FW: on the way to LP 1

Fenix II ARC
Liz/Steve Rakoczy
Wed 10 Nov 2010 13:46



03/11/2010      Distance: ~126 NM   “33:16N 09:41W”     


When you are at sea the weather is the boss. It determines whether you are happy, seasick, bored or elevated. This time “the boss” decided that we had to reach Las Palmas before the next cold front comes through with a storm (7/8 November) thus we reluctantly but unanimously decided to give a miss to visiting Casablanca and Essaouira in Morocco.


After a less than satisfying rolly night with not much sleep we got up somewhat tired. The morning was very busy as we set up the sails for downwind sailing. Poled out the jib. Installed downhaul, uphaul, preventer etc.


Steve and Mark repaired the leaking hose, and with a joint effort we installed the solar panels on top of the bimini (a sun shade above the cockpit) to top up our batteries and I reported our position to the “Commander” (the weather guys in the US who are doing the routing for our passage).


Beautiful sailing under the main and the poled out jib. Steve and Mark are chetting, Kynan is fishing and I’m writing the blog. Nice! No fish for dinner, though.


With all the sail changes we got really hungry at around 16.00. Kynan volunteered to cook spaghetti Bolognaise, which we consumed with great enjoyment as soon as he lifted the pot from the gas burner. We celebrated our great progress with a bottle of Aussi red wine from Eastern South Australia according to the label. Has anyone heard about a wine growing region called Eastern South Australia? But the wine was pretty good.


The night sailing was good, with a steady wind gusting to 18kts and we were “on the run” with the genoa (big jib or front sail) flying on port side and the main on starboard, both almost perpendicular to the boat center line. This “Goose wing” arrangement of sails maximizes the accelerating power of both sails. And we were flying at 7-7.5 kts. When I came up for my watch the sea was quite rough and from time to time the white water came through the gunwale. We looked like a ghost ship with the huge sails flying on two sides and leaving a white wake behind us. The boat rolled quite a bit from side to side. The night sky changed. It was cloudy and lots of white horses were riding on top of the waves. I new I should furl the genoa but at the same time I was worried about letting the sheet out. Steve heard the bad noises the sails made and came up to help me with the furling.


During his watch between 1-3 am Kynan noticed a strobe light in the distance He correctly raised Steve and they steered the boat towards the source of the flashing light.

Strobe lights are fitted to life vests or life rings to mark the location of someone fallen into in the water. A flashing light is incredible visible during the night and if the conditions are not too bad they are essential for locating the unfortunate sailor.


Story: .Years ago well before the time of rules about strobe lights, GPS navigation or EPIRB became standard, I read a story. I woman and her husband were sailing on a small 30 foot sailing boat. The guy was on night-watch while the lady was fast asleep in her bunk. He went to the side of theboat to take a leak over the rails and as happen so often he fell over board. He was not tied to the boat but I assume he was wearing a life vest. He must have been startled, terrified with fear as the boat slowly but steadily disappeared on the horizon. His screams did not wake his wife.


When and hour or so the lady woke to take her turn at the night-watch she was astonished to find her husband missing. He must have been a valuable item as she straight away set out to find him in the dark, moonless night. She turned the boat around and using their plots on the map she sailed the boat back and found her husband floating helplessly. She plucked him out of the water and they were so overjoyed  with this incredible reunion that they made love to celebrate his survival. Just, like in a Hollywood movie.

Now, this is what I call good seamanship!


So, Kynana and Steve set out for the rescue of a fellow sailor who might have fallen over with his pants down. Within minutes they arrived to the strobe light and found a buoy marked with the light. Very much against the rules of the sea. Strobes are specifically designed  for man over board (MOB) situations.