13:46.72N 53:55.66W And the Biscuits?
20.00 Hrs (UTC)
Saturday 16th January 2010
Wow, we are just hearing news of the quake in Haiti, how terrible it all sounds. It's strange but the total isolation we feel we're enjoying at the moment doesn't stop us getting to hear about, and being affected by, the saddening reports of such catastrophic human suffering.
Yesterday afternoon the good old Trades started to back and even after repeatedly squaring the rig we eventually had to come to the unpopular decision that the Twistle rig was untenable. We dismantled it and, in doing so, discovered some chafe on the port sheet which was hidden behind the outboard pole end. Fortuitous indeed and when we brought the poles in I re-tied the sheet to the clew ring and cut off the worn end piece. We seem to have accumulated various short ends of rope from different chafing scenarios, still I suppose the important thing is that they have been spotted and resolved by us before they have had a chance to catch us out. We are now running with triple reefed main, to allow some puff to reach the doubled Twistle sails, set as a Genoa, one on top of the other on the Port side and have put the Mizzen back up. The winds are now veering and making good course keeping difficult and we are heading around 300 which is taking us slightly too far North of West. Rather than risk the Twistle again for a night rig, due to it's potentially recalcitrant roller furling system we will carry on like this until tomorrow morning and, if the weather does what it is meant to, we can hoist the Twistle and be able to correct our course. I am very aware of how careful we need to be at this end of the voyage. The overwhelming desire is to arrive, but the requirement is to arrive safely and we can't risk having a, potentially, un-furlable Twistle set at night in case we encounter squalls which would necessitate rapid de-rigging. The difference in the movement onboard is marked and I really feel that if we hadn't had eight days of movement relief from the Twistle Yards we would probably be in a very different state of mind to the one we are in now. We're back to the uncomfortable rolling that this confused cross sea causes and we're missing the damping effect the twin foresails had, I can't praise the rig highly enough and even if we only get to use it for the eight days we have it will make a very expensive piece of equipment seem worth every penny. I can't imagine using it back at home for a run down through the Solent to Cowes as it takes a bit of effort to get it hoisted and trimmed. In fact Gaynor and I were wondering if we will feel like going for such a short sail after this experience. Maybe we could lobby through the RYA for the development of an artificial Azores somewhere on the other side of the Isle of Wight that could be artificially heated to generate a similar pattern of dependable English trades perhaps making the Island like a big one way system.
Wednesday morning is looking good for landfall, all going well, we just need to nurse her in for the last 300 miles or so and try not to make any silly mistakes. Talking of silly mistakes, we've run out of all sweet things, Biscuits, cakes, chocolate, cans of soft drinks, peanuts, snacks, fresh fruit etc.etc. so maybe arriving will be a good thing. Rummaging through the lockers this morning in a frantic search for something to satisfy my sweet tooth I noted an abundance of Beanfeast and couldn't suppress a wry smile as I slid some surreptitiously under a canvas bag. The weather is still fabulous and every day is blessed with constant sunshine, we're loving it but I do often stop to think of loved ones and friends at home. The reports we have had sound awful and I hope nobody is suffering too much. All onboard are well, possibly a little whiffy, and apart from my attempt to slice the ends off two of my fingers with Gaynor's new knife, (Ed. He's making a fuss about nothing really) there are no medical conditions to report. Gaynor has been known, on occasion, to almost totally sever her head with the blunt side of a butter knife while making a sandwich so I really don't know what Derek and Vicky were thinking when they agreed to buy her the sharpest, most serrated blade in the whole universe for her Birthday just before we left England.
The time conundrum is going well but I would advise caution with regards to too many toasties, apparently you can have too much of a good thing. Tonight's dinner is corned beef stew with vegetables, surprisingly, some of the spuds we shipped in the Canaries are still with us. They don't appear to have weathered the voyage too badly and apart from sprouting all over they are still very edible. In fact when I look in the mirror and catch the reflected image of my ears I think I know where they got the idea, (or idear) from. Water may become a problem if our arrival is delayed so we are monitoring it closely but we have lots of cartons of fruit juice so we won't be "Ancient Marinised" even if the water stops. Tea bags are the other thing that ran out at the Verdes and despite scouring every outlet we couldn't find any there, so much to Gaynor's chagrin we are not only Tee-total but a totally Tea- free zone as well. The lack of daily tea beaks is begining to take it's toll and she told us the other day that she had a visit from a very pleasant old man in a neatly starched white shirt who was standing beside the sink in the galley when she sat up in her bunk in the early hours of the morning. We all know that LadyC has been about a bit so it wouldn't surprise me if she carried some spiritual baggage. I do find myself, towards the end of some of my more tiring watches, lifting my face from my book or blogging and cautiously looking around the cockpit, half expecting to discover that I have been joined by a serene spirit, I hope he has some chocolate with him.
Thanks for coming onboard and we still have a vast need for emails so please don't stop sending them - Also is anyone thinking of dusting off their Mankini's and thongs and joining us in the beautiful Caribbean - You'd only need return flight and beer money?
LadyC and Crew
Robin - Thanks for so much, It's been great knowing you're there fretting - All going well and your predicted arrival time is looking spot-on . It's a Rotostay IV and It IS going to be fixed for once and for all before we leave Rodney Bay - thanks for your un-stinting support.