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The Transatlantics begin – Newfoundland Screech and England bound

by Spartan Ocean Racing on 30 Oct 2016
The Transatlantics begin – Newfoundland Screech and England bound Spartan Ocean Racing
After a few months in the yard getting Challenger ready for her Atlantic circuit we set sail on the third of October (CSM's Birthday) with a crew of nine to take on the first leg- The Newfoundland Screech – a 700Nmcoastal voyage from Lunenburg to St.John's, Newfoundland.

We had a wonderful first few days on the water experiencing everything from beating hard upwind with 30knots on the nose on day two to a near dead-calm on one of the last nights gliding along peacefully with the Big Dipper on our left, Orion's belt on our right and Dolphins playing in the phosphorescence alongside the boat. We did have some fog which is not unusual when you cross onto the Grand Banks but on the whole the weather was clear and that allowed us a fantastic view of St. Pierre and Miquelon as we approached.

For those not in the know- France has a little slice of sovereign territory within 12Nm of Canada in the form of two islands that share a weather report with the most southern tip of Newfoundland. St.Pierre is not some diluted approximation of France however, as per other widely flung territories- this is proper France in all it's glory slap, bang on North America's door step.

We were welcomed as always by the immigration and customs officers of St.Pierre, the police, the mayor's office and the TV and Radio stations; we went on to soon attracted a small crowd of bystanders who had come down to see what we were all about. With her new orange and grey branding and 'Nova Scotia, Canada' emblazoned on her hull Challenger is finally starting to look like the long held image in my head and I was not surprised that people wanted to know more. Our stay was unfortunately incredibly short though-only four hours-as we needed to get on our way to Newfoundland. We hope on the next Screech to extend this stop over to at least a day so we can take in the island properly.

The run across the Southern edge of Newfoundland was more of the same fantastic sailing – brilliant clear nights and great pressure all the way- it was almost hard to correlate this experience with the stereo-typical view of the Grand Banks- however don't think Newfoundland has become soft- no way, no how. Rounding the Avalon Peninsula the wind started to build and by the time we got to Cape Spear we were in 35kts beating hard in short, steep seas.

It certainly was no kind of problem for Challenger- she was designed to handle much more- but for the crew it was an awakening to the boats true abilities- after they became acclimated to the motion and began to trust that Challenger would rise to each new onslaught they really began to enjoy themselves. Our final arrival in St.John's was bittersweet – the fulfillment of our voyage but also the end of a fantastic journey- we had all grown closer as a crew and come to trust and rely on each other- shared stories with each other and lived out an amazing ocean adventure. Job done Challenger- time for a few days rest.

Unfortunately John, Matt, Paul and Bruce had to go home to the real world but we were soon joined by Philip and Ryan who took up the slack amiably.

And then we went and did it all again.

Boat Books Australia FOOTERGet My Boat 2021 FOOTERRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTER

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