17 November 2013

17th November 2013

The wind had died down enough by 0600 for me to drop the Storm Jib and set the Jib, and by 1030 we were sailing with the full main as well. We’re still holding a good course and making about 6kts. The Magnetic variation here is exactly the opposite to the deviation on the compass so the compass course is also the true course as well. It’s one less thing to work out when shaping a course.

The collision warning sounded on the AIS at 0730 this morning. I pulled on oilskins and went on deck to check our course. It was the cargo ship Ouro do Brasil making steady progress north on her way to dock at Ghent in Belgium.

Our track down the Spanish and Portuguese coast this time is very different to 2006. Then we had a lot of light winds and calms (it was July) and it took us a while to get south. Since we left Falmouth we’ve never had a day under 100nm and have been very lucky with the wind. Let’s hope we get a few more days of this yet.

All these reports are being sent back home via the radio. I have a magic box called a Radio Data Interface which goes between the laptop to the radio. It basically converts what I type into data and sends it over the radio in a data stream, via a program called Winlink, to a Winlink volunteer (a middleman), who has a radio and computer set up to receive these reports It then gets sent on to Alyson as a normal email.

The program I use to type up the reports is called RMS Express , it’s a piece of software specially for the purpose. It’s a great way to send info back and fore. Being radio though, it’s not guaranteed to work every time and at any time. It all depends if the propagation is ok or not. Sometimes it works first time. Other times I might have to try a dozen “middlemen” to get the message out. Sometimes it won’t go at all. But it’s a very cost effective way of doing it compared to using the sat phone last time.

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