St Helena Northwards - Day Two 12 41.936S 009 14.209W

Mike and Liz Downing
Sat 5 Apr 2014 18:25
Had a good night - good winds (12-18kts) and a relatively slight sea allowed us keep up 6.5 to 7.5kts most of time. Unfortunately the wind dropped down to around 10kts or less early today, as forecast, and our speed has been down around 4 to 4.5kts since then. So progress has slowed considerably. However, with good speed overnight our noon-to-noon run was pretty good at 145.8 miles. It will be quite a bit less in the next 24 hours!

Although the wind has dropped, there's still a nasty 1 to 1.5 metre swell which causes the boat to roll and, as there's little wind in the sails, the sails to collapse and refill with an expensive bang! To try and reduce it we have to roll the headsails really tight so they can't collapse much - as said many times, our poles need to be longer for very light airs. So we end up reducing sail when we actually want to increase it - most frustrating! But it is a lovely sunny day and the sea is an amazing shade of deep blue (that you only get when it's really deep - approximately 13,000ft where we are).

We were blessed with clear skies once again overnight, so more stars. The Plough is now very clear and that makes us feel a little closer to home. The Southern Cross is also very clear and it's novel to see the Plough in direction and turn your head and see the Southern Cross in the other. And it's amazing how much light comes from Venus when there are no clouds in the way. It was so bright it lit up the way ahead. It reflects on the water just like a moon beam, so, I suppose, we were sailing down a Venus beam for a change!

Forgot to mention yesterday that on our last trip ashore on Thursday we could see that the experiment of sending a photo via the sat phone had worked. Well it worked in the sense that the photo ended up on the blog, but it took much too long. When sending/receiving emails and getting weather forecasts down we are normally connected for between 45 and 90 seconds. That one picture took 8 minutes, so about £12! So we won't do that again unless it's an emergency. However, having had email correspondence about it with our service provider, there may be an old fashioned way of updating the blog via the wifi on Ascension, assuming we do stop there. The wifi on Ascension is the same as on St Helena and is run by the same company, so, like on St Helena, we don't expect it to work, but apparently there is this old backdoor route that was put into the software years ago and if that still works we might just be able to send up a few photos. So fingers crossed!

As I write we have 405 miles to go - not that far, but still a long way when plodding along at 4kts!

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