Over the last 24 hours we have had plenty to keep
us occupied. First and foremost has been the weather. The reclarent
Low that gave us a pasting a few days ago decided not to continue in a westerly
direction, but stop, turn north, and then circle back on itself - and us!
So for the past 36 hours we have had fairly strong winds from the NW, enabling
good progress but kicking up a very big sea. No problem in itself, but at
7 kts the motion has been relentless. Trouble is, the Low has now stopped
and pretty much filled (having joined up with a weaker chum), and as I write at
0245 in the morning we are rolling like a pig in a light SW air. No peace
for the wicked! But it makes a change from sailing under the tripple
reefed main and the staysail.
How do we know all this? GRIB files!
After much frustrated cursing by the skipper over the past 2 days as he failed
to coax the necessary 3-4 minute connection out of the satellite, Tom has
managed a good download of the synoptic charts twice in the last 48
hrs. This has been really valuable in enabling us to steer clear of
the centre of the blow a few days ago, and now analysing the best course to make
the most of the winds available. Top marks to Tommy!
Yesterday was a better day with regards the motion,
and we had a fairly productive day. Minor repairs were progressed - the
cooker should now be less inclined to jump its gimbles, and the new mainsheet
has a new block to match. However, just as Sarah was enjoying, over the
galley sink, a much looked forward to hair wash, the skipper notice, as he
reached into the stbd cockpit locker, that George was working loose on his
mountings. This was serious - if George goes out of action we will be into
2 watches for the remainder of the trip. Tom, who was snatching some sleep
in the aft cabin, suddenly found umpteen boxs of stores in bed with him as the
skipper took the aft stbd compartment to bits in an effort to get to the head of
George's securing bolts. Having located these, we then needed to empty the
contents of the cockpit locker - may not sound much, but with heavy water
containers deep inside them and access only fit for a contortionist, and the
boat constantly trying to jump off waves, it takes its toll. Nonetheless,
we managed to access the securing nuts from one side and the bolt heads from the
other, and with the aid of the indomitable 'Consumbales bag' and some of its
magic contents (locktite this time) succeeded in effecting repairs that we
believe should hold out for the rest of the trip.
Gilbert has also been demanding attention.
Two nights ago the hourly log reading that we record was clearly showing that he
was not producing. After the normal checks for weed proved negative, at
0030 this proved too much of a mystery for the skipper to resolve
immediately. Dawn saw two heads pronder the problem, and dispite Ian's
understanding of electrics only extending to monkeys swinging though trees, we
managed to identify a fuse holder connection having succumbed to the motion -
the spring that holds the fuse tight in place having worked up over the
fuse itself. So another major success in the wear and tear department, and
Gilbert is back to pumping out his amps
What else? Ian and the skipper both had
shaves, and now look half civilised. Sarah completed her hairwash, despite
being abandonded by her husband in favour of repairing George. Ian smelt steaks on the wind despite there
being spagetti on the boil and no ships in sight. We have sailed over 1000
miles since departing Bermuda, and 2000 miles since departing Deale, MD.
Dolphins seem to visit us every dawn and most dusks; the skipper has had his
sextant out again now that the sun has reappeared; woolly hats are appearing at
night as the temperatures drop (the sea temp is now donw to 15.5C, having been
20.2C at Bermuda), the bread gets better and better (and the chef's language
from the galley more and more colourful as yet another meal catapults into the
cupboards on a particularly heavy roll).
That will do for now. Any longer and the
satellite will certainly not be able to accept this, and you will get very
bored. And that headsail needs adjustment - again!