hour late arriving at the harbour office and there were actually more of them in the room than WARC skippers! More scrubbing of the deck and the watch scheme and meal plan for the passage (8-10 days to Grenada) are posted in our saloon. Perhaps a bit of browsing this afternoon for the last few items and then an official WARC Farewell Brazil cocktail party. We plan a Last Night’s crew dinner at a beachside pizza place. Departure tomorrow at noon. .

A wonderful dinner last night to welcome our new crew! Able-bodied and all-round good guy crew Tom has departed and now so has our very competent skipper Mike. We worked on the autohelm in the morning and in the afternoon headed off for a mega provisioning trip , with 7 crew we need a lot of food and drink! Tonight we plan to cook on board and also attend cocktail hour at the pool at the same time…

Final cleaning and laundry in anticipation of the arrival of the Vikings! Kim, Eskil & Bjork Paamand and Eskil Bruun are arriving tonight and we plan on taking them out for a churassco dinner to celebrate the imminent start of the last leg of the WARC to the Caribbean.

A final day of birding while working our way back to Fortaleza & Gunvor, total birds for the day: 41. In the evening we had a lovely reunion at the harbour poolside bar with all the WARC yachts that had arrived in the meantime.

Up early for more birding and then  further into the province of Ceara to a new small hotel which caters to paragliders (world distance record set here at the town of Juatama-Quixado). Ian and Sheila chose to linger at the pool while Karsten and guide Ciro pushed on into the arid mountains to Crato, where they saw the Araripe Manakin, only discovered 1998. Birds for the day: 29

Karsten, Sheila & Ian departed with Ciro our Bazilian bird guide for a 3 day birding tour of the arid hinterland of Fortaleza. Crew Aram has departed and Mike and Tom stayed on board for repairs, cleaning and perhaps a bit of beach time. 56 birds were counted up at the end of the day at the rustic hill chalet near the town of Guaramirango where we are staying for the first night of our tour.

A day of cleaning and provisioning (via taxi). Then many WARC sailors met up for a late afternoon swim and drinks at the marina hotel swimming pool – this is the most attractive part of the marina and will no doubt become a regular evening gathering spot as we are so far from the centre of town and any other bar options.

Arrived at Fortaleza at dawn and anchored off and started cleaning the boat in anticipation of Karsten & Sheila’s arrival in the late afternoon. Later on we then moved into the ‘marina’ an extremely poor set-up with crashing and surging docks, really the worst harbour we have yet experienced. The few WARC boats already here have incurred various damages to hulls, spring lines, flag poles, etc. We did then have a wonderful churrascco dinner with Karsten and Sheila.

Good sailing today.  The trades lightened this afternoon but are back strong. The jib is poled out and Gunvør is making 10 knots. Less than 70 miles to run to Fortaleza- There are lots of local fishing crafts inshore that need to be avoided.  Should make for a fun night.

Up early today to pay our park fees – Fernando de Noronha is a marine reserve, stow the boat for sea and get sailing. A few more ARC boats had arrived in the evening and we hope they enjoy the island as much as we did. We have good trade winds and a west setting current so we are making 9 kts towards Fortaleza. And we have already caught a nice little tuna – sushi for lunch, seared for dinner.

Our friends on Beatoo had arrived in the anchorage in the evening so we spent the morning catching up.  Then we rented a buggy and explored the island. Beautiful beaches and amazing volcanic pinnacles are common on the island.  The huge swell and lack of a fringing reef make the north shore ideal for surfers. We drove around all day in our little buggy and ended up at an African drumming show for the evening.

We arrived late at night at the island of Fernando and sat up chatting for a long time. In the morning, after fighting with the dinghy for a while, we made our way ashore. We tried to hire a  buggy (main mode of transport), but there were none. So we hitchhiked, but Aram and I got separated from Mike and Tom. We ended up on a beach where there was a surf competition and the others got invited to some crazy Brazilian party.
We motored back home after meeting on the pier. The island is super nice, but the anchorage is not very nice.

Sheila and Karsten arrived safely in Rio. Weird to walk down the Copacabana again. Last time for Karsten was 35 years ago! Dinner with David and Caroline from Peat Smoke tonight. Thank God the first business meeting is not until 10 am tomorrow morning.

We sailed over 200 miles on our noon to noon run and this morning were making greater than 9 knots at times.  We are less than 40 miles from Fernando and have reefed down as there is no need to beat ourselves up these last few hours. Looking forward to Fernando de Noronha.  It has been said to be the Galapagos of Brazil. We are not sure what that means exactly but are looking forward to finding out. This morning we caught another fish. Unfortunately it was a barracuda and no one was brave enough to eat him. Maybe we will catch a tuna on our sail to Fortaleza.

We are off and sailing today for Fernando de Noronha.  We slipped our mooring and sailed under genoa out of Recife and after setting the main sail cleared the break water on a reach.  There has been quite a bit of traffic and we are glad to be sailing further and further off shore and away from the ever present fishing boats. No luck fishing today, but we are hoping to get a tuna tomorrow.

The return to Wedel and end of our circumnavigation with a party is now set for the 6.7.2013 at 14:30. See details under Miscellaneous.

Also timeplan 2013 has been updated all the way to the end in July.

We spent the morning visiting the old town of Recife. We started on Rue Bom Jesus and walked to the Mercado Soa Jose. It is a beautiful old market where you can get anything from dried meat, fresh fish, herbs, local crafts, and straight-edged razors with all the accoutrements to shave one’s face as if it were 1950. Tom invested in an antiquated shaving kit and after 3 self-inflicted cuts is now cleanly shaven. We leave tomorrow morning for Fernando de Nororonha and are looking forward to snorkeling and driving buggies on the beach.

Jordan’s Video about crossing the Atlantic is online!
Watch it at  “Our Movies”.

We went out to Olinda today, a UNESCO world heritage site and Recife’s biggest tourist draw. It’s a very attractive colonial town, colourful buildings and many trees. Very nice. We then headed into the real marina (too shallow for us) for internet and hung out with Ruby and Umineko and traded fishing stories. We had the biggest fish with our marlin. Suck it.

We arrived at Recife at 8 am after a great night of sailing.  Our course and the winds worked so that as the night went on and we adjusted course further to the north, the winds veered further to the south.  We came into the breakwater almost running.  And after 3 days of fighting up wind it was a rewarding way to end our sail.  We picked up the last available mooring in a very shallow river at near high water and with only 0.2 meters of tide left to fall we are still afloat. We went ashore and asked a cab to take us to a market for a few fresh provisions.  So of course we came back from the mall with extra flip flops, books, ice cream cones and our fresh provisions. Tomorrow our plan is to go to a beach before visiting the historic old town.

We are still tacking our way up the coast.  Only 30 miles until we can bear away and ease out the sails.  The boat has been heeled at 20 degrees for the past day or so and everyone is feeling a bit worn.
There is a lot of traffic in this area due to all the oil wells.  There are supply ships, tankers and probably because of the structures and shallow water local fishing boats.  We even passed a little ketch sailing up the coast this morning. So there has been plenty to see this past day. We are looking forward to arriving in Recife tomorrow and seeing its sights as well as the historic district of Olinda.

This morning we caught our first fish of the trip, a 15kg bull mahi.  Sushi for lunch and breaded for dinner.  The rest of him is making friends in the freezer with what remains of our marlin.  We have been tacking our way up the coast making slow progress but enjoying the sailing.  There has not been too much traffic yet, just a few offshore pipelines and some shipping.  We have a steady breeze and are making 8 kts on a good course as we watch the sun set over Brazil.

We decided against visiting the village and beaches of Itapatrica again and chose rather to get sailing.  The winds stated light but quickly built up to 20kts as we beat our way back to Salvador. A quick stop at the fuel dock and we sailed right out of the harbor short tacking along the beaches of Barra – right where we celebrated Carnival. If the winds doesn’t veer we will be close hauled all the way to Recife, 400 miles up the coast.  We are also dealing with a bit of a counter current, but the weather is beautiful and it is great to be out sailing again.

At noon we cast lines from Terminal Nautico in Salvador and sailed for the first time since arriving.  It was 11 miles mostly down wind to the Itapatrica Island but it was very enjoyable.  We anchored in a little bay with a few other cruising boats including 2 from the World ARC, had a swim and relaxed in the nice afternoon breeze.  Dinner was ashore at an ex pat South African`s restaurant.  Boerewors appetizers and the proprietor’s personal recipe for biltong along with grilled catch of the day made for an awesome dinner.

We leave today for a nearby island before we go to Recife. Blog and pics are up!

We did a bit more today. Some boat work, plus provisioning! My favorite part. They even had a big ass discount store. I felt so domestic, it was great. We went out for a nice dinner as well and watched Game of Thrones (I am converting the crew to the obsession that is that series).

What did we do today you ask? Nothing, I tell you, nothing. Regained our energy. Got back on the wagon.

We woke up late and didn’t do that much. We tried to go to the old town and buy these Sons of Gandhi costumes lots of guys wear, but they were sold out. So we just went to Barra and raged hard for the last night of Carnival.

We were incredibly active today and wandered around and took naps and whatnot. In the evening, our Argentinian friends showed up just as we were leaving, a welcome delay. We went down to Barra again, where we had booked another balcony. This one was not as nice, so we spent most of our time on the street. We bounced around for a while, then headed home at 3 am.

Carnival day 4: H&R left in the morning after partying it up hard with us in the bloco ’til 2 am. The rest of us enjoyed a chill day. We meant to hang out in the old town, but the cab driver (not a legal taxi either) dropped us at the wrong spot , so we had to fight our way through several miles of the pipoca (partying on the street, not in a bloco). Not so fun as it way hot and crammed and we had seen plenty of fights break out on other nights. But luckily we trekked through without incident. Once we got to the old town we were so exhausted, we just had dinner, walked a bit and went home. The old town was lovely at night though, more calm and family friendly.

Another day, another bloco. During the day another one of Aram’s friends came, and together we went to our bloco, which turned out to be hosting an open bar for us in the afternoon. So we hung out there and got to know the people in our group. That was really great, so when we started we already knew a lot of them. This bloco was also less packed, so we had an awesome time moving with the crowd down the strip.

A sad day; Sheila’s father died this afternoon at the age of 98. He had a wonderful life as a respected surgeon, war veteran and father of four. After the death of his wife Ruth at the end of December we always knew he, with his strong will, would decide to leave soon after. We will always honour his memory.

From the Brazil Crew:
For our second day of Carnival, we had booked a bloco (we being Aram, David, H&R and myself, Ian), which are the groups that follow the Trios, the big trucks with the bands on them or which serve as refreshment stations. Our bloco had a Trio with the winner of the Brazilan Idol playing. Every bloco pretty much plays the same songs so no matter. We had matching shirts (w/ no sleeves) and were separated from the Hoi Polloi by a rope carried by hand by staff. It was tight and hot and crazy. We pressed down the strip like a flock of drunk, dancing sheep. The whole thing took 4-5 hours, by which time we were exhausted and went home.
In the day we relaxed, but Aram bumped into some Argentinians he knew, because Aram knows everyone. So we invited them to the boat, and they ended up staying for dinner.

Carnival is here at last! Henrik and Rösly arrived after many delays. We didn’t get counted for this leg on a technicality, so no prize for us, which Karsten is not happy about. The rest of us, less bothered, headed out to Barra, the main strip for Carnival.
Today, Thursday, was a chill night as people will have to work tomorrow, but it was still the biggest event any of us had been to. We had booked a balcony (not one of the exlusive ones, nor the biggest, but still nice) which was basically a nightclub/lounge area looking over the street, which stretches for miles. We used it as a base and went back and forth all night, dancing on the street whenever the blocos (moving groups with big trucks (Trios) with a band and cordoned off dancing) went by. H&R left early-ish, but still made a strong showing. It’ll only get bigger now.

Bro Joachim left in the morning, and bros Aram and David arrived. They had found out by chance where we could get cheap tickets for the Carnival balconies (not the grossly inflated tourist office prices), so we hurried out to the mall far away where we coukd get the shirts and tickets. We then had a chill night to get ready for Carnival.

Today the Altmans left in the afternoon. We were sad to see them leave. But we are looking forward to two of my Canadian friends and my aunt and uncle coming tomorrow. Otherwise we did some errands and went out to eat to celebrate Joachim’s last night.

We decided we needed more beach so we took a tour bus to the northern beaches. Ended up being a long ass drive. We stopped at one town to see a turtle centre (pretty cool, but we are jaded), then on to the beach. We didn’t have much time at all though before it was back on the bus. But still nice.

Beach Day, baby. Brazil has got this right. Lounge chairs under umbrellas, drinks and food served, cold water poured over your feet. Spent most of the day just hanging there.
After, we went back, cleaned up and went for a fantastic churrasco crew dinner. So much meat. Meat sweat.

Saturday we did the big boat cleaning, which went pretty fast, then took the rest of the day off. We kinda did our own thing, having lunch, walking around, using the internet and stuff. In the evening we went out, got hassled a bunch and crashed a hostel for laughs. Interesting night.

We are here! We had lovely wind all day and sun and all. So we steamed into Salvador bay, right by the beaches, feeling hot. On arrival, we were treated to caipirinhas. We explored the town by ourselves (everybody needs a break) and met for drinks on the boat. Great stuff.

We motored until 11 when a breeze came up. We then set the spinnaker for the 19th time since Cape Town and continued making way towards Brazil. At 2 in the afternoon the winds came around to the north east allowing us to fly the code 2 on a broad reach. We were making 8 knots with an ETA at Salvador of 11am tomorrow! And thats when the shackle holding the code to the bow sprit broke. We made quick work and just about the time we had got the sail secured, fixed, set and trimmed the wind fell light and astern…. Back on the spinnaker. We are just over 118 miles away so some time tomorrow morning we should sight land for the first time in 12 days.

We had the code 2 up all night sailing with what winds there were.  Then just before sunrise the wind veered and increased in strength.  We spent most of the day making decent speed under spinnaker thrilled to see cresting waves and winds over 14kts! But by midafternoon the wind had dropped out and we had to fight just to keep the sails pulling.  We are motoring along now having just finished a nice dinner with another homemade pie by our chef-in-residence, Sam.  The off crew are reading and resting before their night watches and the on deck crew are drinking (herbal) tea and keeping watch. 260 miles to go.

The winds were out of the north east for most of Tuesday so we were under code 2 and full main reaching along at 7kts.  It was a strange sensation being heeled over after a week of sailing dead down wind. We even had a passing rain shower in the afternoon that helped cool things down. The winds have come back out of the east and lightened a bit so we are sailing courses slightly above and below the rhumb line doing our best to keep up speed.  The crew is helming with determination as the last of the black tea is now gone.

The winds came around from the South this morning allowing us to sail with the code 2 for a few hours before the winds backed but kept their strength (9kts!) giving us a full day under our hibiscus spinnaker. Each watch has been doing a bit of tactical driving to keep the main sail full and to make the most speed possible (top speed 8.4 by helmsman Sam). Last night’s full moon was nice to watch rise especially as it rose just after the sun went below the horizon. The skies are clouded over this evening, but with winds holding near 10kts we’re happy for the change. Tonights dinner is chicken fricassee followed by our now nightly quiz.  The theme this evening: All things German.

It has been a hot and still Sunday on Gunvør.  We had a bit of a busy morning when the cockpit shower nozzle came off unbeknownst to us and emptied our fresh water into the bilge. Pumps were run, wrenches were torqued, and the water maker quickly filled our empty tanks.  None too soon as it was blazingly hot and very still.  The winds are now just less than 10kts so we are under spinnaker making almost 5kts and hoping that the winds continue to build.
We are 700 miles away from Salvador and the Brazil guide book is starting to look a bit worse for wear.  We*ve all made guesses as to our exact arrival time.  You can tell how close a crew we are because all our guesses are between noon on Friday and noon on Saturday.

Today started off promisingly with nice trade winds and good boat speed, but as the afternoon wore on the winds backed and fell away to less than 5 kts.  The flat seas (and prospect of having to hand steer while motoring in a flat calm) gave us motivation to address our errant auto pilot which is now steering us on a true course of due west towards Salvador which is 837 miles distant. One advantage of a flat calm sea is that it makes for good sunsets.  And Tom has prepared us an English meal of fried fish and mushy peas to go with tonight’s entertainment: a pub quiz.

Gunvør has finally broken her fishing slump in spectacular style!  At 0730 we landed a 2.1m 60kg marlin.  He has been photographed, filleted and is currently on the menu for dinner (for the next several evenings). Ian is serving us marlin 3 ways tonight and Tom is excited to give us fish and chips with mushy peas tomorrow.  It has been a nice sailing day as well.  The winds have stayed above 10 kts so we are making good speed with less than a thousand miles to go. And tonight we are having a halfway party.  There are a lot of Hawaiian shirts being worn right now. All in all a good day on Gunvør.

All is well onboard Gunvør.  Last night we changed ship’s time from UTC to UTC -1.  Sunset wasn´t until after 8pm and dinner al fresco under the blazing sun tends to wreck appetites.  The winds are up and we are sailing along averaging 7kts which makes 168 miles a day.  And if the forecast holds we should be getting even more wind tomorrow!  And very soon Gunvør and her crew will be half way from St Helena to Salvador.  There is a cake planned for the celebration and possibly a fancy dress party.

Another light air day on Gunvør. We even had to put the engine on for a few hours this morning when the winds dropped below 5 kts.  But it was a good excuse for a swim call. The water temperature here is 27 degrees so more like a bath than a swim. We are making 6 knots under spinnaker and are eagerly anticipating more winds tomorrow.

Last night was the first night that we kept the spinnaker up all night.  The winds are very light but we are still ghosting along making the best of what we have.  We are also finding time to do some maintenance as well.  The galley sink has never drained so fast and various bits of chafe and wear have been addressed. The rest of the day has been spent finding bits of shade on deck and reading.  Tomorrow´s forecast is the same as today but Thursday looks to bring more wind. With less wind our cooking (and eating) has become more ambitious.  Tonight we are having roasted springbok wrapped in bacon with sautéed carrots and potatoes au gratin. With these light winds and the possibility of a 14 day passage instead of 10 there have been rumors of a candy ration…

It has been a quiet and peaceful day on Gunvør.  The heavy clouds and gusty winds have gone and left clear and sunny skies. The winds are light, but we are running north of the rhumb line and staying in 10 to 15 kts sailing nicely along under spinnaker.
No fish to report today. And making the most of the easy pace some of the crew have begun exercising in preparation for all the beach parties and all night capoeira we are anticipating at carnival.

A South Africa Logbook and a lot of new photos are online! We’ve been flying the spinnaker all day with winds up to 20 knots. So we’ve been moving quite fast really. Otherwise a quiet day.

After an enjoyable few days at St Helena it is nice to be sailing again.  The winds are light and the sky is overcast but we are flying our big spinnaker and have already caught our first fish – a small Mahi. Highlights from St Helena are climbing Jacobs Ladder – 699 steps up 200m that was meant for a cart system to move goods up to the fort above the town, but is now for strong legged tourists, seeing Napoleon’s house, an impromptu karaoke dinner, and a great party hosted by the St Helena yacht club. We’re getting ready for our first evening out and after a nice dinner cooked by Ian most crew are in their bunks resting before night watches.

The morning was spent again with sail work and provisioning, much to the delight of everyone. Tom and Ian did manage to go for a walk though. We wanted to go to the bars in the evening, but due to the swell there was no night ferry. Instead we had dinner on the boat and watched an old Bond film. Most of us fell asleep.

Thursday we got up early, some of the crew worked on the sail, some went provisioning. We were told to get up early to grab the produce, and good thing too. It all got grapped pretty fast. We got caught up in the frenzy and ended with a whole bag of beans (not on our list). We did some errands too, and climbed that ladder (hard). After came the slightly chaotic braai at the yacht club, where some of us stayed til the last ferry. We also played games with the kids.

The Gunvør crew was given a dose of celebrity upon our arrival in St Helena. A journalist for the paper and local radio interviewed Ian and Sam. The next day we made the cover of the newspaper and the interviews were run a few times a day on the islands only radio station. It was fun meeting up with friends from the fleet and sharing stories of our sail over. We also managed to fit in a tour stopping at a few of Napoleon’s residences, the governor’s mansion where we met a 200 year old tortoise named Jonathan (he is not the governor, just a resident) and Jacobs Ladder, 699 steps rising 200 meters from the town to the fort on the cliff above. In the evening we went to an asian restaurant, on of two establishments in town, where we waited forever and sang karaoke with the other sailors. On the pier on the way home the fishermen were playing loud music, so a World ARC dance party appeared.

The winds were quite light today but enough to support a spinnaker. Our crew is getting very good at setting and dousing the spinnaker as we continued to jibe our way to St Helena. We had and lost another fish today. We are now rethinking our South Atlantic fishing strategy and plan on consulting the locals for advice and stronger fishing line. As the sun set and the wind died away we turned on the engine with a few miles to go. As we rounded the headland a school of dolphins escorted us towards the anchorage. We dropped the anchor at 9pm and are toasting our good trip and good fortune under a beautiful starry sky.

We had high hopes of a long beautiful day under spinnaker, so much so, that all hands were to be called at first light to get the big hibiscus flying. On deck and waiting for the last of the evening’s rain clouds to pass, we noticed that the main sail had a meter long tear just under the third reef. We dropped the main and sailed on a course at which the headsail could keep the boat steady as we carried out repairs. Just as we were about to begin, the fishing rod began to pay out. It was a brief fight. So brief that there is debate whether it was a shark or a marlin that ate the lure then came back and ate the second lure we had out.. Three and a half hours later the main was patched and flying and we finally got to set the big spinnaker. We’re doing almost 9 knots with an hour to go till sunset and by this time tomorrow we will have anchored in St Helena.

After some days of mixed weather, we finally had a day of fine winds and sunny weather. So we whipped out the big hibiscus spinnaker and let her fly all day, did some gybes too. Tom made us a spicy chili for dinner and we’ll switch to white sails for the night in a bit. So a nice day overall!

Today we have been sailing under poled gen and code with full main but have dropped the main to ´passat´sail – as Joachim informs us. The winds have definitely let up. They are now between 12 and 16kts. We´re trying trying to keep our speed up and minimize slamming the sails and rig with the rolling of the boat as we continue dead down wind. That and catch a fish

We decided to put up a spinnaker today after the weather cleared and the winds let up a bit. There were a few false starts and a botched set that twisted the sail. After some colorful sailor talk we managed to set the sail and were screaming along at 10 kts for what seemed like hours but was in fact 45 minutes before Horst blew the tack and it took all hands to recover the sail. Upon reflection we decided to wait for more favorable conditions before attempting to fly another spinnaker.

It has been a blustery and squally day with great sailing and all together a beautiful day on the water. We are now more than halfway to St Helena and Sam baked a cake that Ian and Tom decorated to celebrate. So far our course has been a down wind run but the winds have backed and it’s nice to stow the pole and start reaching.

We’re been averaging 8 to 9 knots the past few days and as of our radio check in this morning, Gunvør has passed 3 of the boats that had started a day ahead of us with 4 more in our sights. The weather was a bit unsettled last night but has since cleared and has become a beautiful day. Dolphins sighted, pie for desert and still trying to catch a fish. 24h run 202 nm.

The day stared out a little gray with shifty winds, but soon it cleared up and we’ve enjoyed some champagne sailing all day with the genoa poled out. Otherwise not much to report! (Shore crew I: Hopefully they will soon get ambitious and put up one of the spinnakers. Shore crew II: To our surprise Ian even remembered his mother’s birthday.) 24 h run 211 nm.

We’ve barely had to adjust the sails at all and we have some current with us! So we’ve had a pretty chill day, despite the wind being over 20 knots most of the time. Most of us just read or watched shows (because we are sooo jaded). Making way to St Helena!
Also we hooked and lost two fish. We need to take down the sails and motor slowly for a bit, we want some tuna.:-) In other words: the crew is enjoying higher than forecasted winds surfing down the waves on a beam reach doing around 10 knots, quickly catching up to the back end of the fleet.

We spent the morning doing some last minute errands (and saying our good byes) before setting off on the long haul to Brazil. The weather and wind were fine so we looked forward to a good passage. But just as we were leaving the harbour we realized the SSB antenna cable on the backstay was not attached, so we did a 180° and hauled Tom up to reconnect it. Finally, after an hour of drifting around the harbour basin we got it done and made our way north. The rest of the day was very pleasant and we sped along at 8-9 knots under just Main and  Genoa3.

The crew was happy to see John arrive to take Karsten & Sheila off the boat. They very obviously had a hard time letting go and leaving the crew to get on with it. The 2 of them are now on their way home to Germany and GUNVØR will sail tomorrow morning well prepared and all systems go. Even the drinks fridge got fixed. Wish them fair winds and more importantly pleasant seas.

Contrary to how we handled Mike’s arrival, we managed to pick up Sam and Jordan at the airport on time. The rest of the day was the usual mad scramble preparing for an ocean passage. This was accompanied by the usual SNAFUs. One sail batten lost overboard and the drinks fridge on the blink.  In order to spend more time in St. Helena with the fleet (max 72 hour stopover) the crew decided to postpone departure by one day. (Ian could also spend more time in RSA that way).

The rigger team finally responded! After several hours at the crane station, we are now back to being a sailboat: the mast has been mounted and we are good to go. But we are still thinking of leaving one day after the official start on Saturday so that we won’t be all alone on St Helena -en route to Brazil. Tonight was the official WARC party and we were 10 ‘Gunvor & Friends’ guests , despite not even having our last two crew, who arrive tomorrow from Montreal.

Karsten screwed up and got skipper Mike’s arrival time wrong. Fortunately Mike was resourceful and found us anyway. (Just goes to show that you should always look at the homepage and note down everybody’s mobile number.) Next snafu seems to be the incomunicado rigger, who is supposed to be working on our mast. Probably we will have to leave a few days late due to African organisation. At least that means we will for once be sailing with the fleet instead of far ahead.

A new year and immediately a new to do. The Bimini has withstood all the strong winds around the world in order to rip in high winds while in harbour here in Cape Town! Fortunately Sheila and Karsten could easily sew it, so there still was time to recuperate from a nice New Year’s Eve and make a little excursion around Cape Town and Signal Hill. Gitte’s goodbye dinner was her father’s world famous pancakes, she flew back to Europe in the late evening.

Ian has headed off to a New Year`s rave party with his friends, whereas Gitte, Sheila and Karsten are celebrating tonight with 9 Scotch/ British  from WARC-yachts Peat Smoke and Matilda. We can already feel the hangover coming. So this is the end of 2012. What a year it has been. We have sailed 3/4 around the world. Seen unbelievable beauty and had amazing adventures. The best of 2012? Undoubtedly the month we spent in French Polynesia. The most scary moment? Hitting the whale at night in the Great Barrier Reef. No doubt 2013 will be less adventurous, but then again Gitte and Ian will have to start their first real jobs. That is an adventure too. Happy New Year to you all.

This is how nice goodbyes can be. We started with a 2 hour wine tasting at Sheila & Gitte’s hotel/ wine estate in Stellenbosch before moving on to Ernie Els’s restaurant/ wine estate outlet. Fortunately Ian was the designated driver so we could deposit Fabian safely at the airport. Wonder whether getting out of an airplane at 0°C hurts?

While Sheila and Gitte headed for some more wine tasting in Stellenbosch, Fabian and Karsten headed out for a marathon outing. It included turning back from a veld fire, which was threatening a major community and closed a major road, to going over dirt roads, standing on the most southerly point of Africa, walking over sand dunes and swimming in the surf of the Indian Ocean at 22°C instead of at 14°C of the Atlantic. And yes we did some bird watching too. Lifers 7

We celebrated our daughter’s first job (start date Jan 7th in Brussels) by buying her a lovely suit. Then Karsten followed up on the mast repairs while Sheila visited the beauty salon.

We celebrated our daughter’s first job (start date Jan 7th in Brussels) by buying her a lovely suit. Then Karsten followed up on the mast repairs while Sheila visited the beauty salon.

An excursion day. Sheila had planned a trip with Birgitte to just the Cape of Good Hope and Simon’s town, where Sheila’s father had been stationed for some months during the war as a surgeon. How could they ever think that their driver would not stop at “World of Birds”? But a great day was had by all, despite what seemed like all of South Africa having the same good idea of a day out.

We let the Red Bus do the work for us. This is a local sightseeing bus (hop on, hop off) that takes you around all the sights of Cape Town (of which there are many.) We only got off at Camps Beach. There we did not mix with the millions of people on the beach, but instead joined a private beach club with it’s own pool (decidedly warmer than the 14°C the ocean has here). Fabian and Karsten proceeded to spend the afternoon floating on special inner tubes in the pool while drinking Capirinhas. In the evening Ian cooked duck for us (Karsten’s favourite Xmas food), while his girlfriend Elizabeth got into Sheila’s good books by claiming she actually enjoys doing dishes. In our family you get what you wish for!

A long drawn out Christmas Lunch on board turned into a sing-a-long and watching Hornblower. The day was topped by a WARC dock side party which most of us can remember the details of.

By now we have convinced even the most recalcitrant that we are certifiably mad. Why else would we put up a small christmas tree (IKEA) on the dock and proceeded to dance around it while chanting Swedish fertility songs. The gift giving was then more restrained until the last gift. Sheila:” At least it is not a fur coat.” Karsten: “Well, kind of.” “Oh no, it is a Zebra-skin rug!” It is dangerous to mumble wishes around Karsten, at least when you are Sheila.

We spent 9 hours in the car. First the ranger picked us up and we drove about 150 km to the nearest town where we got two new tires. We then returned, changed the tires and drove very slowly the next 200 km on dirt roads in order to avoid a repeat blowout, passing other cars that had blown tires as well on the way. But we traveled through a beautiful landscape with mountains, varying habitats and bizzare rock formations.

They should change name the Tankwa Karoo National Park to Tire Blowout or Bridgestone Tire National Park. Of 12 cars in the park we saw 6 blown tires. 3 involved us. 2 on our Audi and 1 on the ranger vehicle taking us to have the tires fixed. The reason was the very sharp stones on the road and a temperature of 45°C. With great delay we then arrived at our very beautifully located cabin, only to find that it hadn’t been cleaned: there we no clean dishes, unmade beds, soiled towls and rotting food. To their credit the park rangers quickly brought in a cleaning crew and we ended having a magical evening in the middle of the Karoo. (Karoo is a type of desert.) Lifers 9

To our surprise the motor mechanics did show up at 7 am as promised. They didn’t quite get the motor finished at 8, but soon after we had 9 guys taking the mast off. The crane couldn’t quite lift high enough, but with a bit of African ingenuity it all worked out. So now we are a motor boat. We are considering having a 2000l diesel tank installed and not bother anymore with that big stick. Meanwhile Sheila and Gitte had a cosy day Christmas shopping. Dinner was spent with WARC survivors, we are becoming fewer and fewer.

We had the motor serviced today. A little before necessary, but we had noticed excessive smoke the moment we left Richards Bay. Good we did. The water impeller was damaged and the turbocharger needed to be repaired. Hopefully the service guy will come as promised at 7 am tomorrow, because at 8 am the mast comes off for replacing the spreader attachment system. Without motor it is a bit tricky to get the boat to the mobile crane. But in Africa everything is late, but there is always a solution. For Sheila and Karsten this all was discussed per telephone as we spent the day driving through the Western Cape. Birgitte arrived from Hamburg in the evening :) Lifers 7

A very sad day. Sheila’s mother died today age 87. It was expected and she has had a great life, but still it creates an emptiness in your life when one of your parents die.

After getting the various tasks organized (rigger to make new spreader supports, engine service and some TLC for the sails) Sheila and Karsten took off for the wine country. A lovely manor house in the Stellenbosch wine district will be our home the next few days to sample wine and do some bird watching. The dinner the first night and the gorgeous room have already made the trip worthwhile. Lifers: 5

Sheila and Karsten took the gondola up to Table Mountain while the rest of the crew did it the hardcore way and climbed the mountain. The views were breathtaking. We also got to experience the ‘Tablecloth’ being put on. In the morning the Table Top had been completely clear. Gradually the wind came up and a thin layer of fog descended, with clouds rolling down the sides of the mountain like a waterfall. Truly a magical experience.

When you see Bill Gates and his wife stroll through your marina you realize you have come to a smart (!) place here at the V & A Marina. Still we preferred to do our own “basteln” this morning before Sheila and Karsten headed for the Cape of Good Hope in our rental car. A stop at Bolders Beach to see African Cape Penguin was of course inevitable. On our loop back we stopped at Simon’s Town, a lovely old Victorian naval base town, where Sheila’s father spent several months with the British Navy 70 years ago.

We passed the Cape of Good Hope at 19:00 last night. We thought it was smooth sailing all the way after that, but hit 37 knots for 4 miles before Cape Town. Incredibly the wind disappeared and we had an easy entry at 1:00 am with 2 knots of wind. Great to have managed the most difficult passage of the circumnavigation. Sheila and Ian joined us for a great Xmas Party for the WARC. Great to be back with all WARC crews again!

At 10:00am Gunvor passed the most southerly point of our entire circumnavigation: Cape Argulas, 124 nm from Cape Town. This is where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic and the water temp dropped from 21 to 16 degrees, the bird life changed (2 lifers), plus a whale, a sealion and some dolphins visited the boat. Last night the wind was up to 25 knots but today it’s back to a comfortable 15-17 knots of windspeed. ETA  is 2:00am tonight at V&A Marina in downtown Cape Town.  Sheila and Ian breakfasted at the Heads of Knysna, the treacherous narrow entrance to the town’s sea lagoon. Then Ian headed off to the nearby Kynsna Forest with preserved ‘old growth’ for a hike.

After an early start from Port St Francis, Karsten & crew had a day of great sailing: 15 knots of wind from a pleasing southeastly direction with the boat cruising along under just the Main and small Genoa 3 at 8-9 knots. The bottom scrub seems to have added almost a knot in boat speed. Less than 300nm to Cape Town, ETA early Saturday morning, the 15th. Sheila & Ian enjoyed driving along the Garden Route, stopping at fun touristy sites along the way – and will now stay at the sea-lagoon town of Kynsna for 2 nights. WARC yacht Southern Cross is there and its crew Tom & Sally plus Ian dragged Sheila along to a micro-brewery tour.

While Fabian caddied for Karsten at the great local golf course, Ian & Sheila headed by car towards Cape Town, with a first stop at Plettenberg, a beach town on the famous Garden Route. In the afternoon, Karsten and Fabian donned scuba gear and each dove an hour, scrubbing the boat’s bottom. The propeller was especially overgrown with green goo and Karsten reckons that they will have improved the boat’s speed by at least 0.5 knots. ETD 5:00am tomorrow morning, the 13th.

The return to the ship in Port St Francis after touring Addo Elephant Park ended in a great party. Everyone was euphoric about the wonderful experiences and sights they had seen.  The big 4 were bagged, a lion seen eating a dead buffalo and lots & lots of elephants were sighted up close. Fabian even improved his birdwatching skills and spotted a secretary bird that the guide on their jeep had missed. There is hope for the young man yet. Lifers: 3.

Sheila believed she had seen all there is to see in RSA. The Riverbend Lodge proved her wrong. Big 4 seen in close proximity and 6 new birds made for a great afternoon drive. Also, several new antelope species, a jackal and three African otters (a first for the park) plus the Spotted Eagle Owl were all really special. Being at a great lodge with scrumptious food  and personal service did certainly not detract from a great safari experience. Lifers: 7

It was a beautiful night. Not much wind, but lots of stars and a  waning moon. Very strong luminescence in the water made it very special. Port St Francis where we pulled in looks very much like a marina in the Mediterranean. Quaint houses and apartments surrounding the marina with many restaurants. Sheila and Ian arrived by car and Ian and Fabian went off to do some surfing. Tomorrow we are all going to Addo Elephant Park for some more safari. Are there more birds/ animals to see? Watch this space.

After a few minor to-dos we left East London just before noon. A great sailing day then followed with 10-15 knots of wind, sunshine and a favourable current. This was topped off by a delicious ham, potatoes and red cabbage meal accompanied by an Ernie Els red wine. Sheila & Ian spent the day at a Rugby-Sevens World Series tournament at the beautiful new Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth. Each game is only 14 minutes long and there were teams from 16 nations which played in quick succession. Canada played twice, beating Zimbabwe but losing to (oh no!)  the USA!

Last night we sailed through a gigantic thunderstorm which lasted almost 6 hours! At times the lightning came so frequently that we were completely blinded. We had beautiful weather for today’s sail but then the wind forecast unfortunately proved correct when the direction shifted to south west. We therefore decided to put in to East London to avoid beating all night towards Port Elizabeth. The jetty here at East London is broken, so we have had to anchor. Thankfully it is an extremely protected harbour. We plan to depart tomorrow afternoon, aiming for a Sunday rendez-vous with Sheila & Ian at either PE or perhaps further at Cape St Francis. 24hr run: 257nm.

We crossed the Richards Bay bar just before high water at 8:00am aiming for Port Elizabeth. Very quickly we found the Argulas Current. This 4-5 knot current is helping us to to maintain average speeds of 11-13 knots. We therefore expect to achieve a record-breaking daily run in the next 24 hrs. Meanwhile, Sheila and Ian toured downtown Durban with Bob our bird guide, exploring the “Muti” (traditional & voodoo medicine) market.

The morning was spent going from Immigration to Customs, Port Control and the harbour office. Never have we seen so much red tape just to sail to the next harbour (in the same country!). While Sheila and Ian took a taxi to Durban the rest of us got the boat ready for tomorrow morning’s departure. Going overland no papers need to be filled out. Mmh, bureaucratic logic. Since not much needed to be done Thomas, Jule and Fabian went to the local beach in the afternoon.

A wonderful day trip to Cape Vidal / St. Lucia National Park, a world heritage park. We had (finally) real African weather 30+°C, a blue sky and saw many animals. A highlight was meeting and getting a fishing lesson from a group of South African sportfishing men. This was topped by them donating some Yellow Fin Tuna and some lures to us. The Sashimi in the evening was only exceeded in scrumptiousness by the T-bone Steak & Boerwurst Braai that Fabian and Ian cooked for us.

A typical day shortly before setting off again. Thomas & Fabian replaced the heating rod in the boiler, so now we have warm water again. Also the light switch in the kitchen was replaced, a lot of clothes and the outside covers were washed. The new genoa hoisted and furled and a lot of minor issues also got resolved before a major provisioning in the local supermarket. Tonight a totally different programme. We are off to see the new James Bond. ETD at the moment is Wednesday late afternoon.

After a deliciously slow morning we happily could welcome Fabian, Thomas and Jule, who will sail with us to Capetown. We had a great crew dinner together, but Ian and Fabian left us to go to their own pub. Tomorrow we will do a few small chores with the parts they brought. Otherwise we have time to go touring the area as we probably won’t have good weather to leave before Thursday or Friday.

Back again after 2500 km by road across Natal province, four out of the Big Five and 310 birds seen (240 Lifers). It was a great trip, especially thanks to Bob our bird guide who was perfect for this “laid back” and “totally chill” family. There were so many highlights that the best and worst discussion at dinner had few worst, but many, many best. However, after 13 days it is great to be back on board. Now we are waiting for Thomas, Jule and Fabian to arrive tomorow and the right weather window to sail to Port Elizabeth.

Yet another early morning with wake up call at 5:15. Thankfully none of you could see us. 5 grown men and a woman practically crawling through the bush, getting stung by wasps, scratched by thorn bushes and covered in ants all the while whistling or playing recorded bird song from a little MP3 player. And all that in order to follow the call of the Blue-throated Sunbird. Yes, we are certifiable, but tomorrow all good things must come to an end and we will be back on the boat. Lifers:3

Sheila the “Canuck” came through. She made the guides take us canoeing. We didn’t see the Finfoot (a rare bird), but saw several crocodiles right beside the boats. Happily the Nile crocs here aren’t as vicious as Australian Salties. Afterwards we drove to Temba Elephant Park, where we are staying in a tent camp the next 2 days. The afternoon drive verified the lodges name: We saw a multitude of elephants, some with the biggest tusks we have ever seen. Lifers:4

A day of paradise in Phinda game reserve. An early morning drive with a bush walk down “wood tick alley”. After a scrumptious lunch and an afternoon siesta we went out again to see 2 black rhino (very endangered) and a cheetah family. Dinner was outdoors in a “boma” lit by a large fire and petroleum lamps. This was accompanied by amazing food and great wine. We stayed up “very late” and were in bed by 22:30. Lifers 5

Hilltop Lodge was a bit Seventies-ish (i.e. dowdy) so after a morning safari drive with our trusty bird guide Bob, we moved on to the private Phinda game park. Rooms glorious and the afternoon safari drive highly professional and outstanding. Close encounters with lions, elephants, white rhinos, giraffes, etc., and 10 more Lifers.

Dawn bird walk following huge hippo prints around the town forest of St Lucia. Next, we went to the local clinic for Sheila’s infected foot. The manager-pharmacist was so entranced with our sailing voyage that he waived the fee – and he loved speaking German with us. Next to Hluwhluwe National Park for birding and animal sightings, including a night drive. Eight rhinos and 22 Lifers.

Fortunately we are hard core. Despite high winds and rain we had a lovely morning game drive through the St. Lucia national park. We saw 81 different types of animals including lots of different deer, hippos and birds. After a afternoon relaxation Karsten and guide Bob did another forest bird walk. Tonight we are going Italian. It is Sunday after all. Lifers 19.

We have a new Genoa! After an early morning in the park beside our B&B in Eshowe, we drove back to Richards Bay. The airport had just closed (Saturdays open only ’til 11am!) but we managed to find someone to escort us to the air cargo hangar where we retrieved our Genoa. We then had lunch on the boat before heading for the wetlands of St. Lucia and a German run B&B. Lifers: 6.

It probably would have been a good idea to have had a 4WD. We forded the river into Ngoye Park this morning (Daniel and Michael had refused to do that in our 2WD car a week earlier). We did see a lot of spectacular birds, but ripped off some of the plastic paneling at one door and the cover of the muffler. “Reliable Motors” put that on again using a cable tie. We had lunch in the local museum, with a Norwegian mission church and its history as the highlight. The afternoon was spent playing golf at a course from 1906.  Lifers: 27.

It was a wet and cold morning. Even the birds decided to stay in bed and not come out. We unfortunately still traipsed around wet fields and damp forests before calling it a day and heading for Durban. A quick tour of the marina (5 WARC yachts were there) was followed by a whirlwind tour of the city and a bit of birding on the river. In the evening we checked into a beautiful B& B in Eshowe. Lifers: 6

Our bird guide for the day was Stewart who drove us up through the Sani Pass, the highest point of South Africa, into the country of Lesotho. Utterly beautiful, the scenery was like Mongolia or Bolivia – not what you expect from Africa. We drove up an impossible rock field of a road, fording mountain streams, in cloud mist, and the sun came out on the high tundra of Lesotho. “Lifers” total for the day: 41 new birds.

Ian, Sheila & Karsten drove with Bob the bird guide to rural Natal province where they toured birding sites including a beautiful garden established over a hundred years ago by by a homesick Scot. New birds – “lifers” for the day: 34. Also viewed an Anglo-Boer War Memorial for the many Afrikaans women & children who died in British concentration camps at the turn of the last century.

New blog Reunion to South Africa.
Yet another day of parting. Not only have most other WARC boats left, but Daniel and Michael Rüter also finished their final tour of the circumnavigation. The pain of parting was made easier by us meeting up with Bob. He will be our bird guide in Natal province for the next 12 days. Today’s tally was 26 “Lifers”.  Stayed in a farmhouse bed and breakfast with 5 friendly dogs and a herd of Lipizaner horses.

Sadly many of the other WARC yachts left Richard Bay today, while we will stay 2 more weeks in this region of South Africa to do a 12 day safari. As a start Sheila and Karsten visited the national park St. Lucia (we  are 1/2 around the world from the start at  the Caribbean St Lucia after all). It yielded Zebras, Hippos, Crocodiles and 14 “Lifers” (new birds)  for Karsten. Meanwhile Daniel and Michael have packed to fly home. The whole WARC are sad to see them leave.

On our first day with Sheila and Karsten, we first went to the mall to shop, then took a drive down to the next town which apparently has a good museum. It was closed however, so we tried to drive to a nearby reserve. After driving on dirt roads through the countryside and finally coming up to a stream (there have been heavy rains), we gave up and turned around, but stopped off at some scenic spots, taking in the lush, bucolic landscape. 12 new birds.

After an epic trip with innumerable snafus, large and small, Karsten and Sheila arrived at Richards Bay this afternoon. It started with the taxi to the airport in Hamburg arriving a half hour late and the drama just continued. The major issue was that the second and largest of the two sails we were taking with us was rejected by Lufthansa and we had to rush to get it to a shippers without missing our flight. Later in Johannesburg, we had to scramble to find an agent to forward the sail when it is due to arrive in a few days time and then we rushed again (after having our taxi driver abandon us) to catch our on-going flight to Richards Bay. The evening of catching up with all the WARC sailors at a marina Braai was a great way to end our journey back to Gunvør.

Uploaded new pics and blog for Mauritius – Reunion.. Quiet day, did some chores (parents are coming tomorrow), Dan and Michi drove around a bit, didn’t see much. Nice relaxing before the storm.

Today, half the crew (Moni, Kai, Eggert) flew out and we did some stuff for the boat. Then came the prize giving ceremony. Normally these can be quite dull affairs, but today it was anything but. First of course a dance! But it wasn’t your traditional dance (there was one later) but more like this  <a href=””>LINK</a> Everyone went wild to the dubstep. Wob wob wob. Then a spitting competion for which Daniel won a springbok pelt (they told us we would be spitting raisins but it was dung) and a chugging competition (Ian got to the final but didn’t win). Fun night!
Ninja edit: We got second, Royal Leopard first.

What did we do today? Oh you know, went to a game reserve, saw some Elephants, Rhinos, Giraffes, etc. No big deal!?
Also had a great crew dinner. Eggert, Kay and Moni are leaving tomorrow.

New blog is up for Cocos Keeling – Mauritius. Today the crew went on a disappointing cultural tour (weird medicine women and ancestor mumbo jumbo) while Ian went on an odyssey to get a phone card and crucially, get it registered (requiring annoying paperwork). Afterwards we did some boat work (main thing was to replace the broken auto pilot motor) and now we’re having a braai (BBQ) in the harbour here in Richards Bay!

Armistice Day! In Flanders Fields etc… Time to be patriotic!
Or, as this was our first day in harbour, time to clean and fix. The usual. We’re in Zululand Marina in Richards Bay, a totally white enclave here in KwaZulu Natal. Nice though. After working for hours we went to the nearby waterfront (usual flashy bars and restaurants) and had lunch, went back, worked and went for dinner.

45 miles to Richards Bay. Beautiful sailing conditions and we have just put some beers into the fridge for tonight’s arrival party. After that a long shower and a full night’s sleep!

The first night with some stars and clear skies giving us good progress with strong winds. In the morning the wind died on us. We tried to keep the speed up a little with the help of the Code 2 but are now motoring. The light conditions bring back life to all crew members and with it their appetites. We finished last night’s Spaghetti Bolognese.

The weather in this part of the Indian Ocean is challenging. We have left the trade winds and are now under the influence of high and low pressure systems again, as we know from Hamburg. We have experienced a few weak lows during the last days and some fronts passing us. The result is wind from every direction, in every strength there is, and a lot of confused swells and of course heavy rainfalls. Apart from that, the nights are a challenge being pitch black with no moon and stars to use for orientation. Last night some object hit our rudder but it feels ok. Just a few hours ago our autopilot resigned its duty. Which means hand-steering the remaining 450 nm.

This past night we had a chance to get some sleep. Nice, fast sailing with some favourable current. Today is “Bergfest”. Time for some cake! Hopefully the second half of the tour is as fast as the first. Apart from that, small repairs: the impeller of the generator and a little patching of the staysail.

After an unexpectedly brutal night of 25-30 knots, we had a confused day with current against us and wind going from north west to west to south. Finally in the afternoon the wind settled on 15- 20 knots from the south, and we hope it’ll stay that way at least for a little while. It feels like we’ve had every foresail up and down in the last 24 hours. Also, the genoa ripped, which was unsurprising given it was on its last legs.

Wir liegen vor Madagaskar und haben die Pest an Bord. Bis jetzt aber noch kein faules Wasser oder überbordgegangene Segler. (Part of a famous German song, where a ship is lying by Madagaskar and they have the pestilence on board. But G XL is reporting that so far the water on board is not foul, nor has anybody gone overboard (yet).)

We had a stormy start yesterday which blew the fleet in all directions. Today, happily, the wind calmed down. We have now taken over the lead of the fleet from our Russian friends on Royal Leopard. Apart from sailing we were lucky in fishing: we caught a 90cm Mahi Mahi this morning that we just had for dinner, delicious!

Now is the start! The weather is hot and sunny, but there is some wind. We’re sad to leave Reunion, we’d much rather have spent more time here than on Mauritius. The valleys and mountains here are amazing, as are the food and people. Great times.

Today we’ve been getting the boat ready for the voyage to South Africa. We went shopping in the morning while the others cleaned, then did some odd jobs in the afternoon. Now we’re going to the skippers’  meeting and will be going out to dinner afterwards.

New logbook for Bali-Christmas Island-Cocos Keeling is up. In other news, the crew went up to the mountains and saw the big old lava flows. Then once home we did some chores but generally had a quiet evening.

We picked up Moni from the airport! Michael and Daniel went to the market while Eggert went to the main town. Ian returned in the afternoon and everyone attended the Halloween party in the port. Best costume: Allan as Christian, crutches and all.

Tuesday the crew relaxed mostly. They went up to a viewpoint but discovered there were rainclouds so they couldn’t see anything. Ian went hiking and met French people.

The crew went on a tour of the island and found out just how beautiful and interesting the island is. They went up to an active volcano and then to black sand beaches. Meanwhile, Ian left the boat and went up to Cilaos in the mountains.

We arrived in the early morning, and pretty much just lazed about during the day. In the evening there was the welcoming/prize giving ceremony. No prize for guessing who won. Everyone was quite tired from the hard trip, so it was over quite early. (Not only did they get line honours. They were first overall as well. Good job!)

What a trip. We had a promising start, but soon encountered what would be the bane of our trip: the crazy swell! Basically we had one swell heading southwest and one going northeast, plus a bunch of other waves heading every which way, giving us some of the most confused, uncomfotrable seas most of us had ever seen. Flying a spinnacker turned out to be trial. The shifty winds didn’t help. We hoisted one, pulled it down to raise a smaller one, then put the big one back up, then settled on the Code for the night. Our track looks very interesting as we at times had to jibe just to go somewhat close to our course, even having to head north for a while to avoid a rain cloud with little wind. Finally at about 21.00 we jibed and had a straight course towards the finish line, which we managed to hold all the way to the point of the harbour, where the wind died and we had to motor into the harbour. Not the most enjoyable of trips, but we are happy to be here back in the EU!

Race to Reunion:
12:00 UTC They seem to have gotten a good start and after 4 hours are leading the fleet by 3 sm.
16:00 UTC GXL extended their lead a bit, but slowed down relative to the first 4 hours. There seems to be more wind closer to the straight line in the South.
20:00 They are pulling away..Light winds mean that they can sail while everybody else have to have patience. Few hours to go.

We got first place in our class for the race to Mauitius, but only 4th overall. Only 17 minutes to second place! They gave us some spices and stuff, and two bottles of rum. Very nice. So we got ready to leave today, buying loads of groceries and cleaning and stuff. Then someone decided to burn trash or something giving us lots of ash to deal with. Fun. We’re all excited to go to Reunion now, though we’re staying in some industrial port, which is apparently full of moths.

The Bali – Cocos Keeling fotos are online. We are still waiting with baited breath when the crew will write their logbook. All in good time. Ian brought his scooter back today (so sad!) and hung out  on the beach in Flic en Flac (yes really) while the others snorkelled and chilled on the beach in Grand Baie. Daniel said though he must be spoiled, the reef wasn’t as good as the one in say Cocos, with it’s millions of fish and sharks and turtles. What a shame!
Tonight we’ll all get dressed up for the World ARC  <a href=””>PARTY!!!</a>

Ian returned while the others had rented a car and were sightseeing in the south. Unfortunatly for them, the rum distillery they meant to visit was closed, so they had to make the way home that much more sober. Probably for the best. In the evening, they went to dinner at a fish place while Ian wined and dined on Water buffalo on Anastasia (a little too tough but good all the same). The evening ended on Bronwyn, we’re they lameneted Nina’s departure and traded gossip.

Today was the day of the obligatory World ARC tour of the island (or the North, anyway). We were so happy we decided to bring everyone, old crew and new and ended up with 11 people on the tour, much to the surprise and confusion of everyone else. We would have been twelve but Ian was hiking in the national park in the south, by the edge of a gorge.

Kai and Eckhart arrived today! More crew changes! Will it ever end, I ask? Nonetheless, Ian was happy to leave it all behind and go to Mahebourg in the south, braving the highway on his redoubtable scooter. Within the hour Eckhardt had identified the bowthruster problem to be one of a water logged switch. The hailer horn switch will now be changed to deploy the bowthruster. Great job. The toilet pump was improved by removing loads of hair (?), but a further corrosion treat is necessary.

Crew Jan and Nina departed for Hamburg. In the evening there was an epic party on yacht Anastasia with so many people that it seemed the party-catamaran might sink. In the middle of it all was the Bali disco ball that Gunvør gave to Anastasia in honour of all the WARC partying we enjoy on board..

We spent more time working on the boat, bowthruster and toilet, then spent the afternoon driving around. Crew Michael Rüter arrived for his second tour with the WARC. In the evening we had dinner with Peter and his family and went to the Oktoberfest at the hotel next door. Good times.

We had a quiet day, with Jan and Nina driving around, and Daniel and Ian did some boat work. We also bought 2 new fenders, since one burst.

Daniel, Jan and Nina rented a car and drove around the isalnd today (visiting the botanical garden, amongst other things) while Ian went to Flic en Flac to get his scooter! In the evening we mended a few more broken things. Luckily, the cyclone that is brewing should pass us by, but the weather is still shitty.

We actually took the day off (mostly)! We slept in, didn’t do much. Daniel took a look at the bowthruster in the afternoon, as it is yet again broken. Then Peter’s family arrived and took off to their hotel (as has Volker and his family) So now we are only four!

Fix Fix Fix. We had (have!) a long list of stuff that needs repair. So we basically worked til sundown getting the boat to rights. Afterwards, Volker and Peter took us to a lovely dinner for seafood.


Clean Clean Clean. Scrub Scrub Scrub. Pretty much our day. In the afternoon we did have some time to look around, but we found that everything was closed, it being Sunday. Still, we got lots done so no prob.

WE ARE HERE!!! Had a lovely sailing day, sun and decent winds (like 15 knots) and cruised into Port Louis, Mauritius at sundown. It’s an interesting place, very modern and full of big ships, including the new Rainbow Warrior! Thus ends this ocean passage, the first for many of us.

Fine sailing day with the Hibiscus Spinnaker up all day. The crew improved their Spinnaker steering skills during the day, which will be needed tomorrow. Unfortunately we are too far south and have to do some jibes to get were we want to. ETA tomorrow evening.

We’ve had a pleasant day of sailing, with the spinnaker up for a while with fair winds and sunshine. We’re soon passing over to the north of Rodriguez, which belongs to Mauritius, where we are unfortunately not stopping. But we did have yet another cake to celebrate hitting that milestone.

Today we had light winds, the first day of light winds! We tried to make some speed with the big Hibiscus Spinnaker which worked very well at times. Now the wind has increased and we are back to white sails for the night. Sailing a bit slower, in so-called trawling speed Ian and Peter fiddled a lot with the fishing gear but still no catch. The skipper climbed the mast to check the repairs done in Cocos. Everything looks very good.

A day like today makes you forget the sailing conditions we had before. Sun,wind and waves just perfect and a good speed of nine knots first under code 2 then just with the genoa. Had a good curry for dinner and are cruising with “The Doors” into the night.

A new logbook is online – have a look at the report and photos of the leg Darwin – Bali!

Today was a day with multiple celebrations. First we had a cake for crossing the half way mark “Bergfest”. Then we crossed the “Only 1000 miles to go” mark later today. Celebrated with some beers. Apart from that we had very good sailing conditions. Sun, a lot of wind but less than the days before and big waves from behind giving us good speed for the rest of our trip to Mauritius.

Today the wind was slightly less (but still over 20 kts) and the waves pretty much unchanged. But the sun shone most of the day so we had a pleasant day. We are pleased to report that we have reached the halfway mark! The weather should get nicer too so it should be smoother sailing from now on.
By shorecrew: Talked on the Satphone today. They are eating well and have increased sail to staysail and 2 reefs, soon they will shake out the 2nd reef. No more seasickness.

Today the windspeed hopefully reached its peak. The waves are about 6 to 7 meters and confused. But we have somehow adjusted to the situation and are trying to steer through it. Today Nina was attacked by a large flying fish aiming directly for her breast while steering. We still have a lot of water and fish in the cockpit from time to time. The breakage of the day was the oven jumping out of its fitting as the bolt it was hanging in just broke. Keep you’re fingers crossed for better conditions!
Heute ist uns der Herd entgegengekommen. Der rechte Bolzen/Knopf/Schraube an der er schwingend gelagert ist abgeschoren. Wir haben jetzt eine andere Schraube eingedreht und ihn wieder eingehängt. Heute hat der Wind wohl seine maximale Stärke erreicht. Ich schätze durchgängig 30 knoten mit Böen bis 35. Dazu eine wirklich sehr konfuse hohe See. So was hab ich noch nicht gesehen. Unter Sturmfock und 3 fach gereftem Gross ist es aber machbar. Gerade nachts jedoch eine echte Herausforderung. Die anderen Crews fluchen auch. Die Brizo Crew hat kein Bock mehr, die armen Mädchen.

The weather improved today, we call it “tumble dry”. After the rainy last days and nights we finally had some sun. Still lots of wind and confused swells but the boat and crew have adjusted to that. The evening World ARC “Sappelrunde” was just “Stille Post” as the fleet is so stretched out that you need a lot of relays. Another two days of stormy weather and then we might be able to use more than a Pirat (a small type of dinghy) sized mainsail.

Second day in the washing machine. Up, down, around. Does it ever end? Everything is wet. Why aren’t we on the beach in Cocos? We must be mad.
By shore crew: Conditions are quite tough with wind over 30 knots. They are sailing with the storm jib and 2 reefs. Tonight they will put in the 3rd reef. Volker has been quite seasick, but is better. Nina is conducting her daily clinic over the short wave radio at every roll call. Unfortunately the wind will probably increase a bit the next 3 days before abating Saturday/ Sunday. We should all feel sorry for them. But high speed, average over 9 knots.

Last night we entered the washing machine of the Indian Ocean. Confused swells up to 5 meters, gusts up to 30 knots and water in every form, salt water, rain water, heavy showers, everything. This is ocean sailing and why are we doing this? The rest of the fleet decided in this morning’s role call that they’ve already had enough of this leg. During the daytime the wind decreased to 23 knots and we even had some sun.

This morning at 10 o clock we had a great start to our 2400 nm leg to
Mauritius. The boat is in good shape. The crew is still adjusting to ife at sea and we were very happy that we had light winds for the start. We sailed with the Code Two and the Hibiscus Spinnaker allowing us to lead the fleet out on to the Indian Ocean. Now we are sailing into the night with only white sails and hope the wind stays this calm for a few more hours.

On our last day before leaving Cocos (D-Day minus 1) we did some last minute shopping (aka beer), got our pre-ordered fruit and veg, and generally hung out. Some of us went snorkeling, Ian tried to go kite surfing with his new Swiss buddy Rikard but there wasn’t enough wind. We’re all content to leave now as it isn’t the world’s most exciting island group. Also, the 20 min dinghy ride to the irregular 30 min ferry to West Island was tedious. So we’re excited for this long leg ahead of us.

Today we finished the last repairs on our To Do List. We sent our rigger home, but not after going reef snorkeling with him. Then our new crew members Volker W and Peter arrived at Gunvør. We went to the World ARC Barbecue and Price Giving. After that the youth played a round of Kubb on the beach, instructed by the Swedish crews of Helena and Working on a Dream.

We spend the whole day of working on the rig and a few challenging problems later our mast is ready to go again. As a result we are even more sunburned and very tired. Henrik and Volker left us today to fly home to go back to work instead of working on the boat. Our two new crew members  Peter and Volker W are enjoying their last days of holiday in the hotel on West Island and will soon join the crew aboard Gunvør. Tonight we will celebrate our brand new spreaders! Nina spent the afternoon giving strong painkillers to a sailor with a slipped disc on a non WARC boat to prepare him to be flown out. Never a dull moment

Today our rig-paramedic Hans from Denmark arrived. It’ll be a lot of work, but we hope we’ll solve our problem with the broken spreaders within the next two days and be ready for the start on Tuesday. On the same plane with Hans were Volker and Peter, our two new crew for the ocean crossing. Apart from all the “Bastelling” some of the crew went snorkeling, seeing turtles and sharks on the reef.

We had an uneventful day at the anchorage fixing and cleaning. The Genoa 3 is becoming delaminated and already had two holes so we did our best to patch it up and prayed it would make it to Mauritius. After a nice dinner Ian and Jan played Age of Empires 2 over the wifi, which was awesome. The repair set and the rigger have made it to Perth and will arrive together with Volker and Peter tomorrow.

By shore crew:
The mastbuilder is going to arrive on Friday. Cocos Keeling is looking like paradise, just palm trees and sand. So, apart from some smaller “Basteljobs”, the crew could enjoy the beach this afternoon waiting for the spare parts. The whole fleet is shocked by the sad story of the yacht “Ciao”, which sank after it had hit something under the waterline. Especially, because the Australian Coast Guard was not that keen on assisting her. Always good to have the fleet around.

By shore crew:
They dropped down the anchor at Cocos Keeling at dawn. Long discussions via satellite telephone and mails with Karsten followed (no mobile-network in paradise). By coincidence, Karsten had to go to Copenhagen this morning anyway. He used this opportunity to talk to the mastbuilder. John-Mast is going to built a replacement-plot, one employee is going to fly it out to Cocos Keeling and fix it directly on the boat. Perfectly organized like this, the restart, originally scheduled for Tuesday, should be no problem.

80 miles from the Finish the middle spreader on the starboard side has broken. We are motoring the last few miles and will inspect the damage in detail when we are at Cocos Keeling at dawn tomorrow. Volker Wiegmann has already delayed his flight from Perth to Cocos until Saturday, Karsten has packed mobile welding equipment and is visiting the mast builder tomorrow morning in Copenhagen. Possibly by courier parts and tools will then leave Europe tomorrow arriving on Friday in Perth. Cocos is not really one of the best places in the world to repair such damage.

We had a good sailing day with trade winds from behind sailing wing on wing with the genoa and the code 1 towards Cocos Keeling. Always within AIS reception is the big catamaran “1+1″ which started a few ours earlier in Cristmas Island. Our biggest concern is that we will arrive at Cocos Keeling at night time tomorrow evening. Henrik suggests to sail around the island until the morning and then enter the shallow anchor grounds of Cocos. We will see…
We just had our sunday spaghetti!

We restarted this morning at Christmas Island and have strong tradewinds of 5 to 6 Beaufort that will bring us to our next destination Cocos Keeling. The swell is confused and everybody is taking a turn at handsteering as the autopilot can’t cope with the conditions. We just finished our dinner of pork medaillons, delicious.

We cleaned the boat, did some last minute shopping, went swimming, had a burger at the famous cafe of Captain Don, then a WARC- barbecue and are now ready to leave for Cocos Keeling tomorrow.

We finished just around sunrise as First Ship Home in Christmas Island. After an extraordinary breakfast, customs and immigration and a wonderful shower we explored the village. In the afternoon we had a guided tour to see the wilderness of the island. We had a close look at the famous red crabs and some of the special endemic birds. Now we are ready for a good night`s sleep. For each boat, restart is 48 hours after the arrival time.

The night was busy with a sail change after increasing wind speed and trying to avoid close contact with several fishing vessels. Our fishing today was very unfortunate. First a bird took our bait and we had to cut the line. We tried a second time, but took the line in after more birds became interested in what we were doing. Apart from that, we’ve had good cruising speed with the Code 2. We should arrive in Christmas Island tomorrow morning.

Lightwind Cruising into the Indian Ocean. This morning we changed to the Hibiscus Spinnaker and had a smooth sailing towards Christmas Island. The new Crew has to adjust to the sun and the freezer needs our attention. The top was frozen, the food at the bottom not really. Now we have repacked the freezer and keep it under close surveillance! Time for dinner now.

Farewell to Bali with drama. During the final  preparations we discovered that the 15 kg of raw meat for the next four weeks were thawing in the freezer. One party was sent to town to buy canned meat and 20 kg of ice to make the meat last as long as possible. The other party worked frantically to fix the freezer. In the end both parties overcame all obstacles, such as sea water pumps that are broken , the last one resisting being fitted – and ATMs not wanting to work. Arriving at the starting line in the last minute we had a good start. The only event was Beatoo losing an EPIRB. Fortunately it was a false alarm. Meanwhile, we are loving the Code 2.

Sheila and Karsten toured Singapore, visiting their newest attraction: The Gardens by the Bay. Basically a gigantic Botantical garden with two large dome structures. One of them allegedly has the highest in-door water fall in the world. It was nice to see that the public really has taken to the park and that it was packed.  Perhaps it helped that Prince William and his Catherine had been there the week before. After a long flight we made it to Germany, landing exactly when GUNVØR started for Christmas Island.

Karsten and Sheila spent the day enjoying the amenities at their beautiful resort hotel while Henrik toured the island, Andreas completed the last repairs on the to-do list and the crew provisioned. Then the 9 (!) of us rendez-vous’d for cocktails on board Gunvor before joining the whole WARC gang up at the marina restaurant for a great buffet dinner party & prizegiving ceremony. The night was especially memorable as the Japanese yacht Umineko set up their karaoke machine in the restaurant and we all sang old favourites to much hilarity and cheering. Karsten and Sheila then hugged everyone goodbye and retired to their hotel before their flight home tomorrow.

Today was large scale crew change. Andreas, Sheila and Karsten are off the boat. Arriving was Henrik (Karsten`s brother), Daniel (back for more ocean sailing), Nina and Jan (old GUNVØR hands) and Volker (a friend of Daniel’s). Ian stays on board trying to keep them all in line. The main topic on board was provisioning, as they more or less have to buy all their food for a month’s sailing here in Bali, as Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling have supplies, but much more limited and much more expensive.

New photos and Logbooks from Australia are online!

We had to get up early to make the WARC tour bus leaving from the marina. We grabbed a taxi and explained where we wanted to go. After 20 minutes the driver asked again where we had to go. He then turned around and drove the opposite direction. We made it and spent an enjoyable day with the other sailors seeing temples, stores and nature around the island. In the evening we had the heightened taxi experience. Back at the harbour, our taxi to the hotel did not come, worse for yacht Peat Smoke as their taxi to the airport did not arrive either. Somehow they managed to flag a van down and after some haggling we all piled in. The sliding door on the side didn`t close, but the almost continous traffic jam on Bali meant the speeds weren`t too great. So instead of the hotel we ended up at the airport, but just in time to greet Henrik at Arrivals and share his Mercedes limousine taking us all to the hotel.

We are off the boat! All morning we packed up while Wira, our Balinese boat boy cleaned the boat costing € 20 a day. I had to tell Andreas he was fired! (Just kidding). However Sheila is already planning to come back for breakfast, lunch, drinks and dinner. It is hard to let the WARC go, even just temporarily.

We arrived 8:51 this morning. I had hoped to exactly meet my prediction of 8:30, but the southerly current slowed us down. We were first ship home, but to be honest we worked for it. While we had to motor more than usual, we still have less motoring hours than the other yachts. We changed sails repeatedly to match the light shifty winds and on the last night , Instead of changing to white sails at sunset as we often do, we kept the Hibiscus up all night, just pulling ahead of the mainly motoring WARC yachts. (Can’t let these guys get ideas.) After riding shot gun on 2 WARC scooters to 4 government offices, we cleared into Bali. Allegedly it was Sheila’s 2nd time on a motorcycle. ( I don’t want to hear about the first time.)

Sailing across an ocean is like being in your own bubble. It is all about eating, sleeping, changing sails and today going swimming (twice). In the old days the outside world was completely gone. Today major news may reach you via short wave radio or satellite telephone, but in general you are on your own. In the WARC there is the added dimension of the twice daily roll calls (Karsten was net controller today). In your little world then the lack of fuel (some of the other boats) or a fallen off propeller ( Spirit of Alcides) take on a larger importance than the decisions of the ECB. Tomorrow morning this situation of blissful ignorance is over again, when we arrive in Bali, hopefully sometime before midday.

A quiet day with some motoring and some sailing. Or so we thought. In the late afternoon we again got some wind and put up the Hibiscus spinnaker. While Ian was doing the WARC roll call and Karsten cooking spaghetti (It is Sunday evening after all), the wind suddenly picked up. For 2 hours we had 20 – 24 knots and were going 10-11 knots permanently. The eerie thing about it was that Ruby, just 5 miles off our beam only had 10 -15 knots. After 3 hours we were back to motoring! We reckon it was some acceleration or thermal zone effect as we were about 10-15 miles off Sumba Island. In terms of fuel we still have 400 l out of 570 l for the last 200 nm. For the rest of the fleet behind us things are getting more dire. Some have been motoring 80 – 90 hours and risk running out.

In preparation for us leaving soon Ian has taken over the role as GUNVØR radio operator. Today he was our spokesperson on the “Quasselrunde”, as we call the twice daily radio roll calls on the short wave radio. He did this really well. It helps that Canadian English is one of the most understandable of accents. The day after tomorrow he will then be the net controller running the net that day. We are sure that will be no problem either. Being half way to Bali, we have now passed the southern tip of Timor, saw land for the first time in 3 days and are now heading up towards Bali. The lack of wind doesn’t seem to bother us as much as many other boats. Of course because we can actually sail in light winds, but also because our engine compartment was so well sound proofed the second winter at X-Yachts, we probably suffer less from the noise.

Our curse has been lifted. We can catch fish! After 2 tuna yesterday we caught 5 today within 2 hours, until Sheila demanded we stop! The guy at the BCF store in Darwin must secretly have been a wizard. At least the lure he recommended at was spot on. It might have helped that we have no wind and are motoring, so every time we had a fish on the hook we could slow down. There was so little wind, so after having seening 3 sea snakes (before getting closer to Timor with even more snakes) in a glassy ocean, we stopped and all went for a swim. So far we are confident the diesel supply will hold out, but we may have to slow down even more.

Dear supporters. Don’t despair at GUNVØRs slow progress. Whereas virtually all other boats have been using their engine most of the time, we have been able to sail. So far we only have had to resort to the iron genoa for 1.5 hours. The “Alditüte” our light wind genoa is pushing us through the water at 3-5 knots when the wind is blowing just marginally more. This means that for once we are surrounded by the fleet. Last night we could count 11 light on the horizon. The added advantage is that we finally are going slowly enough to catch some fish. Yesterday morning in quick succession we got 2 tuna. Fresh fish for lunch. When the trade winds set in soon we hopefully will then have the fun of sailing right through the fleet and still finish as one of the first boats.

We had to get up very early as we needed maximum high tide to go through the lock of the marina at around 7:30. The morning was spent at anchor changing to the “Alditüte” our very light Genoa 2. The start was interesting as there was almost more tide than wind, but soon we were beating to seawards leading the fleet or at least the part of the fleet not motoring. This evening we probably are the only ones left sailing, as we have only 5-7 knots of wind. This is enough for us but not the rest. From the forecast however it looks like we will have to resort to the iron genoa tomorrow as well. The greatest thing is that the generator is working super again. It obviously was some small leak in the now replaced fuel pump that was causing the problem.

A typical day of preparations for a long ocean passage. Major provisioning, returning of cars, check out with customs and skippers briefing. Also Andreas has finished replacing the small aft cabin windows facing the cockpit with larger ones. It shoud provide a bit more ventlation. The finalsolution with extra hatches unfortunately have to wait til we are back in Europe. We also managed to send of the contract for shipping the boat home from St. Thomas next May.

Andre from yacht  Beatoo finally got Karsten out for a golf game and while Andre is a scratch golfer, Karsten played very respectably and they had a great time. In the afternoon we were all invited to the Indonesian Consulate here in Darwin for info on Bali, our next stop. They gave possibly the worst presentation we have ever experienced! But we are still all looking forward to glorious Bali. In the evening we had a big  BBQ on the marina dock which ended with us singing Irish songs with Scottish & British crews.

Ian & Karsten did a bit of bird watching with Denise Goodfellow, who had guided Karsten here a few years ago. In the afternoon Sheila talked the men into coming along to a sunset market by promising they could sit around drinking beer while she and Benedikte (Karsten`s cousin who has just arrived and whose husband Lars will sail with us to Bali) wandered around shopping. Imagine the disappointment when the most adventurous drink to be had were Slushies! But the women managed to find some nice things to buy.

Time for some culture, so we visited 2 museums. First was the Aviation Museum, with footage of the 1942 bombing of Darwin: 62 Japanese air attacks over many months. The showpiece was a gigantic B52 bomber which was squished into the hangar, along with many other interesting historical planes. Second was the Art & Museum of the Northern Territories covering Aboriginal art, cyclones, poisonous creatures and even historical ships. The outrigger collection reminded us of Ian´s tattoo.

Two new entries under `Logbook`: “Vanuatu to Australia”  — plus Fabian´s great song!

Fortunately none of us are overly emotional people, so there were just a few hugs for Fabian & Michael and then it was goodbye to the “best crew ever”. But not until we had made them work on the boat until the last minute making improvements, small repairs etc. Our newly-arrived crew Andreas Tempel was put to work right away, too. In the evening we used the voucher we got for our first place in the WARC for a meal in the marina. Without his wing man Fabian, Ian called it an early night.

During the Captain`s Dinner in honor of Fabian and Michael leaving tomorrow (Thank you Michael for inviting us!) Fabian stole the show. Not only did he give a sweet speech, he had also written a great song, describing his experiences over the past 4 months. (We will soon post it on the home page.) This topped a nice day where all of us had joined the WARC tour to Litchfield National Park, touring around and going swimming beneath various waterfalls. Ah, and before we forget, we also won the overall prize for the leg from Thursday Island to Darwin with a comfortable margin.

Sheila and Karsten enjoyed 2 wonderful days in Kakadu National Park. The highlight was an early morning cruise seeing the sunrise over the wetlands and gliding through swamps with lots of crocodiles and an abundance of birdlife. We also did some hikes in the bush, visited caves with ancient aboriginal art and climbed up to various lookout points. It was a fair bit of driving. 700 km in total, but definitely worth it.

One more week in Australia. It has been great, but a nation of easy-going people we knew 30 years ago has gone politically correct: Kids under 12 are not allowed to walk alone, e.g. to school, they are also not allowed to be left unattended at home or in a car e.g. when the mother runs into a shop or drops off the dry cleaning; doggy bags in restaurants have been banned; tuck shop ladies in schools and crossing guards have to undergo a police check; parents baking cakes for fundraising have to have a food preparation certificate; a copy is made of the ID of every person who buys alcohol in the Northern Territories so they can control abuse drinking. The list goes on and on. What about taking responsibility for oneself instead! Otherwise it continues to be a lovely country with lovely people.

Ian took the helm for moving the boat to the marina. Because of the large tidal differences this is done via a lock. It was very hairy. Just in front of the lock we touched bottom. The lock itself had virtually only centimetres to spare. But he did great and we are now safely tied up. After doing various errands Sheila and Karsten moved for a night to a hotel while all sampled the delights of Darwin`s night life.

We arrived at Cape Dunn/ Arnheim Land 100 nm north of Darwin at around 17:00 when we ran out of wind and got lots of contrary current. So the last 14 hours to Darwin we used the iron genoa, as will everybody else, as there is no wind at this time of year inshore. But it was a beautiful night. We had expected to arrive at night but with basically 9 out of 14 hours with tide against us we only made it in at daybreak. Rally control and a team of divers were waiting for us. They injected some chemicals into our saltwater intakes to kill marine life in order to protect the locks of the marinas! What a great business for the local divers. Today we are organizing ourselves and then off tomorrow to Kakadu National Park.

We are streaming west, ever more west. About 250 nm to go before Darwin. We have been really lazy today. Last night at midnight we had to take down the spinnaker and replaced it with the Code II (180m²) because the wind angle became too tight. When the wind came back more easterly this morning, instead of hoisting the spinnaker again, we unrolled the Genoa 3, going wing on wing with the Code II and a full main. We may lose a little speed, but since we are so far ahead of the fleet we decided to take it easy. The day was spend sleeping, reading, making pancakes, watching movies and just lounging about. This evening there was another scrumptious dinner: “chicken parmagiani” . I don’t think any other boat eats as well as we do. Life on the high seas can really be tough.

Today it was again our turn to be Net Controllers for the twice daily roll call using short wave radio. The different styles of the various NC’s is interesting. Some are so fast in doing it that the roll call is over in 10 minutes and not a superfluous word has been said. Some chat a bit about generalities. We try to liven it up by asking everybody the same question. Today in the morning it was whether the various boats change sails for the night. Surprisingly many said they did not, even when sailing with spinnaker, preferring to do a maneuvers at night if necessary. For many the question was not relevant as they do not have or do not use coloured sails. In the evening they had to tell us what gadget under € 100 has been particularly useful. I do believe we will now break down and also buy a toaster. It can live in the spot the crew always uses to store coffee and other useless implements.

We had (our almost customary) great start for the leg from Thursday Island to Darwin (730 nm). Going 9.5 knots we hit the line just 10 seconds after the start and led the whole fleet out of the Torres Island Straits Group. Soon after we had left land behind and gotten settled wind conditions, we put up Sheila’s birthday present this year, her “Canadienne” spinnaker. This is a large, all white spinnaker with a large red maple leaf worked into the middle of the sail. It performed superbly and Sheila was enthralled by its beauty. She was less enthralled when we took it down for the night and she was part of the team having to pack it away. Being a 2.2 oz/m² spinnaker it is very heavy and being new and somewhat stiff in the fabric, doesn’t yet like to be put back into its bag. We are now still going 9 – 10 knots under our trusted sail combination of full Main, full Genoa 3 poled out and Code 1.

After a birthday breakfast and lots of congratulatory VHF-radio calls from the fleet, the Gunvør crew set off for the ferry from our anchorage at Horn Island to Thursday Island. When the ferry captain heard it was Karsten’s birthday, he gave all 5 of us a free round ticket for the day! On Thursday Island (TI in local lingo) we took a taxi van tour around the sights which included a fort from the 1890s and a fascinating cemetery which included the pre-war graves of 700 Japanese pearl divers. While all the islands immediately around TI were bombed by the Japanese, only TI remained untouched and it was the hallowed graveyard that protected the island. In the evening all the crews converged on the Horn Island pub and supplied with Karsten’s wine and beer, continued with the same dance fever as the previous night. Tomorrow at noon is the start of the race leg to Darwin.

After a peaceful night in Shallow Bay, we motor-sailed the last few miles to Thursday Island – or rather Horn Island across the way – parallel with several other WARC yachts. We have now passed Cape York, the most northern part of mainland Australia. At the anchorage at Horn Island we joined even more WARC yachts and arranged to meet them all at the local pub for dinner. It was the 30th wedding anniversary of the the Russian pair Michael and Irina from Royal Leopard and we all danced like crazy until they kicked us out. Tomorrow is Karsten’s birthday and we hope to come back to the pub after dinner on board for more dancing with the whole fleet.

A magic evening. We are anchored off Cape York the most northerly tip of Australia. We sailed up the empty coastline all day. By making Ian the skipper since Cairns, getting the young people up has not been a problem The itinerary kind of dictates the timing. We first tried another anchorage right at the Cape, but when we only had 3.2 m of water, i.e. 30 cm under the keel we turned away and found the anchorage here in Shallow Bay. It should be called Low Wind Bay instead. Outside there is full trade wind at 20-25 knots, but we are snug at 2 – 6 knots. Being completely alone here at the top of Australia is a bit unnerving, but as we said in the start, magic as well.

The last few hours of our overnight sail we came across yacht Ruby which had started a few days before us in Cairns. Together we anchored at Cape Grenville. A must for Ruby as the bay is called Margaret Bay just as Herve the skipper’s wife. Sheila, Michael and Karsten then did a trek along the “Blue Path”. This is a trail made by the cruisers stopping there. The name derives from the fact that every few meters the trail is marked with something blue such as flip flops, hard hats, lids, dolls, rope, fenders etc. Quite a mess but a cute idea and a beautiful trail across the cape. The evening we had Ruby over for a scrumptious ham with “sauerkraut” dinner and lots of good wine.

The day on Lizard Island ended with a hike up to Captain Cooke’s lookout (354 m and 2 hr round trip) and sun downers with all the other cruisers in the bay. When describing our collision with a whale one woman exclaimed: “Poor whale!” Well, not our sentiments exactly. This morning, after having serenaded Uwe from Juba for his 60th birthday, we upped anchor and sailed away, probably to Cape Grenville 250 nm away, i.e. we will sail through the night. Sailing conditions are perfect. 15 – 23 knots from behind with small waves and not a cloud in the sky. All the while we are sailing by cape after cape, small tropical islands and innumerable coral reefs. Fortunately no whales. We don’t really like them that much anymore.

17.08.2012 part II
Upon arrival at Lizard Island we found a 10 cm long 1 mm deep vertical and 4 5 cm long 1 mm deep horizontal scratches on the front port side. We believe this must have come from the whale’s barnacles. Thank God that whales are soft and basically made like fenders. But we are all a little shaky. This afternoon we will climb up to Captain Cooke’s Lookout where he finally could see an exit out of the Great Barrier Reef. 16:30 will then find us on the beach with 3 other WARC boats for sun downers. (Later we also discovered marks on the leading edge of the keel).

17.08.2011 00:30
Breaking news: We hit a whale! Sheila, Fabian and Karsten were below asleep when the boat, sailing at 8 knots, suddenly hit something, but didn’t fully stop. One second later another impact and the boat almost stopped. Ian and Michael in the cockpit could see and hear the whale. The rest scrambled on deck. Obviously the Autopilot had gone off. We did a damage check and found nothing. Only in the forward sink the water had been pressed up and the sink was dirty with what looked like slime. Thank god for a strongly built boat! Should be at Lizard Island in 5 hours and can then check the hull in day light.


Because we can’t arrive in Lizard Island too early we had a leisurely morning doing small errands and taking it easy. We also managed to get the primer pump and left just after lunch. A nice spinnaker sail during the afternoon had us catch up to Beatoo who had left a few hours earlier. For the night we replaced the spinnaker with our trusted Code I/ Genoa 3 combination. Great timing. The fish hooked just after so we now have 2 fish tail trophies hanging from our aft Bimini. We will become fisher men yet. We expect to be at Lizard in the morning, before heading off to Flinders Island the day after.

Contrary to our fears the boat had not been trashed during our absence (except for somebody had drunk Sheila’s beer – Corona, the ‘lady beer’), it actually looked really good.We did the provisioning for the whole leg to Darwin in the afternoon and celebrated the return of the parents with a Brazilian Churrasco feast.

We saw the Victoria Riflebird! One of the few species of Australian Birds of Paradise. But it did entail getting up at 6 am. First we took a boat trip on the Daintree River. It was cold! 13°C without the wind factor in a fast moving motor boat. Then we spent the rest of the day doing various bird walks. We were too tired in the evening to do anything but have a hot dog, crawl into bed, watch movies & drink red wine.

A banner day – Sheila got to hold a koala and looks maniacally happy in the souvenir photo. (See under favourite fotos) This was en route north to Daintree National Park where Karsten & Sheila are driving to for a two day break. They are staying at a birder´s B&B.

Relaxing day after Ian’s action-packed birthday. Had the chance to catch up with a lot of the other WARC crews. It is really pleasant to travel as a village. Had our usual Sunday night spaghetti dinner, this time with Aussie friend Maria (Alistair`s mum) and her friend Tom, reminiscing about our wonderful time together in Hamburg 20 years ago.

Ian became 21 and is now legal everywhere. To celebrate he had booked a 3 dive trip for us all to the Great Barrier Reef. We fed turtles, swam with baracuda and froze despite wearing 5mm Shorties over our 3 mm suits. The 25 knots wind created a lot of action with white vomit bags being held tightly by the mainly Japanese tourists on the boat; except our crew who obviously have seen bigger waves. This evening we had a gourmet  Australian dinner, including crocodile, before the old people went home, while the young people have gone partying with the remaining young WARC crowd. Lets see who is more fresh tomorrow morning.

The men took the car for some birdwatching and nature walking while Sheila stayed aboard for chores (and some peace). We were all invited to Beatoo for a gourmet dinner, but Fabian had to back out and sleep as he is nursing a cold and hopes to be fit enough for tomorrow’s Great Barrier Reef full day dive. It will be Ian’s 21st birthday and he seems to have booked the most luxurious (expensive) dive possible on a fast catamaran complete with breakfast, lunch and even afternoon tea.

We arrived in Cairns in the afternoon, joining the few WARC boats already here and closely followed by Beatoo. Many more yachts should arrive in the next couple of days. Ian and Fabian are back (they were at the dock to take our lines)! Apparently they had a great time in Sydney. (Fabian:” I want to live there”.) We celebrated the reunion with a nice Italian dinner in downtown Cairns.

We spent the morning exploring the mangroves and board walks of Hinchinbrook National Park. Alas it only yielded one new bird,but the landscape was amazingly beautiful. We had mangrove forest, sand dunes, beaches and mountain forests. Unfortunately we only had the morning to explore. We would have loved to follow the trek of one of Australia’s wildest national parks for longer. Soon back on the boat we sailed on, always following in Captain Cook’s diaries and finding out for whom who each Cape was named. Tonight we are at Mourilyan Harbour, home to Australia’s longest sugar shed and not much else. We are tied up between to piles in the Moresby River (no swimming here, more crocs!) surrounded by 270° of wild nature and only one side wharf. The nearest civilisation is 20 km away. (One new bird.)

We have now reached Hinchinbrook National park. With no wind it was mainly whale sightings that interfered with a day of reading, eating, sleeping and in general taking it easy. It is such a pleasure to have no waves and every day the water temperature increases. The 18°C in Mackay is now 22 °C. We hope for 23-24°C in Cairns where we intend to go diving on the Great Barrier reef. Michael swam only 1 m from the boat because of the “Salties” (salt water crocodiles) that we are sure are lurking in the mangroves around us.

Left our anchorage at 5am and after motoring through the sunrise could finally raise the sails at 9am. Great sailing with many more whale sightings, including a pair only 15 meters off the boat. Arrived at the super marina of Magnetic Island opposite Townsville by 2pm. Interesting Danish connections: the harbourmaster´s wife and our Danish-speaking Ukranian waitress in the chic harbourside restaurant.

A new Fiji log book is on line (look before the Vanuatu log book).

Early bird gets the worm. So we left the anchorage early and motored through the rest of the  Whitsunday Islands before heading towards Cairns. Tonight  we are spending  at Cape Upstart, so named by Captain Cooke. The day was spend watching whales go by, reading, doing blogs and making sure the motor  kept us on the right course. Tomorrow promises more of the same.  Very relaxing.

What a perfect day. First Michael dropped Sheila and me off at Dent Island which is the location of Hamilton Island Golf course. It is one of the most beautiful courses I have ever played. With a birdie and many pars I really enjoyed the windless conditions. Sheila drove the cart and we revelled in the magnificent views of the whole Whitsundays. On our way to our anchorage on Whitsunday Island we then came across a humpback whale and her calf. Soon after we drove our dinghy to Whitehaven beach, one of the most beautiful in Australia with almost pure white sand. We did a hike up the mountain and had a fantastic view of Hill inlet. We saw the Beach Stone Curlew (endangered) and the Noisy Pitta as part of a total of 7 new birds. Afterwards we rode our dinghy up Hill inlet until it became too shallow. For sun downers Mr. Blues came over before Sheila made a great chicken curry. Life doesn’t get any better.

We heard the Beach Stone Curlew last night, but did not manage to see it this morning. At least it still counts. From there we motored to Hamilton Island and unfortunately have to stay at a $90 (!) mooring, as they do not have space for us in the marina. Going ashore we at least could really stock up on magazines and newspapers. We will play golf tomorrow before moving on to the most beautiful beach in Australia.


New blog and lots of pictures online.

A lovely day. We three crew: Karsten, Sheila and Michael, motor-sailed in the sun north to Shaw Island and anchored in a beautiful bay with many loggerhead turtles. The water temperature has increased again to 20 degrees so there were some quick dips. The dinghy was inflated for the first time in several weeks and the shoreline explored. Our WARC sister ship Beatoo arrived just before a glorious sunset and we invited them for drinks and dinner.

We sent Fabian and Ian on their way to Sydney. They had it all planned including 3 girls that Ian had met in Russia meeting them and taking them to clubs and parties. Before that the motor mechanic jury-rigged the priming pump, fixed the leaking water pump for the generator and showed us how to better start the generator. All real issues/ to dos are done! I feel great and look forward to going tomorrow. In the afternoon Sheila and I went to Hillsborough Cape National Park and went on a super hike resplendent with beautiful vistas, fascinating plants and a few (too few) birds. A simple dinner ended another very good day.

We were hauled out after some tribulations with the motor that cut out multiple times. The good news of the day was that Fabian basically showed the boat yard mechanics how to replace the gear box in the bow thruster. The bad news was that a replacement for the broken primer pump for the motor is not in Australia and will only arrive next week. Fortunately we can bypass it and sail to Cairns to have it installed. We also got our sails back after some TLC. But the motor issue will delay us for a day, so we will drive Ian and Fabian to the airport to fly to Sydney for their backpacking break and then sail with Michael to the Whitsundays on Thursday.

While Sheila and Michael took the same trip to the local sights (platypus!) that we did on Friday, Ian, Fabian and Karsten “bastelt” on the boat. A lot of small improvements were achieved. (Mainsail reinforcements, rubber lines in the cupboards of the workshop and various other small jobs.) After that the motor mechanic came and determined that we had cracked the pre-feeding fuel pump during one of the crashes in the Hydrographer´s Passage. With a new part our motor now works superbly. The evening was rounded out by a great dinner on board.

After a morning of some bird watching the local yacht club gave us a briefing on where to cruise on the Coral Coast. The following WARC luncheon turned into a day long affair celebrating the half way point around the world!. Might it also have had something to do with the fact that there was a free bar? Almost as an afterthought they also announced the results of the last leg. We did get line honours, win our class and took first price overall with a winning margin of around 20 hours! But in the usual WARC way they almost forgot to announce the winner of the photo competition and they did forget to honour the 3rd place finishers!

Today was crew-change! We said goodbye to Rob and his son Alistar. Rob is a former profi sailer but his son was a revelation. Actually Alistar has wasted the last 20 years by not sailing intensively! He is a natural: he was never seasick during our 1100 nm passage, packed the spinnaker perfectly and could helm the boat with flair. We hope his sailing career continues. One hour after their departure we were back at the airport picking up our Hamburg crew Michael Ruter, who has already been part of this voyage, sailing Gunvør from Portugal to the Canaries. He is also the father of Daniel, our skipper for the first part of the Pacific. It will be easy for Michael to integrate into the gang as Daniel was very popular with all the WARC boats!

The boys on board (Sheila stayed on the boat to do laundry, go the hair dresser, dentist etc.) went off into the Australian bush and saw 2 Platapus in the wilderness! The second success story of the day was that we managed to install an Australian gas bottle for cooking as they can’t fill our European ones. The only annoying thing is that we can’t get the TV to receive Australian programmes (i.e. The Olympics). The evening was spent with the local yacht club, many of whom had seen Karsten being interviewed by local TV. The real boys went to town to celebrate Alistar’s last night on board.

We had some great retail therapy this morning, going a bit mad at the large shopping mall here in Mackay. First on the list for all of us were sweaters as 18° feels positively frosty when you are used to 30°+. We also bummeled through downtown Mackay, it is full of of colonial-frontier style buildings which have been lovingly maintained. This is a mining town and it is booming as China is an eager customer. There was still time for repairs & chores in the late afternoon before Rob treated us all to a Captain´s Dinner at the best restaurant in town: The Church, situated in an old (lovingly maintained, again) clapboard 1920s Anglican Church.

The Hydrographer Pass passage to MacKay was awful. The waves were so steep that the violent motion ripped out one of the teak boards in our bowspread and broke one of the cupboards in the galley! After arrival the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine inspection took 2 hours! They were very friendly and professional. Imagine our heart rate when one of the guys going over the boat with a drug sniffer dog came on deck and said: “We have a problem.” It turned out the dog had peed on Sheila’s side of the bed. Her comment was:”What a piss off.” After clearance we quickly organized the sailmaker (but sent him the wrong sail! We were really tired), the haul out for the bowthruster and propeller, the freezer and water maker service and somebody to look at the VHF (not receiving so well.) The evening was spent with Anastasia, the only boat that had finished the same day as we did.

We finished at 17:16 Local Time Vanuatu at the Hydrographer´s Reef outside MacKay, Australia. We now have 110 nm to motor before we can tie up tomorrow morning in MacKay. For all of you that ask what do you do all day? Here is a partial excerpt from our to-do list in Mackay: Repair bow thruster and make sure watermaker and freezer continue to work (Michael Rüter is bringing the parts.) We also want to flush and wash out the water tanks, have the Code 1 sail repaired in Melbourne and have the sailmaker in MacKay give the genoa 3 some loving care. On the Main we want to improve the way the reef 2 & 3 are set up plus add some reinforcements to minimize chafe. Some teak foot rests need to be glued again and the electric lighter on the stove needs attention. We want to have a sail maker improve one of the lee clothes plus we want to install something in the work shop to prevent the boxes falling out. And then there is the normal cleaning and maintenance. Busy beavers will be on board.


A wonderful sailing day with lots of music and capped by a delicious roast beef dinner with roasted potatoes, onions & garlic and Ian’s red wine gravy. On today’s radio roll call meals were a theme, so we looked back at some of ours from this passage: Mustard bacon chicken, pork tenderloin medallions in curry sauce, in addition to the usual seaman’s fare of chili con carne & spaghetti bolognese. A highlight was our lunch of freshly-caught sailfish: prepared both as sashimi style with soya sauce & wasabi plus as steaks in lemon oil. We’ve also had homemade soups for lunch: pumpkin-apple-onion soup and cold gazpacho. Still on the menu plan are shrimp & veg stir fry with fried noodles and of course Karsten’s famous cheese-filled pancakes. As the Australians are going to make us throw out all meats, dairy and fresh fruit & veg, there is pressure on to eat everything up! So much for losing weight when passage making

The day started with a bang, a strike on our fishing line! Ian & Karsten reeled her in and hauled up a feisty sailfish of about 7 kgs. Rob took on the job of cutting her into steaks & we discovered that the “sail” could be neatly folded into the spine: a natural roller-furling system! Rob then cooked the fish to perfection for lunch. Even Ian enjoyed the meal: “best fish evah”. We had continued excellent sailing thorough the day, fast and smooth. Towards evening the wind and waves built up and we now have double-reefed the main and rolled in the jib a bit. Less than 400 miles to go.

It was a great sailing day with winds from 11-18 knots and with virtually no swell, it felt a bit like Baltic Sea sailing. Well, it is a bit more sunny and warm here! We are now halfway from Vanuatu to Australia. On our SSB-radio roll call with the fleet this evening, the fun question was “What do like best about night-watch?”. While most of the men were romantic and mentioned star-gazing, most of the women of the fleet agreed that the sunrise is the best part!

GUNVØR conditions. Light winds from good directions mean we are still sailing when everybody else have to motor. There being no waves it feels like sailing the Baltic ghosting along at 4-5 knots in 3-5 knots of wind. Unfortunately our Code 1 repair only lasted 4 hours, but then there was the Code 2! We are not down to the “Aldi Tüte” ( our light wind Genoa) yet. Ian made a scrumptious “Mustard Bacon Chicken with Creme Fraiche”. The calm weather meant a glass of wine with the meal and a couple of sun downers. We love calm weather.

After a great start right on the gun we led the fleet (again) out Port Vila & Mele Bay in 10-15 knots of wind. 2 unnecessary jibes in the late afternoon proved to be a blessing in disguise, i.e. good training. A massive wind shift in the early evening wrapped the spinnaker around the forestay despite the genoa being half unrolled. A perfect maneuvers followed. Fabian went up the mast with our professional harness, helmet and head lamp. Surprisingly quickly he got it unwrapped. Because of the wind shift we then lowered the spinnaker and hoisted another one on the other tack. All went slowly, but steadily and without any glitches. Great crew work by all. We are now heading for the north of New Caledonia where we expect to get more wind on our way to Mackay, Australia..

We repaired our secret weapon the Code 1 ourselves today. Repairing all those spinnakers across the Atlantic and the mainsail in Niue has really paid off. In a few hours we had the sail taped up and sewed the reinforcements almost professionally. We are ready for the next 1100 nm to Australia tomorrow. To make sure the boys Ian, Fabian and Alistair, (Sheila says also Rob and Karsten) are fresh at the start line tomorrow morning we are all having a BBQ plus watching a DVD at Rob’s place (i.e. a quiet night) and are all staying over until tomorrow.

Did we say 17:00 flight departure for our 3 crew? Well, all three of them got it wrong! We got to the airport nice and early and discovered to our dismay that 17:00 was the arrival time at their destination, not the departure time and that their flight was on last call for boarding. The very nice clerk rushed Birgitte and Charly and Sabine through their departure declarations and didn’t blink at Birgitte’s extra luggage and told us not to panic. We were still at the check in desk 9 minutes before departure. But they made it and the bags too. Small airports are great! This evening was the big WARC dinner with prize-giving and we were truly surprised to win  for the leg from Fiji to Vanuatu as we had thought that we were not far ahead enough to win on handicap. Tomorrow is provisioning day for the 6 of us for the next leg of 1100 nautical miles to Australia. The starting gun is the day after.

We were 9 crew, old and new, that drove around the island of Efate in Vanuatu today. We were 5 adults in the 4-door truck: Karsten, Sheila, Sabine, Charly, Rob –and then 4 young people in the back of the truck: Birgitte, Ian, Fabian and Alistar. Thankfully the road around the island has been recently paved so they didn’t bounce around too much in the back. We made several stops, including a beautiful swimming hole with blue water and a tarzan line for swinging and plunging in. In the evening there was a WARC cocktail party where Birgitte started to make her goodbyes after 7 months of sailing with the World ARC. She willl complete her goodbyes tomorrow as she leaves at 17:00 for 4 flights to Montreal. After the cocktails we went off to the best French restaurant in Vanuatu where Sabine and Charly treated all 9 of us to a Captain’s Dinner as they are also on that 17:00 flight tomorrow. They were wonderful crew and  they got a lot of farewell hugs from the other WARC boats.

All 7 of us did a thorough cleaning of the boat in the morning and we were just finishing up when Rob and his son Alistar appeared. Off went the adults for a drive up the coast to Rob’s beautiful waterside villa followed by lots of white wine with a coconut crab lunch at a local resort. In the evening the young people came over for a BBQ at Rob’s and then returned to party and sleep on the boat.

A great day of trade wind sailing. 20-25 knots of wind and blue, blue sky. We sailed beside 12 moons (for the last time as they are unfortunately leaving the ARC) all day doing between 9 – 10 knots with surfs in the low teens. Arriving in Port Vila, Vanuatu was easy and the local marina send out some guys to guide us in. We will now spend a few days at my friend Rob’s house before starting to Australia on Thursday.

Today we enjoyed 50 nautical miles of super broadreach sailing in 25 knots to the Vanuatu island of Erromango. All around us were 7 other WARC ships. Upon arrival at the beautiful anchorage of Port Dillon we inflated the dinghy and went into the village where Karsten & Ian saw 4 new endemic species of birds. Then there was a small village ceremony for us with singing and a gift exchange. Later we invited a few boats over for whiskey and chocolate cake and it turned into dinner party, thanks to chef Birgitte.

Today was the ceremonial gift exchange with the village here on the island of Tanna. We WARC yachts had been given a wish list before arrival so we could purchase items ahead of time in Fiji. Sheila couldn?t resist the request for toilet seats so amongst our collection of gifts were two seats with Gunvør stickers on them. It was a huge pile of accumulated gifts from all the WARC ships at the ceremony and in return we all got beautifully woven hats and bags with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. In the afternoon we had a long walk to hot pools and steam jets all originating from the nearby active volcano. Ian and Karsten spotted 3 new endemic birds. In the evening there was a farewell feast put on for us by the villagers. Tomorrow morning we sail on to the northern islands of Vanuatu.

A day of very big Highs and Lows. We had 2 wonderful aperitifs first with Ruby at lunch time and then with 12 moons at dinner. In between we tried to repair the freezer, it did work for a while and now is out again. Karsten had 2 fillings put back by a team of Australian dentists that were in the village for a day just to have them fall out again a few hours later. The water maker was the main worry. When opening the electronic control box water came pouring out and the unit completely stopped working. Fortunately we had filled the tanks up in the morning. The circuit board was heavily corroded. Fabian, with endless patience resoldered the main connections and it is now working on the 24 V setting. But we are a lot better off than 12 moons where the complete navigations system including plotter, depth sounder and autopilot has crashed. They will have to sail to New Caledonia more or less blindly to get it fixed.

A day of amazing highlights. First we visited the local village and the school children serenaded us with songs, the encore was the Vanuatu version of “This Land is Your Land”. Later we were picked up in a fleet of local 4WD trucks and driven to an even more traditional village where the dancers emerged out of an enormous banyan tree. The men were basically naked, very shapely and the female audience was particularly attentive. Then off to Tanna’s famous active volcano on Mt Yasur where we climbed up to the rim and were awestruck by continuous mini-eruptions with red hot flying lava. Such proximity would not be possible in more regulated countries. The day was so surreal that our crew Charly and Sabine felt that they were in the middle of a National Geographic Documentary.

After 50 hours we made it to Port Resolution Bay, Tana, Vanuatu. Slowly the bay filled up as the other WARC made it in quickly after us. In the evening we had our usual blow out celebration on GUNVØR for having arrived safely. Port Resolution (named after Captian Cook*s ship is just a few miles a away from Mount Yasur volcano. When approaching the island we could see black smoke coming up over the island. Jokingly we made reference to the locals firing up their cooking pots in expectation of the WARC fleets arrival.

We are going along from Fiji to Vanuatu at quite high speed on a beam reach. We expect to cover the 450 nm in what now seems to be only 2 days. ETA should be tomorrow around lunch time. Because all the other larger boat of around the same length virtually are going the same speed we can’t really win this race on handicap, so have (very unlike us ) decided to dial it down a bit, have put reefs in and tried to make it a more comfortable sail despite fairly large swell and much less sun than forecast. What is nice is that our friends from the catamaran Anastasia finally have gotten the wind they have been waiting for since joining the ARC and are racing along ahead of us (for once) at 11-12 knots against our 9.5 to 10.5 knots. So there will be somebody else who can guide us in to the anchorage in Port Resolution Bay, Tanna Island, Vanuatu.

Thank you Rösly! She was the only one (including ourselves) who remembered our wedding anniversary. So 10 minutes to midnight last night Karsten could (just) congratulate Sheila and he had the bragging rights. This morning we got ready and left the marina, we are now standing by on a mooring buoy: start is at 11 am local time. 452 nm to Tanna (one of the islands in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu) and basically back to one of  the most basic places on the planet. We probably won’t be back in civilisation until the 14th of July.

Fabian is now renamed Fabulous Fabian or Fabian Düsentrieb. He didn’t give up on our washing machine. After many hours and several small adjustments, he identified that the motor was not working. Skipper was ready to order a new motor, but Fabian looked at the motor a bit longer. He found a spring had corroded. A bit of cleaning and WD 40 and the washing machine is working again! Also, he investigated the watermaker and it is now working (although strangely always on one motor). The only issue remaining is the bow thruster we damaged in Port Denerau (more sweat-hours for Fabian, he renamed the bow thruster: “ghost buster”, sounds like Cockney rhyming slang). We will have to get new parts to repair it in Australia 3 weeks from now. Fortunately we have Fabian on board to do it!

We were up early as we had move from a mooring in the outer bay over the shallow bar into the inner harbour of Musket Cove at high tide at 7:30am. We squeezed into the tiny dock in the middle of our 29-strong fleet of WARC sister ships and proceeded to wake many of up with a loud breakfast in our cockpit. We are 7 crew now, so do make quite a bit of noise. Then a day of fewer chores and a bit more beach, fun and lots of socializing.

Never a dull moment. There you think alll systems are go. But Murphy sneeks up to you. A rope in the bow thruster, a watermaker motor (fortunately only one of the 2) that doesn’t start and the washing machine that doesn’t spin. Despite that we made our way to Musket Cove and the get together with the WARC. Charlie and Sabine arrived in style with their own launch from their holiday Island just in time for the BBQ. .Wonder when we will see the kids, as they all went to the party boat Anastasia

A day of doing chores. The kids cleaned all day, while we provisioned. in the afternoon Birgitte arrived back from 2 weeks of action packed back packing, seemingly very pleased with her trip. The evening was spent saying god-bye to David and Magali, from Ensemble. We hope we  will see them again in Australia.

Finally GUNVØR went back into the water. Unfortunately the freezer did not take kindly to being on land, so new trouble tomorrow. It didn’t help that Ian and Fabian misunderstood our discussion so Sheila and I spent all morning taking off the old mainsail, while they walzed in just before the boat was lifted back in. It is a blessing that there is currently no wind, as the new mainsail is left half prepared on deck. Let´s pray for a quiet night.

We spent Canada Day slowly going from the Warwick to the Shangri-La, both on the South Coast of Vitu Levu. On the way we climbed over a fence, ignored all signs saying “Trespassers will be punished” and visited the Hill Fort of a Tongan prince who features in Will Mariner´s book from 1805. Typical for a Tongan monument it was closed on a Sunday. However, since we had left money the care taker, when we met him, was very happy to see us. Already the lunch at the Shangri-La was much better than at the Warwick. After a small round of golf and a dip in the pool we are getting ready for a Sunday night dinner of – of course – Italian food. Will there be spaghetti on our menu I wonder? Meanwhile Ian and Fabian were chased off the boat last night and have another night at a backpacker hostel in Nadi, while Gitte is living it up at Beachcomber Resort. We are very much looking forward to hear their blow by blow reports.

The Gods must have listened to me. The hotel had a Polynesian dance night. I did get to see the Hula one last time. It wasn’t as fast and furious as in French Polynesia. (Par for the course, the Pernod they tried to serve me must have come from China, it certainly had not come from France and did not go cloudy when I added water.) On the other hand the Fijian male fire dancers made up for it in tempo and action (at least for the female half of the marriage.) Before that the day was spend very leisurely at the pool, just hanging out. However the food was such that we are moving on to the Shangri-La tomorrow.


We have left Gunvør & our WARC friends at Port Denarau and have headed down to the south coast of the main island of Fiji. Tonight we watched the Polynesian show here at our honeymoon hotel. The fire dancers were quite impressive and  there certainly were no volunteers to copy them, but the Fijian dancing? Watching a group of 65 year old ladies swing their buttees may be a good joke at the Eurovision song contest, but what is wrong with 20-something girls doing the hula instead? I wish I was back in French Polynesia!

Not really surprisingly the boat won’t really be ready until Monday morning, so we will have a full 3 days in our old honeymoon hotel. Unfortunately the Sofitel did show football on TV. It was sad to see Germany lose. But here the sun is shining and we have been enjoying dinner with good friends every evening at the harbour.

Very professionally the Marina hauled out Gunvør to have her bottom painted. We are now in a hotel, trying to be pampered. Although the Sofitel we are staying now at doesn’t quite seem to have the same idea about pampering as we do. The Westin was actually worse. We were dinner guests of Jakob and Amelie there a few nights ago. The Duty Manager did not understand the workings of their hotel voucher for dinner. When Sheila and I left after dinner for the harbour she actively tried to detain us and did send our taxi away. After we made our getaway she woke up Jakob and Amelie at around midnight and tried to coerce them for 1,5 hours! All about US $ 10. Next morning we did get an apology, but needless to say we all cancelled our bookings and left. For the weekend we have now booked ourselves into the hotel on the Coral Coast where we stayed during our honeymoon 28 years ago! It will be a walk down memory lane. The day ended with a goodbye dinner with Jakob and Amelie. We had 12 really active days together and did and saw a lot. I believe they need a holiday now!

We 4 rented a car and first checked out the nearby city of Nadi. Then we drove through sugar cane fields (Fiji´s top export) into the foothills to a gorgeous botanical garden. Three of us admired all the greenery while Karsten spotted 3 new endemic birds. We continued into the mountains on a ruinous road to the famous village of Navale. This is a traditionally-built village with 170 “bure” (wooden houses) with fishbone-patterned woven walls and thatched roofs. There are over 700 villagers but our guide did indicate that it is getting harder to convince the younger generation to re-build the high-maintenence bure every few years. Then our men, being men, did not want to go back on the same road, so we took the long route around the mountains. Spectacular scenery & another 3 new endemic birds, but the trip took 4 hours for 60 kms on a wild road and we arrived back long after dark. This did not stop us having a great portside dinner with more newly-arrived WARC boats. Tomorrow morning Gunvør is being lifted out at 9am for a scrub and new anti-fouling.

It was great today to be back with the WARC fleet. When we came into the Port Denerau Marina, they said that there was no room for us. But our friend Willi from Mr. Blues contradicted them on the VHF and found us a great spot right beside him, kind of between two boats, but very normal for us sailors in Europe. It was celebrated with a great WARC happy hour. Fortunately for us we couldn’t stay too long, because we had a dinner with Jakob and Amelie. The rest are still at it 5 hours later!

Karsten & Sheila went off early for two great scuba dives, while Amelie and Jakob took the dinghy for snorkling & simply hanging over the edge with masks on, which also works well in this lovely lagoon as they saw some super mantas that way! Later, after a lunch burger with the backpackers (I guess we really are missing our kids), we 4 trekked around the whole island. This was a bit further than we had anticipated, it took 3 hours and we had to do a lot of clambering around rocky points between the lovely beaches. We then had to recover with cocktails, again at the beachfront backpacker place, where yet more young people were fascinated by our voyage and the lovely Gunvor anchored right there. I think we could have had a new crew of 20 if we had wanted. Kids: you had better come back soon!

Gorgeous sunshine and a super sail of 20 nm to the tiny island of Mana. We had a nailbiting entrance through the extremely narrow dogleg passage into the lagoon with the depth just below our keel. We anchored in the beautiful tiny lagoon just metres off the beach in front of a backpackers’  lodge. After a walk around the island, we then had lobster at the lodge and chatted with several of the backpackers, as they reminded us of our own Witt and Leverkus children. But the highlight of the evening was meeting two Winnipeger backpackers who not only knew Sheila’s nephew Simon Cooke, having studied engineering with him, but one of them had just come back from travelling with him in Thailand!!

Last evening the wind & rain worsened and we had to put out more chain in the stormy darkness. Thank goodness it all died down by midnight and this morning the sun was out again. Karsten and Jakob went into the village with our parting gifts but Karsten was so distracted by some new birds that Jakob had to jump in the water and swim to save the dingjhy which had drifted off the beach. Then we had a marvelous sail along the southern coast of Fiji. However when we wanted to enter our chosen anchorage at 17:00hrs , the wind had strengthened and it was untenable. We had to continue on for 2 hrs in 26 knots to the next safe anchorage and dropped anchor in the darkness next to a lonely Swiss boat who happily chatted to us on VHF, warning us of fishing nets in the bay. Then we celebrated our arrival with the obligatory vodka shots and a yummy shrimp stir fry.

Karsten was up early for birdwatching on the island and was again warmly greeted by the villagers and shown a track for hiking. To make sure he was safe the guide offered up a prayer for the hike. (3 new endemics.) Unfortunately Karsten had forgotten to bring the promised batteries (They use flash lights for fishing.) Later rain and wind set in and we were happy to be in such a protected anchorage. A quiet day of small chores and reading. We will have to wait until tomorrow to bring the gifts.

We woke up to sun and the arrival of several WARC yachts in the Suva harbour. After a quick catch-up with their news, we motor-sailed in light winds to the small island of Beqa,  25 nm away from the main island of Fiji. There we anchored in a beautiful and very protected bay and made our way to the traditional village. Here we were presented to the village chief, where we sat on traditional mats and offered our packages of ground Kava (Skipper had done his cultural research). The chief inquired about our nationalities ( Swedish, Canadian & German!) and our voyage and then offered up a prayer in his own language where we were sure we heard our nationsŽ names invoked. His clan joined in with refrains and claps and it was all fascinating. The youngest village children followed us on our walkabout and practiced their English on us and then enthusiastically helped us re-launch our dinghy. Later on the older school children motored up to Gunvor on their return boat journey from the primary school on the other side of the island. The helmsman of the 20 ft runabout told us the children just had to have a closer look at our lovely yacht. Apparently we are only the 2nd yacht to anchor here this season.

Up early to visit 3 government offices to continue our Fiji clearing-in process — which began yesterday when 3 officials visited Gunvor to start the paperwork chain. What a lot of bureaucracy compared to the other island nations we have visited so far! The sun was shining again and we did have a nice lunch on the old colonial balcony of a downtown restaurant and enjoyed watching the busy life of this capital city. Later a friendly taxi driver drove us all around the sights, including the parliament buildings which are not in use at all due to the military coup. The current president promises that there will be an elected government again in 2014 and until then the buildings will remain empty!  It was then fun to meet up with Birgitte, Ian and Fabian for dinner as they are now off the boat for 10 days of backpacking. In the meantime, we four oldies will cruise the southern “Coral Coast” of Fiji.

We now have really passed the 180° longitude and are now counting down the longitude numbers. The last 12 hours of the sail to Suva was a bit of a slog. Very confused seas meant that we were rolling like we have never done before, almost dipping the boom in the water every time. On top of that the sky was grey and dull, so although the seasickness was mainly over, nobody felt inspired to do major sailing. To protect the mainsail we then put on the motor the last few hours as it was banging about ferociously. Suva is not so exciting. The harbour is full of confiscated Chinese fishing boats all leaking massive amounts of diesel.

In principle a good sail with 15 – 20 knots of wind from favourable directions. Unfortunately accompanied by left over swell from the blow the day before. First Amelie went down. With a smile Fabian decided to get rid of the non existent breakfast. (Skipper was in a hurry as usual.) Next  Ian visited the railing. Sheila was relieved that she only felt uncomfortable. Fortunately GUNVØR didn’t care but just raced ahead under full main and Genoa.

Finally the photos from crossing the Pacific are online! Have a look at “Our Photos”!

We left Tonga at dawn. After a week of intermittent rain it was a relief to see the sun from a clear blue sky and a good wind direction. Unfortunately the swell from the blow in the days before remained, so 50 % of the crew is out due to being seasick. However it should be a fast 48 hour passage (400 nm).

We had a very wet evening at Fafa resort, an upscale resort on a small island just outside Nuku’alofa. Wet because Karsten fell in the water trying to take a picture of all when he transferred from boat to another (before the dinner!). Since it was a Polynesian evening with lots of Cava, singing and dancing it was very appropriate that the only clothes they could give him were a Polynesian loin cloth and a too tight T-shirt. But great food and super entertainment. Ian and Fabian were a bit tired when they had to get up next morning.

Our new crew from Hamburg, Jakob and Amelie, had to go straight from the airplane to sightseeing, dodging strong downpours all day. In the evening we then had lobsters. Unfortunately they were a lot smaller than expected and on top of that we forgot one in the pot. (Fabian found it and finder is keeper!)

Great excitement. During a strong squall our anchor dragged a bit. Since we were not on board our neighbours took it upon themselves to reset the anchor for us. 45 minutes getting completely drenched. The sailing community is really amazing. When we said thank you with a bottle of wine they just shrugged it off saying: “That was the least we could do. You also helped us when we came.”

The morning started with a golf game at the local 9 hole course (the only one in Tonga). Nobody else on the whole course. I don’t think this sport will really take off. Then lots of officialdom. First Karsten joined a local Rotary meeting and learned more about how it is to be a Palangi (European) in Tonga. Afterwards touring the Island Ian blocked the King`s motorcade. This is already our second meeting with him.  Can’t go on hobnobbing with all these Royals.

A lot of errands in the morning. In Tonga you need to be patient. There are lots of things to be had, you just have to go to very many stores to find it all. For example Karsten had to go to 5 computer stores to get a simple USB cable. In the afternoon Birgitte swam in an amazing under water cave full of the clearest freshwater.

A new logbook is online. Have a look at “Our Stories”!

We joined the King and Crown Prince of Tonga at a church service here in Nuku’alofa. All members of the congregation were dressed in black (still mourning the late King) and with the traditional Tongan mat tied around the waist. This did not stop them from singing like angels. To make sure our souls were cleansed we visited a further 5 church services. After having organised a rented car we then drove round the island. The main impression is – more churches. We counted at least 20 Mormon churches alone in a 50 km stretch. It seems every village has at least 6 different churches even when there are only 100 people living in the village. Scary!

After 2 days anchored completely alone of Ha’afeva we decided to move to the big city. Nuku’ alofa is the capital of Tonga with 30.000 inhabitants. We expect to be overwhelmed by all this mass of humanity. Again a weather system meant we had to go the whole way without stopping, otherwise we would have had 2-3 days with wind on the nose. There is actually a harbour where you dock Mediterranean style with an anchor and rear lines. Typically the wind picked up just as we were coming in to land, but all went well and we are now having dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

We are at anchor by the tiny island of Ha’afeva in the Kingdom of Tonga and off we went, all dressed up and bearing gifts, to Mary’s house, the local lady who yesterday invited us for lunch. She had set out a tablecloth on top of her beautifully woven floor mats and we sat down to a feast of grilled fish, taro leaves & corned beef in coconut milk, cassava root, bananas and delicious fresh coconut juice. Her English was good enough so that she could answer all our questions about life and customs on these isolated islands. All the children had great fun trailing us and calling out “bye-bye”. This will probably be the most remote village we will visit on the whole circumnavigation. Later we dinghied out to a Korean fishing boat wreck on the reef for some fantastic snorkeling – the coral was super and we saw a majestic pair of deadly lion fish – and kept our distance!

Headed for a new anchorage this morning where there are supposedly plenty of lobster to pluck from the reef. However the lobsters must have conspired with the wind gods so with the wind shift we had to alter course and seek a new refuge. Ended up at a lovely island called Ha`afeva with less than 100 inhabitants. While exploring, one of the villagers joined us and invited us to lunch at her home tomorrow. She is Mary and a Mormon – the Mormons have very well-maintained churches all over the South Pacific. We are now picking out various gifts to bring along, as we are 5 , we figure it has to be at least 5 gifts. One will of course be a Witt-Fan T-shirt!

We witnessed the Transit of Venus (across the sun) from where we moved anchor to – off the main village of the Ha’apai Group called Pangai. It was here that the crew of the Port au Prince was murdered in 1807 with only one survivor. He lived 5 years on Tonga before returning home. It is due to this “lucky” event that we have reasonably good information about Tonga before the missionaries came and ruined it. Also, on the horizon is the island Toafu where a few years earlier Cpt Bligh´s crew dumped him in a small boat in order to sail back to Tahiti. So, a dangerous place and thus we did take all possible precautions when we went ashore. We had our lunch in THE cafe in town, finding that our Hamburg friend Sönke Roever had also been there 4 years ago, only 3 pages back. Not many people come here.


A dawn start saw us traversing from Vava’u to the Ha’apai group of Tonga. After 7 hours (65 nm!) we dropped anchor in front of Ha’ano Island. The major issue was the cold. The water temperature has now dropped to 25°C and the air temperature is not much more. Brrrrr, we even need blankets at night to keep warm. We need to get back further north to the warm weather.

Our wonderful Danish crew of Kim and Leif left us today, having sailed with us for 3 weeks from Bora Bora via Suwarrow and Niue to The Kingdom of Tonga (circa 1500 nautical miles). They had been endlessly patient with the Witt Clan and had also endeared themselves to the other WARC sailors. Now we are 5 and while we searched for a lonely bay for a quiet night, we – of course – somehow ended up anchored together with 5 other WARC boats, 2 of whom have just arrived in Tonga, so of course we all got together for a party to welcome them. We didn’t stay too long at the party however, as we plan to rise at the crack of dawn in order to make it by sunset to the Ha`apai Group of Tonga which is 60 nautical miles away.

For some reason the day started slowly. Too much birthday celebration? After tidying up the boat, we left for an anchorage in the south of Vava’u. There we spend a quiet afternoon, watched some of the BBC Earth series and went to bed early.

Best Birthday Evah :) It was Birgitte’s birthday and we celebrated with all the Group1 WARC boats. We started with a birthday breakfast, then Birgitte got a Tongolese massage, mmmm. Next, we motored Gunvør, trailing 6 dinghies and with 28 guests, to the infamous Mariner’s Cave. Here 4 of us donned scuba gear and guided the rest, wearing just masks and flippers, into the cave. This is not for the faint-hearted: The dive in is 2.5 meters down and 7 meters across. We illuminatd the cave with L.E.D. balloons and marvelled at the mist which rises and evaporates with every surge and ebb of the waves. The acoustics for singing Happy Birthday were great. In the evening we dined at an eccentric Englishman´s restaurant (i.e. the song “Master of the House”) which we had booked for the whole WARC gang. With a super menu & rum punch and good wine, we sang songs and even pushed the tables aside to dance the traditional Danish “Les Lanciers”.

We are all supposed to walk miles for a certain cigarette, but how far would you dive for a boat hook? Well Fabian and Karsten went down 40 metres only to discover that the tide created a “sand storm” down below and that it was futile to look. Fortunately the other chores that Ian and Fabian did were more successful. The day finished with a snorkel and a great barbeque. Also all WARC crews have accepted our invitation to Birgitte`s birthday tomorrow. First a cave dive and then a communal dinner. The restaurant which had expected 12 guests sounded a bit overwhelmed when suddenly 29 were anounced for tomorrow night!

A new Logbook for the Tuamotus is online!

We rented a car and had a great day with 3 highlights: We hiked a mountain & saw the Tongan Whistler, had a guided tour through the botanical garden by the very charismatic former head of the agricultural ministry and found a great hardware store! A day when a real man´s dreams come true.

We were the last to leave the anchorage to check into Tonga. It may have something to do with the arrival party on board the night before . Four large Tongans then came to check us in. We filled out lots of strrange forms and then we were there. The town Neiafu is a 3 horse town, but with many bars and a nice feel to it because all the friendly people.  We finished the day with a great dinner ashore in the same resaturant that all the other WARC boats had also chosen.

After a lovely sail and after being robbed for a day we arrived in Tonga. The mainsail held up very well and only needsd a bit of TLC. We managed to sail the whole way without the motor. It was crowned by having to beat across the finishing line. Strange to go up wind after 6 month of down wind sailing. The night was spent at anchor before proceeding this morning to check into Tonga.

This day didn’t happen! We lost it. Where has it gone?


We left Niue this afternoon together with all the other WARC boats who were there,because the wind forecast changed dramatically over night. We are a bit like lemmings. When one leaves we all leave. Strange to think about where we are. Almost exactly on the other side of the world compared to Hamburg (10 °E compared to 170° W where we are now.) And don’t expect a 28.05.2012 latest news. We are arriving tomorrow in Tonga and it will be the 29th of May. One day in our lives will be lost. It is logical, but still emotionally strange.

The weather has split the fleet & boats are with us here in Niue, while approx. 20 are marooned in Suwarrow with strong winds there and between Niue and Suwarrow. The really bad news is that our good friends from the catamaran Ensemble dragged their anchor in Suwarrow and sustained 3 holes in the port hull. Fortunately the other WARC boats could help. Pumps were brought and underwater epoxy applied. They will be heading to Samoa for repairs whenever the weather allows it. We have spent the day bird watching (in the rain) and touring the island (in the rain). The evening ended with a lovely Niuian feast and a show from a local dance group.

So you are on a tropical island. What are your priorities? Joining a mainsail sewing circle is probably not one of them, especially when 4 out of 5 participants are male and not inclined to chatting and gossiping while sewing? But we did manage to tour part of the island. Gitte had taken the TOUR the day before and we followed it for free the day after, with her as our guide. The two chasms we hiked to were awesome! And we now have a mainsail again, rolled up and drying in a shed next to the community hall. We had to vacate the hall as it was due to be cleaned for a reception tomorrow night for……us!

Niue is a small, gorgeous island, independent, but in a “free association” with New Zealand. There is no harbour, just an exposed anchorage and instead of a dinghy dock, you actually have to use a dinghy crane to lift out and then launch your dinghy each time you go back and forth! No forgetting your sunglasses back on the yacht!! The Niue Yacht Club (logo: “The Biggest Little Yacht Club in the World” – it actually has no boats, just serves visiting yachties, who all become members) kindly organised the community hall for us to spread out our mainsail – plus all the two-component glue available on the island! After minor errands and chores in the morning and lunch at the Crazy Uga Cafe (ugas are the famous huge coconut crabs, which are endangered, but plentiful here), we set to work repairing both sides of the mainsail. Then Karsten and Sheila moved to a lovely small resort hotel where they will stay for the duration, giving our 5 crew a bit more space on the boat. We hope to stay for several days, but it all depends on the weather. The yacht club hosted a BBQ tonight and we hope to tour the island tomorrow, there are some fantastic chasms and caves.

A long day of sailing in strong winds and big waves – and with the main sail disintegrating before our eyes. We double-reefed it and still flew towards Niue. All 6 WARC boats converged course after 3 days of sailing and entered the anchorage in the dark, picking up mooring buoys with the help of other yachties. Then Leif dished up a fantastic roast beef dinner and we toasted our successful passage (First Ship Home and First on handicap as well, as we have the fewest motor hours by far) with wine and vodka shots and good music.

Contrary to all predictions the wind did not spend 10 hours to shift from w/ NW to SE. It did so in 5 minutes and full strength in both directions. Obviously there is a trough we are passing through with different winds on each  side. All the other group 1 boats were literally around us with 2 even within sight. We all should arrive the same time tomorrow night. There we will arrange a large glue party. Our efforts to stabilize the mainsail in Suwarrow were in vain,so we have to buy up all available 2 component glue in Niue and try and make some repair. (All addicts welcome) Fortunately we have a new mainsail waiting for us in Denmark. We just have to decide how and where it is to be sent to.

To sail or not to sail that is the question. The whole fleet is abuzz with speculation about a low developing on Friday over American Samoa and crossing the track between Suwarrow and Niue. Together with 5 other yachts from group 1 we set off yesterday. With 3-5 knots of wind GUNVØR actually could sail 3-5 knots, but the discussion on the net got to us, so this morning we put on the motor as well and are heading towards the wind and Niue. We expect to be there on Thursday morning. No reason to risk getting hit with 40 knots of wind just to prove that we are better at sailing in light winds. Also the flesh pots of civilization are calling for us in Niue after the Suwarrow experience.

After last night’s blow-out party on yacht Anastasia, it was time to leave Suwarrow today. Plus the weather report gave us a window now before a possible bad weather system which might descend upon us in a few day’s time. So 6 of the 8 WARC yachts pulled anchor at noon, just before the first yachts of group 2 started arriving (they departed Bora Bora three days after our group 1).There was very little wind for the first hours but as the other boats turned on their motors one by one, we persevered and now the wind has freshened a bit and we are ghosting along at 6 knots — in 6 knots of wind ! This is thanks to our large and lightweight Code 2 foresail, and 0.5 knots of favourable current.

Birdwatching and snorkeling during the day and at 3pm we 8 WARC boats gathered on the beach of Suwarrow for a communal BBQ orchestrated by the Aussie contingent. They had caught a massive moray eel which they threw on the barbie. But most of us waited for the steaks! Then we all ended up on the large catamaran of our fleet, “Anastasia”, a Catana 522,  where the British crew had set up party lights. The 30 of us danced to 60s classics on their huge party deck and sprawled on their trampoline at the bow, watching the small sharks swirling underneath, illuminated by the boatŽs underwater lighting.

Five of the other WARC boats made it in to Suwarrow this morning. Two boats from start 1 are still out there. After 3 hours of to-dos (tape the mainsail, fix the auto pilot, reattach the spinnaker halyard ring (plus cleaning & laundry) we went snorkeling on some amazing reefs. All boats congregated for a sundowner on Tom Neale’s beach including 3 non-WARC boats. Ian led excursions to watch large coconut crabs and investigate a “geocache”. The day ended with a beautiful tuna dinner by Birgitte and a nature DVD of the South Seas from the BBC. We were all exhausted by 9pm – also  known as “the cruiser’s midnight”!

As the sun rose we put on great music and coasted the last miles to Suwarrow in the middle of the Pacific. It is an atoll, similar to the Tuamotus, but part of the Cook Islands – and a nature reserve. In the light winds of last night we benefited from our super Code 1 sail, while we discovered in the morning roll call that all the other boats in our group had to resort to the motor. Thus we have won this part of the race: first ship home and also on handicap. We are anchored next to the iconic hut of the infamous Tom Neale, a Kiwi hermit who lived here for 20 years and wrote a book :”An Island to Oneself”. Now 2 park rangers live here for six months’ of the year, but they haven’t arrived yet for the yachtie season. There were already 3 non-WARC boats anchored here when we arrived at 13:00 hrs – and amazingly, one has a couple from Rissen & Wedel – Hamburg!

Sheila is suspecting an evil plot by Kim and Karsten.They claim Mabel, our trusted autopilot is not a 100% and can only be recalibrated in Suwaarrow. So we are (as usual) hand steering. The hardship is limited. All day we were racing ahead under spinnaker with up to 21 knots of wind. The wind died in the evening, but changed direction so under Code 1 we are ghosting along at 7 knots with only 5-6 knots of wind. Less than 90 miles to go to Suwarrow.

As bird lovers/ nerds we were delighted when last night a Brown Booby decided to spend the night on our Bimini. Before he left us in the morning he left his calling card all, and we mean all, over the Bimini. Gitte got the job to clean it and is now species-prejudiced, as are we all, against Boobies. The next one will land in the pot. Sheila made up for it with a lovely halfway cake and the wonderful weather make up for the rest.

A typical day in the trade winds: A good breakfast of muesli, bread, fruit, tea and coffee. Lunch: Left over lasagne and a cold gazpaccio soup. Afternoon with gucamole and chips. Dinner: Pork roast with potatoes and an onion gravy sauce. The cook was secretly happy that a big tuna we had caught got away. We have soooo much food that we need to eat. All this with a back drop of steady 10-15 knots trade winds and a blue sky. Sailing doesn`t get better, especially when you have pulled away from your competitors.

Sailing again! The first part of the fleet started to Tonga today.
Karsten: “After a busy morning we led the fleet out the pass from Bora Bora. 650 nm to Suwarrow, an uninhabited atoll in the Pacific ocean where the kiwi Tom Neale spent many years as the lone inhabitant greeting passing yachts. We are very much looking forward to a deserted anchorage and just being with the WARC fleet after all the bustling of the Society Islands and Bora Bora. Great sailing conditions at 12 – 15 knots trade winds. Kept the spinnaker up all night and at the morning roll call for our fleet we found out that we had already done enough to defend our handicap for the whole leg.”

Bicycled the 32 km around Bora Bora today. Our shape (or was it the bikes) wasn’t too good as we had to push our bikes up the only hill on the whole Island. The day ended with a dinner and some Tahitian dancing. Tomorrow we are off to Suwarrow in the Cooke Islands.

Panic today as we heard from several boats that there were no eggs to be had on the island. We are about to sail for 2 weeks with no provisioning possibilities and, with a 7-man-crew, we need eggs! And it was true, both supermarkets claimed to be sold out. But that was before Birgitte, in her lovely French, gave a sob story about how she had to be cook on a sailboat with 6 men (conveniently forgetting that her Mom is a woman) and suddenly she was taken to the back of the shops (this ploy worked in both places) and given 2 dozen eggs in each so that we now have plenty. The focus of the day was the fancy-dress rubber dinghy race: all was allowed, just no motor, the goal was not to win, but to stop the others by all sorts of sabotage. Ian and Fabian, decked out in blond and Rasta wigs and Viking helmuts, took our kajak with two paddles and a mini-sail and spent most of the time fighting with the Swedish dinghy that stole one of their paddles. Best Costume was the Aussie boat where the four men were decked out in hot pink gear. Our newest crew, Kim & Leif from Denmark, arrived just in time for the cocktail hour and the fun prize-giving and were quickly embraced by the WARC gang. Then we 7 crew dinghied over to a waterside restaurant for a superb dinner.
This morning, after we said farewell to Andreas, the 5 of us swam with gigantic manta rays here in Bora Bora! The  huge lemon sharks paled in comparison. Overall Bora Bora is too American and not really Polynesia. Actually a bit of a disappointment, but fully made up for by the whole fleet getting together and having parties and for Sheila and Karsten having both their children on board.
Note: Don’t believe all you read. The latest WARC newsletter has another boat leading the fleet leaving St. Lucia. Of course that was GUNVØR. Hopefully they will correct it on-line.

A new Logbook is online!

Ian and Fabian have arrived! Tonight we are going to “Bloody Mary´s” which is supposed to be a great restaurant to celebrate Ian’s graduation. (Actually we are really celebrating that he finally got his driver´s license.) Meanwhile Andreas and Karsten have managed to work through the whole to-do list. Only the generator may or may not still be drawing air from somewhere and is acting up.

Today we sailed through the pass into Bora Bora. Beautiful Bora Bora! A dream of a lifetime fullfilled. Before that we motored around the island of Tahaa. Definitely a place to return to. Relatively untouched, but with a beautiful reef. Nice then to spend the Happy Hour with 6 other WARC boats in Bora Bora. Being part of a floating village is special.

Andreas invited us to an amazing dinner. But before that he had to circumnavigate the whole island of Raiatea with us, have a picnic overlooking one of the most beautiful reefs in the world, experience arguably the best snorkel he has ever had, fix the generator (we hope), spend an hour up the mast and see an amazing moon rise over neighbouring Huahine. We will miss him.

Well, getting up early to bird watch is not really 8 o’clock, but since there are no endemic birds to see, it didn’t matter that we headed out late, up the only navigable river in Polynesia with our dinghy. For 2 hours we dodged rapids, crouched under low hanging branches and circumvented fallen over palm trees. Because of the recent rains we made it further up the river than most, but rapids which couldn’t even be passed at 8 knots of boats speed made us turn around and float back among the floating bread fruits and coco nuts, even sighting an eel. After that we headed for the major town of Raiatea, Uturoa and a nice movie night with 12 Moons. 3 days until Ian arrives!

When Andreas asked during the beautiful night sail from Moorea to Raiatea, whether the moon was brighter than usual, skipper tried to explain it away with less dust in the air. However we then discovered that the real truth was that the moon was the closest to the earth for the whole year and therefore much bigger than usual. Arriving at dawn we anchored off Marae Taputapuatea, the most important religious site in Polynesia. After Karsten’s pancakes for breakfast and some good sightseeeing, we moved to a better anchorage and finished the day with sundowners on WARC yacht 12 Moons.

Spent the morning diving on the reef here in Moorea. Two turtles were feeding right in front of us and barely took any notice of us a few feet away. Also, the fish would swim right up to your goggles. Who was looking at whom? Later this afternoon we are off to Raiatea overnight. 100nm and a good breeze should see us there early tomorrow morning.

We left gorgeous Cook’s Bay (i.e. Sheila’s illustrious ancestor) – which the famous explorer actually never properly entered – for neighbouring Opportunity Bay where Cook got his crew organised again after the flesh pots of Tahiti. The scenery is equally spectacular. Instead of copying Cook by making his crew scrub the boat, Karsten rather invited the crew to a scrumptious dinner at the local Hilton resort. It was magical with a sunset to remember and a dinner to follow including the Poilly Fume to accompany it.

After 8 days in Papeete, it was time to leave! We got up at the crack of dawn and hit the fresh market for the last provisions. Birgitte & Sheila also had an important date to pick up their specially-tailored hibiscus dresses. Karsten was too impatient to wait, but kindly returned with two gorgeous fresh flower crowns for his ladies, which they proudly wore all day, even for the 18nm sail over to neighbouring Moorea and for the cocktail party we then hosted for the WARC boats already anchored there. P.S. Andreas has fully recovered :)

Andreas defined the day. First he had to bow to Queen Pomare’s revenge.( i.e his guts didn’t agree with the food.). Because he had dismantled the manual toilet he had a problem! So half dying he tried to finish the installation, but the wrong electrical diagramme had him stumped. Karsten became the hero. 2 minutes work and he found the right connection and now we have 2 working toilets again. It may sound like a small issue, but Andreas is certainly looking forward to an evening of solitude on his new toilet.

While Gitte and Sheila had a beauty/ shopping day, Andreas installed a new electric toilet and saved the boat from sinking. The shower pump had been installed in reverse and started flooding the boat. Turning it off didn’t help as it is under the water line, only closing the sea cock averted a disaster. Karsten’s work with the Genset guy was not so crowned by success, as he couldn’t find a reason why the generator starts so badly. Well, he is back tomorrow (we hope).

Our new crew member Andreas Tempel arrived from Hamburg at 6am and off we went to the market for fruit, steak, ‘poisson cru’ & croissants. The day was dry and the men built in the spare parts that Andreas had brought in his excess baggage: for the boom, hatch, main sail, lights, etc. Sheila & BIrgitte worked under deck, taking up floorboards for inventory & cleaning. Then the rain set in once more so the communal dock BBQ had to be cancelled. We therefore invited some of the WARC sailors over for a very fun dinner party.

And still it rains. But Sheila and Karsten took their car and drove to Petit Tahiti on the tracks of Fredrick O’Brien, whose books from 1912 on Tahiti & Marquesas they have been reading. The scenery was spectacular. It is easy to imagine what it was like to travel around the islands by canoe and horse & carriage. An air conditioned car certainly has its advantages though.
The new tracker is online on the WARC homepage. Hopefully it will be updated on the GUNVØR homepage soon as well..

We were interviewed for local Tahiti TV this morning and even managed to see the show on TV in the early evening. Karsten & Birgitte were interviewed in French but somehow in the broadcast it appeared that they could speak Tahitian! Otherwise a day of errands (and more rain) in our rental car, with the girls, despite several late nights with the young WARC gang, gamely schlepping all the cases of soft drinks & beer -and catching 40 winks in the backseat. We said a sad goodbye to Amanda, she has been a super crew member. She was also sad to leave us, especially as she is going from 30+° here to 2° and snow in Montreal!

We 3 Witts joined the WARC bus tour of Tahiti. It poured rain non-stop all day and we dutifully trooped (or rather waded) around the sites, including where Sheila´s ‘ancestor’ Cpt Cook landed & observed the Transit of the Planet Venus (to occur again this year on June 5th), various waterfalls, Tiki sites, botanical gardens, etc. We were especially happy to visit the two very dry museums. Amanda was also wet during the day, but more comfortably, as she went on two dives: shark feeding and swimming through 2 wrecks (seaplane & ship). In the evening she treated the Witts to a Captain’s Dinner at a cosy Italian/French/Polynesian restaurant where the handsome young owner joined us at the end, pouring drinks and telling us tales of the true Tahiti.

A “lovely” day cleaning, although the rainy weather actually made it more bearable. After a good presentation about the Society Islands and a sexy Polynesian dance show (Gitte got pulled to the floor as usual), there was the prizegiving for leg 3. As expected we got a very credible 2nd place. We also got our Polynesian tatoos like many others in the WARC fleet. Gitte a manta ray on her neck, Sheila a cool shark on her ankle and Karsten an intricate turtle on the arm. However whereas it took the others 6 hours and a lot of pain, ours only took 20 seconds and a wet sponge.

It was a lovely starry night sail to Tahiti, and we were greeted in the downtown harbour of Papeete by the many WARC boats who had already arrived for the Rally festivities. Off to lunch at the closest bar/cafe and we ran into even more sailors. While the girls enjoyed a “Bummel” in the town, Karsten & Sheila started on chores. Later all the boats got together for a potluck BBQ on the docks. Tomorrow is cleaning day!

On our way to Tahiti, which we expect to reach tomorrow morning, we stopped at Makatea. It used to be inhabited by thousands of people due to the phosphate mining that took place there. We had to use the kayak since there was no way to anchor and the swell was too daunting for the dinghy. While the girls motored in lazy circles, Karsten & Sheila landed & walked up the hill seeing abandoned equipment such as small trains, trucks, houses and train tracks, all almost completely overgrown with vines and other plants. It was quite spooky. Finally we made it to a small village with the remnants of the population. The final part of the adventure was to paddle through the surf with one of the chambers in the kayak completely deflated. And, ah ,yes we did see the Makatea Fruit Dove and the Polynesian Imperial Pigeon. (both endemic to Makatea)

Today we all made advances in our Padi career. Amanada became an Open Water diver and all of us received our Nitrox certification. As usual Karsten didn`t agree with all the official Padi answers, whereas Gitte and Sheila scored 100%. Also Karsten managed a drift dive through the pass. Tomorrow we set sail for Tahiti

Today was one of the days why we have taken on this whole project. Sheila and I took a tour with 4 others to the Blue Lagoon of Rangiroa. This is a minuture atoll within the atoll. After strolling around the various motus (islands), and admiring the aquamarine colour of the water in the lagoon, we were served a scrumptious Barbeque on the beach, the remnants which we fed to 20-30 black tipped reef sharks. After watching larger sharks being fed from the safety of hanging off the boat, the day ended with a drift snorkel through one of the passes of Rangiroa. You feel like Superman flying when you glide along amongst hundreds of fish at 2-3 knots. The real highlight however was the unexpected pleasure of seeing the Blue Lorikeet, which is endemic to the Tuamotus and on the critical endangered A list. What a day!

We all did multiple dives as part of our Nitrox course (Amanda is doing the “Bubble maker” course, also called Open Water) with seeing a hammerhead shark as the highlight. We also had a minor odysee getting some diesel.  With the help of Hr. Benkert we finally got the air conditioning going again in the saloon. How come we were all so tired that we fell asleep at 21:00 hours?

Going to a pearl farm with my 3 beauties may not be a good idea, especially when they have air conditioned the sales room and it is 34°C outside. It was very interesting to see how they seed the oysters and extract pearls up to 3 times. Gitte & Amanda made small purchases, Sheila did not really see anything she wanted. The evening ended with a dinner with 6 other WARC crews.

The Marqueses-Photos are online, see under “Our Photos”.

After a lovely night sail we arrived at slack water at the pass in Rangiroa and had a smooth ride into the lagoon. Many of our WARC friends were already here and had booked a table, which we could join, at the upscale Kia Ora resort. The food was excellent, but it was the gyrating hips of the dancers of the floorshow that made the evening unforgettable. No wonder the Bounty had trouble in these waters.

After a too long and too hot walk (but it did yield a Tuamotus Read Warbler (Endemic)), we left Fakarava and set sail for Rangiroa. It is about 130 nm, but very little wind. So we are drifting through the night with 4-5 knots. Fortunately we are meandering our way between the atolls of Toau, Niau, Apataki, Kaukura and Arutua, so the waves are very small.

Birgitte had a so-called technical dive today: a challenging drift dive with a strong current, the reward was seeing over 100 sharks. This was in the swift-flowing passage way into the atoll, featuring canyons carved by the current. In the afternoon we went to a double birthday party on the Swedish yacht “Working on a Dream” (yes, the skipper loves Bruce Springsteen) and had fantastic marzipan-coated Swedish Princess Cake. Note: A new long log has been posted on The Marquesas, see under “Logbook” and then “Our Stories”.

While Birgitte did a reef dive in preparation for a drift dive tomorrow through one of the most famous passes in the Tuamotos, Sheila, Amanda and Karsten snorkled on the same reef. Karsten was sad because he couldn’t dive due to an annoying bronchial infection. Hopefully antibiotics will soon do the trick.

After months of downwind sailing, it was a bit of an adjustment to beat through the night in uncomfortable seas. The waves over the bow seeped in through the gerry-rigged hatch repair job and so today we did laundry and dried cushions in our sunny new anchorage in Fakarava. The lagoon is huge – 35 miles across. During the day we were happy to see one WARC ship after the other arrive at the anchorage and a big group of us went by dinghies to the village´s one restaurant for delicious fish. Scuba diving is on for tomorrow, today there was a (small) shark under the boat, so we will rely on the professional diving guide to keep us safe!

Having tried everything to get the generator running smoothly, we finally ran the consumption tank dry and refilled it from diesel tank 2. Since then it runs just like it did when I left Panama. We suspect Horst by accident has put water in diesel tank 1 which is right by the inlet for the water tank. One problem solved & a new one comes up. We are now on our way to Fakarava sailing at night and in a tack the genoa sheet got around one of the forward small hatches and totally bent it out of shape, so it needs to be replaced. More things for Andreas to bring.

With Gitte winched up to the first spreaders as a coral head spotter, we motored cautiously across Ahe`s 6 mile lagoon to a tiny hamlet. Here we furitively asked around for where we could buy black market black pearls from one of the pearl farms before the pearls are shipped off to Tahiti and sold for 3 x the price (10 x in Europe). A colourful ‘Mahu’ (a traditional Polynesian Gender-Bender in a rose blouse and blue skirt) led us over a rocky stream to a “dealer” and Karsten’s 3 lady crew loved pouring over the pearls and picking their favourites for purchase. Later we had fun watching the once-weekly supply ship arrive from Tahiti followed by a parade of small motor boats from the houses all around the lagoon, obviously eagerly anticipating their goodies.


After 2&1/2 days sailing 500nm, we arrived early morning at the narrow entrance to the atoll Ahe at the perfect moment of high tide (well-timed, skipper!). Four WARC boats were there and advised re anchoring amongst the coral heads. We are in what appears to be a huge lake as the atoll is a huge circle of sand and palm trees. We snorkled with sharks (reef, harmless) and caught up with all the other crews.

We have had a day of squall-dodging. One monster system was 10 miles long and we sailed alongside it for hours benefiting from it`s wind and blessed rain. Blessed as it cooled the boat down to a comfortable 26°. Birgitte actually got goosebumps from the “cold” weather. Saw a black-browed albatross, a double rainbow and another spectacular sunset while enjoying our sundowners.

A perfect day. Although we had to motor for part of the day it allowed Karsten to bake pancakes and almost catch a tuna. (It just got away 1 m from the boat. This evening a good breeze has come back and we are now halfway to Manihi our planned first landfall in the Tuamotus. By sailing together with SeaQuest and Ensemble we even have a 3 times a day “Quasselrunde”/ radio talk.

Karsten did a bird walk on Ua Pou. (Due to the late night with Ensemble in the hottest of mid day sun.) It only yielded 3 new Endemics. After the other WARC boats had left we (i.e. Karsten) also got itchy feet and we are heading for Ahe in the Tuamotus (now renamed Tomatoes) this afternoon.

When the promised dance with which we had lured SeaQuest and Ensemble didn’t materialize here in Hakahau, Ua Pou we dragged them off to a catholic Easter church service instead. The whole village had turned out, all dressed in white with flowers in their hair and proceeded to sing like angels. They where capable of producing the most beautiful harmonies and no song books were needed.

Super sailing day! Comfortable 10 knots of wind and we sailed on an easy beam reach for the 65 nautical miles to the spectacular island of Ua Pou. The tall thin mountain formations look like gothic skyscrapers. Karsten’s 3 female crew conducted themselves honourably: all the sail and anchor maneuvers went off splendidly. The WARC yacht SeaQuest was in the harbour and came over for an extended drink hour so we could catch up on all our news.

Daniel obviously didn’t want to leave, first he revved the dinghy to leave, having forgotten to untie it – then, having been dropped off on the dinghy dock, he frantically called Gitte on the VHF as he had forgotten his passport on board! The 4 of us, Karsten, Sheila, Gitte & Amanda, then motored in beautiful sunshine and light winds the 8 miles to an idyllic anchorage on the island of Tahuata. We swam and explored the beach and bays and later had drinks with World ARC boats Matilda and Peat Smoke, who arrived just before sunset.

Into the village with our rental car for the last fresh foodstuffs. We continued on an around-the-island tour on the hair-raising roads. The highlight was the archaeological site where we admired an array of ancient Tiki statues and considered the cannabalism that was there celebrated. Later we admired a Catholic stone church from 1878, at least they halted the tribal wars. Gitte cooked a mean fresh tuna curry for supper while the men struggled with the generator.

Gitte and Daniel put the last polish on Gunvør just as Karsten & Sheila arrive for the white glove inspection. Also along for this leg is Gitte’s McGill girlfriend Amanda. It Is like Christmas as the excess baggage & boxes are unpacked to reveal everything from pumps to wasabi paste. After servicing the freezer, we all head into the charming village of Atouna, touring the museums of Paul Gaugin and Jacques Brel – and the graves of both. Dinner is up a crazy road at the Auberge of Frenchman Alex’s, featuring homemade foie gras. We gave him a pennant of our Hamburg SVAOe sailing club for his poolside bar.

While enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the sun, we were heartily pleased to greet Danish boat MIE, who have just completed the journey from the Galapagos. This gorgeous 1870′s restored Brig has been shadowing us since Portugal. They had left Galapagos on the same day as we did, but the light winds of the past two weeks delayed their arrival until now. The rest of the day was spent shopping, tinkering and cleaning the boat. The water in the bay is much cleaner than when it was full with 20-odd World ARC boats, so we even ventured into the water to scrub the waterline. Daniel is packing up his belongings, and laughing that he ever thought it necessary to bring a fleece and a woolen hat! You can take the sailor out of the North Sea, but you can’t take the fear of the cold out of the North Sea sailor.

Well, we sank the boat. Only kidding, Dad! In fact we completely forgot it was April Fool’s in the whirlwind of Jonas and Kay leaving. Now it’s just Daniel and Gitte until Sheila, Karsten and Amanda arrive on the 3rd. But boredom certainly wasn’t a feature of the day, with enough tasks on board to keep us busy between dozing in the sun. Tomorrow we will head into town to stock up on all those luxury goods that we were too poor to afford on our voyages. Just promise not to tell Karsten and Sheila if some of it goes missing before their arrival…

The Germans have a lovely sailing-related word: Hafenkino! Literally Harbour-cinema, it describes the spectacles you may catch while sitting around in harbour. Failed docking maneuvers, boats getting stuck aground, or, as in the case of yesterday in Taahauke anchorage, anchor drama! There must have been something in the air (there was, a strong sidewards breeze), as almost none of the boats leaving the harbour that day came away without problems. We`’ll name no names, but there were anchors stuck under anchor chains, anchors that got lost, anchors that refused to be hauled to the surface. And all the while, a flotilla of small motor boats buzzed around, playing tugboat to ensure none of the ships crashed into each other. Who needs movies when you have this kind of entertainment! Later in the day, we were invited over to Ensemble and then went for dinner with them at a nearby pizza place. It was fantastic, but never have any of us seen pizzas so huge or so laden with toppings. Gitte managed only two pieces, and even Jonas of the wooden leg had to leave two pieces half-eaten on his plate!

By shorecrew in Auckland, NZ: Had lunch with Marie and Charles from Dreamcatcher who will join the WARC in Fiji. They were very surprised to see us, expecting us to be in Hiva Oa. As they say the Witts are like a bad penny. They turn up in the most unexpected places.

It’s safe to say none of our crew felt at their best when we rolled out of bed at 5.30 in the morning to head back to Hiva Oa. But once we had raised the anchor and headed out into open ocean, we were rewarded with a lovely brisk breeze and a lively jaunt back down south. And we arrived in the nick of time – the sailors back in Taahukuu Bay had organised a huge pig roast, and as soon as we had dropped anchor we were whisked off to join in the fun! The traditional Polynesian food, cooked in an underground oven, or “umu”, was delicious, but the highlight for us was returning to see so many familiar faces. It’s wonderful how each reunion with the World ARC feels like a homecoming. And with Peat Smoke as the last boat arriving earlier in the day, all of us have made it across the ocean safely!

We spent a leisurely morning getting ready to leave Taiohae Bay, including stops to get baguettes and the gendarmerie. Then we set off! .. Under motor. The wind was pretty much directly on the nose towards Taipivai in the Baie du Controleur, so we enjoyed a leisurely two hours motoring along Nuku Hiva’s stunning coastline. In the evening we headed over to Seaquest for what became a very fun, very loud, very late night indeed. Boy, do the Dutch know how to party.

New logbooks! Worth reading. Written by Telse and Gitte and therefore really good.

Today was the sad departure of Arne and Henrik. To celebrate their time on the boat, we had a big booze-up with Yacht Eva Louise last night, which was so successful that a few crew members didn’t make it home until dawn. But come morning, even the islands seemed sad that the two boys were leaving, pouring rain non-stop for hours after they’d left. The remaining crew, Daniel, Gitte, Jonas and Kay spent a leisurely morning mourning their loss, and then headed into town for some shopping. Tomorrow we head to Taipivai Bay with yacht Seaquest to celebrate Janet’s birthday and to see if we can find the waterfall. Gitte is especially excited, as she is currently reading Melville’s “Typee”, which takes place on Nuku Hiva – the title of the book being our destination tomorrow!

Our quiet jaunt to Nuku Hiva turned out quite differently, with the weather gods seemingly deciding to punish us for our prolonged absence from the high seas. The first shift discovered that the joint between the mast and the boom is damaged, necessitating a huge repair job. During the second shift, a fierce squall ripped the mainsheet out of Gitte’s hands, taking most of her skin with it. The third shift performed several Chinese (accidental) jibes, with the wind shifting direction like nobody’s business. After that ordeal, it was a relief to finally arrive in Taiohe Bay, a huge semi-sunken caldera of a long-extinct volcano. We filled up on duty-free diesel and spent a leisurely day alternating between errands, exploring the town, and dozing in the sun. After sunset, the lights glimmering along the harbour front put one in mind of the Queen’s Necklace in Mumbai. What a beautiful place!


We’ve decided to change our itinerary. So far, our plan had been to stay put so that Arne and Henrik could fly out on the 28th, Jonas and Kay on the 1st, have Karsten, Sheila and Amanda arrive on the 3rd of April and Daniel leave on the 5th before beginning our free cruising period. But after a week in the same bay, we began to get antsy, and decided to head out to Nuku Hiva. An added bonus to this plan is that there is a severe diesel shortage on Hiva Oa, and the only diesel we could score would be at a premium price. So late this evening we set sail, hoping to arrive in Taiohe Bay by early morning. An added plus is that when Arne and Kay fly on Wednesday, they are meant to transfer in Nuku Hiva anyway, so we may be able to stay for several days instead of rushing back. Taihoe is the capital of the Marquesas, so we are looking forward to the hustle and bustle!

Today was our great day of exploration! We rented two cars, and along with Robin and Mark from Bronwyn, we headed into the interior. The first stop was the hamlet of Hanaiapa on the north side of the island, which boasts a lovely beach and a beautiful natural monument in the middle of the bay. Unfortunately the beach could also boast of its population of No-Nos, also called No-See-Ums, a tiny but fierce variety of sandfly, which dashed our hopes of staying long. Next we headed east along the spine of the island. The differences in vegetation as we climbed and descended were stunning, especially a totally unexpected vista of -pine trees! We could have been in Northern Europe. Our next stop was the village of Hanapaaoa, where we were led by some local children to the Tiki Moe One, a quirky statue with a crown on its head. It was a very steep climb, but well worth it, and Gitte even had some Ricola (a Swiss candy) to give to the children as thanks. Our next stop was Puamau, which boasts the Iipona Archeological site, the biggest in French Polynesia. However, the paved road was long gone, and the hour’s drive on winding roads thousands of feet above the ocean was not for the faint-hearted. We were rewarded though, by both the site and a lovely lunch in the town. We then hightailed it back to Atuona in time to do some shopping (beer, what else?), and then joined the World ARC crews for coconut juice and an absolutely magnificent display of Marquesan dancing. The music and dancers were so talented and enthusiastic (they even did a Haka!) that when we were asked to come up and join in the dancing, the whole World ARC ran forward! What a wonderful day.

We had a very early start, getting up at 6 a.m. and hightailing it back up to the pension on the hill. Today was the meeting of the German Offshore Owner’s Association, held every year in the Rathaus (the town hall) in Hamburg. We were receiving a prize as the boat that had traveled the furthest this year, and the organisers had the idea to have us accept the award ‘live’ over skype from our exotic location. But alas, the whole enterprise was fraught with difficulties. First, though the event had been planned for weeks, we had received no information as to organisation as of the evening before, when Daniel called his father in Hamburg and begged him to call around and make enquiries. Then, as they confirmed last-minute that they did indeed want us to make an appearance, they mentioned that this was going to happen right at the start of the event, at 17.30 German time – 7 a.m. our time, which we were told at 11 p.m. the night before! Then the skype connection was faulty, with no sound coming through. Finally, the connection cut out for a minute or two, but by the time we got it working again, our moment in the programme had passed, and the whole thing had been for naught. Not exactly typical German organisation!

Gunvør XL live on stage!
Im Hamburger Rathaus fand gestern die Verleihung des German Offshore Awards statt. Zur Eröffnung der Preisverleihung wurden Gitte und Daniel live per Internet in den Saal geschaltet. In Hamburg konnte man die Sonne über der hübschen Bucht von Hiva Oa aufgehen sehen, Gitte und Daniel waren etwas “dunkel”. Die Gunvør hat einen Sonderpreis als Schiff auf der längsten Regatta bekommen!

Today was the first day with a good dose of relaxation, as most of the crew was hungover, and Gitte was in the throes of a headcold. Around 3pm we decamped to a local pension where the World ARC staff is staying, which has a delightful  pool, hammocks, foosball table, internet and absolutely the best view over the bay. We enjoyed a family-style dinner of home-made foie gras (gotta love that French influence!) and pork with olives, and whiled the eveninig away over fun and games.

A full day of repairs. Both the fore- and mainsails were treated to some TLC, the freezer was defrosted (high time!) and the boat scrubbed and polished. Bertie and Estella from Anastasia came over for pre-dinner beers, and in the evening, the boys were invited over to Eva-Louise (Gitte had a headache), an Aussie boat that is ‘following’ the World ARC. It was a raucous evening in best Aussie style, complete with guitars and too much beer. Thankfully our to-do list was mostly done, as the 2 a.m. return guaranteed a sluggish crew the next morning!

We took full advantage of our first night and day in harbour, starting with the whole crew sleeping in – until 8 am! After a morning of small jobs and bureaucracy, we headed to the town of Atuona. The town itself is tiny (it takes 10 minutes to walk its length) and very charming. The prices certainly weren’t exaggerated, but the selection was A+ – we even stocked up on Nutella for our German contingent!  We invited the crews from Sapphire and 12 Moons, who both arrived in the early morning, over for convivial sundowners, which lasted so long we never did make dinner. Tomorrow we’ve planned an exciting day of repairs and odd jobs before spending the rest of the week exploring the island.

We made it! We made it! We had a lovely day of 12-knot winds, and caught our first glimpse of land around 11.30 a.m. The increased number of birds swooping through the air had hinted at our proximity all morning, and soon enough the impressive crags of Hiva Oa were to starboard. Just as we drew level with the eastern tip of the island, a huge rainstorm engulfed it, missing us, but revealing the island in sunshine to us bit by bit as it passed. The most intoxicating moment came as the wind brought the smell of the rainwashed forests to our noses, so different from the salty sea. After crossing the finish line, we frantically worked to take down the spinnaker and mainsail, and got the boat in ship-shape in time to anchor in Tahauke Bay. The bay itself is magnificent, in a natural caldera in the shadow of the huge mountain. We laid out a double anchor, with a tender borrowed from our new Irish neighbours, and settled down to celebrate our successful passage in style! Thank you so much to those who have been following our journey, your support has been greatly appreciated!

By shore crew: They finished as first ship home at around 4:00 UTC. Shore crew off to India. More news to follow.


Last night was absolutely gorgeous. The skies stayed clear of squalls, though also clear of wind, which meant we had to motor pretty much continuously between midnight and dawn. But this sad fact was ameliorated by the sheer number of falling stars, which streaked across the night sky at intervals measurable in minutes. We also have a very nifty programme called Stellarium onboard, which replicates the sky and its constellations for any given date, time and latitude and longitude. It’s particularly handy since most of the stars are unfamiliar to us northern hemisphere dwellers. The day itself turned out to be particularly hot thanks to those clear skies, though with a respectable 11 knots of wind, allowing us to make some honest progress. We think we will probably make landfall sometime in the night between Monday and Tuesday, which Skipper says means we’ll cross the finish line, heave to and spend the night drinking all the booze we haven’t touched. Oh, how we hope he isn’t joking!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! While most of the crew were unfamiliar with this particular holiday (and why they were not swayed to allow just a hint of beer), we have prepared something for the occasion, which alas you must wait until we get to an internet connection to see. All we can reveal is, it might be a good idea to bone up on your Dubliners. Otherwise, a variable day. The finish line is creeping closer, no thanks to the fickle wind. We’ve decided that if we’re doing less than 3 knots of speed, it’s time to use the Iron Lady (engine), so we must have put up and taken down the spinnaker/Code/Alditüte a dozen times today. On the bright side, the nightly squalls decided to make a daytime appearance instead, where we could be braver about braving them.

What an action-packed 24 hours we have had! First off, everyone send good thoughts Jonas’ way, for today is his 20th Birthday! We celebrated with his special request, pancakes, for lunch, and rounded off the afternoon with cake, coffee and, really cutting loose, a bit of beer. His haul of presents included a Galapagos hat and tshirt, a souvenir bottle of Pacific water, a car magazine and a beautiful fishing lure. However, the one thing he emphatically did not get for his birthday was good sailing weather. It started last night, where we for the first time were hit by squall after squall, getting soaked, calling all hands on deck, and trying to ride out 28knot winds. The squalls disappeared in the early morning after numerable sail changes, and left us to a sweltering, muggy day of almost no wind at all. Annoyingly, it seems the rest of the fleet is enjoying brisk winds behind us, while we are driven to start the motor when our speed drops to 3 knots. It looks as though despite our lead we will not take this leg, but we are still hoping we can at least pull off First Ship Home.

Another slow day. Last night the pace had picked up a bit, with huge, ominous clouds following us most of the night and bringing us speeds of 16-18 knots. The crew has reached that inevitable point during a slowdown where squalls are eagerly watched in the hopes that they will strafe us. But towards morning the skies cleared up again, and we were hoping for wind or rain in vain. Our crawl is made worse by the knowledge that our competitors behind us are enjoying livelier winds and catching up! Another 12 hours of this and we may well start seriously planning an elaborate sacrifice to the Gods of Wind – anyone have a comely Greek maiden to spare?

By shore crew: The last 12 hours GUNVØR has had less wind than the rest of the fleet, so they have been able to catch up a bit. That may continue as it looks to be progressively less wind the closer to the Marquesas they are getting.

The first week of the trip we were very lucky with our moonlight. Full moon was just a few days away as we set out, and it shone throughout the night, casting enough light to read by. But now, 11 days in, the moon is waning, and in any case doesn’t rise until about midnight. As we’ve now taken to leaving the spinnaker up overnight due to light winds, it makes for some very unsettling night watches, peering into the pitch black darkness, trying to see what the spinnaker is doing. Otherwise life onboard has taken on an easy pace. Today the cockpit table was even erected for a game of cards, and we’re trawling fishing lines behind us. Cross your fingers for a catch!


Today was the first quite calm day – 12-14 knots. We had put up the Hibiscus spinnaker, but around midday we changed over to the Pink Lady, which we will leave up all night. As the wind went down, the books went up; even those on watch have begun reading on duty. Following is a survey of what the crew is reading at the moment: Daniel: “Rabbi Jesus”, a historical biography of Jesus. Jonas:  “What Came Before He Shot Her”, a crime novel . Arne: “Claus Stoertebeker”, a historical novel about a famous German pirate. Kay: “Das Leben Kann Auch Anders Sein” about how to work less and go on vacation more. Henrik: “Das Alfabethaus” a novel about two WWII pilots who end up in an insane asylum. Gitte: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, a nonfiction book about the woman whose cells are vital to medical research.

It’s funny how empty the Pacific seems to the Caribbean, the Bay of Panama, and even the Atlantic. The only wildlife we’re encountered are flying fish and the occasional stray bird, which ignores us completely. But the biggest difference is the number of boats. We’ve been under way 8 days now, and today was only our third sighting; the first was a trawler in the middle of the night, the second a Catamaran during the day that didn’t respond to our VHF calls. Today we struck lucky, with a Japanese fish trawler eager to chat. Unfortunately, we speak no Japanese and he spoke no English (or German or Danish or…)! Still we managed to make happy noises of fellow recognition in passing – it’s funny how much that means. Sails-related, the Code 1 needed some TLC (tender loving care) today after a week’s intensive toil. A lot of the boats are now beginning to suffer equipment breakdowns and we want to avoid that as much as possible. Best story we’ve heard so far goes to Chessie – their roller furling broke, so they turned on their engine and drove the boat in circles until the sail was rolled up!

An action-packed day! We were originally supposed to hit the halfway-point (complete with traditional decorated cake) at around midday, but we fairly flew last night, moving the celebration up to about 7 a.m.. This caused Gitte, woken up at 6 for her shift, to fly out of bed, yelling “You went too damn fast! I still have to bake and decorate the cake, you bastards!” Speed seemed the motif of the day, for we put up the spinnaker after the party, then watched in awe as the wind crept up to 30 knots and we hit 17,3 knots!! Then followed a merry day of sail changes, by the end of which those of us looking forward to double night shifts were about ready to throw Daniel overboard as soon as he began mumbling about total sail areas. Let’s see if he survives the night.

By shore crew: At 19:00 UTC (20:00 in Germany) they should pass the halfwaymark. This would have taken them 7 days and 1 hour!

We are now coming into a more tactical part of the race, where the knowledge of what the trade winds and current are doing are going to make all the difference moving forward. Unfortunately, we are now also having problems with our shortwave/internet reception! However, one of the emails we did receive today reminded us that it could all be so much worse. It seems Samsara has cracked their steering, so they’re using a windvane and trying to patch up the crack to dam the amount of water getting into the boat. Scary stuff! It seems they’re all right, and from the little we heard from the radio net those closest to them are going to stay in constant contact to monitor the situation and offer assistance if necessary. A sobering reminder that this isn’t always just fun and games.

From shore crew: GUNVØR continues to fly towards Hiva Oa increasing their lead practically every hour. The speed is so high (220+ nm every day), that the hydrogenerator can produce all the electricity needed. The secret weapon is the Code 2. During the day the Canadiens spinnaker will go deep and during the night the Code 2 will go fast at a slightly higher wind angle, but provide a good nights sleep for the crew. The twice daily sail change allows for shortening the spinnaker halyard that frays about 10 cm every day.

It’s quite a thrill to sit on the edge of the boat, gunning towards the setting sun with 10-12 knots of speed! Once again we have the lovely Canadiens spinnaker up, and she’s delightfully lively in these 25 knot winds. Our support crew (cough Karsten cough) tells us that come Monday the wind will drop back down to 12-14 knots, but for now we’re enjoying the pressure of the wind and the surging boat. The boys have definitely sold their soul to the racing gods, and are willing to do whatever it takes so as not to lose a smidgeon of speed. The newest innovation today was tasking part of the crew with applying sunscreen to the helmsman, so precious seconds weren’t lost in a steering transfer. No word on whether this was perhaps more related to a longing for the wives and girlfriends back home…

By shorecrew: GXL is flying. Have made up a lead of 41 nm to their closest competitor. The radio problems turn out to be probably caused by the unusual atmospheric sun storms. Lots of wind, around 25 knots give speed, but they are being slowed down by very uncomfortable and confused seas.

The Radio Net is getting harder to follow as the boats begin to spread out. It started yesterday evening, when suddenly about three-quarters of the fleet, all perfectly audible during the morning position-call, became so faint as to be unintelligible. We hoped that it was simply a vagary of the time of day, but this morning again we could only hear about half the boats. This problem does not seem to be solely ours however, as most of the fleet needed to use a relay to be heard. This does give us a nice way of distinguishing our competition, however – if we can hear you, you’re still too close to us! Today we also set the new Maple Leaf spinnaker (for which I propose the name Canadien – Habs for short!) and it seemed her added bulk (she doesn’t fit into her sail bag) was ideal for the 22 knot winds today. If she keeps it up she may just be the ticket for seeing us all the way to the Marquesas!

By shore crew: In the lead by 16 nm and yet another record: 235 nm in 24 h. But they have slowed down a bit the last 4 hours. Hopefully they keep the pressure on over night.


Slightly wild night, with currents alternately for and against us, and huge cloud formations appearing only to disperse at the last minute. But we’ve managed to keep up a brisk pace of 9-10 knots throughout the day. According to our ground support team (aka Karsten) we’ve even managed to establish a new Gunvor-record – 226 miles in 24 hours! This may have something to do with the fact that the boys insist on hand-steering the whole way – you can’t argue with results, but whether their fervour will last into weeks two and three remains to be seen.

By shore crew: Finally G XL has gotten going. 219 nm the last 24 h and at 12:00 UTC only  1.8 nm from the lead go GUNVØR go!

We had a wonderfully quiet night, despite some anxiety about squalls heading our way. After sunrise it was even lovelier, we managed to set the hibiscus spinnaker and surf our way through the day on 11-20 knots. So far, the only marine life we have seen has been restricted to a few flying fish, but we were puzzled to find a few baby squid flopping on our deck! Were they washed up by waves or did they catch sight of Gunvor and decide to hitch a ride?

Our day began in spectacular fashion when we noticed a shark following in our wake right at sunrise. We were impressed with its presumed size and its stamina, as it kept following us despite our doing 6.5 knots. This went on until someone looked directly down below our boat and noticed two very strange parallel green lines emanating from the back of the boat. We had caught a few of those infamous long fishing lines, and our presumed shark was no shark at all, but triangular debris popping up between the waves! We tried cutting the lines in front of the keel, but soon noticed that they were stuck on something. Cue us stopping the boat entirely, Daniel jumping into the water, diving down and disentangling the ropes from the forward-looking sonar. No sooner had we cut ourselves free but that we caught another line 10 minutes later! Sobered by our little adventure, we’ll be sure to keep a weather eye out for more.

By satphone: Despite very little wind G XL has managed ~170 nm and with 20 minutes has the least hours of motoring of the fleet. Clearly the light wind is good for her. This morning a little emergency stop: Two longline fishing lines had gotten themselves caught between the hull and the forward looking sonar and a dive was needed to free her. Inexplicably the heater started up by itself, so they certainly aren’t freezing. In Hiva Oa all boats will get new trackers. The current ones apparently are not properly sealed, which is why some boats still seem to be in Galapagos despite being underway. Nr. 6 YB-tracker for G XL.


The day of the start! We got up at about 7.00am and began preparing. Daniel headed off to check us out, the boys experimentally set the ‘Alditüte’ (it had seemingly never been set before on the 55) and Gitte prepared the by now traditional first-day lasagne. In fact, we were all so efficient in our preparations, that by 10am we were completely done with our to-do list and were in danger of getting bored! The start itself was lovely, and we had great views of the fleet – behind us. We were especially amused at the sight of Beatoo and 12 Moons having an epic ‘Luvkampf’, since at the last start we were in that unfortunate position ourselves (get out of the way, Scholli!) We’ve now settled in with about 5 knots of wind, a situation we hope will improve soon.

Provisioner Gitte was up at 04:45hrs in order to get to the market for
the 05:30 opening. Jonas, having just arrived home from partying, was conveniently waiting in the cockpit to go along as boat boy and shopping bag handler. A ton of fresh food was brought back to Gunvør, just in time to say farewell to Phil, off to the airport for his flight home. The plotter was repaired and the shower pump replaced.  “Last Night Ashore” crew dinner was at a grill restaurant – departure for the 3000 nautical miles to The Marquesas Islands is at noon Sunday.

Today was the big shopping expedition – well, not so big, as we had loaded up with dried goods before we left Panama, so the shopping list wasn’t as long as it could have been. We managed to get everything apart from tinned spinach – let’s hope those tropical squalls don’t demand Popeye-like strength! In the evening  the prizegiving for the Panama to Galapagos leg was held. This was an rather understated affair as due to a lack of winds for much of the passage, 22 yachts out of 29 had been placed in the motoring division! We adjourned to dinner with the newly-arrived crew members Henrik & Kay together with their families. Tomorrow yet more shopping – at the fresh fruit and vegetable market!

Have a look at “Our Photos”. A new Album from Leg 2 is online.

Today was another crew-change. Arne made the long trek from Germany, carrying with him enough supplies and spares to keep us occupied with odd jobs until we arrive in the Marquesas. However, the first priority of his visit was of course to sweep him off to the World ARC Happy Hour to meet absolutely everyone. Gitte and Phil also did another dive tour today, to famous Bartolome Island. They were utterly, utterly enchanting dives, and as we bought the DVD made underway, we hope we can soon share with you the fantastic vistas of fish, corals, turtles, sharks and more!

Anruf von Arne: “Für die Reise zum Schiff habe ich die Seewasserpumpe, Schrauben, Schäkel, Seekarten und natürlich Vogelbücher eingepackt… es passen für mich nur noch 3 TShirts und ne Badehose in die Tasche, was soll ich tun!?”
Antwort: “Mehr brauchst Du auch nicht, es ist tags wie nachts warm genug. Losfahren, gute Reise!”
Heute kommt er auf Galapagos an.

An action-packed day! Gitte and Phil got up at an ungodly hour and headed out to Gordon Rocks for a dive. Though the current was strong, it was an awesome tour, including close-up encounters with turtles, parrotfish, a 1 metre wide stingray and a group of 6 hammerhead sharks!. In the evening, we threw a huge dinner party (11 people – quite a squeeze around the table). It was a fantastic evening, with a total of 9 different dishes and a lot of singing! Entertainment was even provided while the dishes were being washed, as we turned on the fishcam and howled with laughter as Phil, Kelsey and Pau took turns diving down and waving at us.

Just a heads up: The tracker is currently not working. Rallycontrol are nursing it hopefully back to life. GUNVØR will remain in Puerto Ayora until Sunday.

A day many of us had long awaited – fumigation day! Our battle with the creepy crawlies had been slow attrition up until now, but we finally went for the full-on assault. Using something called Baygon, we’d managed to keep them out of our living spaces, but with today’s full “bombing” there is a faint sliver of hope that the problem is now dealt with (at least for the next months?). One boat, which shall remain nameless, said that by now probably about half the fleet has them (after all, the devils can actually fly from dock to yacht), but nobody talks about it. We urge you – break the silence! Let’s form a support group at the bar!

We actually managed to get our exit permit “Zarpe” within two hours of its promised delivery, and set off from Isabella back to Santa Cruz’s main city Puerto Ayora. We managed to sail for a good while, but as we were only making about 2-4 knots of speed we eventually had to turn on the motor lest we get in after dark. The anchorage here is even more crowded than last time, as the 29-strong World ARC fleet begin to assemble. Formalities completed, we lived it up a little with the boys from Beatoo before heading to bed.

The Panama Canal Logbook is online!
Glorious day! We got up very early and drove to an outpost about halfway up the Sierra Negra volcano. There we mounted our valiant steeds (read: slightly manky-looking horses) and set off. We climbed steadily for about two hours, until we suddenly rounded a corner and wow! The whole 10 KM expanse of the Sierra Negra caldera was spread out beneath us, and we were riding right on its lip! After a few more kilometres we left the horses and went for a hike down through the brush and then the crazy moonscape of a lava flow from 2005. Most of the afternoon was spent taking care of our sore backsides, but we geared up again in the evening, inviting over the younger contingents from Anastasia, Working on a Dream and Zoey, and partying until after midnight!

Despite the by now routine issues in procuring our ‘Zarpe’, we did manage to depart Puerto Ayora for Puerto Villamil on the day we had planned. We had a nice, leisurely sail, with minimal wind and maximal sun. Gitte took the opportunity to defrost the freezer, possibly as an excuse to remain cool! We arrived just before sundown, but dinner was severely delayed, once again because of bureaucratic issues. You see, once it’s 7 pm on a Friday, the harbour master simply must go off and play football, and our boys had to wait until the game was concluded.
Max und Telse sind abgereist. Zu viert geht es zur nächsten Insel, Isabela. Hier hat der Local Guide Fernando für uns Touren in die Lavafelder und zu den Flamingos arrangiert. Leider ist der von Gitte gewünschte Ausritt zu Pferd aus Naturschutzgründen (?)  nicht mehr im Programm.

As it was Max and Telse’s last day, most of it was spent preparing for their departure and tying up loose ends. The day was not without its drama however; a huge old-fashioned military ship tried to anchor quite close, only to have some kind of malfunction and begin drifting right towards us! We had to yank up the anchor at top speed and high-tail it out of there. Our new connections in Galapagos have also proven very useful, as we managed to get our gas tanks filled and organise a variety of diving and sight-seeing trips all in one fell swoop!


We got up early for our organised tour into Santa Cruz’ interior. First, we were taken on a walk through the national park to see the tortoises. Most of us were given wellies to brave the mud – Jonas however benefited from his combination of humongous and wounded feet: he was carried over every puddle. Later, we walked through some fantastic lava caves; dank and wild-looking, they were an adventurer’s dream, especially as certain parts were so low we had to crawl. It turns our our guide is related to most of the Galapagos (he has 12 brothers!) and has already promised to hook us up for dive tours, trips to Isabella and fine cuts at the butcher’s!

Our first full day in Puerto Ayora started with that classic pilgrimage to the Charles Darwin Research Centre. A good 20-minute walk outside of town, the free open-air centre is chock-full with information about the centre’s good works, be they botanical, ecological or biological. We also paid a visit to Lonesome George, but due to the midday heat we only caught a glimpse of his rear – how rude! In the afternoon, we headed to the Playa Aleman for a birthday/goodbye party for part of the 12 Moons crew. The crew marveled at the beautiful variety of fish to be seen at low tide; but the low-lying stones caused their own havoc as Jonas sliced open his foot and 12 Moons damaged their dinghy motor. Treacherous beauty!

We had a hot, windless motor from Floreana to Puerto Ayora. Watching the local weather conditions was remarkable, as the clear skies were broken up only by the huge rain clouds that hung neatly over each island. Later, GItte and Phil had a quiet evening on the boat, and the others delved into Ayora’s nightlife. Clearly a successful outing, as the evening ended with raucous singing in the cockpit!

After a long night of rain and windless squalls, we made the most of our day on lovely Floreana. The boys from Beatoo had organised a taxi tour of the interior, which we shamelessly joined. How nice it was to have Spanish-speakers around! The tour took us to an impressive lava chasm landscape, which clearly had been used for habitation by some early settlers. We also made the acquaintance of some huge land tortoises, who were eagerly engaged with the propagation of this endangered species! The rest of the afternoon was spent snorkeling in the impossibly clear waters around the boat, with sea turtles for company.

Our hopes of making a speedy morning getaway, and thus make Floreana Island before nightfall, were dashed when we discovered that Customs had forgotten to give us our all-important`’Zarpe’ (which allows passage between anchorages), delaying our departure until 5 pm. We still managed to use the day to good effect however, with trips to the interior and surfing near the harbour. Dinner consisted of tasty Wahoo fillets we had bought off some local boys the day before. Max was the only one not to enjoy it; before anyone could call out a word of warning, he poured out several tablespoons of ‘Baron`s Blazing Hot Sauce’ over his meal- the hottest sauce in all the Caribbean! Then, out of stubbornness, he ate the whole thing. We’ll keep you updated on when, if ever, his sense of taste returns.


Today was the World ARC-organised Kicker Rock snorkeling tour, and what a lovely tour it was! We were loaded onto a boat with the crews from Ensemble, Anastasia, Wind Dancer, Ruby and Sophie, and headed off, hitting a total of four locations! It was an action- and animal-packed tour, including marine iguanas, rays, turtles, sharks (just small ones, Mum!), pelicans, baby sea lions and even the famous blue-footed boobies! Back at anchor, the catamaran crews despaired over their unwelcome guests – those over-friendly seals, who take advantage of the low stern steps which feature on most catamarans. One boat had 6 ensconced around the decks, apparently they are rather smelly and snore/bark/moan through the night. Luckily Gunvør’s transom doesn’t allow for such uninvited visitors. In tne evening, our by now hard-partying crew (we’ve made an appearance at each nightly ARC happy hour) stayed up into the wee hours of the morning shooting pool at a local dive with the crews of Beatoo and Zoey.

Our first full day in Galapagos was a busy one. As ever, our to-do list had grown considerably, and we steadily worked our way through it. We still found time to enjoy the local wildlife however, especially watching Ensemble become a favoured sunning spot for the sea lions of the harbour!

After days in the doldrums, it was a very eventful 24 hours! First, we crossed the Equator in the middle of the night, and Neptune Rex made a personal appearance at our Gunvør baptism, of which you`’ll hear more later. Then at midday the next day we crossed the finish line! Leg 2, we shall not miss your variable winds. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the port and doing odd jobs. In the evening we went to the ARC cocktails party to hang out with those boats that were, urgh, faster than us. We had a fabulous time, only marred by the mad dash back to the boat when it started raining and we realised some windows had been left open! Luckily nothing was damaged.

Our luck in staying out of bad weather ended at around 11.30 pm, when it began to rain and didn’t stop. The heat belowdeck soon became pretty unbearable, not easing until the rain did at around 10 am. We experimented with putting up the Pink Lady, but the wind dropped as soon as she was up. Nevertheless, we can tell we’re getting closer to land by the number of sea birds around us. Two Red-footed Boobies have taken up residence on the bowsprit and seem determined to stay onboard all the way to Galapagos.

The weather sure is strange in this part of the world. For most of today, we were blessed with about 6-10 knots, all the product of squalls – which all passed us by. This strange phenomenon began at dawn, where a particularly nasty storm behind us was complimented by huge, dark banks of clouds on three sides. All faded without touching us. This was repeated several times during the day, with foreboding storms seeming to bear right down on us – only to completely miss us at the last moment. None of us dare hope that this will last. We also sighted our first Tropic bird – its long white tailfeathers making a particularly fetching sight against the waves.

A rather uneventful day. Like the rest of the World ARC fleet, we were almost totally becalmed. In the late afternoon the wind rose to 5-6 knots, so we put up the mainsail and the Code I and drifted along at about 4-5 knots. Luckily we have had a consistent 1 1/2 – 2 knots of current with us so our progress isn’t too bad. The highlight of the day was discovering that the whole chicken we were to have for dinner (nicknamed Alonso) still had its head on, and an entertaining ten minutes were had chasing Daniel, the resident ‘vegan’, around the foredeck.

If you look under

you will see that GUNVØR is (again) leading the fleet with the closest competitor 11 nm behind.
A frustrating day in many ways. A soon as the sun came up the wind decreased drastically, leaving us no choice but to motor for a while. Most of the day was spent experimenting with the various different sails, but with wind speeds of no more than 5 knots from constantly shifting directions, this was an exercise in futility. As Daniel put it, now the motor boat race to Galapagos begins!. Gitte is also a little concerned about the amount of meat left, as we lost several meals’ worth a few days ago due to a freezer malfunction. Starve we will not, but the meal plan needs a complete overhaul – although Gitte has forbidden the hunting of a petrel that has taken up residence on the top of the mast.

They are off towards Galapagos. The forecast is for good winds the next 36 h and then – nothing.
Today was the start of leg 2! We made a good start, but the area directly surrounding the first few miles was of uncertain depth so we delayed setting the spinnaker. Once the Hibiscus went up, we were stuck for a while in the lee of Sapphire and Twelve Moons but eventually managed to pull away. Thereafter variable winds between 15-20 knots for the rest of the night, taking us southwest out of the Gulf of Panama. The by now traditional first evening lasagne (a Winnipeg recipe!) garnered rave reviews!

Today was the prizegiving for the first leg of the WARC. We knew that we were First Ship Home, but had no idea how the official results were weighted. Needless to say we were very pleased to come in first in Class A! We also came in third in the fun ETA competition, arriving within two hours of the guess we made in St. Lucia. After the ceremony we were treated to some entertainment, which certainly lived up to its name! A Brazilian starlet who has apparently recently won some type of Idol TV show screeched her way through a few songs, accompanied by some overly enthusiastic male backup dancers. The performance was cut short by the premature release of the fireworks, just as the backup dancers were putting on a fire-eating display. All in all an unforgettable night.

A productive day. We got the shower working again, changed out the mainsheet, did some laundry and, most importantly, found a bread recipe that the boys approve of! Unluckily for them, it’s made with beer – a very tough choice to make for German sailors. The afternoon and evening were taken up with the skipper`s briefing and a WARC drinks party, a highlight of which was meeting the crews who have joined the rally in Panama. We were even happier when one crew, upon hearing we were from yacht Gunvør, remarked “Oh, that’s the boat that looks like it’s going ten knots even at anchor!”

Landfall at Contadora after a day of middling wind. Due to our unpopular
stowaways, we had taken to towing the garbage in the dinghy, and the crew was deeply grateful to finally be rid of the MS Garbage. We were even able to do some modest restocking. There seems to be a heavy Germanic presence on the island as well, with the main World ARC hotel owned by an Austrian and even a German restaurant – which serves Löwenbräu!

Another windless day. We are starting to get really concerned regarding our passage to Galapagos, but Gitte has sworn up and down that we will not starve whatever comes! We have also been having some problems with the shower pump in the owner’s bathroom. While getting the replacement pump out of the bilge, we made the unpleasant discovery that ziplock bags are no match for diesel and saltwater. The spare alternator, spare shower pump and a spare watermaker filter are all total write-offs. In order to lift spirits, Gitte and Telse decided to make a pineapple ‘lagkage’ – a kind of angel food cake – to commemorate our Las Perlas cruising. Tomorrow we sail for Contadora and begin the Blue Water preparations!
Our piscine luck continues with yet another tuna! This 3.5 kg monster was enough to provide sashimi as an appetizer, steaks for a main and a lovely fish sauce as well. The crew were especially merry when they realised that this dream dinner was also our cheapest – $0.50 per person for the pasta and a few stray onions!
This may help some of the young German crew who have full culture schock. The food in Panama is actually different from back home and the bread does not taste as they are used to.

Who knew the Pacific was so action-packed? Despite non-existent winds which necessitated a spell of motoring, the crew was transfixed by the natural spectacle unfolding before their eyes. Sharks taking prey in a whirl of foam, packs of pelicans diving into seething swarms of fish, and gigantic rays clearing a full meter of air before splashing noisily back into the water (please someone enlighten us as to why they do this!). This first taste of the Pacific also proved unexpectedly delicious when the boys landed a beautiful 2 kg tuna! We are happy to be able to report that the onboard electric grill works like a dream.

Things are not only happening on board  – although they report too little :-(   but also in Hamburg the project is moving along. On Sunday 11 crew members will come for tea at our house. They believe it’s to organize their trip, in reality the purpose is to collect some of all the stuff in our living room windowsill. Parts, charts and yes, some bird books (6!).

After a lovely sail from Panama City yesterday, we anchored off the privately-owned San Jose in the Las Perlas Islands. Hopes of a lazy day on the beach were dashed however as we found that most dreaded foe of all tropical sailors: Cockroaches! Gitte, Telse and Phil immediately started a full-scale chemical attack, cleaning out the whole boat and spraying Third World insect spray into every crevice. Hopefully that non-FDA-approved stuff will turn out to be a valuable foe in what Gitte fears will be a constant war.

Finally finished provisioning!
The rubber dinghy still holds! Now it’s off to sandy beaches tomorrow.

Some of the crew went on the city tour. Another try to repair the rubber dinghy. We did a big shopping tour to provision for the next 3 month. It took us two taxis to get everything to the boat.

Everything has found a place. We were visiting some Indians, guided by a WARC organized tour. In the evening were were invited for a fantastic dinner on “Ensemble”.

Crew- Change! Karsten had to leave…. but to meet his wife in Canada. Max and Telse took his place. Shopping-day: Provisioning, part I. Birgitte is suffering a psychological crisis (and Telse one of patients) where to stow everything. Luckly Jonas and Max are so skinny that we can fill up their “Koje” (bunk) with everything.

Last night there was a champagne party on board. Ostensibly because Gitte had invited 2 girlfriends from the WARC. The real reason, of course, is that we had a change of skipper and Karsten has left the boat. The average age on board dropped well below 30. Tonight when Telse and Max arrive it will go down even further. I am afraid we will be the party boat of the Pacific. Please leave her in one piece.

As many of you saw on the web cams, GUNVØR is now in the Pacific. It was impressive to see the canal and even more heartening to see that they are well on their way for the major expansion scheduled to be finished in the centenial year, i.e. 2014. They may not make that, but when it will be finished it will dramatically alter the flow of goods around the world. Only problem is that we lost a X-Yacht fender somewhere on the way.

GUNVOR is expected to pass the first Pacific lock at 17.50 UTC (German time 18.50). Have a look at the webcam!

I don’t think the canal authorities are too impressed by yachts (and probably correctly so.) They brief you about 10 times, then they make you come and anchor off the access to the canal for 5 hours waiting before they provide each boat with a personal advisor (very nice, very competent.) The passage through the first 3 locks is then almost anti climatic. The line handlers on the dock throw you a lead rope, pull up your lines to a pollard, the gates close and the water comes. This is repeated 3 times and then you are in Gatun lake. Tomorrow morning: “Be ready at 6″ (Right, we are taking off before sunrise?!) we then sail through the lake before entering 3 locks to get down to the Pacific.

The Channel-Passage is planned for tomorrow, the 23rd. You can follow GUNVOR XL live per webcam on: (copy this address into your browser, it hopefully will work again on Monday)
We will start to pass the Gatun locks at night the 23rd, probably around 19:00 local time, 00:00 UTC/ GMT We will then pass the Pedro Miguel & Miraflores locks next morning around 10:00 local time/16:00 UTC/ GMT onwards, i.e. the  24th during the morning in North America and in the afternoon in Europe. If  anybody could take screenshots it would be appreciated.

Great Quiz night with the WARC last night. GUNVØR rocks. We were awarded second place (should have been shared first, we found out afterwards they have overlooked one of our answers.), but a great time was had by all. We have to admit  that the teaming up with the crew from Ensemble did have something to do with our success.

Having arrived in Panama which is located at 80°W and Hamburg at 10°E, we have actually sailed 1/4 of the circumnavigation already. We have taken 7 month for that, but with a month stop in Southampton an 1.5 month in Portimao. So by that standard to get back to St. Lucia in 16 month is fast, but doable. Not everyone seems to think so. Today one of the boats quit the WARC and are going home. The skipper seems to have lost confidence in his boat.

We caught a Yellow Fin Tuna yesterday sailing to Colon! 3 – 3.5 kg it fed all of us dinner and there even was enough to invite the crew from 12 Moons for Sashimi. Even managed a little bird watching this morning. canal passage scheduled for Monday.

The ham we brought to the Get Together was a hit, both with the other sailors, who devoured it and with the local dogs who got the bone. The Indian dancing was then very colourful, although some of the dancers were inexperienced to the obvious annoyance of their leader. The evening ended with a”Who am I quiz”, where Phil almost had to leave the boat, when he did not know the name of the current German chancellor.

Are anchored off Chichime Cay, where we will have our first WARC rendezvous and prize giving. Last night we organized an impromptu sun downer beach party for some of the WARC that had already arrived. Gitte, Phil and Daniel were an immediate hit with some of the young children in the WARC to their parents visible delight. For today, before the get together I have “sold” the boys to “Ensemble” to help with some problems, the payment being a scrumptious breakfast for them. Many of the double-handers are finding it tough to keep up with the boat maintenance and repair.

Visited a traditional Kuna Yala village, complete with a “shipyard” where they were making canoes, but not more traditional than that the girls were texting on their mobiles. Getting back to the boat was a very wet affair in the strong winds. In the morning I checked us into Panama at the old Porvenir airport, but only after I found the immigrations officer at the restaurant and had breakfast with him and Poul from WARC.

This is how heroes are made. Following a tip from Andreas Benkert, Daniel and I cleaned the fuel filter and exchanged the external fuel filter of the generator. It is running!!!!!!!!!!!! Air conditioning here we go again! Now we just have left to understand why the anchor alarm is not working. Today we will move to another paradise anchorage and enjoy palm trees, beaches, beautiful underwater worlds and swing in our hammocks. Life is good again

San Blas macht Spass: Von einer Insel zur anderen tingeln, Schnorcheln, den Indianern Hummer und Tücher abkaufen und natürlich am Boot basteln. Die Einfahrt in die Buchten ist immer spannend. Die elektronischen Seekarten stimmen nur ungefähr und man muß immer wieder nach der Wasserfarbe sehen ob es tief genug ist. Aus Vorsicht setzen wir immer 2 Anker.

We made it across the line as first ship home ar 20:44:49 St. Lucia time. It was completely dark, but with the help of Seaquest, one of the WARC boats which joined us here we made it into the anchorage at Hollandais Cay, San Blas. We did touch the sand but at 0.8 knots we had no problem. After a long night of celebration we slept in. Today a bit of tidying up/ small repairs we snorkeled on the local reef. Only fly in the soup is that the generator is not working.

The last 110 miles. The previous 200 ave been hard fought. All day and night winds in the low 30th. This is unproblematic, but combined with a very confused sea and cross current it has made for uncomfortable movements of the boat. Still Gitte made a great stew and after 5 days everybody as managed to sleep, although I suspect these young people (without the stamina of us old codgers) will take a 12 hour sleep when we are at anchor, unfortunately probably not before dawn tomorrow.

The last 36 hours have seen a steady increase in the wind. Maximum so far 37 knots in a gust. This has been accompanied by many sail changes from spinnaker now down to 2 reefs in the main and a reduced poled out Genoa 3. Basically we have had every sail up except for some of the spinnakers and the storm sails (That might still happen). Still we are hitting speeds of up to 12 – 14 knots. 230 miles to go, but we still probably won’t make it before the sun goes down, so we may have to anchor off and wait for the sun to rise.

Passed 1/2 way mark at 6 am. 550 nm to go. Before that a bit of excitement. Phil decided to emulate me by dropping the aft seat lid n his head, bleeding like I did when I hurt my head on the hydro generator. What I did not need to know was that treating the wound was much easier with me, as there was not so much hair to contend with. (He went swimming behind the boat after that comment.) Had the spinnaker up for a while this morning, but wind gusting up to 25 knots so back to Code 1 and poled out Genoa 3.

If this kind of sailing is the norm for the rest of the trip we will continue right around the world one more time. At 15-22 knots of wind with our big Hibiscus up we are doing 9- 10.5 knots effortless steered by Mable. The 400 nm mark was passed this afternoon. Sometime tomorrow night we should reach the half way. But we are not alone out here. We just spoke to a Dutch yacht passing our bows and we have seen a lot of tankers, some with AIS on, other not.

The Christmas Logbook is online.

We had a beautiful night with a full moon that was so strong that younger members of the crew could read large sized kindle books without a light. In the morning we took down the trusted Code 1/ Genoa 3 combination and finally hoisted the Hibiscus spinnaker. Promptly a big school of dolphins came by to show us their appreciation. Currently we are ploving west with 9- 10 knots with 15 – 20 knots of wind and lots & lots of sun. This is what we have come for.

We had a great start leading the whole fleet out of Rodney Bay with 20 – 25 knots of wind. We quickly hoisted the Code 1 and after the turning mark just off Castries Bay we also unrolled the Genoa 3. We found the boat to be most stable with Code 1 in leeward and the Genoa 3 poled out, all with a full main. The conditions are very nice tonight with 15-20 knots wind, not a cloud in the sky and a very full moon. This is what dreams are made of.

The first Race of the World ARC started today. They are off to St. Blas! Have a look at them at “Position” or use the fleet viewer: (Copy the address into your browser)

The second dream team is setting off around the world!

Great goodbye party. Saphire II with their great crew will probably be ahead of us in San Blas, but it is good to have somebody else to show us the way. We inrtend to sail very conservatively.

Tried to sell Jonas to the chocolate girls at the famous Gros Islet street party last night. Either he was too tired or not interested? Today is mainly a day of tying up loose ends, checking out and seeing a bit of the island. Tonight the final party on St. Lucia. Time to go.

Today a day of highs and lows. The low point at mid day when Sheila and Ian left. The high point with the combined help of Andreas Benkert, Andreas Tempel and X-Yacht we reconfigured the Mastervolt charging system and can now charge at full capacity and still run the air conditioning full blast. Sounds not so important, but reducing battery charging by 50 % a day is huge. Also my new phone including SIM card arrived. Same number, new phone. Frau Justus is just great.

Daniel and Jonas arrived. In true GUNVØR style they barely were allowed to drop their bags before having to put on crew cloth and head off to their first WARC party followed by a crew dinner. Most dinner guest even made it through without falling asleep at the table.

It was not easy to explain at the airport why the registered “surf board” looks like a heavy big spinnacker package. But Jonas and Daniel managed it and are now on their way to the Gunvør. The rest of us went to “Big Chef” with our “Dinner for 4″ ARC voucher for winning group A. Well, the voucher was only really enough for a “Dinner for one”, so skipper hadto do a big top up. After a long, active day we had what Phil called the most quiet dinner he has had with the Witt family yet.

After a full day of working on the boat we had or first WARC cocktail party. Nice to meet all the otherr sailors. More work today with Ian & Phil going off zip lining in the jungle.

New logbook about the flawed ARC prize giving posted.

The day started and ended with excitment. The mooring rope had gotten completely entagled. Trying to free it some of it got into the bow thruster. Karsten quickly dove overboard with his diving knife and solved the problem. This was followed by quite a hard sail with the wind gusting up to 34 knots. Safely inside Rodney Bay Marina the staff gave us wrong directions and because of the very low water we ran aground. Nothing a good spagehtti dinner can’t solve.

A day of leisure topped by a nice dinner at Rösly & Henriks luxury villa.

If you believe we are just lazing around here in paradise you are wrong. Every day is so action packed that we fall into bed exhausted by the end of it. Today is no different. We have rented 2 taxis to tour the island all day. This is followed by drinks on board and a New Years Eve party at a good hotel right here on the beach. For tomorrow I have promised a day of doing (almost) nothing.

What a surprise. An article in Børsen on the 9th of January about us. Will be posted on the homepage in the near future. Another 2 great dives.

Even in paradise there is reality. We spend all day at Henrik & Röslys wonerful villa overlooking Port Elisabeth Bay in a shareholders meeting with the whole family. After a long day at the office we all fell to the rum punch and other sun downers at the local beach bar. Some of us even made it back to the boat.

Morning drama. The rod of the hydro generator punctured the dinghy just as we were setting off for the diving. Had to leave Phil on the beach (waiting for his mother) and to repair the dinghy. Had two great dives on a reef and a wreck.

It was a harder sail from St. Lucia to Bequia than expected. Lots of squalls with loads of rain and wind to over 30 knots, everyone on board (11 of us) did fine, but were happy to arrive in the early morning hours. As can be imagined a lazy rest of the day.

After a slow morning here at the hotel we intend fix a few small things on the boat, go shopping and then in the best viking manner sail to Marigot Bay and invade Glenns for dinner. Sometime tonight we then set sail for Bequia.

After dancing around our IKEA Xmas tree and giving and receiving mainly funny presents we had a dinner here at Sandals hotel. Wisely they had placed us in our own gazebo far away from all other guests. The food was really not very good and the service not much better, but we had a rip roaring time singing and laughing all evening long.

All the family arrived safely last now. today the 12 of us have enjoyed a great day here at the Sandalls. Tonight we will be dining under the stars right on the beach. MERRY CHRISTMAS  ALL OF YOU.

With some trepidation Sheila and I moved to the Sandals resort. The next 5 days the Witt kids (Henriks kids are arriving today) will be the masters of the boat. We suspect they already have posted on some social network site in the harbour: “Party boat”! But it will be nice to have a few days in a hotel, sleep in a proper bed and be able to take long showers without having to start the watermaker.

Yesterday the Island got back at us. Sheila waited 1 1/2 hours for a BLT sandwich only to be told there was no lettuce, while the rst of us waited for chicken wings to be told that they were out. In the evening the restaurant also managed to cook the wrong items and more or less mess up the rest. At least we didn`t have to pay anything for the dinner. (Which included rather more wine then we should have had.)

Check out all our new photos from the trip and the prize giving.

Bizarre experience. An impolite and dishonest Swiss. Normally a contradiction. When we came back last night a Swiss boat had tied up to our stern mooring buoy and started yelling that we had to let go as it was his and he had paid 80 EC$ for it. We ignored him until 2 am when he had lost control of his boat, because he did not have a stern anchor and was drifting into us, breaking our flag pole and as we found out ripping away a dinghy paddle. Needless to say he was gone early this morning without paying the marina! On a more positive note: After a good day of bird watching Ian & I  have now seen 4 of the 5 endemic birds.19.12.2011
Enjoying cruising heaven in Marigot bay, St. Lucia. It looks like Bounty country. The dinghies have been blow up and the outboarder fitted. The kids went sailing on a Hobie this afternoon before we had drinks (and a swim at his pool) at Glenns before a great dinner at The Rainforest.

Confusion is complete. This morning we got another mail saying they made another mistake. We are now only second overall and have to hand back the Jimmy Cornell trophy. Still a great result, but it leaves a bad taste, especially since the winner, a 56 foot boat only wins because they have a very, very implausible handicap (and alledegly only motored 27.5 hours). But the sun is shining and we are off to go cruising with Birgitte, Phil and Ian, who arrived last night.

WE WON! First in Cruising class A and First in Cruising class 1! (which are all the cruisers except the multihulls and invitational cruising.)  But it took some work. We were called up on stage to recieve second prize in our class. We and many others  in the hall were stunned. I talked to the organizers during the break, but got no explanation. Fortunately I had a car and could race back to the harbour wehere the results had been posted simultaneously. There I saw that they had declared as winners a boat that was not in our division! I raced back and after some talking and some internal work they corrected the mistake. So all the runners up (nr. 2 – 4) in Class A were called up on stage again, had to hand over the prizes they had already gotten, were given the correct prizes and we could finally recieve all the trophies, both perpetual trophies (class A prize and the Jimmy Cornell trophy), momentos we can keep and a gift certificate for dinner at a very good restaurant in town. It was an emotional roller coaster

Had a great golf game with Halo and Ensemble. We lost about 40 balls, had a terrible score and took 8 hours, but really enjoyable. Is Island time getting to us? This was followed by a 5 course meal at the invitation of Phils father. What a good idea. Tomorrow is prize giving. We have recieved our own personal invitation from the ARC saying: “Please come as you are a prize winner.” Follow this space.

What a coincidence. We met Steve Watson the son of John Watson who slept on our boat in Barbados 25 years ago! He also did the ARC exactely 25 years after his father.

20 miles to go. St. Lucia on the horizon. Today has been a slow day with little wind and very variable wind directions. Speed between 2 and 11 knots. Now we are slowly gliding to the finish under the Pink Wonder. In a way it has been nice to stretch out these last hours. Next you hear from us we are there!

240 nm to go. We are averaging 9 – 10 knots under a beautiful Caribbean sky interspersed with salt water showers on the aft deck. In what is probably the penultimate day a bit of nostalgia is creeping in. On the other hand we can’t wait to go swimming in this crystal clear blue water. The end may take a little longer as there is supposed to be little wind just before the finishing line.

Today we have sailed conservatively, protecting our lead (107 nm in front of Nr. 2) and positioning us for the end run. 400 nm to go, somewhere between a Gotland and a Sjaelland Rundt. The last 200 nm looks like the most challenging part of the sail with the remains of a tropical disturbance with showers, thunderstorms and areas with no wind. All are well fed and rested and up for the fight for line honours and a good position.

At 11 am we blew out the Gennaker in a broach at 25 knotes. Finally I got to sail my dream combination of code 1 pooled out and Genoa 3. It works great. we have pulled further ahead of competition. The 3/4 way was celebrated with an Oktoberfest party. The cabin was decorated with blue and white code flags. All the pertinent songs were played and sung by skipper and wife to the crews bemusement.

We have consistently had more wind than forecast. We were therefore not unhappy to white sail last night. The winds did get up to 28 knots. Today the old X-412 Gennaker (extended ) did a great job for us. However, at sunset, with lots of squalls/ showers around it we replaced it with our Genoa3/ Staysail plus full main combination. God idea. We just had 29 knots and there probably will be more.

A small ocean? Yesterday in the middle of the Atlantic we came within 100 m of a French-Canadian Catamaran on their way to Martinique. We got a nice chat on the VHF and exchange email adress to send each other the pictures. Sheila got envious how they wqere leisurally gliding along while we were screaming ahead at 10 knots under full spinnaker and main.

We had a great halfway party yesterday. Peter and Sheila had baked a cake and it was presented to the crew by Hagar and Helga. The blond wig was especially popular. Clearly Eskil looked the best in it. Peter had a nice bottle of sweet Danish wine of which Rasmus got his share. This was followed by the traditional Sunday spaghetti dinner.

Today we will be halfway. Yesterday, we did a 7-hour operation. Peter and Max repaired our pink wonder, so we are a two-spinnaker boat again! Also, the impeller of the generator has to be changed. The engioneers only needed 20 minutes for this task!

Every day, there is a SSB radio-net where we exchange position, weather and stories from the boats. Our contribution of three ripped spinnakers elicited a request to repeat and confirm. We were not really brave enough to admit it was actually four, as one ripped twice.

Things are going very nicely indeed. With the unusual wind angle of ESE in the trade wind area we have been using our Code 2 for the past 36 hour going 9 – 11 knots in 18 – 23 kbnots. Our competitors have either not been flying a spinnaker or gone diferent courses as we saemm to have gaine dquite a lot in the past 24 hours.

This morning we got up the brand new Code 2. 180m² of pure power and pure bliss. We are still leading the cruising division to St. Lucia, but as they say: Abgerechnet wird im Ziel. It was a glorious (and stressless day of trade wind sailing. We will go down to 19°N 31 °° W toavoid a big belt of low pressure according to our weather router

Just after sun down our third spinnaker decided to give up. We sailed on goose winged, which was good as we had lots of squalls, winds up to 32 knots and very confused seas. Today we have spend replenishing everybodies batteries and will attack again tomorrow.

The position report certainly cheered us up. It seems we are basically leading the whole cruising fleet. This good news was followed by a great day of trade wind sailing. 20 – 25 knots from a clear blue sky, doing 10+ knots, surfing every few minutes. Sailing simply does not get any better. Noon day run 206 nm.

After a furious start the night and following day was not as brilliant. Duringg almost now wind during the night the hibiscus spinnqaker wrapped itself around the forestay and eventually ripped. Soon we had the pink wonder drawing for the rest of the night. Just as we had finished repairing the hibiscus the pink ripped in a badly repaired place. To make skipper grown the hibiscus didnŽt make it to the top before it got caught in the bow spread. Both canŽt be repaired on board. But we have two left plus the gennaker and two Codes. We will get there.

Mads made a brillant start. The hibiscus spinnaker came up at the start with just a small problem with the snuffer. All day 20 – 30 knots, skipper had speed record of 18.3 knots. Now wind has veered west (21:15).

Today is the fancy dress party with the theme: Cartoon figures. We are going as Hagar and Helga. Sheila has had T-shirts made and bought viking helmets.

At short notice we decided to join the crew dinner for boats over 15.50 m. It certainly was a different crowd from your normal yacht club dinner. It is not every day you sit beside an OBE (Order of the British Empire.)

Heureka. The antenna manufacturer knew about the problem (Why couldn’t
they have told us before?) On islands with a very strong signal you need a
way to reduce it so the TV receiver is not “overwhelmed”. Should be
standard. Also had some good lessens in how to better operate the SSB and
the compressor. A great day for the boat.

At a grand parade for the opening ceremony Sheila carried the Canadian
flag. Because the Danish contingent walked right behind us, I could choose
whom I felt represented me the best. Then Hr Benkert arrived and spent a
frustrating day not being able to figure out why we couldn’t see TV.

At least we figured out why we got the award. The ARC homepage says:
“Karsten Witt from yacht Gunvor was presented with a trophy by the City
Council. He first took part in ARC ‘87 and is now back with some of his
original crew at the start of a round the world adventure with World ARC.
He was presented with a trophy by the City Council in recognition.”

Last night we recieved our first award. We don`t quite know why. At the welcome reception held by the mayor of Las Palmas we were called forward and recieved a trophy with name engraved and all. Probably we got it because we had sail 25 years ago, but both his and my speech were drowned out by the incessant chatting of 200+ sailors with a free bar.

Today Sheila spend most of her day under the floorboards, squealing with delight every time she again found something nice she had forgotten we had stowed away in Hamburg in May. Still she has poor Hr. Benkert to bring special food delicacies, dresses and christmas presents. They now call him Benkert St. Claus. Red-throated Pipit, another lifer!

Enjoying the ARC seminars. Sheila is hearing about provisioning, Karsten about weather and routing. Both are truely inexhaustible subjects. The key difference is all the internet sites that you can use today compared to 25 years ago. Tonight for once not a party. (At least for now.)

After 7 days of making GUNVØR a better boat Anette and Andreas are heading home today for some well earned R&R. It is hard work to do a holiday on Karsten`s boat.

party. We also managed 1/2 hour on the beach in Maspalomas, so we have done our tourist thing. Thje safety check obviously was not a problem, except they wanted a larger radar reflector which we now have and it is safely stowed away. Show me the fisherman who actually watches his radar screen!

A great sqail back. The hydrogenerator is working well giving us at least 10-15 A at 8-9 knots of speed.

Birgitte complains the blog is too much for only people in the know and about to do lists. Well, today we were good tourists and went up the vulcano Tide. We also saw some endemic birds. The list of new birds so far is now 10. (3 small to dos were dealt with as well.)

Jetzt fahren wir alle noch sicherer! Daniel hat seinen SHS-Schein bestanden. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

A super sail with Code 1 from Gran Canaria to Tenerifa. (Tracker seems to be out of juice again.) Speed continously between 9 and 10 knots. This was celebrated with a lobster dinner at a Michelin restaurant followed by some good Calos I Brandy.

The toilet works on fresh water, but the TV problem also affects the sending of the AIS data.

A great “To do killer” day: Compressor serviced, filter watermaker changed, hot water boiler insulated, cockpit shower with shut off valve/ rubber feed and steel hose, foot rest in cockpit laminat glued & backstay fixing installed. Tomorrow second part SSB service, motor oil change and switch owners toilet to fresh water.

Another good lesson. The dial for the diesel tanks are not very accurate. In an alledgely almost full tank I could fill 110 l.

A new logbook is online. Sheila thanks the Madiera crew for the tea towel for her ports-visited collection, she was inspired and has already bought one from Gran Canaria. Plus a now rare victory of man over machine: The optimum route programme for Ray Tech Navigator is working!

Checked out 4 major shopping centers. The best is El Campo which truly is grande. We will not go hungry!

The only problem we have discovered that the TV antenna needs the plug changed. Not really a major issue.

Wonderful to be back. There is nothing like a German “Hausfrau” to clean a boat. She was absolutely immaculate. Thank you all.

“Ich habe fertig!” (I am done.) The desk has been cleared, the god-byes said. Tomorrow we will be in Las Palmas.

All electrical system are go. Also the latest Raymarine software has been installed. Now we just need to have Tempel and skipper check and service the mechanical systems.

The hydrogenerator is installed and theoretically tested. Maybe a proper test sailing tomorrow.

We have the second hero of the week. Hr. Benkert has fixed the plotters. A substandard plastic connection mounted by the subsupplier of X was to blame. Now it is all systems go. We are ready for lift off!

Crew change on board. Hopefully Hr. Benkert (and his family) can solve the plotter connection problem and successfully install the hydrogenerator.

Arne is the hero of the day. He disassembled the toilet pump and grteased it to make life easier for all users. Thank you Arne!

Arne and Michael finally found some time between all their chores to do some sightseeing and culture. Talking to the it seemed as if boat matters was of a higher interest than churches and beaches.

Michael and Arne are enjoying their time in Las Palmas , while continuing improving the boat with small projects.

The things you can learn by reading the newspaper. The local press interviewed our intrepid sailors in Las Palmas: Nina, Frauke, Arne, Michael and Martin have sailed really hard, all the way from Hamburg and Karsten is now living in Montreal. Good to know!

Sitting in Las Palmas enjoying themselves and making To do lists for Karsten (and Hr. Benkert).

Safely arrived in Las Palmas. Tied up to reception dock for the rest of the night.

Crew and boat arrived safely to Madeira on 05.10.2011 late afternoon. We decided to berth in the port of Ponta do Sol but as it was empty and under construction we had to go back 10sm to Funchal. We anchored overnight outside, as the port was overcrowded with abt. 70 POGO 6.5 on the Mini Transat.

After a relaxing night with a great view of  Funchal we motored along the South Coast to Marina Calheta, a nice port although noisy due to construction work going on. After the usual repairs, clean-up and bunkering diesel and water the crew rented a car for two days and explored a good part of the island – impressive and beautiful!

On 09.10.2011 we left port and sailed south for the Canaries. A good and steady 9-12 knot easterly made it very pleasant and a nearly full moon made it easy for the night watch.

They are storming towards the Canaries with 7-8 knots. ETA tonight.

After a day of exploring the east coast of Madeira they are setting sail this morning for the Canaries.

On 09.10.2011 we left port and sailed south for the Canaries. A good and steady 9-12 knot easterly made it very pleasant and a nearly full moon made it easy for the night watch.

They are storming towards the Canaries with 7-8 knots. ETA tonight.

After a day of exploring the east coast of Madeira they are setting sail this morning for the Canaries.

After backtracking finally in a harbour. Spend the day admiring the flowery island. Plan to leave on Sunday.

5.10.2011 20:00
After quite an odyssey along the south coast of Madeira they have anchored off Funchal, because the Mini Transat is in town, but have a reserved spot in a marina tomorrow.

5.10.2011 04:00
Das Schiff läuft prima durch die dunkle Nacht – stehen 69 nm vor der SE-Ecke von ” Grande Madeira” 10 kn wind SOG 5-6 kn.

Crew is well and happy. Breakfast at 8am with a beautiful sunrise. Now sunny and warm, surrounded by blue Atlantic waters and dolphins. Crew had a saltwater-bucket shower on foredeck followed by a freshwater one from water maker test. Food onboard is great. Life is really hard onboard “GUNVORXL”….

They are making very good speed. Only 120 nm left at midday. They should arrive in Porto Santo tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon in Funchal in case they decide not to stop.

3.10.2011 23:00
Almost “Bergfest”. They are halfway to Madeira.

After Martin woke us up one hour too early in the morning (he still was on German time), we started our Journey from Portimao to Funcal (Madeira). During the first hours with moderate easterly winds and waves up to 3,5 meters, the sea finally calmed down. In the afternoon we have had a visitor – a small bird – we called him Jan
Now we enjoy a quiet night with the code 1 up and a northerly 6 knots wind. 100nm done / 380 nm to go!
Midnight greetings from the GUNVOR crew.

She is underway again. With a good breeze from the east they are flying towards Madeira.

Nina, Arne and Michael are on board. Everything was fine and the cover has kept the bird droppings off the deck.

The hydro generator has arrived. Our fitting fits.

Fairness is a funny thing. Here I am in Chongqing, China and will be at the Oktoberfest in Munich this weekend, but still I would rather trade with Nina, Michael & Arne going down to the boat tomorrow. The only redeeming fact is that I will be able to call and bug them every day and thereby live vicariously.

It takes all kind of boats. Just rafted down at river at Wu Yi Shan in the midle of China. What a crazy world.

Dear Crew, please check your travel-details under “Crew-Info”!

Joans & Fabian with “Hungriger Wolf” managed 6th place at the J24 Europeans. Amazing!

Jonas & Fabian are doing us proud at the J24 Europeans in Ireland. Currently 5th place! More news tomorrow.

Dear Crew, remember to urgently send back which insurances you require.

The new kayak is amazing. Quick to put together, easy to paddle and quite fast. It will be a great asset, but where to stow it?

Poor Jan K. His professor has suddenly scheduled an exam right during the trip from Portugal to Madeira. German universities are a mess.

The new kayak (Bic Yak 2 lite) has arrived. We will try it out this weekend. It even has a little sail.

A new log book is online.

This is the week of crew meetings. Yesterday the Portugal to Gran Canaria met. Today it was the ARC crew, but without inviting skipper and owner. Do they plan a mutiny?

Just ordered a Watt & Sea hydrogenerator. Should give us lots of power and reduce diesel consumption. Benkert will install on Gran Canaria.

A new Code 2 with 180 m² has been ordered from North. Should boost our performance measurably with shorthanded crew at wind angles between 90° and 140 °.

The window sill in the living room is again starting to fill up with things the next crew has to take down to the boat. New gear, cleaning things that can’t be gotten in Portugal, repaired items, charts and pilot books.

IT IS OVER FOR NOW!! We have left GUNVØR in Portimao and have gone home. No more sailing until October 1st.

Today is major cleaning day. Hopefully we will have a little time to again drive into the mountains, away from the quite ugly tourist coast.

Success. The fridge pump was replaced, the valve in the bathroom toilet replace, just the port side plotter is coming home for some TLC.

Here it starts with the typical boating problems of the long distance sailors. Will have to get an Isotherm specialist to look at our freezer. Luckily they are located here in Portimao.

Looking at the price we clearly will leave the boat in Portimao instead of Vilamoura. € 1000 difference is a good argument.

A new log book entry with pics is on line covering Porto to Cascais.

Bruno did in the end have a lovely sail to Lagos, where he could steer and not be sea sick.

115 nm in 12 hours brought us to a nice anchorage in the lee of Capü San Vincente much earlier than planned. No problems falling asleep after a few drinks despite a major rock concert being held in the old navigation school on the cliffs above us.

Sigrid, Bruno & Justus have arrived. Off to Sagres over night.

Yellowbrick tracker is on line again.

Ian’s birthday was celebrated with a party on our neighbours boat, disco ball and all. Today he is leaving his poor old parents. Sniff.

Ians last day as a teenager we will celebrate by visitinga wine yard Corte de Cima of a class mate of Ian’s from Herlufsholm.

The Biscay-Logbook is online.

9.8.2011 When MÉLODIE-II came in proudly flying the Fleur de Lis from Quebec we did a double take, but soon were sharing a nice glas of Portuguese Tinto.

We have to admit that sitting in a bar with ring side seats watch the AC with a pitcher of Sangria on the table certainly beats sittting in the rain in a “Strandkorb” in Usedom. This afternoon we are diving with a dive master from Stade.

Watching the Americas Cup World series here un Cascais.  “Großes Kino” as they say in Germany. I still somehow can`t  accept multihulls for the AC.

Unfortunately the Yellowbrick tracker is not charging. Either problem with the unit or us. We are well ensconced in Cascais and enjoying the jet set life style for a few days.

Spend a magic day and night at Islas da Berlenga including diving and rowing thru caves. Now in Cascais going to watch Americas Cup regattas.

People are peculiar. Here in Nazaré. the young people from the upper and lower town, connected by a spectacular fuunicular were not supposed to marry!

It is nice to have a fast boat. 100 nm in 12 h (with motor help) has taken us to Nazaré. 2 new birds & first dolphins!

A new logbook is available and Ian has come to support his old parents.

Where but in Porto to try port wine. Certainly beats visiting the min. 10 churches one ought to visit.2.08.2011
A new logbook is available and Ian has come to support his old parents.

Being the only guests in a restaurant can create challenges – for the restaurant. Yesterday near the Porto harbour the staff had to rush off 3 times to fullfil some order of ours.

Having arrived in Porto another of the friends of the young GUNVØR Crew came by. It must be a very good friend because the kept telling us how diligently the boat was cleaned prior to our arrival in Baiona.

Even in paradise there are things to complain about. When the wind here in Viana do Castelo is coming from land it is so warm we need the air conditioning. Wind from the 15°C cold water produces a fleece to be worn.

A magical day. Just gliding along wing on wing from Spain to Viana do Costello in Portugal with lots of sun. We will enjoy 2 days here lying in the soft mud at every low water.29.07.2011
Even in paradise there are things to complain about. When the wind here in Viana do Castelo is coming from land it is so warm we need the air conditioning. Wind from the 15°C cold water produces a fleece to be worn.

A magical day. Just gliding along wing on wing from Spain to Viana do Costello in Portugal with lots of sun. We will enjoy 2 days here lying in the soft mud at every low water.

27.07.2011 b
Santiago was a lesson in the gullibility of mankind. How can anybody believe that a apostle killed in Palestine, sails on a ship without crew up a Spanish river, has his grave “discovered” 800 years later just in time for the Reconquista and then have his bones “re-identified” by a pope another 800 years later! What a con! But surely a good walk.

27.07.2011 a
After a very windy night we are back to sunny Spain. 30°C today. Hopefully our rental car is air conditioned.

A “big” trip tp Sanxenxo. Tomorrow to Santiago de Compostella. Halleluja for our souls. Basically spend all day in a taverna drinking wine and eating seafood. Wasn’t difficult to fall asleep.

Enjoying some nice anchoring on Isla de Cie,

Crewwechsel in Baiona.
Sheila und Karsten reisen an. Die Gunvor gibt sich alle Mühe, mit dem aufgebauten Bimini zu blitzen und zu strahlen. 4 Wochen Segel-Sonnen-Sommer sollten nun nichts mehr im Wege stehen!

Nach einem Tag mit Strand, Sonne und Naturwanderung inklusive Vogelbeobachtungen sind wir heute bei Wolken in die Ria de Vigo gefahren. Vigo hat eine relativ hübsche Altstadt, die Sonne scheint wieder und wir warten auf frischen Fisch zum Abendbrot.

While the crew is enjoying the pleasures of the Illas Cies at anchor, the weather is contiously getting better and better. When skipper and his wife arrive on Sunday it will be for at least two weeks of glourious sunshine.

Grauer und nieseliger kann Hamburg auch nicht. Wir haben den Tag genutzt, um die wirklich beeindruckende Kathedrale in Santiago de Compostela zu besuchen und die Pilger zu beobachten. Nun lassen wir den Abend gemütlich unter Deck ausklingen.

Endlich Wind und Sonne, und wir können die Ankerbuchten nun auch sehen!
Wir sind in der nächsten Bucht angekommen und genießen Paella. Morgen dann Kulturprogramm in Santiago de Compostela.

GUNVØR fährt in wunderbare Ankerbuchten mit kleinen Stränden mit Leuchtürmen. Leider alles bei unter 0,5 sm Sicht bei Nebel und Niesel. Der Himmel so grau wie das Meer. So ist das “herbstliche” Spanien

15.07.2011, II.
Die Angler sind noch da. Oder schon wieder? Die scheinen ein ähnliches Wachsystem zu fahren wie wir. Wir stärken uns vor der nächsten Bastel-Runde mit Philippines Tiramisu. Heute Abend fahren wir weiter Richtung Cap Finisterre. Dort soll es innen einen Ankerplatz mit tollem Strand geben.

Ausschlafen! Am Boot basteln. Sightseeing in La Coruna. Die Angler im Hafen 24/7 beobachten. Fisch essen. Heute Abend geht es weiter, immer noch auf der Suche nach dem warmen spanischen Sommer.

Wir sind in La Coruna angekommen! Nach zuerst sehr schneller Fahrt konnten wir heute Nacht bei Mondschein und Flaute motoren und Delfine bewundern. Jetzt geht es auf in die Stadt.

The crew is literally flying towards La Coruna. They only have about 100 nm to go. The last 24 h run must have been around 200 nm. Sheila and Karsten were looking out when their plane crossed over the Bay of Biskay this morning, but could only see that they have very fine, sunny weather. Soon that Spanish wine can be enjoyed.

They couldn’t wait to get going, so at 8:00 UTC they left France and set sail across the Bay of Biskay. A good weather forecast should give them a pleasant crossing with good spinnaker sailing initially followed by some hard core sun tanning with little wind. ETA Thursday.

Wir sind endlich in la belle France angekommen! Nun sitzen wir im süßen Camaret sur Mer kurz vor Brest und essen Muscheln und Crêpes und trinken bretonisches Bier. Außerdem ist immer etwas am Boot zu basteln. Morgen geht es schon weiter Richtung Spanien, weil der Wind günstig weht.

Slowly, with little wind, but hopefully sunny weather they are crossing towards France/Brest. It looks to be a very quiet second night at sea.

At 22:00 the wind died fully and the motor was put on. The head land of Brest was passed at 01:45 acc to marine traffic. Big brother is watching you!

GUNVØR left Cowes this morning, hopefully bound for Brest. A force 5-6 on the nose is making life very uncomfortable. Hopefully the wind will die down during the night and turn favorable the next few days.

Die stürmische Ãœberfahrt über den Solent nach Cowes hat sich gelohnt – Shopping-Tour im englischen Mekka des Segelns! Jetzt sitzen wir im Pub voller Segler. Das Tief zieht langsam, langsam weg. Mal sehen, ob die Fanatischsten unter uns hier wieder wegzubewegen sind!

06.07.2011 (local time)
They are 2 -3 hours delayed, but expect to arrive in the early hours. Skpipper in Mexiko City & Owener in Buenos Aires are very envious. Hope to get daily updates. Hint, hint…

Daniel und seine Crew brechen nach Southampton auf. Dort wird die Gunvor vorbereitet und nach Abzug der englischen Tiefs geht es los gen Süden…


While Sheila is checking the delights of her parents old folks home, Karsten is doing an investigative study of Carribean weather patterns. First a hurricane extended his flight o Mexiko city. Now the Gulf of Mexiko is showing what birds can be seen. Not bad.

The WARC itinerary has changed, particularly Panama-Galapagos. Please check out the WARC homepage and soon our revised plan. Also minor dates have changed.

Check out our new June logbooks and pictures.
Suppliers don’t make life easy. For our crew cloth Musto has mixed BR1 Match Jackets with BR1 Race jackets in their supply! Similar, but not the same. Also two jackets have the wrong size. Lets see how they will deal with it?

Daniel and his crew yesterday got their to do list for their trip. Not much to repair, but the owner has lots and lots of ideas for small improvements.

Sheila and Karsten are back in Hamburg (well sort of) and won’t be sailing again (sigh) until the end of July for 4 weeks. Daniel and his crew ares getting ready to take the boat to Spain at the beginning of July.

We are currently testing the new full boat cover. It should reduce the dirt that accumulates and protect the teak. Hopefully it will get ever more quick to install.

Now Ian & Sheila are Day Skippers, while Karsten is an Ocean Master. We celebrate while the rain keeps coming down here in Southampton.

While Sheila is enjoying the delights of British sailing (Rain & drizzle interspersed with heavy down pours, Karsten has just passed the written YM Ocean test in the comfort of the saloon of GUNVØR. Tomorrow the oral examination hopefully will not be a problem. Fingers crossed.

Now safely tied up at the Ocean Village Marina in Southhampton. The boys have all gone home.

Arrived in Cowes. Will we go to the pub today?

At 11 am today the white cliffs of Dover were sighted. Aal izz vell on board, despite having to motor most of the way. Next stop probably Cowes.

The weather is good, the crew on their way and the excitment of finally really leaving Germany is actually mounting quite a lot. Yes today is it!

It is all systems go. Everything works! We made the deadline. Thank you to all who have worked these past 2 years to make it all happen!

The tracker has been switched off for a few days. Will be active again today. Also some last minutes improvements will be done such as installing the sacks below the seats behind the steering wheels. Thursday is the big day.

Back in Cuxhaven after a lovely sai with the Code 1 from Helgoland. She is clean and ready willing and able to go to the UK on Thursday.

Excitment in the morning. The Zoll wants to check us. One German, 2 Swedes plus  an Australiand and a Canadian who have forgotten their passports! Deport those Colonials.

It sometimes is good to be a big boat. Everybody else is rafted up  in packs size 10+. We are just outside one boat.

What a send off! Thank you all sooooo much for coming. Also thanks to all of you who tried but had to turn back because of the traffic. We had a lovely trip down the river, saw the QM II and we will not talk too much about the 3 hours we spend aground outside of Glückstadt.

Our certificates are quickly being completed. Sheila passed her RORC day skipper theoretical test (practical in June), Ian passed his theoretical and pratical RORC day skipper test (on Mallorca) and Karsten practised astronaviagtion with Götz Nietsch on Helgoland for his RORC Ocean Master certificate. (Test in June in the UK) To save time they took a small plane from Büsum and made it there before the crowds arrived. They can now confirm that Helgoland has not moved. 9 days to go.

12.days to go. A busy weekend is coming up. Testing all systems with Benkert, going over the boat with Frauke, Daniel and Martin. Astronavigation practice with Götz on Helgoland, testing sail repair equipment with Mads and a course in the use of Bonito/ Meteo 6 with Jannik. All the time of course all the other last minute tasks of stowage, installation and other to dos need to continue.

It is absolutely amazing the amount of gear and provisions that need to be stowed away. A 10 page stowage list has been established and it is continously growing.

The spinnaker pole repair set has arrived as has the complete autopilot back up.

2 filters have been installed in the amplifiers to surpress the high pitched noise from the loudspeakers. Wasn’t that high a priority as it was mainly the younger crew who were able to hear it.

The bimini came up and promptly it started pouring with cold rain. Can’t wait to get to the hot tropics. But it was very cozy to watch the Eurovision song contest while it was raining outside.

14.5 2011
It never fails to amaze how one can arrived with 2 full shopping cart of provisions and like a miracle it all disappears under floor boards and in cupboards.

The DK part of the ARC team have a private team meeting to night. Are they trying to elect a new skipper?

The optimized reef system has been installed. The pulleys have now been sized correctly and additional strong points added to the boom allowing for better sheeting/ reefing angels and hopefully better performance and less wear and tear. However Andreas had to leave the boat for a while to accommodate Sheila and approx. 10 ladies coming for “Kaffeetrinken.”

Our yellow brick tracker is now online. You can see us by clicking on yellow brick in the website or

Nina had organized an amazing first, second & third aid evening. Some found it a bit hard to lay drops on each other, while other did it to themselves! We are now also experts in sowing, gluing og butterfly taping together chickens. Just the amount of actual medical equipment we have is not much less then the QE2. I believe that our doctors secretly intend to open a medical practice while they are sailing with us. Thank you Nina & Jan.

Heel of the mast has been secured according to the ISAF/ WARC rules. This was the last of the safety item

The new spinnaker pole system is finally finished. A better bolt has been secured with Lock-tight. Also the kitchen cupboard has been made long distance proof.

The crew had a good 4 hour struggle protecting the main and foresail against dirt with “Seal and Glide”.

From now on it is down hill. We reached the cultural pinnacle of the project by having 6 dancers and the director of the Hamburg Ballet help us move the boat from Glückstadt to Wedel. A beautiful day with great wind, super food and great spirits. Perfect.

Gunvør is swimming again and all to dos from X fixed plus a few from Andreas. Tonight (02:00!!) we will try and bring her through the lock and back to Wedel. But because of the strong easterly winds the lock has not openened for 2 days. Maybe tonight? Otherwise we will have to come back on Sunday.

Gunvør is safely on land. The propeller has been painted, the keel, which was almost black been ground down in preparation for tomorrows visit by X. Their to dos include: Fix the rudder, paint the keel, move the owners toilet pump (to avoid the ship to sink), improve the toilet locking mechanism, repair the air con sensor, repair the heater and check why the shimes under the mast are loose. In addition Andreas’s list is down to the last 23 points.

Gunvør is now in Glückstadt waiting to have her rudder fixed. Hopefully she will be back in Wedel on Saturday.

The new hibiscus spinnaker is gorgeous. 11 hours from Wedel to Helgoland. Good going. The other magic sail is the Code 1. We can almost fly.

10 things on the to do list fixed and 15 new ones added. Will it never stop?

We have now made sure that everyone can sleep well on board. We have bought 10 thin travel sheets and 10 fleece “covers/ sleeping bags”. The sleeping bags are 50/50 left/right for those of you that need more body heat under the tropical stars. Also a really cool machete (“You call that a knife, let me show you a knife.” Crocodile Dundee.) for opening coconuts and waving around looking menacing has been acquired.

Sorry to say, but the water problem is not fully solved. Still a bit of foam coming from the kitchen tap. When will it stop?

On Tuesday we are lifted out of the water in Glückstadt to fix the rudder issue.

Skipper is in India, but things still happen. Our lawyer has revised the “Mitseglervereinbarung” that will soon be send to all to sign.

On Monday Sheila and her “Perle” will go to the boat and do a thorough spring clean, although the delivery crew left her in immaculate condition. But some deep cleaning & dusting in the recvesses of the boat are in order.

Ein update:
– X untersucht, wie man das Ruderproblem loest.
– Andreas macht einen Termin in Glueckstadt. Da koennen wir auch den Propeller anmalen und die Spuren vom Schlamm in Hadersleben am Kiel beseitigen.
– Tempel kuemmert sich um ein neues Teil fuer die Fernbedienung.
– Wir bekommen ein Zertifikat von Cosalt fuer die Rettungsinsel.
– Die zusaetzlichen Flares sind bei Yachtprofi bestellt.
– Benkert faengt diese Woche an.
– Petrowski wird hoffentlich diese Woche anfangen, die letzten Aufgaben zu erledigen.

GUNVØR is now on its way to Hamburg. She should arrive in Wedel tonight. The Code 1 was found to be a perfect sail. 10.5 knots in 15 knots of breeze.

All the new sails have come. (Don’t tell Sheila about them.) Most exciting is the 265 m² 1.5 oz Spinnaker for trade wind sailing. Interesting will also be the light wind Genoa II (Aldi Tüte). We should be well set for light and heavy weather. Can’t wait to sail again.

The last safety equipment, the remaining flares have come. We can now finish the grab bags and submit to the WARC check.

The water problem now really seems to get solved. The tanks are new, but when flushing the remaining system with some weed killer the water came out very, very green. No doubt Niels Ebbesen from X, who all winter has shown he knows what he is doing, will also get this right.

You are all invited the 1.6.2011 at 17:00 in Wedel Yachtharbour for a glass or two to celebrate our departure. We have tried to send all of you here in Hamburg an invitation. If you didn’t get one, come anyway. You are all welcome.

GUNVØR has become a member of FTLF, Foreningen for Langtursejladsens Fremme. This is a Danish long distance cruising association. We expect to get a lot of Gammel Dansk under way when we fly their burgee.

Karsten has finished his vaccinations, Sheila needs one more and even Daniel is getting his done. When are you doing yours?

The ISAF safety re-training concludes with a trip to the swimming pool for life raft training and a dip in the Elbe for Jonas. More useful than expected. (The training, not the dip.)

GUNVØR XL is back in the water with the mast on!!

Already 33 yachts from 15 nations have signed up for the WARC. It certainly looks like a go!

We now have an elektrical alternative to cooking with gas. We will use an electrical grill plate and an immersion heater (Tauchsieder), each 2 kW. If the gas runs out or gets blocked, just turn on the generator and put a shrimp on the barbie.

Andreas Tempel has installed a second gas bottle supply system, so we can alternate between different systems or connect systems from around the world. He also repaired about 15 damages to the gelcoat in the cockpit. Why X, when they move a fitting don’t repair the gel coat, but instead put some silicone into the holes is astounding!

Der Septiktank ist installiert. Jetzt können wir legal in der Ostsee, Nordsee, Panama Kanal und Galapagos segeln.

Die beiden Skipper haben beim Japaner geübt rohen Fisch zu essen. Die letzten Crewdetails wurden gelöst. Eine tolle Truppe wenn alles so klappt!

The new liferaft has arrived. Also the snuffer for the cruising spinnaker has been made longer by Clownsail.

We have won a cruising prize from the SVAOe for our trip around the UK last summer! The prize will be handed over the 8.4. Karsten is flying between Kuala Lumpur & Bangkok that evening and Daniel intends to  celebrate his birthday. Can anyone go and represent us?

Sheila has prepared a memo concerning the vaccinations we all need. You should be able to see it under crewinfo in the next few days.


X-Yacht installed a new (very small) septic tank in the crew bathroom today. Nobody is ever allowed to use it! Also our grab bag keeps expanding. A strobe light and multiple light sticks were added. Also the Dan buoy got its required (by WARC) drogue. The best however are all the stickers that have been added everywhere! If you don’t move you will get a sticker. Catatonic teenagers beware!

We (the skipper) have a new toy! A label making machine! We can now make labels: Black on white, white on black, black on clear and black on fabric, plus almost any other colour you would care for. We can use it for:
– labeling the cleats properly, i.e. “Downfucker”
– labeling our myriad of crew cloth
– skipper labelling all kinds of unnecessary things.
The mind boggles.

The list of saftey equipment never seems to stop. The newest addition is a gas detector with two sensors we will install, especially since we have a dual gas system which can accomodate multiple types of gas types and bottles.

Hurrah, we will meet in Haderslev the 31.3 and sail for home the 1.4. The season will start with Sheila, Telse, Daniel, Thomas, Fabian und Jonas. Ice move over!

Charlie Dörfelt verstärkt unser Team von Fiji nach Vanuatu. Charlie war einmal Deutscher Meister im 470 und ist mit Michael Illbruck Admirals Cup und Sydney – Hobart gesegelt. Trotz Alt-Herren bei den Alsterpiraten ist er ein toller Typ.

The key for the winter storage hall was wrong! Fortunately X had an open house and could let the Karsten in. He managed to find two large empty spaces under the floorboards, normally inaccessible because underneath the puff. There all the spare pumps and alternator for the motor have found a home, well protected inside plastic bags. Also now we have a permanent boom preventer led back to the cockpit. All life jackets have reflector tape added.

More projects are being finalized:
– The cable in the mast for the WiFi amplifier is installed.
– The corroded gas dampers for the hatches are replaced with stainless
– Now we have a proper circuit for all our audio remote controls.
– All our life vest have been serviced and are now good until 2013.
– All kinds of spare parts have arrived.

The 14.5.2011 we will meet in Pinneberg for Nina & Christopher to teach us about the use of our medical supplies.

The remaining charts have arrived. Missing were Portugal/ Spain, Spain to Canary Islands with the coast of Africa, Panama and Thursday Island to Darwin. We won’t get lost.

The most cool Corum/ Wempe watch/thermometer and barometer are now beautifying the saloon.

The fun projects are advancing:
– The underwater cameras are installed. On the SB plotter and the TV in the saloon we can now see what is ahead of the boat or the full stripper, propeller and rudder
– The underwater light is working.
– The Big Boy WiFi amplifier is catching more signals than we all believed possible. Cool
– Latest launch date is the 23 of March.

Big brother is watching you. Our total boat surveillance is working! We could phone X-Yacht today and ask them to reconnect the electricity. They thought it was connected, but later had to admit it had been unplugged. Modern technology!

Yes! The ultimate bird guide to St. Lucia came courtesy of the Taiwanese ambassadors to Germany and Greece. Now our visit to the Caribbean is already awesome!

Yes! The ultimate bird guide to St. Lucia came courtesy of the Taiwanese ambassadors to Germany and Greece. Now our visit to the Caribbean is already awesome!

WARC Skipper handbook first edition has arrived. Puh, there is still so much we need to do. Major projects: Complete all the safety equipment, modify the gas installation to use gas bottles from all over the world calibrate the compass, install a new septic tank etc. Another major task is medical: Not only all the medicine, also vaccinations for the whole crew needs sorting out.

New log book entry for February

We have now gotten the required first aid and fire fighting course under our belt. Thank you Rosi for organizing that.

The hand over port the 24th of July, 2011 will be Bayonna in Spain. A rental will come & has to go back to Porto in Portugal.

Things are happening in Haderslev:
– The new water tanks are installed
– The front stringers are now properly laminated in
– All equipment has been serviced
– The rudder has been made “sharp”
Mainly the anti fouling needs to be done and the rerigging of the boat. Since there is no ice on the fjord a departure date from Haderslev the 1st of April looks increasingly likely.

Please reserve the 1.6.2011 at 17:30 for the good bye party at the yacht harbour in Wedel!

Wintertime – time for preparations!
The survival training starts on Friday.
The yard is working hard to fix everything on time.

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