Tuesday 7th December (Day 16)
14 deg 50'N 37 deg 52'W
155' (25 hour day)
Speed: 4.71 Knots
Total No. hours motoring: 57.7 hours
ETA St. Lucia: @ 6 Knots Thursday 16th @
@5 1/2 " Friday 17th@ 1400
@5 " Saturday 18th@ 1400
Clocks retarded 1 hour yesterday to GMT -2.
Actually, Ben had a great suggestion for yesterday's
blog - ( but it was after I'd sent it unfortunately ). "A fish looking for
love" could have been a great title of Blog 36!
Well, if only we had had these winds 10 days ago, we
might almost be seeing the green mountains of St. Lucia rising above the western
horizon. We have had a fast 24 hours and at last seem to be eating up the
miles (see above). No dramas or real excitement in the last 24 hours to
report, except to say that it has been somewhat more exhilarating than being
stuck in a calm!
The fruit is now running low. Sylvie has done an
amazing job with the ship's victuals! The 'last fruit' honour
goes to a mango and a few oranges. We have only lost a small amount of
vegetables - and that was because a bit of sea water got into the bilge and
collected in a particular veg basket. The veg is holding out very
well. Chicken and Pork are now finished, but there is plenty of beef in
various forms in the bottom of the fridge. All vacuum packed by the Las Palmas
Water is not a problem. We are STILL on the
first tank (containing 210 litres) after 16 days! The 2nd tank has 245
litres and we have another 180 litres in soft containers about the boat.
About 4 litres per day each, and we couldn't have done with much less. (We
have had separate drinking water, so that would add an extra 1 litre per
day). At the skipper's briefing on the last day in Las Palmas, it was
strongly suggested that we drank at least 1 1/2 litres fluid a
day. So 1 litre water/day + juices/soft drinks and
the occasional beer, and that seems about right. If anything, we might
require slightly more due to the sticky and humid tropics and higher
sweat levels !
Yesterday (Monday) was a heavily overcast and grey
day. It was quite like a day sailing in the English Channel
actually! As a result it was much cooler than of late - and a
welcome relief, but we did get quite wet as urgent jobs on deck
necessitated one, two or all of us to get on deck quickly for sail adjustment or
work on the foredeck We rigged up one of the water catchers, but the rain
wasn't hard enough (we need a good tropical downpour to get them filled and
running into the water tank. However, the rain really did wash 'Catou'
down and get rid of the salt that was encrusted on everything.
Normally we have been goose-winged with
genoa poled out on one side and mainsail the other. Catou is sailing
so well like this, that we don't want to change the set up and hoist the
cruising chute. The hydrovane is, as if by magic, steering the course
amazingly well. We (or should I say 'I') have had a love/hate relationship
with this expensive piece of scaffolding hanging off our
stern since our first trials in Plymouth bay back in May.
My old sailing friend, Brian Sharp CPE (Catou's Preferred Engineer) and I
fitted it during one week-end when Catou was laid up last winter.
Several people had said to me 'Don't worry ...... keep persevering........ it
will come eventually......... you'll be amazed by it's ability' etc ...
etc..... And sure enough it does suddenly happen! It is most
odd - it's like Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus! Suddenly you
get confidence in it, and it's easy to set up. There are several factor
that affect it and a few adjustments need to be made - but it is
quite amazing - it just works!
All for today. We are sailing much faster now - as
I'm sure you can see from the position map. I hope we have done some
catching up of the others, since we are pushing 'Catou' harder now, without
over-stretching her rig (we hope). Best wishes Paul, Sylvie and