Thursday, 8 December, 06.00 UTC

Thu 8 Dec 2022 06:09
I’m (Ian) on watch sitting in the hatchway, keeping look out and writing this. A big tanker has just crossed our bows at a comfortable 2 nm distance. The calm sea is fully moonlit and we are gently sailing SW, not entirely in the right direction, against light headwinds. The big storm towards the Azores has mucked up the trade winds all the way down here. The forecast is a couple more days like this but maybe a bit more NE in the wind direction, then back to close to zero wind. We’ve 430 miles to go.

Two touching events yesterday. The first that in the night, on Derek’s watch a lone swallow landed on Action Penguin, tucked itself under the spray hood and fell asleep. It flew off a couple of times later in the day but despite our offer of a lift to St Lucia it quietly died. Very sad. Several more swallows flew close, one landing on AP before flying off. Such tiny birds, so far from land.

The second, magic event, was a fill up with diesel over 500 miles from the nearest gas station. We had talked to a Swedish yacht in the morning as it was sailing parallel to us at a distance 10 nm NE of us. They explained they had a problem with their prop shaft, we simply mentioned that we didn’t have enough diesel to motor through the windless holes to get to St Lucia and Derek was keen to meet up with Elaine.

Surprise - this afternoon the Swedish yacht, which we could now identify as Ariel, called on the VHF and said they could pass us diesel. 1 hour later they came up on our starboard side, passed a tow line, pulled ahead and towed us close to their stern. They were a crew of 8 on a big Nijad. Over the next hour they passed us 2 big Jerry cans of diesel, which we immediately poured into our boat tanks, and they then filled 4 of our Jerry cans. We may not have enough diesel to motor all the way to St Lucia but with a couple of days of close hauled sailing we do. Extraordinary generosity and thoughtfulness. We passed them 10 bottles of wine (most of our stock) as a token thanks. They wished Derek good speed to meet up with Elaine.

A trade wind crossing where the trade winds vanish over 1000 miles from the Caribbean (due to a storm 100’s of miles to the north of us) is bad luck with a big B but that elusive cold beer is getting slowly nearer.

14:09.28N 052:57.72W