All at Sea

Phil Pascoe
Sun 14 Jun 2009 12:05

45:32.8 N 18:0.25W
14 June, 12.00h, All at Sea

Robin.  At sea Sunday 14th June nearly half way from Horta in the Azores to the Yealm. About 640 sea miles in about 110 hours an average speed of 5.8 knots which is pretty good. Weather was a bit nasty the first two days but since then we have been broad reaching and running in 15-20 knot winds with not too much rolling. Jolly cold considering we are only a few days from midsummer: should have brought long johns and more than two sweaters.

As expected, it is quite boring with an empty sea day after day and one thinks of all the other things one could be doing ashore or coastal cruising. Along the coast or short open sea hops there is all ways something changing to look at and one knows that at the end of the passage there will be a new place to explore or an old favourite to revisit.  Perhaps after over 50 years sailing and maybe 15,000 miles, I have lost interest in the sailing per se but still enjoy the results and the company.

Phil:  I concur with the above, every non-sailor knows that sailing is a boring, pointless exercise; it’s convincing the sailing fraternity, that’s the problem.  This leg wasn’t too sociable the first few days as sitting around in the cockpit in cold, damp conditions is not that attractive.  When we came off watch, instead of whiling away an hour chatting in shorts and a T-shirt (Caribbean style), most of us headed straight to bed in an attempt to combat hypothermia and sleep deprivation.  I guess Robin and Chris had no warm up sail to prepare for this, it was straight from being tourists in the Azores to ocean sailors facing a 1250 mile passage.  Still, I’m very grateful that they ‘volunteered’ to sample these dubious pleasures.

Latterly, we’ve had some sunshine and some enjoyable social meals.  We have loads of food and grog (Robin & Chris did the provisioning), so there’s no chance of starvation or scurvy.  Time passes slowly with only Shearwaters and petrels for company whilst on watch, but the 3 or 4 hour watches are bearable if there’s something to think about.  At least the others have Malawi and concrete to talk about, I just think of England (or Devon & Cornwall), that green and pleasant land. (‘Typical’, I hear you say, ‘He always wants to be somewhere else.’)
We’ve been very lucky with the weather and winds so far, for once they’ve complied to the norm for this area, and we’ve been able to sail fast and comfortably for 4.5 days.  Almost a downwind sleigh ride; brilliant if only it was 10 degrees warmer.  There is a change forecast for the next few days, but we should still be able to make progress in the right direction.  Will keep you posted.
My Birthday tomorrow - thanks for the cake Paula, not sure what we’ll use for candles.

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