LA GOMERA ONWARDS 17 November 2006
Thursday 16 November 2006
The internet had been falling on and off all morning and at noon I still had a few things to do, but had decided to leave after lunch. I covered the 4 new pillows in vinyl to give them protection in the cockpit. I cut them out and sewed them inside an hour, pretty they are not, practical they are. I went back to the internet to finish off for the last time until who knows when. I was going to join Wolfgang and his family for a drink but I did not have time as I helped Paul with getting some weather information. Roly’s very nice Chec girlfriend works in the internet café and she wished me luck. I said I would e-mail the Canary Sail website when I got somewhere. I was due to visit the American boat at 6pm and spend the evening on the French Canadian boat, but I had warned everybody that I may be leaving. There are always more people to see and another day to leave, but I was getting stressed.
Every time I had to get over the obvious comment of ‘alone’ that did not worry me any more, but the ‘oh, that is a very little boat’ was getting to me; and when Paul’s crew helped me get the 80 litres of diesel in cans onto the boat and said ‘is that all the extra diesel you are taking’ I just felt that little bit more stressed.
Do I go to the Cape Verdes or skip them. Every time I decided to go somebody tried to put me off. Every time I decided to skip them somebody said it seems a pity to miss them.
The helpful information and opinions are all very well, but I had to make my own decisions and go, now.
I was at the office door at 4pm and they were a few minutes late opening. By 4.15 I was paid and back at the boat. I took off the shore power and told Alain I was leaving and to say goodbye to the others for me. He helped me take the ropes off and that was it. I was in a hurry because all three ferries come and go every three hours, 4.30 was one of those times. The two big ones were in and as I was leaving the express was just coming in. The Canary Sail boat was heading back to the marina and I waved goodbye.
The wind was coming down off the mountains at 25 knots, I was doing 7.1 knots. That did not last, it was just while I had to go on deck to do ropes and fenders. After and hour I was able to turn the engine off and just had the genoa out to the spreaders and Horatio (Hydrovane) and DG (water generator) going. The wind was down to 20 knots and I was doing 5.5 knots. The forecast was for 18-25 knots through to Friday night. By 1800 I was down to 6 knots of wind and it continued to be rubbish until midnight. The wind kept changing direction and every time I left it I came back to find myself heading in the wrong direction and there was not enough wind to turn it round. I turned the engine on a few times and tried using Nemo (autopilot), but there was a big uncomfortable swell and it was not coping when I asked it to sail. I do have to change the settings a lot for the Canary current, but I was not in the correct frame of mind. Even my instruments had spells when they just stopped for about 30 seconds, perhaps they were as confused as I was. It was very frustrating.
I had considered all the things that had to be done at the beginning of such a long trip, but had not allowed for starting at 4pm. This gave me a very short time until it was dark.
I attach a harness to the guard wires behind the seat so that it would always be there if I needed it. I had also bought 10 metres of 4mm galvanised multistrand wire. This was a late brainwave, I could have used rope, but that would not have been as good. I attached on end to the D ring for the jackstays and took it to the companionway and back to the binnacle and then the companionway and to the other D ring. This gives me a W of safety wires I can clip onto when reaching for the furling clamp or winching or just getting to the back of the boat. I did have enough left over, that I could have strung across the companionway, but I thought that as a way of garotting myself that was probably a good one. I did not want to scratch the boat with the wire, so I had some old reinforced plastic pipe with a 4mm hole in the centre. All I had to do was thread the wire through the pipe, I think that is where I lost most of my daylight. I threaded 8 metres of pipe and after all that I decided I needed 4 metres at each end so cut it in half. At least it was all threaded, no, because now I needed another small piece of pipe in the middle to wrap round the hold on the binnacle. By this time both ends of the wire were a bit unwound and I did not have anything to trim off the ends with handy. I persevered and some time later, in the dark, I was finished and I am very pleased with the result. It just wasn t something I could do before I was ready to go because it would have been in the way.
Friday 17 November 2006
At 3am the wind piched up to 12 knots and I got the sails balanced and Horatio was able to take over and I got up to 4 knots at times. At 5am the radar had stopped, ok this would be a power thing. The radar had been going and I had not been producing electricity for the batteries at 2 knots. Also the fridge, navigation lights, and autopilot had taken their toll. I put the engine on for 15 mintutes and abandoned the radar.
9am wind had dropped to 6 knots, but Horatio was still coping well and the swell was now much longer and more comfortable. I realised that I had not eaten yesterday and was very tired. The wind gradually went from 9 to12 knots from midday to midnight, but the genoa was out fully and Horatio was in sole charge. I did bits and rested. I cooked tuna and rice and am getting into my long distance stride. It is a year since I have gone for more than a few days at sea and I have to change my habits to cope.