Sunday 12th April 29:02.00N 068:14.00W

Excellence of Dart
Peter Coxon
Sun 12 Apr 2015 14:30

274 miles sousouwest of Bermuda at 1030hrs and motoring under a near cloudless sky and a peaceful sea with 3K of wind only. We are now in the North Atlantic with nothing to see but bright blue sea, sky blue sky ( funnily enough) and navy blue boat and cockpit cushions> even the towels and my shorts are dark blue. The only real contrast apart from gradually re-tanning brown skin is the white of the sails and coach roof together with some harmless looking fluffy clouds to starboard.

We are motoring now at a conservative 6.4K and 1500 Revs and at this rate we should sight land before dawn on Tuesday and hope to slip into St Georges in Bermuda soon after first light. Obviously one can never predict with certainty but that is the current thinking. There may be a bit more wind tomorrow to speed us along yet we can’t enter before dawn anyway so we’ll bide our time for now and try to catch some fish.

We had a some success with the fish with Richard and Sheila aboard between The Dominican Republic and Jamaica, although he might suggest that was down to him...

Either way I have hope on the one hand whilst also noticing that this sea area seems amazingly devoid of anything. A few flying fish, one now hooked on as bait, but to date on this trip from Jamaica no dolphin or other signs of sea life and since the Bahamas no bird life either. Even in mid Atlantic on the way over we would spot say a Tropic bird a thousand miles from land but here so far nothing, nowt, zilch.

Even the last spotted ship was over 40 hrs ago I think- not sure as it is easy to lose track of time. Actually I am finding some of this quite meditative. Little to do in these conditions. The boat is mostly taking care of herself. Lots of reading, writing, thinking, planning, wondering, imagining, dozing  then more active bouts of exercise – press ups, sit ups, planks, squats and some yoga stretches – anything that can be done whilst keeping your bottom on the deck or your hands firmly gripping something substantial like the deck or the shrouds. The preparation and eating of the meals punctuates the day.

Night watch consists of cat napping with an alarm set for every 14 minutes to ensure I scan the horizon, check the course and the set of the sails then immediately re set the alarm and  lie down again usually to fall into an instant, if mostly light sleep. The 14 minutes is a bit of a trade off but essentially it is based on the fact that if there is no ship in sight on the last sweep of the horizon then any large vessel just below the horizon and heading our way is unlikely to be upon us in the next 13 minutes say. A big ship can usually be seen, with good visibility, over 6 miles away. If heading directly for us at say 20K it would take it over a quarter of an hour to bear down on us. If it was head on we have to add our own speed of 6-8K so at a closing speed of say 27K we have 13 minutes minimum to get out of the way. So ok I have become lazy- I used to set the alarm for 12 minutes but that comes round far too quickly!!

Last night I was off watch immediately after a light supper and went to bed, read a couple of pages then had my best and deepest sleep of the trip- the engine was on, there was no wind and so little to listen out for. Also with the engine on it is no problem to draw power to keep the radar on and with 2 ‘alarm zones’ set that provides even more comfort with the confidence that all bar the smallest of boats are ‘usually’ detected when the vessels are still miles away.  

Have seen another living creature at last. The crew surfaced for some papaya an hour ago then disappeared again- so that is the last 14 hours minus two minutes of single handed sailing or sleeping- quite peaceful really.


Ok, ‘that’s all folks’ ( was that the Tom and Jerry cartoons By Fred Quimby? Or may be Top Cat, either way it had a cat in it I’m sure)