In the swing
Sat 9 Feb 2013 19:30
We’re used to being in ‘passage mode’ now. Each day has it’s cycle of small tasks and quiet times. Everyone gets up around 7, when our watch system finishes, and with the new day’s light we check over the boat and make any sail adjustments that are needed. The chef-for-the-day starts breakfast, while the person who was on last watch often grabs a bit more shut eye. We cycle the cooking, it’s whoever’s on the second watch of the night, and the same person clears up because some of us spread ourselves wide whilst cooking, and others of us clear up as we go along.... In addition I’m responsible for bread baking, making sure there’s yoghurt made and in the fridge, and finding the supplies the chef needs from the many storage places around the boat. We had good old fashioned boat food yesterday: tiller soup (all left overs heated in one pot) for lunch and corned beef hash with coleslaw for supper. Today it was a Spanish lunch: pimientos de padron, olives, chorizo, jamon and boquerones, along with sunflower seed bread and we’re having roast chicken with peas, and roasted potatoes and butternut squash, for supper.
Once the sun is up the fishing tackle needs to be put out and the main boom pulled over to one side, held in place by a preventer, to keep it’s shadow off the solar panels (you’ll remember we’re using twin headsails, not the main just now). After breakfast I usually get the bread started then leave it to prove whilst getting the weather forecast and emails via the SSB radio. By the time I’m done it’s usually time to knead it again for the second proving so it’s in the oven in time for lunch.
We take breaks to read or rest during the day but always make sure someone’s around to keep watch and do that continual
The engine or generator needs to be run if the main boat batteries need charging. When we run the generator we make water, do some washing, take showers. The SAT phone needs checking twice a day and, since it’s got so hot, we wash the decks down with sea water once a day to stop the teak drying out and splitting. We need to keep an eye on the time as Phil broadcasts weather information and our location to the ‘small boats’ at 1800 GMT, that’s 3pm boat time.
thing of checking our course, our speed, any changes to the wind and responding by changing course or sail set if needed.
Around 5 we often have a beer, a ‘sundowner’, then set up the sails for the night. Having seen the forecast we make a guess at what sails it will be safe to leave up. We don’t always get it right, now and again it’s all hands on deck for some changes if the wind gets stronger or a squall brews up but we try to leave it so no one will have to go forwards all night. The boom comes back in, the solar panels are shadowed by the foresails by then, and the fishing gear comes in. It’s starting to get dark around 6 as supper’s served then we start the watch system, 7 p.m. ‘till 7 a.m., four three hour watches that rotate forwards each night. And then it all begins again.
We manage to squeeze in the essential tasks of watching the sea and sky go by, looking out for Wilson the Petrel and Arthur the Tropic bird, and applauding the flying fish. Oh, and there’s the blog to be written too!