sailor’s life is a varied and multi-faceted one. This is not always the pleasure
that it should be!
have had a wearisome old night and day. There was some wind yesterday evening,
and we put everything up to take advantage, knowing that we would not get much
boat speed in the light airs but we need to ration our diesel consumption for
when it might be really needed (eg when we can see land but are completely
an hour of the first night watch, Lorraine put the engine on as she had lost
steerage way when the winds eased to c 4-7 knots, and became variable in
direction. This lasted through Ali’s watch, and when I came on at 0300, Ali and
I felt that we could tease some sailing out of the 8 knots that had arrived. Up
it all went again, and my watch and Jim’s saw some decent boat speed, with the
winds increasing up to c 20 knots. Ali took up the cudgel at 0900 and was able
to keep the momentum up until 1030. Not all of this travel was in exactly the
right direction, but progress it was nonetheless.
engine again till midday, then off again when the wind picked up. Back on at
1430 till 1900, when we found some more of the fickle little creature. Despite
the fact that we are heading due north now (Iceland here we come), sailing is
much better that droning on and on (I will stop soon!).
all this, we have had winds from all directions, at all speeds. We have had
smooth seas, with long low swell. We have had big seas, with cross swell. We
have had chop and slop. We have had all sails up, reefed sails up, no sails up.
The only constant has been change. We now want some goldilocks wind and waves,
asked a question that may also be on your mind: why we did not carry more diesel
for the crossing – estimated distance plus 10%. This is the kind of calculation
that coastal sailors use as a norm, where running out near the sharp bits can be
a bit traumatic, and it is the cause of many rescue calls when it goes wrong. It
is completely impractical for offshore passage making. You just run out of space
and carrying capacity.
pilot books suggest that cautious skippers might take enough fuel to motor c
1000 miles on this particular crossing of about 1800 miles, since it often
involves light winds at some points – especially on the approach to the Azores
it the usual high pressure system is in place. Most of the boat crews we spoke
to in Bermuda were planning to leave with less, fingers crossed, prepared to be
out sailing for longer if they needed to be.
have double diesel tanks, and we filled 10 cans with more, stowed around the
boat. We left with enough diesel for about 1050 miles of motoring (probably
another 100 if we transfer all the diesel into one tank), but have consumed
about 400 miles worth already either by motoring or generating power when we
were not. This leaves about 650 potential miles’ motoring and we are still about
700 miles off, and this is as the crow flies – and Watergaw is no crow, nor do
the winds obey our wishes. We could end up doing half as much again, if we do
not get more north in the wind (thankfully now forecast).
the end of the day we are on a yacht designed to sail, and sailing is what we
want to do. So what if it takes another day or another week – we will NOT run
out of food and drink!
has asked for a special mention (again) of her sterling work on stitching the
main sail. We are checking it regularly, and it showing no signs of stress, the
sequins shining in the sunlight (we got a bit of that today, as well as dark
clouds, rain et al). She is planning something special for her debut on
Back to Where We Started…
is Jim’s watch now, and we promised him we would go on port tack as it got dark.
He wants to go to sleep thinking that he is getting nearer his beloved back in
London, rather than heading for the Arctic. Best go help him since he has not
had a lot of good sleep over the last couple of nights, and is due the gentle
kiss of Morpheus.
music on the stereo tonight….
U2, Saw Doctors, Fergil, and Corrs would you believe? Must be going mad out