Welcome to old friends of "Lungta". This is an update to "Lungta's" web pages which were hosted by Tripod.com but have now disappeared..................

These pages started as follows:

"Lungta's voyage from England to the USA via the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Venezuela, the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), Haiti, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba. 
"Lungta" entered the  USA at Key West and is currently in Green Cove Springs on the St. John's River on the east coast of Florida just south of the Georgia border."

To get you up to date, long story short, I sold "Lungta" to an Englishman living in Norway and am now a happy landlubber after some twelve years of liveaboard life.

As the new owner wanted delivery in England, here is a precis of  the log of my return Atlantic crossing. 

Departed Green Cove Springs, Florida May 2nd 2006, arrived Plymouth, England June 6th.

We sailed three legs:

Green Cove Springs, St John's River, Florida to St George's, Bermuda Island

R/L 873 NM, miles sailed 931.6, average speed 5.7 kts -- took just over 7 days.
St Georges to Horta, Fayal Is, Azores

R/L 1792 NM, miles sailed 1884, average speed 5.0 kts) --  took 15 days.

Horta to Plymouth, Devon

R/L 1260 NM, miles sailed 1337.7, average speed 5.5 kts -- took 10.5 days.

Rhumb line distance: 3,925 nautical miles
Total nautical miles sailed: 4,153.3
Days taken: 32.5

On board were myself (owner and skipper), and friends Ken & Pat.

We had good weather on the whole, though encountered some fierce squalls leaving St George's which tore the UV-strip on the genoa and damaged the leach line on the main, but otherwise we had blue seas & skies except when approaching Horta, which was grey and misty with a low cloud base.

We departed Slip 11 at Reynolds Park Yacht Center, seen off by a loyal band of well wishers at 0755 EST (0255 GMT/UT) in fine weather with very little wind, so motoring. 


Norm gives Wanda a lift to the end of the jetty to wave goodbye

Having negotiated some 25 NM down the St John's River, we departed Jacksonville Red 6 buoy on course for Bermuda mid afternoon. What wind there was was on the nose, so still motoring. We started our first night watch at 1900 but were able to turn the engine off and sail with full main and genoa at 0100 on May 3rd. 

We stood night watches of three hours each, allowing six hours off. After Vancourt joined us in Horta Pat was released from watch keeping, as a reward for her wonderful cooking.

We always had a hot breakfast and full supper, whatever the weather. Once or twice we hove to, enabling us to enjoy our evening meals in comfort. At 0905 Ken caught the one and only fish on the crossing, a large dorado. 


 Ken with the dorado. 

Also note the Airmarine wind genny, the ham radio downlead from the insulated starboard backstay and the well lashed down outboard.

At midday a USAF fighter plane circled us but decided we were harmless. The next few days
we had erratic gentle winds, caught another dorado on the 7th but it got away. Water maker working well.

In the night of the 9th the wind got up with rain squalls as we approached the SW corner of Bermuda. Using the radar we kept a sensible distance off the coast and dodged some of the heavy rain and at 0245 passed the Red 1 buoy at the entrance to St Georges, having spoken to Bermuda Radio.  By 0308 we were anchored in Powder Hole, ready to deal with Customs whose dock was opposite. We celebrated our arrival with a bottle of Californian sparkling wine.

In the morning we up anchored and motored across to the Customs and Immigration dock. They were welcoming and efficient. It was raining but it did nothing to dampen our spirits. Having completed the formalities we motored a short distance to the Shell fuel dock and took on 243 litres of diesel at a cost of US$350, also 60 gals of water.

Then found a temporary berth at Beckett's Landing (aka "Capt Smoke's Marina") which was an unfortunate name as the marina building had suffered a recent fire, so there were no facilities. We went in search of breakfast but were only able to find a cafe which gave us bagels with bacon. So much for the "English" breakfast we had been looking forward to!

 However we were able to buy English-style beef pies for supper.  There were two large cruise liners in the harbour with hordes of tourists ashore in search of bargains and souvenirs.


St. George's Harbour

By 1400 we were back on board, having found a supermarket for fresh vegetables and so on, and not terribly impressed by what we had seen of Bermuda. We left the "marina" at 1900 and forty minutes later were through the cut and on course for Horta.  Low clouds and rain were not very pleasant. We were buzzed twice by a plane but it did not call us on Ch.16 and disappeared into the cloud, followed by heavy rain and wind gusting to 28 kts.

The next few days we enjoyed some good sailing weather, with a full moon on the 12th. The Navtex is picking up Canadian weather, not much use to us here. On the 13th at 0105 we had a glassy calm, followed at 0305 by a rain squall. At 0905 we had wind on the nose gusting 25 kts, making it very bouncy. The mainsail outhaul decided to break at the turning block (caused by chafe) but at 1100 it stopped raining. Still wind on the nose, so pitching & rolling. Motor sailing with a well-reefed genoa. Repaired the outhaul.

On the 14th sighted another yacht, "Toto" also from Bermuda to Horta. Full genoa again as carrying out repairs to the mainsail. In the afternoon the mainsail jammed inside the mast, it would not unfurl. Ken had to climb up the mast to pull and tug it out by hand. In the middle of all this, a container ship passed us to port, some 5 miles away.

During the night of the 15th, between 0500 and 0850 (when we reefed the main) the prop shaft stopped turning. It normally makes quite a noise audible in the aft cabin, but now there was silence! "Lungta" was still making between 4 and 5 kts, and at 1130 decided to inspect the prop shaft. I was possible to turn the shaft by hand, but it was stiff. The bearings OK and the propeller therefore not fallen off?

The next day (16th) found the shaft turning more easily, but still not normal. At 1800 there was a "ping!" and the prop shaft started turning normally - maybe the "foreign body" loosened and came away - a cable or part of a fishing net? More fluky wind continuing, so engine on and off again several times. At 1915 the autopilot failed, discovered that the chain drive sprocket on the Whitlock steering had come loose, temporary repairs were made.


Pat looking out

We reached the halfway point to Horta on the 18th. On the 19th a beam wind from the south gives us a good speed but the seas build and we get an occasional rogue wave that slaps the side of the hull and the top of the wave falls into the cockpit. Tried to start the generator at 1010 to run the water maker but it would not start. Had to start the engine to recharge the batteries before it would run.  By 1810 wind is up to 36 kts, so furled the main. Occasional wave tops splash into the cockpit, which is annoying when trying to read! Saw two ships today.

On the 21st going well but the wind gets up - 30 kts on the beam, so furl the main as the gunwale is in the water. At 1704 we are three quarters of the way across. By 2145 wind has died, so engine on.

On the 22nd was able to speak for the first time to Bill G4FRN who is net control of the UK Maritime Mobile Net on 14.303 MHz.  We also spoke to Jim KC4AZ for the last time who with members of Ben's Net on 14.261 MHz had been following our progress.

Licensed as G3UZI, my on board radio equipment consisted of:

  •  an Icom 706 transceiver, 
  • an SCS PTC-IIex modem with Pactor III, 
  • an SGCSG-237 Smartuner feeding the insulated backstay,
  • an IBM Thinkpad laptop. 

 The Airmail program (http://www.airmail2000.com/) in conjunction with the Amateur radio Winlink 2000 organisation (http://www.winlink.org/) worked extremely well throughout the voyage, enabling us to keep in touch with family and friends by email, allowed them to follow our progress by our daily position reports. We were able to connect to stations in the USA, Canada, Canary Islands and Holland. It also enabled us to obtain weather maps in the form of Grib files which look like Wefax charts but give us 12 - 24 - 48 - 72 hour prognoses in one file. It seems that weather fax is now old technology and although I had a Wefax program I did not bother with it.

The 24th was a fine sunny day, wind and seas from astern. Saw a whale, dolphins and several turtles. Another sight over many days were literally thousands (millions?) of tiny jellyfish, each one equipped with a sail enabling them to sail downwind on their voyage to goodness knows where. There were so many at times that they (along with the flying fish) could be found on deck in the mornings. Pat thought they were recently hatched Portuguese Men of War, and who is to say she was wrong? What sentience do they have, and could they be part of a group mind, similar to ants and bees? How much there is still to learn about Nature and this Earth of ours!

The night of the 25th was a fine starry night with a grey dawn. Saw land to port (where it should be!) sandwiched between the low clouds and the sea, and by 0817 we were outside Horta harbour entrance. At 0830 we were happy to see Vancourt jumping up and down and at 0830 tied up outside a large Jeanneau. He showed us to the marina office who handle Customs and Immigration and later took us to Cafe Sport for breakfast.

Very many thanks are due  to all who helped us on our way, the many hams who advised me regarding Pactor and Winlink, Tim Deegan (chief meteorologist of First Coast News TV station in Jacksonville) and many others.

Horta is the port on the island of Fayal in the Azores. The Azores are Portuguese, so are part of the European Union. I did have worries about returning to England with "Lungta" after such a long time away. If she had to be re-imported there might have been problems with UK Value Added Tax. However I was asked no questions by the authorities here.

Both the local Cafe Sport, a short walk from the marina, and the paintings on the harbour walls left by yachts passing through are famous in sailing circles. Ocean mariners from both sides of the Atlantic meet at Cafe Sport to exchange tall stories. While waiting for us to arrive, our new crew member Vancourt, got to know it quite well. It was a good place to relax with a drink.

We left Horta on the morning of the 27th after last minute shopping and posting postcards to family and before midnight had the shore lights and lighthouse on Graciosa Island in sight. On the 29th we had just a thousand NM to go to Plymouth. On the 31st we witnessed a small pod of pilot whales crossing our bows.

In the early hours of June 1st the watch keeper logged a faint glow in the sky to the south, it was still there an hour later. It could not have been a cruise liner as the glow did not move and it still remains a mystery.

On the 3rd the generator would not start, discovered the water pump impeller had shredded. Could not find a spare though I had two, so connected the deck wash hose to the generator temporarily. (Later found the generator spares bag in the wrong locker). Just before midnight we were able to pick up for the first time BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast on 198 kHz.

Greeted by a beautiful dawn on the 5th, with a cloudless sky (apart from the crisscrossing contrails of the transatlantic jets), and a glassy calm sea, I took photos.  


As no wind, took the opportunity of tightening the main halyard. We are now seeing UK fishing boats in numbers. Just before noon spoke to opposite direction yacht "Glayva" in position 49° 51'N 7° 12.5W. John Apps on board. He is taking part in a single-handed race to Newport, Rhode Island. As he is not allowed to motor in a calm, he is only making 2 ½ knots, His journey might take 45 days unless he found more wind. Rather him than us!

UPDATE: "06/07/06 Glayva pulls out. We have just received news that Glayva has retired to The Azores with a broken shroud after 2 weeks of very bad winds. John has also decided that he is unable to spare the time away from his business to complete The Jester Challenge and sail back this year. He says that he will try again in 2010. (From The Jester Challenge 2006 website: http://www.jesterinfo.org.)

Around tea time we were abeam the Bishop Rock lighthouse lying four miles west of the Scilly Isles, and a short while later were boarded by Her Britannic Majesty's Coastguard. We had noticed a large grey corvette-type vessel which passed us about a mile away. It then turned around, came abeam of us, and launched an RIB with four on board. They were very pleasant, read us our rights, inspected the ship's papers and crew's passports and asked if they could search the vessel, which they did, quite thoroughly. It certainly broke the monotony!

At 0100 on the 6th we had Lizard Point three miles to the north of us. It is a famous landfall in Cornwall, the southernmost point of mainland England. We could see car headlights moving along a busy road and the very powerful beam of the lighthouse on the Point. After our last breakfast on board we cleaned ship and at 1110 passed the western end of Plymouth's outer breakwater.  A few minutes later we passed our end waypoint, the Mallard South Cardinal buoy, and furled the mainsail for the last time. (With in-mast furling, no need for a "harbour stow").


At 1145 the last entry in the log reads: Into Queen Anne's Battery Marina.  I will leave the greetings of family and friends to your imagination!

ERRATA: I have been informed by a correspondent that the tiny sailing jellyfish are called "By-the-wind Sailors" (Velella velella) and are not baby Portuguese Man O' Wars (Physalia physalis).

Thanks for your patience in reading this!

Wishing Happy Sailing to all sailors and 73 to all radio hams, particularly the Winlink network operators.


I handed over "Lungta" to my yacht brokers Ancasta in Plymouth, who together with Vancourt, looked after the new owner who arrived from Norway a few days later. My thanks are due to them whilst I was in East Sussex in hospital undergoing surgery for my new hip.

The new owner took "Lungta" round Lands End, north across the Irish Sea to Scotland, through the Caledonian Canal, across the North Sea to Trondheim in Norway where she is now berthed.


"There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea".

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)




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