Day 10: Wind, what wind?and the 'Dog Watch'

Tue 2 Dec 2008 16:03

We are now aiming due W but may have to flex up or down a bit depending on winds and possible squalls. It’s strange to think we are now nearer the mouth of the Amazon (1500 miles) than we are to St Lucia (1800 miles)!


We had very variable wind/sailing conditions from yesterday evening and through the night. At an early point during my watch (21:00 to 24:00) the wind dropped right off to 6 knots and we just mainly flopped around between 2 and 4 kts. In fact I only saw it go above 4 three times. That's walking speed and it occurred to me that it would be quicker to walk -but then I don’t walk on water despite what my family may think! (OK darling et al–only kidding).


Apparently it got back to something reasonable about an after Jock came on. He’s the lucky man to do the 00:00 to 03:00 watch and then Mike comes on. I am handing editorial control to Jock to tell you what those wee, small hours are like……


“Thanks Gerald. I have slotted into the “dog watch” which for us is from midnight till 3am. We can’t remember what the naval origin is, but I am assured its not because I am in the dog house!


The priority is to keep the boat moving. Last night the airs were light and variable so it’s a trade off between compass (direction) and boat speed; every 0.5 knots counts – 12 miles a day in fact and it adds up! But what else is there to do at the time all decent people are sound asleep?


Last night was very dark due to cloud cover so not the full panoply of the heavens; but I did see a few shooters which always lighten the moment. Its also time to listen to music and to think. It was the rousing nation building of Runrig, mixed in with a bit of Genesis and the socio politico humour of the Proclaimers. Thanks Douglas for setting up my ipod – invaluable! With no distractions you can really listen to the lyrics.


As for thoughts, best left inside the head!


Oh and Gerald blames me for us being here as I was the one who innocently suggested to Gerald (and colleague Nigel Jones) that it might be a good idea to do our Yachtmaster qualification. Amazing how far a good idea can bring you!”


Winds moved more southerly during the morning so we took down the Para, tried the Gennaker (it didn’t like the wind speed or direction) and then ended up finally with our normal ‘pretty’ spinnaker which is cut differently. It is setting well – see below.


By the way Chris Tibbs, our forecaster, said today “Most of the fleet are struggling… you have the best wind, which may not seem like it at the moment.”   Cold comfort but in a warm, hot even, climate!


 More our spinnaker fun in a later blog………


     Oh so pretty, but nobody around to see her!