11 December Not quite straight there.

The noon run from Monday to Tuesday was a startling 170 miles, all in the right direction. Thoughts turned, somewhat prematurely, to an eta. There are far too many what ifs so a bookie should almost certainly make money on us! The first dampener was the wind which veered a little and dropped. We had to steer north of our desired course to keep the sails safely filled, and it was slower. Q, aka Horace the Hydrovane, was put to work to give the power hungry Autopilot a rest. Just before I went off watch the wind shot up from 15 to 25 knots, the boat rounded up and Q couldn’t cope. I must put in a word of mitigation for Q, it’s a wonderful bit of kit with a very helpful service team. The difficulties encountered are caused by bits of the boat getting in the way, like the arch we fitted this spring, the diagonal brace for the arch which we found we needed, the backstay, the wind shadow caused by the liferaft. The list goes on. The problems would not have occurred as originally installed with the tall sail. The arch necessitated a stubby sail and dropping the unit as far as possible. That brought factors other than just the arch into play. John’s next task is to redesign the sail. The wind squall at 2000 local was a portent of the night ahead. In the squalls, mercifully dry, the wind peaked at 25 knots, the boat speed peaked at 9.2 but the course also altered, making up to 30 degrees off our desired heading. Sitting in the cockpit, staring at the instruments, ready to give the autopilot a helping hand if necessary was not conducive to writing a blog which is why this one is later than usual. The swell has picked up too, now 3 metres every 8 seconds or so. It’s bad enough in daylight when you see them coming, at night your world suddenly goes sideways! I am not a fan of rolly seas, nor is the generator which has lost its cooling water feed again. We tried the fix that worked last time with no success so that is a job that will have to wait until we are tied up in Rodney Bay. There is no way John wants to lay across the engine, trying to undo the wingnuts on the generator’s water pump without dropping them into the bilge! I can’t say I blame him. Dinner last night was pork chops with apple sauce, new potatoes, carrots and the last of the green beans which have done very well. By the way, we also put our watches back another hour, causing yet more confusion on board. Joyce

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