Half way to Mindelo

Sweet Dreams
Roz Preston /Ed Phillips
Thu 10 Nov 2022 13:18
We left Las Palmas on Sunday afternoon, and here I am on Thursday morning wondering where the time has gone! It is amazing how many hours you can spend just sitting in the cockpit, watching water. And flying fish, our constant companions! It’s a privilege to be out here in this watery world. 

This is how the day works out. All 4 of us do one night watch - 3 hours each, but there are more than 12 hours of darkness now. I am very happy with my watch, 20.00 - 23.00 hours, so I have a fairly normal day, I get to bed at my usual bedtime and I’m up at 08.00 ready for tea and breakfast. The first night is always difficult, especially after a long stretch in a marina. Trying to get to sleep in a rolling boat with a clamorous sea rushing past the hull, knowing there are only a few centimetres of planking and a coat of paint between me and the Atlantic Ocean is a bit of a challenge. As is finding a way of wedging myself in to my berth, which takes some creative arrangement of spare cushions, pillows etc. But by the second night sleep comes much more easily. I am getting a good 8 hours a night. Dick and Angus, in narrow berths either side of the saloon, are not faring quite so well, and Ed has to contend with the squeak of the autohelm in his aft cabin, but they all seem to be quite well rested. And there is always the daytime nap!

Nothing much happens overnight. Occasionally we chat with other boats nearby, or listen to other conversations between the fleet. There was a pan pan call two nights ago, one of the boats hit a submerged object and took a bit of damage but they have been able to carry on. We can see some of the others on the AIS, but most are a long way ahead now. 

We have a cooking rota as well. Everyone sorts out their own breakfast, mostly just a banana, a coffe or tea, and in Dick and Angus’ version, a few roll ups 🙄- very healthy! 
Then we match our watch rota - me, Dick, Ed and Angus. I wouldn’t say it was competitive but some damned good meals are coming out of the galley, and with 3 days to plan the menu the meals are quite adventurous. My turn today - there is something spicy cooking slowly in the eco pot, hope it goes down as well as last night’s deconstructed cottage pie. Great excitement yesterday morning when we hooked a fish - a yellowfin tuna, we think, that would have made a good ceviche starter for 4. Sadly for us it made a bid for freedom when it caught sight of the winch handle brandished by Angus, and made its slithery escape. Later in the evening the lure and weight disappeared off the line, and we counted ourselves lucky not to have had a closer encounter with whatever it was with sharp enough teeth to get through that lot. 🫣

We are somewhere off the coast of Mauritania now and out of the shade of the Bimini it’s very hot. But with the watermaker producing 50 litres every 2 hours when we charge the batteries by running the engine, there are warm showers whenever we want and plenty of fresh drinking water. 

I would be lying if I told you we were the fastest boat in the fleet, but we arent the slowest either, despite our 3rd from the bottom rating! And we are first (and last) of the wooden boats! We are making steady progress towards the Cape Verde Islands under twin headsails. Our average speed is just over 5 knots so unless the wind drops too dramatically, we should arrive sometime on Sunday morning. We decided not to push the boat too hard, preferring an easy sail without lots of sail changes. The wind is blowing a fairly steady 15-20 knots out of the north, and this being the trades, should continue to do so for the next few days. 

Anyway it’s nearly time for me to start on lunch and the boys are up in the cockpit ready to take a sun sight, so lots to do!

Until next post,

Sweet Dreams out. 

Sorry no pics, they take too much data through the satellite. 

Sent from my iPad