to the end theme from last night, we had Jim on the music box this evening. Good
start with the Mamas and the Papas, then on to the Rolling Stones – he must be
older than he looks! Either that or he is selecting things that were in his
parents’ collection in order to keep the old folks happy. Lorraine has had a
couple of nights as DJ, and tends towards Van the Man and Rod Stewart, though
she has been impressed with Ray Lamontagne and Jack Johnson so we have heard
great favourites on her entertainments watch.
of them are big divers, with a passion for sea life, swimming and sticking their
heads underwater. Lorraine has also been keen to go swimming out here in
mid-Atlantic. We have been reluctant to stop the boat since we are not making
the kind of progress we would like, so have offered a compromise: we can put her
on a long tether and let her body surf behind us. Whether it is the fear of
becoming shark bait, or of our reluctance to come back for her if she loses the
tether, she has so far declined.
this subject, we are still desperately short on whales. Two sightings are just
not enough out here, and we are pining for a glimpse of the creatures. The
Azores is renowned for the concentration of whales, so we passed time today
envisioning them waiting for our approach, ready with their breaching, lob
tailing and slapping the arrival. We will probably be so knackered by then we
won’t notice the fanfare!
did see another turtle today, which looked either dead or very close to it. He
was covered in some kind of weedy growth, and floating just on or below the
surface. Jim thought he saw some movement, but I felt it was just the action of
the waves. It seems terribly sad that an animal has made its way so far from its
“home” for breeding reasons only to find itself expiring in a watery grave.
crossed the 2/3rds mark this evening, as we ate dinner. The remaining distance
is shrinking nicely now. There was a slow, but amusing start to the night
watches: at less than 2.5 knots in variable winds, Ali followed Lorraine’s
example of the previous night and allowed the boat to head back for Bermuda till
she re-established control. Thereafter things improved as we finally clawed our
way out of the ridge in which we had been stuck for more than a day.
wind picked up and by morning we were humming along beautifully: this is a
matter of opinion, of course – Lorraine’s ideal night would have us triple
reefed main and staysail if it stopped the banging, crashing and rolling that
typify a boat on the wind passage-making in mid-Atlantic. It is hard to stay in
one place in your bunk, so jamming yourself in is essential. She has the
advantage of the best sea berth on the boat though I fear she does not see it
this way – maybe a night in the fore cabin or aft cabin change her
Reef and Steer
was the old way, long since made redundant or made easy by technology of one
kind or another, much thanks.
Hydrovane has been doing most of the steering for us this trip, as she did on
the east-west crossing. It is truly a good piece of equipment, but it does have
its idiosyncrasies. Though we meet the parameters of the manufacturer, the wind
vane that drives the rudder is too small for a boat our size and weight, and
likewise the rudder. This means that it takes too long for it to adjust our
steering when there is a wind shift or we climb up and down a swell (of which
there are a lot).
have concluded that the company ought to change its strap line to “Hydrovane sails you more miles” and in
parenthesis (than you really want to
go) or (but not all in the right
direction). I reckon we must
travel at least 10-15% further than we would by hand steering (though we have
not had a lot of takers for this when offered as an alternative).
(always the one for the questions) asked why we used it, but the answer is
simple – c. 7 amps power consumption for the autopilot, which would cost us an
extra c 150 amp per day whilst driving us mad with the see-sawing noise of the
only would this cane the batteries, but would require much longer running the
diesel generator and cost us fuel – see previous posts!
is a good night for star gazing, so necks craned….