Panulirus days 11-13

CR and KN Williams
Fri 8 Dec 2006 16:26
18.49.500N 39.16.100W
sent 8/12/06

Day 11

Water pump fixed again, different air leak. RS232 with GPS to PC fixed.
Tried the Tillerpilot, both ends fell apart! Lot more work needed there.
Good winds, no failures today (apart from Tillerpilot which is new so
doesn't count).

Little Guy
A thrilling day. Put some rivets in the spray hood (we caught it in the
winch one night and tore it...). After all that excitement I had to sit down
and read a magazine, semi-snoozing in the sun.

The wind vane steering definitely works well but with the extra meandering
is about 0.5 knots slower than the autopilot.Success.
On the domestic front no water from the taps.Baby wipes rule o.k.
Keith proves to be a [slightly grumpy] star and fixes leaky hose.Can now
make use of highly efficient watermaker and heat exchanger.

Dawn watch this morning (6-9am) and the sun exploded from behind clouds on
the horizon turning an empty ocean into a sea of gold. These are the
moments I came for. Later tried to do some fishing (Woo's early Christmas
present was the very appropriate 'Fishing for Dummies') but twice got the
trolling line tangled around itself leading to a knot of Gaudian
proportions. Spent half an hour each time untangling it. Decided that
fishing isn't for me. Fortunately the deep freeze is still looking pretty

Day 12

Again no breakages, even managed to get ahead of them by fixing the whisker
pole so it can run from about 2 ft from deck upwards. V/good progress, sea
pretty rough

Little Guy
A shift in the weather calls for drastic changes to our daily routine. We
eat lunch early to allow time for the afternoon matinee: Pirates of The
Caribbean 2. The boys sit downstairs on the sofa with their beers watching
the movie while Clare sits up top in the rain with her nautical almanac.

Bliss.Hot shower to wash my hair.Lots of wind and swell but we are all
getting practiced at wedging ourselves in corners to carry out tricky tasks
like decanting water from 5L bottles to smaller ones or manoeuvring a roast
chicken in and out of the oven.

The North Atlantic Monoplex was great fun - I'm sure with time a widescreen
plasma TV will become an essential a piece of kit on all blue water
cruisers. It made a good change to look at something other than the ocean /
chart plotter / radar / sails / Little Guy / "Command of The Ocean - A Naval
History of Britain 1649 - 1815" for a couple of hours. Looking forward to
finding my Kiera Knightley in St Lucia.

Day 13

Continue with 30 odd knots Easterly winds and c. 7 knots through water.
Tried the wind bit duogen which only gives half that in water mode.

Little Guy
We press on with our artistic and cultural activities programme. Today's
session is painting: sprayhoods in the style of Rothko. The deep maroon
expresses the last baleful cries of those lost at sea and/or 21st century
man's existentialist angst; the heavy brush-work in the dense, sticky paint
reflecting the artist's frustrating attempt to fashion purity out of modern
society's love affair with tacky superficialism. It also matches the bimini
which is nice. This was the latest in a series of events including poetry
recitals, book clubs, writer's groups, sculpture workshops and music
appreciation (not to mention the Thursday afternoon matinee). Rumour has it
there is even a contemporary dance class at night while

I thought Guy was clutching Keith round the waist as he raised his arms
above his head because they were fitting the duogen windvane but I now
realise this was a rehearsal for tonight's dance demo.
I am fighting a losing battle with the sextant positions but I blame the
waves - maybe the horizon will stop moving around so much soon.
Quite a few heavy showers but only one could be called a squall - must be
noisy as it woke Tom from his afternoon snooze.

When not assisting Guy with his works of art (readers should be aware that
the more prosaic explanation is that the red canvas sprayhood got torn a
couple of days ago and the repair tape was white hence the paint job) I have
been enjoying the weather and navigation aspects of the voyage. Our daily
weather forecast from ARC HQ (which incidentally has thus far been very
accurate) relates to a range of sea areas. The pilot book gives them boring
French names like Cap Vert, Alize Ouest and Est Antilles - our forecast
calls them Ellie, Kate and Olga respectively. At the moment we are in Kate
and, at current speed, will enter Olga in about five days time. To state
the obvious, in a small boat in the Atlantic one can really notice the
weather and the relationship between clouds, rain, air pressure and - most
importantly - wind.