Light Airs

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 30 Sep 2009 16:49
Noon Position: 30 37.8 N 013 16.9 W
Course: South sou' west Speed: 2 knots
Wind: West nor west, light air
Weather: Sunny, warm
Day's Run: 76 miles

Our gentle breeze of yesterday has dropped to a light air, sufficient to maintain steerage way but only just. For much of the night we drifted under the drifter not quite laying the course we need for the Canaries but roughly in the right direction so I was content. We are back to the mainsail and jib mainly because we need to be close on the wind and the drifter is not suitable for close hauled work. Its a low and lazy swell runing so the mainsail is managing to remain full and steady.

This region would be what the old time sailors would call the horse latitudes, an area of calms and light winds between the northern temperate weather patterns and the steady and reliable northeast trades further to the south, dominated by the Azores high. I have read a couple of explanations of the origins of this term, the horse latitudes. The one I remember is that when ships carried horses and other livestock if they were becalmed in this region for any length of time and were running short on water they would jettison the horses to conserve water.

The wind has just dropped off again, not enough to fill the heavy main and jib so I have just dropped those and hoisted the drifter again, doing about a knot and a half roughly in the right direction. Our ETA of tomorrow in the Canaries is now a pipe dream. 150 miles to go at two knots works out to three days, so I'd say the best we are going to do now is early Friday. Oh well, some wind will come.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

I have just been having a good old whine, been living on hard tack for days on end without respite. The skipper knows no mercy. Hmm, I hope we have plenty of water, even so it would be a shame to have to jettison the skipper. He may be a merciless so and so but I'm afraid there is no one else to fill my bowl. What a spot I am in.

"Care charming sleep, thou easer of all woes . ." Zzzzzzz.