on the way to LP 3

Fenix II ARC
Liz/Steve Rakoczy
Wed 10 Nov 2010 13:47

05/10/2010      Distance: ~115 NM   “30:35. N 13:13W”   


We all had a great sleep. Not too much wind though to report. We are motoring through a lull, surrounded by mirror flat water. I never imagined that the Atlantic Ocean could look like this. But all this motoring is not good for our fuel supplies. We have a 250l main diesel tank and 150l reserve. The Volvo in normal circumstances is using around 2 l/nm. During the night the reserve was loaded and now we try to motor our way out of this windless high before we run out of fuel. We are heading towards the closest fishing port Graciosa (29:13.8N 13:28.2W) around 167 NM away. Interesting. We were worried about too much wind but we ended up with too little.


I was hoping that our huge asymmetrical spinnaker (160m2) would save the day and keep us moving. We hoisted it on the newly installed bowsprit and initially it looked very promising but the wind has gradually died and at the end we had to take it down. Not even this light monster could keep us moving in 2-3 kts of breeze.


What a day! I mentioned wild life before. Today we not only saw young turtles (30cm long) paddling along the boat apparently practicing their paddling skills. They were absolutely cute somehow missing to turn their paddles to the right direction and remaining motionless. Then they lifted their heads out of the water looked around and tried it again. So gorgeous!

Not only we saw turtles but also some Pilot whales! They were just floating on the top of the water lazily coming up to breathe. As we steered Fenix closer and I was at the bow to get a few seconds of unimpressive video shots I could not help thinking about the unfortunate South African couple whose sailing boat was knocked down by a whale. Maybe us humans are annoying them with our curiosity.


We continue motoring while sitting in the middle of an oily looking dark blue sea that compensates us for the lack of wind with all these wonderful sightings. We learnt that the storm forecast in the Canaries has been cancelled so we will have little wind for the next 260NM, though maybe for the last 100 NM we will get 15-20knts. On the other hand the forecasts are now threatening us with a 15 foot swell next week. Now that is not a good news. But hopefully by that time we will be safely tucked away in Las Palmas nursing a beer.


At 31:11.490N 12.00.905W Mark came up with a great idea. What about swimming? If the turtles, whales and dolphins find this water so appealing we might like it, too. So off we went into the blue 2,290m deep water! Just in case the current was faster than our strokes one of us remained on Fenix all the time. The story of the four West Australian sailors disappearing from a catamaran with breakfast table laid and coffee waiting for them just lived too vividly in our minds.

Some are working hard. Mark is an excellent helmsman                           Some are enjoying their hard earned break

We have run out of fuel, more precisely we were down to the red reserve level thus switched off the noise generator for our dinner. The boys promised tuna and I planned sashimi for dinner. Pulled out the wasabi, the ginger, dug up the rice etc. But no catch. So, we had to settle for a salad Nicoise using tinned tuna caught by luckier fishermen. Considering that the waters around us were teaming with wild life we were a little perplexed by the reluctance of any fish to get on our hooks. There were two possible causes: (i) the unlikely explanation that all those dolphins and pilot whales were staving (ii) our lures’ were hopeless. But there was hope waiting for us 182 NM away in Las Palmas. Our dear friend Jose crossed the Atlantic 2 years ago and they caught so many fish that they were considering bartering them. He used his own lures designed and made by him. Hearing about our plans he offered some of his trusted lures to us and they are waiting for us in Las Palmas. There must be a way to catch fish in an ocean that provides a living from fish, for so many along its shores!


Straight after dinner we launched the spinnaker and started to sail S/W at 4.5 kts in 4 kt wind! Now we are talking. A very enjoyable start for the night watches. We traveled under the asymmetric spinnaker during the night reaching 8kts! In the mornig we performed a perfect jibe to continue our trip either to Las Palmas or to Graciosa, wind permitting.




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