Crossing the Azores to southern Brittany

The last long trip back home. We already know at the start that it's not an ideal weather window. We expect light weather and no strong wind, but especially the second half of the trip the wind will be almost out of the direction we have to go. That will probably be a lot of high winds and not a straight course to our goal, as we are usually used to. It is therefore important to choose a course that is not only good for the day itself, but also for the days that follow.
For this we make intensive use of qtVLM (routing software) for the first time. Based on our polar diagram (sailing and wind characteristics of the boat), it calculates the most ideal route for the whole trip based on the expected wind strength and direction from the gribfiles. Every morning and evening we have the route calculated again from the point where we are at that moment, which determines our course for the next 12 hours.


At the start we know that we first have to sail more north to go left to our goal to keep the last few days high on the wind when the wind will mainly come from the north and north-east. The first few days will be calm with little wind and the last 4-5 days high on the wind in bft 4-5. Of course to do, but not really nice. We're just going to experience it, because we want to go home. And with a week more waiting on the Azores it's just a question if the weather will get better ๐Ÿ˜….

Luckily the weather changes every day for the first few days, so we can keep the weather calm for a longer time with a few more engines. We can also go more directly to our goal and we don't have to sail high with even less wind (3-4 bft and no more 5 bft). We are very happy with that!


The first five days are very quiet with mostly sunny weather and lovely sailing alternated with regular motor or motor sails (sails are off and the motor assists gently to maintain sufficient speed). The sixth day starts to get a bit less comfortable with high sailing in light wind (2-3 bft) and getting used to lying under an incline, followed by a night with more wind (4-5 bft) where we have given altitude for more comfort. On day 7, 8 and early 9 we cannot maintain sufficient course with high sailing and we solve this by motor sailing at 20-25 degrees to the wind (bft 3-4) with large sail and cutter so that the boat still cuts the waves well and we can still stay reasonably on course. In bft 3 this goes very well, in bft 4 it is nice hotsen and sloshing like we are in a roller coaster. Those few knots difference in wind makes a lot of difference on this course. The SeaQuest does the top when you see through which seaway we have to go. For the crew those bft 4 periods are a bit heavier, especially when


The alternative for those last three days is to go sailing alone without an engine and do it 1-2 days longer with also little comfort because then there is a lot of slope. All four of us don't feel like that. We want to go home ๐Ÿ˜‰.

It's not a fast crossing. We sail a total of 1270 miles in 8 days and 13 hours, (that's 5.8 knots on average) with 69 hours of sailing, 66 hours of motoring and 70 hours of motor sailing. Regularly we certainly have a knot of current against and hardly ever current with us.

During the first seven days we encounter almost no shipping. Apparently this is a quiet and empty part of the ocean. But not as far as marine life is concerned ... we see whales very regularly; what impressive animals ๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‘. Usually a bit further away and then we see the syringes coming high out of the water. A few times closer and then we see their big bodies well. We only never see them hiding nicely with their tails up.

The last two days suddenly we're back in the civilized world with active VHF traffic and dozens of ships around us, also regularly on sight and twice that we swerve for them.

Also this crossing we really do with the four of us. The girls walk a three hour watch in the nights just like last time. We all like that very much. Nice to see how well they do that and how we trust each other completely in this ๐Ÿ‘.


Crossing from day to day...

Day 1

We leave Friday morning July 6th at 10 a.m. and motorbikes first 1.5 hours to the north-western point of Sao Jorge and are waved goodbye by a lot of jumping dolphins. Then we set course to the north left along Graciosa and we can sail in the sun a bit more than half with 3-4 bft. After Graciosa we turn a little bit to the east and sail in clover mode for a while. Until late in the evening the islands are visible. At 9 p.m. the wind is up and the motor is switched on. This way we get a quiet first night and everyone can sleep well.

Length of meal: 148 nm

Day 2

It's a warm day with a lot of sun with from noon motor sailing with half wind bft 2-3. We enjoy the right-lying boat knowing that there will be a lot of days when we will be lying down under the slope. We read a lot and sit outside in the sun. In the evening we can switch off the engine and sail first at 60 degrees with bft 3 and from 3.00 a.m. high on the wind with bft 3. A wonderful night of sailing and also a good night's sleep for everyone.

Length of meal: 155 nm


Day 3

The whole day we can sail high on the wind in bft 2-3. With this wind strength we have little slope. Until the afternoon we regularly reach speeds of 7.5-8 knots. After that the weather gets a bit calmer and in the evening the engine starts again.

In the afternoon we follow Formula 1 with a live report from Inge via Iridium Go sms. We'll also hear from the home front that Belgium has won from Brazil. It feels like a real Sunday full of sports.

After dinner we see a whale next to the boat. Toine is outside and hears his syringe, what an impressive sound. Fortunately he swims away from us and we can see all four of him very well. We quietly tuck into the night on the motorbike and sleep well again.

Length of meal: 139 nm

Day 4

The whole day we motorbike all day on a flat sea with almost no wind. We are now heading straight for the northern point of Belle รŽles. The fishing line hangs out, but again without result. Toine and Eline wash the spray hood on the aft deck together. We drink a glass of white wine with the drinks and we see a beautiful sunset.

Distance of food: 145 nm


Day 5

We alternate sailing with motor sailing (when the wind crawls just below 8 knots). Regularly the engine turns on and then off depending on the wind strength. Toine is doing a nice job and optimizes the chart table with the second autopilot control (so we can also control it completely from the inside). We see two whales (his sperm whales we think) swimming and spraying at some distance on the right side of the boat.

In the beginning of the afternoon we're half way through! We also set the clock forward another hour (now only 1 hour time difference) and we watch 'Everything is family' together.

We can sail all night long, up to 3 hours at 60 degrees and then high on the wind in bft 3-4.

Length of meal: 143 nm

Day 6

The whole day we sail high on the wind in bft 3-4 and we are slanting over starboard. We still have to get used to the slope. Especially kitchen work is a bit more difficult over this bow. Still I use this day to try out all kinds of bread dough and the baguettes with the recipe of the Dutch are very successful ๐Ÿ‘.

In the afternoon some showers are pulling over us. We watch 'Everything is love' together. At the end of the afternoon the wind picks up to a thick bft 4 and we lay a reef in the genoa. We eat delicious steak from the Wholefoods from Florida with some vegetables and baguette. In the beginning of the evening we see a lot of very high syringes on the horizon. This must be a group of whales of another species than a sperm whale, because the syringes are very high. A little later on the right near the boat another sperm whale. Very nice to see, but always a bit exciting that they don't get too close to the boat.

The wind picks up a bit more to bft 5 and we lay a big reef. The boat is hot and sloshing and is hanging down a lot. Not really comfortable to sleep in and Eline feels a bit nauseous. Between 0.00 and 1.00 we are all awake and have a nice family moment together in the cabin. The rest of the night we sail a bit lower (60-90 degrees) and we lose height for what more comfort otherwise sleeping is not doable.

Length of meal: 155 nm


Day 7

After the strong night, the wind suddenly subsides again and we change sails and motor sails again throughout the day. This way we can hold the course to the northern tip of Belle รŽles. In the afternoon we play nice music for a while and enjoy the sunshine outside. At night we regularly have a thick bft 4 and that is hosting and klosten with sailing so high. Eline is nauseous and throws everything out several times in the beginning of the morning. Not a nice night and we all get very little sleep.

Length of meal: 140 nm

Day 8

The whole day Eline is outside on the low side and is slowly recovering and is able to eat again. The boat is doing very well when you see which waves we have to go through. Not comfortable, but we want to go home so we continue and all take the survival-mode. Only Marinthe is not bothered by it and can just watch movies on the laptop ๐Ÿ˜‰.

At the end of the afternoon we cross a kind of highway of ships that all sail between northern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. We see as many as 50 AIS's, also at a distance of 90 nm.


The spaghetti with sauce still made in Florida from the freezer tastes very good to everyone. This night all four of us sleep in the cabin because it is not comfortable lying in the other places. That is very cozy and we all sleep well.

Distance of food: 145 nm

Day 9

The last day is coming. We keep a nice pace on the bike because we'd like to arrive in Trinitรฉ-sur-Mer before midnight. Indian Summer is already waiting for us there. The wind gets less and less in the afternoon and the sea is nice and flat. That gives us the opportunity to clean the boat and take a nice shower. At 23.00 hours we sail into the marina of La Trinite sur-Mer and we are brought in by the dingy of the Indian Summer with a big bunch of balloons. A little later we are stuck next to them and together we drink a glass of champagne on the good arrival!

So, back on this side of the Atlantic. We're going to enjoy the coming days of Southern Brittany and then on to Bruinisse.