DAY 13 –
Friday 2/12/11 -
Putting Friday and 13 together in the same sentence –
just as well we are not superstitious. This was a good day, passing over
what we had decreed as the official half way point on Martin’s watch in the
hours. A fairly gentle night meant that we all felt pretty human when we emerged
into the daylight. Just as well, as we had work to do…
The weather has not ideal for us, with winds lighter
than we would like in the low to mid-teens, and forecast to remain like this
As a hefty cruising yacht, Watergaw is more in her
element when the wind pipes up over 20 knots, and needs a bit of encouragement
to get up and go (don’t we all?). Moreover, though the twin high-cut foresail
set up is excellent, it does mean a limited absolute sail area, which restricts
us in light airs. We therefore set up the Parasailor first thing, with the clews
sheeted through the twin spinnaker poles, since this sail can give us more oomph
in these circumstances.
We had a pretty decent run through the daylight hours,
with the crew fighting to be at the wheel, since helming like this – big sail, big swell – is really
rewarding, and people were getting bored. The new sail configuration also reduced
our rolling by about 40%, very welcome.
Our sterling efforts with the Parasailor and hand
steering gained us an extra 12-15 miles over the day, which doesn’t seem a lot,
but over the remaining week and a half could mean a day less overall.
For safety, we reverted to the twin foresails just
before dinner, and hunkered down for the night…..
…. But not before enjoying afternoon coffee and cake,
then a celebratory dinner preceded by a glass of fizzzzz. Folk were very relaxed and happy, and we
waxed lyrical as we listened to music, picking favourites in turn. Seems we all
had a bit of a hippy youth!
It is quite beautiful out here in mid Atlantic in these
conditions, with the big swells that lift you like an express elevator, the sea
birds swooping between and up the waves, the iridescent flying fish trying to
emulate them (always end is an inelegant splash), good food and company. There
is also a feeling of splendid isolation. Though you know that there are probably
50 yachts within 50 miles, as far as the eye can see there is only magnificent
– Duogen Wind/Water Generator
This is the other ugly addition to our stern, but it
does do a really useful job in producing power. The plotters, radar, AIS and
navigation instruments burn a lot of juice, which needs replenished. Moreover,
since a cold beer in this weather is the nectar of the gods, we run 2 fridges
and a freezer for this and other essentials (the boys’ ice cream, for example!).
In all, we need to produce about 250 amps a day to stand still, and the Duogen
probably covers about half of this. There is a small downside, with the loss of
around 0.25 knots boat speed from towing the propeller in our wake. As above,
this does not seem much of a loss of speed till you think that it means c 6
miles a day, 42 another full day’s sailing over a 3 week voyage. However, this is still a piece of kit
that justifies its existence, practically if not aesthetically! Probably rates
Have a good one,