Friday October 9th 1237 Local
We are running down our westing at a rate of knots.
Only one problem - we are still not sailing and wind is now about 6 knots behind
us. That is not even any use for ventilation and the boat is sticky
It seems that the various aspects of the sheer
challenge of sailing round the world, short handed have been lost on some blog
readers. I tend not to go on about the gritty nature of what is required to keep
the whole show moving west. I am aware how fortunate we are to be able to do
this and I would hate to create the impression of a moaner. Blogs tend to
contain the highlights that I think readers may be interested in. But it is
tough and requires a tremendous amount of stammina and resilience as well as
being adaptable to all the tasks that need kept up to date.
Last night I went to bed for three hours from about
2045 to 2345. It was the first time I had been to bed in three days and I slept
like a log. When i got up Trish was doing fine and encouraged me to go back,
which I did and after a while I nodded off till 1245. If I am a good boy perhaps
I will get another three hours tonight!
The time through the night with little to do while
under engine was spent with all the information I could muster aboard, starting
to plan our sail on through the cyclone season.
Wind patterns and currents were studied for the
various areas and timings we hope to follow. Cylone, Tropical storm and
thunderstorm frequency and strengths month by month area by area
were studied. Rainfall and cloud cover too as well as local wind phenomenon in
the various areas.
How to recognise and sail out of the danger zone in
cyclones and spotting them in your vicinity using only barometer was also
interesting - but that's only the theory...... Most importantly of
course, we want to avoid cylones in as far as possible.
Prevailing pressure systems and gradients together with seasonal locations
of the ITCZ or ITC (the Intertropical Confluence or Convergence Zone), the
monsoon phenomena were all put into the mix and the night flew by.
Other issues to be considered were our Christmas
trip home with the family and where the boat could be safely kept while we were
10,000 miles away, and of course insurance considerations.
By 0700 I had the bones of a plan. Spotting
significant statistical probability of reasonably favourable conditions all
the way down the line to the Mediterranian. If this works out and the stats
behave then it is a good program to use to extend the pacific time of
a trade wind circumnavigation rather than rush all the way back to the Med
by March or April, foreshortening time in areas where it would be difficult to
get to ever again. But we will have to wait
and see how it all pans out. It will also take a few more weeks to refine the
plan. Cyclone bolt holes need to be researched and all the tools of the trade
and equipment aboard well used and programmed to throw up early warning signs of
Having the bones of a plan, meant I needed to
immediately get on with applying for an Indonesian Cruising Permit so two
e-mails went off to agents in Jakarta and Bali before they were out of bed. It's
all very tight but if the program works out I will be thrilled and will of
course keep you posted.
All the reading up included studying the cultural
protocols needing to be understood, as well as the incidence of crime across the
Indonesian archipelago and piracy in the once notorious Malacca Straits. The upshot of it all is I am confident that we will
have a plan, after a bit of fine tuning, that is both safe and secure for
vessel and crew.
Our own health aboard has been very good on the
whole trip so far. Trish has had one very bad chest infection in Antigua but
since then nothing. Before embarking on this adventure I got myself fairly
fit, and on my fighting weight. When travelling to tanna by plane they wanted to
weigh me and Trish's comments about my weight were confirmed when the scales
told me I had lost 6 - 7 kilos on the trip so far.
It may very well be however that on this passage it
all goes back on as the passage will probably work out shorter than
anticipated and we are trying to eat up everything before arriving in
Australia. The strict quarantine there means that all food except tins will be
confiscated. We have recently heard that some customs do not make you dump the
contents of your freezer but it is a risk. We have therefor tried to run stocks
down and I am on about 5 meals a day at the moment to avoid the waste of
disposal. Maybe not so clever but I really, really hate