The Spirit of Hungary ocean sailing project continues in 2016-17. See you in the IMOCA 60′ Ocean Masters program. Many thanks for all your interest and support, and special thanks for the SOH main sponsor MOL Petrochemical, our sponsors, supporters and SOH partners! Merci Les Sables d’Olonne and Port Olona!
SOH – Nándor Fa and his guest crew Karoly Fonyo arrived safely in Les Sables d’Olonne. Skipper’s log on the way from Madeira to Les Sables d’Olonne with a 13 metres jury mast and the 180 m2 sails of an 8m open sailingboat.
” … There was a tanker coming towards us. Perhaps it passes us. But the captain is either lazy or just too curious, because it’s getting closer and closer. I should get in touch, just in case … “Who’s this voice?” – came the answer from a person just waking up at that moment. “It’s the sailor right in front of your nose.” – I replied. After 4 seconds of silence he said he’ll turn right and he did so immediately as he said it. Now we are all right, problem averted.”
5th December 07:40 UTC. Saturday, in the morning.
By the night we had run out of wind – just as it was forecasted -, so I started the engine. I filled the tank from a gas can and we were ready to chug till the morning. After three hours of engine-ride, it was a nice surprise to receive 10 knots of south-easterly breezes, that quietly started to take us in the desired north-east direction. Hurray! Engine off, C0 sail up, and we were sailing with 5 knots in the dark. Ever since, we’ve been progressing between 5 and 9 knots.
I don’t want to speak too fast, but my tiny 8m sails are doing fantastic, as if they knew they’re having a special mission.
I’m already planning the future, thinking of a new mast. I decided to buy one of the masts offered by several Imoca racing teams. Our job will consist of four tasks: arranging the new mast, the new sails, the new standing rig, and of course logistics. A nice, time-consuming job, that we will have to start as soon as possible, which is going to be tricky given that the holidays are coming up.
As I’m typing my log, the rising sun has shone on the keyboard, it’s wonderful. I’ve had my morning coffee and a slice of cake from Funchal, everything is great. The wind has been carefully increasing all day and the seas have gotten bigger too. I’m watching those little sails as they are struggling to take in the wind of the ocean that they were never meant to see. These conditions are nothing for the boat, she patiently takes note of some tiny sails despairingly holding onto her. This is a huge challenge for them, their lives are in my hand. I need to look after them very carefully.
5th December 18:50 UTC. Saturday, in the evening.
In the last 10 hours we’ve had an average of 9 knots, which is very good for these circumstances. We’re only 160 nm from the Cape Finisterre. After that, we only have the Bay of Biscay to sail across. Today we actually passed half of the way, it’s a really nice feeling. I can feel the positivity on my friend Karcsi too. At first I was worried for him, I didn’t know how he would feel on the open ocean, especially in upwind. These conditions are rather tough even for an experienced ocean sailor who’s seen the lowest and highest. I was happy to see that he’s doing fine, he’s become acclimatized to life onboard. Priorities change out here. We forget about the effects of the civil world, and human factors become the most important.
A tanker passed by only 500m away from us. I was trying to get in touch with them on the radio but there was no answer for a while. By the time they answered, they had already passed us. A Russian accent told me he’s waiting for me on channel 6. I went to channel 6, but still no respond. Nice joke. They were heavily waggling in the swells that caught them from the side. The captain’s cabin was moving at least 10 metres from left to right. They disappeared to South within minutes.
6th December 12:00, Sunday.
(the day when Santa Claus comes to surprise kids, in Hungary)
I’m not planning to make any pit stops, everything is all right. A shower changed our angle for a while in the night. We had to sail in a different direction for one and a half hours, but soon the real wind came back and we could continue. We are 40 miles from the cape, just crossing the TSS (that is for the big ships here in the corner). For about an hour, there will be plenty of ships so we have pay attention, then things will calm down again – regarding having to escape from large moving sea-buildings.
6th December 20:50 UTC, in the night.
It’s a wonderful night under a sky with millions of brightly shining stars, sometimes a plane sneaks by. As we entered the Bay of Biscay, the 7m swells were left behind. We had no idea where they were coming from, because the winds in our surroundings weren’t any bigger than 30 knots, and that normally doesn’t build seas this high. Life is much nicer here, smaller waves, lighter wind. A ship was coming behind us, our AIS was creaming as much as it could – then the ship politely turned and headed to Bilbao. My friend went to sleep, I’m watching the dark on my own. We can’t see the lights of La Coruna, or any land from here anymore, we are too far. I’m listening to music and I feel great.
This is a very strange sailing journey, especially in winter. My jury mast is a cumbersome iron tube and a few toy sails is all we have. Of course there’s been a couple of stranger marches in the history, but this one is ours.
7th December 08:30 UTC, Monday morning.
We were quietly – sometimes too quietly – sailing the whole night, but we can’t be impatient, we are doing good. Back when we were digging downward in the race, I thought our instruments are wrong as they constantly showed counter-currents against us. Now that we are sailing in the opposite direction I can see they were right, there really are that many currents here. Only this time they are helping us. The ocean is taking us in the right direction with an average 1 knot.
We had a beautiful sunrise coming out of the ocean. It had a smooth orange colour, just like the smiley on our storm jib. We have to be alert at all times. I woke up to the beeping of the AIS. My friend, Karcsi was outside and couldn’t hear it. There was a tanker coming towards us. Perhaps it passes us. But the captain is either lazy or just too curious, because it’s getting closer and closer. I should get in touch, just in case – I thought when they were only a mile from us. “Who’s this voice?” – came the answer from a person just waking up at that moment. “It’s the sailor right in front of your nose.” – I replied. After 4 seconds of silence he said he’ll turn right and he did so immediately as he said it. Now we are all right, problem averted.
We changed the storm jib to a top genoa – even if only a little bit, but it’s bigger. We’ve had our hot morning coffees, enjoying our progress, and wondering of an imaginary warm shower, a plate of black mussels with curry and a glass of rosé – something like that.
Position 09:00 UTC:
44° 38,6′ N, 007° 09′ W. (Boat speed: 4 – 5 knots) 65°