Day 24 - Bermuda to Guernsey

Stravaig'n the Blue
Fri 17 Jun 2022 17:13
Position: 49:19.1 N 004:26.4 W
Position timestamp: Friday 17 June 2022 14:00 (UTC+1)
Distance travelled in last 23 hours: 145 NM (average speed 6.3 knots)
Reduction in distance to destination: 138 NM
Shortest distance to destination: 75 NM

We are definitely back in northern waters. Since yesterday afternoon we’ve been seeing small flights of graceful gannets, three or four birds line astern, gliding over the waves then beating their wings in unison before the next glide. There have also been a coupe boat-friendly fulmars.

At the start of last night’s first watch (8pm) we decided there was sufficient wind (11-13 knots) for us to switch off the engine but still make good progress. The wind was forecast to drop off after midnight so were pleasantly surprised when it held up throughout the night, veering from south-east to south at about 2am. With flat seas and the engine off, we both slept well on our off-watches.

An added benefit of not running the engine was fuel conservation.  I’m reasonably confident about my remaining fuel calculations but there’s always an element of doubt. Don’t we have a fuel gauge you might ask. Yes, but fuel gauges on boats are notoriously inaccurate and ours is no exception. Over time I’ve built a table that translates gauge read outs into actual litres in the tank but it lacks data points at the lower end of the scale, where we are now.

Overnight, the wind was such that we passed about 15 miles north of the Off Ushant TSS. We have now crossed both the west-bound and east-bound shipping lanes without having to do anything more than tweak our course a couple of times to ensure it was obvious to ships closing on us that we would pass behind them. 

The engine has been on since mid morning when the wind dropped and the tide turned against us - a slow afternoon. The wind has now clocked all of the way round to the north-west and has piped up to 11-13 knots again. We will have 2 knots of tide with us shortly so the next six hours should be fast, giving us an ETA of between midnight and 2am.

On arrival, we have decided to anchor in Moulin Huet Bay at the south-east corner of Guernsey and do the final few miles to Saint Peter Port in the morning when the tide will be with us. This is much easier than having to tie up to the harbour’s holding pontoon in the dark and then being asked to move from it when we’d rather still be asleep.

On the food front, Linda rustled up this final tasty morsel earlier.

Now well into our third week with only a day still to go, I’m astonished that we still have some fresh vegetables and fruits in really good condition, and am very chuffed that on passage I have only ‘lost’ two oranges, early casualties of a lax couple of days checking when we were sailing close-hauled and getting about the cabin was hard! Everything else has kept really well, and either been eaten or chilled in good time.

On the fruit fruit front, the sweet little local bananas I bought took weeks to go from green to yellow, I used a couple of green ones in a Thai curry, but now we’ve been eating two or three a day as they ripen. There are still half a dozen crisp apples, too, and I’ve just cut into the second (but last) melon. We have four cans of apricots and pineapple in fresh fruit juice if they’re needed.

The keep-for-an-emergency (in case of fridge or freezer malfunction) cabbage and butternut squash are looking good, and we still have quite a few carrots, some potatoes, one or two courgettes, beetroots and peppers, as well as some radishes, chicory and radicchio, half a cucumber and a tomato!

Not surprisingly, in these last few days long-keeping vegetables and store-cupboard ingredients have featured more. For lunches we’ve been eating a lot of slaw-type salads and rice and grain combinations; and in the evenings there have been carrot, chickpea and courgette tagine; cod, potato and sweetcorn chowder; and a chicken braise, made with a jar of roasted artichokes and canned cannellini beans for supper.

Having a fresh-caught tuna has added a bit of excitement, though. Six huge chunks have gone in the freezer, but the last of the potatoes and peppers - ear-marked for other dishes - were used to make the chunky Spanish-style tuna stew. (It was truly excellent. Ed) 

All is well.