Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Santa Marta, Colombia

‘Juno, this is the coast guard, come in please’.  We are stowing the spinnaker pole on the foredeck as I hear the VHF crackle. ‘Juno, this is the Colombian navy, come in please', the voice slightly more insistent this time, not used to being ignored. To my relief the shoot bolt on the end of the big spinnaker pole springs shut, securing it on the mast. I reach for the hand-held VHF attached to my belt. ‘Coastguard, this is Juno’, I reply, slightly out of breath. ‘Juno, this is the Colombian coast guard, welcome to Santa Marta, we will escort you to the port’.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Chafed sheets

It is our third night at sea and we have made very good progress. This part of the Caribbean is notoriously windy and we have had strong trade winds since we left St Lucia; rarely less than 20 knots, gusting up to 30 around the squalls. We spent Saturday and Sunday on starboard gybe, sailing west to keep within the band of stronger wind, then on Monday morning we gybed onto port, heading south towards the headland at Punta Gallinas on the northern Columbian coast.  As I write at 0500 local time on Tuesday morning we have covered 580 miles in 60 hours, averaging almost 10 knots through the water - and that is fast.

Monday, 12 January 2015

World ARC start

Well this is it. Today is the start of the World ARC 2015: a circumnavigation of the globe, twenty yachts sailing from East to West along the trade wind route, around 26,000 miles in all. Crewed mostly by couples of our age and their friends, from every nationality, sailing in company. A life-long ambition for most. Years of planning for everyone just to get to the start line and today at midday we depart St Lucia on the first leg, heading for Santa Marta in Columbia.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Happy Christmas from Juno

We finish the ARC at around 11pm on Tuesday the 9th December, 15 days after we left Las Palmas. Our final gybe as we round Pigeon Island is now well-practiced and for the first time for two weeks we are sailing up-wind into 20 knots with a reefed mainsail. Just as we approach the finish, a large motor yacht drops anchor ahead of us, completely obscuring the line so we duck behind it and come up hard into the wind, shooting the line and barely missing the committee boat – now that would have been a bad way to finish.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


We crossed the finish line at 11pm last night. All well on Juno.

Thanks to everyone for your emails and comments. We finished 4th in Cruising B and 17th overall in the cruising division.

More details to follow after we have had some sleep!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

ARC 2014 Day 15. Almost there

On the ARC in 2012 Kim brought with him a gift from Dr James Ashby, a close friend of his from Cornwall. If you have ever fished for crabs as a child you would recognise it immediately: a wooden frame wound with heavy monofilament fishing line, a large brass swivel impregnably attached to the end. When Mitchel, our grumpy fishing reel, gave up and cast all my best lures to the deep on our last Atlantic crossing, it was this hand line that came in to its own; we wound it onto Mitchel, despite his sulky protests, and hooked a big Dorado that we were able to winch in with no fear of the line breaking.

Monday, 8 December 2014

ARC 2014 Day 14 written by Fatty

Well get this! I have been invited from below decks to sit in the authors’ chair of the eloquently written Juno blog. This is surprising, given that my vocabulary stretches to that of an average ten year old, but perhaps the intention is to attract a younger readership.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

ARC 2014 Day Thirteen

We have been sailing on a broad reach all day, making reasonable progress and hitting our target of 200 miles in the past 24 hours, despite one hour of the day when we were almost stationary, all eyes focussed on the action at the stern of the boat.

Friday, 5 December 2014

ARC 2014 Day Eleven

Today was an eventful day with disaster narrowly averted and I am pleased to report that everyone is safe and well but with Fatty nursing an injured hand. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

ARC 2014 Day Eleven

Yesterday started badly when I took over from Paul at 3am and he said ‘you might need your foulies’. This was an understatement. Rain was lashing the cockpit as he bade me goodnight and scuttled off to his dry cabin, leaving me sitting in puddles of water in the cockpit. Then things got worse: the wind dropped away leaving us rolling drunkenly in the swell, and still the rain fell. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

ARC Day Ten guest written by Kez

With all this talk of the difference of having two girls as part of this crossing compared to two years ago (clean heads, delicacies for supper etc), I thought I might correct any impression that Fatty and I spend our time cleaning and cooking. In truth there is a very fair division of labour, with Paul a more than dab hand in the galley and Frewie was even caught yesterday baking bread. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

ARC Day Eight and Half Way

We have now covered almost 1,500 miles since we left Las Palmas a week ago, around half way to St Lucia. We celebrated this milestone last night with Dark and Stormies at happy hour, followed by chicken curry served with accompaniments created by Thermo, our high tech galley slave. This tropical mood has been brought on by a marked rise in temperature as we work our way south towards to the equator.

Monday, 1 December 2014

ARC 2014 Day Seven

It is 10pm Juno time and I am on watch until midnight. We are on a broad reach and I have rigged a new sheet on our big genoa that reeves around a block on the port quarter, allowing the clew of the sail to rise, opening up the slot between the mainsail and the genoa, improving our downwind speed by a precious fraction of a knot.  I have realised that ocean sailing is a long game, not won by short sprints, but by sustaining above average boat speeds over the length of a passage.\

Saturday, 29 November 2014

ARC day six guest written by Paulus Windsor

It is perhaps the wrong approach but I can’t help drawing comparisons with my previous Atlantic crossing on Juno in 2012. It all comes flooding back – the bruising of various part of the body, sprained wrists from grabbing a rail at the last moment as we twist off the top of a wave and the plates, food and other accompaniments that are one moment securely placed on a table or work surface, are launched into midair on a port or starboard trajectory the next.

ARC 2014 Day Five

We continue our fast passage across the Atlantic today, tracking just south of the greater circle route, with another 24 hour run of over 200 miles.  All is well on board with everyone settled into the watch system and the routines of offshore sailing; and then we had a minor drama.

Friday, 28 November 2014

ARC 2014 Day Three

After a night of rolling downwind, the wind has backed to the North today, allowing us to stow the spinnaker pole and broad reach across the Atlantic in 20 knots of wind at 9 knots of boatspeed, reaching 11 knots in the gusts.   Our decision to head south yesterday was a good one as we avoided the wind hole that others endured.  Broad reaching is one of the great points of sail as we lean on the mainsail for stability while the genoa gives us drive, making for fast progress. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

ARC 2014 Day One

We are underway at last. Our mainsail is set on our port side, our big genoa poled out on starboard and our smaller jib sheeted in to give us that extra half a knot, a new innovation suggested by Eddie at Oyster that we like a lot.  Half a knot over two weeks could get us to the rum punches in St Lucia almost a day earlier.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


This is my third ARC and the second time that the race has been postponed on my watch.  Last night the wind howled through the marina, shrieking in our rigging.  Yachts in the bay outside the marina dragged their anchors and one boat was on the rocks by the morning. In the nearby Santa Catalina hotel a car was crushed by a falling tree. Angry black squalls charge down off the hills and as they hit, they unleash wind and rain that bounces off the sea, whipping up the surface.  Despite our initial disappointment it’s a great decision to postpone until tomorrow.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

We leave tomorrow!

Its the night before the start of the ARC and a gale is blowing through the marina making every one feel slightly jumpy. In fact the forecast for the start is very good with 20 - 25 knots from the NW, slowly veering and decreasing over the next few days.  The elusive Azores high is becoming well established over the mid Atlantic which should bring us those perfect trade winds for the crossing.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Las Palmas preparation for ARC 2014

We have finally made it to the start line of ARC 2014. Phew.

The ride down to Las Palmas from Lanzarote was fast. We left at 4am and covered 100 miles in 12 hours arriving at the reception pontoon in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria at 4pm. We filled up with fuel, spilling smelly diesel all over the decks as usual, trying to squeeze an extra few litres into the tank: this despite the absorbent pad fashioned ingeniously by Fatty from a personal hygiene product. We head for our berth and in the falling light we tie up next to our friends Mervyn and Amanda on El Mundo.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Lanzarote at last

At 0100 local time we round the breakwater in the pouring rain, into the calm and sheltered setting of Puerto Calero marina.  My prediction that we might outrun the weather front was premature and we have spent the last 8 hours dodging squalls in a wild ride down to Lanzarote.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

100 Miles to Lanzarote

One hundred miles to run to Lanzarote and we are sailing fast, consistently over 9 knots in 11 knots of wind. It is impressive that a fat cruising boat (sorry Juno) weighing 32 tons can convert wind into boat speed so efficiently.

Monday, 3 November 2014

En route to the Canary Islands

We are sitting in the Waterfront CafĂ© in Queensway Quay marina, Gibraltar. Three meals a day, it has replaced the galley on Juno while we prepare for our trip down to the Canaries.  There is a large cloud that hangs perpetually over the Rock, casting its shadow over the marina while all around bright sunshine blazes down on the Spanish mainland.  The European summer is definitely on the wane and we are looking forward to sailing south to warmer climes.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Westward Ho

The List is almost done, the engine has been serviced, the sails are back on, crew covers have been fitted over the gleaming white leather upholstery: finally its time to leave Palma. Looking back at the magnificent cathedral dominating the skyline I wonder when we will next return. All romantic thoughts are quickly dispelled by the large swell that hits us the moment we leave the shelter of the breakwater. Despite there being only 10 knots of wind, a short chop has developed in the bay of Palma. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

World ARC Preparation

Another directorship resigned, another tie severed. It is now the start of October and only days until we leave the shores of Europe. However, I don’t feel excitement or relief, but instead butterflies in my stomach, reminiscent of the feeling of going back to boarding school on a Sunday evening. Despite my best efforts, there are still a thousand things to do before we leave Palma de Mallorca. But when I consult my list, I reassure myself that the important items will be completed and the rest aren’t essential to crossing oceans.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Mistral brings the fish

The saying goes that sailing in the Mediterranean largely involves motoring from storm to storm, but as we motor across the mirrored surface it’s hard to believe that a big Mistral is on its way.  We slide through the shallows of the Fornelli Passage in the flat calm of dawn, saving us a 30-mile journey around the northern tip of Sardinia, and enter the harbour at Alghero to wait out the Mistral in the marina at Ser Mar, owned by the charismatic and charming Federico.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Living the Dream

Sailing around the Mediterranean on our beautiful boat, not a care in the world; a number of people have commented that we are ‘living the dream’. And so we are, but this phrase has developed a new meaning on Juno. I don’t expect any sympathy from those who are reading this standing on a commuter train, but life on a boat isn’t always as you might imagine.

Saturday, 30 August 2014


Rome looks like any other European city as the taxi turns off the motorway and trundles through the outskirts.  The usual mix of apartment blocks rubbing cheeks with suburban low-rise cubes is like so many others.  Everywhere there are signs of under-investment: another victim of La Crisis, now six years old and with no signs of improvement – worse if anything.  Then out of the corner of my eye, high above, something catches the suns rays.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


We leave Ischia behind as we sail north towards Rome, a large swell running from the south, pushing us on our way. We stop briefly for lunch on the remote island of Ventotene, and swim in the deep clear water before motoring the last twenty miles to Ponsa. From our last visit I know that a long southerly swell creeps into all the anchorages so I head straight for the port and anchor in the protected main harbour with twenty other yachts who have also been here before and experienced the Ponsa roll.  Once the ferries stop for the night the water is thankfully calm and the wind dies away; a blanket of hot and humid air settles over the boat.

Sunday, 17 August 2014


The urban sprawl of Naples, and its one million inhabitants, spreads across the horizon, from the green slopes of Vesuvius down to the bay of Naples. We are in the middle of the city where our friend and hotelier, Paolo, has secured us a berth at the marina in Santa Lucia, positioned under the battlements of Castel dell’Ovo which takes its name from the the legend that it was built over an egg placed here by Virgil in Roman times: it is believed that if the egg breaks, Naples will fall.