23:38.700N 019:43.650W

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Mon 20 Nov 2006 12:03

Day 4

Sunday 19 November 12:01 to Monday 20 November 12:00

The trip so far has generally been mostly cloudy.  It is not too cold to wear a T shirt, but trousers and socks are also a must.  I resort to my fleece if I am going to be outside for long at night.  I could do with a good night s sleep, but that will have to wait. 

Sometimes I sit outside to keep Horatio company.  Occasionally I tweak the sails or maybe twiddle with his knobs, but generally he does very well.  It takes about an hour to do a change of sail plan and be on course.  I have to get the sails just where he wants them and his vane at the correct angles vertically and to the boat and the ratio knob in the right position.  Once settled to wind and waves I don t want to interfere too much in case it upsets his ego, he might think that I don’t think he can do it right. 

I cleaned out the bilges, well the engine one and the first 4 properly, that should be rid of most of the spilt diesel, I cannot reach the others easily, maybe another day.

The wind dropped to 5/6 knots so while it was calm I did take the Spanish courtesy flag down, it has done a lot of miles.  Atlantic Spain, Spanish enclave in N Africa, Mediterranean Spain, Balaerics and the Canaries.  It is now a red and yellow rag, but it has done well.

So, Sunday was going ok, but.it started at 18:00.  The wind dropped to 5/6 knots and I tried everything and settled for the genoa on 150 angle starboard tack.  20:00 I changed this to port tack.  There was an electric storm on the horizon and so I put the sat phone and the handheld GPS in the biscuit tin and they, with the computer battery, were put in the oven, which is near a tin box as I can get.  The storm shouldn t reach me, but a lot of things shouldn t happen and yet they do.

22:30 I put the engine on for an hour as the batteries were down.  I am not sure if the radar scanner was left on standby with the display switched off, and if it was, would that drain the battery.  I wouldn t expect the lights to take that much power, but we have not been going over 4 knots all day and the solar panel has not contributed much to the trip so far; not sunbathing weather.

Midnight changed to 90 starboard tck, main and genoa.

Then it all got rather horrid.  I know, one bad night and moaning already.  I just didn t get a chance to rest and it was cold and wet.  Not actually very cold or very wet, just I was tired and could have done without it.

01:00 Reduced sail as the wind picked up and the storm was a bit nearer.

03:00 Took me an hour trying to get on some sort of course that would hold, the wiind dropped to 8 knots and I settle for just the genoa.  The wind was changing from E and backed to NE, N and ended up at NW. 

05:30 the wiind dropped to below 5 knots and I gave up.  I put the sail away and determined not to get it back out until it was daylight.  I put the engine on, after all I must be carrying this diesel for some reason and Nemo was feeling left out.  There was a big boat to my left.

07:15 Took another hour getting the boat set up for Horatio.  I know I was overcanvassed, but if he just took over then I would sort it, but he would not take it.  So I got Nemo to sail it for a bit while I reefed both sails.  Horatio is holding it ok, but I know he is a bit stressed, when I have rested I may reef down a bit more.  I am just too tired to touch anything while it is ok.  The wind may have eased a big by then and he will be ok.

I did not expect to be close hauled at 60 port tack in a force 5 SE, I don t remember seeing that on any forecast.  It is still cloudy and not sunny.

Make that a F6 Southerly, 2 reefs.  Staying amazingly well on course, should make me feel better, strangely it doesn t. 

Because I did not have the stronger N NE winds over the early days I have only done just over 300 miles and am about 300 miles behind forecast.  Instead of expecting to arrive sometime tomorrow or the next day, I am looking at another 5 or 6 days still to go.  Can you tell how impressed I am by looking at your monitor.

Event of the trip, I put my lifejacket on, just so that I could tether on to get to the seat.  There is no need for this, other than the fact that as an accountant I want to see why I am suffering expressed numerically.

The sea is 25 degrees according to my gauge, I will not be checking personally.

When I find the man who sold me the ticket for this cruise I shall demand a discount.  The good thing is that things can only get better, eventually.

It is just coming up to noon and it is all calming down (top of a F5) and soon it will all be forgotten.

I have not had a chance to see what the website gives you as a picture of where I am now I have left land, you have to have Google Earth downloaded.  I wonder how many of you have rushed to the atlas to see where the Canaries and Cape Verdes actually are.  Still less will have drawn a line from La Gomera to just north of Sal, but if you did you will see that I am very on course, just very behind schedule.  I always did allow 10 days, it was everybody else that said 6. 


If this account is even less joined up than usual, please remember it was written under stressful conditions.