Tuesday 30th November
Noon Position: 18 deg 32' N 24 deg
Daily Run: 123'
Av Speed: 5.13 Knots
Total Av Speed: 4.43 Knots
Total dist covered: 962'
Total Dist to go: 2103'
ETA St. Lucia: 2100/17th Dec (based on average of 5
This is modern sailor for you. I'm sitting in the
cockpit on watch and typing the blog - while 'Catou' is pounding along at 6
1/2 - 7 knots as we head south in the dark. At the same time
that I sent yesterday's blog, we received a 'special' latest situation
weather report from ARC weather man Chris Tibbs. I'm not surprised that he
had done a 'special', since most of his predictions
in his weather briefing the day before we sailed seemed to be
happening in a different ocean I think! - and certainly no Trade
winds! Anyway all sorts of stuff about where the jetstream was, but he has
come up with a new report that has certainly vindicated our decision on
Monday morning to head south (based on the latest US GRIB forecast that we
downloaded) as fast as we can (1) to catch the NE Trades by Wed morning and
(2) to get clear of more 'dirty' weather further north that is moving into the
central Atlantic. So here we are racing south as quickly as we can with
seas that are much reduced after last night I am pleased to say. And Catou
is well within her capabilities now and feeling like she is striding out.
Last night we had the fastest sail of the trip so far (though I would have
preferred to be heading west instead of south)!
There was an awful smell from the fridge over last
couple of days, so while hove too early yesterday morning we took the
opportunity to clean it out, It was a bit grim at the bottom, but all the
vacuum packed meat looked good - so last night as Ben and I were
having a natter in the cockpit over a gin & tonic, Sylvie secretly
cooked three delicious steaks - a lovely supper and well worth the
compromise to shorten sail (and thus heeling) while it was cooked! Just a
little earlier in the day we had been dreaming of a steak at the Charthouse
restaurant in Rodney Bay on arrival.
I've already said that it has been very hot and
humid down below. We are being very diligent with water conservation,
especially in view of the lengthening trip. We have only had two showers
each in 8 days! (but we are clean - honest!). This afternoon Ben called
down below to tell Sylvie & I that we were about to meet our first
proper rain squall - we all got bathing gear on and stood in the cockpit,
jockeying for the best position with arms outstretched - soap in one hand,
shampoo in the other, waiting for the deluge. We did get wet, but we were
all left with shampoo in our hair and soap on our bodies by the time it was
over, so we reverted to our shower bag and finished the job off while kneeling
on the cockpit deck! Must have been a really funny sight to see the
three of us standing semi-naked in the cockpit - glad you can't see us as well
as track us!
The Hydrovane (self steering) is working very well
now and we are looking for a name for it. One of the other boats has
called theirs " Sir Humphery" which we thought was excellent. Any ideas?
As Jenny, on Maymio says, we seem to have mastered the black art
of operating it!
When I came on watch at 0600, Sylvie told me that she
thought a flying fish might have hit the sail in the night. (have to confess I
was sceptical!). Later I shook out the reefs in the main, and after daylight -
there was the flying fish on deck! She was right! Then Ben spotted two
whales close by - about 100 metres away. Lovely to watch them moving slowly and
blowing water from their blow holes.
By this morning it is difficult to imagine that only 24
hours ago we were hove to riding out that gale further north. We are now only
about 60 miles north of the most NW'ly island in the Cape Verde
group. (suggested that if they have a good cell phone antenna, we
might be able to get a signal on our blackberries before setting off westwards!)
We may sight it before we turn west this evening, just depends on the visibility
later on today (it is nearly 6000 ft high!). The winds are now very light
and we are only doing about 3 knots. This is expected as the wind starts to
shift around to the north later today.
Paul, Sylvie and Ben