Day 79 – 10,000 Miles

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 2 Mar 2022 14:30
Noon Position: 40 44.8 S 007 13.9 W
Course: ESE Speed: 5.5 knots
Wind: W, F4 Sea: slight
Swell: WSW 1 m
Weather: overcast, mild
Day’s Run: 110 nm

In order to create some markers to help break up the monotony of this rather lengthy voyage, I have started tracking Sylph’s weekly progress. 28 February marked the eleventh week of our voyage and the best weekly run to date of 1034 miles, a daily average of 148 miles for an average speed of 6.2 knots. And as of yesterday, Sylph has sailed over 10,000 miles on this voyage, with a total of 10,252 miles sailed as of noon today. As well as crossing all meridians of longitude and crossing the equator twice, we need to cover a minimum of 21,600 miles to have circled the globe. So, we have another 550 miles to go to have satisfied the half way mark of the voyage in terms of distance sailed.
Last night, however, did not significantly add to the running total with very light winds. While there was only minimal swell it was still enough to cause the mainsail to slat badly so at 2115 I dropped the main and set the drifter in its place, with the jib poled out to starboard. At least I could get some sleep now that the rig was not jarring and shaking the whole boat as the mainsail battens crashed against the rigging each time Sylph rolled.
At 0300 I felt that Sylph’s motion was much smoother, the pleasant sound of the ocean swishing past her hull was noticeable (I awoke after to a dream of steamship passing close by), and glancing up at the GPS display Sylph was doing a steady five knots. Time to get the mainsail up and the drifter down. This done I retired back to my bunk only to hear and feel the mainsail crashing around again less than half and hour later. Bother! Getting the drifter back up in the dark was going to be a real trial. I decided to leave it until dawn and to put up with the jarring and crashing as best I could.
Come dawn the wind had freshened just enough for the slatting to stop, so I allowed myself a bit more sleep until 0900 when I heard a dull bang from on deck. Something had broken. I jumped out of my bunk and went on deck to investigate (at least the weather is benign enough not to require boots and foul weather gear). The starboard jib sheet had chafed through where it passes through the whisker pole parrot beak. I was grateful it was not something worse, such as the boom topping lift parting ways with the masthead yet again. It was a simple matter of furling the jib, resetting it on the port side under the lee of the mainsail and retying the now lazy starboard jib sheet to the clew (the sheet had only lost about nine inches in length). I also took the opportunity to gybe the mainsail and then reset the jib poled out to port.
Now that we have rounded Gough Island, we probably need to head south a bit to find fresher winds. (Speaking of Gough Island, I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that I did try to call the Meteorological/Science station on VHF several times but received no reply. Most likely no one was listening or the radio was switched off.)
For now the wind is steady and the sails are full.
All is well.