Mit Gusto

Sue & Alan
Fri 3 Jan 2014 12:19
For best part yesterday we continued tracking mostly SSW, with the gap between Aftica and Cape Verdi Islands in our sights (not literally because we are talking 600 NM or so away!). It's always been our intention to 'dive' on a southerly course until we get best trade winds to hang a right towards Barbados on a mostly westwards course. Latest grib files promising strengthening winds giving a good outlook for better progress towards our destination. On 8-12 last night winds showed early signs and our boat speed went up significantly fro time to time although not nearly enough to justify a reef. Ray came on at midnight moaning and laughing at his attempt to make bouncy ZZZZZZZZ's. I hit the sack and any prior feeling of sleep deserted me so I listened to the eternal changing moans & groans as the wind and waves began the medieval rack treatment. It seemed the instant I might finally enjoy the sensation of a spread-eagled yoga-like flattened frog the nastly swell from the north had othe
r ideas. On couple of occasions the auto-pilot gave its all to correct the cork-screw, putting us on alert. Very much like "Enough enough the maiden cried. Enough enough I'm satisfied....... and now we come to the final bit, there was no way of stopping it.........." So at 0400 when Ray put me on the shake' our newly fixed phenomenally brilliant aircraft lights (3 x 40W deck lights) went on, the dark way light and I'm out on deck to reef the genoa. I missed out the fact that Ray was very proud telling me we had covered 32NM in his 4 hour watch, which meant because we were doing 6'ish kn when I handed over we were exceeding 8kn plenty of the time. Approaching 8kn we reef. This means we can assess our options and thereby avoid risking dropping warm malteezers all over the place if being over-powered! Since reefing we're averaging 6kn'ish and the coasting more calmly - how pleasant at 0500 in the morning! And its so black out there!
Earlier yesterday Ray and I did a bit of brain storming and we listed contents for intended grab-bag. All done now. Another of those safety 'things' which need doing with NO INTENTION of ever using. (Now I ask yeah........ do you really need a bog-roll in a grab bag?)
For dinner (lunch) I cooked an imaginative version somewhat resembling Sue's mustardy-cheese toastie special. Mine version having the addition of tomatoes slices, salami & specially created fresh carbon-coated corners! Unlike yesterday's version, this time I left the black bits black because it was only the corners and the rest looked so good neither of us wasted any - or is it the mouth-watering black-bits which made my cooking so tasty? Went down a treat anyway (with a can of beer)! Later in the day, with Susans Atlantic Cruisers Net on the go from 1900 UT we aim to be eating tea (dinner) for 1830. Unable to make good ZZZZZZ's previous night, Ray hit the sack for couple of hours mid-afternoon. I guess he must have needed a pee around 4'ish because he got up twittering something about making the tea? I'm thinking "What's he gonna make if it's gonna take him 2½ hours to do it?" So I asked. We had a good cuppa tea and 2 hours later Ray re-heated a wonderfully tasty (Santa Cruz) prepar
ed chilli on bed of spaghetti. Also, couple hours earlier we spots a bit of a twig & rag on our stbd bow/horizon. We get the bins out and assess we will probably catch it up. This is first vessel we have seen all day (visual, radar or AIS). I decides to say hello on C16 - even though it's less than 5NM away there's no response! Here's the good bit, we're keeping good eyeball out because slowly, slowly we're closing-in. Best spag-chilli were gonna get fed today just makes it on the table when our VHF comes into life. "Ticketeeboo, Ticketeeboo this is Laguna 39, Laguna 39, over". Bugger me that's good timing (as I part company from the cockpit and take residence at the nav table, bowl of spag-chilli in hand). "Station calling Ticketeeboo on C16. This is Ticketeeboo what working channel do you want to use?" In the ensuing conversation this guy says he has worked out we have a closing 'closest position of approach' and wants to know what we intend doing? I says yes we're getting closer,
we're keeping watch, we're the give way vessel and we'll cross your bow at least ½M distance because we have a pole out - making it difficult for us to change course to pass more closer, astern. When we change course to port we will go faster and pass at safe distance. I asked name of his boat, 'Laguna 39' because it's not been registered and I mentioned not being able to see his navigation lights in the fading light! All good fun and we may not see anyone else for many days. I was still devouring my spag-chilli when Ray steered us passed him before resuming best course we could make. Immediately after at 1900 on the dot our SSB squarked into life as Martha (s/y Silver Fern) announced her presence on the net, giving me yet another chance to make a nuisance of myself!
There's more nasty weather happening in UK so we're much better off being here!
At 0630 we (me on watch) decided to turn off the wind to get better angle on destination, deploying both ford sails, gib & reefed genoa. Unfortunately the poohey/swelly sea meant we couldn't stop our sails from flogging a little, from time to time. Acceptable until I noticed a little tear in the UV strip (gib leech) where the leech-line block rubs against the inside of UV strip. Hence, were now heading further south than we wish for a while and until we can get better angle on Barbados without letting our valuable for's sails flog. I have a little sewing job to do sometime - probably weakened over the years.

In last 24 hours:
# Distance run made-good = 87 NM
# Shortest distance to go towards Barbados = 2361 NM
# Number of fresh tasty fishies caught by squiddy = 0
# Number of hours successfully making ZZZZZZ's = almost 0 (so both of us will have daytime nap today)
Ticketeeboo MMSI 235071989 Callsign 2CED3, Ham = m0hng
At 03/01/2014 12:10 (utc) our position was 24°46.39'N 019°46.57'W