33:46:00N 53:10:24W

Mon 21 May 2012 16:47
Update from Annie 21st May 2012
It's been an unusually hectic 24 hours aboard our little sailing boat Annie. Yesterday at dawn, just as I was about to go off watch the bridge of a large cargo carrier nudged above the horizon. Within 20 minutes it was only about 2 miles off on a convergent course but then made a change so that it ran parallel to us before disappearing ahead. Then we heard there was a gale behind us headed in our direction and an abandoned yacht dead in the water just ahead ( well maybe 100 miles ahead). Neither so far have materialised, which in a way has been disappointing although peering into a murky night on lookout for a boat without crew does not have a lot to recommend it, save for the slight frisson it adds to proceedings. Then, yesterday afternoon we had the diversion of the mother of all riding turns on the mainsail halyard. We tried everything to get just an inch or two of slack in but with the sail neither able to go up the mast any higher or come down it proved difficult. There I was lashed to the mast tying rolling hitces when the wind piped up to 30 knots and I got acqainted with a series of breaking waves over the foredeck. In the end we had to take the winch apart and force the turns off with a hammer and flat balded screwdriver, all the while the boat careering about; wind and waves braking over us - high drama!! Eventually we freed the line and no sooner had I put two reefs in at the mast - having volunteered to go forward again being already drenched - at that precise moment the wind fell away and we have been lolling around in no wind at all for the whole of last night as we struggle through the Azores High which is unusually high, of course. Last night Graham cooked his signature dish of pasta and tuna adorned with stuffed olives. A near disaster was averted at the last moment when he realised that having cooked the pasta in seawater alone it was a tad on the salty side - a kettle of warm clean water from the tank soon sorted that one and we enjoyed a hearty meal. Throughout the night we struggled through a windless gloom but still, this morning dawn broke and a clear if windless day emerged. We were a grateful crew when Graham agreed that running the engine would be a good thing, enabling us to generate some water, recharge the batteries and head for the Azores, at least for a couple of hours. Just when the engine started (thank God) guess what? ANother frighter popped up on the horizon, this one heading straight towards us - a British boat no less which passed down our port side no more than half a mile off. That's the third ship we've seen since we left ANtigua. I retired to my berth a happy man - no engine din would keep me from my sleep this day.