…. that is, preparing the yacht and our whole family for a trip across the Atlantic. It was a very intense time in our floating house. Preparations for the expedition had been going on for many weeks, but the last two weeks before the departure had already gained dizzying pace! Preparing the yacht, training the crew, and of course taking care of our kids and working remotely.
The decision to go to Poland… was not easy. There were many aspects that we took into account. It is a very long route and also burdening our yacht. But! after 6 years, the boat requires minor and major corrections. Why did we choose sailing to Poland instead of finding a shipyard somewhere in the Caribbean? It seems crazy to sail to the other end of the world! The choice of Poland was mainly influenced by costs, quality of work and personal considerations.
For people who would like to know more about it, we have recorded special vlogs:
Preparations for the trip
Since we decided to go to Poland (around January this year), we immediately started preparations for the entire trip. The list of things to do, inspect, repair, and order was growing in sight! From the very beginning, Bartek started to prepare for the longest trip in the history of our house and his own. Let me remind you that we have made our floating house in the last 6 years – over 40,000 nautical miles. And Bartek himself … did not even count his over 20 years of experience at sea.
Should I sail with the kids?
This question quickly popped up in our heads and conversations. After many pros and cons, we decided that this time I would not go on a cruise across the Atlantic with the children (let me just remind you that the children had already sailed across the ocean in the first year of living on a boat, i.e. on a cruise from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, when Julian had 7 months and Cuba over 2 years.
This time we made a different decision, which was influenced by three main factors: first, it is a very long route and up to 6 weeks non-stop on the ocean. Another factor is that in this direction, i.e. from the Caribbean to Europe, navigation is less comfortable, often against the wind, while the temperature in the North Atlantic drops to even 12 degrees during this time. At the end (or maybe for the beginning!) Our boys have far too much energy to consciously lock them up for so many weeks at home without going ashore 🙂 Another very important argument for NOT was seasickness. After so many years of swimming and living on the water, I still suffer from seasickness and I know that I would not have enough strength to care for and run a school with children on a daily basis. Especially on such a long voyage. This time we had a choice, because in addition, it turned out that after we published the information that we were looking for people willing to go on a trip with Bartek, we received a lot of applications from people for whom this dream is a lifetime. On the other hand, one of the crew members decided to make such a gift for his 50th birthday! The door handle has fallen. And the kids started counting down the days to departure, starting with the number 49.
The preparation of the yacht consisted of a long list, which I will not describe in detail today (I will leave it to Bartek). For those willing, there is a report from an open webinar on our Facebook, during which we discussed the points of preparation for sailing across the Atlantic:
Visit us here: https://www.facebook.com/100044218250249/videos/151488310177090
In recent weeks, we have been crossing out step by step from the list:
Sails, rigging and all equipment tests
Inspection and maintenance of mast, blocks, all ropes, capstans
Checking the engine, changing the oil
Checking and refilling the first aid kit + updating the first aid course
Importing spare parts from the United States and Poland (praise Saint Martin here that Fedex can send a package from the United States within 24 hours!) – a small note: we did not receive the last shipment …
Checking all marine electronics, satellite phone
Buying a new life raft – unfortunately it turned out that repacking our old one was so expensive that we decided to buy a new one, i.e. another over 2,000 euros went from the renovation budget …
Repair of the radar and desalinator – Bartek coped with the repair himself, but he did not do without the purchase of new parts – the cost of a new pump and diaphragm is another 800 euro)
…. and for a long time to mention ….
Fortunately, Bartek is a real Bob the builder and 99 percent of the work was done by himself! With my little help and in the last days before departure with the help of the crew.
Laundry! After all, without fresh bedding and towels, you cannot go on such a journey! 🙂
Before leaving, I planned to wash everything and prepare sets of bedding and towels for each crew member. Fortunately, the weather was fine and the laundry was dried beautifully in the sun. At the end, our only trick was served by our desalinator, which suddenly refused to cooperate and instead of producing liters of water, it was dripping a drop. Every day we balanced at the border even 30 liters of water in the tank! (when we already had almost 10 people on board, including our family). And here a mountain of laundry is waiting – for people who have probably never thought about it, because why would there be water in the tap on land? One wash is 60-70 liters of water!
Finally, for the first time in a year, we decided to take water from land and refuel our fuel tanks. Refueling was not without my almost heart attack. The entrance to the channel with the petrol station is very narrow. After a quick analysis of the place and the wind, we decided to approach the dock with the port side. Unfortunately, our trimaran has no rear maneuverability, which meant we had to turn 180 degrees on our 12 meter aircraft carrier inside the channel, with only a few meters on each side and rocks in the water. Do not ask how, but with my soul on our shoulder, standing in the bow and telling Bartek how much space he has (we were talking about single meters) to make a turn, with 25 knots of wind and seeing big stones by the beaks … we parked beautifully.
So proud of my husband, because it was one of Bartek’s best maneuvers, who led our Poly with stoic calm. We refueled 500 liters of diesel, but … it turned out that the “city” had just turned off the water and we have to come back again in the morning. I just want to add that the next morning we had to make turn in the channel again and without scratching we beautifully approached the pier and took 750 liters of water. LAUNDRY TIME !!!!!!
Provisioning for 6 people and 6 weeks is a real challenge. I am used to large shopping and for longer periods. For 6 years, we have actually been shopping in this mode, especially when we change islands to those where prices are 3 times more expensive or there is nothing in stores (read: Bahamas). This time there was no question of any errors in the calculation and for the first time I made a decent calculation than just relying on my intuition. I developed a special file in excel, which beautifully calculated the number of products and generated a shopping list. Thank you Adam P. for your help 🙂 My friends urge me to share it, it may be possible in the future.
5 years ago, when I did provisioning for crossing from New York to Szczecin, where Asia Pajkowska (famous polish sailor) was sailing with Bartek – the only thing I forgot was … chocolate. Ai!!!! This time I bought 40 bars! I hope it wont destroy ambitious goals -among the crew there are active plans to lose at least 5 kilos ….(10 pounds). I hope not Bartek.
Night repairs and inspections
Creativity never leaves us. Night repairs, visits to the engine room but in good spirits. I can’t wait to share with you the video of how Bartek fixed our radar. Expect a solution in our vlogs.
As you already know – Bartek does sail alone. Sailing across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to Poland apparently is a a life dream for at least few. I was very happy that I could make my and my children places available for those eager for ocean adventures. Ultimately, the list ended with 5 people + Bartek. Starting from April 11, one of the crew members came to us every few days. Each of the crew members meant for us training, introduction to life on the boat, but also support in larger and smaller works. Even when hanging out the next laundry or going ashore to the bakery to get some baguettes for breakfast!
Kuba and Julian have been counting down the days to departure for over a month now. But before that happened … Home school, babysitting between all the projects and repairs. The boys were brave! There were moments when they took care of themselves, they often helped too (watch the cleaning solar panels), but also at times we had no choice and we increased their limit for watching cartoons every day – which they were most pleased with and then there was exemplary silence … (eh). We, however, are not proud of it.
Last days in the Caribbean …
We were so busy that we forgot that soon we are splitting up for weeks. In addition, the vision of the next months or even more outside the Caribbean brought a little sadness … In the last week between work and training of the crew, we tried to catch the last moments of the Caribbean, i.e. sunsets, bonfires on the desert island of Tintamarre, meetings with our friends, inhabitants of Saint Martin, with whom we approached over the last few months. This is something we take with us for the next months. We will be back!
We fell in love with sweet island of Tintamarre, which is perfect for evening walks and bonfires …
We invite you to the next updates straight from the Ocean.
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Stay safe and fair winds,