AZORES: Pico – The Island No One Ever Sails To (MJ Sailing – EP 82)

One of the most noticeable islands the Azores have, for housing Portugal’s highest point, is also the one that gets nearly the fewest visitors by sailboat. Without many good harbors, we find another way to get to neighboring Pico.

Hopping the ferry for the four mile trip across from Horta, we set ourselves up with a rental car for 24 hours and meet up with our friends Bill and Grace to see how much of this island we can see within a 24 hour period.

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

AZORES: We LOVE This Harbor – We HATE Rafting Up (MJ Sailing – EP 81)

There are so many things to love about Horta. Except when two boats crush you against a cement wall.

As we make landfall in in Faial, we can still not get over the beauty and charm of this island. Rugged cliffs sitting next to quaint European villages. There’s a a lot to get re-aquainted with upon arrival, but we also throw in a bit of boat work as well. Trips to the beach, outdoor concerts, a smashed toe rail and a trip to a world famous bar/cafe. What a way to be welcomed back to land!

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

Spotting Land After 25 DAYS AT SEA!! (MJ Sailing – Ep 80)

Our Trans-Atlantic voyage is approaching the end!

We pick up this video on Day 18, after we get the news that our friends on s/v Calico Skies are arriving in Horta, while we still have 700 miles left and can expect winds on the nose for the next 72 hours.

After plugging through those, we go back to our sunny and calm days and while spending a little time outside get the opportunity to see some sea life in the water. Huge groups of sea salp are floating next to our boat, and we even put the GoPro in the water to get a better look.

While we’re stuck in what we hope is the last of our high pressure systems, we throw up our drifter to see how it works in place of a spinnaker. At over 40 years old we weren’t sure what to expect with this sail, but it did a great job of giving us a little extra oomph!

Then…there’s landfall! The day we had been waiting to see for such a long time! Even though we had a fantastic crossing and loved our time at sea, we were more than ready to dock in Horta and begin enjoying the wonderful Azores again.

Much love from the Atlantic Ocean!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

A Day In The Life Of An OCEAN CROSSING (MJ Sailing – EP 79)

Ever curious to what a full 24 hours on an ocean passage has in store? We’re going to show you!

We make sure to record ourselves at different parts of the day from 12am – 12 am and give an account of how much or how little tends to happen when you’re bobbing around in the great blue. From my daily coffee/email checks (yes, even thousands of miles from land!); to a 1,066 ft tanker passing in front of us; to what we cook when there’s little to no fresh food left on board.

No two days will be exactly alike, but settle in as we show you a common day in our lives.

Much love from the Atlantic Ocean!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

A Mid-Atlantic Birthday Surprise For My Sweetheart (MJ Sailing – EP 78)

Just because you’re in the middle of the ocean doesn’t mean you can’t have a little party!

As we continue along on our trans-Atlantic, we leave the doldrums behind and start making miles. We get the occasional squall and showers, but otherwise it’s all smooth sailing.

Featuring days 5-10 of our crossing, we get a few small boat projects done; Georgie receives a feathered visitor for a few hours; but most importantly, we celebrate Matt’s birthday. The 2nd time in 4 years he’s celebrated in the middle of the ocean! We don’t let location get in the way of commemorating the occasion as I decorate the boat and Matt even gets a fish on the line!

Much love from the Atlantic Ocean!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

We Left on a Trans-Atlantic & No Working Watermaker (MJ Sailing – EP 77)

The time has come, we’re leaving the Caribbean to sail across the Atlantic towards Europe!

Matt takes a minute to explain the situation with our watermaker, why it isn’t working, and why we decide to leave anyway. Making a 12 mile sail from Simpson Bay on the south side of St. Martin, to Marigot Bay on the north side, we fill up our water tanks and get on our way.

The first two days at sea are just spent getting into the swing of things, but by day 4 we find ourselves in the middle of the Bermuda/Azores high and have lost all our wind. It is a beautiful thing to be hundreds of miles from any land and have the water be glass calm around you.

We take advantage of the calm by putting down our swim platform to take bucket baths off the back of the boat. With only 60 gallons of water to get us through 30 days of showers and dishes, we need to conserve it everywhere we can.

Much love from the Atlantic Ocean!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

Provisioning For 30 Days At Sea (MJ Sailing – EP 76)

It’s the week before we head out on our Atlantic Ocean crossing toward the Azores, and there are still a lot of preparations to do!

Going halvsies on a rental car with our friends Bill and Grace of s/v Calico Skies, we hit up the biggest grocery stores St. Marten has to offer, both on the French side of the island. We load our carts with non perishables from Super U in the morning, and then make a run to Carefour at night to see if there is anything we missed.

While we have a set of wheels at our disposal, Matt and I take a scenic drive around the island to explore a few beaches and foothills we hadn’t been to before. We stop at the beautiful Orient Bay on the east side of the island to admire its beautiful waters while enjoying a cold beer. While there we see the remains of the Club Orient Resort, a complex of bungalows completely destroyed by Hurricane Irma.

Our last few days on the island are finishing up our remaining boat projects and chores. After Jessica takes a tip to give the bottom one more cleaning, we try to clear out the mess of our aft quarter berth so the off watch person can sleep there during our crossing.

Much love from St. Martin!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

Our $35 Cockpit Enclosure (MJ Sailing – EP 75)

With our Atlantic crossing looming, we work hard to get our cockpit enclosed, and finish job with $35 worth of vinyl.

Before we get that far though, we take what we hope is the last of our very wet rides, from Saba up to St. Martin. Leaving Elements under the careful watch of friends, we fly home for 10 days, and then attack projects with a fury.

The main thing was to enclose our cockpit so we could comfortably sit out there without the worry of being soaked in salt water. We knew there wasn’t enough time to do the proper finalized version with our Sunbrella canvas and strataglass vinyl, so we did a temporary fix.

With a sheet of 20mm uv protected vinyl that we had ordered off Amazon for only $32, we sewed it to the bolt rope running through our tracks, with the main goal to keep it as taught as possible so ripples would not disturb our vision. And….it actually came out better than we hoped for!

Much love from St. Martin!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

Part II of Our Dodger Canvas Build (MJ Sailing – EP 73)

It’s time to get back to work on our dodger, now we’re laying the tracks on the cabin house and cockpit combing for the bolt rope to slide into.

First though, we take a little time to appreciate Antigua after our busy schedule and go for a hike on the Goat Trail next to English Harbour. Passing through the old fort, it is full of history, spectacular views, and you guessed it…goats.

When we do get back to work it’s time to lay the tracks on our cabin top and adhere it directly to the deck. Finding the the proper line for the track to follow is half the task though. Once we do get it figure out, as well as the curve we want the track to take on the cabin top, it’s time to secure it down with West System G-Flex. Bending the track to the proper curve, we weight it down overnight and in the morning are confident enough in the adhesion to continue the project.

Otherwise, we just spend our time hanging out and enjoying our last few days in Antigua. One night while having a friend over for a beer we go on a runaway dinghy chase and end up having sundowners on the beach. Our last night in Antigua is spent with s/v Calico Skies and s/v Jabberwocky, trying to find some good and cheap eats at a local joint, after a crazy cab ride with our driver Bling.

Much love from Antigua!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

It’s Always a Beat to Windward – Antigua Sail Week Part II (MJ Sailing – EP 72)

No matter which course you’re sailing on the south end of Antigua, there is always going to be a beat upwind.

(This is a new version we have uploaded since some were having problems with the format on the video that came out this morning).

We pick up on Day 4 of race week, Lay Day. No sail planned, but instead lots of games and competitions at the beach. We arrive later in the afternoon, but are still able to catch tug-of-war; beer drinking; and the bikini competition.

The following day, on race day 4, we are amped and ready to sail, but the winds have lightened more than we were hoping. Running out to the east end of Antigua we miss a few squalls and pass a catamaran in the group ahead of us that demasted. Luckily everyone aboard was unharmed, but our spirits for the day sunk a little as we crossed the line in 5th place.

Race day 5 started with a delay, but that just gave us a chance to hang out at the harbour entrance and watch the parade of race boats come out. Our finish for Antigua Sail Week was a long beat upwind, and we came over the line in 5th place once again, putting us in 4th place overall for race week in the Club Class.

The next day we get back to boat work with Jessica jumping in to do a bottom cleaning. It is her first time using a hookah system, and she enjoyed it so much that bottom cleaning may be her new job.

Much love from Antigua!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie