Day 2

Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Fri 7 Oct 2011 11:33
10°44.650N 117°42.366E
Fri 7/10 1820
Slow progress overnight as the wind died off and mostly motoring. Very calm seas though so at least no unpleasant rolling. Slight breeze all day today, picked up to around 10kn this afternoon which gave us another few hours with the spinnaker.
Otherwise, little to report - no fish yet, but last year we didn't start to catch them until we got quite N in the China Sea, then Mahi Mahi and Spanish Mackerel every day. We're taking a different route up the China Sea this time, staying E along the Philipine coast until we get into the NE trade winds from the Pacific which should give us a fast reach for the last few hundred miles across to Hong Kong. Last year our weather advice was to head W early for favourabkle winds during the second half of the passage. Well those winds never eventuated and staying W put us right in the middle of the notorious Spratly Reefs which we tentatively picked our way through for a few days surrounded by shipwrecks and unchartered shoals. So hoping for an easier time this trip!
Tested the emergency tiller today, which we have to mount backwards due to our large windlass on the aft deck in front of the rudder stock. We watched how the autopilot did it for quite a while which was a good way to learn. Han Thaung put about another 12 coats of varnish over all the bright work - think I'll have to recind Evans former nickname "Spray Gun", as Han Thaung far more deserving of this title. The cadets still not 100%, some blame seem to be aimed at some rubbery freeze dried mushrooms we got in KK - but then we all ate these so I'm not buying that reasoning!