13/11/2016 – We have neighbours.

The ocean is a mighty large space and, though 35 boats are heading towards the same destination, the fleet is spread over a wide area. The first night at sea we could see the lights of several rally boats, however sightings for most of the time have been few and far between. We have spotted the odd non-rally boat but they have not stayed close. At about this time yesterday morning the AIS alarm went off for Windarra, a 13 metre sloop. At the time it was 3 miles ahead, slowly crossing our path. Today they are 10 miles away, on the port quarter (rear near side in carspeak for right hand drive vehicles). Yarona, another British owned Hallberg Rassy, also in the rally, came across our bow about 3 hours ago and are now 2.5 miles away on our port beam. Yesterday was rather frustrating, the predicted wind arrived rather late in the day. We motored until about 1800 when a useful breeze sprung up and we started sailing at 6.5 to 7 knots. We have decided that we want to arrive late afternoon on Monday, if we had continued to sail so well all the way the arrival time was coming forward rather nicely. Soon after 0300 the wind dropped to 4 knots, wandered around the compass and didn’t come back. We are motoring again. On the plus side, the batteries are well charged, we made about 50 litres of water and we don’t feel guilty about motoring! Our day’s run to noon was 135.8, we should have started the engine sooner. As I write this we have 195 nM to go. The list of jobs to do before we leave Nanny Cay on Tortola has increased but I’ll leave the definitive list until we arrive, just in case something else needs attention. I can report one breakdown John successfully repaired on passage. Our mainsail has 4 full length battens going from the luff (forward edge attached to the mast) to the leach (back edge) which help the sail keep a good shape. On the mast there are a number of cars, each batten pocket has a box with a top hat shaped peg which slots into a car and is held in place with a long U shaped pin. Between the battens there are pegs held on the sail by tape. The pins get broken legs and have proved impossible to source so John has made some from stainless steel welding rod the correct diameter. Unfortunately the series of kinks which keep the pins in place is hard to replicate. When a pin lifts the peg comes out, not drastic in itself, we keep sailing without noticing. That was true until we found the peg bit had unscrewed itself from the batten box and landed on the deck. Then a second one arrived in the same place. In one of the periods of no wind and flat seas John dropped the sail, screwed the pegs back in, plugged the pegs into the cars, pushed the pins firmly into place then re-hoisted the sail. That is one job less to do in Tortola. We think the pegs rattled loose when the sail was pulled in tight with just a little apparent wind from behind. Dinner on Saturday was pan-fried Flounder seasoned with lemon pepper and garlic granules with potatoes and an avocado, tomato and onion salsa, followed by yogurt with banana slices. Joyce

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