A life on the ocean waves 31:20.11N 011:05.46W

Sun 9 Oct 2016 21:42
Our journey so far with the exception of crossing Biscay has consisted
predominantly of single day trips, the longest being 170 miles. As you will
have gleaned from previous posts we haven't been blessed with great wind,
however, besides the absence of sailing, this hasn't really mattered from a
fuel perspective. Worse case, we motor the whole leg and fill up again at
the next stop. Sea Flute has a substantial fuel tank which holds 1100 litres
of fuel, so on short trips fuel conservation is not an issue. With an
average consumption of 8.75 litres an hour we should have a range of around
950 miles assuming an average motoring speed of 7.5 knots. We then have to
factor in water making and battery charging which will further consume
around nine litres per day. You will see from this that on a two or three
week voyage of two or three thousand miles, the ability to sail is
As I write this blog we are 480 miles into the leg from Gibraltar to
Lanzarote, with a further 170 to go. Our ETA in Lanzarote is around midnight
on Monday. By then, we will have been at sea for four days, our longest
offshore leg so far. Well how's it going ? Pretty well I would say. We had a
frustrating lack of wind again for the first day and a half resulting in us
having consumed four hundred litres of fuel. To put this in perspective this
would be half our availability for the whole of the Atlantic or Pacific
crossings! We spent most of Saturday motoring well West of track to get to
the predicted North Easterly flow from the Azores High. We were rewarded
this morning with a good steady blow, enabling us to raise full sail and at
last turn off the motor. We have made great progress today and continuing
tonight with our mainsail fully extended and our Genoa poled out on the
opposite side. The swell has now settled more Northerly and Sea Flute is
surfing gracefully down the waves in true blue water sailing style. The crew
have all settled into the routine of life offshore. We all agree that its
easier after a couple of days when your sleep patterns are established
around the watch roster. Lindy and Liz are taking night watches and becoming
adept at operating the navigation equipment and more importantly predicting
possible "near misses" with passing tankers and fishing boats. The early
stages of this leg near the straights of Gibraltar were very busy with
traffic and a constant look out both day and night were essential. The
traffic is now much lighter as we move south but it's still surprising how
quickly a thousand foot container ship can creep up on you!
Lindy and Liz were very keen to pre-cook some meals, should this be a rough
passage and Liz was particularly sceptical about our ability to catch fish
for the table...well, we were not even out of the straights when Tom landed
a lovely Skip Jack Tuna. The pre-cooked meals were despatched to the freezer
and our first fish provided the next three meals for the whole crew. The top
creation was Toms seared tuna steaks with a soy, ginger and chilli reduction
served on top of savoury rice. It's a tough life on the ocean.
A lot of people ask if it gets boring on long passages. I've never found it
so and I think most my crew will now agree that between running the boat,
cooking, routine maintenance (of which there is always plenty) and of course
sleeping, there isn't much time left to get bored. Oh and I forgot watching
dolphins, beautiful sunrises and sunsets....
Yesterday evening we had a small bird hitch a ride on our Bimini pole. Liz
is fairly confident after a check in the bird book that it was a Juvenile
Whitethroat on migration from Northern Europe back to Africa. He/she was
obviously exhausted and stayed with us for several hours to recuperate
before continuing on her way.
Pics to follow.
Best regards
Skipper Peds