OSTAR Day 4
Friday 31st May 12.00 BST
Position – 47 28 14N 15 44 47W
Log 563 miles (145 over last 24 hours)
It has been a long and difficult night and I have not been able to get much sleep. The wind has been light and shifty setting the alarm off on a regular basis (the alarm sounds if there is more than a 10° wind shift) so I have been working hard to keep The Hound moving in 8-10kn of breeze. This morning it is very misty and damp and the wind is still very light. I have been hand steering since daybreak to try to save on power usage as charging the batteries takes a long time with my jury rig system. I am struggling to make more than 4.8-5.0kn of boat speed in these conditions and I have been pushed on to a southerly course as the wind is now settling at 285° which is right on the nose given my current BTW (waypoint is the eastern end of the Grand Banks) is 283°.
I suspect that some of the boats may have tacked now and are heading north on port, but I have decided to stay on starboard for the time being and go south as I may just be able to squeeze underneath the centre of the impending high that is ahead of me for the next two days. This may also prove to be the right decision as there is a big front building on the East Coast of America which will follow in behind the current high and looks to be a big south westerly – possibly 7-8 – thus giving me the option to get back on course tacking on to port once it starts to build, bringing a bit more Beagle weather!!!
I have sorted out most of my damage and spent a bit of time on the foredeck checking everything out. I have now discovered a bit of damage to the monitor windvane which I need to address as it has been banging about a bit through the last gale, but hopefully I can get it sorted before the next front hits me around Monday/Tuesday.
My domestic story today surrounds the problems of ones ablutions whilst on a boat – so I would suggest that anyone of a delicate disposition should stop reading now! Those of you who are familiar with a boat’s ‘heads’ will understand the difficulties of using them whilst at sea and on the wind, whereby the boat is listing to one side or the other. In short, I am on a starboard tack and the heads are on the starboard side of the boat, meaning that the stopcocks that draw in water and flush out again are above the surface of the water, thereby making it almost impossible to flush!
Under normal circumstances this is not a major issue, you can always tack or go down wind to put the boat upright for the necessary period of time – but herein lies my quandary – I am racing! – therefore I do not want to give up any time by making any changes to my course or boat speed. Now for the last 4 days I have been living on all sorts of healthy and energy producing foods which, given that I am usually a pint and a pasty, or 10 pints and a chicken madras sort of person, this is playing havoc with my internal workings! Are you getting the picture? That which I have currently left in the heads is not very pleasant and if released could cause damage to shipping; but its aroma is equally unpleasant to those on board – namely me and Boris. So, what do I do? Tack and get rid, or live with it until I am forced to tack? As I said – I am racing and if sacrifices need to be made for the greater good – then so be it! How long I can live with it remains to be seen – I shall report on progress tomorrow.
Moving to more congenial matters, in an effort to chill out for a few hours ,as well as try to understand more about the fairer sex, I have started to read ‘fifty shades of grey’. I am not sure if this is a good idea or not!
Once again – thanks to all for the emails and sorry I can’t reply individually to them. A special thanks to Will who made me chuckle yesterday with comments about my inability to escape JB even in the mid-Atlantic (love you really Jak)
C, Boris and Beagle