day 16&17 - a bit late
Day 16 & 17
Wednesday/Thursday 12th/13th June 12.00 BST
Position – 44 58 33N 49 50 73W
Log 2,140 miles (125 over last 24 hours – 118 the previous)
My absence for the last couple of days has been mainly down to weather conditions, which are affecting my ability to get internet connection through my iridium phone – reception is very hit-and-miss – and it has a propensity to drop out (if I do get a connection) when I am half way through loading my mailbox, which means then have to redial and start again – very frustrating, time consuming and expensive.
Whilst we are on the subject of weather, I know that for the most part, the last 2 ½ weeks since I left the UK, have been pretty good – even with a hint of summer. Well I am very pleased for you all. I, on the other hand have been having a miserable time with my weather – a bit like August in Cornwall. I have had one solitary day of sunshine; the rest has been grey, murky and overcast with a lot of rain. For the last 48 hours, I have been sailing in dense fog; at one point yesterday morning I could not see the bow of the boat. It is also very cold, 5 degrees this morning, so I am wearing a lot of clothes – a T-shirt, rugby shirt, 3 fleeces and a jacket, together with hat, snood and gloves – and if I am in the cockpit steering – occasionally a balaclava as well. In an effort to keep warm I am chain drinking tea – with the odd cup of soup thrown in.
Yesterday I spent a great deal of time considering various options in regard to my precarious fuel situation. I studied grib files VMG and routing, trying to ascertain roughly how much longer I would be sailing to get to the finish and calculating the required charging hours to get me to the finish based on current power usage. At one point I considered the possibility of going into St John’s on the Avalon peninsular of Newfoundland, which was 300 miles away, in order for re-fuel. The other possibility would be to ‘bat on’ and try to keep a westerly course, which would push me close to Halifax in Nova Scotia, some 600 miles to the West.
I had a chat with Boris and we discussed the various options. Going into St John’s would cost me 48 hours in lost time, but would mean that I would make the finish. The option of carrying on, with the possibility of putting in to Halifax, meant taking a risk that I would actually run out. Boris just looked at me and said ‘Are you a man or a mouse?’ Now, although the thought of a bit of cheese was very appealing, I am not going to be told by a 6” fluffy teddy bear that I am a mouse! So we are cracking on – only the next 3-4 days will tell if I can make it. I have decided to ‘wing it’
Yesterday evening I came off the Newfoundland Basin and on to the Newfoundland Grand Banks. The depth of the sea changes from 4,600 metres to 40-60 metres in the space of a few miles. The sea state is noticeably different – gone are the long gentle Atlantic rollers, these have been replaced by a much shorter and choppy sea, which whips up much more quickly when the wind gets up.
For the last 12 hours or so I have had a decent blow up the chuff and this is set to continue for the next 48 hours as long as I can stay above 44° 30 latitude – below that is very light – so I am sailing fast at around 8.5-9kn, sometimes hitting 12kn off the swells – and I am nailing the waypoint, which is now Nantucket Island some 870 miles to the west. There are only two marks to the course between the start at Plymouth and the finish at Newport – leave Eddystone Rock to starboard and leave Nantucket Island to starboard – now I missed the first one and had to go back for it, costing me an additional 35 miles on day one – I will not make the same mistake again!!
Last night I chilled out with a bit of spag carbonara – and watched Django –what a good film – but then I have always loved a bit of Tarantino!
Just as I was finishing off writing this, I was interrupted by the sound of the sails flogging violently (or so I thought). I better go up and investigate, I thought to myself – maybe a massive unscheduled wind shift has occurred. As I poked my head up the companionway into the cockpit, an enormous bolt of lightning appeared across the sky, followed by the inevitable crack and roll of the ensuing thunder – and it was very close. Now I have to tell you that the middle of the ocean in a small fibreglass tub, with a 40ft aluminium lightning conductor sticking out of the deck, is not a good place to be in an electrical storm – very scary. Thankfully it all lasted about 20 minutes and has now passed over – and it looks like the sun is trying to come out – WooHoooooo.
Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone for all their support, I had 28 emails yesterday. It is quite unbelievable, the level of interest in the adventures of Beagle and Boris – I hear that in some quarters Boris is becoming a bit of a legend! I am overwhelmed – thank you. A few newcomers to welcome aboard the Beagle crew – Bee & Tiger; The girls in the office – Carole, Victoria and Sabrina; Paul W – btw Lesley, thanks for the offer of the loan of parts 2&3 of the 50 Shades trilogy, as it happens I have them on the pad already, but think I will give them a miss; and Fred W – great to have you all aboard.
Hopefully I will be able to get some internet connectivity and post this today!
C, Boris and Beagle