Dead Calm - Winds Are Changing

Bob Beggs/Ian Rivers
Fri 5 Nov 2010 07:32
36’43.09N, 055’02.16W
The winds died completely yesterday, heralding the high pressure that we’ve been expecting over the last couple of days. With no winds, we spent the last 24 hours motor sailing to make progress towards the Azores. We reckon we’ve got enough fuel on board for 4 days motoring, which we’ve probably used 2 days up already over the last 9 days. With no winds today we took the opportunity to stop the boat and carry out some essential maintenance which need doing.
The main focus of today was to take off the Hydro Vane wind steering, which was badly damaged in the initial storm we encountered. It’s heavy construction has seen it slowly destroy itself, to a point we thought it had become a hazard to the boat.
Bob volunteered himself to go over the side (never volunteer!), as we need to un bolt the frame from the rear of the boat. It took around 3 hour of banging, cursing and hauling before we broke the Hydro Vane clear. Another 2 hours before Bob had it in bits and it was stowed  below, and holes filled left by the Hydro Vane. I wanted to throw it over the side, but Bob seems to think he can breath life back into it (at best, I see it as an ebay item number!).
The winds have stated to blow again, but this time from the NE, bringing a complete shift in the pattern of sailing. Up to now we’ve been down wind sailing, with the wind aft of the beam, the sails have been catching the wind and pushing us along. Sail trim hasn’t been that important, but now the wind is forward of the beam and Serica has to slice through the wind to get pulled along. Instead of surfing down waves, we’re now crash into them as Serica leans over at 45’. The NE winds looks set for at least another 3 days, hopefully by then the then the trade winds will resume and back to down wind sailing.