Ascension Northwards - Day Fourteen 05 33.453N 040 57.878W

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 27 Apr 2014 20:15
Had a small squall in the middle of the night with 20kts of wind and a little rain, but it didn't last long. It could have been a left-over from the ITCZ or just a 'normal' squall that's part and parcel of sailing in the Tropics. At over 5N we should be well clear of the ITCZ now. Apart from that we've had consistent winds of around 15kts from the NE and have been making a comfortable 5.0 to 6.5kts. Our noon-to-noon run was 140 miles. It's been overcast all day today, so no sun, but the clouds are quite high so it's quite bright. Had to remove more weed from the hydrovane rudder, but discovered that if we don't leave it too long, so only a moderate build-up, I can free it by steering the boat into wind to take the speed off, disconnecting the vane and then wriggling the rudder using its little tiller. Not as dangerous as trying to push it off with the boat hook! Hopefully this weed will disappear at some sage. We don't see the big mats of it anymore, but there's sill quite a lot of small chunks floating past. As a result of that we decided to put the tow generator back out. It was taken in during one of the slow spells a few days ago and due to lower speeds during the stop/go of the ITCZ, and the weed that we thought it would get tangled with, it's stayed out. However, with the speeds we're now making it's nice to get the almost continuous 5 to 6 amps it generates. Also, now going into wind, the apparent wind is a lot greater and the wind generator is producing more too. So a whole lot better on the electricity generation front. Can't quite plug into the National Grid yet to offload the excess electricity, but getting close!

One advantage of being so far out (still about 500 miles off the coast and can easily make the course we need) we can afford to be relaxed about bearing away when we need to to ease the motion of the boat. Going into wind does mean you are on a lean and doing things on the boat is not as easy as when going downwind. So if we're doing anything like taking a shower, cooking or eating meals, or anything that requires a lot of moving around down below, we just bear away for however long we need to get the boat more upright and more comfortable. No point in making life aboard more difficult than it needs to be!

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