11/03/2016 – I don’t want to complain but…

Thursday was even more frustrating than Wednesday! To be brief, it was our lowest day’s run on this leg, 159 nM, and that was only achieved with the help of the ‘metal wings’ or ‘iron topsail’. We did work hard at sailing the boat including launching our colourful cruising chute once the breeze, far too gentle to be called ‘wind’, veered to the east and onto our beam. That gave us a little more speed but the saving factor was the current which swept us along at 1.5 knots. Eventually we pulled it down and turned the engine on when the boat speed dropped to 1.5 knots, making our SOG 3knots. During the evening SSB net we turned the engine off and drifted for half an hour, making a paltry 0.2 knots through the water! Unfortunately the motoring penalty will hit our corrected finishing time quite hard though we will not be the only boat with a number of motoring hours. We will try to finish as close as possible to our predicted ETA, having given up all hopes of an early Sunday finish. So long as we can average 6 knots we will succeed, less than 6 knots will be an evening arrival or worse. Anyone who was very surprised that we should be ahead of a very fast catamaran like Makena, which overtook us on Wednesday, is quite right to be astonished. I should explain, it wasn’t a case of Starblazer flying but rather Makena giving the fleet a 24 hour start! Life on board meanders on. The gentle winds have flattened the seas so showers are a comfortable experience rather a gymnastic workout, trying to maintain balance in unpredictably lurching conditions. The change in weather also made it worthwhile doing some washing which I hang on a short line strung across the transom, tied to the arch and the backstay. It’s only long enough for 4 articles; the undies are pegged onto a small rotary airer hung from the arch. It doesn’t make us look like a determined racing boat, just a laidback cruiser which we are, though that doesn’t mean that we don’t make an effort to be competitive! (John) Our little Honda generator is soldiering on well, allowing us to charge the batteries for lights, fridge, freezer, computers, hifi etc.. It is replacing the still defunct Fischer Panda and uses a lot less fuel than the main engine to do the job; 2 litres of petrol lasts 3 hours. It sits out on the port quarter, lashed down, sometimes at a built in angle to the deck to offset the angle of heel of the boat. The only protection from rain and spray is an opened out plastic bag, used like a child’s rain hood. It is not producing full power (1000W) and is noisier than it should be. To keep it running and powering the battery charger John has had to reduce the power output of the charger. Fortunately we have the interface to the computer to adjust capacity and other settings with a PC. It will get a very good service in Grenada, probably by a Honda agent. More tomorrow, hopefully something more interesting. Joyce

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