Improved Conditions

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 15 Nov 2008 17:57
November 15, 2008

Noon Position: 35 53.0 N 062 43.1 W

Course: East Speed: 7 knots

Wind: South 10 knots

Weather: Partly cloudy, warm

Day's Run: 152 miles

It is day six since the start of this passage and day five since taking our departure from Chesapeake Bay. We've caught up a little on our ghost ship from the 1890s, the Hosea Higgins, over the last 24 hours. At noon on day five she was 1000 miles out from Sandy Hook, New York and we are now 670 miles out from Cape Henry. The Higgins spent the day becalmed and the author of "By Way of Cape Horn", Paul Stevenson had this to say:

"May 16,

Our first Sabbath at sea broke calm and warm. When we went on deck at seven bells not a breath of air was stirring, the ship had no steerage way, and an oily calm lay upon the face of the deep, .

How orderly and quiet a ship is on a Sunday afternoon when the weather is mild and clear! Every rope, every implement, is in its place, the decks have been washed as clean as hard scrubbing can make them, and the brass mountings shine like mirrors. Coiled away in the shady nooks lie the watch, each with a book or paper in his hand, deep buried in its contents. Some recline in the waterways under shadow of the bulwarks, others in the shade of the deck-house; some on the forecastle-head, where cools airs circulate from the swinging of the big foresail and jibs. The only audible sounds are the flapping of the sails, the somnolent cheeping of the blocks, and the working of the rudder-head as the ship rolls about in the swell, with perhaps the low tones of a man's voice humming an air to himself on the main-hatch. A more peaceful scene it would be impossible to imagine than that presented by a large ship thus becalmed . "

Despite the oily calm the Higgins still managed to make a very respectable eighty miles that day, a slippery ship that is going to be hard to keep up with.

It's only Saturday back here in the 21st century, nonetheless I was motivated this morning to try and square our ship away a little. Last night we had a minor accident, Bob Cat was squawking, wanting food. I pulled out the bag of cat's 'hard tack' and the bag burst, dry cat food every where! The look on Bob Cat's face was almost worth the mess I had to clean up.

Last Thursday afternoon we spoke with a 53 foot yacht on the VHF radio, the Westwind hailing from Newport, Rhode Island bound for Bermuda and possible the Caribbean.

Hank and Cathy, thank you for the "windometer". It works great. Mind you it was a bit deflating riding out the rough stuff yesterday to check the wind speed and see it was only 12 knots! It was probably a bit of a lull but even so. It is amazing how wind against current can really kick up a steep sea. Today the wind is about 10 knots and the seas are mild and very pleasant.

Bob Cat:

The conditions have improved over the past 24 hours, now I can get back to doing what I do best, eating and sleeping. When its rough I focus mainly on the sleeping. I think the skipper has a very strange sense of humour, a plate full of food would have been nice, not a bag full showering over one's head. It is a bit of a sick joke anyway, the stuff is barely edible, though I did force myself to have a nibble. Skipper Bob would probably call it irony, I call it purrile.

All is well.