Graham Shaw
Sat 17 Jan 2009 19:58
18:25.00N 44:12.00W

Some eagle-eyed readers have mentioned that we seem to be going too far north for Barbados. Unfortunately the sea state is currently such that we cannot sail directly downwind, so we are doing the best we can, which is about 120 degrees off the apparent wind direction. Two reefs in the main and three rolls in the genoa is still as good as it gets for sail area for now, although we are hopeful that the wind will continue to reduce a little. Thirty to forty knots gets a bit irksome after a while (that and the five metre seas). Despite all of this, somehow Lucas still manages to sleep for twelve hours at night, Lorraine still manages to make cakes, Pauline still manages to take sun sights, and Gareth still manages to remind us all how happy we are to be here.

Anyway, back to the too far north thing - we are now just over halfway from Cape Verde to Barbados, and hope to be able to gybe sometime tomorrow, and be able to lay our waypoint off Barbados on the other gybe. Just waiting for it to come round onto a bearing of about 245, and we'll be off! Watch this space.

I hope everyone is following Gareth's celestial navigation lessons with interest! He is very passionate about the subject. Pauline is keen, but says she struggles a bit with the maths. I am doing my best to help, but, whilst my french is passable, explaining spherical trigonometry, sidereal hour angles and the concept of the PZX triangle stretches my translation skills a little too far. The weather is not particularly conducive to sextant work anyway. Fortunately the electronics are keeping us on track. It is somewhat ironic that gone are the days of using the gps clock to check the deckwatch error - now we have !!!! The radar and chartplotter are proving invaluable - the radar is great at tracking squalls in the pitch dark, although our skills at then avoiding leave a bit to be desired!

For the technically minded, we also have an AIS overlay, though this is currentlt not much use, as we haven't seen a ship for about a week. I'm not sure that any of the ones we saw in the Cape Verdes would have AIS transmitters anyway - quite amazing to see ships still trading, the like of which we have probably not seen in Europe for decades. The quays were at times swarming with dockers, all hauling crates and sacks by hand out of the ships, and shuffling them around with sack trucks and wheelbarrows. Defintiely a bygone era.

Anyway, that's probably enough waffling from me for one day. Just to conclude, there is attached a picture of one element of daily life on board - Gareth with a bowline tied round his waist, taking a saltwater bath off the transom using a bucket. For some inexplicable reason, Pauline, Lorraine, Lucas and myself all seem to prefer the showers down below, with hot pressurised fresh water coming out of a normal showerhead. Chacun a son truc, as Pauline would probably say...


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