Second night, 31 11N 61 39W
Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Sun 27 May 2007 04:22
Well, it started OK- away by 10.30am Friday, tanks brimming with water and diesel, and plenty of wind. One reef and close-hauled into the glistening waves, it was good to be under way again. The wind gradually eased as the day went on and by dusk the sails were flogging with each roll of the boat through lack of wind to fill them.
We had also by that time had our daily SSB weather and routeing discussion with Herb. Herb is a legend of the Atlantic:for decades, by way of a hobby, Herb gives this advice daily over the radio waves for free to any boat that requests it. He beams this out from his home in Toronto along with disapproving comments if anyone strays from his suggested course. He checks all the weather information available and distils it into specific advice for individual boats to help them make the most of the varied conditions out here and particularly to help them avoid the predicted path of gale systems.
Day 1 and a new low brewing around the Bahamas is heading our way. Quite where it will eventually track wasn't certain but he gave us a choice of heading north or south east to clear its likely path. So our first evening's radio net with our neighbouring boats led to the decision to head SEast.
As the wind had died by this point, it also meant motoring as the alternative was just not going anywhere while the low came straight towards us. And so with no discernable wind since Friday evening, we have been motoring through a flat calm, all the while trying to get more information about the weather system from radio transmitted faxes of forecasts etc. It now seems that by heading south and east of 30N 60W we should be clear of the worst of it. To get there means burning precious diesel that is usually saved for the last part of this leg which is often windless around the Azores.
It seems the wind may return sometime tomorrow(Sunday) and then at last we may be able to actually sail again. As the low passes on Monday and Tuesday stronger winds from a more favourable direction are forecast so hopefully we can also start heading in the direction we want to go under sail and at speed. Not only are we motoring now but we are also going at a tangent to our straight line course to the Azores.
Such is the stuff of sailing! Meanwhile we are all well aboard, albeit rather frustrated by the current situation and the incessant ringing of the engine in our ears.