logo Mariposa Blanca Move
Date: 25 Jan 2013 19:24:00
Title: Position 21:28N 28:45W

Friday 25th Jan

Log 3510
Noon to Noon 138nm
GPS to BVI 2027 nm

Hi all,

Firstly I think that blog locations for the last 2 days have failed to work.
This is likely due to the fact that the mailasail system "looks" for our
position in the title subject line and then uses this to publish the link in
the blog to google earth. The last 2 days I included the day in the subject
line before the position and I assume this has confused the mailasail
system, so I have reverted to the previous style here and henceforth but I
would be grateful if someone would confirm that you now get access to our
location from the blog- thanks.

The night was as the previous ones have been, variable winds some rain
showers and a bright moon. After the excitement of the dolphin spot as I
was sending the blog yesterday, we reverted to the normal bouncing along
style overnight and awoke to a uniformly grey sky. Progress is gettting
gradually better each day in terms of miles sailed. We have been continuing
SW all night and day, seeking the big red cross in the sea at 20N/30W, the
famous waypoint where we turn west. It is now head ahead of us around 120nm
away. GRIB files tell us to expect another 48 hrs of ENE 26-30 knts (still
gusting high 30's) and then a reduction to more trade wind strength of
around 20 knots for a further 48 hrs before starting to lighten, especially
in latitudes above 22 degrees N. On this basis, the plan is to remain south
of 22N even after gybing sometime tomorrow.

Today did provide something very different for us however. As I was
demonstrating the use of an electrical multimeter to Adrian, the machine
would just not stop bleeping even after switching it off so my first thought
was our reclusive gremlin has resurfaced to play! Of course I don't believe
in mystical creatures so started hunting elsewhere and then suddenly
realised the AIS alarm was the culprit. As there have been no contacts for
some days, we had set the warning alarm on it but it is really a rather
pathetic chirp and this was the noise. A quick glance at the AIS screen did
indeed show a contact at range only 6 miles, moving WSW at speeds around 5
knots but variable. With only an MMSI as ID on the contact, we tried a DSC
VHF call and got no reply. Then we tried VHF ch 16 and got no reply.
Assuming the contact mut be another sailing yacht we scanned the horizon
ahead but cold see nothing. That'a somewhat odd we all thought aloud. Maybe
the Marie Celeste is out there someone suggested! What - equipped with an
AIS transceiver? was the quick reply.

The truth became apparent as soon after we were called on the VHF Ch16 in
the perfect english of a gentleman and responded in kind. It turned out we
were crossing paths with the TITAN, a 6 man rowing boat out of Gran Canaria
11 days previously and bound for Barbados we think. They were a mixed team
of serving and ex military personnel with civilians also onbaord and
attempting to break the Atlantic rowing record. We decided to close them
and try and exchange photos and chat but this itsef became interesting as an
exercise. We only had AIS to work with but I found you use lay a portland
plotter on the AIS screen to get a bearing and aprox CPA. By now it was
blowing full F7 again and we were into the tarde wind atlantic rolling
seas - big high rollers but with a long wavelength so you can charge down
the face of them surfing at high speed but then lose sight of all the
horizon until you climb up the next. This all at aroun 7.5 knots and
becoming 9 or 10 when surfing, so we reefed further down and devloped a
strategy to win this new game of hide and seek at sea! Intersting it was, a
sort of S&R scenario but we could not afford to overshoot our movign targets
as going back up wind at this time was just not an option to be worth
consideration. We closed the box and eventually caught first sight of the
boat only 0.3m dead ahead. It never showed up on our radar! The seas are
too large for that I guess. As we approached from their astern, they were
really hard to spot but after some time and under small main only, we eased
alongside closely enough to shout at each other and take photos. One such
photo is reproduced here and this blog is copied to Gemma at Oceanus
rowing.com for information. Gemma, if it suits you, you have my permission
to use the photo although it is resized for iridium transmission. I hold
many others in quality JPEG and if you contact me using
andy {CHANGE TO AT} boatsurveypro {DOT} co {DOT} uk you may like to see the others for your publicity
machine.

The rowing team appeared in very good form and were pleased to have the
outside world contact after 11 days alone so far. We offered them GRIB
weather information and of course some standard service style insults were
hurled both directions across the water. We then set more sail and all
parties waved cheerily as we left them behind. We wished them godspeed, a
safe passage and good record hunting by VHF and soon they were out of sight.
We noted www.oceanusrowing.com on the boat if any readers want to follow
that up.

Heather - Mike says tell SSC he spotted them visually first and by the way,
if you want to tell the BBC, please do as the challenge progress may be of
interest to them. Kyrah may have a suitable contact still in this respect?

So now our team are getting expert at gybing in pretty strong winds, I
better get them practicing hoisting crusiing shutes - something likely to be
on the agenda later over this weekend.

For Alan Petty - many happy returns for tomorrow. Enjoy it- its Saturday.

Jan says the almond blossoms are appearing early in Spain.

Laptop is trying to escape from the chart table again, so its time to close
down and hit send. More tomorrow.

The Mariposa Blanca delivery team

JPEG image


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