A stop in the Middle of the Atlantic

We have made our annual stop here in Horta, Faial, the Azores. The Azores are a volcanic group of islands held by Portugal and are located about 600 nm west of Portugal. The Azores have become a very popular stop for yachts crossing to Europe, since their location is perfect for refueling and victualing.       Sailors drift in here daily from all over the world and from all walks of life. It is one of those places that serves as a natural crossroads, and has a boom-town feel to it when the seasons change and the boats migrate. A unique tradition here is that each boat that passes through will paint a square on the quay to be remembered by. Well....eventually the quays filled up, so now there are paintings all through town- on sidewalks and walls etc.      In 2014, when we first brought Tilly Mint through the Azores, we painted our square on our way to England. In 2015, we added the new crew members' names to the painting and this became a kind of tradition. So this year, the …

Our Spring 2016 Delivery Crew

When we cross to Europe on Tilly Mint, we bring on extra crew members to help us stand watch. We typically bring on two to three extra sailors, and having such a full house can be quite lively. We enjoy having the extra crew around as it's a great opportunity to come together as a team.
This year, we have three extra crew members besides Arwyn and myself.  From left to right, excluding myself and Arwyn, we have:

Rhone Kirby- Tilly Mint's intern. Rhone is our youngest crew member at only 18 years of age. He is a local Antiguan who got his start in sailing when, at age 11, he commandeered a sailing dinghy from the Antigua Yacht Club when no one was looking. His joyride was short lived, but soon, he properly joined the yacht club and has lived to sail ever since.  Rhone has sailed for Antigua in the 2014 Junior Olympics and is currently working towards his slot to compete in the 2020 Olympics.

Dan Fox- is Tilly Mint's longest returning crew member. He has now completed 7 tra…

Another Transatlantic Adventure

It's the time of year again for Tilly Mint to make her bi-annual migration across the Atlantic Ocean.  This is always an exciting time for me and Arwyn, as it marks the end of another rewarding season in the Caribbean, and promises new adventures to be had in far away places.  Every year, Tilly Mint heads to a new cruising ground for the Summer. In 2014, we were in England, Spain, Italy, and Malta. Last Summer, we cruised the Adriatic Sea, stopping in Greece, Montenegro, and Croatia. This summer, I am elated to say that we are headed for Norway!
Throughout the Caribbean season, this has been a simple fact- a simple answer to a simple question. "Where are you going this Summer?" - "Norway." However, at this busy time of our year, it becomes a reality. It's not only a distant land in which we will travel in the distant future, rather it becomes the focus of the now.
It now becomes our task to sail Tilly Mint roughly 4,500 nm across the Atlantic, down the En…

The perfect finish

An adventure ends, but another one is starting for Tilly Mint - in a few days she will leave the Caribbean to sail back to the Mediterranean with a new crew. After over two and a half years on board, Bill and I are taking a well deserved holiday, leaving Tilly Mint in good hands with our long time friends and highly qualified crew Arwyn and Andrew.

Our last week on board couldn't have been better, with all four crew, the owner and his wife racing Tilly Mint for Antigua Sailing Week. A great time was had by all, and many emotional goodbyes were said. The crew is now working on getting the boat ready for her sixth Atlantic crossing.

Fair winds and following seas to Tilly Mint and her crew, we sure will miss you!

Big boat watching at the St Barths Bucket

Tilly Mint felt very small last weekend, as our charter itinerary took us to St Barths to watch the Bucket Regatta, which involves some of the biggest sailing yachts ever built. Here are some shots of the Saturday race.

Extreme exploring... in the BVIs!

When we picked up our charter guests in Virgin Gorda a few weeks ago, we were not entirely sure we would be able to meet all of their expectations for the trip. They were going to be on board for 10 days and had already sailed the BVIs extensively, and one of their requests was to discover new anchorages every night, if possible stunningly beautiful and deserted. It didn't sound easy, but it sounded like a challenge and we happily took it on.

So we ventured in unknown (if not uncharted) territory, with crew on the bow looking out for coral heads as we carefully picked our way through reefs protecting perfect turquoise water, spending hours looking for new bays on the charts, and sailing up and down the channel trying to spot an empty cove. We spent 7 nights out of 10 in anchorages that were new to both the crew and the guests, and we all fell in love with one or two of those secluded bays. We won't reveal all of our secrets, but here are a few pictures taken during the charter…

Down island, and back up (Part 2)

We dropped off our guests in Marigot Bay and quickly turned the boat around for our next charter that started 48 hours later. The itinerary for that trip was more familiar to us, but we hadn't been down island last year so we were very happy to have a chance to sail the Grenadines again.

Our first night was spent anchored in between the spectacular Pitons, on the South end of St Lucia. The next day was a long sail past St Vincent to Bequia, our first stop in the Grenadines. As we approached Admiralty Bay, we noticed a small dinghy jumping on the waves towards us, with a man wearing a harness and a camera taking pictures of us. He came by the boat the next morning and our guests decided to purchase the photos.

From Bequia we sailed on to Mustique, spent a few days in the postcard-perfect setting of the Tobago Cays, snorkeled the reef around the deserted Sandy Island, and finally dropped off our guests in St Georges, Grenada.

A few hours after the guests departure we left Grenada a…