The North Atlantic
I had looked at the alternatives for bringing Novara back to Europe and decided to take the high north Atlantic route from Camden, Maine via Lunenberg, Nova Scotia and St John's Newfoundland. This would put us into the westerly airflow and hopefully give us a fast passage home.
After a brief stop in Lunenberg to catch up with Al Hutchinson the project manager for the Bluenose restoration who we met when we came through back in 2014. We also met up with John Van S, the Halifax OCC port officer who was heading a rally from the Royal Nova Scotia YC. We sailed on to St John's Newfoundland to rendezvous with my old mate Bill Strassberg on Visions of Johanna who was sailing south from Greenland via the Faroes and Iceland.
Visions arrived in time for dinner ashore and the odd glass of Vino followed the following evening by dinner on board Visions. Bill's account of his trip from Scotland via the Faroe isles, Iceland and Greenland kept everyone entertained but with an early start for both boats an early night was in order. Visions left to head south and home to Camden from where Novara had just come and we left to continue our passage west to the UK.
It was Wet, Wild and Windy 9 days of strong winds, two full gales in the first six days, the second with sustained winds of 35 kt+ and gusts over 45 kts we then had 25 to 30 kt westerly winds until the final day. The second big low gave us seas of 4.5 m+ with Novara surfing at 16 kts and one big wave saw 19kts on the log, a new boat record. Had the winds increased we would have deployed the drogue but with both daggerboards down, the centre board angled at 45 degrees and triple reefed main and 1/2 jib upfront we could keep the boat tracking straight and true. We made the 2,000nm passage in 11 1/2 days.. Novara is now safely tucked up in Penarth marina for the next few weeks before the final leg to Lymington on the south coast.