Day 4 - 114nm

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Tue 23 Dec 2014 13:04
22:16.9N 23:44.38W

At present we are making slow progress 3.5 knots and 'Bobbin' as opposed to 'Rockin and a Rollin' but as David said the sun is rising later each day so we must be making progress west. The question is when do we change the clocks?

Yesterday was an active day as we had to get the big Cruising Shute - area of the lounge in The Boathouse 1200 sq ft. - affectionately know as 'The Snake ' in the Fawcett household because of the strong black rubber furling mechanism within it . This was a challenge and needed the 3 of us. David got it out of the forward locker beneath our berth we then had to wind it through the boat, up the companionway round the cockpit (full of peppercorns instead of Rice Crispies as we have lost the top off the mill ! ) and down the side deck to the bow. Once this was achieved we then had to get the sheets off which wasn't' too tricky a job just a lot of unwinding and then the rubber snake from within this large amount of sail This involved rotating a lot of material round and round it but trying to contain it - which once we had got enough Dan managed to stuff into its bag and we were then just able to keep stuffing and take the bag up and over repeatedly which did become quite a task. However after half an hours exercise we did finally succeed with just the snake in the cockpit - see picture and the Cruising Shute in the bag which is now safely stowed away again. The purpose of this exercise you might ask?

They had decided that the new light wind foresail should then go onto the snake and after a phone call to Gavin at Penrose to check this would work we had lunch - rice salad using up the excessive amounts of rice I had eventually managed to cook the previous night - so much we having it for lunch again today!

The next challenge was to unwind the black snake which is so unwieldy and strong we couldn't do it by hand - see photo. This had to be put up to allow it to unwind, so a lot of halyard changing work for Dan and taking down of other sails including the pole and then reattaching the pole to the new crushing Shute. This kept everyone occupied all afternoon ( they didn't get their rest) and finally the new sail was attached and finally set out poled on one side with the Genoa the other. Over this period the wind had died quite considerably, the seas are calmer (thankfully) and off we set. This all got changed around again later! It has been up all night and we have made some progress but now a I write at 8.45 am it's flapping around we only doing 3 knots and more decisions have to be taken re. which course we take and which sails?

So apart from all this activity what other scintillating bits of news?

We had showers in the cockpit - pleasantly warm, Dan did some washing and at 5.45pm. we crossed the Tropic of Cancer 23deg.N so although we are a dry boat whilst sailing David had a nip of whisky and Dan and I weak G and T to celebrate. This was followed by baked potatoes, Heinz beans and sausages. Yummy though wasn't particularly tropical it went down well. We are nearing the end of fresh meat one more sausage and burger meal to be had and vacuum packed cooked chicken for Christmas Day.

Having altered our course to more westerly and what seems the middle of nowhere we were amazed to see two big cargoe ships pass quite close by (2 miles away!) and David saw another in the middle of the night.

So another day passed, another day to decide which way to head west to get the best winds or what there is ( apparently the Christmas Rally and we met several of these boats in Lanzarote who are 5 days ahead of us and are around 20 deg and further west have also hit no wind and one boat has reported its too hot to sit in the sun! We missing Alex and the children but it's useful to have our ground staff reporting.

At present I am writing the blog daily and reporting our position but if we don't one day please don't panic - it's just that I've either got lazy , IT systems gone down or satellite phone not working for some reason which will be really annoying. If we had a serious problem then the EPIRB would have notified Falmouth Coastguard.

The boat and all crew doing well we just want to get there and be reunited with Alex and co and continue the family adventure but can see we might have to be quite patient over the next few days and celebrate Christmas in good fashion.

Sent from my iPad
Jocelyn Fawcett