Day 8: Over Half Way There
805 miles to Horta
Yesterday was another good day with 12 knots of wind on the beam, warm with a hazy sky. We’ve had more wind on the beam this week than the rest of the year put together which is great. Most significantly we also passed the magic half way point. Yippeeeee! We are now closer to the Azores than Bermuda. To celebrate Mary made special cheesy tuna mash for dinner, at Alan’s request! Alan also wanted to have the Christmas pudding which he found in the food locker, left over from Christmas, but Mary refused claiming that without a microwave it would take too long to steam in the traditional way. L
We were doing over 6 knots through the water but still had 1 knot of current against us so our daily run was only 125 nm. Although 1 knot of adverse current doesn’t sound like much, over the whole trip it will mean we take an extra two days.
We also continue to keep pace with the cold front and finally caught up with it this morning. During the day it seems to bring heavy rain and light winds, so the engine was on for a few hours, still better than the squalls it brings at night. This will be fourth time we have crossed this particular cold front.
The current has now changed and we have a strong 2 knot current setting us north so hopefully it is finally turning a corner. The books all tell you it should be with us all the way, but this year nothing is normal! Anyway we are now doing 6.5 knots over the ground and it is warm and sunny with only the odd shower so can’t complain
We’re seeing lots more ships too. For the non sailors this doesn’t mean passing close by and waving at the crew, it means they show up on AIS on the computer as 30 miles away so are rarely visible in real life but we still get excited.
Yesterday a ship appeared on AIS drifting 30 miles to our north with the status ‘Not Under Command’. This generally means it either has engine trouble, or is simply awaiting it’s next order. It seems strange to hang about in the middle of the Atlantic 1000 miles from to wait for order, but then if you don’t know whether your next port of call will be on the east or west side of the Atlantic, perhaps it makes sense. It must be a bit dull for the crew!
We were very excited yesterday evening when the sat phone rang. Jenny from Maymio called from Newport to see how we were doing on our trip to Halifax. Jenny and Robin had been very helpful before we left Bermuda in lending us charts and books to help us plan our trip to Canada, which never happened. We haven’t been able to read their blog yet, but from what Jenny said it was a much tougher trip than they had expected with a real storm and at times up to 5 knots of current against. Makes ours seem like a doddle.
Today’s weather forecast has totally changed. A few days ago we were worrying about too much wind, now it could be opposite problem with not enough wind. Fortunately we think we’ve got enough diesel to get us through the calm patches.
We now have a problem with the engine. One of the seawater cooling intake hoses has developed a leak and is spraying out salt into the engine compartment. Time for some improvised repairs. We changed the reefing line yesterday as it has chaffed through so we have been busy but have still been very lucky compared to many other boats – touch wood.
Position at 1830 UTC 8/6/11
Wind: 195˚T/ 15 knots
COG / SOG 075˚T / 6.3 (born away while we fix the engine)