Wednesday 27th November 2019 19:30 23°28'.9 N 20°34'.2

Thu 28 Nov 2019 10:22
Hi folks - sorry it has been a few days since I updated you. In order to update my blog I have to do it on Chris' laptop. He is kind enough to let me, but I just have to find the right time, when the boats not moving around too much, I'm not on watch and I have the inspiration!

Aside from that I seemed to spend the first 36 hours either sleeping or on watch and yesterday I just chilled in what was our first sunny day. Shorts and T-shirts. Everyone seems in good spirits and we're all a bit more chatty now we've settled into a routine, The music was on and I was feeling a little melancholic - As the newby I was allowed to play my music and I chose a playlist which Meg had put together for the last time I went sailing with the girls - I hope we get to go sailing together again soon!

The winds have gradually been reducing and the weather forecasts which we receive every morning have suggested that tonight and tomorrow will see us with very light winds. The engine has gone on and the decision has been made to motor through the hole in the weather for the next day and a half, hopefully by Friday the winds will pick up and blow us all the way to St Lucia.

The fleet has thinned out now, during Monday we could see about 20 on AIS, this reduced to about 4 on Tuesday and today we could only see 2 yachts, the last of which dropped over the horizon as the sun went down this evening and we enjoyed a Thai Chicken Curry - we're not even anywhere near Thailand!

On Tuesday, During the routine morning rig check, Chris found a screw lying on the deck. A little disconcerting, despite some investigation we could not find the screw shaped hole from whence it came and started mentally preparing for one of us to be winched up the mast - fortunately it was fairly calm, however Jeremy later found that it had come from the Vang to boom fitting.

Another reason I have not updated you is that unfortunately, we have been unable to fix a problem with our Watt & Sea hydrogenator. Aside from food, which seems to be a recurring topic of conversation, the more fundamental scarce commodities are water, power, fuel and gas. The hydrogenerator sits off the back of the boat and constantly generates from the movement of the boat through the water. This is a very efficient source of electricity. On board Next Step we have an array of solar panels on the roof of the bimini, which will remain up, a wind generator. Yesterday was a sunny day, today was more overcast and with little wind, normally (along with the other sources) the Watt and Sea will produce enough power to keep the batteries topped up sufficiently to provide enough power for the fridges, the autohelm, the lights, laptop, VHF and stereo. Without the hydro, we have to treat electricity more as a scarce resource. However, now that we are running the engine, the problem goes away for a while.

Along with a daily weather forecast, we get a periodical update from the ARC. A number of yachts appear to have seen whales and dolphins - I'm raging, all we have seen is one bloody seabird - oh and a bolt! Still, I shouldn't complain, around 6 boats had to turn back on day 1 for various reasons: Sick Crew, Rigging Issues, Sail Issues. It has also been reported that one boat has no power at all, no engine and limited lights but is continuing to St Lucia - I'm sorry to report that the boat in question is Fireball, The First 40 with my Dan and Richard on!

D on the C

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