Cannonballs and Exocets!

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Fri 17 May 2013 01:36
08:51.042S 126:07.964W
Thursday 16th May 2013
Distance run so far:  2038
Distance run Day 15: 144
Total distance run: 2182 nmiles
With sunshine and clear blue skies today we are feeling much cheerier, but the unpleasant seas continue to knock us around, making everything much harder to do.  I managed to bake some bread rolls today, though finding somewhere to prove the dough was not easy as the ambient temperature is lower than when I baked bread before.  So they are a little like cannonballs, but are better than nought.  I also made a few banana muffins - no real feat, just added water to the packet mix and put them in the oven.  Made a nice treat still warm with the morning coffee though, now all the digestives have gone.
When Steve checked the decks for uninvited passengers he found a much larger than usual flying fish, and it set us wondering why these fish fly.  We supposed it must be to escape predators, as we often see a whole load of them fly out of the water at once.  We looked them up in Minipedia, and if it is to be believed, their official name is Exocetidae, and they gave that name to a rather unpleasant piece of modern warmongery.  They do indeed fly out of the water to escape predation, using fins that look remarkably like wings.  Natural selection in action.
A large Exocetidae specimen with fins/wings spread                                    when closed they lie flat along the fish's side.
You will remember me mentioning the rhumb line - that straight line between port of departure and port of destination along which we would hope to be able to sail?  Well, we have generally had wind from a direction that has allowed us to sail close to it, but when the squalls hit the other evening, with increased wind under them, the only thing to do is to turn the boat so that it's stern is to the wind and run downwind until the squall passes.  The wind may shift several times as it passes over, and going with it is the best thing to do.  Then afterwards you correct your course.  The chartplotter records the track of the boat, and when we looked at it after the squalls had passed, we were a little surprised to see exactly what it had done to our course.
The straight thick line is the rhumb line, the wiggly one our track.
So when we say how many miles we have covered in a day, they are not necessarily all in the right direction!