Cape Town to St Helena - Day Five 25 36.283S 008 50.445E

Mike and Liz Downing
Tue 18 Mar 2014 16:27
The winds stayed around 20-25kts through the night and eased today to around 16kts. With these winds it's been another good 24 hours with a noon-to-noon run of 155.1 miles. The sea has also gone down a bit and it's been a lovely sailing day, and with 2 reasons to celebrate! Firstly we are level with the sea mounts so have changed course and are now heading directly for St Helena. And secondly, we have less that 1,000 miles to sail. So we have sailed over 700 miles and, as I write, have precisely 975 miles to go. Having changed direction, the second pole is up and we're once again going directly down wind with both genoas poled out. With a bit of luck, and assuming the wind doesn't do anything silly and radically change direction or strength, we hope to keep both poles up for the rest of the passage. We shall see if our luck holds! Certainly our weather window to get out from Cape Town has worked well. Waiting for a lull in the onslaught of winds around the cape, like we did, others have faced north west winds and had to start by tacking north for a couple of days. Glad it wasn't necessary to do that! The wind is due to come up again tonight, but we hope it won't be too strong.

With the lighter winds it's been a good day to have a nice hot shower. That was another job in Cape Town, putting in a new shower unit. We've carried it around as a spare since New Zealand and decided that as it's much better than the old one, it's a bit silly continuing to carry it around and might just as well use it. And it is so much better! Our trial sail in Cape Town, the one in the fog, gave the opportunity to unpickle the watermaker and test that it's still working okay. The water for the first hour has to be dumped (it goes into the sea) to get rid of the preservative chemical and we were able to do that while drifting in the fog. So we're now back in the routine of running the watermaker every couple of days (and after showers) to keep the water tanks full. Again at sea it's possible to keep the immersion heater plugged in the whole time so whenever we run the generator (eg to run the watermaker) it heats the hot water tank. (In a marina the immersion has to be unplugged when not in use to stop corrosion from stray currents from other boats or the marina). So being at sea means we get plenty of hot water. Talking of hot, it's still not, and particularly so at night. At 25 degrees south we had hoped it would be warmer than it is. Another boat that came this way a couple of weeks back sent an email saying that it warms up after the sea mounts. We hope they're right. Getting dressed up like a lifeboat crew every night soon loses it's appeal!

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