Thursday, 18 May 2023

Thu 18 May 2023 12:10
We steadily sail on in slight seas.

There is something pleasing about the simplicity of the sails driving Action Penguin effortlessly; the wind vane steering the boat via a simple vane and paddle, and then two rope lines to the wheel and the sun and wind maintaining the batteries fully charged. Another delight is the water maker, powered by the self sufficient battery system. None of us are a fan of the water taste but we’ll install an in-line carbon filter before the tap to get that right. Even more pleasing is the other extreme of high tech on board: Satellite Iridium communication via MailaSail giving us easy communication and easy access to Grib files, two chart plotters with AIS, Echomax to provide a clear radar echo to any ships radar, the DCS VHF’s, the powerful Autopilot used when we’re under power and the radar. With each system we have been learning more functions and how to get more out of each of them.

Yesterday we advanced the ship’s clock two hours while maintaining the same watch routine.

We’ve seen very few ships, all tankers and (probably) only one yacht. We’ve communicated with the few yachts, all well spread out, making the same passage and kept daily contact with Brian sailing solo in his bilge keel, Sadler 26. He’s made remarkable progress but has run out of fuel to use on passage for his 6 HP outboard. He made 12 miles yesterday in no wind. He’s still sane.

We moved our skill level up a bit today sending a DSC (Digital Selective Calling) VHF connection to a tanker steaming on an opposite course. It was an automatic call that switched his radio to Channel 8. It worked. No need to call on 16 and hope you get received. We started practicing with Jonny’s sextant but agree with Jimmy Cornell that modern systems make sailing much safer than before their introduction. We have 3 independent chart plotters + GPS iPad with Navionics + Garmin InReach GPS + paper charts to give us back up to mitigate multiple kit failures.

The moon’s rise and fall has now advanced to happening over the horizon so that the nights are dark with a faint illumination from the stars.

We’re downloading a LuckGrib forecast twice a day as the weather systems are changing rapidly. It looks as though we have several days of fair winds but a big low moving north east towards Northern Europe is pulling the high north of the Azores. This risks giving us head winds as we get nearer our destination. However that forecast may be quite different as we move forward.

We’re now making 6 Kn in 10 Kn apparent wind. We’ve sailed 1,508 miles from Tortola with 965 miles to go and making around 125 miles a day, not bad with half a mainsail.

33:05.76N 47:20.37