Water Warming and Fog Clearing

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 2 Jun 2009 16:47
Noon Position: 42 48.2 N 047 12.0 W
Course: East Nor'east Speed 5 knots
Wind: Northwest, moderate
Weather: Fog, clearing, mild. Sea: moderate
Day's Run: 96 miles

The fog is starting to clear, at last we are departing the cold Labrador current and entering the warmer North Atlantic current, the water temperature has jumped from 4 degrees to 13 degrees C. Hooray! The chill has diminished, the hull is drying, and I actually got a sun sight in this morning, the horizon was still rather hazy so not the most reliable of sights but better then nothing, and it ties in pretty well with our estimated position.

Last night I went against ship standing orders and carried the drifter after sunset, it was drawing nicely in the light breeze, both the jib and main had been slatting considerably so I had dropped those and it was either the drifter or nothing. And sure enough when I came on deck at midnight for one of my regular checks it was no longer where it should have been, filling the fore-triangle between mast and bow but was making a very effective sea anchor towed from astern, the halyard had chafed through once again. I thought I had found a solution to this problem but it seems not. The problem is the lead of the halyard at the masthead currently passes too close to the jib furling foil - back to the drawing board. I haven't had a chance to inspect the sail yet, I bagged it in the dark but from what I could see there didn't appear to be any obvious damage. I will wait for another period of light wind and drag it out for a closer examination. So we went back to the jib for the rest of the night and just had to put up with the sail flopping around in the light winds, the mainsail stayed stowed.

This morning at 5.30 I awoke and stuck my head outside to see the wind had freshened a little and we were heading in the wrong direction, south, the wind having veered around to the northwest. We jibed the jib and a short while later raised the mainsail, and are now bowling along at a brisk six knots.

Later in the forenoon I was sitting in the cockpit under the dodger reading, "In Search of Ireland's Heroes" by Carmel McCaffrey - boy, was I ever ignorant of Irish history, the POMs sure made a hash of that country. Good book by the way, I can highly recommend it, very readable. Anyway as I was reading I heard a very faint but distinct machinery noise, I peered into the grey gloom, nothing, and the sound was so faint I thought I might be imagining it. After a good look around and confident that there was something there, I called the unknown vessel on the VHF radio, sure enough it was a merchant ship, the BP Loisiana, 2 miles to the north of Sylph. A little reassuring that I could hear something this far away, though it would have been nice to have heard a fog signal, which I didn't. I fear modern ships place too high a reliance on radar and other electronic navigation aids. Hopefully we will have left all traces of fog behind by the end of the afternoon as we become firmly embedded in the warm northeast tending North Atlantic current, sweeping us along to the Emerald Isle, and we can rely on that good old fashioned and highly effective sensor, the Mk1 Mod 1 eyeball.

Now back to Homer and Joyce.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Is it time for me to emerge from the sea rug yet? Is it getting warmer or am I imagining things? I might just stay here for few more days yet, just to be safe.