Day 3: Sailing south till the butter melts

Graham Shaw
Fri 2 Jan 2009 23:39
24:46.00N 19:11.00W

Hello all,

The time honoured tradition when sailing this sort of route from Europe to the Caribbean is to sail south-west from the Canaries until reaching the approximate latitude of the island you intend to visit, then turn right and sail due west until making a landfall. As we are a traditional bunch on Catacaos we intend to do the same.

As the wind has been fairly consistently from the NE we have had to gybe down our route rather than sail directly SW. We gybed this morning and have been sailing pretty much due south since then. With a single reef in the main we have been making an average of about 7.5kts today with peaks well into double figures. Something Graham and I had forgotten since our delivery of a catamaran from Tortola to Tahiti in 1995 was just how noisy they are particularly when down below. Every wave resonates through the boat, they slam into the underside of the saloon cabin and everything on the table jumps a few inches. The boat continually creaks and groans in protest and you can feel the hull flexing under your feet. They are fast though. Graham fished out the chart 'North Atlantic Ocean - Southern Part' today and it shows the track we took in 1994 in a 50ft monohull called 'Rule One'. We are currently neck & neck in this virtual race against our last crossing together.

We are slowly getting used to the watch system we have introduced which shares responsibility of the boat and Lucas between the four adults on board. We do two hours on and six hours off during the night and a slight variant during the day to give Graham and Lorraine a little more time with Lucas.

I've just come off watch at 2000 hrs ships time, starboard engine is recharging the batteries, the water maker is replenishing the water we used for our first showers today, the SeaMe (a device that makes us look like a container ship on any other ships radar) is indicating there is a ship around but it's too far for us to see it (I love that gadget and also the radar has become my new best friend!). Once this blog has been sent I'll get my head down before being back on watch at 0200 hrs. Such is life at sea.

Thanks for all the emails we have been receiving, and we apologise for not answering the phone but the noise of the boat tends to drown out the chirping of the phone (its volume has now been turned up to 11!).

Regards from all aboard Catacaos.