Pinball Wizards Blog: Day 10 Fri 3 Feb 2012

Nigel North
Fri 3 Feb 2012 18:25
Position:  19:00.11N 29:18.96W
We've received our first flying fish!  Delivered yesterday, Shrimpy  was discovered by the Skipper up on the bow whilst struggling with the heavy weather jib, then forgotten about until today when Shrimpy was rediscovered on the other end of the boat having made his own way there.  At two inches long - well, one and a half anyway - he was smaller than we were expecting and looked a bit thin too.  But aviators have to be slim dont they? 
Its actually not at all easy to write this as PW is rolling once every two seconds 20 degrees at least and every now and then a lot more.   To cook we have to tie ourselves to the cooker rail and use rubber mats on the surrounds or everything ends up in the sink or on the deck. Even then, using the special high friction mats, both teas I'd made this morning took off into the sink.  So now we make the tea in the sink and use long straws.  (joke).  Actually, thats not a bad idea..
The reason its rolling around so much is two fold - the sea state is confused with two quite big swells coming in from different directions (NE and E), with swell heights of 3m-4m, and secondly we are sailing under just one sail, the genoa |(big one at the front).  With no mainsail set (doesnt like sailing downwind) theres nothing to damp out any oscillations, so we roll.  This is why there are a lot of catamarans around nowadays, which dont so much due to their much better lateral stability.  (We've just had a set go through which I've video'd, and the mouse shot off the nav table as soon as I'd finished.)
The winds have been quite strong over the last few days, and surprisingly variable too in strength.  The only thing that doesn't vary is the direction of NE.  At present its around 20 knots, but increasing to 28 or 30 at times, and we've had 34 knots once or twice, which if we were sailing in any other direction than with the wind and swell, would be most  uncomfortable indeed - you really wouldn't want to be doing that.  As it is we're running with the wind pretty well and apart from the rolling its no problem.   My expectations of a steady 15 kts all the way were well off the mark though.  But we are both fine in our roly-poly world of crashing pans, creaks and knocks, and neither of us have felt seasick recently, or at all really, just a tad queezy at the start perhaps.  One adjusts quite quickly.  Our routine of 3 hour watches at night, and shared watches in the day is working fine and we wont change it now.  So a daily kip to catch up is the norm and actually most pleasant too.  Alfie can be asleep and snoring in two minutes flat which is most impressive.  Takes me four or five.. We take turns  on the cooking of the evening meal, and tonight its Alfie!  Yippee!  I get to do the washing up, in seawater.  Works fine..and its 24 degrees too. 
Sightings:   No ships.  No fish apart from Shrimpy. No cephalopods.  Two Manx Shearwaters.  One airliner.  One space station (next to the moon).
Numbers: Distance covered  wed 1/02 129nm, thursday 2/02 128 nm.  today 3/02 so far 94nm.   Distance from Canaries 1043nm.  Total distance sailed since Portland:  2747nm up to yesterday.
Best wishes to you all, from Alfie and Nig