Day 28 – Monday 6 April

With Ireland only a stone’s throw away, and our final destination of Avonmouth creeping closer and closer, some of the crew feel a bit like Captain Miles Walters, but instead of arriving in Alaska Island instead of Culver Creek, we are arriving in Cork instead of Athens.

In saying that, however, given the current weather of blue skies, warm sun, and gentle westerly winds, we can almost imagine ourselves sailing pleasantly along the Mediterranean. There has been an increase in the number of birds for us to watch, primarily Gannets, with the visit of a tired Red Wing on the bridge deck, giving it the opportunity to rest and us the opportunity of some close up photos.

Morale on board has increased considerably with the change in weather, and it’s odd to think that three days ago the area where people are now conversing and enjoying the sun was being battered by gale force winds and getting a salty rinse of North Atlantic water every few minutes.

We have encountered a small fleet of Spanish fishing vessels which is only a pre-taste of the many vessels we will have to keep an eye out for as we swiftly approach Irish waters: we can almost smell the Guinness.

~ Aft. Starboard; Tim, Tim, Keith, Anne, Conor, and Harris

 

Day 27 – Sunday 5 April

I don’t know what we did to upset them.

All the way from the Azores the weather gods gave us gale after gale after gale. All from the east. Just the way we want to go. The kind of relentless, day after day, hold on tight, oops there goes the coffee again, no I didn’t get a wink of sleep weather that sailor-men call “a bit lumpy” and makes first trippers swear they will be a better person if they survive and never go to sea again.

Anyway, the gods cut us a bit of slack today. The wind veered to the South then West so it’s perfectly positioned on our port quarter. The clouds disappeared, the sun came out, the main deck was opened for the first time in two days and we put up the lower topsails.

It’s still blowing over 30 knots and the sea is rough but we’re bowling along at 8-10 knots just over a day from Ireland.

With the exception of a few hardy souls who just want to keep on sailing forever, most of the crew are now looking forward to setting their feet on dry land and reuniting with family and friends.

It’s 5.00 pm here and we’ve just finished happy hour (cleaning ship). It’s been too wild to do one for the last few days. Even though we still need to take care it’s been good to get in the fresh air on deck and work in the sunshine.

The other two watches are below working with Alan, our wonderful Medical Purser, making sure everything beneath decks is clean and fresh.

Since we’re now closing on the Irish coast this way well be the last blog from Forward Port so farewell and look forward to seeing you soon.

Chris w/l, David, Tommy, Aidan, Sam, Robbie and Ryan

Day 27 – Saturday 4 April

Happy birthday to Bosun B’s Dad 😊

Happiest of birthdays to Lasse’s Grandmother too.

It is currently day 27 at sea. This has been the most life changing, emotional, and eye-opening experience of my life thus far. I have never met such amazing people like the permanent crew, their dedication to their work and making every day better than the one previous is what in my opinion truly makes this vessel what it is today.

A place that nourishes the soul, with hidden beauty and style. SV Tenacious slowly rocks me to sleep whilst I think of the joys of the on-coming hours of my watch.

Connor (De Nero) Galligan, forward starboard.

 

Day 26 – Friday 3 April 

An interesting 24 hours on Tenacious. Gale force 8 from the East/South East. Hard work for everyone! On deck it is wet and windy, trying to stay dry and warm is the priority. Below decks staying on your feet is the issue, so far. some near scrapes and some interesting dance moves but no major falls.

The wind increase and change of direction mean that we are now heading towards Ireland at a reasonable speed and not Iceland very slowly as was the case previously.

Because we are motor sailing Captain Simon has kindly agreed to half watches at night which means everybody gets more time in their bunks, whether they sleep or not depends rather on where they are on the ship as you can imagine the bunks in the bow are rather lively.

Moral amongst the troops is good despite the weather meaning that everybody is below decks apart from when they are on watch. This has to be, in large part, down to Cookie Ian and his glamorous assistant Ellie, considering the conditions, the food has been incredible.

Oh no Beth’s knots masterclass has been cancelled due to the weather! Oh well the Skipper tells us the weather should improve in the next 24 hours or so and that we might be able to get the square sails out.

Something to look forward to at least!

Day 24 – Wednesday 1 April 

Phew. We’re slogging along making the best course we can to windward, between North by East and North of North East. When we came aboard in Antigua, how long ago that now seems, the Captain warned us that spending several weeks at sea in the North Atlantic this time of the year we were bound to get a bit of a bashing at some stage of the voyage. Well right now we’re getting “a bit of a bashing”.

We left Ponta Delgada straight into strong head winds, between 25 – 30 knots gusting up to 40. And big rough head seas rolling in on our starboard bow. Safety lines were rigged, the main deck placed off limits and anyone not actually required to do anything recommended to stay in their bunks. Fortunately, everyone now has their sea legs so no seasickness aboard and everyone is moving safely around the ship: one hand for you, one for the ship.

During the worst of it yesterday when it was hard to move around at all our magnificent galley team, led by Ian and Ellie managed to make us sandwiches. Truly heroic. Today the wind is down a little to around 25 knots, the main deck is open again and the galley fully functioning. But we’ve been warned it will deteriorate again before, maybe, we get some wind other than from ahead by the weekend.

In the meantime, watches are cold – the temperature falls day by day and today its sunny with racing clouds but a definite cold edge to the wind. We watch the big waves rolling in. You can understand why sailors call their breaking tops “white horses”; they race, tumbling and rearing towards us, flicks of white foam flying off, pure soap-sud white in the bright watery sunlight.

Up and up she rises as I try to write this, over the top of another 5 metre wave then crash, down the other side as it brings the ship to a stop, shuddering then up on the next one the water breaking over the bowsprit and running down the main deck and out of the midship scuppers. She’s a dry ship with the water rarely getting aft the midship deckhouse, to the evident relief of our few smokers who gather here on the leeward side. The spray, however, spatters us all the way aft on the wheel and on lookout.

At about this stage in the voyage we should be heading east into the balmy Mediterranean instead we’re bashing north roughly, for now, in the direction of Iceland. What an adventure!! It’s Bosun’s Mate Stu’s Mum Joan’s 89th birthday today which she shares with Shiny, our ever-cheerful Chief Engineer (who is not yet 89). Many happy returns to both of you.

Tommy has just walked over to tell me his random thought for the day: “For the matter of quality over quantity, just a single malt can create a thousand smiles.”

And Rowan our Second Mate has taken a few moments from keeping us safe to compose a rather clever and relevant Haiku. Here it is: No, Andy and Sam, // You can’t go on the bowsprit // It’s still too bouncy.

Well that’s all from Forward Port today. We’ve rambled on enough.

Stay safe and well at home. With love to all family, friends and followers.

Chris W/L, David, Tommy, Aidan, Sam, Robbie and Ryan.

Day 23 – Tuesday 31 March 

Good Afternoon to you all!

As of 18:48 we are;

40 07.4460N

025 07.5250W

This morning the weather synopsis we were given by the permanent crew is that it would be; “bumpy.” I’m sure you can imagine what that actually means to most of us, and we would word it slightly differently! However, all is good and everyone is well

Alistair Rowan, FS Watch-leader.

P.S. The cadets on board are pretty groovy too.

 

Day 20 – Saturday 28 March 

Hello! Forward Port here gain. Safely alongside in Ponta Delgada.

On Thursday we came up for the 4-8 morning watch to see the peaks of San Miguel and the lights of Ponta Delgada ribboning along the horizon in the very first of the dawn light. After breakfast we prepped the ship for arrival, bringing in the jibs and staysails, flaking out the mooring lines on fo’c’sle and stern and getting the RIB in the water.

The pilot didn’t board but guided us from the pilot cutter to our berth at the deserted cruise terminal. And that is where we are and expect to be until Monday. Although ships come and go, discharging at the commercial jetty on the breakwater just across the water from where we are, the town is ghostly quiet.

A few cars and the rare pedestrian. From the ship we can see a row of grand hotels lining the coastal road at night -not one of their windows is lit. No shore leave is permitted and no one is allowed aboard. The only people we’ve seen are the guys who delivered the stores to the foot of the gangway and the bunker team. All of them kept their distance.

With access to phones and internet the news from home has been flooding in after our long isolation at sea. But despite the gloomy news from just about every corner spirits aboard are good. We have plenty of fresh food, biscuits and crisps have arrived so our teenagers are happy and cases of Portuguese beer and wine have brought smiles to the faces of our older crew members.

The weather is showery but we have plenty to keep us occupied. Yesterday was an R&R day as we caught up on sleep after a few days of bouncy weather. Today Johannes has given us a great talk on lights in preparation for busier seas ahead.

Simon’s singing classes have led to a ship full of music and singing and this afternoon we have……Happy Hour -)))

Hope you are all safe and well and not too bored indoors. Enough for now.

W/L Chris, David, Sam, Tommy, Aidan, Ryan and Robbie.

PS thought for the day “In times of uncertainty let nature be your refuge.”

Day 17 – Wednesday 25 March 

After a relatively calm and pleasant two weeks at sea, the ocean has finally turned giving us the long anticipated roughness of the North Atlantic.

We’ve been overtaken by a weather front providing us with near-gale force winds right on our bow, 5meter waves making getting into your bunk a challenge, and a rolling motion that makes it possible to serve three people their supper in one swift tumbling motion.

The frequency of birds has increased, alongside the number of other vessels coming up on the radar as we approach Ponta Delgado; a destination we are all very much looking forward to arriving at.

Although this change in weather has been quite the juxtaposition in comparison to before, everyone has met it head on with the courage of nearing home. We are all anxiously anticipating the bombardment of news and messages from the wider world once we reach the Azores, but until then we wish everyone the very best from our bubble of nautical safety.

~ Aft. Starboard: Roly, Anne, Keith, Tim, Tim, Conor, and Harris

Day 16 – Tuesday 24 March 

Only 180 miles to go to the Azores and the weather Gods finally stopped smiling and gave us a little taste of what they are capable.

We awoke to a sunny day with perfect winds of 20 knots from almost astern. By 11.30 the wind had shifted dead ahead, risen to 30 knots and the heavens opened and soaked us. Now we are now bucking and pitching and have safety lines rigged on the main deck. What a difference a few hours and a weather front make…..

Don’t think today’s night watch will be as clear and starry as last night’s breath-taking display. We came up to see Venus set in an astonishing blaze of colours like a fire ship sinking beneath the far horizon.

We’ve now had confirmation that we can stop in Ponta Delgada for bunkers and stores but no shore leave boo hoo. With lots of 16year olds aboard we definitely need a refill of crisps, coke and biscuits, preferably jammy dodgers which are now rationed… ☹ Maybe we can persuade Deliveroo to get a supply of pizzas and big Macs to the ship.

Simon’s singing class has been a big success. The sound of music is now all about the ship and each evening the lower mess is busy until closing time with chat, cards and music. There’s a great atmosphere in our little bubble and we do our best to live in the moment and not think too much about what’s happening in the world. Not a lot we can do about it.

Hope all family, friends and followers are well and in good spirits. Bye for now from Forward Port: Chris W/L, Tommy, David, Aidan, Robbie, Ryan and Sam.

PS Tommy’s thought for the day: “All the comforts of home may be found in a custard cream.”

Day 14 – Sunday 22 March

Day 14 and less than 900 miles to the Azores. The weather gods continue to smile on us and we are bounding along at over 7 knots with topsails set and hardly a tweak necessary for the past two days. The temperature is gradually falling but it’s still a comfortable 20C and now looks more like the North Atlantic with long and lumpy swells rolling in from the south east. The clouds march past in towering grey and white columns and we get the occasional showery squall with plenty of wind under it. Tenacious has been up over 10 knots several times.

It’s a long voyage and we’ve settled into the quiet rhythm of watches. On deck there’s lots of maintenance underway and the ship’s looking smarter by the day.

Ian continues to feed us far too much. This morning at smoko we had a delicious lemon drizzle cake. It lasted about 10 minutes, although that might have had something to do with the 8 slices 3rd Mate Johannes was spotted hurrying towards his lair in the chartroom – now we know why he doesn’t eat breakfast :-))

All’s well in forward port. The whole watch has been cleared for climbing but Sam continues to outdo all of us.

Down below the lower mess is busy in the evenings with music, card games and reading. The teenagers have started a band which is actually producing some good sounds…..! We’ve had entertaining talks from voyage and permanent crew and the Cadets are next up to give us their impression of life at sea.

For those who want it there are news bulletins about the woes of the world while those who prefer to live in our delightful bubble can ignore them.

Enough from me. Hoping all our family, friends and readers are safe and well, this is Forward Port signing off from mid-Atlantic.

Chris W/L, David, Sam, Ryan, Tommy, Robbie and Aidan.

PS Tommy’s thought for the day: “The motion of the ocean is a most comforting notion, more so than any potion or lotion.”

A message from Johannes:

Onwards we motor, to the land of no cake. Soon supplies will dwindle and there will be no more 8 slices for me. This dark cloud of thought drains my every movement. I have never felt so passionately about a form of edible sweetness before. Here’s hoping the Azores have eggs in these strange times of land lubbers. Alas, we will have to wait and see… Johannes X

(Kirsten! Worry not – a mild dose of potential cake withdrawal is all that assails him. We’ll have him back as……………”robust” as ever. Ed.)

Day 13 – Saturday 21 March

Well here we still are in our mid Atlantic bubble, all happy and healthy, but concerned for the deprivation all you folks are enduring at home.

The night watches got rained on, but today the sun is shining, although the steady breeze is not favourable for any sailing, so we are still steaming.

The highlight of the morning was an animated talk from Connie on beekeeping. There could be a sudden influx of budding apiarists into the UK shortly. Iain produced wonderful handmade burgers for lunch and assured me
that he didn’t use his feet once.

Activities this afternoon include a lot of climbing in the hope of spotting something else except sea, and scrubbing inside, outside and underneath boxes. This war on accumulated dirt has watch-leader Chris at the forefront,
fortified, we are told, by at least eight pieces of cake in an attempt to outdo Johannes, who will only admit to five pieces despite rumours spread previously.

So, we are all in good spirits, proceeding on a straight course, more or less, towards the Azores, eta sometime in the middle of next week. The writer of this is whistling for a whale to appear but so far failing miserably. Now that would make our day. But lo and behold! great excitement!A buoy has been spotted to port bobbing past. Over to your imagination.

Aft starboard Roly, Keith, Ann, Tim, Tim, Harris and Conor.

 

Day 10 – Wednesday 18 March 

For the aft port, watch started with a jingle call at 0730hrs for breakfast at 0800hrs. Having broken our fast our day routine started by a brief from watch leader Peter on the day’s events.

Our next watch was the 1230 “afternoon watch” preceded by “smoko” (tea and cakes) and the dreaded Happy Hour where all the voyage crew turn-to to clean the ship.

After an early lunch with weather looking more favourable in terms of the winds increasing abeam of the ship the lower and upper topsails were set on the main and foremast.

The challenge was set by the off coming watch to top the engine assisted 9.4 knots. Well, I am delighted to say that through a number of squally showers, Emily, on behalf of the Aft Port team achieved 10knots whilst at the wheel as she truly let the handbrake off.

For the rest of the watch a steady nine plus knots were achieved as the skies lightened, the sun came out as we enjoyed birthday boy Joes yummy chocolate cake cooked especially by Ian, our fantastic onboard chef.

 

Day 8 – Monday 16 March 

Monday. 24C. Calm seas and sunshine. It certainly beats commuting on
a cold March morning.

Just over a week in and the ship is settling down. Everyone has worked through their seasickness and getting used to the routine. The prevailing winds are against us and we’re motor sailing ENE to find some westerlies. But, the weather has been kind with gentle breezes and occasionally enough south in the wind to get some square sails up.

Below decks the lower mess is now busy and cheerful with a number of competitive games in progress and a few using the last of their EC dollars to play “high stakes” poker. We’ve had a few instructional talks: from Trev on sail handling, Stu on the stars, Johannes on paracord, Rowan on fundamentals of the sextant and Beth on elementary knots. Beth (the bosun) is now collecting volunteers for maintenance and pretty well the whole crew has put their hands up so we’re expecting “Tenacious” to arrive in Piraeus looking even more smart than when she left Antigua.

We’re not as optimistic about catching any fish. After a week no one has yet managed to untangle the
fishing line…..We had a flying fish land on deck and that’s possibly the only fresh fish we’re like to see….

In Forward Port all is well. Sam has established himself as our “rig monkey”. It’s hard to get him down from aloft and we think he sleeps in his harness. We’re just about used to Tenacious’s colourful new sails which are
gloriously distinctive although the main staysail which has huge red spots and looks like a pair of grandma’s bloomers took some getting used to.

Well that’s it for today. We’re currently ploughing along at just over 7 knots in a sapphire blue sea. Tommy has given us his thought for the day: “to be at sea is to be free”. Uhmmm, I’ll leave you with that.

Best wishes to all ashore.
Watch-leader Chris, David, Ryan, Tommy, Aidan, Sam, and Robbie.

Day 6 – Saturday 14 March 

Sea-legs…

A communal sigh of relief at breakfast and a palpable lift in spirits. With good weather forecast, the paper bags are finally able to be stowed away, as (hopefully) the last of the sea sickness dissipates.

Everyone seems to be settling into the watch system, Cookie has kindly introduced the non-seafarers to Smoko – Tea/Coffee and cake at 1000 and 1500. I’ll be honest, I didn’t realise I needed extra cake in my life – I was wrong.

Workshops covered so far include; Knots, climbing and sails (…as we motor across the Atlantic in exactly the opposite direction to favourable winds), with a further workshop scheduled for this afternoon on celestial
navigation.

I sense there is a lot more to come from Tenacious but days 1-5 were really about finding our feet, and I’m pleased to say we have.

Distance travelled: 434 nautical miles
Average speed (knots): 6

Aft Port Watch

Day 5 – Friday 13 March 

The Tenacious voyage crew arrived on the 9th of March. We did a few sessions of basic training exercises, and due to customs and an anchor hold-up we set sail on Wednesday the 11th. The weather has been choppy with a stable easterly wind and lots of warm sunshine.

On the third day of sailing we set some of the square sails but due to weakening winds promptly took them down; the wind has been mostly constant between 15 and 20 knots. An exciting experience for all has been the first climb of the rigging.

All went well and most have come down with a smile on their face from the thrilling experience.

Aft. Starboard ~ Roly, Tim(x2), Anne, Keith, Conor, Harris

Day 4 – Thursday 12 March 

We’re off!

After two days in Antigua we’ve started our long trek across the Atlantic towards Piraeus. Antigua was typically tropical: a perfect temperature of around 28 C during the day and refreshing rain during the night to keep it green. Pigeon Beach was a ten minute walk from the ship and the bars and cafes of English Harbour a mere 5 minutes stroll. Paradise…although the prices took our breaths away and drained our pockets.

Anyway, we’re now out on the deep blue Ocean. The first flying fish of the voyage have been sighted and the first pod of porpoises came for a frolic around the bows yesterday morning. It’s still shorts and tee shirt weather during the day with the occaisional short, sharp squall during the night.

We’re motor sailing North east into some long rolling swells so a bit of a queasy start for some although most of the crew have now acquired their sea-legs and are looking less green. The ship is nearly full and we have
lots of youngsters on board, including a few 16 year olds (don’t tell the truant officer….:-))) so  we’re expecting a lively trip.

We’re writing this just after midnight on a lovely starlit night with an outside temperature of
25C. Europe and woes seems a long, long way away.

All the best to our readers wherever you may be.

Chris, David, Sam, Robbie, Ryan, Aidan and Tommy (Forward Port)