Distance: ~126 NM “33:16N
When you are at sea the weather is the boss. It determines whether you
are happy, seasick, bored or elevated. This time “the boss” decided
that we had to reach Las Palmas before the next
cold front comes through with a storm (7/8 November) thus we reluctantly but
unanimously decided to give a miss to visiting Casablanca
and Essaouira in Morocco.
After a less than satisfying rolly night with not much sleep we got up
somewhat tired. The morning was very busy as we set up the sails for downwind
sailing. Poled out the jib. Installed downhaul, uphaul, preventer etc.
Steve and Mark repaired the leaking hose, and with a joint effort we
installed the solar panels on top of the bimini (a sun shade above the cockpit)
to top up our batteries and I reported our position to the
“Commander” (the weather guys in the US who are doing the routing for
Beautiful sailing under the main and the poled out jib. Steve and Mark
are chetting, Kynan is fishing and I’m writing the blog. Nice! No fish
for dinner, though.
With all the sail changes we got really hungry at around 16.00. Kynan
volunteered to cook spaghetti Bolognaise, which we consumed with great
enjoyment as soon as he lifted the pot from the gas burner. We celebrated our
great progress with a bottle of Aussi red wine from Eastern
South Australia according to the label. Has anyone heard about a
wine growing region called Eastern South Australia?
But the wine was pretty good.
The night sailing was good, with a steady wind gusting to 18kts and we
were “on the run” with the genoa (big jib or front sail) flying on
port side and the main on starboard, both almost perpendicular to the boat
center line. This “Goose wing” arrangement of sails maximizes the
accelerating power of both sails. And we were flying at 7-7.5 kts. When I came
up for my watch the sea was quite rough and from time to time the white water
came through the gunwale. We looked like a ghost ship with the huge sails
flying on two sides and leaving a white wake behind us. The boat rolled quite a
bit from side to side. The night sky changed. It was cloudy and lots of white
horses were riding on top of the waves. I new I should furl the genoa but at
the same time I was worried about letting the sheet out. Steve heard the bad
noises the sails made and came up to help me with the furling.
During his watch between 1-3 am Kynan noticed a strobe light in the
distance He correctly raised Steve and they steered the boat towards the source
of the flashing light.
Strobe lights are fitted to life vests or life rings to mark the
location of someone fallen into in the water. A flashing light is incredible
visible during the night and if the conditions are not too bad they are
essential for locating the unfortunate sailor.
Story: .Years ago well before the time of rules
about strobe lights, GPS navigation or EPIRB became standard, I read a story. I
woman and her husband were sailing on a small 30 foot sailing boat. The guy was
on night-watch while the lady was fast asleep in her bunk. He went to the side
of theboat to take a leak over the rails and as happen so often he fell over
board. He was not tied to the boat but I assume he was wearing a life vest. He
must have been startled, terrified with fear as the boat slowly but steadily
disappeared on the horizon. His screams did not wake his wife.
When and hour or so the lady woke to take her turn at the night-watch
she was astonished to find her husband missing. He must have been a valuable
item as she straight away set out to find him in the dark, moonless night. She
turned the boat around and using their plots on the map she sailed the boat
back and found her husband floating helplessly. She plucked him out of the
water and they were so overjoyed with this incredible reunion that they
made love to celebrate his survival. Just, like in a Hollywood
Now, this is what I call good seamanship!
So, Kynana and Steve set out for the rescue of a fellow sailor who
might have fallen over with his pants down. Within minutes they arrived to the
strobe light and found a buoy marked with the light. Very much against the
rules of the sea. Strobes are specifically designed for man over board