3 December 2013

Venus was brilliantly clear in the SW at evening twilight; a piercing led light shining down at us and I got a good sight for a position line. Not long after, at 2015, I had to drop the sails, the wind had fallen again to nothing. It was a clear starry night with no moon. The sky was a colander of pinholes of light all over but the only glimmer to break the blackness of the ocean was a silver path that ran between Venus and us. It was as if the sea and sky were showing us the way to go. And they were right, it was leading into the SW but we weren’t getting there tonight.

The wind didn’t come in again until 0245, a light breeze from WNW. The bit I’d written for the website hadn’t sent earlier so I tried it again after I’d got sails up. Sometimes the propagation is better at night and so it proved this time as it sailed off into the airwaves.

At sunrise I could see a sail astern to our NE. It turned out to be a French yacht and he called me up on the VHF. He was a singlehander as well in a boat of a similar size to Elsi and he was heading for Martinique. He’d crossed the Atlantic before, in 2007 in a smaller boat, 24 feet long. She was now in the Grenadines and he was hoping to have a meeting with her again.

The water coming from the seawater pump I have for the galley had been smelling bad and I stripped it down this morning. It didn’t look too bad inside but I cleaned it all up and put it back together. I use it for washing dishes when the weather is bad so the water coming out of it has to be clean. In fine weather I just dip a pot or plate over the side and give it a scrub. I rarely use fresh water for washing up apart from baking trays and the like as they don’t care for salt water.

While I was servicing the pump I came across a couple of cabbage which had gone off and it looked like I’d have to chuck them. But once I’d peeled off the worst they still had a heart of gold, well light green, and will do for a feed or two yet. I also found a ruler, which had gone missing from the chart table in the Bay of Biscay. I thought it had fallen down the back of the chart table but it had obviously shot right across the boat with one of the bad rolls we did there and ended up on the other side behind one of the galley bins where I keep day to day food.

Another yacht appeared astern. She was much bigger at 34m, a millionaire’s yacht, and was called “Highland Breeze”. I called them up thinking there might be a Scottish connection and there had been. In the past she was owned by, I think he said Lord Laidlaw? They were also complaining of the light winds and were heading for Sao Vincente in the Cape Verdes to take on more fuel. They were motorsailing when they passed us at 11kts. They came close enough for us to shout across to one another and one man on the stern, who could have been the owner, shouted, “You take care”.

I made some more water using the watermaker and only did 15 minute sessions so my sweat to water ratio was better! Conditions for sextant sights are near perfect just now with clear skies and sharp horizons. The clear skies at these latitudes also mean a burning sun and today it has been doing it’s best to fry my skinny white body.  I can feel it’s given me a whack across the shoulders as I sit and type here. Once the sun had passed due south the wind began to fall again as it did yesterday. It has only been a murmur all day but now it’s not even that. I’ve had to take the mainsail down and I’ve left the Genoa up but I can hear it suffering outside just now as the swell knocks what little wind there is out of it. I’ll have to go and have a look.

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