Calypso's Web Diary
Joe Drury
Wed 29 Jun 2011 14:09

48:05N 10:44W

Hello Sailing Enthusiasts and Pigeon Fanciers,

Last night was tough, it started off with a huge trawler bearing down on us, no transponder, no radio and no fishing lights. Luckily our radar picked it up and tracked it - it passed our stern at 300 yards. Then it seemed like every hour we had a tanker or freighter and even a small yacht trying to get us, we must have tracked 15 ships from sunset to sunrise. Rush hour in the middle of nowhere! The yacht was particularly spooky, because of it's size it didn't paint well on the radar, and just crept up on us, the single green light bobbing about until it was nearly on top of us! I had to change course!!! I could of said hello to the skipper we were that close. I don't know, the same thing happened to me once in the channel. Hundreds of square miles and we come within 100 yards! I'll be hearing the target alarm in my sleep for weeks to come....

We’ve had an eventful 2 hours on deck, our furler jammed again so we had to run downwind whilst I physically unwrapped the sail from the forestay whilst it flailed about. We then realised that we had suffered damage to our self steering gear, there is a metal plate that shears if something were to strike it, and that had gone, so Alex helmed the boat whilst I repaired it, hanging over the stern. We are unsure as to what we hit, neither Alex nor I heard anything but it could’ve been flotsam, jetsam or just a log? Perhaps an unlucky turtle or over-inquisitive whale. At least there is no other damage, and it was fixable.

It was whilst I was hanging over the stern assessing the damage that a dolphin decided to pop up and say hello, startling me - we then saw about 50 of them making a beeline to the boat, all jumping clear out of the water and saying hello. (eeeeeeeeeeee) They surrounded the boat and stayed with us for about 30 minutes whilst Alex passed me spanners, nuts and bolts over the transom, whilst also manually steering the boat. We managed to get some video.

Anyway job done, although the inside of the boat looks like my cellar workshop now with tools and empty mugs of tea strewn everywhere. There are crumbs everywhere too, whilst we were on deck Percy took the opportunity to raid the biscuit tin.

We are now reaching along our track and have just passed 1000 miles by the log, with 256 to go. The high pressure that spells good weather for the guys back home in the SW brings bad sailing for us, with light and variable winds. Heartbreaking to think that with just two days to go, we will likely be becalmed after such good progress north. When you are having your tea parties in the sun, spare a thought for us, bobbing around in the channel, crying.

So long for now...