Water Music day 17

Fri 14 Dec 2012 14:50
Current position:  14.01.9N; 56.46.0W
It seems like an age away that Grace was begging for some boredom- which we interpreted to be a lack of wind.  Well eventually she got what she wanted (she always does if she asks for long enough) and the wind died last night to mean our speed went down to less than 4knots.  At that rate we would be out here for ever – getting very brown in the hot, hot sunshine, but also getting thin as our supplies begin to dwindle.
Prior to that yesterday we were circled by a large bird – it wasnt a pheasant and so we decided it must be an albatross.  The albatross (how far do they wander?) stayed with us for several hours before finding someone else to speak to.  I think he must have realised that our fishing days were over and so went off in search of more fruitful friends.
We ran out of water in all the main tanks yesterday and so are now down to our bottled supply (approx 30l) and our emergency cans of water that we stocked up with in Gib.  Fuel is also not too plentiful as we have about 230Nm of diesel left and some 400Nm left to run.  The forecast is also for light winds.
So against that background we decided to put the engine on last night at 1800 and run until we had sufficient wind to sail. As it turned out this took until 0900 this morning – during which time we had been motoring (with sails up) at a speed between 4 and 5 knots to conserve as much fuel as we could. 
Finally, after an age of fiddling, we have got the autopilot working – by over-riding the panel in the cockpit.  It is very clunky as you cant adjust the course easily and takes a rather odd interpretation from the GPS as its target.  (It may not be that odd and, I’ll say it before you, that we may simply have the co-ordinates for the Panama canal in the GPS as our destination.  No that is for next time...).  Rodney Bay in St Lucia is now full and so we have reverted to plan A and are intending to make our landfall in Martinique, which should be a couple of days away.
This morning broke cloudless and airless bringing with it a recognition that we dont have the fuel to motor all the way.  So before breakfast, skipper up the top of the mast to repair the spinnaker halyard that broke 2 days ago.  Have replaced the webbing, which was four part sail tie, with a shackle.  I am sure the chafe wont be so bad that it wears out in less than 48 hours.
Everyone pleased that this job was completed before breakfast, which consisted of fresh pancakes, home made yoghurt, tinned peaches and maple syrup.  Graham adamant that he would only haul me to the top of the mast after breakfast wearing oilskins – in spite of the heat already in the day.  He thought the chances of catching an unwelcome burden too great to risk.  Views from aloft fantastic – but only if you like heights and arent being threatened with bouncing 20-30 ft around.  This skipper is not very Jack Aubrey at all.
Which lead us to now.  Sailing along with just our big spinnaker up at about 5knots in 6 knots of wind. If we can keep this up throughout today then we should have enough fuel to motor the rest of the way and get into Marin on Sunday morning.
Pip pip