Tuesday 19th June - Early Days Yet

Jon & Carol Dutton
Wed 20 Jun 2012 03:25

1:12.06S 101:25.78W

Tuesday 19th June – Early Days Yet

 It’s 2100 on Tuesday evening, dinner has been and gone and the boat is settled for the night’s sailing.  Since leaving on Friday evening we’ve covered a bit over 660NM over the ground as the crow flies (assuming that said crow knows about great circle flying).  Yesterday was a little slower than the previous 2 days, returning a distance run of 148NM compared with 173NM or so for the previous days.  We’ve got a pretty steady SE breeze that averages around 15 knots and puts us on a port broad reach just abaft of beam as we head west.

We fielded Hector the Hydrovane on Sunday morning and he managed pretty well with the steering for the next day or so whilst we were under mainsail and yankee.  Yesterday afternoon we decided to hoist Percy the Parasailor.  Percy was a bit dozy to begin with.  We haven’t used him since we finished the Atlantic crossing – the wind has generally been a touch too far forward for that.  Whilst slumbering he’d obviously done a certain amount of tossing and turning because he’d managed to get all the fussy little lines and strips of cloth that make up his wing knotted up into a ball.  So, when we hoisted him initially he wouldn’t fly and we had to haul him down and take him below to sort his life out for him.  Since then he’s behaved impeccably and we’re maintaining good speed thanks to his efforts.  However, he is a bit of a thug (albeit well-meaning) and Hector and he don’t appear to get on.  He needs the power of the main rudder to control him on a fairly shy spinnaker reach as opposed to the little job that Hector comes with.  So, Orville’s back at the helm.

This is all pretty relaxed.  As usual when we fly Percy we have no other sail up.  We’ve got steady wind from a helpful direction, hot sun throughout the day, stunningly clear starlit skies at night and no major equipment hassles – yet.  We’re finding jobs to do about the boat to keep us occupied and the library is taking a bit of a battering.  Thanks to Carol’s preparations we’re eating like Kings.  Every dawn sees the watchkeeper doing a squid and flying fish patrol to clear the decks of all the marine life that has come aboard during the night.  One intrepid flying fish even managed to fly in through the main saloon hatch to inspect the on-board facilities this evening. We’ve seen the occasional ship but with ever decreasing frequency.

 We attempted this evening to join the SSB (HF radio) chat net hosted by Joseph and Marci Paravia at 2400 GMT (1800 local) but everyone was having great difficulty in getting through.  They are a few hundred miles to our north – about as far north of the Equator as we are south - and heading home to California from Panama on a non-stop 7,000 NM trip. Given that the frequency we’re trying to use is in the 6 MHz band I shouldn’t be surprised if the problem is that we aren’t yet far enough apart.  We’ll see as we get separated more.

Fishing, did I hear you ask?  No; Percy and fishing rods do not mix.  The palaver involved in getting the Parasailor down to get the fish fought, reeled in and aboard just ain’t worth it.

That’s it for the moment.   Speak anon.