29 November 2013

At 0200 I woke to the familiar slap and rattle of the sails. There was no wind. I pulled in the logline, which glistened in the darkness with mareel as if it were studded with luminous jewels. They ran off my fingers and on to the deck as I coiled the line down.  Mareel is also the name of my youngest daughter and she is just as amazing as her marine namesake.  I dropped the sails and tied off the helm and steering gear to stop it swapping about. It was overcast and hazy. The only lights in the sky were the vague pinpoints of light of two very high stars shining as if through frosted glass. The Routeing chart indicates there is a 3% chance of a calm here.

At 0300 I could see the lights of three boats around me. I thought at first they were fishing boats but they all turned out to be yachts. They must all be headed down for the Cape Verdes as well. One was on the AIS. It was the 16m Italian yacht, “Nefeli”. I could see the mainsail highlighted by someone on deck checking it with a torch. I made a cup of coffee and sat on deck till they were past and clear of us. Nefeli was calling a boat called, “Starship”, which I imagine as one of the other yachts. The other one turned out to be a Finnish yacht called, “Ironside”.

The day has been overcast again with frequent showers. All morning and up until 1500 the wind was only a handful of knots and we averaged 1.5 – 2kts. All the other yachts were the same and we all stayed in sight the whole day.  In the afternoon Starship dropped sails and must have started their engine as they soon then disappeared over the horizon.

My bread had all run out so I baked a loaf and while it was in the oven had a shave. It does put a great smell into the boat! It was still warm when I sawed a slice off it and spread on some lemon curd and very good it was too.

I pulled up the cruising chute in the afternoon but the wind was so light it made little difference to our speed. The batteries are running down because it’s been overcast and the little or no wind has meant slow progress through the water. So all my charging systems haven’t been doing anything.

There was more lift in the sea coming from the SE in the afternoon and I hoped it might be a sign of more wind coming in from there. Sure enough by 1600 we had a SE’ly F3-4 and were making good speed again. I hope it keeps up for a few days.

It was 25 years ago yesterday when Terry and I set off from the Canaries to sail across to Antigua. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

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