Saturday 15th Octrober 2011 2027 UTC 2127
Wind 5 Knots NW, COG 000 Deg True, SOG 0
All day yesterday, Friday after blogging the wind
and the seas built. The seas built to a mean of 4 metres and occasional 5m
rollers sweeping through us. Winds reached thirty knots and I worked solidly
tring to keep forward motion towards Gran Canaria on Rhiann Marie. I had
actually forgot to have dinner which is a bad thing as energy levels are already
Around 6 pm the winds dropped first to a steady 18
- 20 knots though the seas were still big. That was becuase they had been
induced by the strong winds which we had been having miving down from the
Then ....... barely enough wind to sail. The
frustration was at boiling point. I hung on a little, before taking down
canvas, knowing that this was not forecast. I didn't have long to wait as
the winds started building again and for most of the night they were 25 knots
plus, peaking again at thirty knots.
What I have found is that of course Rhiann Marie
sails better with more sail up than less. She also points higher. The trick
I have been working on is how to build up to this inside her "groove" and the
secret is to keep an eye on the rudder trim to ensure she is equally balanced
fore and main. As you load the canvas speeds might increase from say five
knots at 55 deg to the wind upto 8 or 8.5 knots and 40 degrees to the wind! Yes
- we spent a great deal of last evening and last night sailing with what
intuitively felt like too much canvas - especially as I was seriously
anxious at the last lap of breaking something. However once upto speed which
might take an hour or so to build smoothly she was comfortable and in 25 knots
we were able to sail at 8 knots at 40 degrees to the wind! VMG to waypoint
however is still only 5 knots or so despite all this cajoling.....
Then at last I got a break! Not a breakage,
thankfully, a break in that the wind backed and next thing we know we are making
7 knots out of 8 towards our destination and at that we broke the back of the
If you don't give then something else will
eventually! The motion however at these speeds was close to violent. Moving
around was a precarious business. Normally you have to brace yourself in one
direction however the pitching backwards going up a wave or the huge lurch
forward from slamming into its follower on occasion were at all times
accompanied by gunnel in the water heel and lurches to windward when the
bow is knocked away. Moving aft to the traveller to ease it or wind it back
on in the dark of the wet night was the four way brace with splayed legs that a
newborn Giraffe would be proud of and handholds in opposite direction
before leaving the cockpit clipped on, on hands and knees before transferring to
the slide the backside across the deck technique! My knees are chafed through
and cut with the teak working on them.
I was exhausted but you can handle any amount of
work as long as progress is forwards!
During all that boisterous motion
yesterdays hassles were mechanical. Being so busy pushing us along I forgot
to run the generator and the batteries got a bit low. However when I
went to start the generator she would not start. Now these things are
full of sensors nowadays and I thought it was a problem with the water pump
impeller which unbelievably cuts the generator out in an instant once
the blades no longer pump raw water. Inside the engine room it truly was like
being in the proverbial washing machine! Anyway as I split the pump a glance
told me that the impeller was good. So - could it be an oil pressure trip?
With the severe angle of heel the oil of course is lying to one side in the
engine. To cut a long story short I had to fill it with oil - difficult to
measure on such an angle - then she wouldn't run because apparently it had too
much oil - so I had to drain oil out of her guessing at th ecorrect amount as
the dipstick was no guide. Anyway eventually I got her going again. Since I was
in there and mastering the performance of the stargest of contortions
bracing myself I did the main engine too.
This morning after blasting down the tracks all
night it came to a sudden standstill with ten knots of wind! I was committed to
a certain strategy which was getting up under the island and trying to slide up
between the land and the wind acceleration zone blowing - blasting as it turned
out, round each side of the south end.
On engine motor sailing in the light airs I pointed
to the southern tip of the island for the last few miles. Well I certainly did
not read the wind acceleration zone correctly as I was rewarded for my
misjudgement for a full on day of punching into 25 - 30 knots. For goodness
I had also committed to something else, that is
Trish to visit to Gran Canaria and I really wanted to be there today when she
would arrive. I am now tied up inside the marina in Las Palmas on a fine
still evening..... doing the "housework".
I am awaiting Trish's arrival so that I can be told
off for using the wrong cloth for the wrong job, the mess of the floors, not
changing the bedding, for being away for so long, pushing too hard, oh, and
that long awaited washing machine lesson. You kinda miss all these wee things
though........ Trish too sailed pretty much round the world having done about
30,000 miles I think and for her that was a far tougher challenge and
accomplishment than my effort.
To be honest it hasn't really sunk in yet that we
have sailed all the way round the planet. Bizarre really to think of it - but we
set out to do that and that is what we have done. Right now I am knackered and
will get back to you with some more coherent thoughts on arriving and completing
the circle once I get my lecture later followed by some bedtime.
By the way those of you who e-mailed me are due a
special thanks which I will explain later but suffice to say for now thanks
again. It was great getting your daily
messages. We'll catch up in a day or two.