Atlantic Crossing Day 5

Mark & Sue Owen
Thu 26 Jan 2012 13:07
22:10.60N 24:56.15W
Miles travelled in the last 24 hours: 139
Miles logged since leaving the Canaries: 723
Miles to go to Barbados: 2,129

All is well on board, although a bumpy ride was had last night.

We made good progress during the day with sunny, clear blue skies. However,
as the afternoon progressed a formidable cloud line appeared on the horizon
and we knew to expect a change in conditions. The weather files which we'd
downloaded via our satellite phone link earlier in the day had shown some
stronger winds to the south and this was confirmed during our evening radio
check with Herb, who has access to significantly more data/weather models
than we do on-board. We report in each night with our position and current
conditions and he provides us with an outlook for the next 3 days and
suggested routing options.

With all this information we decided to shorten sail for the night
(double-reefed headsail only) and stay north of latitude 22 degrees North
for the next 24 hours, by which time the area of squalls should pass to the
south of us. With 20-25 knot winds and a 2-3 metre swell life below deck
pretty challenging, as we moved around Macushla's compact interior like
orang-utans in a rainforest grasping hold of the well-sited hand-holds and
any task was undertaken with the low, wide stance of a sumo wrestler.

Objects not stowed properly became airborne in no time at all, especially
whenever Macushla was hit by a 'galley whomper', a term used by friends Pete
and Kourtney on sailing yacht Norna to describe a particularly large wave
slapping amidships. Items with a few millimetres of surrounding space would
clink and rattle and we went round eliminating each annoying sound with foam
padding and kitchen roll.

Our night watch entertainment is proving to be a great success with a huge
selection of music, complemented by a wide variety of podcasts downloaded
from the BBC. We are well-stocked with a large selection of plays, comedy,
documentaries and
Desert Island Discs all of which help the night watches pass more quickly.

During the day we are steadily working our way through our extensive library
of excellent reading material, recently augmented by the kind generosity of
our friend and literary sponsor Kath.