A Day In The Life. Position 16:49.6N, 33:51.7W

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Wed 30 Dec 2015 11:28
At 0800 today we were just over 500 miles from Mindelo, and 1505 miles from Barbados? People often ask us what we do all day, so here is yesterday:

Phil woke me at midnight and while the kettle boiled and I got dressed, he told me how the boat was sailing, the wind and sea conditions on his watch, and boats seen (none). During the previous day we had furled the main sail and we're now sailing almost dead down wind in fresh easterly winds (force 4-6), with just the Genoa set, making good course for Barbados. The wind vane self steering is holding a good course and wind and towed generators keeping the power topped up.

Phil wrote up the log and went to bed and I put on my life jacket, went up on deck and clipped on. I spent some time getting used to how 'Serenity' was sailing and looking at the stars, moon and waves. When I was happy with the set up, and how she was sailing, I settled down to some cockpit yoga, and reading. I am re-reading 'Wolf Hall' now I have time to concentrate on it. Inge from 'Saga' gave me a reading light for my Kindle so I can read at night without a torch. Periodically I had a good look round to check for ships and the wave conditions, and checked all the instruments. We try to avoid going below when on night watch so as not to disturb the person sleeping, but I had to go down to the head, so checked the battery monitor for level of charge at the same time. It was a warm night and there was no need to do anything to adjust the way we were sailing, and the 4 hour watch went quickly.

At 0400 I wrote up the log, but didn't wake Phil for another 20 minutes as he was sleeping well and I felt fine. After hot chocolate, a shared chocolate bar and the usual handover, Phil went up on deck and I wrote up my diary then went to sleep. I asked Phil what he does during night watches and he said he thinks about the boat and what needs doing and checks around the decks. He also started reading up on Barbados tides, and customs regulations, and let out more sail as the wind was getting lighter.

Phil woke me at 0800, and when I was ready on deck gave me a bowl of cereal and cup of tea, and after his own breakfast went back to bed for a couple of hours. We need to change the clocks back by 3 hours before Barbados, so I thought about how to do that, then realised I could get a position fix by taking sun and moon sights at the same time, so got the sextant out. They both kept disappearing behind clouds, so it took me a while, I also had to take in a roll on the Genoa, as the wind had increased, and did my routine daily check around the deck for wear and damage. Phil was up again by 1030, and we got the watermaker working. It is useful but needs nursing while it is running to keep it going.

At midday watch change, we plotted our position on the chart - 135 miles run in 24 hours - good going, then Phil called 'Tern' on the radio for our daily chat. They were about 15 miles north of us and slightly further west. They had spoken to 'Long John Silver' which is about 500 miles ahead of us, and are suffering problems with large amounts of weed fouling their self steering. We will have to look out for this as it will probably affect out towed generator.

We had been discussing whether to pole out the Genoa and, as from our position and the weather forecast we are going to be sailing like this for a few days, we decided to do it. It's a job that takes both of us, and took about 30 minutes, after which I calculated and plotted the sights I had taken this morning. By that time it was 1400, so I made lunch of sandwiches and fruit, and went back to bed for an hour. I spent the last part of my off watch checking through and under cupboards. We evicted a cockroach earlIer and I wanted to check if he had any friends. When I came on watch at 1600, Phil carried on checking and spraying, until it was time to cook supper and I took and calculated an afternoon sun sight.

We normally do 2 x 2 hour 'dog watches' between 1600 and 2000, which has the effect of rotating the watches you do from day to day. We have supper at the watch change at 1800, and wash up for the whole day afterward. Yesterday, to achieve the clock change we did 2.5 hours dog watches, I then came on watch at 2100, instead of 2000, and after the same routine of yoga and reading, Phil took over at 0100, when we put the clock back to midnight.

So our day was actually 25 hours, and no time for sunbathing anywhere!

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