Another stormy night !

Paul Huntley
Sun 7 Dec 2008 11:43

16:38.30N 41:16.80W

Sunday 7th December 2008.

Good morning to you all, I have had reports of bright crisp winter mornings of late back home, well you might find this hard to believe but, I am somewhat envious at the moment.  I am sitting at the chart table writing up this bog in a temperature of more than 30 degrees with humidity at what I guess to be 99.99999 percent. You lay on your bunk at night and it feels like your whole body is melting. Dehydration is a significant problem, we are advised to drink at least 2 litres of water a day to maintain a fully hydrated state.

From noon yesterday we have made significant progress with a 134 nm as of 10:30 utc, with two hours to noon we may make 145 nm, which would be one of our best daily runs.

Yesterday afternoon was hot and sunny with billowing Cumulus cloud all around, the wind was constant in strength and direction giving a fantastic spinnaker run for most of the day. As dusk fell the humidity rose and those white fluffy clouds turned black, a portent of things to come, We bagged the spinnaker at dusk and set Genoa and main on a broad reach and making a respectable six knots on a westerly course,

After dinner we watched a bit of Casino Royal (the James Bond movie) but ran out of time on the generator so will have to watch the second half tonight.

The first night watch was James followed by Nick who took us to midnight. It was my turn to be on watch through to 02:00 am, we had reefed main and Genoa in case of squalls, reducing our speed to 4 knots, I decided to shake out the Genoa increasing our speed to a more respectable 5.5 / 6 knots. We have been steering with the Hydro vane (wind self steering) and finding that it can cope well if it is set up correctly. When sailing directly downwind in big seas it does have a problem reacting quickly enough to avoid a broach.

Dave followed me on watch at 02:00 am, just as his watch was coming to an end at 04:00 am, whilst handing over to Bob a squall hit us hard with torrential rain and winds gusting to 35 knots, I scrambled on deck to offer what help I could in reefing down the Genoa

After a very fitful and restless night we struggle to get moving, the generator goes on a 08:00am to charge the batteries after a nights use, Nick came to the rescue with hot bacon rolls and a cuppa for breakfast.

This morning has dawned in a sultry mood with squalls and showers all around us, threatening but as yet not catching us, the wind has died as has our speed, so what next ?

Our log is now at one thousand seven hundred and thirty eight miles since leaving Gran Canaria, with one thousand one hundred and fifty miles to run to St Lucia. We are all feeling a bit jaded after a bad night’s sleep ,some handle it better than others, I think a good flogging on the fore deck should lighten the mood!

Water has not been a problem with the water maker generating a good 6 lts per hour, running it for four hours a day keeps pace with our usage; we all have showers at least every other day what a luxury! We also have a salt water tap at the galley sink for washing up which saves a vast amount of fresh water.

Fuel is a more difficult dimension to manage .It's primary use on an Ocean passage is to run the power generation to keep the batteries charged so that we my run all the navigation systems and lighting, I estimate our usage at about 150/180 amp hours per twenty four hour day,  we are just maintaining the status quo. The wing fuel tank of 180 litres is now in use , we will have to eak this out for another week or more, thinking allowed, the generator uses about 3 lts per hour X 4 = 12 ltrs per day for 12 days = 144 lts total needed we might just make it !! This gives you an idea of the logistics involve in keeping a small boat functioning at sea for several weeks,Its not guesswork but careful planning and calculation, there aint no filling stations or Tescos out here!

With noon fast approaching and the radio schedule and position reporting nearly upon us I must  tune in. My apologies for what some might find a boring blog but it is an attempt to give you an insight on our daily lives,

Best wishes until tomorrow Paul.