Re: Day 12 Lazy Dawn's Ocean Passage - 2/12

Fri 2 Dec 2005 17:54
As the days roll on so does the heat!! Its now 35 deg in the shade on deck and almost the same below at 14.00. Even at night the temperature is still over 30!! Deck gear is now shorts, optional T shirts and bear feet, day and night really quite amazing conditions.
The Trades are well established and we have now flown a kite for almost 3 solid days except when they fall down of course!! The sea state is still quite small, 6 -10 foot of swell, but as this comes from various directions it creates an uncomfortable rocking and rolling motion of the boat. As the boat rocks to windward the sails fill with air, then flog as we roll away to leeward. The sheets snap tight and the rig grinds and cracks under the strain!!
Every morning after light I go out on deck and check for possible ware and tear on the lines, sheets, rig e.t.c as this type of sailing is very demanding on the boat and the crew ( As its difficult to sleep ) Well today's trip around the boat found the kicker ( A strong metal diagonal bar that holds the boom and main sail in place to increase / reduce and control the power), almost free from the boom. The retaining ring had rattled loose and gone over the side and only the clevis pin was still there but 50% hanging out. Luckily it was found in time and the trusty spares box had the bits to fix it. Failure would have resulted in the boom and  main sail having a life of their own and probably ending up with a big rip in the main before we could have got it under control. You never really know what is next to fall off or break through rubbing, rattling  and chafing action as we run down the waves, even the sweetie box is showing signs of chafing with a large cracking forming in the lid due to the regular removal!!!!
The rig has gained a few new tunes in the last 24 hours and we can not track the source down. We think the spinnaker halyard is the offender and this would require a second trip to the mast top to look and check the situation, if it gets any louder we will have to go up there to investigate!!! Lets hope it is no more than a noise and all will be OK to St Lucia.
The  boat speed has been good over the last 24 hours and again we have sailed over 171 miles,our third 170 day in a row. The challenge will be to keep this up!! Our location now is 13.56N 39.02W which means we are south of St Lucia. The wind is directly from the East at present and we cannot sail directly down the wind, so are heading slightly south at present to maintain boat speed and control of the sails. This will possibly reduce our position in the fleet as we are not sailing directly to the target, and so sailing more miles, but overall with better boat speed this may not be too much of an issue. Hopefully we will only need one gybe back to sail straight at St Lucia.
If the trades hold out as planned we should keep this high speed sledge ride going for the next few days as long as Lazy Dawn and the crew can take the Rock n Rolling!!!  Looking at the long range forecast we could be home by the 10th December if all goes to plan. The challenge will be to make the decisions on when to gybe and run for home!
Life on board is going well the daily routine well established and its amazing there seems to be little time available for much else than sailing sleeping and eating ( Watching 24 and the odd talking book, now onto the 'classics'). We are getting along well and have found a good balance on the domestic chores. The food keeps flowing and apart from a few disasters on the fruit front the provisions look like they will easily last to port. But will the Gas? Yesterday we had to change to the last gas bottle lets hope we don't run out otherwise cold Chile and corned beef hash will not be quite as nice as the menu so far.
Last night while on watch I stared off the back of the boat looking at the waves, constantly changing shape and direction, picking the stern of Lazy up and putting her down again some 20 degrees off course. The autohelm would correct this and the process would start all over again. It reminded me of sitting out on a dark night by a log fire, you don't know why but it draws you in and the time goes by. With no one around you can lose yourself for hours with only the stars and waves for company. It's a special place and one best experienced first hand before you can fully understand its beauty and intrigue.
Enough of my warbling it's time to improve some boat speed... more tomorrow from the creaking Lazy Dawn!