Following Valkyrie as she sails about on the big blue...

Atlantic Crossing

The Crossing @ a glance:
The boat: Valkyrie, Swan 57 Ketch, 6th trans-Atlantic crossing
The destinations: Faial, Azores & Gibraltar
The dates: 22 fun filled days at sail, June 2 to June 16; June 23-July 1
The distance: approximately 3,600 nautical miles
Points to note:
Sailed entire way from St. Maarten to Faial (only ran engine to get into the harbour and dock)
At times the sea was as "smooth as glass"
Good weather during entire voyage

Prep for Crossing

In the final days before setting sail, one of our big focuses was food. After extensive menu planning and list making, we hit the supermarket and filled 10 carts with food and bought drinks by the pallet.

Tanna Jones, Angie Hunter, and Tamra Strentz stow food aboard Valkyrie for the Atlantic Crossing
Drinks fill the cockpit, as we provision for the Atlantic Crossing.
Unloading and storing our provisions (see photos at right) proved to be an adventure in itself. We sorted and stowed everything in 20 various storage spaces, having enough to feed and water all six of us for 30-plus days. To ensure everyone could search out particular items, Tamra created a 13-page map.

The crew in the cockpit, aboard Valkyrie in the middle of the Atlantic.

Hey, is anybody out there?

Aside from a couple passing freighters, there were few signs of life in the middle of the Atlantic, until dolphin started making appearances. Our first experience featured a gang of 20 pint-sized spotted dolphins charging the boat's bow. They flipped over the waves, leaped in the air and swam around like awry torpedoes. During the rest of our trip, there were a number of dolphin sightings, from the small spotted variety to the more Flipper-esque type.
Larry Hunter with our 4' sailfish, in the middle of the Atlantic aboard Valkyrie

Early on in the trip, Larry and Ryan hauled in a 40 pound spear fish. Aside from the various varieties of dolphins and the spear fish, we saw sea birds, turtles, whales and Portuguese man-o-wars. We also had two uninvited guests: Portuguese-banded homing pigeons that dive bombed the boat looking for some R&R.
Dolphins alongside Valkyrie, as she sails across the Atlantic.

Surprisingly enough, time went by rather quickly. This is likely attributed to regimented watch schedule. Each crew member was on for 3 hours and then off for 6. We stood watch in teams of 2. In free time, people read books, watched movies, wrote in journal or computer, chatted, plotted course and fixed things (luckily nothing major broke during the crossing).
Captain Ryan Martell at helm of Valkyrie
name: ryan martell

position: captain

home port: aboard valkyrie
First Mate Tamra Strentz
name: tamra strentz

position: first mate

home port: aboard valkyrie
name: gornal jones

position: crew

home port: Dallas, TX

valkyrie connection: dad of our friend, jason jones of bungie software (free plug) who was in search of adventure on the high seas.
Tanna Jones
name: tanna jones

position: crew

home port: Dallas, TX

valkyrie connection: mom of our friend, jason jones (who is also the boyfriend of tamra's sister laura) who wanted to see if her sailing lessons in the caribbean really paid off.
Larry Hunter from S/V Tao 8
name: larry hunter

position: crew

home port: aboard s/v Tao 8 in Caribbean or Canada

valkyrie connection: friend ryan met in the caribbean who wanted to test drive the atlantic in someone else's boat.
Angie Hunter from S/V Tao 8
name: angie hunter

position: crew

home port: aboard s/v Tao 8 in Caribbean or Canada

valkyrie connection: friend ryan met in carribean who left her & larry's boat secured to a hurricane anchor in st. john & jumped aboard valkyrie.
Kenny, the Autopilot
name: kenny

position: autopilot

home port: aboard valkyrie

how the autopilot took on the alter-ego of south park's doomed child: by dying in every "episode" & always coming back to life.