Time to go 35:28.37N 013:27.47W

Huh one finger indeed everyone knows I can use two.    A very good morning on what I think is Wednesday, off the coast of Africa @ 0600,and as if to advertise our position,and almost like some huge hoarding , I am looking off the back of the boat towards the NNE and the sky on the horizon has just assembled itself into the most spectacular display of a Tigers coat  I have ever seen.    There are lots of small horizontal squashed oval clouds which are black and behind them is the deep orange glow which heralds the start of another day.  The effect is mesmerising and I have never witnessed anything quite like it before.  A tiny slither of moon has just struggled up above the same point and is soon going to be chased by the rising sun.  When I came on watch at 0500 there were stars,possibly more stars than I  have ever seen, it was a clear night and with no moon there didn't seem to be any room for sky almost.  I made a nest of cushions so that I could recline with my head resting back on the coach house roof and from here I had the most impressive view of the firmament. Shooting stars abounded but I was actually able to watch them grow from a fierce glowing point to their final frantic dash across the sky.  So often you see them out of the corner of your eye and by the time you focus they're gone.The trillions of billions of stars that you don't normally see started to disappear around 0600 as the sky to the East began to lighten and then only the strongest remained.  One of them,to the North, although I don't think it was the Northern Star, was bright enough to lay a trail of silver across the water to the back of the boat.   Yesterday was a lovely day and we covered a total of 108 miles in 24 hrs but our record was the day before  where we achieved 125.  We ended the day having dinner at the cockpit table again, while underway, it’s so cool and all as the sun was setting.  The table did actually collapse as I went below to grab a sweatshirt but Gaynor & Tristan managed to catch the remains of the Fajitas we had just eaten and all was well.  This cruising chute and mizzen set up has been in place for 3 days now and we just keep going and going it's an amazingly consistent breeze that drives us on.  We have just snuffed it out and put it back out on the other side as the wind has started to back, I hope it settles down as this sailing is just glorious.  We had a huge pod of dolphins close by yesterday I’m guessing 30 or so but it appeared we weren’t on their list as they didn’t stop to play this time.

   Having had the ocean almost to ourselves with very few ships spotted we are now starting to come across a bit of commercial traffic.   Gaynor woke me very early the other morning as she was concerned how close a cargo boat was to us.  I came into the cockpit and saw both Port and Starboard lights which meant that it was heading directly towards us on a collision course,and to my just opened sleepy eyes it looked very very close, using the hand held VHF which we keep in the cockpit I called and asked if he had seen us and if he was happy for us to proceed as the stand on vessel  (under sail we officially have right of way in most circumstances but some of these container ships are BIG) "Affirmative" came his reply "I will turn my vessel to Port" and off she lumbered.  Does leave you wondering if I woke him up!!!  We have Radar on board and it enables you to spot other ships as it scans around the boat for up to 48 miles, once they are within 24 miles you can drag a cursor over them and employ a system called MARPA this then monitors their speed and heading and will tell you if you are going to collide or what is your closest point of approach.   You can have up to 10 MARPA targets being tracked at any time and last night I had 4 at one point, it's like Piccadilly Circus out here.

TTG (Time to go) is one of the info boxes that come up on the Radar chart and I have entered a waypoint of "Gran Canaria" @ 28:30.445N 015:35.168.W as  being where we would like to arrive.   This will then give us time to change to a  more detailed course to get to Port Mawgan which is where we hope to be leaving the boat.  The waypoint has been in the system for days but because it has been so far away it has just been sitting in the background and it wasn't until yesterday when Lady C couldn't resist surfing from the top of a big wave (Isn't it wonderful, you weigh 14 tons and you're seventy years old and you find yourself at the top of a big slope and you just can't resist the temptation to have some fun) she reached 7.4 knots at the bottom and triggered the system to pop up an arrival time, for a long time after that there was nothing again as it can only cope with passages of less than 99 hours and 59 minutes, but now we are being constantly updated as to our arrival time. Alex, please would you email & text Max to let him know that at the moment we are looking at arriving on Sat possibly but Sun probably, I will firm this up as we get closer.

   For me it was a moment of mixed emotion as I realised that the grains of sand that have been flowing through the hour glass (I won’t say egg timer) of the adventure we are having were actually going to run out. This has been such a huge experience I sometimes feel that I don't want it to ever end and just maybe, if it's very dark and the power goes down and we lose our instruments and oversleep we could, just could, miss the Canary Islands altogether.  But I'm also looking forward to arriving and heading home to loved ones, and preparing for the second part of this wonderful adventure which should start at the end of November and see us arriving in the Caribbean around Christmas.   Unfortunately Tristan won't be with us for that and we will both miss having him aboard tremendously, I'm sure that for a young boy of 23  this trip will be a treasure that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

We will however have to recruit another crewmember as our insurers are insisting that we have 3 people on board for the next leg so if you're not doing anything in December and have liked what you've sampled through the blog.......Looking at today’s weather info I think we may still have a bit of bad weather to get through which could help or hinder our passage.  From all of us on board Hasta Pronto xx

 

Michael & Theresa- Tea cosy! I can tell you’re not planning a visit to blighty for a while.  Jenny Wren is a real star and I’m so impressed that I’ve given her the day off and she is currently soaking up some rays on the aft deck. Such tireless chucking out sparks for us to use is very laudable.  She is linked up to four semi-flexible solar panels that are fixed to the coach house roof (they can be walked on and are non-slip) and I’m hoping that they will be producing enough as we have had brilliant sun since first thing this morning.  In towed mode I reckon Jenny asks for no more than 0.1 of a knot and although I haven’t used it much seems to work very well in wind mode after replacing the prop with wind vanes.  At night we have all the instruments on and the self steering is permanent, We only fire up the radar scanner to check for approaching boats or we have it on if there is anything around us otherwise it sits in standby mode.So  far with all our lights ( we have installed an LED trilight at the masthead) there has been plenty of power.   Excess power is put to a couple of dump resistors in the lazerette so I know where I’m going to be when the weather is cold back home – huddled around them!

 

Robin – Good to hear from you and yes our weather system is saying the same and thanks for the Sahara warning I will do my best to keep it out of my tackle!  You’re either being even cleverer than I think you are or you really do think I’m a prat the balsa wood was a play on light sticks! Anyway no fish and Tristan actually looks a bit dejected when we taunt him with it.

 

Amanda – Thanks for enquiring about the spinnaker pole, just thought you might be able to turn up for work with it sticking out of your handbag – I’m sure it will be no prob getting it over – hope your Ruby was good – if there's any left could I please have a doggy bag – I would love a curry right now.