To or Towards? That is the question. 12/9/2013

At the top of the page of the ship's log there are two spaces, one titled From: the other Towards: this does give cause for thought. We know where we are leaving from, no problem, but how far can we travel? No wind means you can motor straight towards your intended destination but you might not reach it in time because an adverse current or unfriendly swell might reduce your average speed. Lots of wind, good for sailing, might also be from the one direction you don't want and this together with current can seriously hamper your progress. Sea conditions might change making a different destination better than your first choice. So far we have had to change plans because of each of the above examples. Today we had something completely different throw a spanner in the works! We left Cartagena at 0900 as planned, heading 'towards' Cala San Pedro. About an hour and a half out a Spanish warship announced exercises in a radius of 8.5 miles around a certain position, and that all vessels should keep clear. We were just outside the circle but our intended track would have taken us almost straight through the middle so we had to change course to skirt around the outside. This also meant that the weak wind which was helping us would come from dead astern, causing the genoa to keep collapsing and slowing us. Today we were lucky. Once past the exclusion zone and on a direct course the wind veered and picked up a bit and we rocketed on towards our intended destination. We arrived in the isolated, interesting Cala San Pedro at 1830, early enough to be able to spot a sandy patch to drop the anchor. On the way we had one worrying episode. I was in the galley pouring some squash, John came down to get a cable for the i-pad. I was aware that the boat had heeled gently in the other direction then there was a clatter from the headsail and John leapt on deck and grabbed the wheel. Starblazer was sailing in a circle! When I looked at the autopilot control there was no data, ditto on all the other Autohelm instruments. Not unnaturally, I jumped to the conclusion that we had lost them. John then calmly said: "I must have knocked the switch off when I got the cable." How I wish all equipment failures and misbehaviour were that easy to sort out!

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