Fair winds foul seas

Paul Huntley
Mon 15 Jun 2009 07:28

45:10N 18:57W

Monday 15th June 2009.

Good morning to all you blog watchers.

Its dawn , I came on watch at 06:00 am, relieving Lucien who has returned to his bunk. He was a little under the weather yesterday, suffering from a headache and some sea sickness which is unusual for him. We have come to accept his  enthusiasm and happy disposition as the norm, I hope, with a little more sleep he will be back on form. Drew has also been under the weather with tiredness the main problem. The watch system is gentle at two hours on and six off compared to some boats but is still disruptive with sleep patterns and the natural cycles and rhythms of life.

We are now more than halfway to Falmouth and we have been blessed with fair winds since leaving Horta in the Azores. We have enjoyed North West winds ranging in the most part from 10 to 20 knots with the squalls keeping us all on our toes, the occasional gusts of 30/40 knots, our technique for reefing in a hurry have improved enormously.

The seas have been constantly from the North West but vary hour by hour. At present the sea is relatively calm with a 3/4 meter swell but we have had big rollers with breaking crests, sweep right over the top of the boat and knocking her flat, stripping the speed to nothing.

We had an encounter with a French sailing yacht in the night, I was on watch just before midnight a bright white light was flashed about two miles astern of us, the vessel was showing no navigation lights. I attempted to call him on VHF 16 with no response I then tracked him on our radar for a while and signalled him with our aldis lamp. Eventually he responded to my second attempt on the radio and claimed he was French and did not speak English, I roused Lucien from his bunk to speak with him in French and ask if he required assistance. Lucien being half asleep failed to understand the situation .He did mutter a few words in to the mike but no response from the French yacht, I can only assume he had turned his radio off, he did the same with his navigation lights a few minutes later, I can only think he was conserving his battery power or ignorant of the basic International rules for the prevention of collision at sea!!. showing appropriate navigational lights for his type of vessel during the hours of darkness and maintaining a constant watch on Ch 16 VHFand or 2182 Mghtz on SSB.or DSC.

I have met many French sailors on this voyage and it has been my experience that they  lack even the most basic skills of seamanship, often making up the rules as they go along

Dawn this morning came late and slow with overcast skies and variable winds, the barometer is steady but the forecast is for strong winds in Fitzroy, our sea area today, maybe we are in for another blow.

Guy was on galley duty last night and rustled up a great cottage pie using the last of our precooked mince followed by a peach crumble. So as you can tell the standards are not slipping .

The wind seems to have deserted us at the moment with slating sails and 3:4 knots of speed. Let’s hope it will return soon and get us back on track. These sorts of conditions are hard on the rig and a careful eye needs to be kept on chafe, sheets and halliards can wear through in no time.


Well, I will wish all a good day, bonjour from us all on Libertad.