2 December 2013

By 1800 last night the wind had veered more SSW and fallen light. An hour later the sails had to come down. The rest of the night and early morning was similar to what has been the past few nights. Sails up and down, wind then none then too much and having to reef. By 0300 the wind seemed to have steadied in the NW and was about F2-3. It was a fine starry night though with Jupiter sitting directly overhead. There’s plenty of wind on Jupiter. It spins incredibly fast and storms often form in hours and last for years.

Conditions here are really what would be expected in the doldrums. Winds from all directions, often light and never consistent in any one direction for long, calms, squalls and heavy rain and yet we are (supposed to be) in the NE Trades. We still have the doldrums to come.

We managed to keep sails up from 0300 on and although they were slapping and rattling we were at least moving albeit at around 2kts.

Just before the sun rose we had a school of around 20 Atlantic Spotted dolphins come around us. They were very active, slicing across the bow and speeding off at a slant to zoom back in again. They would come in sometimes in rows of five, six or seven all in formation with an occasional joker swimming on his side or upside down. One took to leaping out of the water and landing with a crash on his side. He must have done this a dozen times in succession.

There was a sail to the NW of us at this time as well but I never saw it again.

This morning’s radio schedule with Alyson was a bit different. She was on Skype to her son Finlay, who is in Vietnam right now. She put the radio mike to the laptop so we could have a natter. So I spoke to him in Hanoi via Shetland!

I had a craving for some kind of homebake. I made up a kind of sponge with ground almonds and coconut and stuck it in the oven while I rigged the big solar panel outside. I thought I would try a bit while it was still warm and I just kept on going. It wouldn’t have won any prizes at the SWRI but it tasted delicious to me. Before I thought I had better save some for later I had ploughed half way through it.

I got out the watermaker thought I would top up our supply a little. It’s a hand-operated de-salinator that is advertised to produce 5 litres of fresh water for an hours pumping. It’s normally used as an emergency unit in liferafts. One hose goes over the side to take in seawater, the hose that the fresh water comes out of goes into a drum and the excess saltier water gets pumped over the side via another hose. I rigged up a bucket of saltwater in the cockpit and ran the fresh water hose into a drum with the excess running over the deck and back into the sea.

In this climate it’s a bit self-defeating though. It could equally be called a sweatmaker, I almost sweated as much as I pumped! I didn’t get five litres for my hours pumping. It looked more like three when I was finished and I had drunk about a litre of water in pumping. Still we were two litres ahead.

As the day wore on the wind veered round with the sun and at 1400 it was a Sw’ly. We were heading north of west and I had to tack around again to get south. About that same time we had a moth aboard. It must have come off a ship surely as we were about 240nm from the nearest land, the coast of Mauritania, at the time.

Now, at 1600, the wind has eased again and is about F2. Light headwinds don’t make for fast progress. The days run is our poorest yet and reflects the calms, light winds and headwinds we’ve been getting. But really it’s been a beautiful day with blue skies and flat seas. If we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere it would be brilliant. It’ll turn yet though and the old Walker log will be whirring again before too long.

Sorry, no comments or trackbacks are allowed on this post.