Nyaminyami II Blog Saturday 30.11.13 1200hrs
By Chris Haworth
Sailing the Atlantic!
We have seen some ‘action’ since we last reported. Having graduated from the fore cabin to the galley floor last night as the boat was being thrown around so much, our current helmsmen, Mr Pike, has just commented 28Knts now seems quite light!
The Ocean ‘stretched’ yesterday - all day we enjoyed beam reaching in 20 kts and in the evening she flexed her muscles and gave us a brief taste of her potential strength & power delivering a steady 30 kts (gale force 7) most of the night, gusting up to 40kts at times (gale force 8). A black dark night with heavy rain at times spray being whipped off the top of ever bigger waves, wet with low visibility, luckily not too cold but full oilies and a fleece! – this isn’t what we signed up for (I thought we were supposed to put the spinnaker up in Las Palmas and took it down in St.Lucia!) but we are loving it... doing an average of 8 kts for last 18 hours big seas everybody calm on board and enjoying the ride (well Jane is feeling a bit sea sick and Graham is now on the Kwells) but they will enjoy telling the story afterwards . Nyaminyami sails extremely well in all conditions, well balanced and beautifully prepared and maintained by Francis – he constantly checks and maintains the boat inspiring confidence in his attention to detail. He really is (in my opinion) a very good skipper knowledgeable, knows when to boss us around but thoughtful, instructive & sensitive to our own expertise in sailing, our mood and morale – we have total confidence which makes for a happy and relaxed boat ....... ‘welcome to the cruise’...! (I’ve been listening to Julie Tsuke on my ipod seemed appropriate – give it a whirl if you have time)!
So we are sailing across the Atlantic, but this journey started a very long time ago for me! it is the fulfilment of a childhood ‘dream’ which emerged when I was a boy sailing at Powell’s Pool, Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield – it is a very small lake. There is no sailing tradition at all in my family, I grew up in Birmingham about as far from the sea as you can get but at the age of 11, I was taken for a sail with the Scouts and I was literally addicted! Hungry for anything ‘sailing’ I read all I could and followed early solo round the world yachtsman of that era, Knox Johnson, Chay Blythe etc. I worked and saved every penny I had, to by a mirror dinghy for £100 when I was 13 – She is named ‘Penelope’ after my elder sister, who was killed on her paper round –mum gave me the £25 she had in savings towards the boat (and amazingly allowed me continue with my paper rounds to carry on saving). I still have her! My brothers and sisters learnt to sail in her, as have my own children, next it’s the Grand Children (‘Elsie-Mae ‘McArthur’ I fancy – our new granddaughter of 19 mths!). It has been my passion ever since and I have had a yearning for the sea since that day. As most of you know, I have sailed and raced a lot over the years since, in all sorts of sailing dinghies, yachts & places and most of my best friends have come from a sailing connection. However, I have always dreamt of crossing an ocean (I even flirted with the idea of the mini transat – but having read this months article in yachting world magazine, and having received an email from Arc control that there is a damaged Mini transat drifting rudderless in our vicinity - I’m glad I’m on a swan!!!). Jane knew of my long held dream, one which I had begun to imagine might not be realised, and has kindly helped it come true – Thanks Jane & Fra, I am in your debt.
I was on the ‘graveyard shift’ last night 0400 – 0800 hrs appropriately called as I seem for some inexplicable reason to be preoccupied by the dead (I don’t like that word) in my solitude on watch. All those friends and family mentioned yesterday were in my thoughts I had Mum, David R, Patrick & Steve in the cockpit with me – all chatting with each other I seemed to be on the edge a bystander, concentrating on helming the boat, but enjoying their conversation – I couldn’t hear what they were saying but they were all happy laughing and joking everyone of them. The phosphorescence was in full flood last night sparkling and flashing all over the place white caps broke on top of waves and I wondered if certain of our spirits lived in the ocean and these billions of sparkles were flashes of them – another dimension? Any way I nice place to rest, the ocean immense in its majesty and vastness, calm under the waves and plenty of room!
As I compose this Blog Graham is still solo in the cockpit pensive and thoughtful it can be a lonely place out there on your own! He advises he is quite content and is writing more poetry in his mind .... Funny what effect ocean sailing can have on you!!!
From a ‘rocking & rolling’ Niaminiami II (is it indiscreet to ask what happened to Niaminiami I ?) your mid Atlantic correspondent is signing off and sending love and best wishes from us all - to all reading this blog.