Atlantic crossing day 8
40:44.9N 57:27.0W @1200 GMT 1212miles to go, just passed half way mark.
Today is a beautiful day with warm sunshine glinting off the calm water. Of course the down side of that is the lack of wind and we may be doomed to motor for at least a couple of days now. Yesterday however, we had a wonderful goose-winged sail making 8-9 kts in almost perfect conditions with current finally in our favour, benign westerly winds and a flat sea. We celebrated in the cockpit with a glass of wine (yes, our first of the voyage!) and thought it doesn’t get much better than this. The night was just as well behaved until the wind died around breakfast time. I (D) came up on deck to adjust the sails as the first light appeared ahead of us and, listening to the Harlequin Singers, watched twin trails of phosphorescence streaming out from behind us. Today we seem to have picked up a feathered friend; a Great Sheerwater has been swooping down to land on the water next to us, sit for a few minutes and fly off again to catch us up.
We moved our clocks forward one hour for the second time this morning and that always feels like progress too.
On a different note, Lindsay was right – I spoke too soon about the breakages. Our Duogen is hors combat (broken wire right where it joins the generator, now taped up and sort of working temporarily), the furling mechanism for the fore-sail jammed (wasn’t too hard to fix) and we’ve had another engine coolant leak. This hasn’t been reliable since changing the pump – sometimes it leaks, then it goes for days before leaking again. All joints & bolts are now tightened up to the max – we’ll have to wait and see what happens next. First mate would add that it is very comforting to know that her skipper can tackle most of the things that go wrong on passage, even if it means her watching anxiously while he works at the bows in a roll or (tied on) stands on the swim platform to do the duogen wiring.
Our tame forecaster has warned us of the motoring to come in the present high pressure ridge and that is very frustrating. Using fuel and engine hours on an Atlantic crossing seems crazy and expensive too!
We’ve seen a lot of ships on this passage as we are bang on the route between Europe and the northern USA ports. Most pass us at a safe distance without us having to dodge, but we’ve had 2 interesting moments so far. The first was the night after the gale when there was a large fishing boat dead ahead of us. We were sailing downwind and not wanting to change sails in the dark, we had somewhat limited ability to manoeuvre. Every time I went one way, so did he. Eventually I called him – no answer, loads of times. I was forced to make a big change and got out of his aimless drifting ways, but what a pain. A few hours later I heard a big container ship calling him, but he answered that time… We had another dodge at night with a big container ship heading right for us. I eventually called him when it seemed we were going to pass within yards and he said, yes, he had seen me on AIS and was planning on turning. Maybe so, but I think I woke him up! We both turned right and passed within ½ mile.
So it’s now back to the books and trying to catch up on sleep…