Great Escapes Yachting logo

Great Escapes Yachting

Corporate Sailing, Sail Teambuilding and Private Luxury Crewed Yacht Charter

with yachts sailing in the UK, Caribbean and Mediterranean
including British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Martin, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sardinia, Corsica, Croatia and the Balearics

Follow Great Escape - Blog Updates:

Great Escape takes 5th in Class and wins a prize!

Mon, 23 Dec 2013 17:58:48 GMT
Well done to our ARC crew. 5th in Class - Matt our skipper was surprised to be called up on stage to receive a prize at the final ARC party on Saturday night. Finally we beat Skyelark. Now we know why she has beaten us for the last 4 years Emily!!
We would like to wish all Great Escapes clients and followers a fantastic Christmas and a prosperous new year. Don’t forget we have some spaces left for some of the Caribbean Regattas.
Regards
Phil Munday
 

Arrival St Lucia 14 4n 60 57w

Sun, 15 Dec 2013 16:01:12 GMT
Great Escape finished the ARC at 2108 local. Which was an ideal time to enjoy the evenings fun ashore.

14 11 850n 60 33 670w

Sat, 14 Dec 2013 22:15:32 GMT
Log day 21 - could this be our last day at sea?!
 
 
Hi all,
 
I may be writing our blog for the last time and again I ask you to indulge me while I dedicate this to my other adorable nephew Oliver who is six today. Happy Birthday Oliver!!
 
So even the chorizo is no longer and as we have been speeding along pretty fast, the fishermen amongst us have shied away from reeling out after ‘Sailfish-gate’. Luckily it seems our provisioning worked out just about right and having enjoyed the Atlantic treats of Mahi-Mahi & Bonito earlier in the voyage we have a couple of spare supper options left which will see us well fed and hopefully safely into port tonight.
 
Funnily enough we had pictured our arrival into St Lucia cruising in glorious sunny skies, steel band playing, hula skirts & the works but it seems the weather has one more trick up its sleeve for us. So far today we have come through 3 squalls & the scene ahead looks more reminiscent of Ostend in March than the Caribbean – luckily the temperature doesn’t match! The constant conversation in the cock-pit is now ‘who will win the sweep-stake on our arrival time’. Fabio has been convinced for the last 24 hours that he has won – with claims that he predicted 10pm across the finish line tonight. Curiously his ballot paper doesn’t seem to match this and there is much heated debate (and laughter) going on as I write as to how this could be?! With David’s prediction of 8pm and my prediction for 2am Sunday it’s all to play for and Fabio is getting more and more concerned!
 
So Oliver, you asked me on the day we left how many knots I would be tying. We have kept a running total & it is 236. Most of these have been stopper knots (like Figure of 8 or navy stopper knots), bowline’s, half hitches & clove hitches). However we have discovered how important a rolling hitch is – none of us except Skipper Matt are very good at this so perhaps you & Samuel can practice & teach me properly when I get home.
 
So think of us tonight, arriving weary but exhilarated, probably slightly soggy, definitely slightly smelly (our tank water has run out!), thrilled to have achieved our goal but slightly sad it’s all over. We will be raising our glasses to Matt & Mike who have steered us safely though the temperamental weather, fixed endless pumps, gauges & other boat widgets whilst keeping us amused with tales of the deep. I knew I had a lot to learn when I started on this epic trip but realise now I was in a state of uninformed optimism – I’d say I’ve now reached the heady heights of slightly informed pessimism!!! It seems incredible how much more there is to learn but I know everyone on this boat is up for it thanks to the patience & good humour we’ve enjoyed with Matt & Mike - thanks so much guys. And a final thank you to all the crew – we haven’t stopped laughing all the way across – looking forward to celebrating with you guys.
 
Lots of love to everyone back home – can’t wait to catch up soon & boring you endlessly with our salty sea tales!
 
Niki xx
 
m_IMG_0238

14 15 260n 57 47 780w

Sat, 14 Dec 2013 12:25:29 GMT
 
 
 
Log Day 20 – Final Leg
 
Well, been a  quiet day on GE; a sunny morning followed by an afternoon of squalls which have  continued into the evening; dark lines of cloud full of rain and wind. For the most part the rain is warm and you dry out in the sun though it is less comfortable at night. So just over 200 miles to run and suddenly the end of this journey seems very close. Some don’t want it to end while others are starting to think of landfall and the little luxuries it will bring.  Things like ( and in no particular order ) a chorizo free day, alcohol, a full night’s sleep, going to the lavatory on a stationary toilet bowl, drying dishes without performing a pirouette and not having that business with toilet paper that those of you who have visited Turkey know all about. Of course a lot will be missed....great sailing days, huge horizons, fantastic night  skies, shooting stars, sunsets, wildlife, and , last but not least great fun with Matt, Mike and the rest of the crew. Some crewmembers have wondered what their balance will be like when they get ashore after 3 weeks at sea; having seen them in bars in Las Palmas I share their concern.....
 
We hope to be in St Lucia over the weekend but as I write the wind has dropped! Fingers crossed.
 
David
 
m_PB240028

14 15 260n 57 47 780w

Sat, 14 Dec 2013 08:51:41 GMT
Log Day 20 – Final Leg
 
Well, been a  quiet day on GE; a sunny morning followed by an afternoon of squalls which have  continued into the evening; dark lines of cloud full of rain and wind. For the most part the rain is warm and you dry out in the sun though it is less comfortable at night. So just over 200 miles to run and suddenly the end of this journey seems very close. Some don’t want it to end while others are starting to think of landfall and the little luxuries it will bring.  Things like ( and in no particular order ) a chorizo free day, alcohol, a full night’s sleep, going to the lavatory on a stationary toilet bowl, drying dishes without performing a pirouette and not having that business with toilet paper that those of you who have visited Turkey know all about. Of course a lot will be missed....great sailing days, huge horizons, fantastic night  skies, shooting stars, sunsets, wildlife, and , last but not least great fun with Matt, Mike and the rest of the crew. Some crewmembers have wondered what their balance will be like when they get ashore after 3 weeks at sea; having seen them in bars in Las Palmas I share their concern.....
 
We hope to be in St Lucia over the weekend but as I write the wind has dropped! Fingers crossed.
 
David
 
m_PB240028

14 26 160N 54 46 350W

Thu, 12 Dec 2013 00:04:00 GMT
Log day 19 -
 
Two days to go. It seems only yesterday that Skipper Matt was warning us of wind holes in our future – massive wind holes (200 miles wide) and massive massive wind holes 600 miles across. This last sort would have seen us eating egg noodles and capers for Christmas dinner somewhere on the high seas.Now after several great 200 mile days we have only 360 miles to go. After three thousand miles and three weeks at sea we may yet be in a photo finish at the line with other boats in our class.
The night saw several weak squalls passing through, a bit of rain and small modifications to our sail plan. Since there is not much to look at at sea the slightest activity is of great interest. Thus the eating habits of the Brown Booby ( a sea bird} was studied carefully by the early watch. It appears they hunt alone, make 6-7 dives before a successful catch, and average we replicated on the fishing pole, and then eat their victim, presumed to be  a flying fish, while bobbing around on the surface of the ocean. How very interesting. Rather more interesting was a large ship ahead to port which courteously altered its course by 15 degrees to avoid us. Usually they just plow straight ahead and it’s up to you to get out of the way. Thanks, whoever you were.
We continued with two reefs in the main and a poled. out jib throughout then day. Winds ENE 15-20 knots allowed us to bowl along at 7-8 knots but since it was almost dead down wind it didn’t seem that fast. The Atlantic swell produced a rolly ride on 10-15 foot (3-5 metre) waves.
We are saving our tank water for the final run in.If we all take a shower immediately prior to arrival it will be greatly appreciated by the friends and relatives assembling to meet us and the marina bar staff I am sure. Our noses have no doubt been desensitized by now and we have no idea how bad we all smell.
Fabio celebrated his speed record a little prematurely in yesterday’s blog. It was twice exceeded today, first by Pip at 13.4 knots and then David hit 13.5. Serves him right.
A thought for those friends flying into UVF on Saturday. You may get a chance to taxi share to Rodney Bay.
 
I’m going to look at the stars,
.
 
 
Jan
 
 
.m_DSC02093

14 23 310n 51 44 140w

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 22:44:00 GMT
 

LOG DAY 18- SPEED RECORD

 

Well, an excellent day of sailing, with less than 550nm to go, we are smashing them out ! It still feels we have the ocean to ourselves as no sightings of any other vessels for over three days.

Ok so there is NOW a new speed record of 13.2 knots to beat! I’m afraid I have to claim this one and shall be receiving my crown upon arrival. Skipper Matt has suggested a pair of ‘SPEEDOS’ for the prize to which uncle Pete (Peter Bacon) replied ‘ah something I can supply from my personal collection’ It is fair to say Uncle Pete is not only a specialist in speedos but is also an established Speedo wearer across the globe.

Other news.. Jan is still rocking his green head bandana, with comments that he is intending to represent a convention of Makhi Makhi !!! Pip and Mike are on extreme burner rations, now only allowed one burner every 250 nm and Uncle Pete is becoming a regular visitor of the head, blaming it on his second sardine sandwich!!! yes we believe you or possibly it was the flying fish Jan slipped in.. who knows anyway hope you have some good reading material in there Uncle ‘Peter’.

Ok so that’s it for now, looking forward to an excellent night of helming ahead !!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

FABIO

m_IMG_0134


14 19 490n 48 24 930w

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 00:13:00 GMT
Log Day 17 – Fish Tales..

 

Last night’s watches began in high spirits following our celebratory champagne and canapés.  Everyone has stepped up to the helm and done an excellent job of maintaining a consistent speed of between 8 and 10 knots.  Position reports show that we have crept up on a number of boats ahead of us, and this has spurred everyone on to keep focused and keep moving as fast as possible (in a totally non-competitive way of course!)

Excitement arose last night with the sighting of a bright orange flashing light on the horizon.  The initial reaction was that it could be a flare but after a little investigation, plans to divert and perform a heroic rescue were averted as we worked out it was a weather buoy, quite amazingly anchored in 4000m of ocean.

Fishing was resumed this morning with a change of bait, Matts tried and tested wooden lure having failed him apparently for the first time!  The new bait seemed to work as twice this afternoon the whizzing of the reel triggered action on deck…however it seems we are destined for another chorizo supper as both times the fish got away.  It seems you just can’t get the fishermen these days! Perhaps if my Dad or brother Charlie were here things may have been different! 

Crew relations remain excellent as we look forward to the final 750 miles of adventure and the inevitable party at the other side.  As I type it seems by the noise upstairs that we may have hooked another fish…

Love to my Mum and other family/friends reading this…

Pip xx

ps. I take it all back it turns out that fish was a 50lb Sail Fish! A little bit big to get on the boat so still no fish supper but happy fishermen!

m_IMG_1433

 


14 20 250n 45 23 730w

Tue, 10 Dec 2013 00:02:00 GMT
Log Day 15 – The Chorizo Ultimatum...

WIND!!!!!

At last after several days of light winds, at dusk yesterday the long hoped for wind shift into the North East transpired. The spinnaker was put away and we began to beam reach directly towards our target. The breeze built steadily throughout the night and dawn found Great Escape surfing on deep blue Atlantic ocean rollers – sometimes at 11+ kts!

The log shows that over the last 24 hours we have covered 194 NM – a big improvement on recent days. We now have less than 1,000 NM to go to St Lucia and this evening the otherwise dry ship Great Escape is celebrating this milestone with champagne. Even now, the bleeping of the smoke alarm indicates that Jan is preparing canapés to complement the bubbly.

While the business of sailing as fast as we can has occupied some of the crew’s attention today, we have still found time to address other important issues. Chief amongst these is discussing and debating what we should eat as the variety and freshness of our provisions continue to decline.

It seems that tonight we will be treated to vegetable curry. Apart from the accompanying rice all the vegetables come from a jar or can. There was some talk of adding chorizo to the curry – in contrast to other staples we are terminally long of processed porcine products – until it was pointed out that adding meat would disqualify the meal as a vegetable curry.

The crew has also found time to ‘play’.  The attached photo shows Nikki, Fabio and Jan rediscovering the thrill of gravity – a sort of waterborne game of see saw without the see or saw.  Another week of this and I fear maturity levels may be permanently impaired.

Peter

 

m_DSC02110


15 06 76 N 40 03 23 W

Sun, 08 Dec 2013 08:03:16 GMT
Day 13

 
 
 
 
Good progress today. The jib was poled out overnight. We steered to the light of the new crescent moon before it and neighboring Venus set around midnight. Then nothing but blackness until dawn at 6.30 am. .We have adjusted the ship’s clock to more nearly reflect local time so we are now GMT – 2.    The spinnaker is hoisted at first light – the pattern of the last several days. And then an  easterly of about 15 knots propels us directly toward St Lucia at 6-8 knots. It has been sweltering. A sprinkle of rain this morning was welcome relief.
Rations are holding up and we are still eating well, although the proportion of fresh food is diminishing rapidly. We still have half a head of cabbage, some onions and a few eggs.
So, when are we going to get there. We have yet to rendezvous with the elusive trade winds and are just capitalizing on some local wind spun out from weather systems to our north. The point is that such wind could be any strength and direction and cannot be relied upon to carry us to our destination. There is always the danger of a ‘wind hole’ emerging behind a passing low pressure system. Only when we get to the trade winds can we be assured of a consistent conveyor belt to carry us to St Lucia. That conveyor may be still 3-4 days away. If we carry on making 5 knots (or 120 nautical miles a day) then worst case we’ll be in by Dec 17 at 8 pm. Ratchet this up to an average of 7 knots and we will be sipping the Mount Gay Rum on December 14 at 10 pm. So that is probably the arrival window..
 
To those of you following us on the tracker ‘yellow brick road’ please note our boat name is ‘Great Escape of Southampton’ , not to be confused with ‘Great Escape’ which is a separate boat, also in the rally but about 400 miles behind us.  
 
A  message to Rosemary. Thank you for the ‘I miss you’  note buried deep in my duffel. Miss you too. XOX.
 
We have a ton of photographs on the boat computer which we will all want to transfer to memory sticks before leaving. Rosemary, would you please do us a favor and purchase six USB memory sticks from Radio Shack, each of at least 8 GB capacity, and bring them to St Lucia. We all appreciate it.
 
 
Jan m_IMG_1441