14:30.91N 43:58.95W Like a bat outta Hell

Tuesday 12th Jan 2010
03.23 Hrs (UTC I think)
 
" There was a Baboon who one afternoon decided to fly to the sun,
  So with two giant palms strapped to his arms he started his take-off run
  Mile after mile he galloped in style but his feet never once left the ground,
  You're running too slow said a passing crow try reaching the speed of sound,
  So he put on a squirt, my god how it hurt, the soles of his feet caught fire........................"
                                                                      
 
                                                                                                              (Spike  Milligan)
 
 
Good Morning, Now all he needed to do was to get hooked up to these Trade winds they are absolutely amazing and have been blowing warm air from the same direction, which also just happens to be the right one, for the last 10 days.  The average is around 15-16 knots (apparent wind) and the last 24 hour run, which we measure from 1600 Hrs. each day, was a huge 155 miles.  I clocked the highest speed of the trip yesterday at 12.4 knots.  Before you start to worry about the "Old Slapper" popping her rivets and starting to disintegrate, that doesn't mean the boat was doing that speed through the water.  The recorded speed we travel at is derived from a constantly updating GPS signal and it records our speed over the land, or in this case the seabed.   As we still have a big Atlantic swell coming up from behind us and those waves are traveling faster than we are, they tend to lift us up and, in spite of the fact that we weigh a fair bit, they carry us with them for a short distance before they get  bored with the extra weight and scoot off on their own.  Up to the point where they dump us we are actually doing the speed that the boat is traveling through the water combined with the speed that the wave is gong over the surface of the planet.  However it does feel pretty quick and is usually accompanied by the roar of  breaking water and the change in the boats angle as we begin to surf down the wave. Even with these increased speeds LadyC seems very comfortable and is positively loving the ride, as we all are, It doesn't feel, or more importantly sound, as if she is stressed in any way and the fore and side decks are dry with just the occasional big Bertha frothing over the aft decks if we get a really big wave.
Telling you yesterday that I hadn't seen a single ship had the desired effect and, when I took over from Gaynor, one came charging towards us, It seemed to be coming very close and then to my horror I could see both his port and starboard lights (direct hit!) and he wasn't that far away.  I hailed him on the VHF and got no response but he answered on the second call, said he would get us on his radar, turned and passed 1/4 mile off our Starboard side going in the opposite direction. In an Ocean this size that is way too close fo my comfort .
We have major problems in the Fisheries department,  Dexter de Lure sadly is no more and was reported "missing in action "  two days ago.  That puts us down to just 1 lure, which has no hooks and no swivel.  Rummaging through the box I keep containing all sorts of things that "might be useful" I selected a few bits with potential and Max has managed to fabricate, not only a swivel but also a double hook which he fashioned out of a split pin.  It all looks pretty good and the hooks have barbs too but it has been on trial all day with, as yet no results.  The fish probably swim up to it and think," Give me credit for some intelligence, I'm not going to get caught by a split pin"  Excluding Explosive charges does anyone out there know any clever ways to catch fish? If not it's all going to be tinned Tuna from here until we get to St Lucia.  Such a shame as we were actually in a fishing tackle shop in Mindello  but as the array of different hooks was so varied we decided to wait and get some advice and then never did. 
We are heading directly for Rodney bay and will go to the Marina first and get cleared in, showered etc.etc. I would like us to go to Razmataz ,the Indian Restaurant as two people have mentioned curries in their emails and I can't stop thinking about them, I know it won't go away until I have one, and I think we will be due for a few cold beers.   Then the plan is probably to anchor the boat there and hire a car when we take Max to the Airport and visit a couple of places we'd like to see on the way.  Might even spend a night in an Hotel for a treat.  When we leave from  Rodney Bay we will be heading South to Grenada so we will get the chance to visit the Pitons either on our way out or when we come back up, I would very much like to spend a night anchored off them as they look so spectacular.  We should have around 10 weeks to cruise the islands which may sound a lot but there are many places  we want to go to.  Even some places where we've been before when we have chartered here, like Bequia, we want to visit again as it was so lovely and we saw so little of it. 
We have adjusted the watch timing tonight so I have lost my cherished Sunset and Sunrise slot to Gaynor, It's only fair that someone else gets to bask in the beauty of those special times of day I have had it for quite some time. 
 
Update 1100 hrs (UTC)
Forteen degrees : eighteen.seventy-nine N zero forty-four : forty-four. seventy eight W ( In words so this blog doesn't think it relates to it)
 
Gaynor woke me early saying that she was concerned as the wind was picking up considerably.  We managed to reduce the Twistle, the mizzen is down now (Thanks Granny Robin) and we then watched the wind strength grow and grow. We've just had 30 Knots plus apparent wind (Apparent is the speed the wind is passing the boat and takes into consideration the fact that we're moving as well so 30 apparent is around 37 true wind speed if we're going at 7 knots) It has brought with it the associated increase in swell, lots of heavy rain (thought you'd like that) and has made it quite uncomfortable once again.  Watching the Twistle is a real eye-opener as it copes with gusts and swell in a way you never could with a normal rig or hand steering.  The graceful way in which it spills the wind from the top of the sails individually and then powers up again at the right moment is a real education and I'm fascinated by it's simple efficiency.  Looking behind us there may be some more rough stuff coming up so if you don't hear from us for a bit don't worry we are just hanging on, but everything is fine we are all well (including  Bugner) and the boat is behaving like the true "Lady" we all know she is.  Setting up the equipment, which I store in a peli-case (big attaché case made of strong plastic with an hermetic seal around the closure) to send and receive mail is quite tricky as it's expensive and delicate gear and we only have one.  The sat phone needs to be set up so the antenna, which is at the end of a long wire has a clear view of the sky and is stable.  This in itself can be a challenge sometimes, then a resting place has to be found for the phone where it won't get thrown across the cabin if we roll violently.  Then the PC Notebook has to be connected to the port on the phone and it also has to be put somewhere safe.  Next is to try and establish a good strong signal on the phone which has to have 5 bars (any less and it is likely to drop the line halfway through the transmission and the whole process has to be started again) Trying to hold all this together for the duration is similar to, but not as potentially messy , Gaynor's culinary juggling but you all know what we're like at multi-tasking.  From all of us in a lumpy wet Atlantic having the time of our lives. Another small flying fish,though not as tiny as minnow has just been found by Gaynor on the work surface in the galley, short of hanging a sign around his neck saying " Eat me" he couldn't have got any closer to being lunch. 
 
Hasta si mejorar EL tiempo  
 
Update  to update , looks like we may be lucky and the rubbish weather is going away - Result!
 
LadyC and keepers of the bouncy castle crew
 
 
Zara n Simon - Thanks for the blog bit, 8 duvets, makes me smile every time
 
Pam - Lovely to hear from you - Hope the Parisian pleasure was worth the Eurostar pain
 
Robin - Hope you're on the mend, noted on the knots and the preventer is just a loose line from the rope crucifix back to the mast so there is no way the poles could go too far forward and vee back. It was on the instructions when we opened the packet so we thought we'd better do it although our inner would stop it if it tried.