PINBALL WIZARD - DAY 20 - 13 Feb 2012

Nigel North
Mon 13 Feb 2012 21:04

Monday, 13 February 2012

DAY 20

POSITION: 15:23.74N 49:51.66W

Its been a quiet day. I saw the dawn in, and Alfie had a modest sleep in past 8am which is fully allowed in the Unspoken Rule Book, as the watch system officially ends at 8am. With the headsails set last night to match each other PW sailed himself through the night, directed by Archie. Didn’t touch it. And that’s continued today with just a couple of tweeks when the wind changed direction slightly, so that we stay reasonably close to the red track on the chartplotter - our most direct route. And that route is still almost exactly downwind, so easy life apart from the ROLLING. Sitting here writing this at the Nav station you have to roll with it or fall out, so the lower spine is getting plenty of exercise. Up in the cockpit you can just wedge your foot against the other side and go with it, but not below. Here you have to balance forces. Except, that is, if its your turn to cook. Before leaving UK I had a stainless steel crash bar made to keep you from slamming into the gimballed cooker, and attached to this we also have a strong rope to tie ourselves to the bar to stop the opposite happening - a 10 knot impact sideways with the Nav station opposite, closely followed by the dinner. Sometimes, when a big wave catches PW slightly off course, the boat can roll very quickly to about 40degrees and at the same time lurch sideways a few feet, and it wouldn’t matter how much you were crouched ready waiting for this to happen, you’re across the other side and running just like that. But the rope stops this.

One of the unspoken jobs of the watchkeeper is to keep the banging, clunking and general racket inside the cabin to a minimum so the other can get some sleep. Yesterday it took 10 minutes to find it was just a tin of soup banging against a bulkhead and not a failed keel bolt that was making that horrible knocking noise. A new thing we introduced was a ‘chuck it bucket’. No, not for ablutions, but for gash, garbage, that can legally be donated to the deep. So we made the blue bucket the one, and it sat next to the cooker to be useful. But then the bucket would fall over and spill. So it was tied to the crashbar. Now it didn’t spill, but it would slide around the sole (deck) making an annoying sliding sound, all the time. So, now its tied up a foot above the sole, and hangs there. Better, but when the roll was right it would swing around in front of the cooker - which then gives it a hefty bash if on the outswing itself, making another annoying bashing sound. But as this doesn’t always happen, and in the absence of any better ideas, the bucket stays there for now. Good ideas tend to happen on waking up, so the next bucket change will probably be at such a time.

We’ve been getting the charts out for Barbados so I know where to go. It looks like we have to enter and park up in the harbour designed for Cruise ships to do our clearance in, so a long way from ideal if there is a swell running. It may be that its too dodgy, and we have to launch the dinghy instead and anchor. Which means that I really could do with making another rowlock for the dinghy as the original split; my three emails to Wetline have all been ignored. They will receive a fourth which wont be so friendly! But it looks like I’ll have to fashion one out of a piece of teak and fix it that way. This is not possible at sea due to the rolling, so will have to wait for now. Maybe when we get on the lee side of Barbados things will calm down.

Hello family and chums, me again. My night watch last night was probably the most miserable since I was a junior seaman 3rd class lifebuoy sentry on the back of a destroyer in Portland in 1966. A year when we did indeed have some destroyers, and aircraft carriers and cruisers. The moon is waning and the sky was covered in thick manky grey cumulus cloud. With only sporadic breaks it made my star watching impossible, and when I did look up it was invariably raining and I wonder why I ever accepted Nige’s generous offer. So not much fun, but at least it was the short watch.

When I did get up things were a whole lot brighter and we have suffered a very warm and sunny day rolling and bouncing around the ocean in Niges company and I quickly remember why I accepted his offer.

This brings me to the state of the Galley (kitchen) area on board. As a direct result of all the movement it has been somewhat difficult to control food and liquids when cooking. Contents of cups, plates, saucepans, woks, frying pans and often open cupboards get scattered at v max (quickly) around the space and gets into places you never knew there were spaces. So todays task was to give the area a boojy out. Now that’s been completed in quick time I wonder how long it will last. My turn to cook so I’ll soon find out.

Gimballs are wonderful things, they allow stuff to remain level while the boat moves around, like the cooker does, and stuff doesn’t spill. We have over the past few days been considering the question of gimballing and what should be gimballed and how. Cup holders are an obvious choice and of course a table. Nige has suffered repeated damp patches on his bed as a result of a non gimballed table, (so he says). But by far the first thing is of course the loo. Now the bathroom on PW is small, necessarily so. But there is no room for manoeuvre and there are very limited options in the event of large movements (of the ship). A gimballed loo compartment, or even just the loo would prevent one being launched at high velocity off the seat and into the door head first (no pun intended). Or perhaps as a first effort a padded loo door. I’ll talk to the skipper about it, again.

Good bye for now readers, big and small, you know who you are.

Just to say once again, thanks to all those who have emailed - it is the highlight of our day and always eagerly awaited. Thankyou!


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