ARC 2015 - Day 9 - Nov 29, Chuting Stars

Steve and Lynda Cooke
Tue 1 Dec 2015 02:04
19:57.51N 29:39.68W

Day 9 | Nov 30

Chuting Stars

After the late evening lulls, lolls and toils with the pole and Genoa, Steve downloads the GRIB files off the iridium satellites, and after much consulting and perusing a cunning plan is hatched. Rather than two more days of much the same lack of wind, 60 miles or so to the south shows much more promising arrows on the little charts.

Decision made! Engine on, and we start motoing into the night in a South West direction to see if we could pick up some wind.
As the sun lifts the colours from the Sahara desert into the early dawn sky to our East, we find the first puffs and blows of wind.

By 07.30 the wind is holding true at a steady 12 knots, and Mike and Chris are again up on the bow, with Steve and Frank watching and “helping” from the stern. By change of watch at 08.00, Peter and Mark come up on deck to see the cruising chute pulling at the bow, and we start the pattern for the rest of the daylight hours, with the cruising chute pulling us along at an average of 6.6 Knots for the day. Woohooo.

One of the problems about sailing across the Atlantic is that we are crossing several time zones on the way. Every 15 degrees of travel West means one hour. So, as we go further west, the sunrise and the sunset get earlier. So should we adjust our watches every few days or so, or stick to the same time zone all the way across? In fact we have decided to run entirely on ship's time, known as UTC or Universal Time, which most of the rest of the fleet are using - all our radio schedules for example are working on UTC. This is exactly the same as Greenwich Mean Time. So we are working on the same time as everyone in England and Ireland, and we won't change our time zones until we get to St Lucia. This does of course mean that by the end of our voyage, breakfast will be served on deck in the dark...

We learn from Frank's daughter Hazel, who is sharing our blogs from the MailaSail site onto Facebook for us, that these ramblings of six souls at sea are being read out loud daily to the sixth class of St Edward's National School in Sligo, Ireland. Their teacher, Maire Hunt, is a friend of Frank's and is studying 'Alone in a Wide, Wide Sea' by Michael Morporgo with the class -- a book which tells the historical tale of disadvantaged children being shipped to Australia in wartime.

We upload these blogs daily by satellite link and have no way of seeing any comments until we get online again in St Lucia. So... Class of St Edward's: any questions for skipper or crew aboard the good ship Nina? We have lots of time on our hands here! Hazel will relay them to us by satellite SMS.

By 19.30 in the evening (UTC) we are seeing the day's wind start to flag a little. One thing with the Cruising Chute, is that although it is the fastest sail we have, being the biggest, its also only able to sail at 150 degrees maximum off the wind from a downwind run, unlike a Spinnaker. So it's back up to the bow for Peter and Mark, with Chris and Steve "helping". A few minutes later, we have the Genoa out again poled out to Port, and we are able to turn the extra 30 degrees towards St Lucia, to track on the Rhumb Line for the night. Slower, but bang on course, the wind now pushing us along our "great circle" route at last, with the trade winds blowing behind us.