Fri 31 Oct 2014 18:21
We've been passing through the middle of the high pressure area, the swell just noticeable on the sea around us, like the ocean's surface was a sheet someone had flicked out over a bed, the bumps and troughs gently, slowly, flattening until we were in glassy seas once again, without a cloud in the sky. We managed to find some wind to motor sail with, first a Northerly letting us fly our cruising chute and mizzen staysail, but then the wind went West and we beat into it, pushing forwards with the engine whilst getting what draw we could on the tightly sheeted sails.
I've never done this much motor sailing, never needed to rush to beat a front in the same way, so I've noticed something for the first time. Counter intuitively, when you're motor sailing in light winds it helps to be going into the wind. It's all to do with the apparent wind thing I was telling you about. If the wind's behind you at 6 knots, if you're motoring at 4 knots there's only 2 knots of wind to fill your sails and push you along. If the wind's ahead of you at 6 knots you are pushing your 4 knots of motoring into the wind, giving you 10 knots, 6 true knots plus your 4 knots, to rush past the sails. Into the wind sails act like aeroplane wings, the more wind rushing past them the more forward motion, so this is a good thing!
We've passed through the high now, I came up on deck this morning to a dampness in the air, clouds around the horizon and a new smell. You notice smells a lot at sea, they vary so little I suppose that any change can be detected, we certainly smell land when we get close. It's raining a little now, and the wind's in the South West, the way we want to go, so we're having to tack our way down but we're still making good progress, so all is well.
Day 5: boat made granola with apple sauce and fresh papaya, pineapple and banana; a picnic on the cockpit table, in the calm seas, cheese, from the Dutch Antilles, salami from French Polynesia, tomatoes from Tonga and "Krekers Krim" from Niue, all served with lashings of boat made ginger beer!; Toulous sausages in a rich wine and onion gravy with roasted potatoes, butternut squash and garlic.
Day 6: Freshly baked boat made red onion and balsamic vinegar rolls with bacon and ketchup. This sounds better than it was. The bread was a bit of a failure - doughy and heavy; fish and noodle soup, from a packet, from Panama I think; spelt with pumpkin, cashew and coconut curry, seeing it's Halloween - Happy Birthday Matthew!
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