250 to go

CR and KN Williams
Sun 3 May 2009 18:23

8.51S 135.11W


Sunday 3rd May, day 22


Wind has completely dropped on Thursday to 4-6kts which for us is useless. Bit of excitement on Friday at 3am when then the engine overheated and ground to a halt with 500 miles to go and, at that time, little if any wind! Fortunately at 8am Clare and I found it was only the fan-belt so we weren’t facing 8-10 days drifting!

Although Lobby is bust, if we got the halyard back from the masthead (at the same time freeing up the last of the main which is caught on him), we could unroll Lobby from the Rollgen and use him as an ordinary asymmetric, but fortunately we don’t need to do that (yet). As of last night the wind's back at 12-15 knots so all is well again and we're hoping for a Wednesday morning arrival.




On William, It Was Really Nothing Morrissey asks “Why is the last mile the hardest mile?”. It had better not be. The last 200 miles have been painfully slow and if it gets any worse we shall possibly never reach Nuku Hiva. I am sincerely hoping that this lyric turns out to be utter nonsense and to that end I am consigning it to the filing cabinet under Patently False Aphorisms where it can languish alongside “The darkest hour is just before the dawn.” This is quite clearly untrue. The hour before dawn, comprising both nautical and civil twilights, can be so astonishingly bright you could mistake it for an overcast morning in Coventry. Even if you discount this twilight hour as being in effect the start of dawn, the hour which precedes it is still not necessarily the darkest either: it depends entirely on the phase of the moon and the cloud cover. Without doubt the darkest hour is on a very cloudy night after the moon has set or before it has risen and this can - and often does - occur well before dawn.


Despite his miscalculations about the last mile (and indeed his curious views on meat, gladioli, and the appropriateness of Anglican clergy dressing up in a costume borrowed from a six year old’s ballet class) the miserable Mancunian can at least claim to have had considerably more influence on the stages of global politics than the likes of Bono or Geldof. On America Is Not The World he moaned in his inimitable way, criticizing most facets of Americana and claiming that he had nothing to say to America whilst it persisted in electing a president who was never “black, female or gay”. It would appear that last Autumn America felt that for too long had they been sent to Coventry (that famous simulacrum of Nautical twilight) by our Mozza and they responded. On reflection, I think Coventry deserves more credit for the election of Obama than has traditionally been apportioned to it.


In other news, I have finished reading Moby Dick. Thank God. The introduction praises it’s epic qualities and likens it to Homer. I cannot concur: even the catalogue of ships in Iliad 2 is racier than the bulk of Melville’s magnum opus. There’s a half-decent short-story lurking in there somewhere though, and in the last 30 pages, Herman finally realises how to make a novel vaguely compelling. There are however are great oceans of prose which are frankly quite dull and forgettable. Like Wagner, it might conceivably be quite enjoyable if very ruthlessly edited. Thank you, James, for enlightening me but I shan’t be reading it again in a hurry.


Praise the Lord! Tool Of The Day is back! Today we celebrate the “siphon à agiter”. It’s little more than a piece of clear plastic pipe with a strange metal thing on one end that you shake to turn it into a siphon but it means no more mouthfuls of diesel for me. It’s fantastic, an invention of pure genius. Buy one today and you too will find that emptying your jerry cans becomes a joy rather than a chore. I cannot recommend it highly enough.




Watching Guy ploughing through Moby Dick has not tempted me to start it..or Herman Melville’s other famous ?? book ‘Typee’ which is set in Nuku Hiva.(Island we are heading for if your geography of French Polynesia is a bit hazy)

All this time at sea is definitely turning me into the maritime equivalent of an earth mother. I have started making bread…..Guy is politely appreciative and Keith said it would not make good ammunition for killing ducks which is positive. I have also spliced an eye in a rope. It looks a bit uneven but seems solid.

Too much excitement when the engine overheating alarm went off at 3a.m. While sailing slowly along and waiting for it to cool down and daylight I thought I would peruse the manual. An exciting read but I would have been better off (as with the Son et Lumiere at Luxor) with the foreign language version ( it would be just as bad, but, since I couldn’t understand it, not so annoying ). Returning to port and consulting an approved dealer was not an option.

Only using standard Yanmar parts was also not an option in Galapagos where Keith managed to buy 2 fan belts….one slightly too small (which had gone ping) and one slightly too big with which we have replaced it and which will no doubt start slipping soon.. The standard part we were supplied with in the U.K. must be for another model as it has teeth and slips !.

The wind is varying between 5and 12 knots and we are set up goose winging quite effectively. The favourable current of over a knot is fantastic and we have managed 98 miles in the last day so probably only 4 more days to go.