Blog 7. En Route to San Blas. 10.05.83N 77.43.12W

David Batten
Fri 22 Jan 2016 20:56
Friday afternoon, 22 January.  At sea, 57 nm to the finish line, sun shinning, wind has dropped to 12 to 16 knots from the Starboard quarter, arrival time 03.37, i.e. still dark.  Being a crew of 4 with opinions, and this includes the Ship’s Boy, we have all expressed an opinion as to what we should do and come to the conclusion that arriving in the dark is not an option and none of us want to be faffing about between the finish line and the channel between Holandaise and Cayo Coco Bandero, which was our preferred option and original plan.  Plus the fact that we have lost a day because of the delayed start, so need to be handy for Chichime and the Sunday rendezvous, so we are now heading for the most northern point of the finish line and then we will go on to Chichimi taking the off shore route.  Why we are bothering with the finish line at all is a mute point, as we have been dilly dallying for the last few hours to delay our finish time and whatever we do will be wrong.
We would be much closer and might have had a sporting chance of arriving in daylight today if we had started at first light on Thursday instead of 08.00 and if we had been braver about how close we went to the mouth of the river Magdalena.  We went about 30 miles off shore, with only Barbara Jean coming as far north, while the rest of the fleet all went inside us so we have had to some overtaking to regain a reasonable position in the fleet.   Great winds last night and goose winged with the Genoa poled out, we had some great sailing with a bright moon and a starlight sky, with Alcedo revelling in the huge swells to produce speeds of up to 14 knots.  Other yachts have been coming and going on the AIS and Do Over kindly agreed to pass astern of us so we did not have to play with the pole.  Not sure if they were taking the Mick as we had actually already overtaken them.  Poor Anthony succumbed to Mal de Mare in the rough waters off the Magdalena basin, so he has not been participating in the discussions and is now on water and dried biscuits while the rest of the crew who, with the exception of the Skipper’s wife, were suffering from the runs, are at last enjoying proper meals with great gusto.
It should be noted that the Ship’s Boy has temporarily suspended all fishing activity as the fishing seminar in Santa Marta indicated that a) you need a rod, b) you need to stop the boat and c) a purpose made box is the best receptacle for killing the fish without getting blood and scales on the deck.  Ship’s Boy does not want to play with a rod, we don’t like stopping the boat and we don’t have a box, so we may never catch a fish, we shall see!
Now the wind is dying and we are 53.2 miles from the finish line and the motor has been switched on to stop the sails self destructing as they fill and empty.  The drop in wind was forecast on the GRIB files and we have nobody but ourselves to blame for not taking out reefs sooner and not planning where we are going to make landfall, so motoring could be kept to a minimum.  At least we can do some charging and read books while on watch, plus we have a leak in a join in the keel casing and so we have been bailing regularly.  Repair means taking quite a lot of joinery apart, so the Skipper will be busy for next couple of days, so no lazing around on beautiful tropical islands for him!!