Heading South

Kingfisher 2013
Peter Smith
Sat 7 Dec 2013 06:16
0340 Saturday 7th December - for a number of reasons, we are heading on a much more southerly course overnight tonight. The headsails were not setting well enough for anyone to get any kip in the forepeak; the angle of the swell is better; we needed to make some southerly distance anyway; and, by far the most important reason, we expect more wind 1-2 degrees south of our direct route to Grenada for the next couple of days. So we are using the jib and a reefed main to broad reach down to around 14 degrees North. This has worked well so far and we have had an increase in average wind speed already; the movement is better and we should be able to return to a more westerly course at daybreak.

It is now officially hot! There is not much activity from the motley crew between around 10.00 and 16.00 beyond a general movement towards the cockpit at lunchtime…..The factor 30 is being used up fast and no-one is showing any anxiety about not getting a tan any more. The breeze is sufficient to cool us down nicely at the beginning and end of the day so most of the (very modest) demands from the skipper are being executed in those periods. Thinking about fishing has so far occupied more time than actually fishing, mainly because we deployed a spinning lure yesterday without putting the spinner on the line. A schoolboy error which, to my shame, was not made by any of those nearest school age. I simply did not realise that the lure was going to turn quite so much and did not think to put the one spinner that we have left on board into the set-up. The result of this is that our best fishing line is strewn around the guard rails in a tangled mess. We have tried a number of methods to resolve this problem but with no success. It is just really hard to untangle a mangled fishing line in a confined space. Tomorrow we are going to attach a weight to it and chuck it back in the water to see if it will un-spin itself behind the boat but I am not hopeful - I fear that 80m of our strongest line is destined for the trash bag. Fortunately, we have two more lines to go but neither of them are as strong as that one. So….our fishing prospects amount to a few more tries with small stuff on the rod and one gigantic throw of the dice with Sammy Senior (see yesterday's blog entry for details). There are plenty of fish in the sea - not so many likely to end up in our freezer.

My next project is to master the use of the sextant so kindly given to me at the start of this trip by the Stintons. I have read all the manuals, calibrated the instrument, nearly blinded myself working out how to use the shades and am now ready to switch off the chart plotters and navigate by the stars…..well, maybe not quite yet ready to do that. I am really excited about the prospect of getting my first noon sight tomorrow although the experts recommend getting someone to note down the time as you take your sights and the chances of finding anybody on this boat ready and willing to do that at midday are slim! They will all be lying on the deck claiming it is too hot…..

….I jest. They are all uniformly perfect and lining up to help. However, do not be surprised if our position reports move us rather too swiftly into the Pacific tomorrow afternoon. There may be some teething problems with the navigator.