Song of the Whale - Queen’s Ransom’s Transatlantic crossing in support of whales
Queen’s Ransom III is a Najad 520 from Gosport, UK, crossing the Atlantic in 2009
arrival: port: departure:
 Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Espagna 29/11/2009
05/12/2009 Mindelo, São Vicente, Arquipélago de Cabo Verde 06/12/2009
20/12/2009 Bridgetown, Barbados 21/12/2009
22/12/2009 St. George's, Grenada 
crew: Ulric Almqvist (S), Peter Hjelt (GB), Hans Piest (NL) 
these webpages are modified versions of the corresponding pages of Queen's Ransom III's original BLOG
found at:
Stable condition once again
Ulric E4
12/16/2009, 450 miles East of Barbados

I slept very well when Hans woke me for my watch at two o'clock this night. Needed a lot of coffee to stay awake. I am perched with my legs up in a corner of the cockpit with my lap top; which has to be used rather than the PC for emails given our continuing Inmarsat problems. It is a novelty to be in an "outdoors office" rather than my normal base at the navigation desk. I hear how the boat is cutting through the water creating a bow wave and the occasional slamming of the sails. The sounds of water and wind, while my skin is being caressed by the tropical air; not hot, just fresh and nice. More stable conditions have once again returned to our little patch of the ocean. We enjoy less rolling which is great for sleep. Wind is stronger than forecasts; so we power along with 7-8 knots to our goal at Bridgetown. We are a bit South of a straight line, which I don't mind as the winds are meant to be stronger to the South and we will get a better wind angle if the winds veer East, as they are supposed to as we near the West Indies. Probably still a Saturday arrival for us!

Yesterday our universe shifted from Azure blue to "local authority" grey every few hours; from stifling hot conditions under the sun to refreshing tropical drizzle. More variation to our day than previously experienced! We were riding the squalls towards the goal; as the wind picked up debating whether wind shifts were merely temporary or whether it was worthwhile to gybe. Nevertheless, we had our worse daily run of 138.4 nautical miles and the first one below 150. We are now also explicitly logging our hourly runs; the worst so far was 3.5 nautical miles yesterday morning!

It is interesting how the crew start to specialise in areas of talent and interest. Not surprisingly, Hans is our onboard meteorologist and "squall guru" and Peter more surprisingly has become the "minder" of the temperamental Fischer Panda generator. Peter said to Hans last night that he was happy dish washing as "Pareto optimal" specialisation pointed to him doing that while Hans used his other (greater?) skills cooking. In all this, my "Pareto optimal" specialisation seemed to be shifting non-organic garbage to its stowage place in the anchor locker.

Garbage weather on the horizon (Hans)

This trip has (so far, touch wood) not brought any challenging conditions weather wise nor any physical hardships. I referred to it with the Swedish term "butter sailing" in an email to a friend earlier tonight. We have every year enjoyed (?) much worse conditions in the North Sea and English Channel. We settled in extremely well as a crew and into the routine of driving the boat 24 hours a day. When I am pondering about it; I think the challenge is more to be away for a relatively long time offshore without any break and any possibility for outside help. We have developed an efficient routine. We have learnt a lot from the need to be self reliant. We have also learnt a lot about planning (checks, spares, supplies etc) and finding reliable solutions and back ups. It is sharpening your mind to know that we are on our own. It has become clear what works and what doesn't on this boat. Never before had things been tested in a such a sustained amount of time. In the past, we always returned to "laboratory conditions" at the dock quickly.

I have dreamt about a trip like this for thirty years. I suddenly remembered the other day, that I used to write fictional sailing accounts in my early teens. I was inspired by the sailing accounts that I read; Naomi James, Robin Knox Johnston, Francis Chichester, Alec Rose and all the early participants of the OSTAR "Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race" including Eric Tabarly and the very well written books by the Swede Ake Mattsson. The "sailing fiction" I wrote, was in a way just like this blog; how conditions changed and I changed sails etc. It now feels like an incredible gift to be given this opportunity to experience the ocean under sail in real life.