Great Sailing, More Fish & Stocktake...

Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Mon 14 Oct 2013 06:15
01:44.35N 024:51.08W
0715z 14/10
1539z 13/10
Caught the southern Atlantic Trades earlier than predicted, 24+hrs now, close hauled into steady SSE winds of 8-12 kn. Further S the breeze will strengthen slightly and veer more and more E the souther we get.
Currently making decent progress, although more westing than is desirable at this stage. Both jibs and a full main seems to be the best balance for close hauled, the mizzen is a fairly lousy shapeless sail and gets interferred with by the flow off the main creating more weather helm than necessary. It does take a bit more than 8-10 kn though to push 80 ton through the water, mostly holding 6-6.5kn and 35-40° apparent, but as soon as it puffs over 12kn we jump up towards 8kn. The better breeze further S should see our averages improve.
Perfect weather again, and aside from more dolphins (which I don't usually mention as they're kinda always around), Jed finally caught - AND LANDED - a fish. I didn't get to see it before it was filleted and refridgerated but claims are that it was 2kg yellow fin tuna. Looking at the fillet sizes I'd guess the 2kg included the weight of the rod and reel and most of Jed's right arm. Not too picture worthy anyway... in contrast to the pics below of Robbos massive Wahoo and my decent Rainbow Runner (which was converted to fish & chips within minutes of bleeding out). The Runner was actually a team effort, I happened to be closest to the rod when it got striked, but then the reel broke off the rod, so I played the rod while Rob held the reel and forced a few turns whenever I could give him the slack, then Robbo got involved and acted like the drag by holding the line. So, after a long coordinated battle all the while with the yacht sailing at 7.5kn, we did eventually land it!
Cabin Boy's been busy today fashioning a new berth for himself - a small round cane bowl with a smelly, furry mattress so he's better acclimatised if he ever decides to go home.
About a day away from the halfway mark (for distance - hoping the time will be better than first half) so time for a stocktake and re-organise of all the stores now that we're permantly on port tack (and most of the supplies are poorly packed into port-side cupboards).
Good news is we have plenty of beans, milk, beer and tinned tuna. Bad news is we're just about out of fresh rabbit food, and more than half way through the coffee and potatoes (raw material for the fish and chips) and I think my smoke supply might be less than half, but trying not to think too much about this one or I get stressed and smoke more...
Still got duck and chicken, and of course the full Ship's Cow - which is due for its slaughtering when we cross the Equator in just over a day from now.
0715z 14/10
Well that was yesterday's write-up which for many reasons I couldn't get out.
Today was basically more of the same. Same wind, same weather, same routine, except no fresh fish (although Robbo did hook up a monster sailfish but no chance of reeling it in and after a few leaps the line snapped), less fresh vege, same beer stash and more mackeral steaks for dinner and Jed's big [smallish] tuna was perfectly cold cooked in lemon juice by Ryan and Robbo for lunch.
After 2 days of sailing it was time to run the genset to charge the batteries, which also supplies enough power to run the water maker which in turn provides enough water to do a load of washing. So all good until just after I got to sleep when the autopilot started to play up. Quick check down the laz to find the watermaker brine return hose had blown and was spraying water over the autopilot processor box, which, in yet another example of brilliant forethought by equipment installers, was strategically mounted near a maze of pipes and hoses to/from both the water maker and air-con unit. Too late, tired and dark to do more than disconnect the power input and spray it heavily with WD40 and attend to it after a quick nap this morning.
So hand steering through the night, and everyone on board can at least rank themselves now as Apprentice Helmsmen.
We should know in a few hours whether they'll get more helming time than expected over the next 3000 miles to up their rank to More Accomplished.