Rich Carey
Thu 5 Apr 2018 19:10
05:18.073N 082:14.962W

I certainly don't scare easily, but I did have a 'this probably isn't a good idea' moment last night. So what was I doing wrong? I was watching 'Prometheus'! When the evil thing from the alien spaceship burns through the engineers helmet and his head dissolves, I suddenly though "Hey Rich, how about setting yourself up for nightmares, on a restless night, in the pitch black, in the middle of nowhere, totally alone"! Yep, that didn't work, so I binned the movie, despite being a guy that shakes his head at lame assed horror movies - extenuating circumstances - right!?

Thus the night went well ...

In fact it went very very well. Being a poor sleeper that wakes often (just for the last few years [20]), has set me up very nicely for this lifestyle: Set timer for an hour; Wake; Reset countdown; Look at monitor [noting: no traffic; expected speed; going in the right direction; no changes in the wind to effect the sails (if up)]; Listen to the running engine (if motoring); Turn over and nod off again. That's only about 8 minutes work in 8 hours - easy peasy. Of course things change a lot when the weather's lively - trust I, it's not always like this!

So today I was up at 07:00 well rested. Wind was 'bugger all on the tail', but later in the morning swung as expected to 'weak on the nose'. Spent some time tuning the sails to it, and got a reasonably satisfying small wind assist - still needed the donk, as wind in single digit. There's often a swing in fortunes around 13 knots, that's quite interesting. You transition from: 5 knots under donk, and 1 knot wind assist, to: 5 knots under wind and 1 knot donk assist. That's the point you start to ease back on the revs, and if the wind give you just a breath or two more, you may get to kill the donk. Not expecting to kill the donk anytime soon, but at least the sails are well set, so no banging or flogging - nice. x86 would be looking splendid from a distance, if there were any eyes around! Even Bosun would be enjoying today, that's 'relative' of course ... I raise my coffee mug to Bosun - still missing you mate!

Next I moved onto the Hydrovane. It's such a wonder, and saves a heap of power (when you turn off the autopilot). But it can be a bit lady like - not knowing if you're coming or going half the time, is not great at sea! It takes a while, for a particular wind direction, to get the vane tuned in. There's a frustration period of tweaking and tuning (interspersed by manual directional recovery when you screw it up), until all of a sudden it's a lock, and remains so for hour after hour. You do need to keep you eye on things more, when on wind steering, but that's the job so no complaints.

Made a splendid bracket for my night monitor tablet. I had the tablet on a board, jammed down the side of the couch, at a half decent eye line from where I lie in the saloon. The new bracket, mounts it higher, better angled, and at a better eye distance (so I don't need to flap around every hour looking for my reading glasses). Nice.

Live update: Just heard something bump its way through the hulls. Small log. When that happens, it's a good idea to stand on deck scanning forward for a while, as debris 'fields' are not uncommon. Wood and weeds aren't too bad as they're floating, so you're not worried about the props. If it's anything else, then you'd go out of gear, and slow up, while you see if you can circle out. This debris appears to be just a few floating bits of tree. Changed the running engine while on deck - running each for 6 hours at a time.

Bit of a swell right on the nose happening, most likely tide induced as the period is quite short. Slowing me a bit, but not bad.

Listening to Keith Urban on the tunes box. Thinking about a spot of lunch. Then, what movie?

All's good on x86, smooth and easy thus far.

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