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29 March 2010

Landfall: Hiva Oa

Early this morning, local time, the WT made landfall in Hiva Oa, French Polynesia.

Internet and satellite phone are a bit sketchy at the moment, but all is well and they're safe and sound in port!

More updates when they're available/possible.

9 48 31 S
139 01 56 W

 - the WT web gremlin, for WT

26 March 2010

Horse Latitudes

It's been a busy 24hrs on the good ship Wild Tigris since last night's weather download. At about 1800 yesterday, we received the World ARC's weather forecast (custom made by a US meteorologist for the WARC Fleet) and were informed of weakening trade-winds, especially in the latitudes below 8-9 degrees. Murphy's Law of round-the-world sailing... we were right bang in the middle of 8 and 9 degrees!

We quickly downloaded another weather file, a second opinion if you like, and our worst fears and bad luck were confirmed. Good-bye Champagne sailing, hello Doldrums.

Back in the good old days of Colonial exploration, these vast areas of light winds were known as the Horse Latitudes. The reason being, ships would squeeze as many horses on as possible to ease transport and facilitate the conquering of new lands with previously unseen cavalry. The problem was when they hit light wind, the horses drank all the water, leaving none for the crew. Solution: throw the horses overboard, hence the name, Horse Latitudes.

Call me parnoid but I think a similar thing is brewing on Wild Tigris. Replace Horses with 'Sean', water with 'Beer' and crew with 'Joel' and you get all the ingredients of mutiny!

Anyway, back to our busy 24hrs. Accepting our fate, we cut our losses and gybed onto a new heading WNW at 1830 yesterday. This served us well through a calm night but clocked more during this morning, driving our heading N and constantly decreasing in strength. With windspeed rarely over 10kts, we took the opportunity to try out our Asymetric MPS which helped boatspeed noticeably but unfortunately didn't do much to bring us back down to course.

We tried our best to ignore the depressing NW heading, banking 60Nm to the north where we expect better breeze to fill in tomorrow. Just before sunset, we dropped the kite, gybed back onto port and a much better angle and here we are... ghosting along at 6kts on a very much 'Pacified' Ocean.


8 deg 36 S 130 deg 37 W 2200 LT

25 March 2010

Moving West

Its day 13 of our crossing and we have seen our first boat since the first day out of the Galapagos Islands. Spotted by our trusted Captain, Sean, 8 nm out on a course headed for Santiago, Chile from what would appear to be Japan with a cargo of autos. With chart plotters at your disposal and overlays of AIS (Automated Information Service) we were able to determine the course, the fact it was 676 feet, and much more. Pretty neat.

This morning, starting around 2 AM, the seas roared with winds averaging 15-20 kt and some waves 14-18 feet. The J80 asymetric spinnaker blew out during a gust into the mid twenties. Glad Sean was at the helm at the time and we are all sorry Casey. We calculated its life had been doubled during this excursion. It had served us well over the past several days but we knew it was tired and its days were numbered.

Our waypoint at Hiva Oa, Marquesas originally stood at 2960 mm away. At this writing it is 620 nm away. We don't like to project our arrival but currently expect to arrive on Sunday, the 28th. Assuming this happening I expect to head back to Venice, FL on the 29th. Looks like my time to explore the French Polynesians will be limited but what a great experience this has been on one terrific boat.

Each night the moon gets fuller as we sail on. A great treat to be one with nature on deck thru the night alone with a million stars, the moon and an occasional flying fish arriving on deck. One undone task is to prepare a breakfast of flying fish which arrive on the boat each evening. I think I have Sofia and Sean up for this meal but don't think Heidi will partake.

Off to try to catch a fish or two.

All the best!!

Joel and crew

9 deg 24 mins South 128 deg 12mins West 1625 LT

24 March 2010

Marquesas look out!

With only 780 miles left to go we have started dreaming about what to do when we get there:
  • Joel is dreaming about his car and wife at home, counting the miles and hours.
  • Sean is worrying about his constant shrinking beer supply.
  • Heidi is dreaming about ice cream and a rumdum.
  • Me, I'm dying for a cuba libre and a cigarette!

Sending some love out to all the family members out there, today especially to Kevvilevvan! Sofia's nephew who turns 1 year old today! Grattis pa fodelsedagen!

Sean, not only the captain but today also the chef, is putting on a dinner with the sunset in the background that I was planning to attend to, so have to go!

may the force be with you


1800 Wild Tigris time 08 53.69 s 125 21.26 w

23 March 2010


On board Wild Tigris there is a quiet and peaceful atmosphere with only the sound of wind and waves to break the silence. However, this is sometimes interrupted by an intense squealing from Heidi. An occurrence which takes place, for example, when there is a flying fish emergency or when she is up on deck "birdwatching" and all of a sudden "sees an Albatross", which so far, has always turned out to be a seagull...

Other things the crew "see", for example, are ships on the horizon; i.e. a tiny little light that might just be something... So far it been nothing other than our vivid imagination of phantom ships or semi-lucid hallucinations of Irish Bars just a little bit ahead...

One winner in all this madness has been Joel who won the competition we started a week ago; "How many ships will we see in the next week??" He got it right, zero.

The log book has also become a victim of the crew's vivid imagination. Every second hour we plot down our Lat and Long together with speed, course and so on. One of the columns is entitled "Conditions" where we would normally write one word to describe the current weather such as 'Warm' or 'Good'.

Recently this column has turned into the Wild Tigris Thesaurus Dictionary and a test to see how many different adjectives one can use, without repeating yourself. Some classic examples are, 'groovy', 'cosmic', 'bliss', 'bouncy' and 'cozy'. The things you do to entertain yourself.

Have to go prepare dinner... fish.

Increase the peace


1600 Wild Tigris time 08 21 22 s 122 09 00 w

22 March 2010

where the hell are we!!???

Waking up in the morning from the smell of breakfast being cooked is the stuff dreams are made of! We have found a secret talent in Joel! Having someone with professional breakfast chef experience onboard turned out to be a pretty good call!

Another one of Joel's bonuses is his enthusiasm for fishing, or so I thought! Although we banned him from even touching the rod, he sneakily put it in and got a bite! Luckily the fish got away...!

Normally I'm one of the first ones to get the rod out and anxious to get a fish for lunch, but since we pulled the last monster onboard we have literally had nothing other than fish on the menu and there is still plenty in the freezer! Only problem is we're running pretty low on fish recipes. We've already tried everything from fish cakes to curries! Turned out to be a bit of a challenge..."What will the next fish dish be?"

Talking about fishing - today we broke the record for number of fish onboard, not only due to all the keen fishermen but also the flying fish being particularly suicidal last night, with 23 dead little fish on deck this morning.

Still sailing along at good speed with the J80 spinnaker flying high.  Apparent wind had been between 90-100deg for the first week but has dropped back noticeably over the last two days. We're currently running deep at 150+ degrees.

one love


1800 WT time
08 15 37 s
119 15 50 w

21 March 2010

Sailing the Ocean Blue...

Last evening we passed the half-way point. We had traveled 1480 nautical miles. The last time we saw land was about 20 nautical miles into our trip. We saw one boat off our transom the first evening around midnight but no boat/ship sightings since.

We let the Captain have one drip at the mid-point; he still has to get us safely another 1480Nm.

Last evening we were greeted with a great crescent moon. During each of our three hour night-time shifts certainly one of the things that stands out most is the millions of stars from as far as the eye can see on the horizon in all directions. Unbelievable as one might think we have a visit from a gull many evenings. This is our only companion on deck flying with its shadow reflecting on the headsail from the starboard running light, a great site at night.

Today we moved from a broad reach to a downwind run and the sails have been changed accordingly. The head sail (Gib) is poled out to port, we started with the Stay-sail to starboard but have changed to a larger asymmetrical spinnaker (J80). Next the Main sail is set full and out to starboard and lastly we have the Mizzen set full and out to starboard. This is likely the sail settings for the duration of trip to Marquesas. Presently we have wind speed averaging 14-15 knots and the boat is moving 7-8 knots.

Two nautical related facts for your info possibly but good homework for my grandkids:

1) The nautical mile is about 15% more than a mile (6000 feet) and came into being as a result of early sailors discovering they had to travel 60 units (nautical miles) of distance for each degree of  latitude. Therefore you can imagine if our destination in the Marquesas Islands is 8 degrees South that we are about 480 nautical miles or about 550 miles south of the equator. Test question: Distance from the north to South pole?

2) Determining our approximate time creates a second assignment. As we travel west from Greenwich (meantime), England. We add 4 minutes for each degree of longitude traveled. Therefore presently we are 116 degrees west of Greenwich England (therefore we are 4 x 116 = 464 minutes divided by 60 minutes is almost 8 hours behind the folks at Greenwich.

All goes well with boat and crew and we wish the best to all reading.


7 deg 43mins South
118deg 11mins West
1820 LT

20 March 2010

20 Miles to Half way!

Having been spoiled with near perfect conditions for the past five days, we can't really complain too much about the breeze dropping off a little.

After a tasty dinner of breaded ham, mashed potatoes and brocoli, we are heading slightly south of our course doing 7kts in 12-14kts of true wind.

The pole was prep'd this evening and if these conditions remain tomorrow morning, we will drop the mizzen, bear away 15 degrees and pole out our head-sail. Hopefully this will see us back on track and most probably be our sail configuration until near the finish (1498Nm away).

It seems a little warmer tonight and a new crescent moon is waxing in the West. It sets early leaving the rest of the night to the magnificent Pacific stars. As I write, we have less than 20Nm to our halfway mark and there's talk of marking the occasion with a small glass of wine...


7 deg 5 min S
113 deg 42 min W
2035 LT (UTC-7)

19 March 2010

FISH! FISH! We've caught a #*$@** Fish!!!

Just when the novelty of Champagne, trade wind sailing was beginning to wear off, our fishing reel whizzed into life at four fifteen this afternoon.

Partly due to luck, but more so due to Joel's sixth sense (or so he would have us believe), he made it to the rod first and therefore laid claim to whatever was on the other end...

Trying to slow a sixty tonne boat with three sails at full hoist in 20kts of breeze is no mean feat. After a gruelling 3 minute fight, an exhausted Joel passed the rod to Heidi who battled relentlessly for another 10 minutes before we caught a first glimpse...

At first all we could see was a magnificent electric blue shadow, as Heidi patiently reeled in, a full length dorsal fin came into view. Even while being towed at 4-5kts, it was able to remain under the surface, swimming powerfully from left to right. Initial estimates from the now ecstatic (and possibly a little biased) crew put this fish at five feet long and 50lbs.

Now came the tricky bit. Until now the largest fish we've caught has been half this size and we were always able to lift them onboard. I grabbed the gaff from the aft-locker and, having never properly gaffed a big fish before, was quietly relieved when Joel asked for it.

After his second attempt and with bowels trailing in the fish's wake, I concluded Joel has a similar level of experience to me in this unique area of expertise.

Once on deck, Sofia eased its passing with some of St. Vincent's 80% vol. Sunset Rum. In my book, any creature that survives a mouthful of this vile toxin deserves to live. Unfortunately for our fish, between Joel's gaffing and Sofia's Rum punch, fish is on the menu for a long time!


06 deg 14 min S 110 deg 15 min W 1800 LT (UTC -7)

17 March 2010

St Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all you Irish out there!

Not much change here, still sailing along in the trade winds, holding between 9-10 knots with a reefed main and gib. Been nice and sunny with calm seas but not too hot due to the nice 18 knots of constant breeze.

This morning around 8 o'clock we passed 2000 miles left go! Almost there!

Been entertaining ourselves with everything from splicing to Spanish studying to trying to figure out what the h**l happened with Casey and his tooth!!??? We have a lot of different stories and thoughts about that one and are making some moderate bets about who is closest to the truth!!!! =)

xxx - SW

05 18 73 s 106 43 08 w 1700 wild tigris time

16 March 2010

South East Trade Winds!

The winds have finally settled in from 15 to 23 kts. Sailing on a reach with genoa, main, and mizzen, flying at 9 to 12 kts. Speed recorded in the log for the last three entries (6 hours) has been over 10.2 kts.

Sofia and Joel spotted a school of small whales. A lot of small and medium sea birds,and lots of Pacific flying fish. Squid count this morning was 3 on the deck and none inside the boat.

- HK

Preparing for The Big day tomorrow, beers in the fridge, green clothes to wear laying out waiting on our bunks and Sean runs around like a child before Christmas, it's St Patrick's Day tomorrow!!!!


Grattis pa fodelsedagen pappa! Massor av pussar och kramar/Fia

Gotta run to put a reef in the main and gib before dark falls!


004 55.8 S 103 28.0 W

6:00 PM Wild Tigris Time

24hr run

Wild Tigris sailed 229Nm in the 24 hour period between 0800 yesterday a.m and 0800 today. That is an average speed of 9.5kts, although we regularly touched 11.5kts. Not bad considering we backed off last night with two reefs in the head sail....

Until later


15 March 2010

Day 4 Of Trip To Marquesas from Galapagos

Winds have picked up over night blowing steady from 13 to 18 knots. The grey overcast sky today makes for ideal sailing. Showers have come and gone.

Woke up to a half of dozen squid and a flying fish on deck. At the 5 AM watch change (still black) Sean thought he had slipped on a banana peel only to discover a squid under foot which came thru a window in the galley overnight.

This has been a great learning experience on boat preparation for a three thousand mile journey as well as safety and navigation planning to go the distance. I tend to hand steer one to two hours per shift and rely on auto pilot for the balance.

By day we tend to go our own way but sync up at lunch and dinner. Taught the crew the card game 3 - 13 last evening prior to dinner.

Boat handles unbelievably. To date, today has the roughest seas with swells to 3 meters.

Two Yellow Fin Tuna to date. Will try again tomorrow morning.

Beside Sean being a great Captain/Instructor he cooks. This might wear off on me and Debra could reap a big benefit. For the record, he wears the apron, not me. Sofia made a great banana bread for lunch accompanying a good salad.

04 53.132 S 99 25.425 W

1700 Wild Tigris time


14 March 2010

Captain's Blog

Had an almost uninterupted night sleep last night thanks to our dual watch system; two hours on, six off during the day (8a.m - 8p.m), then three on nine hours off at night.

I say almost, in that upon waking up on my cabin wall at 3a.m, I hurried up on deck to find Sofia well and truly in America's Cup mode, sailing in one of the heavier gusts at 40 degrees of heel and grinning proudly as we careered through the choppy swell!

Thankfully, my second wakening for 8a.m watch and the rest of the day for that matter has been much less dramatic. Joel donned an apron and went to work in the galley, creating a wonderful brunch of buckwheat pancakes and bacon; Heidi is well and truly engrossed in Steig Larson's Trilogy 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', and Sofia is continuing her quest to master the Spanish language.

At the moment, we are sailing along nicely with full main, mizzen and head-sail in 10-14kts true breeze on the beam. We are making 8kts towards the Maraquesas and if we average 24hr runs like yesterdays one of 193Nm, we should arrive in less than two weeks.

SMC "The flogging will continue EVEN IF morale improves!"

4deg 00min S 96deg 24mins W 1750 Local Time

13 March 2010

Rain rain rain... and then...

This morning was spent in a big rain cloud! The wind was swinging around, picking up, dying with the next cloud and then swinging round again... The engine went on... and off... on and off...

The four of us sat down for lunch feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, and then... the wind steadied and picked up, its now blowing 15-17 knots SSE and we are sailing south west! Got all the sails up, Gib, Main and Mizzen, the boat is performing great!

A very excited Joel at the helm (he lets it go sometimes if you feed him) right now he is sailing along at 10 knots and is making bets about hitting 11. Sean has finally gone for a nap since being up all night and day worrying about fuel. Heidi is practicing her singing with her Ipod and headphones (she thinks that nobody can hear her!!) and Sofia is preparing spagball for dinner.

So life is more or less like normal on the Wild Tigris!


02 50 03 s
93 06 51 w
16.16 wild tigris time

12 March 2010

Are we nearly there yet?

At 0730 this morning local time, a slightly tired yet very excited Wild Tigris crew consisting of Heidi, Sofia, Joel D'Arcy and Sean raised anchor and motored out onto a glassy Pacific Ocean.

It is our first major trip without our fearless leader Casey; his easy-going, kind nature and great humour are already missed. We wish him well in New Hamster and in memory of his absence, had an America's Cup style mainsail hoist at 0800. 1min 48secs full hoist and set!

We are currently motor-sailing SW at 8kts and will pass between Galapagos' largest island Isabella and Isla Santa Maria to the S. Our game plan is to keep making Southing until we get enough of the SE trade winds to sail (probably early tomorrow morning) then hopefully come up closer to our course of 258deg.

With less than 2933Nm to go, bring on the Maraquesas!


p.s. we are aware of the bad luck associated with setting sail on a friday. At a last minute crew meeting, it was decided unanimously, that we wouldn't actually be sailing properly until saturday....keep your fingers crossed and watch this space!

05 March 2010

Isabela Island

A gorgeous sail to Isabela Island yesterday thanks to Todd and Billy getting us permission to stay in the harbor. Arrived midday and were greeted in the harbor but two young seal lions putting on a show for us while they played with a fish carcass and fended off the frigate birds.

Some of the wild things went off with a guide for a water tour of the lagoon in search of boobies and penguins and iguanas. It was most successful. A landing party was formed to organize the paperwork. Capt Sean, Val and Sugar now know what the phrase "only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun" really means. The shellbacks felt the full force of true equatorial heat while surveying what Isabela had to offer, which was mostly dirt roads, some drunken ex pats and lots of feral dogs having at on most street corners.

Sunset cocktails aboard Tigris while watching flocks of boobies (their feet really are Tiffany box blue) land on the nearby rocks... Inspiring some in our party to show theirs. Another shore party was formed for a relatively successful mission to see flamingos while Dennis, Susie, Sugar and Val had a very successful party aboard the sumptuous Wild Tigris well fed again by Charlie and Sofia.  

Off early in the am and back on Santa Cruz  (and the dreadfully bumpy Porto Ayora harbor).  The shellbacks have decamped to the Solimar Hotel to prepare for flights home tomorrow and to turn Wild Tigris back to her crew.  One last note to future visitors aboard Tigris.... If you get the opportunity while under sail and need a nap, take yourself to the master aft stateroom for a truly wonderful experience.

01 March 2010

the dive today

Our dive today took place at Leon Dormido (the Sleeping Lion).

A volcanic eruption from thousands of years ago, created this awesome monolithic rock pyramid jutting out of the water some 300 hundred feet straight into the air.

We descended the wall of the pyramid to a depth of 70 feet. The sea became a deep cobalt blue, where we were swimming with so many thousands of fish that we could not see to the surface, giving us the impression of being in the movie "The Deep Blue"! In the midst of the myriad riot of fish, we see giant sea turtles cruising by, so elegant, friendly, and curious! A giant sea lion goes on the attack, temporarily scattering the fish, but, coming up empty handed. Four white tipped shark swim by. Three more turtles. Then three Hammerhead sharks in formation. A truly awe inspiring sight. We have been transported by our dive, to another world. The surreal world we find ourselves in, is called the Galapagos.