12/03/2016 – The weather didn’t read my script.

Blue skies, puffy white clouds, sunshine, stable winds in both direction and strength… I think it was two days or three days ago when I wrote this. Yesterday, Friday, had none of these conditions! It was grey and overcast all day; nothing looked particularly threatening, it just didn‘t look very welcoming. Add to this a gentle breeze which wandered around the compass like a lost soul in the desert searching for an oasis, not a bad analogy as it was hot. All in all it made for a tricky sailing day. From 0200 yesterday morning we sailed fairly steadily, not fast but 1.5 to 2 knots of current gave us adequate if not spectacular progress. The wind veered from NNE through NE to E by mid-morning, resulting in the genoa flapping as the mainsail blocked the wind. We installed the pole on starboard side (to windward) and pulled the genoa across so we were sailing ‘wing and wing’. For us this is the fastest way we can sail with the wind in a 120o arc from astern. Dedicated racers would fly a spinnaker but we don’t carry one as it is too much for the two of us to handle. During the afternoon John went below for a sleep, a fact the weather Gods noted, thought about then reacted to. Less than an hour later a minor shower visited, the wind dropped to less than 4 knots and clocked around the compass to SW. I tried to alter course to keep the wind roughly behind us but we had lost speed and I couldn’t alter the heading. There were three things I needed to do, two of them were sure to get John rushing on deck so I decided to wake him up. No 1: roll away the genoa, now barely flapping, held out by its pole; No 2: start the engine and start making progress in the right direction; no 3 either gybe the main or pull it to midships. Once these tasks were completed I rewarded us with hot buttered rum as it was also quite cool during the shower. About one and a half hours later the wind finally re-established itself in the NNE, the sails were set to port and the engine was turned off. It was just too good to last. Soon after I went off watch at 2000 the wind dropped to 4 knots again so John started the engine. All night the wind has tried to persuade us to cut the engine and pull out the genoa only to die back and go on a wander very soon after. It tricked me into setting the sails soon after I came on watch at 2300, only to shift about 120o and drop back to 6 knots. Poor John was instantly awake, saying something like ‘I told you so’ though a little more politely. I explained what had happened and what I was about to do then set about the three tasks mentioned in the previous paragraph. We are still motoring nearly 8 hours later. Our day’s run was the lowest yet on this leg, 151 nM, and that was achieved with the help of the positive current and the ‘metal wings’. (I love this description of the engine, it sounds gentler than the traditional ‘iron topsail’. Thank you Svanfridur on Hugur for introducing us to this term. Without them our day’s run would have been lamentably low, well under 100 nM. It has got to the point where I just want to arrive, having given up all hope of sailing the rest of the way competitively. The good news is that we have plenty of diesel to motor to Grenada. Unfortunately this is another boring log about the weather, nothing else has happened, sorry. More tomorrow though I’ll try to be more upbeat. Joyce (John) The good news of the day! Egg and bacon for breakfast Cooker hob jets cleaned, now burning hotter Fishing lures assembled – but no better at catching fish Big juicy pork chops for dinner

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