Becalmed. Day 16 15.43N 56.40W
Peter and Avril Brookes
Tue 6 Dec 2011 19:39
Becalmed, mid Atlantic, yet almost within reach of their destination, the crew decided to abandon the sails and try the engine, a far more reliable, though noisy and expensive and quite frankly boring method of propulsion. The consequential time penalty will have to be paid, but seemed a small price to pay when, in less than two days, they could be sipping rum punches on pristine white beaches. (Rather than not drinking tea on board a boat that somehow seems smaller every day)
Never ones to miss an opportunity, the lack of wind did present some interesting alternatives for the crew.
The fishing gear was launched and Derek’s line was soon spooling off the reel. As he bravely fought the large silver fish that kept jumping out of the water as it was reeled in, we were all hoping it was a tuna. Alas, this time the fish won and broke free to survive another day. Derek was duly mortified and required extra rations of chocolate biscuits to overcome the distress.
The mainsail was lowered and re hoisted to replace the luff tape in the furling gear foil where it had come out slightly at the top and bottom. Several sheets and lines needed attention due to chaff, and were repaired. If the wind does return, the sails are set to go.
The opportunity to get off the boat was then too great to ignore, and en mass, the crew jumped overboard to enjoy a fantastic swim in deliciously warm water, a mere 4km deep. Like kids let out at play time, the activity was refreshing and extremely good fun.
Not content with that, the afternoon presented one of the closest whale watching activities to date, as the boat manoeuvred between two large whales, possibly sperm whales, that slowly languished in the gentle seas.
Derek's final challenge was to take a series of sights with the sextant to see how accurate the GPS is. The calculations required to work this out take quite a while to process, so tomorrow he may be able to tell us where we might have been today.