4 December 2006
Got up early and mended the genoa stitching on the sacrificial strip that I had not managed yesterday. This I was going to do when going along if it was calm, sometimes I amaze even myself that I can believe such things would be possible. I had to ignore the first seam that had two rows of stitching and only the top inch of one had started to go, that was far too high up to reach. I managed to reach the second and third rows with the aid of a stool and stretching up, just about ok until the wind moved.
The wind was 10 knots + and I decided to leave while Eric and Richard and Alan had gone ashore. (Ed if you are reading this, Richard is Eclipse and we have been talking about you – all good). I had to go sometime. The weather forecast was 20 knots NE, for the next 3 days. A bit more than I wanted, but maybe it would not get that high.
10:30 anchor up and 2000 miles to go.
Visibility was poor, I could not see the island on the other side of the strait and so kept the plotter on until I was past it. DG was pumping in so much power I had no problem there.
Spent 2 hours trying to rig up some jaws for my furling line, for when the genoa is out on the same side. This I managed in true Blue Peter style, but it doesn t quite work. More thought needed, so I am on the other tack for now.
It has been a very big sea, I know I have said this before, but it is bigger now.
The wind was constantly 20 knots and regularly was over this and when I had got used to 23/23 gusting 25 it went up to 25/26 gusting up to 30. I only have the genoa out and 2 reefs in that. Still I do more than 5 knots all the time unless slowed shortly by a wave.
I am 150 AWA and am just going to see how close that gets me, a bit early to worry about going off course, but I am going a bit lower than I wanted. By 15:00 the wind was definitely E/SE and there it stayed. It is quite a fast trip so far, I was not in that much of a hurry.
Last night on the radio we heard that one yacht on the ARC had lost its mast the day before, a week out from Las Palmas. It is a few days ahead of me and not on my course, but I will keep listening just in case. They used their sat phone, presumably the bits for the SSB went with the mast. There was another yacht making for them, which was two days away. Presumably all I could do would be to give them some diesel, but it is sad and probably very upsetting for them. There must be lots of boats passing quite near and if two boats a day gave them 20 litres of diesel they could motor to the Caribbean. I remember when I was waiting 3 months for my mast, because I didn t want the standard one, I went out. I motored as far as Chichester Bar and turned round, sailing yachts without masts are not comfortable.
19:30 I found my seat had come off. It was just getting dark and so all I could do was take it indoors. The gap it leaves is thought provoking, so I did not go out much last night; hence I was much further lower than I should have been this morning.
I tried to listed to the radio, because there were boats out there I knew and one was just a few miles W of Cape Verdes, and so was just behind or in front of me. The concentration was nearly the end of me I had to make a dash for the cockpit, I thought I was going to be very ill.
Had to abandon the weather and the update on the dismasted yacht. Later the wind dropped to under 20 knots and went down below 15 for most of the night ad by the morning had gone round to ENE.
I had just settled down and there was a green flashing light, now the only light I knew did that was the GPS. I was concerned my personal epirb had set itself off. I was the sat phone,I had left it on; so I charged it up.
I must keep to my routine or everything goes to pot. So I changed out of my pyjamas (with fleece) into my bikini (with fleece), I am still waiting for the sun to come out from the clouds. 08:00 I changed to starboard tack and put the main out to above the spreaders and wind was 17 knots and I tried to regain some of the track I had lost.
I had breakfast, washed down the seats and tidied up the ropes. There are lots of little flying fish on the side decks. The first one was a novelty and I kept it, as it was dried out. I put it somewhere that it would not be smashed and kept finding it, much to my surprise. I cannot remember where I last put it, but I am sure I will come across it when I least expect to.
I could not work out how if I was at an angle of 120, why it felt more like 60 and I was slamming along across the waves. The wind had picked up to 20 knots and sail trim that I can get away with at 15 knots I cannot at 20, I was at 60. Makes up the track, but far too uncomfortable.
I made a loaf and put it outside in the vain hope that the sun will raise that, even if it will not give me a tan.
I have done 123 miles in 25 ½ hours.