2/3 Way to Cap Verdes below the storms, approaching the doldrums

Andy Gibb
Mon 6 Dec 2010 15:53
We hear that after the snow UK now has freezing fog. So I feel somewhat
guilty to report that at 20:54.75N 19:26.03W at 1530 on Monday 6th Dec the
temperature is 28.5C, sunny and the sea is a warm 27.3C. I am about to
instigate a new rule that anyone who starts the engine has to go for a swim
in the Atlantic first.We have been successfully working our way south
between 2 weather fronts, with what little wind there is. Its been hard to
find wind and we have been down to 1-2 knots in 2-3 knots of wind during the
night when everything that can crash rattle or roll does, so sleep is not
always easy. The huge Atlantic rollers are the problem, 4 metres high though
100 metres between peaks from a mid Atlantic storm. As Intrepid comes up the
face of the wave then drops over it, the mast rolls and the sails lose all
the wind, so flap and bash. Intrepid policy is to put the engine on if the
VMG (velocity made good) towards our destination drops below 2.5 knots for
more than 20 minutes, and if we don't manage 3.5 knots Jim misses his flight
home. But the silence of sails is usually more soporific than the motor,
quiet though the Yanmar 56hp is, and so far we have only motored 12 hours as
against 120 sailing hours. Fishing continues to be frustrating, some bites,
sightings of fish feeding, but generally there is too much sea for the few
fish to come into contact with out alluring lures, even though I have
constructed a 'bird' to attract fish, but which just attracts birds. We
chat, work on fishing, fiddle with sails, put up the Big Green Monster
asymetric spinaker, check our anti piracy gear, Hawkeye Deby looks out for
whales (1 sighting today), and cooks a roast chicken, Nicky cooks fudge
brownies, just another day on the ocean. We are offshore Nouadhibou right
on the disputed border between Western Sahara and Mauritania, so we any
thoughts of going inshore or asking for help in case of damage are
impractical - no ports, no authorities. We are approaching the doldrums, so will have to use all our wits to find and use whatever wind there may be.
Andy Nicky Deby Jim,