Heading North - Day Two 15 50.975N 062 40.490W

Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 12 May 2014 18:46
Having a quick read of yesterday's entry it is pretty clear that we were not impressed with the weather yesterday! We weren't sure whether we had an unexpected weather system passing through or it was just the effect of the island - we were only 12 miles off the west coast of Martinique. You think an island would give shelter and generally they do, but with some the winds can accelerate down the leeward side and can be double that on the windward side. So is it the island effect or the weather. It was time to make a decision, carry on as we are, head in towards the coast and hopefully get more shelter or head out to the west to get well clear of any island effect. We are seeing quite a few ships and one, a big tanker, was coming from the west, so I called it up and asked what the wind strength was like further west. Just the same was the answer. So no point heading west. A 50ft motorboat called us up on hearing me call as he didn't hear the response from the tanker, and we discussed the weather. The motorboat was heading north like ourselves, but he was sticking close to the Islands for protection. He was using a professional weather router in the USA and his forecast was for 15kts, so he was none too happy with the 30+kts that he was getting. As he was getting similar winds to us there didn't seem much point heading towards the coast. So we continued as we were. By 16.30 the wind had abated and the seas (which really were quite nasty) were starting to drop. By 17.30 we didn't have enough wind to sail! Since then it's been much as forecast - quite light, but with the occasional period of 15 to 20kts. When light, all 3 sails are up and if it gets up a bit, the windward genoa is rolled away. We're making anything from 4 to 7kts as the wind repeatedly freshens and dies. Our noon-to-noon passage was 127 miles.

It's full moon time again and even though it was overcast most of the night, the light from the moon found it's way through and, apart from the last hour before dawn when the moon had set, it was easy enough to see to the horizon and keep a good look out for ships and fishing vessels (which don't always have lights in this part of the World).

We had another visitor last night - another noddy. It had circled the boat a few times earlier in the day and was obviously eyeing up a possible roosting site. As the light was failing it came into land on the solar panels. We were happy for it to stay, but not there, so with boat hook in hand I shooed it off and actually had to gently prod it to make it move. It was not going to give up it's position easily! It flew off, but came straight back. This scenario was repeated several times before it found it could stop me prodding it by actually jumping and perching on the boat hook itself. It was clear that the boat hook was not going to get rid of it, unless it was a sharp blow to the head! However, the chances are that I would crack a solar panel or take one of the aerials out that are next to the panels. So go get the ultimate weapon prepared following the last invasion of noddies - the homemade water pistols. A few squirts and it would be on its way. I should be so lucky - a few squirts and it started preening itself, saying thank you for the free shower! It was now getting quite dark - not a good time to risk falling overboard, so we let it stay and stay it did, until well after the sun was up. It actually slept with it's head under it's wing. Didn't think sea birds did that. Liz thought it was probably because the moon was so bright! So it was up on the solar panels this morning cleaning off the mess once again!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com