09/05/2017 – ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’

If you understand this statement; no we don’t have to go and clear up after the horses! After two days of rewarding, fast sailing we sort of hit the buffers, to mix my metaphors. Between midday and 1800 yesterday we sailed a frustrating 23 nM, a distance we had happily covered in five of the 3 hour log periods over the first two days. Eventually, we had to revert to the ‘iron tops’l’ (the engine) though we have been quite disciplined. As there is a motoring penalty, between 1 and 2, we try to react to the worst case scenario. If we can motor at more than three times the speed we can sail at then the engine goes on! It is, however, very frustrating sailing at 2.1 knots, knowing that we can motor at 5.5 to 6 depending on the conditions. We are aware that most of the boats are motoring but past experience tells us that a couple of boats with engine failure, who therefore have to sail, can skew the motoring penalty so we opt for a ‘worst case scenario.’ Our day’s run was a disappointing 111 nautical Miles; but, on the plus side, we only motored for about 5 hrs 30 mins and we are sure many boats motored for longer. ..... ..... The forecast, backed up by GRIB files which John uploaded, suggest we will have to motor for at least 24 hours sometime soon. This will raise our average speed, which needs to be just over 5 knots for the rest of the trip to arrive before dark on Friday. The one relieving feature is the wind brought by squalls. Just as I was about to sit down to write this we had a massive wind shift, the mainsail tried to gybe but the preventer did its job before John rushed on deck to change our heading. We then gybed the main and returned to our course, by which time the rain was rather heavy but short lived! As the genoa was poled out and flapping we pulled it away and made good progress on main alone for the duration of the squall. Another Rally boat was motoring past us and swiftly pulled out their main, sailed for a bit, rolled away the main and motored off. ..... ..... Apart from trying to stay dry, not a lot has happened in the past 24 hours. At times I really wish we had a cockpit enclosure like many of the American boats. It is an alien concept to Brits but what is not to like about a sort of greenhouse enclosure over the cockpit with holes for sheets etc. to come through, roll up or opening windows for ventilation and shades for the sun plus enough height to stand up in? Skipper says there is too much windage, our boom is too low, also putting the cover on the mainsail would be impossible, but…. The Admiral/crew/kitchen skivvy is not convinced! ..... ..... Yesterday was a fast food day: pizza for lunch enhanced with extra red pepper, mushroom slices and cheese; dinner was a beef burger served on a slice of multigrain toast (Chef’s nod to healthy eating) with ratatouille, followed by yogurt. ..... ..... Oh, the trials and tribulations of sailing! ..... ..... Joyce

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