DAY 10 – Wednesday 13 December 2006
Here we are again, me here, you there, wherever.
Day 8 I did not say anything, because nothing had happened. The wind was moving constantly round from E through S to W, so I had not even had to change tack, just move the genoa in or out. For those into that sort of thing, I even moved the genoa cars, but not until the knot had got caught in it did I think of it. I only did the detailed stuff because people ask me afterwards and I haven t a clue unless I have written it down and there is not a lot to write about. However, I think the photo of my fish on the sprayhood being described as meagre is a bit unfair – you could have enlarged it, Rudi, but thank you; it is nice to know you are here with me through this.
Yesterday after 12 I had to put the engine on, the promise of no wind had been fulfilled and it did not reach more than 4 knots all day and that was so scatty I could not put the sails out to use it.
I had been concerned that the 180L of water in the front was being used up, but the balancing diesel in the back was not. I was not going to top up the tank with made water, but thought I could make some and keep it in bottles if I needed the weight and I should not wait until it was all gone. The watermaker has previously been a subject of great frustration, but I had got it working ok when I last checked it. Go through the process and water should come out the tube. After 2 hours in the cockpit locker I gave up and had lunch. I was sure it was the seawater intake that was the problem. After lunch I had another go. The seacock, seawater filter and piping up to the pre-filter I disconnected. I put another piece of pipe onto the inlet and put the end in the sea. The end would not stay in the water, but with the addition of a couple of pipe fittings it did. Turned it on, twiddled it and within a minute we had water. Made about 30+ litres of water over the next 2 hours. I felt if the engine was on it was only fair that I make use of the power. I filled up the water tank, I know I wasn t going to, but it had to be done sometime. The water from the tank is 350ppm and the water I had made was 250ppm, so it seemed a good risk; it s not like I drink this water. I did find my water purification tablets which I thought were out of date, so I was going to use them up, but they have years to go yet, so I will save them, I used 2 in an 8 litre bottle, but I don t know that it made a difference. I know I had been good with the water, but it only took 20 litres to fill the tank, I was impressed. (You have probably noticed by now that it doesn t take much to impress me – gives the guys a fighting chance).
It may not sound like much, but I was exhausted and the dark bits were not so much tanned as bruised. I then had to clear up and put everything back where it came from. Piping and pipe fittings are not the most readily accessible bits on the boat and my tool locker will need sorting when I have time.
I had tea, I seem to be eating all the time, I am so hungry; and settled down to wait for Herb on the radio.
Propogation was very bad. I could hear boats trying to check in, but Herb could not and kept moving on. It was time for my area much earlier than usual. We would have no wind Thursday, nor Friday unless we could get nearer 16/17 to cross the front and pick up the wind behind it. One boat below me did not have the fuel to motor north and one very close said he would. I thought the closer boat was within 10 miles and decided to check on the radar, nothing. I plotted his position and he was not far below me, but he was nearly 300 miles East of me, probably why he was not on the radar. I did alter course to go NW as instructed, but I did not do it for long and went back on course. I hate going off course, when sailing it might be necessary, but to motor off course was too much. I was not that far south of 16 anyway, I would see.
Because the engine was on I could have the radar on. The alarm kept going off, but I could not see anything, so I turned the radar off. 4:40 I saw a light, so I turned the radar back on. It must have been the steaming light on a yacht, but it was very faint and I could not see the other lights, but although there were no waves there was still the swell. The boat would show up on the radar every so often, but sometimes only for a second before disappearing and the boat was only 2 miles away, I hope I show up better than that on other peoples radar.
I kept track of the boat with waypoints just to make sure it was going away and not just overtaking me. I very soon could not see the light as the boat had come level and then overtaken me going away. The other boat generally maintained 197 as a course and I was on 280, gradually it got further and further away. By 6:50 it was 3 miles away and I turned the radar off, it was giving me a headache staring at the screen. 7:30 I checked and it was 3.5 miles away. 8:00 I couldn t see the light and I didn t bother to check the radar. 8:30 I had a final check and it was 4.5 miles away still heading for South America.
9:00 we had 6 knots of wind and I turned the engine off, I was making 2 knots and it was so quiet. I topped up the diesel while it was so calm as my filler cap is on the transom, over the back. I kept forgetting I was 1000 miles from anywhere and now was not the time to fall in. 22.5 hours since I left CV and it took 22L, good engine.
2 people that I know of have cracked so far, and they were not alone - will I, have I? I have got over the problem with the fish, thinking they were going to fly at me as soon as I put my head out. The fish scenario turned into a full sea monster in the cockpit, snapping away, but I got over that too. The latest is the worry that I will go out and find a man sitting in my seat, like Pirates of the Caribbean with the living dead. I have told myself that if I find anyone in my seat I have a serious problem, whether they are living dead skeletons is just a small complication. So, obviously I am fine for now.
100 miles yesterday, but nearly all of that was under motor.