Bobbing about and now some wind thank goodness

Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Mon 9 Dec 2013 17:08
Monday 9 December 2013


Course: 268
Engine Hrs: 2
Day's Run: 113 miles
Total: 1,935 miles - Expected total distance 3000 miles
Air Temperature 28.1C
Water temperature reading 30C
Wind speed: 14knts
Wind direction: 20T
We had a very slow day yesterday with light winds for most of the time and so motored to charge the batteries. By about 1300hrs the batteries were fully charged . It felt like the hottest day yet - we were melting.  There was no wind so stowed all the sails and bobbed about in a still sea until after dinner of spag bol.  It is a strange feeling to be in the middle of a vast ocean where the sea is smooth, it's airless and you're going nowhere. However, things are looking up since the wind filled in after 7.30pm  and we are now averaging over 7knts close-fetch in about 15 knots of wind (72 miles covered over the 12 night hours with Lucy again achieving the highest total in her 3-7pm shift.)  What a relief to be moving again.  The forecast for the days ahead shows good winds so we hope to make good speed for the final stage.  This year the passage has been hard work and the lack of trade winds has been very frustrating; there has been everything except good steady NE trades.
The only sign of human life has been a catamaran that motored across the horizon as we were bobbing about; and a cargo ship where the lights were visible for about an hour in the early dusk.
An additional challenge for the crew is the restrictions on water and electricity due to there been no generator to provide the little luxuries that make life so much more comfortable.  To make things even more difficult there has been very little sunshine to feed the solar panels and, until last night, no rain to provide on-deck shower facilities. However, with the wind last night came rain - and one down pour at 5.30am so Margaret was out there in pitch black taking a shower and washing her hair.  She sat under the mainsail to catch as much of the rainwater as possible, and says she had to cling on tight with one hand and wash with the other.   She says she feels much better now!  During the downpour I investigated topping up the water tanks by blocking the scuppers and then allowing the water the feed into the starboard tank. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful because too much salty sea water was coming onboard from the waves etc.  We slowed down but it still came overboard with the wind abeam.  It seems the method is of no help if there is much wind but maybe it will work if we are sailing downwind. Bryan slept through all of the excitement braced across his bunk in the forepeak to counteract the movement of the boat.
On the fishing front yesterday we had no strikes, we think that the speed was too low.  I put the muppet out this morning, we were doing 6-7knts, and while I was preparing breakfast there was a strike.  Bryan reeled in but the fish and muppet was lost. The line on my reel is a little too small so it takes great care to retrieve or it may have been the big one that got away!  I'll try stronger line next time.  The hand line is strong but that means it is large in diameter so we think it can be seen more easily and therefore deters the fish etc. 
Part of our daily routine is to walk around the boat to check for chafe or other problems plus to clear the decks of flying fish.  We usually find one every morning and today there was quite a large one near the mast.  The poor thing had hit something hard on the boat so hard its head was smashed in, not a nice thing the find early in the morning.  It's now been sent to a watery grave.
As ever, many thanks to all of you that are providing us with such wonderful shore support which acts to raise our morale every day!
Roger (Mother, chief Engineer and general dogs body)