Transatlantic Sunday7th June
Sun 7 Jun 2020 12:33
I woke up at 2 am and Sam was nonchalantly pressing buttons as the windex says 23knots, full sail and bombing along towards Cape Town at 9knots. I pulled in a few rolls of foresail. When can we let it out again asks Sam? Jeez. Seas are up to 3m but it's still fine and very sunny this morning. Simon says it's all going to calm down and we have to turn north to find some wind to take us to Lanza.
Not many people are messaging us? We get a daily message of what Simon Says about the weather, but we LOVE messsages from others. Maybe you think we are too busy pulling ropes, and then pulling other ropes? No, we pull ropes to adjust sail for around an hour a day. We fiddle with the Autopilot but no more than another hour a day. If it's not too wild the crew do exercise stuff sometimes and that's another 30 minutes or so. Anna pulls in the latest seaweed Catch of the Day which occupies another 15 minutes. Sam videos things, and staging that might be another 20 minutes. Staring at the sea is the Main Thing. So if there's a message on a sat phone Ooh very big deal indeed. Sam says maybe it's less attractive to send messages than on FB or similar where others can see your message. Perhaps Mojo oughta get wired up so we can use FB in the middle of the ocean but it's several thousand quid a month, hum.
Oh yes, and there's Food of course, how could I forget? Ampi made chicken fajitas for Saturday lunch yesterday, which I think is our favourite.
We had Music Racket on the sunny Saturday afternoon again, but always quiet inside if anyone wants to doze. Actually more Chill time in the afternoons, less of a House Frenzy.
Imagine if someone said Hey how about crossing the Atlantic on a sailing boat but you have decide NOW because the connection is going TOMORROW! That would be a bit sudden OMG wouldn't it? But Anna said Yes to exactly this idea, and Ampi and Sam had only a few days longer to think about it, too.
I think this is tremendously adventurous of them all, really. Sailing isn't a speciality interest/sport for any of them, and I thought about doing a transatlantic sailing trip for about forty years before actually doing my first.
Sam has been on a few catamaran holidays with friends. But for both Ampoi and Anna, this was quite a leap in the dark. I think they must have kinda trusted that if Sam was up for it, they could do it too?
The difference for this trip and for this crew is that this isn't a "just for fun" trip - this was one of very few ways to get to Europe at the moment. Usually, crew do the Transat trip for the "experience", a "bucket lister", and they might easily fly over the Atlantic simply to sail back, or of course fly back to Europe from an East to West trip, whatever. By contrast, this crew actually need to be at the destination - it's transport, pure and simple. Same for me too, really.
Another difference with this crew is that, although I've sailed with better individual sailors (including several much more skilled and knowledgeable than I am) this crew help each other out even more than I've seen before. They cover each other's (rare) late starts on watch when tardiness is often a source of friction or at least tut-tut Bad Form. They get drinks for each other, join in when one suggests an exercise thing on the foredeck, and enjoy each other's music.
Over dinner one night they asked me how they might become Better Crew which kinda already indicates that they're probably the Right Stuff Anyway - I couldn't think of anything, really. I thought later (not very seriously) that they could let me win at cards, and the very next evening they even did that too.
The original reason for the trip that Mojo simply needs to be out of the hurricane-risky Caribbean over August-October which isn't easy to do at the moment, unless you're actually staying on board and can move at short notice. A friend did exactly this in St Martin in 2017 - he flashed up his motor on the first Thursday in September and headed a few hundred miles south in advance of Irma arriving the Monday - there is no wind as a hurricane approaches - the Calm Before The Storm. I was in a house in Sint Maarten at the time and although we survived in one piece, unfortunately the house didn't, so I bought this boat a month later, in Greece.
Sam has realised that he's clocking up a fair few Flying Hours in his forward cabin in the starboard hull. He asked if perhaps the forward cabins are perhaps a bit more bouncy than the rear ones, in a catamaran? Yes, definitely. The girls in First Class share the bigger rear cabin, Sam has the forward cabin which he said would be "absolutely fine" I think is what he said when he arrived. Hm.
On all boats, it's best to be at the back, catamarans perhaps more than most. It's the opposite of an aeroplane where the best (and hence most expensive) seats are up front, ahead of the engine noise.
A catamaran is balanced well behind the midpoint, close to if not actually at the helm. So when the rear cabins of Mojo rock up and down a couple of metres over waves, the front end of a boat see-saws through twice this distance or more.
Catamaran designers extend the main cabin superstructure only as far as the mast, and I deliberately load the boat at the back too, to ensure that the bows at the front end have maximum buoyancy and can always rise easily over the next wave. Sam in the forward cabin is pinned to his bed, then to the ceiling, then his bed, and the worst thing is that Mojo doesn't give out Air Miles.
Anna didn't have time for too much boaty advice from others before the trip, but says that a friend told her to "sleep at the back of the boat and be ill outside, not inside". Which is exactly what she's doing now.