16 December 2013

The wind is upside down here. We should be beating to windward in a S’ly and instead this morning we were running goose winged before a fine NE’ly. I’m not complaining, the shift of direction in the Trades was against us but here it works in our favour so it’s evening out not too bad. The wind had been very up and down the past 24hrs and more down than up. At times I thought it was going to fade away completely but there has always been enough to keep us sailing.

It’s been very damp though and over cast. The only lighter patches of the sky seem to highlight how dark the rain clouds are. There’s been either drizzle or rain on and off most of the time. This morning we had a heavy shower. Before I got oilskins on and got out it had mostly passed but I still managed to collect over a gallon of rainwater. I keep a close eye on how much water I use. The fresh water I use is never just pumped into a cup or pot or sink. Instead I have a litre bottle and pump water into there each day. Then I mark off in a notebook that I have taken a litre from whichever tank, I have two tanks. Any rainwater collected and put into a tank gets marked in a different column. So I have a running total of how much I have left in each tank.  If I didn’t have some kind of system I could end up with a dry tank when I’m parched for a cuppa!

When we crossed the equator last time we had more water onboard than we had when we left Shetland two months before. We had torrential rain north of the equator and I filled all the tanks, the kettle, pots and pans and buckets. I remember Terry and me doing the same in the Marquesas during a real tropic downpour. We filled everything but still it kept on raining.

All the rain is caught from the mainsail. I top up the sail so the water all runs to the mast end and have a bucket there to catch it. If there’s been a lot of spray the mainsail is salty and I have to let it run off some before using. Usually I’ll run some into the bucket scoop some up in my hand to have a taste. If it’s too salty then pour it out and catch some more till it tastes like it should. I can catch as much in two minutes, at times, as it would take me an hour to pump up using the watermaker.

There seem to be no dolphins here. I’ve seen plenty of flying fish but with the moon fuller now there is less chance of them coming onboard at night.
We’re less than 300nm to the equator now. But I’m not even thinking about an ETA for crossing the line. We might be less than three days but the wind might fizzle out to nothing and it might be a week before we get across. It’s that kind of place. For now though we have a fair breeze around a F2-3 and are continually moving so I’m thankful for that.

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