Monday 19th

Mon 19 Apr 2021 17:15
22:33N 58:37W COG55 SOG6-7kts.
Mojo has been trundling/motoring with mainsail up, hunting for wind. But it's a nice calm sea, and very empty. VMG to lanzarote is now almost 6 knots, so should be a 3 week trip, not much longer and surely quicker than last year when the weather window was open but then shut for two weeks.
For newbies, SOG is Speed Over Ground in knots (=nautical miles per hour), VMG is Velocity Made Good (how fast the boat is going actually towards the target destination) and COG is Course Over Ground, in degrees, 0 degrees= North= 360degrees.
I'm heading east (=90 degrees) or actually a bit north of east - if I went directly to Lanzarote now, I'd be on a course of 81 degrees, but the wind is better further north. Hah! Or so they say. If you haven't got much fuel then you HAVE to go north to find the wind, but at the moment that might be quite LONG way north. With the motors on I quite like to be heading towards where I want to go, or at least towards a fuel station. There's one at Punta Delgado in the Azores 1970nm away on 62degrees, and although I'm not planning a stop.
Since the last trip this way (in May 2020) Mojo now has an extra 500litre fuel tank in addition to the standard 600litres, plus 55 x 20litre jerrycans, total 2200litres of fuel. Yes it IS rather a lot, but I don't much fancy being the boat I saw on AIS a couple of days ago tootling north-ish at 3knots. I like the sailing but I don't need a transatlantic trip to last months.
Each of the two Mojo engines uses 4 litres per hour at 2,000 rpm, so I should be able to motor at 5-6 knots (on one engine) for over three weeks and cover at least 2700 miles - the whole way. Having loads of diesel like this is Oh Tsk, Not Very Proper Boatie, Matthew, dearie me! But what if Something Happens? A medical or other emergency means I can Do Something About It ... if I can roar along at 10knots with both motors, anytime. Yes, sailing with wind alone is lovely, very romantic, but for me, there's a limit to how long I need to play Oh But You Mustn't Use The Engine! Under 5 knots with sails on a long trip, the motor definitely gets switched ON. Ok, sometimes under 6knots, depends. East to West Passage should be under 18 days on Mojo, easily, and 22days or less for the back nine. And we may as well use the fuel since we've got it, eh? Actually, the time I'll REALLY need the big range is in the Pacific. Pacific means "peaceful" cos there's lots of no wind whatsoever.
Ooh, the radar has just signalled some rain 8miles ahead. I very don't think so - I'll turn right a bit and let it go past. I love being able to move the house to get nicer weather.
Actually there are at least five better reasons for coming this less-popular direct fuel-burning route rather than the traditional North Then East route via the Azores. Firstly, there's less traffic so better for lunatics like me sailing solo - I don't want to be razzing up behind hard-to-spot sailing-only boats in the dark, as is more likely via the northern route. Secondly, a solo trip has gotta be easier in lighter winds and smoother sea. Thirdly I don't need the extra hassle of landing and re-starting in the Azores - although the Azores are very lovely. Fourthly of course it's faster, and there are people to see and things to do in Europe.
Finally and perhaps most important is - it's warmer weather this way. Brits at home sadly live nearer the North Pole than the Equator - the halfway point is between Paris and Lyon - south of that is generally warmer rather than generally colder. I think the UK government could do something about this, or maybe Private Enterprise? My idea would be to get a chunk of the UK somewhere warmer in winter: build a giant floating island and migrate the whole thing south, and back in spring. How about that? Monaco has a giant floating concrete pier with parking and everything, so it's entirely possible. Floating concrete blocks, slot together, very simple, and cover it with nice rocks and landscaping, trees and so on, airport, hotels, everything, and lots of room to expand. If it was less than five miles wide it could get into the Med, but that's not vital - easiest would be to just pootle south to the Canaries, then back up via the Azores in spring. Better than going to stupid Mars for the money I think? Lots of jobs, construction, tourism, everything! I'll leave this with you, Elon and Boris, and perhaps try be a bit more imaginative in future willya? Mars and Lockdowns, jeez! Not your best year for Good Ideas, hm?
My main task today (and every day for the next seven days) is to eat an avocado. I normally love avocados, although I may be overdoing it here. These are the rather massive shiny ones, very creamy, and I bought ten. Hm. I also bought a load of oranges, so eating a whole giant avocado and a whole large orange is enough food for a day, really. I might have some toast though, later. I also bought a load of tins Just In Case.
Anyway, yes, I suppose I would normally do some fishing, although the last fish we hooked (Anna the medical student crew caught it, actually, on this same trip almost a year ago) it went bouncing mad and escaped. My fault really - I should have covered it with an old towel to calm it down first. Sorry again, Anna. Anyway I've got all this fresh food, see, so I don't really need to kill an innocent fish as well. That's my excuse anyway.
Hurrah, the wind moved round so I'm up to 55degrees at 6knots and heading towards Lanzarote at over 5knots. Still motorsailing though. Ok, have it your way (Scott on another boat Expedition says this to push a point haha) engine off - see? 3 knots, pah! And the skipper says the engine's gotta be On, so That's That. It's always best to blame yourself in the 3rd Person. That's what all the voices are telling me anyway.

PS I'm copying this to a few people but only to show that I'm doing a foolish blog again probably daily till i get to Lanza in 3 weeks ish - don't worry I won't copy every single one to you...