Ascension Northwards - Day Eight 00 53.099S 030 43.724W
Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 21 Apr 2014 18:12
When the big squall came through both genoas were poled out and, as can be the case with squalls the wind went forward of the beam and we had to get the sails away quickly, which we did. It would have been more difficult at night with only one on watch. Another boat reported this morning that they got hit by a big squall at midnight last night with too much sail and it took them a hour to get the boat back under control! We are now rigged for squalls - leeward genoa pole is down and the genoa sheeted normally, the windward pole is up and well forward so we can set the outer genoa with the wind from the stern to the beam, and the staysail sheet has been fed on the leeward side. So if a squall comes, the windward genoa is rolled away. The leeward genoa is reefed according to the wind strength (want to make the best use of whatever wind we get) and if necessary replaced with the staysail. That can all be done quite quickly and in pitch black if necessary (the moon's not coming up until the early hours now). We'll keep this arrangement until through the ITCZ.
The Equator is only 50 miles to the north, but with light winds and being forced more westerly every so often, it's seems like it's taking an age to reach it. Our planned crossing point is around 32W. Once across, the ITCZ will continue, but we hope it won't be too wide. With the light winds our noon-to-noon run was 111.4 which is actually better than I thought it would be. We have two reasons to celebrate today - we've sailed over 1,000 miles from Ascension Island and have less than 2,000 miles to go to St Lucia.
Going back to conserving fuel, we didn't run the generator as much as we should the other day and the freezer started to defrost. That's always the risk when sailing in light conditions as we lose power from everything - the tow gen, wind gen and solar panels if cloudy, as it is tending to be in the ITCZ. There wasn't a lot left in it and a few things that had thawed completely went over the side just in case (don't want upset tummies out here!) and Liz cooked the rest. So the freezer is now off and power is no longer an issue. The freezer is great if we are plugged into the mains or in a windy anchorage or on a windy passage, but it's not good in light conditions (unless you have easy access to diesel).
That's it for today - another squall approaching!
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